Union In The News – Weekly Highlights

Union In The News – Weekly Highlights

Cal State faculty, students expected to press trustees on pay raises, tuition at Long Beach meeting

By Carla Rivera, March 8, 2016, Los Angeles Times

Cal State faculty members are expected to press their case for pay raises Tuesday at a Board of Trustees meeting — perhaps their last chance to jump-start stalled negotiations before potential strikes in April. More than 26,000 professors, lecturers, librarians, counselors and coaches represented by the California Faculty Assn. are threatening to strike April 13-15 and April 18-19 if no agreement is reached to end the yearlong stalemate with Cal State administrators. University officials have said that campuses will remain open and that many classes will continue to meet. Cal State is the nation’s largest four-year higher education system, with about 460,000 students spread among 23 campuses. (read article)

Women’s issues top California Capitol agenda

By Taryn Luna, March 8, 2016, Sacramento Bee

Step aside dudes, it’s all about women at the Capitol today. Two San Diego assemblywomen are leading events on opposite sides of the Capitol (at nearly the same time) to coincide with two different celebrations – Susan G. Komen Lobby day and International Women’s Day. In honor of the ‘x’ chromosome, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez will join the SEIU United Service Workers West, the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault and more than 300 janitors in a march and rally against rape in the workplace, calling particular attention to attacks on immigrant women who work as janitors. (read article)

Sonoma County Workers Ratify Union Contract

By Dave Colby, March 8, 2016, Patch.com

The two-year union contract secures a 3% cost-of-living allowance for Sonoma County workers. More than 2,100 Sonoma County workers overwhelmingly ratified a contract Saturday, following a year’s worth of tense negotiations with County Administrators and a three day strike protesting the County’s unfair labor practices. The contract takes effect after ratified by the Board on March 15. Workers rallied around the County’s rising economic inequality and fought for the improvement of public services and restoration of affordable healthcare to County employees and their families. (read article)

Transit strike: Rail unions rally as talks continue

By Mike Davis, March 7, 2016, Asbury Park Press

With chants of “five years is too long” and “the people united will never be defeated,” nearly 1,000 railroad workers and supporters rallied on Saturday, one week before a potential strike that would shut down the entire NJ Transit railroad network. “Gov. Christie gets a raise every year. He doesn’t wait five years. Why should you,” screamed Charlie Wowkanech, president of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO. “If we stay together, and we fight together, we’re going to win together. Stay strong and we’re going to win.” Representatives of all 11 labor unions involved in five years of contract negotiations were present at Tanziman Park in Woodbridge, as well as various local leaders, legislators and national labor representatives. (read article)

What Would Happen If Labor Union Bosses Ran U.S. Businesses?

By Gary Shapiro, March 4, 2016, Daily Caller

Imagine if left-wing labor union leaders set the rules for American businesses – who works when, who earns what, how many ‘extras’ all of us must pay for. Actually, that doesn’t require much imagination at all, because that’s precisely what has happened the past seven years. Perhaps the biggest change benefiting Big Labor has been President Obama’s appointments — to the Department of Labor and elsewhere in the federal bureaucracy — of influential personnel with ties, both direct and indirect, to the unions. (read article)

Can Labor Still Turn Out the Vote?

By Steven Greenhouse, March 4, 2016, New York Times

On Labor Day in 1960, John F. Kennedy kicked off the final push of his presidential campaign in Cadillac Square in Detroit with a rousing speech to thousands of United Auto Workers members. It was a nod to the immense clout of organized labor. Those days are long gone. Today about 11 percent of American workers belong to unions, down from 31 percent in Kennedy’s day. And that powerful autoworkers union? Its membership has plummeted to 400,000 from a peak of 1.5 million in 1979. (read article)

Uber Accused Of Impeding NLRB Probe Into Labor Practices

By Cole Stangler, March 4, 2016, International Business Times

Federal officials have accused Uber in new court filings of failing to cooperate with an investigation into whether its drivers are employees or independent contractors. Over the past few months the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has asked the ride-hailing giant to hand over a wide range of documents about the company’s employment practices after receiving several closely related complaints from drivers last year. In the complaints, workers allege that Uber’s contracts barring drivers from pursuing class-action lawsuits violate federal labor law. (read article)

Federal labor leaders might need hard hats to protect against GOP bills aimed at unions

By Joe Davidson, March 3, 2016, Washington Post 

Federal labor leaders might want to don their hard hats. It’s a risky time for federal unions. Republicans in Congress are pushing legislation that could make the work of labor organizers much more difficult or in one case, make an agency union go poof, simply disappear. The latest move came Tuesday, when a House committee approved an “official time” bill targeting federal unions. But that could be the least of their worries. So before we get into that bill, let’s look at a couple of others that could break federal labor organizations. One bill offered by Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), chairman of the House Budget Committee, is called the Federal Employee Rights Act. Despite the name, it would assault unions by prohibiting paycheck deduction of union dues, as is common in the private sector. (read article)

