Local 528 – Council 94 – AFSCME

Roosevelt Hall Kingston, R.I. 02881

mmcdonalduri@gmail.com – Phone: 401-874-2100 Fax: 874-2538

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Union News

8/29/2015 – http://www.providencejournal.com/article/20150825/NEWS/150829537/-1/breaking_ajax

8/15/2015 – http://www.afscme.org/blog/employees-win-paid-sick-leave-lawsuit

http://www.afscme.org/blog/record-rains-put-workers-to-the-test

http://www.afscme.org/blog/record-rains-put-workers-to-the-test

8/2/2015 –    http://www.afscme.org/blog/union-momentum-catching-public-eye?can_id=cbbd2a7d735895369ce8bd0857b37cb2&source=email-unions-gaining-momentum&email_referrer=unions-gaining-momentum___11525

7/12/2015 – http://wpri.com/2015/07/09/rhode-island-hospital-employees-picket/

http://www.prwatch.org/news/2015/06/12868/four-ways-alec-tried-ruin-your-state-year

http://247wallst.com/retail/2015/07/07/staples-deal-with-usps-is-illegal-nlrb/

http://www.apwu.org/news/web-news-article/nlrb-strikes-major-blow-usps-staples-deal

7/7/2015 –http://www.providencejournal.com/article/20150630/NEWS/150639961/-1/breaking_ajax#breaking_ajax/?Start=1&_suid=143568400740206507434255412798

http://watchdog.org/226369/scotus-will-hear-friedrichs-v-california-teachers-association-case/

http://wpri.com/2015/07/01/no-financing-yet-for-south-street-nursing-school/

ASHINGTON — AFSCME President Lee Saunders, NEA President Lily Eskelsen García, AFT President Randi Weingarten, CTA President Eric C. Heins, and SEIU President Mary Kay Henry issued the following joint statement today in response to U.S. Supreme Court granting cert to Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association:

“We are disappointed that at a time when big corporations and the wealthy few are rewriting the rules in their favor, knocking American families and our entire economy off-balance, the Supreme Court has chosen to take a case that threatens the fundamental promise of America — that if you work hard and play by the rules you should be able to provide for your family and live a decent life.

“The Supreme Court is revisiting decisions that have made it possible for people to stick together for a voice at work and in their communities — decisions that have stood for more than 35 years — and that have allowed people to work together for better public services and vibrant communities.

“When people come together in a union, they can help make sure that our communities have jobs that support our families. It means teachers can stand up for their students. First responders can push for critical equipment to protect us. And social workers can advocate effectively for children’s safety.

“America can’t build a strong future if people can’t come together to improve their work and their families’ futures. Moms and dads across the country have been standing up in the thousands to call for higher wages and unions. We hope the Supreme Court heeds their voices.”

And public servants are speaking out, too, about how Friedrichs v. CTA would undermine their ability to provide vital services the public depends on. In their own words:

“As a mental health worker, my colleagues and I see clients who are getting younger and more physical. Every day we do our best work to serve them and keep them safe, but the risk of injury and attack is a sad, scary reality of the job. But if my coworkers and I come together and have a collective voice on the job, we can advocate for better patient care, better training and equipment, and safe staffing levels. This is about all of us. We all deserve safety and dignity on the job, because we work incredibly hard every day and it’s certainly not glamorous.”

—Kelly Druskis-Abreu, AFSCME member, a mental health worker from Worcester, Mass.

“As a school campus monitor, my job is to be on the front lines to make sure our students are safe. Both parents and students count on me — it’s a responsibility that I take very seriously. It’s important for me to have the right to voice concerns over anything that might impede the safety of my students, and jeopardizing my ability to speak up for them is a risk for everyone.”

—Carol Peek, a school campus security guard from Ventura, Calif.

“I love my students, and I want them to have everything they need to get a high-quality public education. When educators come together, we can speak with the district about class size, about adequate staffing, about the need for counselors, nurses, media specialists and librarians in schools. And we can advocate for better practices that serve our kids. With that collective voice, we can have conversations with the district that we probably wouldn’t be able to have otherwise ― and do it while engaging our communities, our parents and our students.”

—Kimberly Colbert, a classroom teacher from St. Paul, Minn.

