RIDING THE BLUE (UNION) VAN—About 364 drivers of the blue
SuperShuttle airport vans in two cities recently chose SEIU Local 74
for a voice on the job. The 104 drivers in Miami voted for the
union, while in Dallas, a 160-person unit of drivers voted to merge
their independent association with Local 74.
V IS FOR VICTORY—After a card-check, 200 workers at Big V
Supermarket in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., gained a voice at work with United
Food and Commercial Workers Local 1776 on March 16. Under a
card-check, an employer agrees to recognize the union after a
majority of eligible workers sign union authorizations.
QUALITY COMES CLEAN—Thirty-seven workers at Quality Linen,
a commercial laundry facility in New York City, chose UNITE through
a card-check last month. The new members are affiliated with the
Amalgamated Service and Allied Industries Joint Board.
STANDING UP FOR THEMSELVES—The 24 women workers who staff
the Brewster Center for battered and abused women in Tucson, Ariz.,
voted for AFSCME Council 97 recently. The women overcame a strong
anti-union campaign by management at the nonprofit facility.
RIGHT TO BARGAIN—Working families gained a huge victory in
Missouri June 29 when Gov. Bob Holden signed an executive order
allowing collective bargaining for 33,000 state employees in
agencies and departments that report to the governor. AFSCME,
Communications Workers of America, Operating Engineers, SEIU and
UAW, along with the Missouri Federation of Teachers and the state
AFL-CIO, worked to obtain the order.
BUSY AIRWAYS—The National Mediation Board will conduct
elections this summer among employees at three airlines seeking a
voice on the job through the Machinists. Ballots cast by about 110
U.S. Airways engineers will be counted July 13. Ballots from 140
American Trans Air clerks and 100 mechanics at Midway Airlines will
be counted Aug. 10 and 24, respectively.
HOTEL HOPE—Along with religious and community leaders,
representatives of three unions-Hotel Employees & Restaurant
Employees Local 7, Operating Engineers Local 27 and Office and
Professional Employees Local 2-marched June 21 outside Baltimore’s
Wyndham Inner Harbor Hotel for a right to organize agreement. That
process would set rules for an organizing campaign free of
“intimidation and coercion,” said Local 7 International Trustee
Roxie Herbekian. Wyndham’s food and beverage workers currently enjoy
a voice at work through HERE—but 250 housekeeping, laundry, front
desk workers and engineers are without representation.
STOP FAST TRACK—Working families are mobilizing to stop
Fast Track legislation that would allow President George W. Bush and
his corporate allies to establish special rules for considering
trade agreements in Congress. This month, the House is expected to
consider Bush’s request for authority to railroad through Congress,
without debate or change, such trade agreements as the Free Trade
Area of the Americas, which would expand the flawed North American
Free Trade Agreement to the entire hemisphere.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF TRUCK STOP—By a lopsided 285–143 vote
June 26, the House handed President Bush a big setback in his
attempt to allow Mexican trucks—huge numbers of which do not meet
U.S. safety standards—unfettered access to U.S. highways. The vote
on an amendment to the transportation spending bill maintains
Clinton administration restrictions that keep the trucks within a
20-mile radius of the U.S.-Mexico border. The bill now goes to the
Senate. The House vote came after a cross-country caravan of
Teamsters-driven rigs, which stopped at several rallies to protest
the administration’s Mexican truck plan.
NURSES JOIN AFL-CIO FAMILY—The 100,000-strong United
American Nurses is the AFL-CIO’s newest union after a June 28 vote
by delegates to its National Labor Assembly in Washington, D.C.
“This new partnership with the AFL-CIO and its member unions can
have a tremendous impact on health care in this country,” said UAN
President Cheryl Johnson, RN. AFL-CIO President John Sweeney said
the action “provides a powerful and effective alliance that will
take on the current health care system’s inadequacies, unfair
policies and unsafe conditions that plague both American working
families and health care workers.” The 100,000 UAN members—the labor
arm of the American Nurses Association—join the other 1.1 million
health care workers represented by AFL-CIO unions.
TEAMSTERS CONVENE—More than 7,000 Teamsters met last week
in Las Vegas and adopted reforms and initiatives relating to union
democracy, organizing, political action, finances and contract
campaigns at United Parcel Service in 2002 and for the National
Master Freight agreement in 2003. IBT President James P. Hoffa told
delegates that the union is “the vehicle for equality on a global
economy that favors corporate rights over human rights. Corporations
may have more money, but they don’t have what we have. We have the
RIGHT ON, WRITERS—The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision
upholding copyright protections for free-lance writers is a victory
for creators and consumers, leaders of the National Writers Union,
UAW Local 1981, said. The court on June 25 upheld a lower court
ruling that The New York Times and other publishers committed
copyright infringement when they resold newspaper and magazine
articles via electronic databases without asking permission or
making additional payments to authors. The UAW provided legal and
financial support in the case, Tasini v. New York Times. For
more information, visit www.nwu.org/tvt/vichome.htm.