Nonunion workers have to benefit to be free riders

By Adam A. Millsap, March 3, 2016, Orange County Register

In January, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, a case that could have nationwide ramifications about whether labor unions can charge partial dues, or agency fees, to fellow employees who aren’t members of the union. In many states, unions are allowed to do this in order to recoup the costs of negotiating for wages and benefits that all employees – union and non-union alike – receive. Agency fee supporters argue that the fees are needed to prevent some employees from “free riding,” or benefiting from union negotiations without paying their fair share. (read article)

Largest Farm Workers Union Endorses Clinton

By Connor D. Wolf, March 3, 2016, Daily Caller

The largest union of farm workers in the country announced Thursday its endorsement for Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The United Farm Workers (UFW) made its endorsement after a nearly yearlong internal process. The endorsement is the latest in a surge of union support choosing the Clinton camp over rival Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. UFW President Arturo Rodriguez said he believes Clinton is the type of strong and respectful leader the country needs. (read article)

Dems advance latest higher ed bill, take another stab at union measure

By Monique Garcia and Celeste Bott, March 3, 2016, Chicago Tribune

Democrats once again sought to bolster their election-year campaign attack fodder against Republicans on Thursday, voting for the latest plan to fund higher education and another union-backed measure to prevent a worker lockout or strike following earlier vetoes by Gov. Bruce Rauner. Neither proposal is expected to become law — Rauner opposes both measures, and Democrats in the House have been unable to remain united to overturn the governor. But calling the bills for votes provides roll calls that can be used in mailers and TV ads in which Democrats can say they voted to fund education and support unions while most Republicans were opposed. The action marked the second straight day of political gamesmanship at the Capitol. (read article)

Employees should be given protections, choices over unions

By Bill Hammond, March 2, 2016, Fort Worth Star Telegram

When explaining the Lone Star State’s consistent economic success in recent years, politicians talk about our pro-business environment, fiscal conservatism and common-sense approach to government regulation. We shouldn’t overlook the most important factor: It takes Texans to make Texas companies strong. Their skills and productivity are the foundations upon which our prosperity is built. Sadly, today’s labor laws aren’t working as hard for them as these employees are for their companies, their families and their communities. For too long, federal statutes have equated employees with unions and ceded workers’ fundamental rights to the labor organizations claiming to represent them. This may have made sense in the 1930s and 1940s, but much has changed in the employment market in more than half a century. Unions have, in many cases, struggled to adapt. (read article)

Labor may support Faulconer challenger

By David Garrick, March 2, 2016, San Diego Union Tribune

Ed Harris, the first Democrat with name recognition to challenge Republican Mayor Kevin Faulconer, could receive crucial support from organized labor needed to force a November runoff. “Ed brings a lot to the conversation,” said Dale Kelly Bankhead, acting leader of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council. “He’s a former City Council member, a veteran, a first responder and an advocate for working families.” While Bankhead stressed that the prominent labor group hasn’t yet endorsed Harris, who entered the race on Tuesday, she said he seems like a candidate her members could get behind. “People know Ed and will be excited to hear about his vision and how he plans to win,” said Bankhead, noting that Harris leads the city’s lifeguard labor union. (read article)

Union membership in N.J. falls to lowest level in 10 years

By Paul Milo, March 1, 2016, NJ.com

The number of New Jersey workers belonging to a labor union continued to slide in 2015, dropping to its lowest level in at least 10 years, according to data compiled by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. The agency looked at two different figures, the number of union members and the number of workers represented by a union, finding declines in both between 2014 and 2015 and continuing a slide that has been ongoing since 2005. In 2005, 791,000 of the state’s 3.8 million non-self-employed workers belonged to a union. A decade later, while the total size of the workforce had grown only slightly, the number of union members plummeted, to 596,000 workers. (read article)

Why Labor Union Members Like Trump

By Denver Nicks, March 1, 2016, TIME

The success of Donald Trump’s blustery, ill-tempered and unpolished campaign for president has left the political class scratching its collective head, but there’s at least one unlikely factor that unites many of the billionaire’s GOP supporters: union membership. In a Massachusetts poll released Saturday, for example, Trump drew supporters roughly evenly across all demographic groups, The Boston Globe reports, but won the support of 54% of likely GOP primary voters from union-member households, with Ohio Governor John Kasich coming in second at 16%. (read article)


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