Posts tagged Executive Order

    California: Offshore wind terminal to be built primarily with union hands

    August 17, 2023 // Two of five commissioners (Aaron Newman and Craig Benson) noted their hesitation in voting due to the concerns of non-union construction workers but ultimately voted in support. Harbor district executive director Larry Oetker noted that this type of agreement is necessary — a recent executive order mandates any construction project over $35 million funded with federal dollars must include a labor agreement. The grant for phase 1 of the project involves the district requesting more than $300 million in federal dollars, according to an email from District Development Director Rob Holmlund. The agreement, which was negotiated largely by Jeff Hunerlach, from the Building and Construction Trades Council of Humboldt and Del Norte Counties and Chris Hannon, president of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, includes some provisions for non-union workers. It allows for any construction under the amount of $250,000 to be exempted from the agreement, according to a presentation from Oetker, who noted the benefits include no work stoppages in the process of construction. Union members said that labor agreements streamline the project by providing the skilled workers needed and to keep things on budget. Lynette Mullen, who said she was hired about three weeks ago by the Humboldt Builders' Exchange (an association of around 300 businesses in the construction industry) to get to the bottom of the labor agreement, said that the Exchange wants fair and equal opportunity toward the project and have more of a chance to weigh into agreements. She said people are frustrated they're being forced to join a union and pay into the union, adding that the Exchange understands the harbor district needs to do the agreement for federal funding. "This has been the saddest thing I've ever seen," she said. Environmental Protection Information Center, Missing and Murdered Indigenous People,

    Op-ed Lawmakers: Protecting teachers’ paychecks is an Oklahoma priority

    May 9, 2023 // Teachers across the country seem to be awakening to the gulf between their own values and the political bent of the unions. The National Education Association, which is one of the nation’s largest teachers union, ended 2022 with a net loss of 40,107 members, marking its lowest membership level since 2006. But educators shouldn’t be left to resist union overreach on their own. They need their state leaders to hold unions accountable and to protect teachers’ rights. Oklahoma leaders already have begun tackling this important issue. In 2021, we authored legislation, now reintroduced as Senate Bill 99, which would help protect teachers’ First Amendment rights to decide whether to pay union dues. Gov. Kevin Stitt followed in 2022 with an executive order calling for action on teacher notification, which would guarantee teachers a written notice to confirm that joining and paying a union is optional. State schools Superintendent Ryan Walters also has been a vocal proponent of teacher paycheck protection. Now the issue is front and center once again, not just in Oklahoma but across the country. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis unveiled a legislative proposal earlier this year to protect teachers’ constitutional freedoms, reduce union overreach and get Florida taxpayers out of the business of collecting union dues. Meanwhile, state leaders in Indiana also are prioritizing the needs of their teachers, and Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has introduced similar legislation.

    VA and the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Reach Tentative Agreement to Better Serve Veterans and Support VA Employees

    April 12, 2023 // This tentative agreement follows three key agreements VA made with the National Federation of Federal Employees in February. Over the past two years, VA has taken several critical steps to support bargaining unit employees, including 1) reestablishing the National Partnership Council, a forum for open communication between labor leaders and VA leadership; 2) restoring official time for Doctors, Nurses, Physician Assistants, and other Title 38 employees, meaning that these employees can use work hours to advocate on behalf of their bargaining unit coworkers; 3) reestablishing yearly and Semi-Annual Labor Management meetings with VA union partners; and 4) including the unions pre-decisionally in critical employee-centric decisions, such as the creation of the VHA REBOOT Task Force to address employee burnout.

    Unions make gains in Colorado

    February 22, 2023 // On January 31, 2023, a proposed bill entitled “Public Employees’ Workplace Protection” (SB23-111) that would give public unions more power and influence in the workplace. The sponsors are State Senator Robert Rodriguez (D) and State Representative Steven Woodrow (D). The legislation would impact public employees such as county or municipal workers, general assembly staffers, school district employees, higher education employees, public defenders’ officers, University of Colorado and Denver hospital authorities, fire authorities, and members of board of cooperative services. Multiple unions have already endorsed the bill. The Communications Workers of America 7799 (CWA), which is affiliated with AFL-CIO and represents public defenders, education employees, healthcare employees, and library workers, said the bill would protect workers from retaliation from employers.

    OPM Tells Agencies to Review Exclusions from Bargaining Units

    February 1, 2023 // It added: “OPM acknowledges agencies undertaking a comprehensive review of bargaining unit coverage may conclude existing bargaining unit employees who encumber positions should be excluded from bargaining unit coverage under the Statute. Such matters will be resolved by the FLRA.” The memo is the latest in a series of steps from the Biden administration favorable to unions in the federal workplace. Among those are guidance encouraging agencies to create labor-management forums and involve unions in more decisions outside the bargaining context; to provide job candidates and newly hired employees information about union rights, including allowing unions to be involved in new employee orientation; and to promptly process employee requests to have dues withheld.

    Railroad unions hopeful Biden will act to give workers paid sick time

    December 14, 2022 // 70 Democrats in Congress signed a letter asking for President Joe Biden or some federal agency to issue an order giving rail workers the seven sick days a year they were seeking. The letter pointed out that both the House and Senate supported legislation to do so, with some nominal Republican support in both chambers along with nearly unanimous Democratic support. But the legislation failed because it didn’t get the 60 votes it needed in the Senate. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the letter from the unions’ congressional allies. But officials with the rail unions said they have been talking to the administration about some kind of executive action to get them the sick time they’ve been seeking, and that they are hopeful action could be forthcoming.

    Biden administration uses taxpayer dollars to help grow public unions, critics push back

    August 26, 2022 // “This upgraded resource will be an excellent tool for our union to locate non-union employees across the federal government who are rightfully entitled to representation and a voice in their workplace,” said NFFE National President Randy Erwin. “NFFE specifically requested assistance in identifying the hundreds of thousands of unrepresented government workers, and today OPM delivered on its commitment to promote employee organizing and collective bargaining by rolling out the enhanced database. We are excited to help these federal employees who have not yet joined a union organize in their workplaces and obtain critical rights and benefits through unionizing.”

    Associated Builders and Contractors addresses Sen. Sanders Budget Committee Hearing and Misleading Allegations

    May 8, 2022 // The CRA states that, once an agency rule is disapproved by Congress, such a rule may not be issued in “substantially the same form,” unless it is expressly authorized by a subsequent law. A regulatory action pushing for a new Blacklisting Rule, even if narrowly tailored to firms that have been accused of violating the NLRA––as referenced in the chairman’s letter––would most certainly run afoul of the CRA and be subjected to litigation and create additional uncertainty for federal contractors.