Union In The News – Weekly Highlights

CEQA remains immune to reform
By Editorial Staff, September 6, 2016, OCRegister
The California Environmental Quality Act was adopted in 1970 to ensure that new developments would not cause unacceptable damage to the environment, but too often it has been used as a cudgel to prevent perfectly sound projects for reasons that have nothing to do with the environment. A report from law firm Holland & Knight published in July illustrates just how the law is really being used. (read article)

As Minneapolis nurses strike, unions join arms with Democratic officials in Labor Day events
By Patrick Martin, September 6, 2016, World Socialist Web Site
Labor Day 2016 began with a major struggle by the American working class, as nearly 5,000 nurses in the Minneapolis-St. The hospital management provoked the walkout by demanding the gutting of healthcare for the nurses, who themselves play a critical role in providing health services for hundreds of thousands of patients. The strike began despite desperate efforts the nurses’ union, the Minnesota Nurses Association, to prevent it. (read article)

Clinton Champions Unions on Labor Day
By Mitch McAndrew, September 6, 2016, Daily Iowan
For the second year in a row, Hillary Clinton spent her Labor Day supporting labor unions. The Democratic presidential hopeful voiced her support for organized labor on Monday night to a crowd full of union members and supporters, both local and national, at the 49th-Annual Salute to Labor in the Quad Cities. Flanked by union leaders and Illinois Democrats, including Illinois Senate candidate Tammy Duckworth and longtime Sen. Dick Durbin, Clinton pledged to defend unions by stymying attempts to roll back collective bargaining, standing up to unfair trade deals such as the TPP, stopping pension cuts, and fighting right-to-work laws. (read article)

8 ways employees can thrive while labor unions decline

By Douglas P. McCormick, September 5, 2016, PBS NewsHour
Labor Day represents an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of the labor movement on behalf of the American worker.However, Labor Day is also an appropriate time to consider how this collective bargaining model will fare in tomorrow’s dynamic economy and labor markets. The truth is that while we should celebrate the enormous accomplishments of the labor movement, the way workers should promote their interests has changed. While collective bargaining used to produce large gains for workers, entrepreneurship is now a worker’s most powerful tool for long-term career success and financial prosperity. (read article)

Police union tells Chicago cops to avoid overtime over Labor Day Weekend
By Bill Kissinger, September 5, 2016, World Socialist Web Site
As Chicago struggles with a growing violence problem, the head of the police union is telling his members to avoid overtime for the Labor Day weekend. The union says the move is meant to give officers more time with their families, but some critics see it as a way for police to make a point at the expense of the people living in violent neighborhoods. It is turning into a war of words between the powerful police union president and one of Chicago’s most respected religious leaders, and it all comes on the heels of Chicago recording its 492nd homicide of the year, more than New York and Los Angeles combined. (read article)

Organized labor’s different look this Labor Day
By Joe Garofoli, September 4, 2016, San Francisco Chronicle 
This year’s post-Labor Day sprint to election day will look a little different for organized labor in California than during past presidential elections. Their political enemies have changed — they’re often Democrats now — and unions are more focused on their long-term future than trying to stave off an existential threat. Four years ago, California’s top unions, led by $21 million from the California Teachers Association, poured tens of millions into defeating Proposition 32, which would have banned unions from receiving automatic paycheck deductions from their members. This year, the 2.1 million-member California Labor Federation, an umbrella group representing 1,200 affiliated unions, is expected to spend less than $10 million, most of it focused on maintaining a grip on power in Sacramento by taking on moderate Democrats and their funders. (read article)

The SEIU wants $15 per hour for everyone… except SEIU employees
By Jazz Shaw, September 3, 2016, Hot Air
As we’ve all learned by now, the SEIU is very invested in the idea of making sure that workers around the country all receive a “living wage” no matter their occupation. Part and parcel of this effort is the Fight for 15, setting a goal of a $15 per hour minimum wage for all workers. Or perhaps we should say… almost all of them. The Wall Street Journal seems to take particular pleasure in pointing out that the SEIU hires numerous stage actors around the country to show up at employers like McDonald’s and carry protest signs, pointing out how unfair their labor practices are. But do these astroturf “protesters” get paid $15 per hour? Er… no. And some of them aren’t happy about it. (read article)

Judge orders N.J. teachers union to court over benefit talks
By Dustin Racioppi, August 31, 2016, NorthJersey.com
Mercer County Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson on Wednesday ordered the New Jersey Education Association to appear next week to explain why key members missed meetings on health care plans that the administration says could save taxpayers $70 million the next two years. The lead plaintiff, Attorney General Christopher Porrino, had requested “emergent relief” by the court Tuesday so the state can set employee health care rates before the open enrollment period begins Oct. 3. Without the rates, Porrino’s office argued in court papers, “school employees will be unable to make informed decisions about which health benefits plan to choose.” (read article)

The Latest: Massive California parks bond proposal dies
By Associated Press, August 31, 2016, San Diego Union Tribune
An effort to send more than $3 billion in bonds to state and local parks in California has died at the tail end of the legislative session. Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon on Wednesday opted not to let a proposal advance that would have asked voters to approve the funds to build and restore parks and to address a backlog in maintenance at state parks. De Leon authored legislation that laid the groundwork for the last major investment in local parks. A review by The Associated Press found that fewer than half the parks funded by that program are unbuilt a decade later. (read article)

Labor Leader To Wisconsin Unions: Women’s Issues Are Labor Issues
By Shawn Johnson, August 30, 2016, Wisconsin Public Radio
A national labor leader told union members Tuesday in Madison that women’s issues are labor issues, saying unions are positioned to help women with the election of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. National AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler told leaders attending the state AFL-CIO’s unity conference that as more women become the primary breadwinners in their families, they’re finding they have little or no say over how they spend their time. She said a lot of factors are driving that, from employers who make unpredictable schedules to high day care costs to a lack of access to paid sick leave. (read article)

Crop of university ‘anti-union’ university websites sparks criticism from proponents of graduate assistant unions.
By Colleen Flaherty, August 30, 2016, Inside Higher Ed.
The National Labor Relations Board ruled last week that graduate student workers at private institutions may now form unions. But they need to vote to unionize first. In the meantime, a handful of institutions, including those with active graduate assistant union campaigns, have either launched or updated websites that they term information, but that are attracting criticism as being “anti-union.” Others say universities have an obligation to inform students of the drawbacks to unionization — not just the benefits. (read article)

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