“Our number one job is to protect at-risk children. Working together, front-line social workers and investigators have raised standards and improved policies that keep kids safe from abuse and neglect. I can’t understand why the Supreme Court would consider a case that could make it harder for us to advocate for the children and families we serve — this work is just too important.”

SUPREME COURT TO HEAR “AGENCY FEE” CASE”

 
By Paul F. Cole
Representatives designated or selected for the purposes of collective bargaining by the majority of the employees in a unit appropriate for such purposes, shall be the exclusive representatives of all the employees in such unit for the purposes of collective bargaining in respect to rates of pay, wages, hours of employment, or other conditions of employment.
National Labor Relations Act (Sec. 9)
The Supreme Court on June 30 decided to take a case, Friedrichs v.California Teachers Association, whose not-so-hidden goal is to further weaken the American labor movement, specifically public sector unions. The petition argues that “agency fee” laws violate the First Amendment rights of objecting employees. The irony is that the right wing has vociferously fought for “states rights’ under the Tenth Amendment and this case focuses exclusively on state and local public employees.
Under American labor law, unlike many other countries, when a majority of workers in a determined bargaining unit, vote to be represented by a union, that union becomes the exclusive representative of all workers in that unit. The purpose is to provide employees with a single, unified voice in determining their conditions of employment and the opportunity for employers to deal with one entity, instead of many competing ones, to establish the rights and responsibilities of both the employer and employees.
Federal law that governs private sector workers, as well as many state public employee laws, guarantees every worker who is represented by a union equal and nondiscriminatory representation – meaning unions must provide the same services, vigorous advocacy, and contractual rights and benefits. The guarantee applies regardless of whether the employee is a union member or not. All non-dues-paying employees are provided full union representation at no charge.
If you are not a member of the union, you are fully covered by the collective bargaining agreement that was negotiated between the union and your employer including wages, pensions, vacations, health insurance, seniority, and working hours.
The statutory right of exclusive representation mandates a “duty of fair representation” on the part of the union. It has the obligation to represent all employees fairly, in good faith, and without discrimination. The right to speak for all employees in the bargaining unit carries with it the corresponding duty to protect them as well.
Federal and state laws also guarantee that no one can be forced to be a member of a union, or to pay any amount of dues or fees to a political or social cause they do not support.
“Right-to-Work” laws make it illegal for employers and unions to mutually agree to require nonunion employees to pay fees to cover the benefits they legally receive under the collective bargaining agreement.
Fees have nothing to do with “forced unionism.”
Organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, billionaire-funded conservative foundations and their Republican allies, want unions to be the only organizations in America that are required to provide benefits and services to individuals who pay nothing for them. This is the same as enabling some American citizens to opt out of paying taxes while making available all government services.
The real reason for the recent wave of state “right-to-work” legislation, and other union weakening laws, has nothing to do with economic competitiveness or the constitutional rights of workers but the weakening of the labor movement and its political influence. The only institution that stands in the way of the right wing’s domination of our nation’s political and economic system is the American labor movement.
Justice Alito has made very clear that he sees “fair-share” through a partisan lens and has been the primary mover for the high court to take the Friedrichs case as evidenced by his suggestion during the Harris v. Quinn case.
One only need look at the organizations that filed briefs in this case to discern their true goals: the National Right to Work Legal Defense Fund, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, the Goldwater Institute, Constitutional Law Professors, the Cato Institute and others, all of whom promote unfettered capitalism and view workers as a “commodity” and a cost to be controlled, profits can be maximized and shareholder value as the only goal of an economy.
This agenda was unmasked when Wisconsin State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald explained that “this battle” is about eliminating unions so that “the money is not there” for the labor movement.
The Michigan director of Americans for Prosperity, chaired nationally by David Koch, said, “We fight these battles on taxes and regulations but really what we would like to see is to take the unions out at the knees so they don’t have the resources to fight these battles.”
In virtually every case, the state legislation is taken straight out of the Koch-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) playbook.
It was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who said, “In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, such as ‘right-to-work.’ It is a law to rob us of our civil rights and job rights. Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and working conditions for everyone… we demand this fraud be stopped.”
Paul F. Cole of Loudonville, New York, is executive director of the American Labor Studies Center

6/28/2015 –  http://labor411.org/

http://nwlaborpress.org/2014/07/union-beer/

 

