Union In The News – Weekly Highlights

Union In The News – Weekly Highlights

California’s Ed Reform Wars

By Rachel M. Cohen, August 2, 2016, The American Prospect

This past April, the California Court of Appeals unanimously struck down the controversial Vergara v. California decision, in which a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ruled that five longstanding teacher protections—including a two-year probationary period for new teachers and a layoff system based on how many years one’s been teaching—violated students’ constitutional right to an equal education. The lower court judge had argued that these labor protections make it harder to fire bad teachers, and bad teachers significantly undermine a child’s education. In a 3-0 decision, the appellate judges concluded that the labor protections themselves are not responsible for harming students, even if school administrators sometimes implement them injudiciously. (read article)

L.A. Metro’s sales tax proposal will appear on the November ballot

By Laura J. Nelson, August 2, 2016, Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles County voters will be asked in November to approve a half-cent sales tax increase that would continue indefinitely to fund a major expansion of Southern California’s transit network. The Board of Supervisors unanimously agreed Tuesday to add the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s tax increase proposal to a ballot already crowded with other initiatives. The proposal, approved by Metro’s directors in June, would generate at least $860 million per year to expand the county’s rail network through the San Fernando Valley, the San Gabriel Valley and the Sepulveda Pass. The proposal would raise the county’s base sales rate to 9.5% and push the rate to 10% in some cities, including Santa Monica and Commerce. (read article)

Unions Flex Political Muscle at the DNC — But Uber and Airbnb Lurk

By Justin Miller, August 2, 2016, American Prospect

The labor movement’s agenda was on full display in Philadelphia, as was the Democratic Party’s emerging rift between unions and Silicon Valley. The battle between the labor wing and the Silicon Valley wing of the party will likely escalate in coming years, but for now labor will remain the stronger force. “Sharing economy” giants like Uber and Airbnb are just now dipping their toes into politics—and, for now, mostly at the local level. (read article)

State Public Employee Union Vows To Fight Judge’s Ruling

By Chronicle Staff, July 30, 2016, Sky Valley Chronicle

The Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE) union, the largest public employee union in the state says it ain’t over till it’s over. In an email to union members dated July 29 union officials said, “It’s not over in the fight to stop the Freedom Foundation from getting your private information. The fight to stop the Freedom Foundation from getting your date of birth and other private information is headed to the State Court of Appeals. We won’t know until early next week if the appeals court will grant a stay delaying the release of information even further.” (read article)

Battle for union vote erupts in Ohio

By Naomi Jagoda, July 30, 2016, The Hill

A battle for the union vote has erupted in the Ohio Senate race, with Republican Rob Portman seeking to make inroads with labor groups traditionally aligned with Democrats. Democrat Ted Strickland, a former Ohio governor, has received the bulk of the union endorsements in the race. But Portman, the incumbent, has recently garnered the support of several labor groups that have backed Strickland in the past. Portman recently received endorsements from the Ohio Conference of Teamsters, which has more than 50,000 members, and the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) of Ohio, which has more than 25,000 members. Last month, he received the endorsement of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA). (read article)

California voters disenfranchised by shady union-hospital deal

By Sal Rosselli, July 28, 2016, San Francisco Examiner

California voters have been duped, defrauded and double-crossed — twice — and now they’re being fed an outrageously disingenuous lie to cover it up and explain it away. Earlier this month, a judge blocked an attempt by Oakland-based Service Employees International Union–United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU–UHW) to place on the November ballot an initiative that would have limited the pay of nonprofit hospital executives. Why did the judge block it? Because it’s a bad idea? No. Because it was written incorrectly? No. It’s hard to believe, but the courts blocked the ballot initiative because it violated a secretive, collusive arrangement between SEIU–UHW and the California Hospital Association. (read article)

