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Union Paradigm Shift

(Mergers and Membership)

Union mergers and large corporate campaigns are upon us once again. Unions know that their strengths are in unity and their chances of success are stronger when they merge together on projects, or better yet on a permanent basis. USWA President Leo W. Gerard stated at an International Executive Board in January 2008 that his goal for the next 5 years (and his order to his district directors) is to direct efforts to merge independent unions and their members into the rank and file of the USWA.

The USWA has merged with several unions over the past few years like PASE, United Rubber workers in 1995, the Aluminum, Brick, and Glass Workers Union in 1996, the Canadian Division of the Transportation Communications International Union in 1998, an organizing alliance with the California Nurses Association in 2001 and The American Flint Glass Workers Union in 2003.

Ricardo Torres President & CEO - PSLC

3/7/2008

Union mergers and large corporate campaigns are upon us once again. Unions know that their strengths are in unity and their chances of success are stronger when they merge together on projects, or better yet on a permanent basis. USWA President Leo W. Gerard stated at an International Executive Board in January 2008 that his goal for the next 5 years (and his order to his district directors) is to direct efforts to merge independent unions and their members into the rank and file of the USWA.

The USWA has merged with several unions over the past few years like PASE, United Rubber workers in 1995, the Aluminum, Brick, and Glass Workers Union in 1996, the Canadian Division of the Transportation Communications International Union in 1998, an organizing alliance with the California Nurses Association in 2001 and The American Flint Glass Workers Union in 2003.

A USWA Merge with Amicus and the Transportation & General Workers Union (T&GWU) of the United Kingdom will create a 3.4 million member Trans-Atlantic union.

This year the USWA has set goals to concentrate on their core industries, which include healthcare, rubber, glass, steel, aluminum and more.

The California Nurses Association is now the newest member of the AFL/CIO. State Nursing Associations across the country also have joined the CNA including nurse associations in New York, Main, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Nevada. The list continues to grow.

Although they are in separate labor federations, the United American Nurses Association and the Service Employees International Union also announced they have signed an agreement in January of 2008 to work together on organizing, collective bargaining, and advocating for changes in the health care system.

The Teamsters have internally announced their corporate targets for the year which include the school bus industry along with the SEIU and the British Transportation and general workers union. Cintas uniform justice campaign, Sanitation/ Solid waste with the big three waste companies, Allied Waste, Waste Management and Republic Industries, DHL, ABX Air, the Graphic Communications International Union, Port Drivers, Warehouses, National Law Enforcement, Food Processing, FedEx and UPS Freight.

The SEIU is stepping up their Corporate Health Care organizing drives. Hospitals should expect hardball efforts to unionize. Over the past few years the SEIU and UNITE HERE have held the Hotel and Restaurant industry hostage with corporate campaigns across the country, which has had tremendous success in winning new members. The SEIU also has launched a national organizing drive at Aramark.

This is just a short example of some of the corporate campaigns happening today. You can look across all the union lines and see the trend growing nationally and while many companies give in under the tremendous financial, public and political pressure of a corporate organizing campaign, all it does is set the stage for a bigger showdown in the future. Unions learn what tactics work against corporations and how to exploit these weaknesses in contract negotiations and strikes.

Corporate campaigns have become organized labor's preferred tactic to recruit new dues-paying members.

Unions like the CNA/NNOC and others say they are looking out for what’s best for the workers, the community, the company, the hospital, patient care and on and on. When we open the newspapers and we see articles like these:

  • Huge Walkout by 4,000 Sutter RNS
  • Hawaii Doc Worker Talks Set To Begin Monday
  • American Axle Strike Ripples Through Magna Unit In New York
  • SEIU 32/BJ Walking Off The Job, 4,000 Now On Strike!
  • SFIE Teachers To Strike – Join the Picket Line/Solidarity Needed
  • UAW Workers Stay On Picket Lines At Volvo Plant
  • SEIU, CAN In Big Fight Over 8,300 Hospital Workers In Ohio

Unions tell their current and potential members that they are their “voice” to “improve” the system. The truth is unions are run like a business. With all business ventures the overall goal is obtaining money and power. As members of top management it is vital that you know what paradigm shifts are occurring within union organizing efforts. The current shift is the merger of smaller unions to become larger, more powerful and achieve higher cash flow to recruit new members.

For more information contact me at 313.218.0371 or email me at rtorres@pslabor.com. Permanent Solutions offers training and education for management to ensure that your team is aware of not only how to remain union free but also how to have the “Inside Edge” into their current strategies and tactics.