Union Watch Highlights

Union Watch Highlights

Gov. Brown takes swipes at GOP, praises labor unions

By Phil Willon, March 17, 2014, Los Angeles Times

Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown gave a rousing pro-worker speech to a ballroom filled with union representatives Monday night, thanking organized labor for helping pass his vote-approved tax hike in 2012 and worker’s compensation reform and vowing to be “around for the next five years.” Brown, who is running for a unprecedented fourth term, also took a few shots at Republicans in what had the tone of a red-meat campaign speech, complete with a list of his accomplishments over the last three years and a warning of the work that lies ahead. “Relative to what’s just and what we want, we’re not there yet. Not even close,’’ Brown told members of the California Labor Federation and State Building and Construction Trades Council of California. “But if we compare ourselves to Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Ohio, we look pretty damn good.” The labor conference was held at the Sheraton Grand hotel in Sacramento, a few blocks from the Capitol, and so many Democratic lawmakers attended Monday night’s dinner that it took more than five minutes for them to be introduced. (read article)

Palo Alto approves new deal with largest union

By Gennady Sheyner, March 18, 2014, Palo Alto Weekly

The Palo Alto City Council swiftly and unanimously approved on Monday night a new contract with the city’s largest labor union — a deal that stabilizes the city’s contribution toward health care costs and gives about 580 workers their first raise since 2008. The deal between the council and the Service Employees International Union, Local 521, will give all the workers a 4.5 percent salary increase over two years, with the first 2 percent kicking in in the first year and the remaining 2.5 percent in the second. In addition, employee salaries would be realigned to reflect the median salaries paid by comparable cities for similar positions. This will result in about 320 employees getting additional raises, generally ranging from 2 to 10 percent, to bring them to market levels. Some workers in the the Public Works and Utilities departments will see even greater increases to their salaries as a result of the city’s recent troubles in recruiting and retaining employees for highly specialized positions. A utilities system operator will receive a 19.5 percent raise, while a maintenance mechanic at the wastewater treatment plant will see a raise of 14.5 percent. (read article)

Illinois GOP Voters Seek to Upend Political Order

By Sara Burnett and Sophia Tareen, March 18, 2014, ABC Chicago

With a hunger to reclaim the governor’s office, Republican voters set out Tuesday to shake up Illinois’ Democratic-dominated political order, energized by candidates’ talk of taking on unions, unseating “career politicians” and righting the state’s troubled finances. The talk at polling stations from the Chicago suburbs in the north to the St. Louis suburbs in the southwest was of reversing the state’s indebtedness and keeping businesses and jobs from leaving Illinois. Describing their desire for change, people used phrases like “break the system.” To many, the governor’s race was shaping up as a potentially transformative battle over union influence, with some voters saying they want to break an alliance between organized labor and longtime Democratic politicians in control of the governor’s mansion and the Legislature. Organized labor was battling back out of concern that the leading Republican candidate, multimillionaire venture capitalist Bruce Rauner, could seek to weaken unions in the same way GOP governors have in other states across the Midwest. “It’s hard to make true progress when there’s a union … when you have a union rep always in the middle of things,” said Veronique Escalante, 40, a consultant from the western Chicago suburb of Glen Ellyn who voted for Rauner. Rauner, a political newcomer who leads the four-person Republican field after spending millions on his campaign, says he would model his governorship after those of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, who both significantly rolled back union power in their states in what they said were necessary steps to attract businesses and reduce costs. Rauner faces three longtime lawmakers for the nomination: state Sens. Bill Brady and Kirk Dillard, and state Treasurer Dan Rutherford. (read article)

Fast Food workers to rally against ‘wage theft’

Rick Moran, March 18, 2014, American Thinker

A coalition of unions, labor activists, and Democratic party politicians are joining with fast food workers to protest what they are calling “wage theft” – company practices that supposedly deny workers a fair wage. They have filed suit against McDonalds in three states to get them to halt certain practices that they say harm workers. Just what is “wage theft”? Not surprisingly, it’s whatever the unions say it is. This AP story has some very interesting examples: Organizers have also been referring workers to attorneys, who filed lawsuits in three states last week saying McDonald’s was stealing their wages in a variety of ways, such as by docking paychecks for the cost of their uniforms. McDonald’s Corp. said it planned to investigate the allegations and take necessary actions. A representative for the company, based in Oak Brook, Ill., did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the planned protests. The protests by labor groups since late 2012 have captured national media attention and served as an important backdrop for President Obama’s push to lift workers’ wages. The White House wants to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, or about $21,000 a year for full-time work. That’s up from the current pay of $7.25 an hour, or $15,000 a year, which was last raised in 2009. Protest organizers are getting financial and organizational support from the Service Employees International Union, as well backing from local Democratic lawmakers and community leaders. (read article)

