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In the News
Food Company Employees File Charges Alleging Union Dues are Being Illegally Deducted from their Paychecks
November 4, 2022 // Employees at Buitoni Food Company have filed charges against their employer and United Steelworkers (USW) Local 9555 after union dues deductions resumed despite the workers having revoked their authorization for such payments to be taken out of their paychecks. The federal Unfair Labor Practice charges were filed with National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region 5 with free legal aid from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation attorneys. The charging workers, Steven Ricketts and Donald Hale, each hand-delivered letters to both USW union officials and to their employer formally resigning their union memberships and revoking their dues check-off authorizations. Because Virginia is one of 27 states with a Right to Work law, union membership and dues payments must be voluntary and cannot be required as a condition of employment. In states without Right to Work laws, workers can legally be fired if they refuse to pay union dues or fees.
Strike averted at Archer Daniels Midland
November 3, 2022 // eamsters Local 238 signed a new three-year agreement with Archer Daniels Midland today, averting a strike at the multinational food processor’s facility in Cedar Rapids. The union’s previous contract with ADM, based in Chicago, had expired at midnight today. The new agreement was effective immediately. If the union were to have gone on strike, it would have become the second ongoing work action in Cedar Rapids. The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union Local 100G’s strike against Ingredion now is in its 13th week.
Screenprinters vote to unionize, but owner says he closed their shop
November 3, 2022 // “Due to the financial strains on the business, we’ve closed up those divisions and will no longer produce them. We sold or are in process of selling all of the equipment,” Crushin’ It Apparel owner Jeremy Kruk told the Cap Times following the vote tally. “This door to my life is now closed.”
More than 1,000 doctors-in-training at Bronx hospital announce unionization
November 3, 2022 // A major unionization effort is underway among the 1,200 physician trainees at Montefiore Medical Center, who are raising concerns about staffing and other issues at the Bronx hospital. Resident physicians and fellows at Montefiore will announce their plans Tuesday to join the Committee of Interns and Residents of SEIU — a health care union that currently represents about 22,000 residents, interns and fellows across the country.
Florida Teachers’ Union Bleeding Members
November 3, 2022 // The Florida Education Association (FEA) lost more than 4,500 members – a 3.3 percent drop – in just the 2020-21 school year. By comparison, the National Education Association (NEA) and American Federation of Teachers (AFT) lost 2.3 and 2.1 percent of their memberships, respectively, in the same single school year.
Taking the ‘Free’ Out of ‘Freelance’
November 3, 2022 // ...the Biden administration’s recent broadside against independent work, in the form of a new Department of Labor proposed rule for determining when a worker is properly classified as a contractor or an “employee” under the Fair Labor Standards Act (and thus subject to minimum wage, overtime, and other labor regulations). The rule is complicated and still preliminary, but most experts agree on its objective and likely result: to make it more difficult for workers to be classified as independent and thus to force many of them to be reclassified as employees, whether they like it or not.
CT’s ‘captive audience’ law challenged in federal lawsuit
November 2, 2022 // Connecticut’s ban on “captive audience” meetings, which unions say are used to thwart organizing, is unconstitutional and a preemption of federal labor law, a coalition led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce claimed in a lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Hartford. The lawsuit, joined by the Connecticut Business and Industry Association and trade groups representing retailers and others, says the ban violates free-speech and equal-protection rights under the Constitution by “chilling and prohibiting employer speech” with their workers. The defendants in the lawsuit are Commissioner Danté Bartolomeo of the state Department of Labor, the department itself, and Attorney General William Tong. Chris DiPentima,
Teachers union spends $1M on Michigan governor’s race
November 2, 2022 // Yet the MEA, along with its parent organization, the National Education Association, is heavily funding Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s reelection campaign, as well as some Michigan school board races. The NEA is spending $1 million in Whitmer’s favor. The MEA is also endorsing nearly 200 candidates in local school board races and giving more than $1,000 each to many candidates across the state. This amount goes a long way in local school board elections. The NEA and MEA are supporting candidates who will back the status quo. The Washington Examiner reported April 7 that the NEA spent $66 million on political activities and another $117 million on political contributions, gifts, and grants for the 2020-21 reporting cycle. MEA’s total spending for 2022 is not yet available.
Teamsters Union votes to end strike with local beverage distributor, sending dozens back to work
November 2, 2022 // About 60 local workers returned to their jobs at Swire Coca-Cola in north central Washington on Monday after spending a little over two weeks on strike. With warehouses in East Wenatchee, Omak and Moses Lake, Swire distributes Coca-Cola products to store across north central Washington. Drivers, merchandisers and loaders for the company were represented by Teamsters 760, the union that had initially turned down Swire's initial labor contract. The dispute between Swire and some of its workers began when the union rejected a new labor deal before the last one ended on April 1, 2022. Union workers continued to work and remain employed with the company until the labor union rejected Swire's revised deal for the second time on Oct 11, prompting employees to strike the following day.
