PSLabor News

PSLabor News

After nearly six months, National Grid and the two unions representing locked out National Grid workers signaled that a breakthrough was made Friday. Read Story
dozens of demonstrators gathered at dawn on the Champs-Elysees, the scene last Saturday of the worst rioting in Paris for decades. Read Story
The union is upset over a two-tiered pay system that would see new employees make 30 per cent less than existing ones.... Read Story
Michigan public-sector union leaders say a new set of prohibited subjects made it difficult for the unions to negotiate contracts. Unions were barred from discussing scheduling overtime, job transfers and recalls, The Lansing State Journal reported . Read Story
Flight attendants employed by low-cost carrier Flair Airlines are prepared to go on strike Monday amid concerns about wages and scheduling. Read Story
The 24-year-old graduate of Olney High School left his job at a Target store two weeks ago because the company couldn't accommodate his schedule — he's only able to work daytime hours because in the evenings, he has to take care of a nephew who has cerebral palsy. Read Story
El arresto de una alta ejecutiva del gigante tecnológico chino Huawei a pedido del gobierno de Estados Unidos ha enfurecido a Beijing, ha alarmado a los inversionistas y ha planteado nuevas dudas s… Read Story
En París, Francia, la policía se enfrentó contra quienes protagonizaban protestas de “chalecos amarillos” (o ‘gilets jaunes’, en francés). Francia en su laberinto: la m… Read Story
Mary Barra met with members of Congress this week about the company's plans to shut four US plants sometime next year. But if any of plants are saved, it'll most likely happen in upcoming labor negotiations, not in discussions in Washington DC. 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
Acero Charter Schools is asking the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board to stop the Chicago Teachers Union from continuing its strike.... Read Story
Angry unpaid steelworkers took over the street in Ahvaz chanting The voice of every worker, Death to the oppressor Dec 8, 2018... Read Story
The matter has been one of the most debated issues as state regulators hammer out permanent rules for how marijuana is grown, tested, packaged and delivered. Read Story
Among their demands, teachers want smaller class sizes, equal pay and more autonomy over curriculum and grading. Read Story
Housekeepers, bartenders, bellmen, and other members of San Francisco’s Unite Here Local 2 have overwhelmingly voted to approve a new contract... Read Story
The National Labor Relations Board is issuing its Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2019 through 2022, which is required under the Government Performance and Results Act of 2010.  The Strategic Plan contains four mission-related goals to support the vision of NLRB Chairman John Ring and General Counsel Peter Robb. These four mission-related goals include: (1) achieving a collective 20% increase (5% over each of four years) in timeliness in case processing  of unfair labor practice charges, (2) achieving resolution of a greater number of representation cases within 100 days of the filing of an election petition, (3) achieving organizational excellence and productivity, and (4) managing agency resources efficiently and in a manner that instills public trust.  To achieve these stated goals, the Strategic Plan calls for an annual, Agency-wide 5% reduction in case processing time for unfair labor practice charges. This reduction includes not only case handling in the regional offices, but also the time between issuance of an Administrative Law Judge’s decision and a Board Order, and issuance of a Board Order and closure of a case.  Over the years, the amount of time it takes for cases to be processed and for resolutions to be reached has increased and backlogs of cases have developed.  This initiative has been developed to reverse these trends. In support of the Strategic Plan, the General Counsel has issued Memorandum GC 19-02, Reducing Case Processing Time, discussing how these goals affect the NLRB’s Divisions of Advice, Legal Counsel, Enforcement Litigation, Operations-Management and the Regional offices. Established in 1935, the National Labor Relations Board is an independent federal agency that protects employers and employees from unfair labor practices and protects the right of private sector employees to join together, with or without a union, to improve wages, benefits and working conditions. The NLRB conducts hundreds of workplace elections and investigates thousands of unfair labor practice charges each year. The Office of the General Counsel is  independent from the Board and is responsible for the investigation and prosecution of unfair labor practice cases, for the conducting of secret ballot elections to determine whether employees desire union representation, for the overall supervision of field offices around the country, and for the general oversight of the Agency’s administrative, financial, personnel and human capital operations. Read Story
