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In the News
PBGC Bailed Out Five More Union Pensions Last Week
January 30, 2023 // Last week, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) announced five more failing union pension plans will receive taxpayer moneys to ensure the pensions maintain the ability to pay plan participants. In total, the PBGC will dole out $277.6 million in “special finance assistance,” covering 2,274 pension plan recipients—which averages to nearly $125,000 per participant, with some receiving nearly up to $158,000 from the PBGC.
I4AW Adds Three Labor Voices to Prestigious Senior Fellows Program
January 30, 2023 // These new fellows- Ken Girardin, David Osborne, and Mailee Smith- have impressive backgrounds as policy leads at the foremost labor policy organizations in the country. Their work is bridging the information gap with data and analysis that show how outdated labor policies and special interest politics are harming a large swath of the American workforce and producing hostile economic conditions for workers and small business owners. “We are proud to highlight the important research and analysis that Ken, Mailee and David are contributing to the labor policy debate,” said president of Institute for the American Worker, F. Vincent Vernuccio. “These new fellows and their respective organizations are on the cutting edge of labor policy, and we are honored to include them on the I4AW team.”
2/3rd of Post-Gazette Union Crossed Picket Line or Quit
January 30, 2023 // However, as the strike stretches into its fourth month with no end-in-sight, the union has struggled to prevent reporters from crossing the picket line. According to an analysis done by Payday Report of bylines and interviews with Post-Gazette reporters, nearly ⅔ of the union has crossed the picket line (with almost half of all reporters doing so). Many reporters, particularly younger reporters, have found jobs at other publications as the strike’s likelihood of success looks small and moved away from Pittsburgh./ Currently, the union can only maintain pickets for 2 hours a day as approximately two dozen reporters remain on strike from about 85 reporters who were members of the union at the beginning of the strike. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette union chair Andrew Goldstein has privately acknowledged to local labor supporters that the strike is a “disaster.”
King Kullen’s negotiating committee meet with union reps to avoid a strike
January 30, 2023 // During a meeting Thursday night, it was unanimously voted to authorize a strike. Although there are currently no plans to begin the strike, employees say they will if they do not get the pay raise they are asking for. A five-year agreement between the King Kullen and local 1500 expired in December. However, that contract has continued during recent bargaining. There have been nine negotiation sessions since the contract ended.
Portland city laborers rally outside Portland City Hall ahead of planned strike
January 30, 2023 // More than 600 Portland workers in the wastewater, parks and transportation fields plan to strike on Feb. 2, starting at midnight. The groups of workers planning to go on strike, according to the union, include: About 280 Bureau of Transportation workers, from concrete finishers to asphalt rakers to utility workers About 200 Parks & Recreation workers, from park technicians and turf technicians to horticulturalists and park rangers About 100 Bureau of Environmental Services workers, namely sewage and wastewater employees Other city employees, including fleet and vehicle workers
Please Touch Museum workers want to unionize
January 30, 2023 // A vast majority of the 46 proposed members filed paperwork with the National Labor Relations Board on Thursday, expressing their desire to unionize, though organizers declined to give a specific number of participants. The union would include full-time and part-time employees of the museum who are not contractors or managers. Ghorpadey and Stern said workers want the museum to invest in more robust security infrastructure. Safety concerns, largely due to disgruntled museum visitors who made verbal or physical threats, have led some people to quit, they said.
Support staff at UVM Medical Center vote to unionize
January 30, 2023 //
Teachers in Woburn vote to go on strike Monday
January 30, 2023 // "This action by the WTA is illegal, disruptive and unnecessary," said a statement from the Woburn School Committee and Mayor Scott Galvin. "The School Committee and Mayor Scott Galvin have been negotiating in good faith for more than a year with the WTA to reach an agreement on a successor collective bargaining agreement." According to the city, the school committee and the union reached a tentative agreement on a contract back in October 2022 but then the union did not ratify it.
Arizona university workers demand thriving wage
January 27, 2023 // Workers at the University of Arizona (UA) are demanding a large pay raise, to the tune of $25 an hour, by 2025. The United Campus Workers of Arizona (UCW), which also represents workers at Arizona State University (ASU), is calling for people to sign their petition to university administrators to implement a “dignified wage for ALL workers.” The UCW petition clamored for the payment of “a thriving wage, not a poverty wage” for workers due to rising inflation, which led to “significant increases in housing costs, gas, and food expenses.” The petition also claimed that around 4,000 employees “are not making enough to survive in our communities” because 43% of UA workers make less than $25 an hour. Currently, the UA petition has gathered 579 signatures out of its goal of 800 signatures.
Groundbreaking California fast-food law heads to statewide referendum and big political fight
January 27, 2023 //
The ‘Union Renaissance’ Is All PR
January 27, 2023 // The union membership rate — the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of unions — was 10.1 percent in 2022, down from 10.3 percent in 2021. . . . The number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions, at 14.3 million in 2022, increased by 273,000, or 1.9 percent, from 2021. However, the total number of wage and salary workers grew by 5.3 million (mostly among nonunion workers), or 3.9 percent. This disproportionately large increase in the number of total wage and salary employment compared with the increase in the number of union members led to a decrease in the union membership rate. The 2022 unionization rate (10.1 percent) is the lowest on record.