CONTRACT THIS—Contracting out is undermining our national
defense, environment, food safety and Social Security,” AFGE
President Bobby Harnage told the House Government Reform
Subcommittee on Technology and Procurement Policy on June 28. He
urged the panel to approve AFGE’s service contracting reform
legislation—the Truthfulness, Responsibility and Accountability in
Contracting (TRAC) Act, H.R. 721. The bill would allow the
government to track costs and savings from contracting-out and
require public-private competition for jobs.
NO PACE-SETTER—Several farm groups announced their support
for striking workers at Bunge Lauhoff Grain Co. in Danville, Ill.,
the largest dry corn mill operation in the United States. Although
the 196 employees have boosted production 30 percent in the past
four years, management is demanding concessions in wages, contract
language, vacations and holidays and the addition of a management
rights clause. The workers, members of PACE International Union
Local 6-0972, walked out May 16.
A BAD NEIGHBOR—Mine Workers President Cecil Roberts said a
West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection lawsuit against
Massey Energy Co. for a massive coal slurry spill last year
“reaffirms the UMWA’s belief that Massey is not a good corporate
neighbor to the citizens of Appalachia.” Last October, more than 250
million gallons of slurry—sludge-like liquid coal mine waste—poured
down 36 miles of the Tug Fork River after a Massey slurry dam
collapsed. It killed all fish, plant and other aquatic life and
disrupted water service to many communities along the Tug Fork.
PENSION POWER—The Teamsters Affiliate Pension Plan won a
major vote at the Kroger Co. annual meeting. A majority of
shareholders voting supported the Teamsters’ proposal to eliminate
staggered terms for members of the huge supermarket chain’s board.
Meanwhile, the AFL-CIO is urging stockholders of ICTS International,
an international aviation security firm, to vote against a plan to
issue up to 17 million new shares. The move would dilute the value
of existing shares, many of which are held by union pension funds,
the federation said.
CHILD LABOR—Citing the deaths of 37 elementary school
students in China March 6, Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) called for
the U.S. Labor Department and U.S. Customs Service to investigate
whether fireworks and other products are made with forced child
labor. The students were killed while assembling firecrackers.
Miller was joined at a press conference by Chinese human rights
activist Harry Wu, who said, “America cannot in good conscience
celebrate its own freedom every Fourth of July with products that
might be denying Chinese schoolchildren their own freedom.”
NOT NEARLY ENOUGH—The wages paid to workers in
foreign-owned maquiladora plants along the U.S.-Mexico border are
not enough to meet a family’s basic needs, according to a new
report, Making the Invisible Visible: A Study of the Purchasing
Power of Maquiladora Workers in Mexico 2000. It would take
between four and five minimum wage salaries to provide food,
housing, clothing and other essentials, the report says. For a full
copy of the report, contact the Center for Reflection, Education and
Action, P.O. Box 2507, Hartford, Conn. 06416-2507.
AGRICULTURAL GROWTH—The International Union of Food,
Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied
Workers’ Associations (IUF) praised the International Labor
Organization’s new convention on safety and health in agriculture.
This marks “the first time that agricultural workers are formally
guaranteed in international law the same rights and levels of
protection as other categories of workers,” said IUF General
Secretary Ron Oswald. Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and
Grain Millers President Frank Hurt is president of IUF, which
represents 334 trade unions in 120 countries.
STRONGER BY DEGREES—The National Labor College’s Class of
2001 graduated June 30 under sweltering heat at the George Meany
Center for Labor Studies in Silver Spring, Md. While it felt like
104, that was the number of students earning bachelor’s degrees in
seven areas of union studies from the college. Another 14 received
master’s degrees in public administration from the University of
Baltimore. The college’s third graduating class, which includes
students from 28 unions, also enjoyed a cookout, prom and activities
with their families. The college’s current enrollment is about
SOWING SEEDS FOR CHARITY—The Jessie B. Cox Charitable
Trust in Boston awarded a two-year grant worth $90,000 to the Union
Community Fund, the union movement’s national charity. The grant
will provide seed capital for regional staff and training to develop
Union Community Fund programs in New England.
BURGER ELECTED—SEIU’s executive board on June 7 elected
Anna Burger as secretary-treasurer to succeed Betty Bednarczyk, who
announced her retirement. Burger has served as an executive vice
president of the union for the past three years.