TARC management, TARC Union to meet for new contract negotiations Wednesday
November 2, 2022 // The union has already voted to authorize a strike if necessary. Per Kentucky law, public employees like TARC drivers aren't allowed to strike or engage in work stoppage. In a statement, a TARC spokesperson said they're hopeful they'll finalize a contract that provides employees with the best possible wages while also meeting TARC's budgetary responsibilities.
Trader Joe’s United’s first loss is further proof that unionizing isn’t easy
November 2, 2022 // Ananya Bhattacharya Mon, October 31, 2022 at 4:43 AM·3 min read Three months into its unionizing efforts, Trader Joe’s United has lost its winning streak. At a Trader Joe’s store in Brooklyn, workers on Oct. 28 voted 94 to 66 against joining the independent union, which represents employees at two other stores in Massachusetts and in Minnesota.
Delta Air pilots vote to authorize strike
November 2, 2022 // Pilots at Delta Air Lines (DAL.N) have voted to authorize a strike if negotiators cannot reach agreement on a new employment contract, their union said on Monday. The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), which represents nearly 15,000 pilots at the Atlanta-based carrier, said 99% of those who cast their ballots backed strike-authorization. Under U.S. law, Delta pilots cannot walk off the job until the National Mediation Board grants them permission.
Op-ed: Nothing Does More to Weaken Unions Than Union Leaders
November 2, 2022 // In 2018, before the Janus decision affirmed that teachers can refuse to support their unions’ radical politics, the CTA boasted 310,000 members. Today that number stands at 280,000 — a loss of more than 30,000 members and $36 million a year in lost dues revenue — much of which would have gone into campaign coffers to buy elected officials who would serve Big Labor’s interests.
Biden’s Labor Department moves to raise taxes on the American workforce
November 1, 2022 // The Labor Department’s proposed rule would force Americans who don’t want a boss to have a boss. Under current law, independent contractors perform a task or execute a project and present the result to an individual or business for payment. Unlike traditional employees, independent contractors have the freedom to set their own schedules, determine their workload, and can put food on the table without needing a boss. Labor’s new proposed rule would force independent contractors to reclassify as W-2 employees if the worker is “economically dependent” on the entity that is paying him or her.
What’s next for staffer unions on the Hill?
November 1, 2022 // Staff for another five members — all Democrats — have filed petitions with the Office of Congressional Workplace Rights to hold elections. Since the initial eight offices filed petitions when they were first allowed to in July, only two more have done so — staff for Reps. Dina Titus of Nevada and Sean Casten of Illinois. If all form unions, around 100 House staffers out of 9,100 will be represented by the Congressional Workers Union.
Teacher group says communication with APS broke down after School Board allowed unionizing
November 1, 2022 // Arlington Public Schools became the second school district in Virginia to do so, after the General Assembly in 2020 repealed a ban on school employees bargaining collectively. Before that, AEA advocated for public school employees but could not guarantee benefits through legally binding contracts. This month, organization members told the School Board that its approval of the collective bargaining resolution shut out staff, and since then, communication has worsened between employees and APS’s top leaders.
US elections will gauge support for unionization in two states
November 1, 2022 // The most significant drive for labor unionization in the United States since the early 1970s will be put to the test in the upcoming midterm elections. Voters in Illinois and Tennessee are being asked to decide on two antithetical visions of the future of organized labor: the right to collective bargaining versus the right to work. The latter allows individual workers to choose whether or not to join a union, and frees non-members from paying compulsory union dues. Illinois wants to do away with right-to-work laws while Tennessee wants to amend its state constitution to include right-to-work provisions like nine other states. Across the US, 27 states have enacted various right-to-work laws, evidence that the country’s divisive polarization extends to labor relations.
How Biden’s Victory With Railroad Unions Could Be Derailed
November 1, 2022 //
Opinion: How Service Industry Unionization Could Impact Prices
November 1, 2022 // “It’s important for independent restaurateurs to note that these unionization efforts are almost entirely focused on large chains and franchises like McDonald’s and Starbucks,” said Mary King, a restaurant analyst for Fit Small Business and a 14-year restaurant veteran who has worked in every facet of the industry. "Keep in mind that in addition to potential wage increases, restaurants are dealing with rent increases, fuel surcharges, and higher prices for baseline ingredients like flour and bread,” said King. “It is as likely that price increases will come from those increased costs, not merely because some restaurants may be asked to pay their staff higher wages.”
Environmental Protection Agency Workers File Suit Over Remote Work Policies
November 1, 2022 // “Other EPA offices across the country have not been denying remote work requests like we’ve been seeing here in the Midwest,” Cantello said. “The union originally bargained the right to remote work with EPA to protect members and their families during this pandemic, so we need to understand why the Region 5 management is denying applications and withholding documents that the union needs to examine EPA decision-making on remote work under FOIA.” The union is being represented in the lawsuit by Hudson B. Kingston, a litigation and policy attorney at Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.