Kansas: Two More School Districts Drop the NEA
January 27, 2023 // The Center for Independent Employees (CIE) announces that it has successfully assisted in removing the National Educational Association as the bargaining unit from two additional school districts in Kansas. The action liberates 60 public school educators and more than 700 Kansas schoolchildren from the NEA. CIE provided the legal counsel for Kansas NEA removal from the Valley Heights and South Central School Districts. Teachers in both districts held votes to become unaffiliated and remove the NEA’s influence on Jan. 17. The votes were unanimous in both cases.
‘SNL’ Postproduction Workers Authorize Strike as Contract Negotiations Stall
January 26, 2023 // On Thursday, Jan. 12, the crew of around 20 part-time film editors, editors, assistant editors and media managers voted in a meeting over Zoom to allow their union to order a strike if necessary amid the slow-moving contract talks, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. The group, which unionized with the IATSE-affiliated Motion Picture Editors Guild in October, is responsible for postproduction on pretaped sketches, like music videos and commercial parodies, shot before the live show. After the union was voluntarily recognized by NBC management in October, the group has so far only had one bargaining session with NBC, with no additional dates currently scheduled. The Editors Guild sent management a package of proposals in December.
Goldwater Tells Federal Agency to Protect Workers’ Rights from Union Power Grab
January 26, 2023 // The National Treasury Employees Union, which represents more than 150,000 federal employees working in dozens of government agencies, is one of many big labor unions that wants to make it difficult for people to leave and stop paying dues, even though the U.S. Constitution and other federal laws protect workers and prohibit the unions’ money grab. That’s why the Goldwater Institute submitted comment to the Federal Labor Relations Authority last week opposing the National Treasury Employees Union’s request for rules and policy changes that would allow it to prevent its members from leaving the union or stop paying union dues unless they formally opt out within a narrow, annual window of time. In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court made clear in its landmark Janus decision that the First Amendment protects the freedom to associate—or not to associate—for “expressive purposes.” The Court held that “[n]either an agency fee nor any other payment to the union may be deducted from a nonmember’s wages, nor may any other attempt be made to collect such a payment, unless the employee affirmatively consents to pay.” And such consent must be proven by “clear and compelling evidence,” a high legal hurdle for government employers.
Supreme Court Misses an Opportunity to Protect Workers from Public-Sector Unions
January 26, 2023 // The Supreme Court decided today that it will not grant certiorari in the case Wright v. SEIU Local 503, one of several union-forgery cases currently working their way through the court system. By not hearing the case, the Court is allowing confusion about public-sector workers’ constitutional rights to persist. The Freedom Foundation, a conservative union-watchdog group, has found about a dozen cases where unions allegedly forged someone’s signature in order to keep taking money from their paycheck. Though it may seem like a simple question, lower-court rulings have failed to address the issue head-on.
Unionizing is off the menu at Waltham Starbucks
January 26, 2023 // The majority of employees voted in the secret ballot election; eight voted to unionize, while 15 voted against it. After months of organizing by workers to secure a union election as part of a nationwide movement, baristas at the Market Place Drive Starbucks voted against unionizing.
Workers at World of Warcraft studio Proletariat withdraw union petition
January 26, 2023 // Workers at Boston-based World of Warcraft support studio Proletariat (also known as Blizzard Boston) are pulling their petition with the National Labor Relations Board, and will not vote on a union. They announced their petition in late December, but withdrew the application on Tuesday. A representative of Communications Workers of America blamed management’s “confrontational tactics” for the withdrawn petition, claiming the company held “a series of meetings that demoralized and disempowered the group, making a free and fair election impossible.” Proletariat Workers Alliance was looking to secure the company’s current paid time-off plan, as well as flexible remote options, healthcare benefits, and ensuring transparency and diversity are top priorities.
The Unionization Rate Went, Uh, Down?
January 26, 2023 // Meanwhile, unionization in the private sector is 6.0 percent (down from 6.1 percent in 2021). Perhaps this is because median weekly earnings among union members rose $47 in 2002, compared to a rise of $54 among non-union workers. This is the latest year in a declining union earnings premium that reached as much as 30 percent in 2007 but was just over 18 percent in 2022
Union Election at Books-A-Million Outlet in Virginia Fails
January 26, 2023 // According to a release dated November 18 issued by the United Food & Commercial Workers International Union, “every single worker at the store signed union authorization cards in support" of an election to determine whether the 15 BAM employees in the Leesburg store would join UFCW Local 400 so as to collectively bargain contracts. Still, UFCW national press secretary Brian Doherty told PW in an email after yesterday’s election, “unfortunately, the vote did not go our way.” Doherty did not offer further details.
Legislative staffer unions percolate beyond D.C.
January 26, 2023 // Part of its argument is that the legislative union would violate the separation of powers because it would be overseen by Oregon’s Employment Relations Board, a part of the executive branch. “All of its members are appointed by the governor, so it's controlled by the executive branch, and that subjects the legislature to the executive branch in a specific way,” Freedom Foundation attorney Rebekah Millard told POLITICO.