January 30, 2015: With TDU’s support, the 5,500 members of Teamsters Local 251 took back their union and elected reform leaders.
Now, Local 251 members at Rhode Island Hospital are standing up against corporate greed by building labor-community solidarity. Will you stand with them?
Yesterday, they held a massive informational picket line in front of Lifespan-Rhode Island Hospital.
Lifespan is supposed to be a nonprofit but it paid its top executives more than $16 million in one year! In the meantime, the Hospital refuses to negotiate a fair contract for 2,200 Teamster members.
The Hospital has even rejected a contract proposal that "providing quality care to patients and their family is the top objective of the Hospital" and requiring management "to maintain sufficient staff and adequate supplies."
What kind of Hospital says no to quality care?
Rhode Island Hospital Teamsters are not just speaking for themselves. They are teaming up with the community to fight for a fair contract, good jobs, and quality patient care.
Pubic supporters launched an online petition to speak out to Lifespan. In just one day, more than 12,000 people have signed the petition and the numbers continue to grow.
For more info and photos of the picket line, check out www.facebook.com/
January 22, 2015: Since last year’s Congressional elections, lawmakers in at least nine states have signaled that they intend to introduce “right-to-work” legislation.
Wisconsin, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Ohio and Missouri will be battlegrounds over the misnamed legislation, with bills being introduced in early 2015. Efforts to pass RTW laws are also expected in Colorado, Kentucky, Montana and Pennsylvania.
“Right to Work” laws mandate unions to represent workers who don’t pay any dues or fees to support the union. Numerous studies demonstrate there is a connection between weaker union power in RTW states and lower wages, worse benefits, poor health coverage and even higher mortality rates.
Click here to read more on the new push expand RTW laws.
The Hunts Point Terminal Produce Market reached a tentative contract agreement on Saturday with more than 1,200 workers, averting a potential strike that could have disrupted the region’s supply of fresh fruits and vegetables.
The three-year agreement would give workers a raise of $20 a week the first year, $22 the second year and $24 the third year. The increases represented a compromise between the union’s earlier push for a raise of $25 a week each year, and the merchants’ counteroffer of $16 in the first year and $22 thereafter.
Click here to read more at The New York Times.
A Contract dispute between commercial producers and Teamsters Local 399 has escalated, raising the prospect of the first Hollywood strike by the union in nearly two decades.
On Sunday, Teamsters drivers, location managers and scouts voted by a 10-to-1 margin to reject a contract proposed by the Assn. of Independent Commercial Producers and to authorize their leaders to stage a walkout should they fail to reach an agreement by the end of the month.
Click here to read more at the Los Angeles Times.
In his 2014 state of the union address, President Obama kicked off what could unofficially be dubbed the Year of the Minimum Wage. Just a year earlier, he had called for a $9 federal minimum, but there he was in early 2014, saying workers should earn at least $10.10 an hour. The shift shows how coordinated campaigns for higher wages, which started with fast-food workers and spread more broadly, raised expectations of what’s considered fair compensation.
Obama’s call to raise the federal minimum may have gone unanswered, but states and cities picked up the torch. In 2014, 13 states passed legislation or initiatives to raise the wage floor, not just in Democratic strongholds but in red states as well. Now the results of those campaigns are starting to come to fruition nationwide. About 3.6 million people will see their pay go up for the new year, according to an analysis of census data by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), which supports higher minimum pay.
Click here to read more at Bloomberg.
Conservative groups are opening a new front in their effort to reshape American law, arguing that local governments have the power to write their own rules on a key labor issue that has, up to now, been the prerogative of states.
Beginning here in the hometown of Senator Rand Paul and the Chevy Corvette, groups including the American Legislative Exchange Council, the Heritage Foundation and a newly formed nonprofit called Protect My Check are working together to influence local governments the same way they have influenced state legislatures, and anti-union ordinances are just the first step in the coordinated effort they envision.