Hundreds of police officers will line the streets of central London on Sunday to keep far right activists and anti-racist protestors apart, after Scotland Yard imposed strict conditions on their right to march through the city. Read Story
Germany's EVG railway workers' union plans to stage warning strikes over the Christmas period after wage talks with rail operator Deutsche Bahn ... Read Story
The French police labor union Vigi has declared an indefinite strike starting from December 8, the day when new protests of the so-called yellow vest movement against an increase in fuel taxes are expected to take place, Alexandre Langlois, the secretary general of the police union, has told... Read Story
Grinnell College student-worker union will not strike after falling a few votes short Des Moines Register Published 7:45 PM EST Dec 7, 2018 After a vote that came down to a few absentee ballots, Grinnell College student-worker union members Friday decided not to strike.  The union, which was formed in 2016, states in its constitution that such a decision must be approved by a two-thirds majority. On Friday, 64.5 percent of the 78 members who voted supported the strike. About 30 of those votes were absentee as some union members could not attend.  Union of Grinnell Student Dining Workers signs are shown Friday, Dec. 7, 2018 at the Joe Rosenfield Center on campus during a vote by the union to strike next week. While more than 64 percent of the voting members supported the strike, that did not meet the union's threshold to formally have one. Tyler Davis/The Register Leaders say the short notice of the "emergency vote" to strike at several student-worker jobs — not including public safety and health services — may have curbed turnout. An email about the vote was sent Wednesday evening and about 50 union members showed up Friday afternoon to the Joe Rosenfield Center on the private college's campus.  Cory McCartan, a senior who was instrumental in starting the Union of Grinnell Student Dining Workers and is now the group’s adviser, said that only one "no" vote was cast in person. The remaining members who voted against the strike cast absentee ballots.  Some student employees at The Spencer Grill nearby said they could not attend the vote because of work but planned to cast an absentee ballot.  A student worker reaches for a pastry Friday, Dec. 7, 2018 at The Spencer Grill on Grinnell College's campus. On Friday, student-worker union members voted on whether or not to strike in response to the administrations efforts to quell the union. Tyler Davis/The Register Quinn Ercolani, the president of UGSDW, said the main concern among union members who opposed the strike was the haste of the action. He said many of those workers who voted "no" weren't there to discuss how the strike would manifest and weren't sure if it was fully organized.  "What was decided here was that rather than strike, we would engage in a series of flying pickets at various points across campus starting next week," said Ercolani, a junior from Michigan. "Primarily what it's going to be is off-the-clock workers will be picketing certain locations." He said those demonstrations will begin next week, but the union may still decide to strike at a later date.  MORE: Grinnell College president: We won't bargain with student workers union while our appeal is pending The plan to strike comes after the college's administration tried to stop the union from expanding. Administrators have declined to meet with the workers. Ercolani said an email from the Grinnell leaders informed the union that they have asked for a review of the National Labor Relations Board's decision to allow students at the liberal arts to unionize. That decision, which was approved by the regional NLRB office, could be challenged at the national level, Ercolani said. "(Administrators are arguing) that the whole process that we've gone through, everything from the hearing to the election to all of the motions that have been filed now, should be thrown out," the political science major said.  About 25 of the reported 50 union members who attended Friday's vote to strike at the Joe Rosenfield Center on Grinnell College's campus discuss the union's next plans. Tyler Davis/The Register Debra Lukehart, Grinnell's vice president of communications, said in a previous statement to the Des Moines Register that officials support "the rights of students to protest or demonstrate" as long as it's peaceful and doesn't impede access to buildings or interfere with classwork. "This kind of engaged citizenship is key to Grinnell's mission," Lukehart wrote in the statement. Ercolani said off-the-clock protesters should not be worried about losing their jobs for participating.  "They would be engaging in a protected concerted labor action," Ercolani said. "Any sort of retaliation for that would be something that the union would fight till the end." University officials were not present at the meeting and could not be reached shortly after the vote.  Follow the Register on Facebook and Twitter for more news. Tyler Davis can be contacted at tjdavis@registermedia.com or on Twitter @TDavisDMR. SUPPORT LOCAL JOURNALISM: Subscribe to the Des Moines Register                   Published 7:45 PM EST Dec 7, 2018 Read Story
