PSLabor News

PSLabor News

RUNNING an airline used to be a sure-fire way to lose money. Warren Buffett once joked that the best thing a clairvoyant could have done for investors in 1903 was to shoot down Orville Wright. Michael O’Leary of Ryanair has done his best to change that. Read Story
A new three-year collective bargaining agreement removed the threat of a nurses union strike at Michigan Medicine, the nationally renowned hospital system connected to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Read Story
From a press release: Graduate employees at Brown University have given official notice to the university of their intent to hold a union election supervised by the American Arbitration Association…... Read Story
The former president of the Hempstead Schools Civil Service Association is facing charges of embezzling more than $90,000 during a four-year span. Read Story
On September 14, 2018, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced in the Federal Register a proposed rule to return its joint-employer standard to its 1984 standard — a standard that stood until 2017. Read Story
DETROIT — The UAW’s retiree health care trust no longer has representation on General Motors’ board of directors. The UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust forfeited its right to designate a nominee to the GM board when it sold 40 million shares in the company in February. To keep the seat, the trust — GM’s largest shareholder — had to retain at least 50 percent of the shares it initially acquired as part of the automaker’s emergence from bankruptcy in 2009. The deal was part of an October 2009 stockholder agreement among the UAW trust, GM and the U.S. Treasury. At the time of the share sale in February, it was unclear if the initial shares outlined in the agreement included a three-way stock split before the automaker’s November 2010 initial public offering that increased the trust’s holdings to 262.5 million shares from 87.5 million. The trust — which is a voluntary employees’ beneficiary association, or VEBA — and company confirmed the loss of the board seat Friday, citing the sale in February that reduced the trust’s shares to 100.15 million — below the 50 percent threshold. “The VEBA’s right to nominate a director for election to the Board was predicated on the VEBA owning a certain percentage of the shares that they initially acquired in 2009,” GM said in a statement. “After their February sale of GM shares, they no longer meet this requirement.” The trust’s seat had remained empty since December 2017, when retired UAW Vice President Joe Ashton resigned amid a widening federal probe into joint training centers overseen by representatives of the union and Detroit automakers. {{title}} {{abstract}} Read more > Read Story
Workers at Marriott-owned hotels took to the streets, calling for higher wages, safety measures, and job security.... Read Story
UFCW Canada Local 1006A is proud to welcome more than 180 workers at the Plaza Premium Lounge to the UFCW family.... Read Story
At least 10 000 members of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) are gearing up for a mega strike in the plastics sector. Read Story
First step in job action for Northern B.C.mills... Read Story
11 October 2018 Starting in January 2020, California hotels and motels must provide human trafficking awareness training to their employees, to ensure — October 11, 2018... Read Story
Zimbabwe union leaders arrested before planned march: lawyers Please, wait a moment while we are prefetching your article... Read Story
Nurses have ratified a contract agreement with Ann Arbor-based Michigan Medicine. Read Story
Nurses at Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin, N.J., will not vote on whether to remain unionized, the Asbury Park Press reported. Read Story
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Regulators fined the San Francisco Bay Area's transit agency $650,000 on Thursday for safety failures that led a commuter train to... Read Story
The new contract between the teachers’ union and the city is aimed at schools that have a hard time keeping teachers. Read Story
Unions representing sheet metal workers, flight attendants and public service employees took steps Tuesday to support the 2,700 Marriott hotel workers in Hawaii who were on their second day of a strike for higher wages and better benefits. Read Story
The head of Massachusetts State Police alleges some members used the union as an excuse to take paid leave.... Read Story
Several workers under Nagkahiusang mga Mag-uuma sa Suyafa Farms (NAMASUFA) of Sumifro Philippines Company were wounded in a commotion on…... Read Story
Young people are increasingly seeing the benefits of fighting for their rights, says Guardian columnist Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett... Read Story
In These Times features award-winning investigative reporting about corporate malfeasance and government wrongdoing, insightful analysis of national and international affairs, and sharp cultural criticism about events and ideas that matter. Read Story
Should retailers be concerned about a possible UPS strike as volume ramps up at the most critical, high-volume shipping season? According to UPS, it’s business as usual and the company expects no disruption to its operation. Read Story
LaBarbera says construction of a tower’s foundation is dragging on, but developer disputes that... Read Story
Andrea Sears PITTSBURGH – Security officers in Pittsburgh are celebrating a new contract that, for many, almost doubles the pay and benefits they were getting just a few years ago.The agreem…... Read Story
They want the world’s largest hotel company to share some of the wealth. Read Story
The National Labor Relations Board has charged Commerce Township, Mich.-based Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital with multiple labor law violations. Read Story
Stanford (Calif.) Health Care and an employees union are disputing over a November ballot initiative to place a 15 percent cap on hospital charges in Palo Alto, Calif., The Stanford Daily reported. Read Story
The union-backed movement that helped pressure Amazon into setting a $15-an-hour bottom wage for its workers last week has refocused its efforts on McDonald’s. Read Story
The federal labor board should provide more justification before moving forward with a proposed rule about when one business is the joint employer of another’s employees, the highest-ranking Democrats on the House and Senate labor committees said in an Oct. Read Story
“For the Teamsters to be so bold to come out in support of TPS and saying they’re not taking anything away from them is important and sends the message that immigrants’ rights are also workers’ rights.”... Read Story
