PHILADELPHIA: SEPTA must negotiate contracts with nearly all its labor unions amid looming financial crisis

    September 18, 2023 // The authority projects an annual operating deficit of $240 million beginning next July 1 as the last of its federal pandemic aid is spent, a situation dubbed the “fiscal cliff” that afflicts most transit systems in the United States. Riders have not returned in pre-COVID 19 numbers, and changing travel patterns have accelerated in the last three years. SEPTA and the state’s other public transit agencies are pushing for the legislature to adopt a measure that would give them a greater share of the sales tax to support operations. Uncertainty about finances makes it difficult to say “yes” to increased pay and benefits for TWU Local 234, which represents operators of buses, trolleys, and transit trains, SEPTA CEO Leslie S. Richards said Tuesday during a hearing of the state House Transportation Committee at the agency’s headquarters.

    Op-ed: Workers need empowerment, not more Bidenomics failures

    September 7, 2023 // The act would restore the flexibility workers deserve. Finally, the bill protects workers from being forced to undermine their own deeply held beliefs. Unions can spend workers’ dues to support politicians and political causes without expressed approval from each member. The Employee Rights Act requires unions to get workers’ permission before spending their hard-earned money on partisan politics. The American people overwhelmingly support every provision of the Employee Rights Act — including those in union households. They want to unleash workers, not shackle them with the demands of special interests, and they’re looking for leaders who put workers first.

    Elisabeth Messenger: Where Do Your Union Dues Go?

    September 1, 2023 // I think when a union can stay very independent and hyper-local, it can be what it was meant to be, and that is a force to speak for all, to help all, to protect all, to raise all at the same time. But again, it’s only when it’s independent it’s not tied to a national, bloated corporate union. And it’s only when it’s at the local level.

    Philly Good Karma Café Employees Will Soon Vote on Whether to Boot Out Workers United Union Officials

    August 23, 2023 // The Good Karma employees’ election comes as coffee employees across the country are seeking votes to remove unwanted unions from their workplaces, most notably at Starbucks. Workers United is the same union that is waging an aggressive and high-profile unionization campaign on Starbucks, bolstered by the money and resources of the gigantic Service Employees International Union (SEIU). The New York Post reported in July that Workers United spent nearly $2.5 million on hiring “salts” and other union activists. “Salts” are covert union agents who obtain jobs at nonunion firms to agitate in favor of union control, and often quit soon after the union is installed. “After the Workers United union was installed, there was a lot of employee turnover and we soon found ourselves very short-staffed,” Camponeschi commented. “Workers United union officials have been bad for the stability of Good Karma and have not stood up for the interests of me and my coworkers, and I’m sure that a majority of my coworkers will vote to move forward without their presence.”

    Cornell to Stop Serving Starbucks Coffee After Company Shut Down Unionized Cafes

    August 21, 2023 // In May, Starbucks Corp. announced it would close its last two unionized corporate-run cafés in Cornell’s hometown of Ithaca, New York. It had previously shuttered the other location that organized. In response, Cornell’s student government passed a resolution, and activists staged a sit-in demanding that the university cease serving Starbucks coffee at its own cafés in response to the alleged union-busting. “Cornell Dining does not intend to serve Starbucks Coffee in its café venues after the current agreement with the company expires in 2025,” the school’s vice president for university relations, Joel Malina, said in an email. The university will instead consult with the student government on an “inclusive process” to transition to a new vendor.

    In Philly, VP Harris details new labor rules for federal construction projects

    August 9, 2023 // Vice President Kamala Harris, on Tuesday, visited Philadelphia to announce changes to labor rules that could give higher wages to construction workers on federal projects. At the headquarters of labor union DC 21, in Northeast Philly, Harris detailed the Labor Department's first update in decades to the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931, a law that requires the payment of prevailing local wages on public works.

    An FBI informant in Johnny Doc’s inner circle didn’t violate his right to fair trial, judge says

    August 3, 2023 // Though recording someone outside of a law enforcement investigation without their consent is a crime in Pennsylvania, the FBI, based on those tapes, enlisted the cooperator to begin working as an official confidential informant out of concern that statements such as those were an attempt by Dougherty to intimidate witnesses in the case against him, Blake said. And for the next several months, the informant continued to record Dougherty at union meetings up to and throughout his 2021 trial. The labor leader learned of the mole’s existence only after his conviction and as he prepared for a second trial on extortion charges related to threats he allegedly made to a union contractor who tried to fire his nephew.

    Fox Chase nurses who answer patient phone calls want to join the center’s new nurses union

    August 3, 2023 // The nurses at the Temple-owner cancer center unionized in June. Twenty-one nurses who answer patient calls were left out of the bargaining unit.

    Actors and writers on strike rally in Philadelphia and Chicago as union action spreads

    July 24, 2023 // While Los Angeles and New York are the epicenters of strike actions, there are dozens of mid-sized and small locals across the country representing performers and writers. “We have the same issues,” said Nikki Izanec, president of the Philadelphia SAG-AFTRA local, on her way to Thursday’s rally. “Lots of people pay attention to L.A. and New York, but our issues are the same as theirs.”