Officials at Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) in California celebrated as the last piece of structural steel was erected as part of the new Interim Gates Facility (IGF) project.The setting of the last piece of steel on the structure represents a significant milestone for the Fentress Architects... Read Story
The provincial government is attacking the most vulnerable workers in the province, according to Unifor Local 103 President Andy Mitchell. Mitchell and about a dozen other members of the union from North Bay and Sudbury marched outside Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli’s office Friday over the noon hour... Read Story
Hackensack Meridian hospital nurses close to resolving bitter contract dispute Asbury Park Press Published 9:53 AM EST Dec 7, 2018 Nurses from Jersey Shore University Medical Center and Southern Ocean Medical Center have reached a tentative deal on a new contract, union officials said Thursday night. Nurses at Jersey Shore University Medical Center picket on Wednesday, calling for better staffing. Michael L. Diamond The proposed agreement could end what had been a bitter dispute that included a bid supported by parent company Hackensack Meridian to decertify the union at Southern Ocean. "These were extremely difficult negotiations," said Sue Kaszuba, vice president of Health Professionals and Allied Employees Local 5138 at Southern Ocean. "Yet we persisted, and in the end showed that we are able to withstand even the greatest threat to our solidarity." The union represents 1,100 nurses at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune and 300 nurses at Southern Ocean Medical Center in Stafford. Details of the proposed deal weren't released. The union has scheduled a vote on Dec. 13 to ratify the contract. Watch the video above about a demonstration last summer at Jersey Shore University Medical Center. MORE: Southern Ocean nurses vote to keep union MORE: NJ hospital safety gets top grades in U.S. How did your hospital fare? Union officials previously said the main sticking point was staffing levels. The issue is likely to give health care companies headaches as the giant Baby Boomer population ages and insurers and consumers require providers to deliver better, more affordable care. Consider: The federal government Thursday reported that health care spending nationwide grew 3.9 percent in 2017, slower than the overall economy and nearly 1 percentage point lower than 2016. Hospital spending nationwide grew 4.6 percent in 2017, slower than its 5.6 percent growth in 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said. Southern Ocean Medical Center in Stafford improved in the most recent grades from the Leapfrog Group. Asbury Park Press file photo The impact in New Jersey could be detected in a 2019 outlook survey released Thursday by the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, a business lobby group. The cost of health insurance, the biggest concern of its members last year, fell to No. 3 this year, trailing property taxes and the cost of doing business in New Jersey. On the other side of the ledger, though, is the health care industry. Out of the 11 sectors represented in the business association's survey, only one — health care — had a negative outlook for the next six months. ICYMI: NJ minimum wage, legal marijuana, make businesses jittery about 2019 Hackensack Meridian officials said the proposed contract would provide nurses with competitive wages and benefits and a positive work environment. And it would allow the two hospitals to continue to deliver safe, high-quality care for patients. The nurses at Jersey Shore and Southern Ocean had been working without a contract since July 31. The negotiations grew more bitter when a group of nurses at Southern Ocean filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board to decertify the union. The union said it was a bid by Hackensack Meridian to erode workers' rights. The company said many of the nurses were hired after the union had been in place and deserved a chance to vote. About 85 percent of the nurses voted to keep the union. "We were successful in defeating more than two dozen management proposed cutbacks in each facility, as well as making some significant gains for the nurses in both hospitals," Kendra McCann, president of HPAE Local 5058 said. Michael L. Diamond; @mdiamondapp; 732-643-4038; mdiamond@gannettnj.com       Published 9:53 AM EST Dec 7, 2018 Read Story
They will strike from 22 December to Christmas Day in a dispute over union recognition, the PPU says. Read Story
Coca-Cola's outgoing chairman Muhtar Kent said that more volatility and more unknowns are making running a global business even tougher in an interview on CNBC's Closing Bell. Read Story
Labor unions are collecting dues from public employees without their “affirmative consent” in defiance of a Supreme Court ruling that state laws requiring nonunion government workers to make such p…... Read Story
Se estima que un cuarto del crecimiento económico experimentado en los últimos 20 años en América Latina se debe a la incorporación de la mujer al mercado laboral. Read Story
