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Make It Go Away!

In 2014, employees of a Unifirst Corp. laundry in Pennsylvania won a decertification petition against the Steelworkers, only to see the union-friendly NLRB overturn it. In April 2016, the employees again won a decertification election, and once again, the USW filed charges to attempt to defeat the effort to throw them out. With help from the National Right to Work Foundation, employee Homer Suman fought the USW for a year, to finally have the NLRB overturn the objections and certify the election.

Whistlin’ Dixie

French National Assembly member Christian Hutin

French National Assembly member Christian Hutin

The UAW just won’t back down when it comes to the Nissan plant in Canton, Mississippi. After years of no success attempting to organize that plant, the Auto Workers are teaming up with allies in Europe, specifically the French government—who is Nissan’s largest shareholder. One French parliamentarian is expected to visit the plant himself in order to “persuade” Nissan to support unionization at the plant.

A little further north in Kentucky, the Steelworkers are working on getting employees at Pilkington North America’s Versailles plantContinue reading Whistlin’ Dixie

Right To Work

When the United Steelworkers attempted to make a Buckeye Florida Corp. employee pay to be represented in a grievance case, although he was in a right-to-work state and had opted out of paying dues to the union, an administrative judge ruled that the USW violated the NLRA. The USW appealed to the NLRB, which gave the board the opening it needed to request briefs as to whether it should change the rules, to allow unions to charge “fair share” fees for such representation.

Fortunately, the case was settled (in the employee’s favor), and with the impetus no longer existing, the NLRB suspended the request for briefs. One can imagine that the unions are frantically looking now for another case to push this question back onto the board agenda.

Steelworkers Strike Oil Industry

The current Steelworkers strike, which has extended to 12 refineries, 2 chemical plants, and 1 co-generation facility across 6 states, is the union’s largest since 1980. The strike, which is supposedly focused primarily on safety concerns, began when two weeks of contract negotiations between the union and Shell fell through. Taking place against the backdrop of a record drop in oil prices, industry leaders are caught between cutting back on spending and providing sufficient safety standards for their employees.

The support in Houston, Texas has sparked some debate over whether or not this will give Big Labor more of a foothold in a state that has historically showed little interest in union representation. Steve Roppolo, an employment attorney with Fisher & Phillips, believes “It’s not like they can’t make headway…but there are significant cultural and other barriers, including Texans’ independent streak that leads many to be wary of

Continue reading Steelworkers Strike Oil Industry

Big Labor Pulls Statue of Liberty Play

While everyone was busy figuring out how union representation for the Northwestern football players would work (or, more accurately, not work), the Service Employees, Operating Engineers, Steelworkers, and various Police and Security unions were filing NLRB petitions at sixteen different private colleges and universities. So far, four of the petitions have gone to election and of the four elections, the unions have won all four.

The NLRB is currently seeking amicus briefs on whether or not the NLRB should be “exerting jurisdiction over religiously affiliated colleges and universities.”

Labor Relations Insight - February 2014

5 Reasons Why Northwestern Football Players Should Be Allowed to Unionize

NOTE: If you don’t have a sense of humor please read the disclaimer at the bottom of this post.

Kain Colter - Source: ChicagoNow.com

Kain Colter – Source: ChicagoNow.com

The big labor story this month came out of Chattanooga Tennessee. But this month’s other big labor story came from the unlikeliest of places: Northwestern University’s football team.

Quarterback Kain Coulter and Ramogi Huma, president of the National College Players Association, announced that a majority of the players at Northwestern had signed union authorization cards and had filed a petition with the NLRB to be represented by the NCPA (with backing from the United Steelworkers Union). On February 18

Continue reading Labor Relations Insight – February 2014

Union Threatens Release of Company Information

A stalemate between the Community Action Agency (CAA) and the Steelworkers, Paper, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy Workers (USW) over driver wages at Community Action Rural Transit System (CARTS) has turned ugly.

uswThe CAA filed an unfair labor practice complaint against Dave Cramner, a USW member and CARTS driver, for repeatedly approaching a CAA board member outside the presence of their attorney and designated bargaining representative. During that time, Cramner allegedly “threatened” the board member stating that he would “raise issues supposedly damaging to the CAA’s reputation in the community if the board member did not agree to meet with him.” Cramner followed through with that statement when he “accused the CAA of fraudulently administering one of its largest transportation contracts.”

Not satisfied with damaging remarks toward the company’s reputation, the USW proceeded to plan a work stoppage. While

Continue reading Union Threatens Release of Company Information

Democracy, Union-Style

Steelworkers Local 1104 demonstrated the union brand of “democracy” during a recent election for a variety of the local’s offices, including: president, vice president, financial secretary, recording secretary, treasurer, three trustee positions, guide, inside guard and outside guard. One month prior to the election, the union decided to apply a bylaw that had not been used for the last 3 elections, effectively eliminating 95% of all union members from qualification for office, leaving almost every race uncontested.

When a member complained to the International, the local action was upheld. The member then contacted the Department of Labor, which investigated the case and ruled against the local. They called for a new election, stating that a labor violation had taken place, “denying members in good standing the

Continue reading Democracy, Union-Style

Trumka: Undocumented Carwashers are the Future of the Labor Movement

AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka was in Los Angeles last week to celebrate the signing of collective bargaining agreements between the Steelworkers and

the Vermont Carwash and Nava’s Carwash in South LA. The two carwashes have agreed to pay their carwash attendants $8.16 an hour with 2% raises per year that should come close to covering the USW union dues.

That makes three unionized carwashes in the country, with Santa Monica’s Bonus Carwash becoming the first last year, and to President Trumka those victories signal an end to decades of union decline. “This is the future of the labor movement,” Trumka said, waving his hand towards a few dozen mostly undocumented carwashers and their families holding signs in English and Spanish.

Continue reading Trumka: Undocumented Carwashers are the Future of the Labor Movement

Panic in Indiana

Oh to be a fly on the wall in an Indiana union hall!

Fox News is reporting that Indiana union locals are in a mad scramble to persuade as many members as possible to willingly pay for union representation after Right to Work legislation kicks in and grants workers the power and the freedom to withhold their union dues.

“We’re gonna push them pretty hard and let them know this is what our services provide,” said Brett Voorhies, legislative director for the United Steelworkers District 7, which has 35,000 active members in steel mills along the Lake Michigan shore. It’s interesting that USW members need a “pretty hard” reminder of the value of their USW representation, especially after the avalanche of union propaganda triggered by the introduction of RtW legislation

Continue reading Panic in Indiana