The UAW against democracy, free speech in Chattanooga

Matt Patterson, March 18, 2014, Daily Caller

The United Auto Workers (UAW) lost its bid to organize Volkswagen’s Chattanooga, Tennessee auto factory on February 14th. The VW employees voted 712-626 against UAW representation in what can only be described as one of the most epic failures in the history of organized labor. The financial and political fallout of the loss has received much commentary. But the union’s post-election actions have been, if anything, just as consequential: The UAW has filed an objection with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), claiming the election had been tainted by statements from Tennessee politicians during election week. In particular, the union singled out statements made by U.S. Senator Bob Corker and State Senator Bo Watson: The former made clear that he had been told (by whom he did not say) that the VW facility would receive another production line if the workers rejected the union; the latter spoke for many local politicians when he said that the state would re-evaluate future tax incentives for VW should the union prevail. (read article)

Unions Labeled. Workers Trapped.

By Ed Crego, March 18, 2014, Huffington Post

The beating that the UAW took in the election at the Volkswagen (VW) plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee a month or so ago was nothing compared to the beating that unions took before and after that defeat. In the good old days of organized labor, it was “look for the union label.” In these extremely trying times for them, it is look at the unions being labeled. In our opinion, this is bad for the American worker and the American economy. We’ll explain why later in this blog. Let us begin, however, by examining some of the discussion leading up to and following the 712 to 626 employee vote not to unionize the VW plant in Chattanooga. In Tennessee, much of the business and political community from inside the state and around the country united to fight against the UAW. On the political front, federal and state elected officials voiced concerns about the negative impact that unionization would have on the plant’s competitiveness and Tennessee’s business climate. Specific assertions included: Auto suppliers would not come to Chattanooga if they would be close to a unionized plant; VW would not expand the plant to produce its new mid-size sport utility vehicle if the plant went union; and, the state legislature was not likely to support future subsidies to a unionized VW. (read article)

End union thuggery

By Katie Packer Gage, March 18, 2014, Philadelphia Inquirer

There is something gravely wrong in our nation when government sanctions the intimidation and bullying of one group of people by another. But that’s exactly what is happening in Pennsylvania. Sarina Rose, an executive vice president for development for Post Brothers Apartments, was stalked and harassed by union organizers. Protesters persistently followed her throughout her private life, even taking photos of her children, ages 8 and 11, at their bus stop in Abington. The situation dramatically escalated when “one union leader loudly cursed at her in front of a packed restaurant and mimicked shooting her,” according to an Inquirer report last month. What had Rose done wrong? Nothing, but she was part of a company that elected to hire a mix of union as well as nonunion labor to complete a construction job. Labor’s retribution was largely aimed at coercing a reversal in the company’s hiring decisions or, at the very least, frightening future employers into using only union contractors. These actions of intimidation and outright threats were considered unlawful by those who heard about them, necessitating immediate action by local law enforcement. Unfortunately, the authorities could do nothing. (read article)

“Right to Work” bill trying to gain steam in Missouri

By Tony Nochim, March 18, 2014, KBIA St. Louis

Across the nation, “right to work” bills have received a lot of attention. Twenty four states have adopted this legislation, most recently Indiana and Michigan. “Right to work” prohibits labor contracts from requiring all workers to pay union fees, regardless of whether they are union members. Six of the eight states bordering Missouri have already passed “right to work,” one of which is Oklahoma. Bill Lant, representative from Pineville, sees a big difference between these two states. “Last year in the state of Missouri we lost 53 thousand union jobs. The state of Oklahoma gained 24 thousand. So, something is going on in Oklahoma or right to work states that’s not happening in Missouri” Lant said. (read article)

The risk of weak unions: From wage earner to wage slave

By Jim Davis, March 18, 2014, Philladelphia Courier Times

Regarding the comments of Mr. Brouillette in his recent commentary, “Unions wage war on workers’ rights”: It must be noted that Brouillette is president and CEO of the Commonwealth Foundation, a conservative, free market “think tank” in Harrisburg. For the record, I am a dues-paying union member.

