Nurse Backing SEIU In Ohio Accuses CNA of Sabotaging Election But Expects It Will Be Rescheduled – 03/19/08
By Doug Cunningham
So what’s really going on between the SEIU and the California Nurses Association in the organizing effort at Catholic Healthcare Partners in Ohio? Peggy Vaughn is an RN in Ohio supporting SEIU’s three year effort to organize nurses and workers there. She says SEIU got a neutrality agreement with the employer after a long struggle and the elections that was scheduled was no back-room, sweetheart deal. And she says CNA organizers interjected themselves at the last minute to derail the election.
[Vaughn]: “I think it’s reprehensible that an organization that claims to be pro-worker would do no work at all for organizing and come in the last minute and try to sabotage an election. I personally resent is as a worker. I think they should be held accountable.”
Late Tuesday Delta told workers that it plans to offer a voluntary buyout in an attempt to cut 2000 jobs. The announcement comes on the heels of oil rising above $111 a barrel. According to the airline pilots will not be impacted by the buyout. On Monday, Delta pilots told the airline that discussions concerning the merger of seniority lists with Northwest Airlines had collapsed. Jesse Russell has more on this aspect of the story.
As Delta and Northwest Airlines continue to move toward a merger the pilots for the two companies had been in discussions over how to best combine seniority lists. Those discussions ended on Monday with no resolution between the two sides. The announcement was made when Delta’s division of the Air Line Pilots Association sent a letter to members saying that discussions with Northwest’s pilots had broken off. Northwest and Delta had hoped for a smooth merger of the seniority lists and in order to encourage the pilots offered stock options and a voting seat on the board. It is unknown how the collapse of discussions will impact those offers. Seniority determines which pilots fly on which plane, increases job security, and dictates the pay level. Northwest has more senior pilots then Delta.
The nearly 700 workers at Rite Aid’s distribution center in Lancaster, Calif., overcame a vicious two-year anti-union campaign to gain a voice on the job after voting for International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 26 last week.
The workers began seeking a union in 2006 to put an end to punishing production quotas and mandatory overtime piled on 10-hour shifts. They endure working in hot desert summers with no air conditioning in their work areas, and no job security.
Says Ignacio “Nacho” Meza, a member of the workers’ organizing committee at the warehouse:
I am so happy right now. We had to make sacrifices, but we showed that if we stand together, if we speak up, we can make changes for ourselves, our families and the people who come after us.
The workers prevailed despite Rite Aid’s all-out effort to squash their organizing drive. For example, Rite Aid fired Meza in January 2007 for his support of the union, but rehired him six months later as part of a settlement with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The labor board charged Rite Aid with 49 labor law violations, including disciplining, demoting, suspending and firing union supporters; threatening that people would lose their raises if they voted for the union; and publicly disparaging union supporters. The company settled in May 2007 rather than go before an NLRB judge.
Given that 47 million Americans are without health insurance and as many as 40 percent who have coverage are underinsured, the 2008 election is likely to be a mandate on health care for all, a panel of health care and political experts told a Take Back America symposium today. The annual conference, in Washington, D.C., which runs through Wednesday, brings together activists and organizers to discuss strategies for moving progressive strategies that address the economy, foreign policy, health care and more.
Jacob Hacker, an economist and political science professor at Yale University and author of the Health Care for America proposal, said health care advocates need to develop a “template” that doesn’t compromise core health care principles but one that also can win the political support needed to be enacted.
There are a lot of good ideas out there that don’t stand a chance of passage and there are a lot of bad ideas out there that seem to be in favor among certain constituencies and the hope is one can put one really good alternative on the table that can be passed.
The bodies of three more victims, including two construction workers, were recovered Monday from the wreckage left behind after a 300-foot tall construction crane collapsed Sunday. The death toll now stands at seven in one of New York City’s worst construction accidents in years, which severely damaged several buildings and demolished a Manhattan town house.
The two workers were identified as Santino Gallone, 37, and Clifford Canzona, 45. The other victim was a Florida woman, Odin Torres, who was visiting a friend in the destroyed town house.