Unions in the News – Weekly Highlights

Unions in the News – Weekly Highlights

Union representatives urge UC to support bill guaranteeing contractors, UC employees receive similar pay

By Suhauna Hussain, May 26, 2015, Daily Californian

Union representatives called on the UC Board of Regents to support a bill that would ensure that workers employed by private university contractors are compensated comparably with university employees doing similar work. At the regents’ meeting Thursday, advocates of Senate Bill 376 — including union AFSCME 3299 President Kathryn Lybarger and California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski — publicly asked UC President Janet Napolitano to support the measure. (read article)

Panel reviews GOP-backed bill overhauling public unions

By Michelle Rindels, May 26, 2015, Associated Press

Lawmakers on Tuesday reviewed a public employee collective bargaining bill that was originally dubbed “union Armageddon” and still has critics from the labor movement in spite of significant amendments.(read article)

Exodus: Unions and allies want to raise property taxes on California businesses

May 25, 2015, LaborUnionReport.com

Between its seemingly unending drought, its exodus of companies and its bankrupt cities, California has its fair share of problems. Now, however, a group of unions and other liberal organizations want to further add to the cost of doing business in the once-golden state by raising an estimated $9 billion for the state’s treasury by increasing property taxes on commercial properties. (read article)

‘We Find That Respondent, by Charging Only Nonmembers For Grievance Representation, Has Discriminated Against Nonmembers’

By Stan Greer, May 25, 2015, NILRR.org

Last month, President Barack Obama’s radical National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) sent a clear signal of its intent to overturn more than six decades of legal precedents regarding the workplace grievance privileges union bosses wield under federal law. In unionized workplaces, a claim by any front-line employee that he or she has been harmed by a misapplication or misinterpretation of a company policy cannot be addressed in any way that is inconsistent with the contract between the company and Big Labor bosses exercising their monopoly-bargaining powers. (read article)

California’s old political machine losing steam

By John Diaz, May 23, 2015, San Francisco Chronical

A quiet revolution is occurring in California politics. Centrist Democrat Steve Glazer’s victory over more doctrinaire Democrat Susan Bonilla in a special election for a state Senate seat in the East Bay is just the latest, and perhaps most profound, evidence that public-employee unions are losing their control over the California Legislature. The unions clearly overplayed their hand in trying to vilify Glazer, a longtime Democrat who has served as a close adviser to Gov. Jerry Brown, as an enemy of working people. (read article)

Santa Monica Approves Prefunding Post Employment Benefits For City Employees

By Brandon Dupre, May 22, 2015, Santa Monica Mirror

Santa Monica City Council on May 12 approved a prefunding of other post employment benefits (OPEB) for City employees, totaling $2,506,785 in fiscal year 2014-15. The City currently pays approximately $1 million annually to beneficiaries.The proposal passed by Council increases the annual expenditure to approximately $2.5 million. (read article)

Longshore workers keep their grip on the global supply network

By Ned Resnikoff, May 22, 2015, Aljazeera America

The supply chain is more flexible and resilient than ever, but one union still has the power to slow it down – for now. Along the West Coast, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and its nearly 14,000 regional members can still throw a wrench in the global supply chain through their influence over major ports. In that regard, they are virtually unique among the country’s labor unions. (read article)

Union dockworkers ratify labor contract for U.S. West Coast ports

By Steve Gorman, May 22, 2015, Reuters

Union dockworkers at all 29 U.S. West Coast ports have voted overwhelmingly to ratify a contract agreement reached in February with shipping companies and terminal operators to end months of labor strife that snarled trans-Pacific trade. (read article)

At Last, Scrutiny for Public-Union Deals

By Matthew J. Brouillette, May 21, 2015, Wall Street Journal

If you’ve ever spent hundreds on a smartphone or thousands on a new car, you know what it’s like to hunt for the best deal. Yet when paying for state and local government services worth billions, Americans often hand politicians a blank check without ever knowing if they could get more for their money. Year after year, elected officials behind closed doors negotiate labor contracts for 19 million state and local government workers. The result? Skyrocketing salaries, health-care costs and pension benefits are making services like public schools and policing unaffordable for taxpayers. (read article)

San Bernardino Firefighters Wedgied by Their Own Petards, Resistance to cutbacks to recover from bankruptcy may result in outsourcing

