Union In The News – Weekly Highlights

Union In The News – Weekly Highlights

In Show of Force, Fight for 15 Plots Its Political Path

By Justin Miller, August 16, 2016, San Francisco Chronicle

The Fight for 15’s first-ever national convention convened in Richmond, Virginia, this past weekend attracted diverse groups of low-wage workers from across the country in a stunning demonstration of the movement’s continued strength and ambition. While the Service Employees International Union has bankrolled this ambitious worker organizing project (to the tune of tens of millions of dollars and counting) with hopes that it will one day pay dividends by enrolling thousands of new dues-paying union members, the group is also hoping the Fight for 15 will help to transform the nation’s 64 million low-wage workers into a formidable, cohesive voting bloc. (read article)

Cleveland teacher strike would start just before Labor Day

By Patrick O’Donnell, August 16, 2016, Cleveland.com

The Cleveland Teachers Union will go on strike the Friday before Labor Day, unless it and the district can reach a new contract, the union announced today. Union leaders decided Monday night to issue the 10-day notice of a strike that is required by law, after three days of negotiations last week failed to bring an agreement. The strike would officially start at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 1. That would make the Friday before the three-day Labor Day holiday the first school day affected. “It is our hope that the CMSD (Cleveland Municipal School District) and the Mayor will commit to using the next two weeks to resolve the contract,” union President David Quolke said in a written statement. (read article)

The New Landscape of Labor

By Steven Malanga, August 14, 2016, City-Journal 

It’s been a rough recovery for American labor. In the aftermath of the 2007 financial meltdown and the deep recession that followed it, unions have bled more than 1.3 million members. The Great Recession and the underwhelming Obama recovery have, in other words, reshaped the map of labor in the United States. Private unions began to rally somewhat in 2012 but thus far have regained only 42 percent of the members they lost. (read article)

City manager hits police union with unfair labor practices charge

By Chris Wetterich, August 13, 2016, Cincinnati Business Courier 

In a sign of escalating tensions between Cincinnati’s administration and the Fraternal Order of Police, City Manager Harry Black filed an unfair labor practices complaint against the union with the State Employee Relations Board on Friday, sources have told the Business Courier. The city manager’s complaint is in response to the FOP’s attempts to get Mayor John Cranley and the Cincinnati City Council to pass legislation that makes it clear the city’s elected officials will approve raises negotiated by Black of no less than 5 percent this year, 5 percent in 2017 and 4 percent in 2018. (read article)

California desperately needs affordable housing — but also a new blueprint for building it

By Michael Hiltzik, August 12, 2016, Los Angeles Times

A dollar buys less in California than in almost any other state, and housing costs are a major reason. So it’s proper that Gov. Jerry Brown proposed a solution to the crisis. But it’s unfortunate that his plan plays right into the concerns that many in the environmental and civic planning communities have with the governor, including his apparent willingness to sideline far-reaching policies for short-term or narrow gains. (read article)

Labor Dept. Pays $7M To Resolve Union OT Saga

By Brian Amaral, August 12, 2016, Law360

The federal agency that enforces the nation’s wage laws has agreed to pay $7 million to settle longtime claims that it failed to pay overtime to thousands of its own employees, the American Federation of Government Employees Local 12 said Friday.  The U.S. Department of Labor’s settlement resolves allegations dating to 2006, when the AFGE first filed the grievance. The dispute had been in arbitration when it settled. “This is the agency that goes around fining all the private employers for doing the same thing that it just ended up paying $7 million to make go away,” said the union’s attorney Keith Kauffman of Snider & Associates LLC. (read article)

Longshoremen vote to start labor-contract talks with West Coast ports

By Riley McDermid, August 12, 2016, San Francisco Business Times

More than 100 union dockworker delegates voted Thursday to discuss a contract extension with their West Coast port employer group, avoiding another crippling slowdown of the region’s ports, including the Port of Oakland. In a statement given to the Wall Street Journal, the president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union said members were now interested in speaking to the Pacific Maritime Association about extending their contract. (read article)

Major labor union behind push for $15 minimum

By Sean Higgins, August 12, 2016, Washington Examiner 

Advocates for a $15 federal minimum wage will be holding a major rally in Richmond on Saturday, culminating in a march to the Virginia capitol. Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union, will kick off the event with a speech Friday. Federal filings with the Labor Department show that SEIU gave $5 million in 2015 and $3.8 million in 2014 to the Fast Food Workers Committee, the organization that runs Fight for $15, the activist group pushing the issue. (read article)

Nuclear fans want California Legislature to vote on Diablo Canyon

By David R. Baker, August 12, 2016, San Francisco Chronicle

Angered by Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s plan to close California’s last atomic plant, Diablo Canyon, nuclear-power advocates now want the state Legislature to decide the facility’s fate. In a letter sent Thursday to Gov. Jerry Brown, supporters of the plant near San Luis Obispo argue that shutting it down would sabotage California’s fight against global warming. The Legislature, they insist, should choose whether to keep it open. But in their letter to Brown, nuclear advocates say the commission is the wrong forum for such an important decision. “Legislators should have the chance to weigh the evidence here — it should not be jammed through the CPUC,” said Michael Shellenberger, one of the letter’s authors, who formed the Save Diablo Canyon coalition early this year to rally support for the plant. (read article)

Union Bosses Are Out Of Touch, Vast Majority Of US Voters Say

By Ted Goodman, August 11, 2016, Daily Caller

A new Rasmussen Survey found that just 20 percent of likely U.S. voters think that most organized labor leaders do a good job representing union members. The survey shows that an overwhelming majority of voters, including current and past union members, believe that the majority of union leaders are out of touch with their rank and file membership. Fifty-seven percent responded that most union leaders are out of touch with most of their membership, and 24 percent were undecided. (read article)

The unions’ phony fight for $15

By Glenn Spencer, August 9, 2016, Richmond Times

Since 2012, a group calling itself “Fight for $15” has staged street theater protests in cities around the country.  Debate over the subject is certainly fair, but there is more than meets the eye to this group. While cleverly packaged as a genuine grassroots movement, the campaign is — in reality — a front organized and funded by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the country’s largest labor union. In fact, according to U.S. Department of Labor reports, the SEIU has spent roughly $55 million on these activities. (read article)

Florida’s state teachers union pays 43 employees at least $100K

By William Patrick, August 9th, 2016, Watchdog.org

The Florida Education Association paid 43 officers and employees over six-figures in 2014-15. A new year also means another round of dues for the state teachers union. The Florida Education Association is the largest labor union in Florida. It’s an affiliate of national powerhouses American Federation of Teachers and National Education Association, and it has dozens of local affiliates under its statewide banner. The FEA promises to provide its 128,264 members “a voice on the job, strength in numbers and protection.” But representation comes at a price. Nearly half of the state union’s collected dues are paid to its own leaders and employees in the form of compensation and benefits. (read article)

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