Latest Union Updates:

Fresh Proof That Strong Unions Help Reduce Income Inequality

From the article by Susan Dynarski, New York Times, July 6, 2018:

 

"Union workers now earn about 20 percent more than nonunion workers in similar jobs. Remarkably, this union premium has held steady since the 1930s."

"Thanks to the new research [“Unions and Inequality Over the Twentieth Century: New Evidence from Survey Data”], evidence going back nearly a century now shows that unions have formed a critical counterweight to the power of companies. They increase the earnings of the lowest skilled and sharply reduce inequality.

But the Supreme Court’s [Janus] decision will curtail the capacity of unions to organize and represent workers. The court ruled that unions can no longer collect “agency fees” from those government workers whom they represent but who have chosen not to join. These fees have helped pay for contract negotiations as well as prevent the free-rider problem that arises when only some pay for benefits enjoyed by everyone."

 

 

 

Janus and the war on unions

It’s no secret that Big Business and those who profit from it have long harbored a grudge against working people and their unions, often resorting to some shameless and desperate tactics to erode workers’ rights, wages, pensions, and benefits in order to grab an even bigger share of the nation’s prosperity for themselves. An important battle in this war is currently being fought in the Supreme Court in a case called Janus v. AFSCME.

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The Advantages of Labor Relations to an Organization

In a recent article on Chron.com, Bridgette Redman addresses the pernicious myth that a unionized workforce is detrimental to the success of businesses. Research shows that unions have a positive effect on both businesses and workers. The data show that unions contribute to lower turnover costs, higher employee productivity, increased product and service quality, and greater workplace health and safety for businesses. Redman writes:

"Many managers shudder when they think of unions organizing in their businesses and adopt an antagonistic approach to any existing labor organizations. However, organizations can reap several benefits from the presence of a labor union. When management and labor work together toward the same goals -- that of a profitable business with a high-quality product -- there need not be a constantly adversarial relationship. Strong labor relations can make a business more successful in the long run."


Why conservatives should embrace labor unions

"Increasing the bargaining power of workers… doesn't entail any new government spending. It doesn't further warp economic incentives. It doesn't use the tax code to take from some and give to others. It doesn't impose indiscriminate mandates on how much businesses must pay their workers. And it reflects a core conservative principle: Giving people the tools to fight for themselves, rather than relying on government to provide for them."

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The Vice President Warns the Right is "Intent On Breaking" Labor Unions

Vice President Joe Biden spoke before the leading firefighters' union this week, The Huffington Post reported. Among other things, he discussed the war the right is waging on organized labor.

"There is a concentrated, well-organized, well-paid, well-funded effort to undermine organized labor," the vice president said. "And they've been remarkably successful. You, labor writ large, are the only thing that stands between the people's interest and the special interests owning it all. They know without you it's a clear shot at whatever they want. That's why they're so intent on breaking you."

Read the full article below:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/09/joe-biden-unions_n_6834824.html

Wisconsin Lawmakers Pass Right-To-Work Bill As Thousands Protest

The Huffington Post reported today that, despite wide protests, the GOP-controlled Wisconsin State Senate fast-tracked a bill that would make the state the 25th "right-to-work" state in the U.S.. Gov. Scott Walker, a vocal opponent of labor, has promised to sign the bill if it passed.

This is not only a sad day for the working people of Wisconsin, but a blow to organized labor across the country, as now one half of our nation's fifty states have drank the Kool-Aid that is "right-to-work."

This comment from "Sevenninetyeight Member" says it all:

"I've worked both Union and non Union as a pipefitter and welder. Working non Union, my wages varied from $12 to $15 per hour. I had to furnish all small hand tools, welding hood, gloves, safety glasses and hard had. I had to pay a weekly premium for my health insurance. My last non Union welding job consisted of 50 hours a week in a fabrication shop. After taxes, my take home was $432 a week. 

Working as a Union pipe fitter, I furnish no tools, no hard hat, not safety glasses, and pay no weekly premiums out of my negotiated wage. My wages average, depending on state, between $25 and $30 per hour. My average take home is around $800. 