By Scott Shackford, May 21, 2015, Reason.com

There’s a famous saying: “The squeaky wheel gets the oil.” There’s a much less famous variation: “The squeaky wheel doesn’t always get the oil. Sometimes it gets replaced.” The broken California city of San Bernardino abruptly filed for bankruptcy back in July 2012 and is still, nearly three years later, slogging its way through an attempt at a plan to recover. Contributing to the city’s financial problems, along with the typical rising cost of employee pensions and health benefits, was an entrenched rule in the city charter that put control of public safety employee wages out of the hands of city leaders. (read article)

Roadblock to pension reform

May 21, 2015, Press Enterprise

The consistent success of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System in California municipal bankruptcies amounts to a loss for taxpayers. The giant state pension fund has repeatedly inserted itself in municipal bankruptcy proceedings with the aim of preventing any serious discussion of pension reform. With pension costs at all levels of government in California crowding out other spending, CalPERS’ behavior threatens the long-term stability of local government finances. In the bankruptcies of both Stockton and San Bernardino, CalPERS made a point of smothering even the consideration of pension cuts. (read article)

California politics: Labor Democrats already on attack against Steve Glazer

By Matthew Artz, May 21, 2015, San Jose Mercury News

Within minutes after it became clear that Orinda Mayor Steve Glazer — the Democrat best known for his call to outlaw BART strikes — had won a hotly contested East Bay State Senate seat, Democratic Party activists went right back on the attack against him on election night. Glazer “claimed to be Democrat but ran a cynical campaign to appeal to Republican voters,” said the party’s state executive director, Shawnda Westly, in a statement fired off Tuesday evening. Labor’s anti-Glazer campaign organizer was equally unforgiving. (read article)

A Fascinating Minimum-Wage Experiment Is About to Unfold

By John Cassidy, May 21, 2015, The New Yorker

is week’s decision by the Los Angeles City Council to raise the local minimum wage to fifteen dollars an hour by 2020 is part of an intriguing development in urban politics and social policy. Reacting to grassroots campaigns carried out by labor unions and other progressive groups, some of the biggest cities in America are now defying several decades of economic orthodoxy, as well as challenging a set of social norms that regarded low-wage jobs as unavoidable and acceptable. (read article)

State Senate race deals blow to Democratic Party, unions

By Judy Lin, May 20, 2015, Associated Press

The California Democratic Party and labor unions vowed not to back down any time soon after their candidate lost a costly state Senate race in the San Francisco Bay Area this week. Orinda Mayor Steve Glazer, a business-backed moderate, defeated fellow Democrat Susan Bonilla by a significant margin in a special election for the 7th Senate district. Party officials and union leaders blamed higher Republican turnout for their loss, and their statements suggest another scorching fight when Glazer will have to run again next year when the seat comes up for re-election. (read article)

Glazer victory sends message to public employee unions

May 20, 2015, San Fransico Chronicle

Steve Glazer’s victory in state Senate District 7, which includes a large swath of Contra County County and Alameda County’s Tri-Valley, sent a loud message to the Democratic establishment: We can choose legislators that reflect our communities instead of your whims. In Glazer, voters opted for a centrist, problem-solving Democrat who was willing to challenge public employee unions and their grip on the California Legislature. (read article)

Major Victory: LA Hikes Minimum Wage to $15 per Hour by 2020

By Steve Smith, May 20, 2015, California Labor Federation

The extraordinary campaign to raise wages for low-income Californians scored one of its biggest victories to date yesterday…The union-led coalition LA Raise the Wage has been building support for months to secure yesterday’s historic 14-1 council vote in favor of the wage hike. (read article)

Union President Pay Watch, 2015

May 20, 2015, LaborPains.org

Last week, the AFL-CIO released its annual report that claims to compare how much average employees make compared to business chief executives. The union federation alleged that CEOs make over 300 times what the “average worker” makes. Mark Perry at the American Enterprise Institute, among others, has chronicled the numerous flaws with this argument. Unions get their absurd comparisons by cherry-picking only the S&P 500 executives to represent all CEOs to juice their final number. (read article)

State program promotes health

By Jon Ortiz, May 19, 2015, Sacramento Bee

Gov. Jerry Brown’s revised budget renews a plan to cut the state’s employee medical costs with a cheaper, lower-benefit plan and shifting more costs to workers. The unions aren’t thrilled. But about a five-minute walk east of the Capitol, a 3-year-old collaboration between the administration and the state’s biggest labor organization is testing another method to chip away at the state’s employee medical costs. (read article)

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