6/21/2015 – http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/14/magazine/scott-walker-and-the-fate-of-the-union.html?_r=0

http://www.providencejournal.com/article/20150616/NEWS/150619387

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/14/magazine/scott-walker-and-the-fate-of-the-union.html?_r=0

http://www.afscme.org/blog/missouri-governor-vetoes-right-to-work

http://wpri.com/2015/06/17/gov-signs-bill-increasing-minimum-wage/

Recently, a friend shared on Facebook a roughly 35-year-old photograph of himself as a toddler, toted in his father’s arms on a union picket line. In our current climate of relentless attacks on unions, it seemed simultaneously quaint and bold. A colleague of mine, a woman who works in the labor movement and was due to speak at her daughter’s career day at school, wondered whether she should even mention that she worked at a union, for fear of some parents getting rankled.

We’ve come a long way in this country, but certainly not always in the right direction when it comes to speaking openly and proudly about the value of unions. At a time when unionization hovers at 11 percent and it’s barely over 6 percent in the private sector, merely talking about unions can seem like a radical act, yet it’s a conversation we cannot abandon, especially when it comes to talking with our children.

Every day, we get new reminders of how political rancor and bad policy hamper this nation’s youngest generation. Our little ones suffer in the lunchroom when politicians slash school meal programs. Millions cared for under the Affordable Care Act live with the looming threat of the law being overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court this summer. College-age children are saddled with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. They face an anemic job market where a college degree that costs too much will often culminate in a job that pays too little to stay afloat.

Parents know the acute anxiety when a child turns to us for answers and we feel we have none. But with growing certainty, Americans sense that the deck is stacked. And there’s growing dialogue in our country about economic mobility and fairness, and that there is in fact an answer for unstacking the deck: unions.

Unions can rebuild the middle class, just as we built it two generations earlier. We bring better pay and benefits. In fact, union bargaining for fair pay means a worker takes home on average, approximately $207 more a week. Those opposed to working folks having that sort of collective strength love to condescend, telling us that we no longer need unions. But ask your kids if they’d rather make $207 more a week and see if they grasp the concept of what unions can achieve for everyone today.

Whether we’re in a union or not, we cannot be afraid to point to the fact that where union density is highest in this country, workers have increased economic security. To shy away from such facts is as self-defeating as denying the overwhelming science that the planet’s getting hotter. Politics must no longer get in the way of frank discussion about what ails this country economically and what will help fix it.

There are encouraging signs that the value of unions is sinking in with the youngest generation of workers. Last week, a new poll showed that among all age categories, those between 18-29 have the most favorable view of unions, with only 29 percent viewing them unfavorably. Young workers are an integral part of the Fight for $15 movement in which people are rallying and organizing, demanding fair wages from companies raking in billions in profit off the backs of workers. Last month, the young scribes at Gawker made headlines of their own with their decision to unionize. “Every workplace could use a union,” wrote Gawker’s Hamilton Nolan. “A union is the only real mechanism that exists to represent the interests of employees in a company. A union is also the only real mechanism that enables employees to join together to bargain collectively, rather than as a bunch of separate, powerless entities.”

Within AFSCME, our youngest members — called the Next Wave — are organizing to strengthen our union with one-on-one conversations in their workplaces and homes through a new campaign called AFSCME Strong. In 2014, AFSCME surpassed our organizing goals by more than 100 percent. That means AFSCME’s membership is growing every day — we’ve organized nearly 140,000 new members since the beginning of 2014, even in right-to-work states. It also means ordinary people are stepping up and having conversations in worksites and at kitchen tables about why unions are the best way for workers to raise their wages and bargain for fairness in the workplace.

I know how powerful talking with young people about unions can be. I had this exact conversation just a few weeks ago with my own daughter, a junior in high school. She just started her first job, as a hostess at a restaurant, and she asked me about unions. As a union organizer mom, I was happy to oblige, and we talked about fair pay and treatment on the job, as well as workplace safety. She deserves to hear that information.

It’s the type of conversation that decades prior wouldn’t have been unusual. As American manufacturing was on the upswing and unionization rates were robust, families had those conversations in plenty of households as children considered their options after high school. Now, when our older children are rolling their eyes in disgust at what awaits them in the job market, we need to let them know that there is a solution, but only if they become a part of it.
AFSCME Secretary-Treasurer Laura Reyes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 

 
 
 
 

 

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