PSLabor News

PSLabor News

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
More than 7,700 Marriott hotel workers walked off the job this week in a strike promoted by claims of low pay and demands for improved working conditions and protection against sexual harassment... Read Story
Susan Shabangu and Nehawu are reported to have agreed to suspend system, but union will only confirm on Thursday. Read Story
Events English (US) · Français (France) · Español · Português (Brasil) · Deutsch Privacy · Terms · Advertising · Ad Choices · Cookies · More Facebook © 2018 OCT 15 Educators for $15 & Fairness at Lawrence West Station! Public · Hosted by Fight for $15 & Fairness and Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) InterestedInvite clock Monday, October 15, 2018 at 3:15 PM – 5:00 PM EDT Next Week · 3–9°C Rain Showers pin Lawrence West station 655 Lawrence Avenue W, Toronto, Ontario M6A 1A9 Show Map ticket Tickets www.15andfairness.org Find Tickets 2 posts in the discussion. See Discussion Read Story
Louisville Teamsters leader Fred Zuckerman sharply criticized national union leaders’ ratification of a new five-year contract that most workers rejected. Read Story
The Teamsters allege that First Student has repeatedly failed to make the required company contributions to the drivers' retirement plans in school districts throughout New England.... Read Story
Liberals are going to lose votes to billionaire-funded scare tactics, so they need to build a supermajority cushion to defeat Trump and the G.O.P.... Read Story
An inadvertent over-pressurization of gas lines in Woburn led to a big response from National Grid Monday afternoon. ... Read Story
A British union has called for a 24-hour strike of Uber drivers in London, Birmingham and Nottingham, putting up a “digital picket line” to demand better pay and conditions.The Indepen…... Read Story
The restaurant was just slapped with massive fines for wrongful termination and illegal tip pooling... Read Story
When Amanda Cestare started working at New York City’s famous Ellen’s Stardust Diner in 2008, she didn’t know much about leftist politics or the labor movement. Ten years later, she’s helping to build a local chapter of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), one of the most radical unions in... Read Story
From strike authorization votes to solidarity rallies, lately contracts have been on the minds of many in the mining industry.While Cleveland-Cliffs... Read Story
Around 160,000 people joined demonstrations across France Tuesday, the interior ministry said, heeding union calls for President Emmanuel Macron to "maintain the social model" under threat from austerity reforms. Read Story
Sapling, a provider of specialized Core HR and Onboarding software for high-growth, international teams, identified 3 main factors pushing todays employees to…... Read Story
PARIS, Oct 10 — Around 160,000 people joined demonstrations across France yesterday, the interior ministry said, heeding union calls for President Emmanuel Macron to “maintain the social model” under threat from austerity reforms. Read Story
Workers at Tesla are fighting for a little more power.And Elon Musk is hitting back, hard.Tesla’s billionaire CEO has been accused of using shady tactics to squash a union drive at Tesla&#82…... Read Story
Debate over Measure F, a Palo Alto ballot initiative that aims to curb healthcare costs in the city, has intensified... Read Story