As workers face the recession they are looking toward cheap and quick pick me ups according to recent studies. Chocolate has benefited from the recession with Hershey reporting a 2.6 percent increase in sales since the same time last year and Cadbury Company reporting an increase of 30 percent. Attendance at the local Cineplex is also on the rise. Box office sales are up 16.5 percent over the same time last year.
Connecticut could be one step closer to solving a budget crisis, but it comes at high cost to state workers. Jesse Russell reports:
A new deal between unions representing Connecticut’s state workers and the Governor Jodi Rell could have a big impact on worker compensation. If the deal is approved the state would agree to a two-year no layoff guarantee while workers would agree to a pay freeze, higher health care co-pays, and unpaid furloughs. An additional part of the deal would be the development of a program designed to encourage older state workers to accept early retirement. According to The Hartford Courant the 13 unions in the state worker collation plan to meet on April 15 to vote on the current proposal.
Did you get a raise or a wage freeze this year? If you are an Exon Mobil executive you likely saw a pay increase of 10 percent in 2008. Exxon Mobil Chief Executive Rex Tillerson’s base salary jumped to $2.06 million this year and when stock options and compensation for items such as personal use of a company aircraft and personal security are factored in his compensation levels out around $23.9 million dollars.
By Doug Cunningham
Hotels in New York City are trying to renege on a 3.5% pay raise scheduled to start for hotel workers in July. The Hotel Association of New York is claiming hard times makes it impossible to pay the raise. The New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council, though, isn’t ready to give up the raise. It says hotels in New York City have had 10 very prosperous years and should have set some money aside for hard times. Since December 4,000 hotel workers have been laid off in New York City.
By Doug Cunningham’
The AFL-CIO is launching Corporate Paywatch, a web site highlighting the double standard between how workers and executives are compensated. The site points how how corporate execs who oppose expanding workers’union rights to improve workers wages lavish themselves with extremely generous compensation packages. Forty-six percent of CEO’s have explicit written contracts while just 14 percent of all workers do. Bank of America took $25 billion in hard-earned tax money from workers to avoid bankruptcy, yet why taking workers’ money it works against workers’ rights. The AFL-CIO compares executive contracts with opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act, focusing on Wal-Mart, Bank of America and FedEx.
It’s a good time to sign up for a course in strategic campaign research, writes Charles Taylor, coordinator for the AFL-CIO Center for Strategic Research recruitment program. Here’s why.
The union movement is poised to launch new waves of campaigns that will require skilled strategic researchers supporting organizing, bargaining and representation. To help meet the demand, the AFL-CIO Center for Strategic Research (CSR) offers technical training for union researchers and campaigners to help prepare for the opportunities ahead.
The CSR co-sponsors a unique training on strategic corporate research for undergraduate and graduate students interested in working as strategic researchers and as campaigners in the union movement. Launched in 2001, the annual, one-week course takes place in Ithaca, N.Y., the site of the School of Labor and Industrial Relations at Cornell University (ILR), which also co-sponsors the training.
CSR and ILR conducted a study last year and found that a majority of former students surveyed are employed as union staff, mostly as researchers and campaigners, according to Ken Zinn, organizing director of the AFL-CIO, who add that this class
has served as a great stepping stone for students while providing a steady source of new strategic campaigners for unions.
Kate Bronfenbrenner, director of labor education research at ILR, says there is a growing need for strategic campaigners.
Despite enormous challenges in a rapidly changing global economy, this is a time of great opportunity and innovation by American unions. There is a critical demand for strategic campaigners who understand both corporate structure and finance and union campaign strategies.
The 2009 summer school is set for June 7-12 in Ithaca. Registration deadline is May 1 and credit scholarships are available. For a registration form and other information, go to http://www.sce.cornell.edu/ss/courses/on/special/scr.php, or contact Kirstine Armstrong at 607-254-4749 or email@example.com.
Due to changes this year in the Cornell course registration process, applications must be submitted by the May 1 deadline.
In what some are calling an Easter miracle, several members of the Air Traffic Controllers (NATCA) in Southern Florida guided a plane to a successful landing after its pilot fell unconscious and a passenger had to fly the aircraft in heavy traffic.
Around 1:30 p.m. yesterday, passengers aboard a Super King Air two-engine turboprop aircraft carrying four passengers from Marco Island, Fla., to Jackson, Miss., radioed controllers at the Miami traffic control center that the pilot was unconscious and they needed help immediately.
Two controllers, one with extensive experience as a pilot, helped one of the passengers bring the plane in. The passenger is a private pilot but is certified only in single-engine aircraft and had never flown a King Air.
While the two controllers talked the passenger through flying the plane, a third controller stepped in to coordinate the rerouting of all aircraft in that area and transmitted emergency information to the nearest airport in Fort Myers, Fla.
The controllers quickly developed a system that enabled them to share the same frequency. They would tap one another’s shoulders to transfer and relinquish control on the radio channel. One advised the passenger and another issued control instructions to other aircraft.
When the plane entered the Fort Myers air space, another group of controllers took over. One called a friend who was certified in the King Air for advice. The friend issued instructions over the phone to the controller who gave them to another controller who relayed that information to the passenger flying the plane.
