PSLabor News

PSLabor News

ANY threats to railway workers’ pension schemes will be met by national strike action, rail union leader Mick Cash warned today. RMT general secretary Mr Cash said that workers were “deadly serious” about challenging any threat to their pension schemes. Mr Cash’s intervention came as the Department for Transport (DfT) announced a ban on Stagecoach bidding on rail franchises this year. Stagecoach, which is a partner of Virgin Trains, has refused to pay a £6 billion deficit in the Railways Pension Scheme. The DfT say that Stagecoach must help fill the gap in the funding, but the company claim that the deficit is the government’s responsibility. Mr Cash said: “No-one should be under any illusions.  “The pension rights of RMT members are not there to be used as bargaining chips in a row between the train companies and the government.  “We will coordinate any response across the country. “This situation is deadly serious and we are preparing to fight if need be and the government and the train companies should wake up to that fact. “We are demanding immediate assurances that the pension rights of our members will not be threatened in any way, shape or form as the broken franchising system on Britain’s railways teeters on the brink of collapse. “We are ready to take the necessary action and will not tolerate RMT members, their jobs, their pay and their pensions, being seen as collateral damage as Chris Grayling presides over this growing chaos.” Read Story
Walmart plans to soon add more than 3,900 robots to stores across the U.S. The robots will perform tasks like scanning products, sorting shipments, cleaning floors and readying online purchases for pickup. Read Story
On Wednesday, the Chicago City Council unanimously voted to establish the goal of transitioning the entire city to 100% clean, renewable energy, like wind... Read Story
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos challenged rival retailers to increase their minimum wages to $16 per hour, in his annual letter to shareholders released on Thursday.Amazon in November had raised its own minimum wage to $15 per hour in response to the ongoing criticism around pay disparity and poor working... Read Story
In a 3-1 decision released last week, the National Labor Relations Board reversed decades of precedent regarding a successor employer’s bargaining obligations following the purchase of an entity with a unionized workforce. Read Story
“We’re fired up! Won’t take it no more!” Dozens of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 3299 union members chanted as they picketed outside UCSF’s Parnassus campus on Wednesday. Read Story
Negotiations between the South Burlington School Board and the teacher’s union appear headed for mediation after the board declared an impasse in contract talks last month. Get all of VTDigger's daily news. You'll never miss a story with our daily headlines in your inbox. After 10 meetings since last October, the board has asked the South Burlington Education Association to call in a mediator. Elizabeth Fitzgerald, the school board chair, said mediation is common. “I’ve been in this role almost 15 years … in six different contract negotiations with the teachers, and 100 percent of the cases we’ve had to go to fact-finding,” she said. “History would tell us that mediation and fact-finding may be necessary to secure a settled agreement.” According to a statement from the School Board, the board has offered the union a raise of 3% that includes a combined increase in salary and benefits, while the union is seeking an increase of 6.4%. The school board’s proposal was rooted in the Bureau of Labor Statistics calculation in the increase in the cost of living across the Northeast region over the past 12 months — about 1.3%. Noah Everitt, a co-president of the South Burlington Education Association, said the union isn’t asking for a 6.4% raise. VTDigger is underwritten by: “We are not asking for a 6.4% raise, the school board declared impasse when we were preparing our next proposal, which they will receive at mediation,” he said. Everitt also noted the disparity between past contract agreements and healthcare commitments from the board. “The board suggests that the increase in health care costs is increased compensation, which it is not. This past year the board was not able to administer the health care system as agreed to in the negotiated settlement, resulting in thousands of dollars paid out by members who waited up to 10 months for reimbursement of covered expenses,” he said. “We have members currently who are not receiving their health care benefit, because the deductible funds withheld from their paychecks are currently not accessible to them.” The board said they are working within a budget already approved by voters, and a raise for the union higher than offered may result in cutting other programs. “If (the school board) is outside of the scope of the approved budget, which happens, (we) have to look at potentially cutting programs in order to work within the existing budget,” said Fitzgerald. The union, however, said their focus is benefiting the community. “Our main focus is finding the best deal to get the best quality of education for South Burlington students,” said Everitt. When asked about the how well the meetings have been going, Everitt’s thoughts contradicted the school board’s. “I think our board has been clear with us that