The Yellow Vest protests in France are set to enter their third weekend while the French government is warning about a potential “coup attempt.” “The intelligence services have reported to the Elysee Palace, the official residence of the president, that there have been ‘calls to kill’ and ‘carry ... Read Story
El salario mínimo de México está entre en los más bajos de la región y es un hecho que tiene que subir, pero la situación del país hace inviable duplicarlo de inmediato. El aumento tiene que ser gradual, afirmó ayer Raúl Beyruti, presidente de GINgroup, empresa líder en Latinoamérica en administración de capital humano, durante un evento para colaboradores en Ciudad de México. Read Story
El gremio de maestros y otros empleados estatales ponen fin a los pares, de 90 días, al no poder detener la reforma fiscal del Gobierno de Carlos Alvarado Read Story
La decisión final de la Suprema Corte sobre la constitucionalidad del techo a los sueldos públicos podría postergarse hasta seis meses Read Story
El modelo impulsado por el expresidente Hugo Chávez y el deterioro institucional han sumido al país en una crisis sin precedentes Read Story
St. Luke's Hospital in New Bedford, Mass. , confirmed that it has filed objections with the National Labor Relations Board alleging voter fraud in a Nov. 29 unionization election. Read Story
Union, which represents about a third of airline’s pilots, is locked in dispute with carrier over recognition... Read Story
Eversource Energy has promised annual wage increases and to add 20 additional positions under a new four-year labor agreement with natural gas employees, the utility provider said. Read Story
Unions make new connections with Lee County public-sector workers Fort Myers News-Press Published 7:00 AM EST Dec 7, 2018 Sunshine, beaches, theme parks, orange juice. Our state evokes many images, but labor unions? Not so much. In 2017, Florida ranked 37th among states for union membership. However, a number of unions representing an array of occupations have a found niche in the Sunshine State. In Lee County, that includes unions reaching out to workers in the public sector. Airport police officers and Security Agents patrol Southwest Florida International Airport Tuesday around the noon hour. In November, Lee County commissioners acting as the airport board OK'd a three-year collective bargaining agreement between the airport police department and Teamsters Local Union No. 79. This is the first union-negotiated contract for the airport police department. It covers officers and security agents. The security agents are those folks who help direct traffic at the terminal, among other duties. Andrea Melendez/The News-Press/USA Today Two recent examples of union activity locally: • Teamsters Local No. 79 and Lee County Port Authority’s police and security agents have a collective bargaining agreement for the first time. County commissioners acting as the airport board last month OK’d the agreement that includes a 3.5 percent pay increase. • Unrelated to Lee airports, the Transport Workers Union has launched a recruiting campaign targeting county government’s blue-collar employees, including janitors and park maintenance workers. Starting in October, the union invited workers to sign cards calling for collective bargaining. That outreach to public sector workers complements a longstanding trend. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,  the union membership rate of public-sector workers – 34.4 percent – continued to be more than five times higher than that of private-sector workers – 6.5 percent – in 2017. However, union membership as a percentage of the U.S. workforce is declining. In 1983, when comparable union data first became available, there were 17.7 million union workers or 20.1 percent of the total workforce. In 2017, the number had fallen to 14.8 million people, 10.7 percent of employed workers. More: RSW adds cash-to-card machines as airlines say no to paper money From 2017: No pay raises for FGCU faculty concerns union In Florida, union membership stood at an estimated 418,000 in 2017, and has not fluctuated significantly over the past 10 years, according to Florida AFL-CIO, a federation of national and international labor unions. Airport police officers and Security Agents patrol Southwest Florida International Airport Tuesday around the noon hour. In November, Lee County commissioners acting as the airport board OK'd a three-year collective bargaining agreement between the airport police department and Teamsters Local Union No. 79. This is the first union-negotiated contract for the airport police department. It covers officers and security agents. The security agents are those folks who help direct traffic at the terminal, among other duties. Andrea Melendez/The News-Press/USA Today In Lee County, the airport rescue and firefighting department long has had union representation. But Lee County Port Authority’s contract with the Teamsters representing airport police and security agents is a first for 35-year-old Southwest Florida International. Its roots date back more than two years, when employees petitioned the union to represent them, followed by an on-site vote in December 2016. Negotiations began in May 2017. On Nov. 8, commissioners OK’d a 38-article contract that has an Oct. 1, 2018 start and ends