Because of this quick thinking, the plane landed safely on the first try.
NATCA President Patrick Forrey says:
If you were to ask any one of the controllers who worked this event about what happened over the skies of South Florida, they would tell you that it was just a typical day at the office and that it was merely their job.
However, the actions they all took to save the passengers aboard the flight were beyond heroic. They all went above and beyond the call of duty, and it is times like these that I hope the flying public can see the invaluable lifeline that controllers provide every day—and particularly in emergency situations. These men and women are true heroes, and I’m proud to be in the same profession as them.
Contract talks stalled between 90,000 workers and AT&T over management demands for huge health care cuts and more updates from the “Bargaining Digest Weekly.” The AFL-CIO Collective Bargaining Department delivers daily, bargaining-related news and research resources to more than 900 subscribers. Union leaders can register for this service through our website, Bargaining@Work.
WORK STOPPAGES, JOB ACTIONS
CWA, AT&T: Health care benefits remain a contentious issue in negotiations between more than 90,000 members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and AT&T. The CWA bargaining website indicates that management is making outrageous claims that if they cannot make huge cuts to health care, then they will face the same problems as the Big Three automakers. CWA officials characterized the talks as “stalled.”
CWA, New Jersey: Thousands of New Jersey state workers represented by CWA protested against furloughs and wage freezes. ”There were more than 100 picket lines statewide,” said Hetty Rosenstein, New Jersey director for the CWA.
IUOE, Rosebud Mine: Workers at the Rosebud Mine in Montana, who are represented by Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 400, approved a four-year contract with Western Energy Co., ending a strike that began March 20. The agreement calls for a $1.15 hourly wage increase in the first year and a combined $2.70 hourly increase over the next three years.
AFM, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra: Despite being on strike since Oct. 1, musicians of the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, represented by the American Federation of Musicians (AFM), will play the fifth Masterworks concert of the season. Parties are stuck on the terms for a new five-year agreement, but they may meet again in about two weeks.
USW, Merck: Members of Steelworkers (USW) Local 4-575 rallied outside Merck’s facility in Rahway, N.J., to protest the company’s plans to outsource nearly 200 jobs held by members. Parties are currently in negotiations to replace a contract slated to expire April 30.
LEO-AFT, University of Michigan: Faculty members at the University of Michigan, represented by the Lecturers’ Employee Organization (LEO-AFT), affiliated with AFT, rallied to protest an alleged violation of their union contract. According to the contract, lecturers’ pay should increase by the same average rate as their tenured and tenure-track faculty counterparts. LEO says they received a 2 percent raise for the 2008-2009 year, while their tenure-track counterparts received a 4.1 percent raise.
ALPA, Hawaiian Airlines: Hawaiian Airlines pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), picketed at Honolulu International Airport to jump-start contract negotiations with management. Pay and benefits remain contentious issues.
IBEW, Duke Energy: Some 1,000 Duke Energy Ohio workers, represented by Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1347, have a new five-year tentative deal. Details have not been released.
ALPA, Island Air: Island Air pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), reached a tentative agreement with the carrier, which would provide wage increases, work rule improvements and furlough protection.
AFSCME, Dayton: City workers in Dayton, Ohio, represented by AFSCME, have a new agreement that will help the financially struggling city while protecting against future layoffs.
IAM, United Airlines: Some 16,000 workers, represented by the Machinists (IAM), opened talks with United Airlines, exchanging proposals in Chicago. The current IAM agreements become amendable Dec. 31. ”It has been nearly a decade since our members had an opportunity to propose changes to their collective bargaining agreements,” says IAM District 141 President Rich Delaney.
Disclaimer: This information is being provided for your information only. As it is compiled from published news reports, not from individual unions, we cannot vouch for either its completeness or accuracy; readers who desire further information should directly contact the union involved.
Who’s behind the opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act? It’s the same corporate executives and Wall Street millionaires whose greed and irresponsibility led to our nation’s economic crisis—the same people who are looking for taxpayer-funded bailouts even as they lobby to prevent workers from bargaining for a better life.
A new ad takes to task the opponents of the Employee Free Choice Act for their support of an economy that works for CEOs, but not for the rest of us.
Produced by American Rights at Work, the ad was launched nationally over the weekend after its debut on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show.”
The ad takes aim at the “Wall Street way of doing business”:
Getting rich is everything.
Reward yourself for failure.
Employees don’t matter.
Exploiting them is acceptable.
Don’t let workers get ahead.
This mindset adds up to the corporate greed that has left workers behind, unable to bargain for a fair share of the value they create. CEOs and their political cronies are spending millions to make sure workplaces stay badly imbalanced, controlled by the strong arm of the bosses with no worker input.
Mary Beth Maxwell, executive director of American Rights at Work, says giving workers the freedom to form a union and bargain is critical to restoring the balance in the workplace and making sure workers get a say.
The public and lawmakers alike need to know that the special interests opposing the Employee Free Choice Act are the same ones who caused this economic meltdown. This new ad sends a resolute message that now is the time to help workers to bargain for a better life. The Employee Free Choice Act is urgently needed to create fairness in this economy.