As a non Union employee, if any tool is lost, stolen or broken, I had to replace it out of pocket. 

As a Union employee, the company furnishes. 

These companies are saving more than just hourly wages. They are passing along tool costs and insurance cost to workers.

In the end, the worker loses. 

Good luck, Wisconsin."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/25/wisconsin-right-to-work-bill_n_6752750.html?ncid=newsltushpmg00000003

 

Protecting Your Right to Organize

Two United States Congressmen, Representatives Keith Ellison, D. Minn., and John Lewis, D. Ga., have proposed legislation to increase protections for workers who are trying to join a labor union. Calling their proposed law, the Employee Empowerment Act, it would make union organizing a civil right.

The Employee Empowerment Act would amend the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) to include these protections for labor empowerment activities and allow workers who face discrimination to pursue litigation in civil court and receive compensatory and punitive damages

See more at here

 

 

Advancing Employment for People with Disabilities

Expect. Employ. Empower.

On April 30, 2014 the U.S. Department of Labor announced the 2014 official theme of National Disability Employment Awareness Month: "Expect. Employ. Empower." Observed in October, NDEAM is a nationwide campaign that raises awareness about disability employment issues and honors the many diverse contributions of America's workers with disabilities.

"We all have a role to play in — and benefit to gain from — increasing opportunities for meaningful employment for people with disabilities," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez. "This year's theme encapsulates this in three powerful words. It conveys that advancing disability employment is about much more than just hiring. It's about creating a continuum of inclusion. And the first step on this continuum is expectation."

 

More information is available at:

http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/odep/ODEP20140713.htm

Outsourcing and Business Responsibility

A new report has found that outsourcing drives down workers’ wages and leads to more labor law violations. The National Employment Law Project released a report entitled, “Who’s the Boss?” which provides an analysis of the impact of the current trend of outsourcing. It found that in some cases outsourcing is the result of explicit employer strategies to evade labor laws and worker benefits.

It’s findings include:

  • Median hourly wages for workers in janitorial, fast food, home care, and food service, all sectors characterized by extensive contracting and franchising, are $10 or less;

  • Once outsourced, workers’ wages suffer as compared to their non-contracted peers, ranging from a 7 percent dip in janitorial wages, to 30 percent in port trucking, to 40 percent in agriculture; food service workers’ wages fell by $6 an hour;

  • These same sectors see routine incidences of wage theft, with 25 percent of workers reporting minimum wage violations, and more than 70 percent of workers not paid overtime; and

  • Construction, agriculture, warehouse, fast food, and home care workers suffer increased job accidents compared with workers in other sectors.

This restructuring of employment arrangements may well foreshadow a future for work different from the employer-employee paradigm around which many of our labor standards were constructed, but should not spell the end of living wage jobs or business responsibility for work and workers.

 

The full report can be read at:

http://www.nelp.org/page/content/accountability-outsourced-work/

Job Growth On the Rise

According to the ADP National Employment Report for April 2014, private sector job growth increased over recent months. Since March 220,000 private sector jobs were created. Carlos Rodriguea, President and CEO of ADP states, “The 220,000 U.S. private sector jobs added in April is well above the twelve-month average. Job growth appears to be trending up and hopefully this will continue.” The strongest growth was in small and medium sized businesses.

 

For more information, read the entire report at:

http://www.adpemploymentreport.com/2014/April/NER/NER-April-2014.aspx

 

Raising the Minimum Wage

U.S. Labor Secretary Perez has taken a stance in support of raising the minimum wage. She states, “Raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour would benefit 28 million workers. And, as I've seen in my travels across the country, many employers see higher wages as an investment that makes good business sense. Raising the federal minimum wage is the right thing to do for our workers and the smart thing to do for our economy.” 

Union workers and union employers have known this for many years – when workers are paid a fair wage, their productivity, loyalty, and overall performance increases, which in turn, benefits the employer.

 

Read more of Secretary Perez’s statement here:

http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/opa/OPA20140736.htm