Sept. 30, 2021. Many of the contract articles mirror port authority personnel policies. Retirement benefits will remain with the Florida Retirement System; health benefits stay the same; and paid time off will be accumulated at the same rate as for other port authority employees. The big changes are about salary adjustments and how they’re determined. The unionized police staff no longer will be eligible for merit-based pay increases. Instead, they’ll get a salary adjustment during the first pay period of October, if negotiated successfully with the port authority. John Samuelsen, international president of Transport Workers Union Special to The News-Press Police officers and security agents got a 3.5 percent pay hike retroactive to Oct. 1, 2017 . And they got another 3.5 percent increase retroactive to Oct. 1 of this year. In addition, the agreement gave security agents a 5 percent bump-up in their first full pay period after Oct. 1 of this year. This pay increase was based on a salary survey of Florida commercial service airports where employees perform similar duties. Pre-union pay for airport police in the 2017/18 fiscal year ranged from $44,297 for an officer just starting out, to $77,191 for a master police officer. More: A conservative and a liberal agree: Unions must change after Supreme Court blow on Janus More: Supreme Court rules against unions: How labor decision will affect union pay, benefits Security agents during that period had salaries ranging from $26,790 to $41,523. The Transport Workers Union is still in the early stages of reaching out to Lee County government’s blue-collar workers. However, “we’re doing a substantial amount of organizing in Florida,” said union International President John Samuelsen, a longtime New York City subway worker. He said the local push focuses on about 1,000 workers, including Lee County bus drivers, heavy equipment operators, building custodians and park maintenance staffers. Lee workers reached out to the union, Samuelsen said. “Generally it’s a grassroots effort among workers who see the union as the best way to protect their livelihoods,” Samuelsen said. The union is augmenting face-to-face visits with Lee workers though posts on Facebook, Twitter tweets and other digital media. Facebook ad from Transport Workers Union Special to The News-Press Lee County spokeswoman Betsy Clayton emailed this statement, when asked for comment on union organizing. “County employees are encouraged to become informed about the pros and cons of union representation, and county management is encouraged to inform and educate the employees about union representation. We find this approach to be supportive of federal, state, and local laws and regulations, and, in fact, in the best interests of the county’s employees. “The county does not endorse unionization because it prefers management and employees to work together without third-party intervention. However, that does not preclude the employees’ right of choice in these matters.” Transportation workers have been active with unions lately The TWU has about 140,000 active members nationally. Airlines employ about half of its members, including 30,000 at American Airlines, jointly represented with the International Association of Machinists. Recent union victories include an April vote by JetBlue’s 5,000 flight attendants to join the TWU. JetBlue’s major Florida bases are in Orlando and Fort Lauderdale. And, on Sept. 4, Spirit Airlines customer service agents voted to form a union under its banner. Spirit is based in Miramar, on Florida’s east coast. In response to a reporter’s question, Samuelsen said the TWU “right now” isn’t reaching out to Lee County Port Authority’s blue-collar workers. Airport police officers and Security Agents patrol Southwest Florida International Airport Tuesday around the noon hour. In November, Lee County commissioners acting as the airport board OK'd a three-year collective bargaining agreement between the airport police department and Teamsters Local Union No. 79. This is the first union-negotiated contract for the airport police department. It covers officers and security agents. The security agents are those folks who help direct traffic at the terminal, among other duties. Andrea Melendez/The News-Press/USA Today Florida is a right-to-work state, which means employees are not required to be members of the union that negotiates for better wages, benefits and safety conditions at their work place. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down an Illinois law that required non-union workers to pay fees that go into collective bargaining and overturned a 1977 law that required employees to pay so-called “fair share” fees. That’s expected to hurt union finances elsewhere, but have no direct impact here. “In Florida, we never had those agreements on the books,” said Rich Templin, Florida AFL-CIO director of politics and public policy. Airport police officers and Security Agents patrol Southwest Florida International Airport Tuesday around the noon hour. In November, Lee County commissioners acting as the airport board OK'd a three-year collective bargaining agreement between the airport police department and Teamsters Local Union No. 79. This is the first union-negotiated contract for the airport police department. It covers officers and security agents. The security agents are those folks who help direct traffic at the terminal, among other duties. Andrea Melendez/The News-Press/USA Today Templin said it’s untrue that unionization of public-sector workers brings an unnecessary third party into the worker-management relations. “Unions don’t come in and stand between management and the employees, because the employees are the union,” Templin said, adding: “Contract decisions – at the end of the day – are made by the employees.” Published 7:00 AM EST Dec 7, 2018 Read Story