Unions have established through employers a payroll deduction procedure for union dues just like any deduction on an employee’s wages. The argument that taxpayers should not absorb the administrative cost of withholding union dues could be used for any payroll deduction: charities; taxes; insurance. Why collect health insurance premiums for insurance companies? Also, welcome to the 21st century. With electronic transfer of funds, this procedure saves government money in the case of public employees, such as teachers. Brouillette states: “They can use taxpayer resources to collect campaign contributions and political money directly out of employees’ paychecks.” Using union dues for campaign contributions is illegal and not done. And union finances are monitored by the U.S. Department of Labor to make sure that, among other things, dues are not used for campaign contributions. Additionally, labor unions are democratic organizations that employees voted to have; no one forced them to accept a union. Every member has a strong voice in how dues money is spent. Any member can choose to be engaged in the union he or she pays dues to by running for a union position if the member believes changes need to be made. The so-called “union boss” concept is nonsense. (read article)

Minimum-Wage Measure Unlikely to Make California Ballot

Dan Brekke, March 17, 2014, KQED

Ron Unz, a wealthy conservative activist, says “it now seems unlikely” that his campaign to raise the state’s minimum wage will make it onto the state’s November ballot. He adds, “This will surely come as a surprise to many people, including myself.” He said in a statement he’d been unable to raise enough money to qualify the measure, which would raise the state’s minimum wage to $12 an hour, for the ballot. A big part of the problem, he said, was that he failed to attract the interest of labor unions he had figured would be natural allies in the minimum-wage fight. Neither did wealthy conservatives volunteer to help bankroll his campaign. Unz is probably best known for Proposition 227, a successful 1998 initiative that sought to ban bilingual education in California. He promoted his minimum-wage ballot initiative as a way of freeing the working poor from reliance on government aid while also stimulating the economy. (read article)

Six reasons why the entire state of California is in danger of becoming the next Detroit

Benjamin Weingarten, March 17, 2014, The Blaze

In 2012, California’s economy was equal in size to that of Russia. The state is a leader in agriculture, energy and entertainment. But as a result of a series of issues that have metastasized over the past four decades, the state finds itself facing an economic abyss. Blaze Books sat down for an in-depth interview in TheBlaze’s New York newsroom this past Tuesday with former Reagan appointee and California-based lawyer and political communications company executive Jim Lacy, author of “Taxifornia,” to discuss the major challenges facing California that threaten to turn the state into one big version of Detroit. Below are six reasons that California is on the verge of collapse, as gleaned from our interview with Mr. Lacy. All links are ours. (read article)

Vallejo Bankrupt Again?

By Ed Mendel, March 17, 2014, PublicCEO

The Vallejo city council last week voted to close a $5.2 million gap in the current budget, showing no alarm that in a five-year forecast the gap reopens, mainly driven by rising pension costs. Moody’s, a Wall Street credit rating agency, said in a report last month that Vallejo and two California cities currently in bankruptcy, Stockton and San Bernardino, risk returning to insolvency without pension relief. Vallejo emerged from a 3½-year bankruptcy in November 2011 mostly with negotiated cuts. Only one labor contract was overturned. City officials said they considered cutting pensions, the biggest debt, but did not try after CalPERS threatened a costly and lengthy legal battle. (read article)

An interview with Jim Lacy, author of ‘Taxifornia’

By Benjamin Weingarten, March 17, 2014, The Blaze

Blaze Books sat down for an in-depth interview in TheBlaze’s New York newsroom this past Tuesday with former Reagan appointee and California-based lawyer and political communications company executive Jim Lacy, author of “Taxifornia,” to discuss the major challenges facing California that threaten to turn the state into one big version of Detroit. Below is our interview, transcribed from our interview with slight edits for clarity. (read article)

