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Work in Progress - July 02, 2001
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July 02, 2001

New members reported in this week's WIP:
New members reported in WIP, year to date:


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 people.”

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 1,600.

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.

 Copyright © 2003 AFL-CIO