PSLabor News

PSLabor News

In his May Day Message on Tuesday (Apr 30), Mr Lee also commended the work of the Labour Movement, pointing out that it has “good reason” to be ... Read Story
The nonunion teachers insist they haven't given “affirmative consent,” as required by law, for unions to subtract dues or fees from their pay. Read Story
The Washington Post gives us the latest on the presidential race: Just four days into Joe Biden’s presidential bid, the former vice president has quickly sought to define his campaign as a one-on-one battle between him and President Trump, rather than a contest with more than a dozen other... Read Story
Get breaking national and world news, broadcast video coverage, and exclusive interviews. Find the top news online at ABC news. Read Story
From wildfires to construction sites, a year in California workplace deaths. Read Story
The following article is from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation’s bi-monthly Foundation Action Newsletter, March/April 2019 edition. To view other editions or to sign up for a free subscription, click here. Trump NLRB asked to enforce rule stopping companies from aiding union ‘card check’ drives President Barack Obama’s NLRB pushed through Big Labor-friendly rules promoting coercive “card check” union organizing drives Washington, D.C. – After UNITE HERE Local 8 union officials unionized Gladys Bryant’s workplace via a “card check” drive, the Seattle housekeeper couldn’t help but feel that her rights had been violated. Union bosses had significant help from Bryant’s employer, Embassy Suites, to organize the employees – even a list of workers’ names and contact information. And when Bryant had sought to revoke her card asking for the union’s representation, a union organizer lied to her and her coworkers about the process, blocking Bryant from exercising her rights. After the tainted “card check” drive resulted in UNITE HERE Local 8’s monopoly bargaining power over her and her colleagues, Bryant decided to challenge the union bosses and her employer over their coercive tactics. She filed charges with free legal aid from Foundation staff attorneys. A National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Regional Director dismissed her charges, but a Foundation staff attorney has filed an appeal with the NLRB General Counsel. ‘Card Check’ Drive Marked by Misinformation and Double Standards Bryant had been working at Embassy Suites in Seattle for a month before the company informed her and her colleagues that UNITE HERE Local 8 union officials would be organizing the workplace. Union officials began conducting a “card check” drive, a coercive tactic that bypasses a secret ballot election. Embassy Suites actively promoted the drive, giving union organizers special access to the hotel to meet and solicit employees. The hotel even provided union bosses with a list of all employees’ names, jobs, and contact information to assist the union officials in collecting authorization cards from employees. Although Bryant did at first sign a union authorization card, she and many of her colleagues reconsidered. When Bryant asked a union official how to revoke her card, the union official misled her and other employees that they had to appear in person at the union hall to revoke any previously signed cards. Bryant made an appointment with the union official in an attempt to comply with the unlawful requirement. However, the union official did not show up. As a result, Bryant and her colleagues were unable to revoke their union authorization cards, which were then counted as “votes” toward unionization. Foundation Attorney Asks NLRB to Protect Worker Freedom After Embassy Suites recognized UNITE HERE Local 8’s monopoly bargaining “representation” over employees, Bryant sought free legal aid from Foundation staff attorneys to file charges, arguing that the unionization violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Bryant’s charges allege that Embassy Suites provided UNITE HERE’s organizing campaign with more than “ministerial aid.” The NLRB has long held that an employer taints employees’ efforts to remove a union if it gives the employees more than “ministerial aid,” such as providing a list of bargaining unit employees or use of company resources – as Embassy Suites gave union officials. Foundation staff attorneys argue that the same “ministerial aid” standard must also apply when an employer aids union officials’ efforts to gain monopoly bargaining power over workers. The Foundation staff attorney representing Bryant asks that the General Counsel issue a complaint on Bryant’s allegations to provide the Board with an opportunity to bring consistency to its “ministerial aid” standard Bryant’s charges also argue that UNITE HERE violated the NLRA and fatally tainted its proof of employee support by misinforming employees that they could only revoke authorization cards by going in person to the union hall, blocking workers from exercising their rights. NLRB doctrine holds that, to revoke an authorization card, an employee must simply sign a document stating he or she does not support union representation. Bryant and her coworkers had collected enough signatures for a decertification