they are more interested in a timeline than finding a deal or reaching settlement, and that was explicitly said to us in the meetings,” he said. “That is their motivating focus, they would like to make a deal but they are more interested in making sure the timeline is what they would like.” Due to the inability of making a deal, both the board and the union will invite a neutral mediator to facilitate negotiations. If both parties don’t come to an agreement, then a fact-finding process will begin. The fact-finder could issue a non-binding advisory report within 60 days. At the beginning of the negotiations, the board had nine issues on the table, while the union had 22. Fitzgerald said despite several proposals, she feels the two sides are far apart. Everitt said a strike is the last option the union will consider. “We are and remain committed to the process of negotiating with the hopeful of a settlement, because that’s ultimately what we seek and the possibility of strike should be avoided at all costs,” he said. If you want to keep tabs on Vermont's education news, sign up here to get a weekly email with all of VTDigger's reporting on higher education, early childhood programs and K-12 education policy. Read Story
Stanford Health Care and Packard Children’s Hospital nurses voted to strike for higher wages and workplace safety. Read Story
By Georgi Kantchev Georgi Kantchev The Wall Street Journal Biography @georgikantchev georgi.kantchev@wsj.com Updated April 11, 2019 10:36 a.m. ET U.S. stock prices bobbed around the flatline Thursday, as traders monitored fresh data on the economy and the latest developments in the U.S.-China trade. Read Story
The one-day strike is over a dispute about the allocation of health care savings in the last contract agreement. Read Story
Here's what would happen if the Rutgers University faculty went on strike North Jersey Record Published 2:31 PM EDT Apr 11, 2019 More than a year of fruitless contract negotiations has spurred Rutgers University's unionized faculty and graduate students to mobilize the university community — staff, students and distinguished professors — to back their plans to strike, if union leaders deem necessary. Bargaining teams from the Rutgers AAUP-AFT union and the university met Wednesday and planned to meet again Thursday, Friday and Monday in hopes of reaching an agreement. The university’s bargaining team has so far held out on key union demands — including pay equity, hiring more full-time faculty to improve the faculty-to-student ratio, and a $15 minimum wage for student workers, union vice president David Hughes said Tuesday at a Rutgers board of governors meeting. Full-time faculty, grad students, and adjunct professors rally for the Rutgers Board of Governors to meet their contract demands, which include equal pay, higher salaries, and more full-time faculty hires, on Tuesday, April 9, 2019, in Newark. Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com At an unrelated event on Thursday, Gov. Phil Murphy said he supported the union's demands and hopes "they find common ground and we can move forward." "As a broad conceptual matter I have complete sympathy for some of the pleas that we’re hearing from the faculty side, which is parity, equal treatment, a lot of adjunct faculty matters," Murphy said. "So as a general matter, in spirit, we are conceptually supportive but we’re not in the middle, at the table with our sleeves up, trying to adjudicate that result.” Senators and presidential candidates Cory Booker and Bernie Sanders have also said they support the union. Rutgers AAUP-AFT represents more than 4,800 full-time faculty and graduate workers across the university’s Camden, New Brunswick and Newark campuses. About 70,000 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled across the three campuses would be disrupted by a strike. University President Robert Barchi’s announced last week to put an additional $20 million into the school’s current diversity hiring program, which aligned with one of the union’s demands to increase funding to hire more faculty from underrepresented communities. In the next few bargaining sessions, if the university meets “most or all” of the union’s remaining demands, the faculty won’t strike, union president Deepa Kumar said Tuesday. Deepa Kumar, president of the Rutgers AAUP-AFT union, speaks during a rally at Rutgers-Newark on Tuesday, April 9, 2019, in Newark. Full-time faculty, grad students, and adjunct professors are rallying for the Rutgers Board of Governors to meet their contract demands, which include equal pay, higher salaries, and more full-time faculty hires. Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com But if the university doesn’t agree on major issues such as hiring more full-time faculty and raising the salaries of thousands of teaching and graduate assistants, professors and teaching assistants are prepared to strike. And many students say they would support them, by joining picket lines across the university's three campuses. When would a strike occur? Union leaders have said they will decide on whether to call a strike soon after scheduled negotiations end next week. Though union members have been signing up for picket duty, a strike hasn’t actually been declared yet. The labor union would likely use its social media and website to announce a strike. An overwhelming majority – 88 percent – of Rutgers AAUP-AFT union members voted in March to authorize union leaders to call for a strike if they believe one is necessary. If a strike begins before the end of the semester, the union hopes it would not extend into finals in May, said Kumar, the union president. Rutgers spring semester classes end May 6 and finals are scheduled to run May 9 to May 15. Commencement for the Rutgers New Brunswick campus is May 19. The commencement for the Newark and Camden campuses is May 22. Summer session classes begin May 28. Residency: Four Rutgers governing board members could lose their seats because they don't live in New Jersey Commencement speakers: Super Bowl champions McCourty twins named Rutgers University commencement speakers “We hope we settle a good contract before it comes to finals,” Kumar said. “We really hope that we don’t have to" disrupt finals "because education is our top mission and so really it’s in the hands of the Barchi administration to give us a fair contract.” Full-time faculty, grad students, and adjunct professors rally for the Rutgers Board of Governors to meet their contract demands, which include equal pay, higher salaries, and more full-time faculty hires, on Tuesday, April 9, 2019, in Newark. Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com What would a strike mean for students? In a word, disruption. “Classes will stop,” Kumar said. “There will be pickets outside the buildings. We will ask people including our staff and students to honor those picket lines.” Professors and teaching assistants have been preparing students for the possibility of a strike over the last few weeks, Kumar said. A student-run group, Rutgers Students United in Solidarity, has been handing out leaflets informing students about the strike and the union’s demands. The union would ask faculty and graduate assistants not only to cancel classes, but also “discontinue departmental service work during the days of the strike,” as well as stop “all non-essential research work,” according to the union’s website. It’s not clear how a strike would affect students’ grades, finals or graduation. When asked, the university spokeswoman did not give an answer. When faculty at the 14-state owned universities in Pennsylvania went on strike in 2016, the university stated on its website that students’ financial aid could be affected if the strike prevents the university from completing the semester on time. What’s Rutgers’ contingency plan? Most universities would likely have a contingency plan if its faculty decided to stop working, but, when NorthJersey.com and the USA TODAY NETWORK New Jersey asked about Rutgers' plan and how it would work, university spokeswoman Dory Devlin hasn’t directly answered the question or provided any specifics. Devlin hasn’t even said whether the university actually has a plan. “We are continuing to work diligently and have regular meetings scheduled with unions that have not yet settled to come to an agreement,” Devlin said. “We are confident that we will be able to agree on a contract and will not have a work stoppage.” When faculty went on strike for the first time in 2016 at Pennsylvania state colleges, a 14-campus system with 110,000 students, the university announced a strike-contingency plan on its website, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. The plan called for the campuses and facilities like the dining hall to remain open and encouraged students to go to class in case their professors decided against striking. When the faculty union at Wright State University in Ohio went on strike earlier this year for 20 days, the university posted job ads for replacement adjuncts in a variety of fields, challenged the legality of the strike and insisted the school remained organized. The Rutgers AAUP-AFT threatened a strike about 15 years ago, union members have said. If they follow through on the threat this time, it would be the first faculty strike in Rutgers’ 253-year history. Zainab Tanvir, a grad student who studies and teaches biology at Rutgers-Newark, rallies for equal pay and higher salaries for teachers assistants like herself and full-time faculty on Tuesday, April 9, 2019, in Newark. Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com Why would there be a strike? About 24 labor unions at Rutgers have been without a contract since last summer. Six have reached new agreements with the university, with 3 percent raises in each of the first three years and 2.5 percent raises in the final year, generally, Devlin said. Rutgers AAUP-AFT hasn’t reached an agreement with the university after more than 30 bargaining sessions since March of 2018. There are a few points the faculty union is demanding that the university’s bargaining team hasn’t budged on, union vice president Hughes said. Some of those include: Salary increases for lowest-paid teachers: The teaching and graduate assistants are paid an annual salary of about $26,000, Hughes said. They haven’t been given a raise in four years. The union wants their raises to go up “substantially” in the first year of the contract, he said. Pay equity: Faculty on the Camden and Newark campuses who do the same work and have the same level of experience as their peers in New Brunswick are paid less, according to the union’s research. The same goes for female teachers and faculty of color, the union states. $15 minimum wage for student workers: With more awareness of food insecurity among students at Rutgers, the faculty