Posts tagged Rhode Island

    From Strikes to New Union Contracts, Labor Day’s Organizing Roots Are Especially Strong Across the Country This Year

    September 5, 2023 // The first U.S. Labor Day celebration took place in New York City on Sept. 5, 1882. Some 10,000 workers marched in a parade organized by the Central Labor Union and the Knights of Labor. A handful of cities and states began to adopt laws recognizing Labor Day in the years that followed, yet it took more than a decade before President Grover Cleveland signed a congressional act in 1894 establishing the first Monday of September as a legal holiday.

    Connecticut Public Sector Union Membership in Two-Year Decline

    June 22, 2023 // Labor also benefitted after Connecticut legalized marijuana use by adults in 2021, as the legislation included a provision requiring retailers to obtain a labor peace agreement with a union before being awarded a license. Labor peace agreements are contracts made between an employer and a labor union with the former agreeing not to undermine the latter’s ability to organize the workforce in exchange for the union not to strike, picket or disrupt the employer’s business. Lawmakers always have the option of hiding labor bills in a budget as they did this past session by requiring grocery stores established in food deserts to enter into a labor peace agreement with a union in order to receive municipal tax abatements. Labor unions possess an inherent organizational and financial framework that grants them significant power in identifying candidates, mobilizing voters and promoting individuals who align with their interests, while having the necessary financial resources to achieve these objectives.

    Reclassifiying Rhode Island’s independent workforce could cost the state millions

    May 25, 2023 // Actual instances of misclassification are already addressed by existing laws. And if workers desire to obtain benefits, health care, or otherwise, they need not be traditional employees to do so. To prevent forced misclassification in Rhode Island, lawmakers should propose reforms like portable benefits to allow workers to maintain their independence yet apply for benefits as needed. Utah just pioneered this reform to allow worker benefits to follow workers, not employers. With a portable benefits system in place, forced reclassification efforts like SB 430 can be defeated. As of December 2022, 27 percent — or 85,116 self-employed gig workers — of Rhode Island’s small business workforce engages in independent contract work. That should be celebrated, not undone by misguided policymaking that seeks to correct a non-problem.

    Union group home workers strike across Connecticut

    May 24, 2023 // More than a thousand union group home workers walked off the job Wednesday morning, demanding a new contract that includes better pay. As the governor and state lawmakers get closer to the deadline on budget negotiations, about 1,200 unionized group home workers walked off the job at 6 a.m. Wednesday morning. SEIU District 1199NE, the New England Health Care Employees Union, represents over 25,000 caregivers in Connecticut and about 4,000 in Rhode Island. The union said that most of its workers have been without a contract for about three weeks and are demanding what they call “living wages,” affordable health insurance and better retirement benefits.

    Teamsters at RISD plan open-ended strike amid fight for first contract

    April 3, 2023 // Teamsters Local 251 announced Sunday, workers from Rhode Island School of Design will begin an open-ended strike starting April 3. Union members said the strike is in response to RISD’s failure to negotiate with its employees. The proposed strike comes less than two weeks after RISD employees held a one-day unfair labor practice strike. Teamsters Local 251 said they have since filed ULP charges against RISD for failing to pay a general wage increase and changing starting rates for employees without giving them notice or a chance to bargain. The group has worked for the last several months to secure their first contract but has been unsuccessful.

    Rhode Island Teacher Unconstitutionally Forced to Choose Between Job and Union

    January 10, 2023 // Despite glowing teacher evaluations, John Lancellotta, a public school teacher in Rhode Island, lost his job after exercising his First Amendment right to opt out of his union. By forcing John to choose between supporting the union and keeping his job, the school placed an unconstitutional condition on his employment.

    Providence firefighter made $142,000 in overtime, pushed his total pay to $230,000

    July 12, 2022 // Many fire departments have a minimum staffing clause in their union contracts. The contracts often require that there must be a minimum number of firefighters on duty and any absences that bring staffing below the minimum must be replaced with overtime. Providence Fire Chief Steven Pare, base pay, Providence

    Offshore wind boosted as Biden, East Coast governors team up

    June 24, 2022 // A national agreement signed with North America’s Building Trades Unions covers contractors working on those projects and future ones, with no termination date on the project labor agreement. It sets the terms and conditions for union workers to build offshore wind farms, with targets to ensure a diverse workforce. It contains provisions for training to ensure they can construct the complex infrastructure, which costs billions of dollars. Vineyard Wind, South Fork Wind, David Hayes, Diane Hoskins, Heather Zichal, American Clean Power Association,

    Louisville public defenders clash with management over union effort

    June 7, 2022 // It is increasingly common for the people charged with upholding that constitutional guarantee to turn to organizing their offices. In April 2020, the American Bar Association reported that unionization among public defenders was on the rise. Cities such as Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Lancaster, Pennsylvania have seen their public defenders move toward unionization. Jefferson County, Ben Basil, Leo Smith, Kentucky Bar Association, Kentucky Supreme Court, Cassie Chambers Armstrong, Lexington Herald-Leader, American Bar Association,