Workers for one of the world’s largest casinos are continuing an effort to organize. Following a failed attempt last year at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut the bartenders have requested an election to be overseen by the National Labor Relations Board. Under the rules imposed by the Tribal Nation in a previous election non-votes were counted as no votes. The United Food and Commercial Workers are asking for the NLRB supervision because they won’t count non-votes. The NLRB will hear the case this Friday. Workers are hoping union representation will help raise wages.
World Cup worker action has triggered a forceful response in South Africa. Jesse Russell reports.
World Cup worker action has triggered a forceful response in South Africa. Jesse Russell reports.
Justice For Farm Workers Campaign Presses Democrats To Keep Promise To Vote On NY Farm Worker Fair Labor Act- 06/15/10
By Doug Cunningham
Jordan Wells with New York’s Justice For Farmworkers Campaign says despite promises from the Democratic leadership the state Senate has ignored the voices of farmworkers and given in to agri-business. In Albany today farmworkers, clergy and labor leaders will be rallying and lobbying in Albany to bring the Farm Worker Fair Labor Practices Act to a vote.
As the U.S. Senate considers a much-needed jobs bill with no certain date for a vote, the AFL-CIO union movement continues to push lawmakers to put the needs of workers and the economy before concerns over the nation’s budget deficit. Of the nation’s 15 million jobless workers, 6.8 million have been out of work for more than 26 weeks. If Congress fails to act on the jobs bill and allows federal unemployment insurance (UI) to expire, 8.2 million workers will exhaust their benefits by the end of 2010.
Over the weekend, President Obama called on the Senate to pass the jobs bill, saying the nation needs to “jump-start private-sector job creation, avoid massive layoffs in state and local government and help the unemployed. We cannot afford to slide backwards just as our recovery is taking hold. We must take these emergency measures.”
In a letter to the Senate last week, Bill Samuel, AFL-CIO Government Affairs director, urged senators to move quickly on the bill. He told senators the AFL-CIO supports an amendment offered by Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), which provides relief for cash-strapped states, financing for local infrastructure projects and extension of federal unemployment benefits.
We also are backing a proposed amendment by Sens. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) to the appropriations bill for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that would extend the COBRA subsidy for laid-off workers.
Just before Memorial Day, the U.S. House passed the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act, a jobs bill that includes a six-month extension of the UI program but not COBRA, which provides subsidies to help jobless workers maintain their health care coverage. COBRA and financial aid to states that could save 900,000 private- and public-sector jobs were dropped from the original jobs bill because many members claimed it would increase the federal deficit. The Senate left town without acting on the bill.
The economic recovery is very weak, Samuel writes, and we face a real risk of another recession if Congress does not prime the fiscal stimulus pumps again.
Complacency in the face of the enormous human suffering caused by this jobs crisis is incomprehensible….Economists agree that unemployment benefits increase economic output more than almost any other stimulus measure.
The Baucus amendment would extend federal Medicaid assistance to states that must cut vital services just as more unemployed workers are applying for aid. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has vowed the House eventually will adopt both the Medicaid funding and extra health assistance for the unemployed.
The legislation also includes funding relief for defined-benefit pension plans. Baucus proposes to pay for these provisions by closing the loophole that allows Wall Street hedge fund managers to pay lower taxes on their income than ordinary tax payers pay.
It is perfectly appropriate to ask these extremely wealthy individuals to give up their undeserved preferential tax treatment so that other Americans might go back to work.
Saying the impact on the budget will be “insignificant,” Samuel adds “Congress must act now to pass this vital legislation.”
Hundreds of hotel workers and community allies protested in front of Hyatt’s first annual shareholder meeting last week in Chicago and in simultaneous demonstrations in Vancouver, Honolulu, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
The protesters are outraged that despite increases in the hotel chain’s revenue and share prices, Hyatt is cutting staff and squeezing workers with more work and lower pay. All this at a time that Hyatt’s majority stockholders, the Pritzker family, cashed out more than $900 million as part of Hyatt’s initial public offering last November.