The workers at MSP, the cleaners, cashiers, servers, cart drivers and more, that make the airport function every day make as little as $10.65. Glen Brown, a wheelchair assistance driver for Delta sub-contractor G2 for three years and a member of SEIU Local 26 said "I live in St. Read Story
Today Tesla faces off with the United Auto Workers at a hearing at the National Labor Relations Board. The union has filed  charges that the company has denied. The outcome of the case could  have far-reaching implications across Silicon Valley. Read Story
A grand jury report released Friday excoriated the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police and the president of the union representing officers, accusing command staff of bowing to an overreaching union president's demands as he blocked investigations into officer-involved shootings, leading to a lack of... Read Story
The Ready For 100 Chicago Collective has announced their formation as a new community coalition working to move Chicago to a 100% clean, renewable energy... Read Story
Will your therapist go on strike? 4,000 mental health workers protesting Kaiser Permanente USA TODAY Published 1:22 PM EST Dec 7, 2018 Kaiser Permanente mental health professionals and family members rally outside the Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Medical Center on Jan. 12, 2015. Damian Dovarganes, AP Thousands of psychologists, therapists, social workers and psychiatric nurses will begin a five-day strike Monday against Kaiser Permanente at more than 100 facilities across California, demanding one of the nation's largest non-profit HMOs devote more resources to mental health services. The shortage of mental health professionals is a growing problem nationwide. "These clinicians are making timely access to mental health care the civil rights issue of our time," said Sal Rosselli, president of the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW), which organized the strike of approximately 3,600 Kaiser mental health professionals and 400 support staff, including dietitians and health educators. The union is protesting the services Kaiser is giving to patients insured by the company. It wants Kaiser to increase staffing to reduce the length of time patients must wait for an appointment, to reduce the number of patients sent to non-Kaiser therapists, and to increase the ratio of returning patients to intake patients.  John Nelson, vice president of communications at Kaiser Permanente, strongly condemned the strike, calling it "completely unnecessary" and "a bargaining tactic." Several families who have lost loved ones while waiting for mental health care through Kaiser have shared their stories publicly: 83-year-old Barbara Ragan, a retired Kaiser employee whose family said she was suffering from depression, killed herself in 2015 after her family said she was told she would have to wait weeks for a psychiatric appointment. Susan Futterman, who is part of a class-action lawsuit alleging inadequacies in Kaiser’s mental health care, says her husband, Fred Paroutaud, killed himself in 2012 after failing to get an appointment with his psychiatrist. Sonoma County Supervisor Shirlee Zane's husband, Peter Kingston, killed himself in 2011 after struggling with anxiety and depression. Zane said her husband tried to see a Kaiser therapist in early December 2010, but was initially sent to an anxiety group instead. He was assigned a therapist later that month and had two appointments, an initial intake and one follow-up. On Jan. 15, Zane said her husband told her his therapist couldn't see him again until March. He took his life 3 days later. "I lost my beloved husband," Zane said. "We had an incredibly wonderful and happy life and marriage. He got sick and he didn't get treated by his provider." A national problem The strike comes as diagnoses of major depression are rising dramatically across the country — 33 percent since 2013, according to a report this year from Blue Cross Blue Shield. The suicide rate also has increased 33 percent since 1999, according to a CDC report last week. The National Alliance on Mental Illness says 43.8 million people experience mental illness in a given year. But there is a shortage of mental health professionals to treat people who are suffering. “The demand for mental health care services far outstrips supply because we aren’t recruiting or educating people to join the mental health workforce," said Imelda Padilla-Frausto, a research scientist at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the UCLA Center for Health Services and Society. "Once doing so becomes a priority, then maybe we’ll see fewer strikes among the few overworked therapists who remain in the field.”  