WikiLeaks reveals DNC holds unions in contempt

By Jeremy Lott, July 28, 2016, The Detroit News

The latest WikiLeaks document dump — containing emails by high-ranking staffers of the Democratic National Committee — caused considerable heartburn for America’s oldest political party. When brainstorming what to do about last week’s Republican National Convention, the DNC’s Rachel Palermo urged her party to “meet with the hotel trades, SEIU, and Fight for 15 about staging a strike.” She said the result could be a “fast food worker strike around the city or just at franchises around the convention.” The aim would not be to improve working conditions, but to bloody Republicans. (read article)

Chicago police union asks cops to not volunteer for overtime on Labor Day weekend

By Don Babwin, July 27, 2016, ABC News

Chicago’s police union is asking officers to not volunteer to work overtime during the Labor Day weekend to protest the “continued disrespect” toward officers and the killings of law enforcement personnel nationwide. The Chicago Police Department typically deploys thousands of officers on overtime to counteract the spike in shootings that usually occurs during long holiday weekends. But in a recent flier sent to rank-and-file officers, the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 advises against officers volunteering for duty. (read article)

Senate workers will get $1 million in back pay after Labor Department probe

By Mike DeBonis, July 27, 2016, Washington Post

Hundreds of U.S. Senate cafeteria workers will get hefty checks for back pay after a Labor Department investigation found they were underpaid for their work under federal law. The private contractor hired by the Architect of the Capitol to run the Senate food-service operation did not abide by the Service Contract Act, which governs wages paid to employees working under large federal contracts, the probe found. Employees were misclassified into lower-paying jobs and required to perform work before clocking in, the department said in a release. (read article)

National Union Bosses Ignore Member Support For Trump, Endorse Clinton Instead

By Ted Goodman, July 27, 2016, Daily Caller 

Labor leaders voiced their support for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this week, despite significant support for Republican nominee Donald Trump among labor ranks. Top leaders of the AFL-CIO, the Service Employees International Union, the National Education Association AFSCME, and other labor groups took to the stage at the DNC on Monday, voicing their support for Clinton and blasting Trump. There have been many reports and polls on Trump’s support among union members, and they seem to indicate that while Trump doesn’t have a majority support, he has significantly more than previous Republican candidates. (read article)

NLRB Upholds Union’s Right To Endorse BDS Against Israel

By Alex Kane, July 27, 2016, In These Times

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has upheld a decision to dismiss a complaint against the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America (UE) for endorsing a boycott of Israel. The move is a victory for advocates of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, which targets Israel over alleged human rights abuses against Palestinians. Earlier this year, the NLRB ruled against Shurat HaDin, the Israeli legal center that brought the complaint seeking an injunction against UE’s decision to endorse boycotting Israel. The latest decision was in response to an appeal filed by Shurat HaDin. UE endorsed the call for BDS at its August convention, making it the first national union in the United States to support the boycott. (read article)

As California Supreme Court mulls Vergara appeal, a case on teacher evaluations will be heard this week

By Sarah Favot, July 26, 2016, LA School Report

As the California Supreme Court considers whether to take up an appeal of an appellate court ruling in Vergara v. California, which has been extended to Aug. 22, the advocacy group that brought the landmark case will be in a Northern California courtroom Friday for a hearing on a case involving teacher evaluations. Last year Students Matter filed a lawsuit, Doe v. Antioch, against 13 California school districts, saying collective bargaining agreements in those districts violated the Stull Act by explicitly prohibiting the use of student standardized test scores in assessing teacher performance. (read article)

Why These Union Members and Lifelong Democrats Are Voting Trump

By Patricia Murphy, July 26, 2016, Daily Beast

David Kemper and his wife are union members and lifelong Democrats. But the Kempers and their 20-year-old son, Nicholas, are planning to vote for Donald Trump in November. “Growing up we were very strong Democrats, but the Democrat party left us,” David Kemper said, standing at the back of a Ted Cruz barbecue near the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last week. He had traveled from Minnesota to the RNC to be with Nicholas, who was an alternate Texas delegate for Trump. When the Kempers vote for Trump, they’ll be breaking with the leadership of their national unions, which have both endorsed Hillary Clinton for president. “I’m in the CWA, my wife is American Federation of Teachers, but we felt like the unions have left us, too,” said David Kemper. (read article)

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