Four hundred workers at the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco are out on strike and the protests in Chicago come just days after hundreds of workers at the Hyatt Regency Chicago walked off the job to draw attention to the worsening working conditions at Chicago’s largest downtown hotel. In the San Francisco area, more than 9,000 workers, members of UNITE HERE! have been working without a contract since August 2009 at several Hyatts.
In Chicago, a delegation of nearly 100 religious leaders was turned away when they tried to confront Hyatt’s top decision makers at the shareholders meeting. But a former Hyatt housekeeper from Boston gained entrance to the meeting as a shareholder proxy and appealed to Hyatt’s owners and top executives directly.
Lucine Williams, a 21-year worker who took part in the Chicago rally and who was fired along with hundreds of other workers at the Boston Hyatt last year:
For 21 years, I gave…everything I have to that hotel, and Hyatt kicked us to the curb. You profess to be such a great company, but look at how you treat your workers.
Not only did Temple University Hospital nurses win a new contract after a 28-day strike in May, the workers now will receive $1.5 million in unemployment compensation—and Temple will have to foot the bill.
The Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Board recently ruled that Temple University Hospital locked out workers by unilaterally changing employee working conditions prior to the strike. This decision makes the nurses and other professionals who went on strike eligible for unemployment benefits, which total about $550 per week, per worker. Because Temple, like many large employers, is self-insured for unemployment compensation, the hospital is responsible.
We are thrilled that our legal position has been vindicated by this decision. It is not surprising that the Unemployment Compensation Board has declared that the four-week strike was actually a lockout by Temple; it is consistent with our message that Temple executives were reckless and irresponsible in their approach to our negotiations from day one.
The union estimates that Temple spent some $15 million during the strike on replacement workers’ wages, luxury hotel rooms and airfare on temporary replacement employees from 42 states across the country.
Some 440 pilots at Spirit Airlines, members of Air Line Pilots, are on strike, and more news from the “Bargaining Digest Weekly.” The AFL-CIO Collective Bargaining Department delivers daily, bargaining-related news and research resources to more than 1,200 subscribers. Union leaders can register for this service through our website, Bargaining@Work.
ALPA, Spirit Airlines: Some 440 pilots at Spirit Airlines went on strike Saturday after the Air Line Pilots (ALPA) rejected the airline’s last offer. The pilots are picketing a number of airports across the country, including Fort Lauderdale, Detroit and Atlantic City, to demand a fair contract.
NNU-PASNAP, Temple University Hospital: The Pennsylvania Bureau of Unemployment Compensation ruled April’s work stoppage at Temple University Hospital was a lockout, which means the hospital will have to pay unemployment compensation for the 28 days when 1,500 nurses and allied staff were locked out. A lockout was triggered when Temple changed the terms of employment by terminating tuition reimbursement benefits for the members of Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals (PASNAP-NNU).
IAM, Boeing Co.: Machinists (IAM) District 751 has filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) alleging Boeing Co. selected a South Carolina location for its second Dreamliner plant in retaliation for a 2008 strike by IAM members in Washington State. IAM points to statements by Boeing executives linking their location choice to avoidance of work stoppages.
Ironworkers, Northwest Indiana Contractors Association: Ironworkers in Northwest Indiana will soon be returning to work, after reaching a one-year tentative agreement with the Northwest Indiana Contractors Association over the weekend. More than 400 workers had been on strike since June 1.
IAM, Boeing Co.: Members of IAM District 837 rejected a contract proposal from Boeing in St. Louis and authorized a walkout. The earliest workers would go on strike would be June 23.
IBEW, City of Vallejo: In California, it appears that a ballot measure removing binding arbitration from the city of Vallejo’s charter will pass by a very slim margin. This could put an immediate end to the ongoing arbitration with the Electrical Workers (IBEW), which saw its contract terminated after the city filed for bankruptcy.
