Want a stronger union at work? Consider building a stewards council.
With only five stewards for 1,700 workers, demoralization was high at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles.
Click here to read more at Labor Notes.
Three Walt Disney World performers who were fired from the Festival of the Lion King show at Disney's Animal Kingdom after refusing to wear sweaty, soiled costumes will get their jobs back after winning an arbitration case.
A representative from the Teamsters Local 385 Union said Monday the arbitration process was finally over, and a federal arbitrator ruled in favor of the cast members, who lost their jobs in June 2014 after they said they would not perform in dirty costumes.
According to witness testimony in the case, the sweaty costumes were caught outside in the rain on June 10, 2014. When the time came to prepare for the 6 p.m. show that evening, some performers found the soiled costumes pushed up against their clean clothes.
"They went to management and said, 'We need new unitards. These need to be washed, something,'" said Teamsters representative Donna-Lynne Dalton.
The union said management wanted them to wear the soiled costumes for the sake of the show, but the three performers refused, saying it was unsanitary. Management then cancelled the performance that evening.
The performers did eventually get clean unitards and perform for the next show, but the three, full-time cast members were later suspended and then terminated.
In November, the Teamsters union showed News 13 a copy of the character addendum that stated:
"All costume pieces shall receive a minimum of 12 hours of drying and sanitation between performances…
No character performer shall be required to wear any costume piece worn by another Character Performer."
Now that an arbitrator has ruled in the cast members' favor, the three performers will not only be rehired, but they'll also receive full back pay.
"Disney will comply with the decision," a media representative for Walt Disney World told News 13 on Monday.
April 17, 2015: Teamsters and TDU members joined a national day of action to fight for living wages. UPS Teamsters in New York made a splash in joining the Fight for $15.
Workers and supporters in 120 cities rallied, protested, and went on strike on Wednesday, including Wal-Mart employees, fast food workers, homecare workers, and others.
UPS Teamsters in New York made a splash—joining the Fight for $15 with rallies at UPS buildings throughout the city. Political leaders joined UPS Teamsters, part-time and full-time, to say it’s time to “Raise the Wage.”
“I joined the fight so the future of our children is a thriving and secure one,” said Kioma Forero, a Local 804 steward and TDU International Steering Committee member, who helped organized the rallies at UPS.
“One of the reasons I’m involved is I understand what it’s like to struggle to make ends meet,” TDU member Darrel Tucker, 52, told In These Times.
"We're taking on part-time poverty at UPS by fighting for a living wage for all New Yorkers," Local 804 President Tim Sylvester told the Daily News.
More UPS Teamsters explain why they’re joining the Fight for $15 in this great video from Local 804.
April 13, 2015: On April 15, workers will rally, sit-in and even strike as part of a national day of action to fight for $15-an-hour and a union. Teamster members are getting in on the action too.
More than 60,000 workers in over 120 cities will rally, protest or strike on April 15 in the biggest national day of action since the movement began four years ago.
Grassroots action has paid off. Walmart raised its wages and will hike them again next year. Starting next February, starting pay will be $10 an hour. That’s still not nearly enough—but it’s good that Walmart is feeling the heat.
Trying to head off bad publicity from the April 15 protests, McDonalds increased the pay of 90,000 employees to $9.90 an hour—but another 750,000 McDonalds workers who work at franchises are not eligible for the pay increase.
Keep in mind, Walmart, fast food and other low wage workers work part-time with no benefits.
The Fight for $15 goes way beyond McDonalds. What began as a movement of fast food workers has spread to nursing homes, homecare, Wal-mart and more.
On April 15, UPS part-timers are joining the Fight for $15 with “End Part-Time Poverty at UPS” rallies and worksite actions.
Higher wages—and union rights for all. That’s what the Fight for $15 is all about.
Starting next month, Target will raise its minimum wage to $9 an hour. Sound familiar? That's because Target’s decision comes just one month after its competitor Walmart said it would raise its starting wage to $9 and eventually $10 per hour. T.J. Maxx and Marshalls have also announced a new $9 an hour base. These minimum wage increases reflect an improving economy and the impact of widespread protest through campaigns like the fast food strikes and OUR Walmart.
The business press, unsurprisingly, chalks up the hikes to an improving economy. The Wall Street Journal writes, "Target’s move is the latest example of a tightening labor market and rising competition for lower paid workers amid declining joblessness and signs that consumer confidence is returning." At 5.5%, the country's unemployment rate is at its lowest in six years. Earlier this year, a review of several studies found that higher wages led to more productivity and lower turnover rates, which can then lead to higher profits for companies.
Click here to read more at In These Times.
Wisconsin is now the 25th state to adopt a so-called “right-to-work” law, which allows workers to benefit from collective bargaining without having to pay for it.
It joins Michigan and Indiana, which both adopted right to work in 2012. Similar initiatives, or variants, are spreading to Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and West Virginia—and the National Right to Work Committee and the American Legislative Exchange Council probably have a well-developed list of additional targets.
Click here to read more at Labor Notes.
The late February snow fell lazily on several thousand Wisconsin union members as they gathered on the steps of the capitol building in Madison to protest what picket signs denounced as “the war on workers.” The scene was a smaller replay of the protest four years ago when tens of thousands assembled to oppose Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s Act 10. Despite a broad, fervent uprising, that act passed and stripped public employees of their collective bargaining rights.
This time, even the protesters saw little hope of defeating the latest attack by Walker and Republican legislators. The deceptively named “right-to-work” law, aimed primarily at private-sector unions, prohibits labor contracts from requiring all employees to pay their share of union dues. While the Right denounces such payments as “forced unionism,” labor says that it’s only fair for all workers to chip in, because they all benefit from the union’s work.
Click here to read more.
March 16, 2015: On March 13, FedEx drivers at the Stockton terminal voted 33-12 to join the Teamsters Union – the fourth FedEx terminal to say Yes to going union. Congrats to the new FedEx Teamsters and to Local 439 and the members who helped make it happen.
FedEx management crows about the terminals which have voted against the union, after heavy management propaganda, threats and an 80c raise, which only happened because of the employees’ interest in our union.
In November, 222 drivers at FedEx Freight in Charlotte NC voted to join Teamsters Local 71. In October, 113 drivers at FedEx Freight in South Brunswick NJ joined Teamsters Local and 47 drivers in Croydon Pa voted to join Teamsters Local 107 in Philadelphia. The drive continues at several other locals.
The drive – organized by a number of locals – shows the potential to build Teamster power in trucking. The International union should put its full resources behind the organizing and drive this campaign to victory.
Local 439 Ex-Officers Charged
Local 439 won the drive as it shakes off the history of two former officers who were charged by the Independent Review Board (IRB) on February 27 with a pattern of embezzlement, fraud and receiving a motorcycle from an employer. Former Secretary Treasurer Sam Rosas and former president Armando Alonzo were charged. You can read a report and the full charges.
March 12, 2015: When Teamster Local 89 investigated and found out that Holland was bringing in low-paid contractors to do city delivery work, they took creative action – and in less than one hour, YRCW management decided the contractors would leave empty.
The IBT Freight Division may want to pay attention. Holland was violating the contract, and grievances could have been filed, but quick creative action worked better.
Local 89, led by president Fred Zuckerman, used “area standards picketing” – a legal tactic, which is not a strike, but a picket line alerting workers and the public that wages are being paid on the premises under the area standard wage.
Then Teamster members were protected from crossing the line. They were not on strike, but they had a right to respect a legal picket line.
Creativity. Bold action. Solidarity. These are some of the ingredients we need to rebuild Teamster power. Thanks, Local 89, for the lesson.