vote to remove the union. However, in a separate case covered in the January/February 2019 Foundation Action, the NLRB blocked their petition based on the “card check” recognition. The block was due to Lamons Gasket, a 2011 Obama Board ruling barring decertification for one year after unionization via “card check.” Some Board members have noted in other recent cases that they would be willing to revisit the blocking charge policy in the future. “ “This case proves that not only are union bosses willing to manipulate and ignore the rights of the workers they claim they want to ‘represent,’ their coercion often goes unchecked because of double standards in how the NLRB interprets the law,” said National Right to Work Foundation Vice President Ray LaJeunesse. “What qualifies as ‘ministerial assistance and support’ under the National Labor Relations Act cannot depend on whether the employer is helping outside union organizers impose unionization on workers, or assisting workers in exercising their rights to remove an unwanted union. This case offers the Trump NLRB a chance to stand up for worker freedom and end a double standard that tips the scales in favor of forced unionism.” Read Story
Fuel-tanker drivers in Portugal threatened a new strike within a week if a deal is not reached over their demands for better pay and conditions, their union said on Monday (29 April). Read Story
China's richest Internet moguls think their employees should work more.... Read Story
Birmingham City Council (BCC) has retracted and apologised for a statement made during this year’s dispute with the Unite union, which represents a portion of the council’s refuse workers.  The latest dispute, which saw refuse collection workers take strike action, came … Continue reading →... Read Story
DnB Markets lowered its rating on SAS as a pilot strike stretched into its fifth day with no resumption of talks in sight, sending the Scandinavian airline's shares down on Tuesday. ...| April 30, 2019... Read Story
The union representing four workers who died in two British Columbia sawmill explosions in 2012 says it hopes a new review of worker safety ordered by the provincial government will lead to overdue justice for survivors and families of the victims. Read Story
Union Free Words of Wisdom is part of our mission in helping organizations improve employee engagement, morale, production and yes - productivity. You ma Read Story
Sixty-nine workers died as a result of work-related injuries and illnesses in Massachusetts in 2018, a slight decrease from the 74 workers who died in 2017, according to a report released Thursday. Nine worker deaths stemmed from workplace violence in 2018, nearly double the figure from 2017. The 28-page report, released by union organization Massachusetts AFL-CIO and worker advocacy group Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health, detailed statistics on workplace fatalities caused by occupational injuries and diseases. Additionally, the report analyzed factors that contribute to workplace safety risks, including violence in the workplace, cancer-related illnesses, climate change and opioid misuse. Jeff Newton, membership and communications coordinator at MassCOSH, said the organization releases the report every year to combat the assumption that workplace safety has been “mastered.” He said the report also proves to the public that many workers are still subject to preventable hazards that can lead to fatalities. “What we do is we try to connect the dots and show the reader that there are predictable hazards that can have fatal consequences if they’re not mitigated by the employer,” Newton said. “… Instead of just being a sad report with depressing figures, we also go into what can be done to prevent these in the future.” Fifty-nine of the deaths were a direct result of fatal injuries at work, with 36 percent of the deaths accounted for by the construction sector, according to the report. The remaining 10 deaths came from firefighters who died from work-related diseases, such as heart attacks, Hodgkin’s disease and cancer of the lung, throat, liver and bladder. Newton said the leading cause of workplace death was transportation incidents, as there are a number of ways that large cars and trucks can cause fatal injury. “If you are actually an employee who works around these vehicles,” Newton said, “you are technically in the most dangerous kind of environment we have in the state.” Additionally, Newton said firefighters had an especially high risk for contracting cancer as a result of carcinogenic fumes released by combustible materials. “[Firefighters] are exposing themselves to all sorts of chemicals, and over the long term, those can cause cancer,” Newton said. “And actually, it’s so well known they can cause cancer that firefighters are one of the only sectors of employment where if you get a certain kind of cancer, they will consider it a workplace-related issue.” Newton said fire retardants posed an additional risk to firefighters and consumers, as they have been proven to be relatively useless and emit “all sorts of volatile compounds” when on fire. As for workplace violence, Newton said it was important for employers to have a response