TWU, Muni: Operators at San Francisco’s transit agency, Muni, rejected an agreement that would have changed overtime rules and health care coverage of dependents. Members of Transport Workers (TWU) Local 250-A had rejected a previous cost-saving agreement in February.
AFSCME, State of Michigan: Members of the Michigan State Employees Association/AFSCME ratified a one-year contract extension with the Office of the State Employer (OSE). The deal covering 4,300 state workers must now be approved by the Civil Service Commission.
UFCW, Kroger Company: United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 876 has reached a tentative agreement with Kroger Co. in Michigan. If ratified, the contract will cover 12,000 grocery workers.
USW, Gamesa: United Steelworkers (USW) members in Pennsylvania ratified a new four-year contract with Gamesa, a Spanish-owned wind turbine manufacturer. The contract provides increases in wages and benefits for some 350 workers.
IAM, Spokane Triumph Composite Systems: Members of IAM District 751 ratified a new three-year contract with Spokane Triumph Composite Systems. In exchange for agreeing to no raises, workers will be guaranteed 40 hours per week and no transfers to other plants.
USW, ArcelorMittal: About 300 members of USW Local 7898 approved a new contract they hope will lead to the reopening of an ArcelorMittal mill in South Carolina that was shuttered a year ago. The pact includes a pay cut but guarantees if the mill reopens, it will stay open until at least September 2012.
USW, Yokohama Tire Corp.: Nearly 700 USW Local 1023 members ratified a new four-year contract with Yokohama Tire Corp. in Salem, Va. While the pact increases workers’ contributions to health care, it maintains a defined-benefit pension plan and guarantees the plant will remain open through the life of the contract.
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.
The more than 400 participants in the Next Up conference, the AFL-CIO’s first-ever Young Workers Summit, developed a game plan for the future that focuses on making sure young union leaders and activists are taken seriously and their ideas are heard at all levels of the union movement.
Following three days in workshops and breakouts, student activists, community allies, a couple of political comedians and professional athletes and young workers generated several key ideas on the best ways to reach younger workers and build the movement.
In reports to the conference’s closing session yesterday (see video), the breakout groups recommended and called for increased mentoring programs to help young union members grow into leadership roles and establishing a national youth mobilization effort as an AFL-CIO priority.
The young workers also called for:
- Organizing a Next Up constituency group.
- Holding a national youth summit each year.
- Opening up seats for the Next Up generation on national, state federation and central local body boards.
- Creating an internship website with information on national, state and local opportunities.
- Creating blogs that highlight best practices for involving young workers.
- Re-branding the union movement to appeal to a wider audience.
When the conference opened, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler identified several key areas where the labor movement must develop effective and relevant strategies to reach out to young workers:
We need to communicate in new ways—using cutting edge technology and messages that appeal to younger people. We need to open up leadership opportunities and provide more mentoring. We need to do a better job of educating the public about the labor movement—who we are and what we do—especially in the schools. We need to adapt our structure and be more open to organizing unconventional industries.
Over the weekend, the young workers engaged in a dialogue with the top leaders of the AFL-CIO, including President Richard Trumka, Shuler and Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker.
In a series of instant electronic polls, summit participants were asked which of five options were the most important effective way to cut through corporate and media clutter about unions and reach out to workers not in unions, and energize union workers who are sitting on the sidelines.
The group selected as their top choice access to better education (36.7 percent), in schools and within unions themselves, on the role of the union movement—from boosting wages and benefits to social activism. Education was followed by creating a better image of unions (22.1 percent), better mentoring of young union members, organizing nontraditional industries (9.4) and greater reliance on social media to communicate (7 percent).
On Saturday, participants heard about the issues facing their fellow young workers in the National Football League, whose collective bargaining contract was terminated two years ago by the team owners. Baltimore Ravens player Domonique Foxworth, a member of the NFL Players Association executive committee, shocked the audience when he reported that only the top players receive the multimillion-dollar contracts, but players who are inactive and disabled get $40,000 a year.