A 2016 report from the Health Resources and Services Administration says by 2025, workforce shortages are projected for psychiatrists, psychologists, mental health and substance abuse social workers, school counselors, and marriage and family therapists. It projected mental health and substance abuse social workers and school counselors will have shortages of more than 10,000 full time employees. A federal mental health parity law passed in 2008. While it doesn't require health insurers to cover mental health services, if they do offer mental health benefits they must be comparable to physical health benefits. Plans under the Affordable Care Act were required to offer mental health and substance use disorder services. However, even with these improvements, many insured Americans say they struggle to find a therapist or psychiatrist. Many professionals don't accept insurance saying the reimbursement rates are too low. A 2017 report from the National Council for Behavioral Health cited research that shows 77 percent of U.S. counties already had “severe shortages” of psychiatrists and other behavioral health providers. "When you delay treatment appointments it substantially delays recovery times, and it increases morbidity rates and mortality rates," said Fred Seavey, the union's research director. "It has huge implications for people's lives. ... It has impacts on their incomes, their families and their relationships with loved ones." Holiday vulnerability vs. constant crisis Kaiser and the NUHW have been embroiled in what the union calls a multi-year "war" over the quality of mental health care services. Following a complaint filed by the union in 2011, Kaiser was fined $4 million in 2013 for violating the state's Mental Health Parity Act, which requires insurers to provide equal coverage for physical and mental health conditions, and the Timely Access to Care standards, which limits how long you have to wait to access to care. A strike similar to Monday's occurred in 2015 resulting in Kaiser agreeing to make improvements to its clinician-to-patient ratio and other issues, but the union says it has not lived up to them.  Kaiser has "increased the number of mental health professionals statewide by about 30 percent since 2015," Nelson said. "And when necessary we contract with community providers to further ensure our members have access to the care they need." The union says while many Kaiser patients now receive intake appointments within the state-mandated timeframes, they then have to wait one month or more for return appointments. The union said one-third of patients in Southern California are sent out of Kaiser for therapy, which places the burden of finding a quality, affordable therapist on patients, many of whom the union says are suffering from serious illnesses. Kaiser has criticized the union for organizing a strike during the holiday season, when it says many of its patients are especially vulnerable. Nelson says Kaiser is asking patients with routine mental health appointments to reschedule, but will continue to provide urgent care. Rosselli says from the perspective of the striking workers, there is "a crisis constantly," and they didn't feel they could wait any longer to get Kaiser's attention.  Zane balked at Kaiser's argument that therapists were being reckless. "They're making the point that somehow or other this is irresponsible for therapists to leave their patients for 5 friggin' days," she said. "They could put a patient on a five-week waiting list and not blink an eye and, 'oh, by the way, go pay for your own care outside of the system,' and then they're worried about five days?" Zane said Kaiser asked her to stay neutral in the strike. She shared an email with USA TODAY from community and government relations manager Carol Harris, who asked Zane and her colleagues on the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors not to "participate in the union’s public efforts to influence the bargaining process." "My husband's dead, my kids don't have a father, my grandkids don't have a grandfather," Zane said. "I'm glad these therapists are striking." READ MORE: My mom's suicide nearly broke me. Nearly. Suicide is one of the nation's top killers. When will we start acting like it? Self-care tips: How survivors get through the dark days How to make a safety plan Published 1:22 PM EST Dec 7, 2018 Read Story
Rail and airline passengers will face travel misery this Christmas as two major strikes were announced for the same day. Read Story
One week after it dropped a controversial lawsuit, the City has not heard from the firefighters union or its representatives about contract talks. Read Story
It took the members of UniteHere Local 5, 51 days to improve living conditions for themselves, their families—and by extension—all other hotel workers. There are 60 days in the upcoming legislative session that begins on January 16th. Read Story
Pottstown (Pa.) Hospital reached a contract agreement with workers after six months at the bargaining table, according to The Mercury. Read Story