protocol in place, especially for jobs that face a higher risk for violence such as late-night grocery cashiers. “Having a plan to keep those workers safe on the job, whether it’s having them comply with everything a person holding a weapon would demand of them or kind of having a well-marked exit plan,” Newton said, “really just having a relatively comprehensive plan in place to at least acknowledge the fact that … employers have a responsibility to keep their workers safe.” Newton said climate change may indirectly increase the risk of workplace injury by worsening the damage caused by natural disasters, and thus further exposing recovery workers to hazards such as moldy buildings, sharp objects and infectious diseases. The report also noted fatalities from opioid overdose are on the rise as of 2017, as workers are increasingly becoming addicted following to painkillers they are prescribed for an injury and as a result of occupational stress. Jonathan Rosen, a consultant at the National Clearinghouse for Worker Safety and Health Training, said in the report employers must eliminate the negative stigma associated with substance abuse and address the “underlying roots of despair” that push workers toward opioids. “Low wages, mandatory overtime, split shi[f]ts, two tier wage systems,” Rosen said in the report, “and other economic disparities that cause work/life conflicts, chronic stress, and lead to mental illness, substance abuse, and suicide.” Susan Eichhorn, 22, of Brookline, said she does not think the government and employers are doing enough to foster safe workplace environment. “Culturally, I think there’s a big push to work beyond what might be comfortable,” Eichhorn said. Kevin Doherty, 23, of Brighton, said he does not think Beacon Hill can do much to lower the safety risk for its disaster recovery workers. “I know that after storms, those are emergency situations, so all hands on deck,” Doherty said. “I don’t know if you can really train for storms if you don’t know what’s coming.” Fakhry Fauzi, 27, of Allston, said he recognizes the significance of work-related injury, as his doctor warned him that the stress and lack of sleep caused by his job as a software engineer may be detrimental to his health. “[The job] is very stressful sometimes, it even takes away during our weekends,” Fauzi said. “The crunch sometimes can go all the way to 2, 3 a.m.” Read Story
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra will likely end its seven-week strike after the city's mayor Rahm Emanuel intervened to broker an agreement. Read Story
Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will hold his first event as a presidential... Read Story
For those Californians trying to make a few extra dollars driving a limo or rideshare car, cutting hair, taking a teacher’s aide position, teaching yoga, or spending weekends refereeing youth soccer and baseball games – that all could be coming to an end if the Democrats and labor unions have their... Read Story
According to a comprehensive foreign media report, the Cathay Pacific Air Passengers Union said that its members felt "angered" in the recent media reports that Cathay Pacific flight attendants were "thieves." Last week, Cathay Pacific took a surprise patrol of a flight from South Korea to Hong Kong,... Read Story
Labor rights for graduate student workers! Ben, Ben, Laura, and guest Matt McCune discuss the need for labor protections for early-career scientists and their quest to form recognized labor unions.We... Read Story
The largest labor union in the Philippines filed a petition today seeking a PHP710 (US$13.63) wage increase per day for Metro Manila workers, just two days before Labor Day. The minimum wage for employees in Metro Manila is currently set at PHP537 (US$10.31) per day. Read Story
Fight to Stop UAW at Volkswagen Chattanooga Plant Gets Underway... Read Story
Amid ongoing labor disputes, the management of Renault Samsung has decided to suspend operations at its plant in the southeastern port city of Busan for three days starting Monday. It is the first time operations of the Busan plant have been temporarily suspended by the management, not by... Read Story
Javier De La Rosa Garcia hasn’t worked in 231 days. Meaning, he hasn’t seen a paycheck in 32 weeks. Neither have the other 33 employees of Chicago’s Cambria Hotel that have now been on strike for nearly eight months straight. Read Story
The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union said in a statement Friday that it worries the increased workload could 'put workers lives in jeopardy', as they are forced to work faster. Read Story
An effort in New York to provide public financing for elections has laid bare divisions among Democrats and the unions that typically support them. Read Story
The International Association of Fire Fighters endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden for president in a video released on Monday morning, becoming the first major labor group to officially support a presidential candidate in the 2020 campaign. Read Story
Renault on Monday temporarily halted operations at its only plant in South Korea amid a drawn-out dispute with its labor union over wages and working hours. Read Story