Vallejo, California, Likely Headed for Second Bankruptcy

By Bob Adelmann, March 17, 2014, New American

Back in February 2008, Vallejo, California, was in desperate shape. Councilwoman Stephanie Gomes saw what was coming: “Our financial situation is getting worse every single day. No wants to declare bankruptcy, but if you’re facing insolvency, you have no choice,” she said at the time. Two months later her council voted 7-0 to declare Chapter 9 bankruptcy. In that two month period the city’s budget shortfall ballooned from $9 million to $15 million despite cuts to museums, libraries, senior centers, and other publicly supported services like road repair. Now, according to Moody’s Investors Service, the city is on the verge of its second bankruptcy. A close look at the city’s finances at the time indicated what the city council was up against: With a budget of just $80 million, it owed $53 million to bondholders and another $220 million in unfunded liabilities for the city’s generous health benefit and retirement plans for its police officers, firemen, and other city workers. (read article)

Seattle Marches to a $15 Beat

By Paul Bigman, March 17, 2014, Labor Notes

While the federal government mulls a wholly inadequate minimum wage of $10.10, Seattle is poised for $15. New Mayor Ed Murray says, “We know it is not a matter of if we get to $15 per hour, but when and how we get there.” All nine city council members publicly endorse the concept. But underneath the apparent consensus are differences on what $15 means and how long it should take. So labor and community groups in Seattle are mobilizing to hold the council’s feet to the fire—and to get the job done by ballot initiative if the council compromises too far. Voters in SeaTac, home to the Seattle area’s airport, narrowly approved a $15 minimum for workers doing airport-related work last year. Litigation has put the raise on hold for those actually working at the airport, but it went into effect January 1 for hotel and restaurant workers. That victory spurred interest in doing the same thing on a bigger scale in the city of Seattle. (read article)

GOP governor’s race: Money, unions and harassment charges

Associated Press, March 16, 2014, Crain’s Chicago Business

The Republican primary battle for Illinois governor is coming to a close after an unusual campaign featuring unprecedented involvement by labor unions, allegations of sexual harassment and a millionaire who sunk more money into his campaign than any candidate seeking a gubernatorial nomination in state history. Wealthy businessman Bruce Rauner says he wants to “shake up” Springfield and has called Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels his role models. To win the GOP nomination, Rauner must top three longtime lawmakers — state Sens. Bill Brady and Kirk Dillard and Treasurer Dan Rutherford — who say they have the experience and expertise needed to run the state. Party leaders consider the election critical to winning the governor’s mansion for the first time in more than a decade and regaining some control in a state government dominated by Democrats. They see Gov. Pat Quinn —who faces an underfunded, little-known challenger for the Democratic nomination — as particularly vulnerable because of the state’s deep financial troubles. (read article)

Koch Brothers Are Outspent By A Labor Force Millions Of Times Their Size, But…

By Paul Blumenthal and Dave Jamieson, March 15, 2014, Huffington Post

As Senate Democrats build campaign attacks tying the political agenda of Charles and David Koch to Republican candidates, conservatives answer with cherry-picked data that the political might of labor unions is much greater than that of the billionaire brothers. A Koch spokeswoman recently called the brothers’ spending “drops in a bucket” compared to what unions spend. The comparison suggests just how powerful the Kochs really are. To make their influence seem small, the two brothers, their corporation and a couple hundred of their allies invite comparison with 14.5 million American dues-paying union members. But even when stacked against all of organized labor, the political spending of the Kochs is plenty more than just drops in a bucket. It amounts to at least one-quarter of all union spending. An analysis by The Huffington Post found that labor unions spent more than $1.7 billion on politics and lobbying in the 2012 election cycle. The Koch network spent at least $490 million in the period. (read article)

Propping up unions at taxpayers’ expense

By Leonard Gilroy, March 14, 2014, Orange County Register

In some potential good news for Orange County’s charter cities, four San Diego County cities just filed a lawsuit seeking to strike down a new state law that would strong-arm charter cities into paying “prevailing wages” to workers on public works projects starting in 2015. The suit targets Senate Bill 7, signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown last October, which was an overt attempt to impose the state’s will on charter cities. Unlike general law cities, charter cities are governed by voter-approved charters granting policymakers flexibility on issues like wages. SB7 was a cynical legislative response to a 2012 State Supreme Court ruling rejecting a construction trade union’s complaint against Vista, one of the four charter city plaintiffs in the new lawsuit, seeking to require that city to pay prevailing wages on public projects. (read article)