Click here to read more at The New York Times.
The National Labor Relations Board finally issued its long-in-the-works rule speeding up union representation elections. Currently, employers can drag out the election process by withholding information from organizers and with frivolous lawsuits, time they often use to intimidate and coerce workers away from union support.
The new rule, set to take effect on April 15, will cut waiting times between when an election is set and when it happens, put off litigation—often filed by businesses to drag out the election process—until after the election, allow election petitions to be filed electronically (hi there, 21st century!), require businesses to share additional worker contact information with union organizers, and consolidate the post-election appeals process.
Click here to read more at Daily Kos.
A group of 74 drivers and dockworkers at Con-way Freight in Miami Lakes, Fla., voted today to join Teamsters Local 769 in North Miami, Fla.
“The Con-way workers have taken a bold step today to improve their lives and have a more secure future as Teamsters,” said Mike Scott, President of Teamsters Local 769. “As we have seen across the country, the company spent lots of money to wage a vicious anti-worker campaign, but the workers remained strong and united and didn’t let management’s bullying get to them.”
Click here to read more.
WASHINGTON -- Federal officials unveiled new rules on Friday that will streamline and simplify the union election process, a reform long sought by labor unions and fiercely opposed by businesses.
Among other changes, the rules issued by the National Labor Relations Board will limit some of the litigation that can precede a union election, making it harder for parties to stall or drag out the process. The reforms will also allow unions to file election petitions and other documents via email, and they will require employers to provide unions with the email addresses and phone numbers of workers eligible to vote.
Many employers favor the older, slower election process, as it gives them more time to dissuade workers from unionizing. The reforms announced Friday have long been discussed and debated, and businesses have argued that they would infringe on the businesses' free speech rights and lead to "ambush" or "quickie" elections.
The labor board -- or at least its left-leaning majority appointed by President Barack Obama -- disagrees. In a statement Friday, the agency said the changes would "modernize" procedures and allow it to "more effectively administer" the laws on collective bargaining. In a sign of the partisan divide at play, the rules were approved by the board's three liberal members, while its two conservative members dissented.
Labor groups have long bemoaned the current process as outdated and tied up with red tape, giving employers ample time to bust unions. Companies often dispute which workers should belong in the bargaining unit -- that is, the people who would be covered by the union contract -- and the reforms announced Friday will shift that litigation to after the election. Employers will also have to prove that a review of the election is warranted, as opposed to merely requesting one.
Mark Gaston Pearce, the labor board's chairman, said in a statement that he was "heartened" that the board is enacting the amendments.
"Simplifying and streamlining the process will result in improvements for all parties," Pearce said. "With these changes, the Board strives to ensure that its representation process remains a model of fairness and efficiency for all."
The rules were announced in the Federal Register on Friday and will go into effect on April 14, 2015.
The board put forth a similar batch of rules more than three years ago, drawing heat from various business lobbying groups as well as congressional Republicans. After a federal court ruled that the board had lacked a quorum when it issued them, the board formally withdrew those rules early this year. It had been expected to reissue similar rules now that it has five confirmed board members.
Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO labor federation, applauded the announcement of the rules Friday.
"The modest but important reforms to the representation election process announced today by the National Labor Relations Board will help reduce delay in the process and make it easier for workers to vote on forming a union in a timely manner," Trumka said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the National Retail Federation, an industry lobby, said it was considering "both a legal and legislative strategy" to block the rules from going into effect, calling them "the latest attempt by the Obama Administration to aid their allies in Big Labor at the expense of employers and employees."
Republicans in Congress have already held hearings on what they deem the "ambush" election rules and may well hold more once the GOP takes control of both chambers next year. They could potentially try to block the rules from going into effect -- though not in the immediate future, since members of Congress are already far along in hammering out a deal this week to fund the government. By waiting to release the rules Friday, the labor board may at least have avoided a GOP-sponsored rider in the spending bill that could gut the rules.