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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.

Union Money Shell Game

In 2016, the UNITE HERE financial disclosure forms indicate that it contributed more than $237,000 to Yale’s graduate student union, which eventually became UNITE HERE Local 33. However, the Local failed to disclose the receipt of the funds, leaving it anybody’s guess how the money was spent and highlighting again union transparency concerns.

In another shell game, a former USW employee and her husband siphoned off over $50,000 from an Institute of Career Development fund set up between the Steelworkers union and major steel companies, designed to provide educational services to Steelworker union members.

Another Merger To Save A Union

no-gmpThe Glass Molders, Pottery, Plastics, & Allied Workers International Union (GMP), a union with a history reaching back 175 years, has found that a merger with the United Steelworkers (USW) “will give the GMP the strength, resources and ability to continue to serve its membership throughout this century and hopefully well beyond.”

Last year, union leadership stated that without a merger, diminishing membership numbers “would require an immediate and dramatic dues increase,” and even then, “any downturn in our major industries or another recession could easily devastate” the union.

The GMP was already an amalgam of unions formed by various mergers over the years, with a current membership of only about 25,000 members, while the USW currently boasts a membership of about 850,000.

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

Steelworkers Learning The Hard Way

Locked out steelworkers picket infront of the ATI mill in VanderIn this article on the World Socialist Web Site, locked out members of the USW at several smaller mills are finding out first hand that the USW has an agenda beyond that of helping its members. Although allocated strike pay stands currently at $200 per employee per week, the striking employees are only seeing $100 per week, as the rest is held by the local for “emergencies.” Meanwhile, the USW appears to be considering reducing that pay even further.

In an interesting analysis of the events by the article author, the USW seems to be trying to isolate the workers from these smaller plants to get them to toe the line and prevent a “unified struggle against the steel manufactures.” Pretty compelling

Continue reading Steelworkers Learning The Hard Way

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.

Dire Straits

Source: http://www.pbgc.gov/

Source: http://www.pbgc.gov/

Teamsters Central States Pension Fund has been in trouble for a long time and it doesn’t look like they’ll be getting out of it anytime soon. Currently serving roughly 410,000 participants, the fund is not making as much as it’s paying out. If the situation continues as is, the fund’s trustees believe it will become insolvent within a decade. In order to stay afloat, Central States is looking to cut the amount it pays out to retirees – you know, the people who paid into it for 30 years and have planned their retirement around it.

This was made possible by a federal law passed last year that allows struggling multi-employer pension funds to cut benefits for retirees younger than

Continue reading Dire Straits

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

For What It’s Worth

US-IT-TELECOM-TRANSPORT-TAXIThe Teamster-Uber fight has been plastered across the media with Local 922’s claims that Uber and Lyft’s success has created an unlevel playing field for DC taxis. However, in spite of all their protests, traffic jams, and pressure on political officials, IBT failed to convince the Washington D.C. City Council of this. Last month, the council approved a bill establishing a framework for UberX to operate legally in the city. On the West Coast, other Teamsters locals are taking a different tact – choosing instead to side with these ride-sharing drivers in hopes of organizing them later on.

On November 7th, the Telecommunications Workers Union (TWU) voted to merge with the United Steelworkers (USW). The Telecommunications Workers will remain intact as a USW local, but

Continue reading For What It’s Worth

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.”