California pension reform initiative scrapped for 2014 in big defeat for San Jose mayor

By Mike Rosenberg, March 14, 2014, San Jose Mercury News

Mayor Chuck Reed on Friday abandoned plans for a November statewide pension reform initiative that had drawn national attention, handing a victory to unions that had made fighting the plan a top priority. Reed maintained that he and a handful of other city leaders across California who had joined him in support would continue to pursue the proposed constitutional amendment for 2016. He blamed an unfavorable ballot summary from the attorney general and the upcoming mid-April deadline for qualifying a November initiative for the delay. But many doubt the initiative will be any more viable in two years. Reed struggled to raise the millions of dollars needed to hire signature gatherers, while unions mounted an aggressive campaign to defeat it, even enlisting dozens of other California mayors to line up against it. “I think the best opportunity was this year, and obviously the money wasn’t there, and that has to be the principal reason he backed off,” said Terry Christensen, a San Jose State professor emeritus of political science who has advised labor-backed candidates. “There are people around the country who can write those checks, but it’s interesting that they haven’t come forward yet.” (read article)

GOP Could Force Vote to Negate Obamacare Carve-Out for Unions

By Niels Lesniewski, March 13, 2014, Roll Call

Senate Republicans have at least one arrow in their quiver to force an uncomfortable Obamacare vote for Democrats seeking re-election in 2014. That’s one takeaway from a new letter signed by 25 GOP senators led by John Thune of South Dakota, Orrin G. Hatch of Utah and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee. The letter sent to Office of Management and Budget Director Sylvia Burwell criticized an exemption from a re-insurance fee for self-insured health plans, calling the maneuver a carve-out for labor unions that run such plans. “We demand that the rule be immediately rescinded or we will consider using options such as the Congressional Review Act … to stop the rule from going into effect. The CRA is an important backstop against executive branch excess and overreach,” the senators wrote. “It is regulations such as this one that demonstrate why a Republican-led Congress enacted this law in 1996.” (read article)

Anti-union workers sue Volkswagen, UAW over Tennessee plant

By Amanda Becker, March 13, 2014, Reuters

Three anti-union Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) workers have sued the German automaker and the United Auto Workers in U.S. court, alleging that they improperly colluded in the run-up to a union election in Tennessee that the UAW lost. The lawsuit marks the latest fallout from a hard-fought contest at VW’s plant in Chattanooga, where workers voted 712-626 last month not to join the UAW. The union is asking federal regulators to scrap that result and hold a new election. In their lawsuit, the three workers are seeking a legal injunction that would prohibit VW from making similar agreements with the UAW if another election is held in Chattanooga. Filed on Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee in Chattanooga, the complaint alleges VW provided “things of value” to the UAW in the unionization drive, violating the Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA). (read article)

National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Proposes Significant Overhaul of Rules Governing Union Elections

J. Kevin Hennessy, March 13, 2014, National Law Review

On February 5, 2014, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced its latest attempt to overhaul union election rules to make organizing faster and easier. The proposed rules are another attempt to push through changes that a federal court invalidated in May 2012 on procedural grounds. The goal of the rules is to give employers less time to campaign and give unions more information sooner about the employees who will be voting, including their job classifications, personal telephone numbers and e-mail addresses. The rules also limit challenges and postpone the resolution of disputes regarding who may vote. These changes will impact how employers campaign and how unions organize employees. The NLRB will expedite consideration of the new rules and is expected to issue final rules later this year. Some of the more significant proposed changes include… (read article)

For the first time in years, contract talks between city and unions show both sides want a deal

By Juan Gonzalez, March 13, 2014, New York Daily News

Talks began this week between the de Blasio administration and city unions over labor contracts for 300,000 municipal workers. It was night and day compared to the Bloomberg era. “I heard more worthwhile proposals in the first 45 minutes than I heard the previous three years,” Harry Nespoli, chairman of the Municipal Labor Committee, said. “It’s refreshing to have negotiations where both sides respect each other and are willing to listen,” teachers union president Michael Mulgrew said. Nespoli and Mulgrew know the cardinal rule of bargaining: when you want to make a deal, you do; when you don’t want to make a deal, you don’t. In this case, both sides want one. City workers have not had a raise in three years; for teachers and nurses, it’s been five years. (read article)