There’s a reason his employer wants to eliminate pensions for new hires, said corrosion technician Andy Colleran: “National Grid is trying to break the union from within.” Colleran is one of 1,200 members of Steelworkers Locals 12003 and 12012 in Massachusetts who have been locked out since June, after the unions refused a two-tier contract. National Grid is a British-based utility company that provides gas and electric service in Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island. The locked-out union members work on gas lines. Under the company’s proposal, new hires would no longer get a defined-benefit pension, and would have their sick and vacation time reduced. For retirees, co-pays and deductibles would go up. “The package for the current people in the local was reasonable,” said Local 12003 President Joe Kirylo. But “the people in this local chose to defend the next generation. This is the straw that broke the camel’s back.” Ninety-five percent of members voted down the company’s final offer. Since the June 25 lockout, workers have been picketing, rallying, and following scab workers to track safety violations. THINKING AHEAD Colleran and his co-workers are taking a stand for future hires they haven’t even met yet. “I am 62. I believe in this union—always have, always will,” he said. “People did it for us,” said Jim, another veteran employee we met on the picket line who didn’t give his last name. “Why shouldn’t we do it for others? “People in this country are being taught to think that they don’t deserve pensions, that they don’t deserve good health care coverage,” he said. “But it doesn’t have to be this way.” Some other National Grid locals have accepted the two-tier offers. But John Buonopane, Local 12012 president, believes that’s a mistake. “New employees are pissed off at not having a pension,” he said, and that changes how they see the union: “When they realize that their fellow workers and union didn’t fight for their rights, are they going to have that solidarity?” As more and more new workers come along, Buonopane pointed out, eventually the older workers will be the minority. Then the company can come after them too. National Grid profits have been hitting record heights—$3.66 billion for fiscal year 2018, up 24 percent from a year ago. “Their top executives just took home $35 million in bonuses,” said Jerry Murphy, who has put in 35 years. “We just want to be treated fair.” HEALTH INSURANCE CUT OFF On July 1, six days after the lockout started, National Grid cut off the health insurance of locked-out workers, immediately putting workers and their families at risk, especially those with chronic conditions. Eric Doren has worked for 15 years in National Grid’s street department, responsible for installing, maintaining, and repairing gas lines in the system. Locked out, he’s now paying $2,600 per month to keep his family’s health insurance through COBRA. He has bone-marrow problems that require hospital visits, a wife suffering from stage 1 muscular sclerosis, and twin daughters. “It’s frustrating to be a father and not be able to support your family,” Doren said. “I’m a family man. But the company cuts the support from under you. They don’t care.” Doren isn’t even receiving unemployment, since the lockout began while he was on temporary sick leave for an injured ankle. Massachusetts provides unemployment insurance to locked-out workers for up to 30 weeks, though it only pays about half of what workers were making. The National Grid workers have already used up 16 weeks. We met Doren and others on the picket line, steps away from the Swampscott waterfront and just down the street from the million-dollar estate of Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker. Their demand for Baker, emblazoned on giant banners: “Do your job.” The locked-out workers want Baker to order the Department of Public Utilities to address the hundreds of pages of safety concerns the union has delivered, and to increase the number of state safety inspectors. DEADLY EXPLOSIONS The issue of safety violations gained new urgency on September 13, when more than 80 gas explosions rocked the city of Lawrence and towns of North Andover and Andover. The explosions killed one person, injured at least 20 others, and left thousands homeless or without heat headed into the cold months. The explosions occurred on pipelines and connections overseen by Columbia Gas. Still, for communities in Massachusetts, the potential danger posed by scab labor and the lack of oversight became much more real. That has put new pressure on the governor to intervene and end the lockout. Hundreds of locked-out National Grid workers volunteered to help with the Merrimack Valley repairs, but the company refused to end the lockout so they could provide their expertise. Nonetheless, dozens of the workers went up to Lawrence and did what they could to help, passing out water bottles to responders and cleaning up debris even in the pouring rain. RAISING THE ALARM The USW locals have been raising the alarm about safety issues for years, including ongoing concerns about the number of inspectors on worksites. Since the lockout began, they’ve raised issues including failure to respond to a gas leak, leaving a manhole open overnight, and using a chainsaw where there was gas in the air. Five weeks before the explosions, they sent documents outlining these concerns to Baker and the DPU. Three days before the explosions, they met with Baker and gave him 40 more pages of documents. They heard nothing back until the night of the explosions, says Kirlyo. That night, at 7:18 p.m.—three hours after the explosions—the local finally received an email from the DPU asking for a meeting. On October 2, the DPU released a list of 29 alleged safety violations by National Grid since July 1, and gave National Grid 30 days to respond or face compliance violations and further investigations. Six days later gas was shut off to hundreds of homes in Woburn, Massachusetts, when National Grid scabs accidentally increased the pressure in the gas line—the same issue that caused the Merrimack Valley explosions. In response, the DPU ordered National Grid to cease all work within its service areas, with the exception of emergency and compliance work, until the safety review is completed. Doren said it’s dangerous to rely on inexperienced replacement workers. “It’s amazing that something hasn’t happened yet,” he said. “The company is playing a dangerous game for the sake of increasing profit margins.” Barbara Madeloni is the Education Coordinator for Labor Notes. Joe Ramsey is a faculty member at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, and a member of the Faculty Staff Union (Massachusetts Teachers Association). For updates on the strike, follow the “Boston Gas Local 12003 USW” page on Facebook. Read Story
“September 2016, we kind of had this bubbling up of many leaks,” Jonathan Chang, Tesla’s legal vice president, said during an NLRB trial in Oakland, California.A labor board judge in Oakland is considering allegations by a regional director of the agency that Tesla has violated federal labor law,... Read Story