union wants students’ $11 minimum wage to increase to $15 per hour to help them with the cost of living and attending school. Improve the student-to-faculty ratio: The population of undergraduates has grown over the last 20 years from about 35,000 to 50,000, but the number of tenure-track faculty and teaching assistants has remained flat, Hughes said. The union wants more full-time faculty hires. “Camden and Newark faculty get paid less than New Brunswick – that is unconscionable,” Hughes said. “Pay people the same. Equal pay for equal work for women, for men, for faculty of color, for white faculty and for faculty in Camden, New Brunswick and Newark.” National champ: Nick Suriano brings Rutgers wrestling its first national title Lawsuit: Ex-Rutgers police sergeant claims high-ranking officers were boozing on the job Is it legal to strike in New Jersey? The state constitution and the state Employer-Employee Relations Act are “silent” on the issue of strikes, according to the union’s website. But courts in New Jersey have “ruled that walkouts by public employees are unlawful,” according to the union’s website. The university would need to petition the courts for an injunction which would require public workers to end a strike, the website states. The USA TODAY NETWORK New Jersey's Dustin Racioppi contributed to this article. Published 2:31 PM EDT Apr 11, 2019 Read Story
A union is suing Beaver, Pa.-based Heritage Valley Health System, alleging that the integrated delivery network retaliated against registered nurses in response to a grievance filed by the union, according to The Times. Read Story
When the teachers’ contract was settled, the Sacramento City Unified School District also was strongly advised that its ongoing budget... Read Story
LAVAL, Quebec, April 11, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- About thirty school bus drivers employed by Autobus DL voted by a margin of 91% to authorize a strike. The work stoppage will occur at a time... Read Story
Massachusetts Stop & Shop Workers Strike - Somerville, MA - Shoppers were asked to leave their groceries behind and leave as thousands of Stop & Shop workers went on strike. Read Story
Independent, student-run news source at the University of California, San Diego. Read Story
Casualisation has weakened worker solidarity but by sticking together we can change the rules... Read Story
For the third time in five years, auto workers will vote on whether to form a union at the country’s sole Volkswagen plant, located in Chattanooga, Tennessee. On Tuesday, the United Auto Workers (UAW) filed for an election to represent all 1,709 of the plant’s hourly employees, requesting that the... Read Story
Millions of workers could be affected by Trump's joint employer rule. Read Story
Stelco's president and executive chairman met with Justin Trudeau in Ottawa on Thursday. Read Story
In the midst of stalled negotiations with Stanford Health Care over wages and workplace conditions, the Committee for Recognition of Nursing Achievement (CRONA) — the independent union representing nurses at Stanford Health Care and Packard Children’s Hospital — voted to authorize a strike on... Read Story
The airline operates flights for Aer Lingus’s regional branch at Irish and UK cities... Read Story
ASTI wants redress arising from penalties imposed after strike two years ago... Read Story
Five locals representing 31,000 walk off the job in three states... Read Story
Employees could be seen holding signs and picketing outside. Read Story
Workers at Stop & Shop supermarkets in three states have gone on strike over stalled contract negotiations…... Read Story
San Francisco police arrested 24 people Thursday evening during a protest outside of City Hall, attended by thousands of city workers amid contract negotiations with their employer. Read Story
Former IDF general issues statement after reports he could make way for Merav Michaeli to enter Knesset; says he and party need time for 'soul-searching'... Read Story
Our union went on strike today (see A DAY ON THE PICKET LINE).CBS News just ran this segment on it:... Read Story
Student activists discussed at an event on Thursday Nike’s mistreatment of workers following the company’s withdrawal from Indonesia and decision to provide minimal or no severance pay to Indonesian workers in 2011. Read Story
Stop & Shop says it's improved a “final offer” to resolve a three-month stalemate with its unionized employees, offering workers higher wages and $75,000 buyout packages to tenured staff. Read Story
Sustainable finances would seem to be a self-evident good, but the problem is that people who didn’t get this point won’t be easily persuaded... Read Story
For the second time in less than a month and the fourth time in a year, thousands of University of California workers will stage a one-day strike Wednesday at campuses and medical facilities across the... Read Story
United Auto Workers officials say they hope the focus of a proposed union election in coming weeks at Volkswagen's Chattanooga plant is on the factory's workforce and not on outsiders. Read Story
Non-tenure track (NTT) faculty delivered a letter April 2 addressed to President Jonathan Veitch, Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dean of the College Wendy Sternberg and the board of trustees requesting that Occidental stay neutral as NTT faculty pursue unionization through Service Employees... Read Story