New Conservative Meme That Unions Outspend Koch Brothers On Elections Is Patently False

Justin Baragonamore, March, 11th, 2014, Politicus USA

Recently, a new meme has been making its way around the conservative blogosphere and has been picked up by those in the mainstream media. Basically, conservatives are trying to push the story that the Koch brothers are not overly influential on the political process and that labor unions spend far more in campaign contribuions and donations to political organizations than the reclusive billionaires. They’ve used data from the Center for Responsive Politics to make their case for them. Last week, Kimberly Strassel of the Wall Street Journal picked up on the meme and decided to push it out there for public consumption. She chastised Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) for attacking the Koch brothers for their spending and stated that he should go after the real enemy of democracy–the labor unions. She then pointed out, utilizing data from the CRP, that unions have spent greater than $600 million more than Koch Industries over the past 25 years on political campaigns. (read article)

Labor union claims Obamacare will cost its members up to $5 an hour

By Michael Dorstewitz, March 11, 2014, Biz Pac Review

For someone who claims to want to achieve income equality, President Obama is heading in the wrong direction with his health care law. Unite Here, a labor union serving the hospitality industry, said it will cost its members up to $5 an hour in lost wages. “Only in Washington could asking the bottom of the middle class to finance health care for the poorest families be seen as reducing inequality,” said the report from Unite Here, according to the Washington Examiner. “Without smart fixes, the ACA threatens the middle class with higher premiums, loss of hours, and a shift to part-time work and less comprehensive coverage,” said the report, titled, “The Irony of Obamacare: Making Inequality Worse.” (read article)

It’s Official: One Koch Brother Equals 515,000 Union Members

By Jonathan Cohn, March 11, 2014, New Republic

The Democrats have decided to make the Koch Brothers an issue in the midterm elections. First, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid attacked the brothers in a pair of floor speeches, calling them “un-American” because they “pour unlimited money into our democracy to rig the system to benefit themselves and the wealthiest one percent.” Now, Democratic campaign organizations are planning to run advertisements in states with contested Senate races. The ads will use the slogan Reid got from his wife: “Addicted to Koch.” Will this strategy be effective? Who knows. But if a recent Wall Street Journal editorial is indicative, it’s going to provoke conservatives into making some very silly arguments—as they try, desperately, to downplay the Kochs’ influence. (read article)

California unions’ dominance of Democratic Party may be fading

By Dan Walters, March 10, 2014, Modesto Bee

When Jerry Brown signed legislation giving California’s public employees collective bargaining rights during his first governorship, he – wittingly or otherwise – began a major political shift. The legislation re-energized organized labor, and in the ensuing years, unions – particularly public employee unions – became the state’s most influential interest group, providing resources for the Democrats’ rise to dominance. The party and the unions essentially became a single entity. For example, both Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg arose from union employment, the former as an organizer and the latter as an attorney. Unions remain California Democrats’ most important constituency, and will be indefinitely, but there are some indications that union hegemony within the party may be fraying. The most public example is the complex, multifront battle that pits the state’s union-dominated education establishment against civil rights and reform groups over the direction of public schools. It’s essentially a Democrat vs. Democrat battle, waged within big-city school boards, in the Legislature, in the state Board of Education and in the courts. (read article)

Union’s rape threats too much for even Obama’s Labor Relations Board

By Joe Saunders, March 10, 2014, Biz Pac Review

Even the Obama administration has some standards. Union thugs have threatened rape and implied violence against the children of management at a Washington state grain terminal, a regional director for the generally pro-union National Labor Relations Board charged last week. According to the Oregonian, Ronald Hooks, the NLRB’s regional director in Seattle, made the accusation after investigating complaints against the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 4 in Vancouver, Wash. The paper wrote: Hooks alleged that Local 4 members “threatened to rape the daughter of one of the employer’s managers,” and implied threats to harm a manager’s children by telling him they would “see his children at school” and asking, “are (his) children okay today?” The union is engaged in a bitter fight with the United Grain Corp. at an export terminal in Vancouver, where the company has locked union members out since February 2013, according to the newspaper. (read article)

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