John Jason Burgess, a former president of a St.Helens-based manufacturer’s labor union, was sentenced Wednesday to five years of probation and 50 hours of community service for embezzling more than $32,000... Read Story
Close to 1,800 students could be affected if teachers picket at all five charter schools, which are dotted across the South and West sides. Read Story
Hundreds of taxi drivers walked into Poland’s capital to protest a new law allowing and regulating services such as Uber and drove at a crawl. Even the protesters who held up Warsaw traffic on Monday said the legislation a week, adopted by the government will put cabbies from work by subjecting... Read Story
Employers should be careful about designating Employee Handbooks confidential as, according to the National Labor Relations Board’s advice division, that would be unlawful. That advice ... Read Story
But labor leaders are still treading into 2020 with caution. Read Story
Graduate student workers at Loyola, UChicago and Northwestern all voted to unionize, but administrators refuse to come to the table. Read Story
Labor unions at some of Spain’s main transportation companies are making the most of the Easter travel crunch and calling strikes on days with expected passenger peaks. Read Story
The Vermont senator who is running for president as a Democrat will make a stop during his swing through Midwestern states. Read Story
OPINION Opinion: Union membership fixes wage disparity Published 11:10 PM EDT Apr 9, 2019 People gather at the Supreme Court, Monday, June 25, 2018, awaiting a decision in an Illinois union dues case, Janus vs. AFSCME, in Washington. The Supreme Court says government workers can't be forced to contribute to labor unions that represent them in collective bargaining, dealing a serious financial blow to organized labor. J. Scott Applewhite, AP The disparity in the wage gap between CEOs and working people continues to grow to obscene levels in our country. It wasn’t always this way. In 1965, the gap between CEO and workers’ pay was 20 to 1. However, this ratio exploded in the decades that followed, climbing to a 343-to-1 ratio by the year 2000. It has remained above the 300-to-1 level since then. If you happen to be a working woman, the wage disparity is even worse. Last week marked Equal Pay Day. This annual observance was started to raise public awareness of the pay gap between men and women. It is commemorated on the date that symbolizes how far into the current year a woman has to work in order to earn what a man earned in the previous year. All working people in this country deserve a raise, but if you are a working woman, the need is that much greater. The best answer to address this inequality is to have strong, vibrant unions to allow workers the freedom to collectively bargain for better working conditions. Inequality in any manner is wrong, but to address women’s workplace inequality, Susan B. Anthony said it best over 100 years ago when she said “Join the union, girls, and together say Equal Pay for Equal Work.” The labor movement built America’s middle class. When working men and women exercised their freedom to join in union, they demanded a fair return for their work and better working conditions. It’s no coincidence that as unions have been under attack in recent years by elected officials and corporate special interests, the middle class has been shrinking, and wages for working people have been stagnant. This erosion of worker’s collective voice has been used to manipulate the economic rules to benefit the wealthiest 1% and CEOs, hence the growing disparity between CEO and workers’ pay. Union workers also benefit from the nondiscrimination policies unions fight for in our collective bargaining contracts to protect all working people. When workers have the right to stand together, the gender pay gap also shrinks, with women in union workplaces making $231 more a week than women without a union voice. When women earn more, our families do better. Even non-union workers benefit from the presence of a strong labor movement because unions set the standard for all working people. Through our collective voice we set a higher prevailing wage and create a race to the top as non-union workplaces must meet the economic standard we set in order to attract employees. Evidence of this can be seen when looking at wages in so-called “right to work” states, where wages are 3.1% lower than non “right to work” states. What does that mean for the individual worker? “Right to work” costs them nearly $1,600 a year in denied pay. Working people are the backbone of this country, but we must always remain vigilant to protect our freedoms. By standing together, we can change the rules of our economy and make sure all workers have a fair chance to make a wage that allows them the opportunity to provide for their families. We can use the power of our numbers to erase wage inequality. Ron Bieber is president of the Michigan AFL-CIO. Labor Voices  Labor Voices columns are written on a rotating basis by United Auto Workers President Gary Jones, Teamsters President James Hoffa, Michigan AFL-CIO President Ron Bieber and Michigan Education Association President Paula Herbart. Published 11:10 PM EDT Apr 9, 2019 Read Story
The Zastava oruzje (Zastava Arms) factory’s workers went on an-hour-long ‘warning’ strike on Wednesday in a protest after the Union leader Dragan Ilic had been fired, N1 reported. Read Story