From Investor’s Business Daily’s editorial [06/22/98]: “It takes a lot of effort to put on a strike. Bodies are needed for the picket lines from dawn ’til after dusk. Somebody has to work the telephones. And the media message must be honed. That’s almost as much coordinated work as it takes to build cars. So we want to know: Why don’t members of the United Auto Workers direct their energy to making a superior product, instead of striking General Motors. There are many reasons, but one big one is that the union bosses wouldn’t like it. Workers would learn that they don’t need the union. They could earn high wages by simply turning out a car that buyers prefer…
The Flint stamping facility is at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to productivity. It has about half the output per hour worked of similar GM facilities. And the … Read More ➡
The Labor Department’s removal of Guess? Inc. from its list of apparel manufacturers and retailers that have voluntarily taken steps to ensure their goods are not made in sweatshop conditions drew criticism at a Jun. 19 congressional hearing. The so-called “Trendsetters List” came under scrutiny as part of an ongoing congressional review of the agency’s program administration and law enforcement efforts. At issue is whether the Labor Department acted arbitrarily in designating companies for the list, possibly running afoul of the Administrative Procedure Act.
How department officials decided which companies met its criteria for inclusion on the list was the focus of the hearing by the Education & the Workforce Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations. Rep. Charles Norwood (R-GA), who chaired the hearing, questioned both the agency’s decisions as to which companies to place on the list as well as its subsequent move to put Guess on “probation.”
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Protesters planted bombs, smashed bank machines and severed and burned phone cables on Jun. 25, reacting with fury to the privatization of Puerto Rico’s phone company. One bomb exploded in a policeman’s hands. The bomb, concealed in a flashlight, was planted at a branch of Banco Popular, part of a consortium buying the Puerto Rico Telephone Co. It tore a finger off the officer’s right hand and wounded his left hand and leg.
Two large unions began a financial offensive against Banco Popular. The General Workers’ Council withdrew $40 million from accounts on Jun. 25, and the Teachers Association of Puerto Rico said it transferred $100 million out of the bank. The rash of sabotage started shortly after Gov. Pedro Rossello signed a law on Jun. 24 completing the $1.9 billion sale of the phone company, known as Telefonica, to a consortium led by GTE Corp.
Being told by … Read More ➡
State AFL-CIO President John Olsen and 13 other fund trustees agreed on Jun. 10 to pay more than $2 million in restitution and another $416,000 in civil penalties. The Labor Department sued Olsen and other trustees of the CT Plumbers & Pipefitters pension fund over investments the department said were risky and led to losses of $2-3 million.
Olsen will be able to continue serving as a financial guardian of union pension funds under the terms of a settlement. The money will be paid by an insurance policy, not the trustees themselves.
In the original lawsuit, the department had asked that Olsen and the other trustees be permanently barred from serving as financial guardians to employee benefit plans. The settlement includes no such prohibition, although it does require the trustees to carefully evaluate potential risks. [Hartford Courant 06/11/98]
Longshoreman Pleads Guilty
A union dockworker pleaded guilty Jun. 12 for … Read More ➡
Despite a LIUNA nurse and hospital technicians strike that threaten patient health and radical leaflet propaganda, the Tenet Corporation which owns San Francisco’s Redding Medical Center was able to keep the center an “open shop.” LIUNA went on strike Jun. 4, but a federal mediator got them back to the table the next day. On Jun. 23, the union relented and although the hospital made concessions, it remains an open shop which means union membership will not be a condition of employment. [BNA Daily Labor Report 06/25/98 & Providence Journal-Bulletin 06/05/98]
Trumka & Co. Incite Radicalism
Jun. 24 was the AFL-CIO’s “Day to Make Our Voices Heard” which is the latest AFL-CIO P.R. stunt designed to incite radicalism in union members. Small protests in allegedly 70 cities were held across the country. As part of the festivities, registered nurses in Vancouver, WA left a medical center understaffed. Longshoremen shut down … Read More ➡
On Jun. 19, Communications Workers of America opened new battle to block merger of WorldCom & MCI, saying in detailed analysis that deal would deprive the companies of access to capital and cut, rather than expand, local competition. CWA filed a statement with the FCC complaining the merger is anti-competitive, and in its latest disclosure its “union economist” claims the merger fails tests set by FCC. CWA’s action came the same day that European antitrust authorities moved close to approving the transaction. Analysts strongly believe, despite the best attempts of union radicals, the merger will go through. [Communications Daily 06/22/98]
Newspaper Workers Break from CWA
Employees of the San Diego Union-Tribune voted Jun. 11 to decertify Newspaper Guild Local 95 of CWA as their bargaining agent. In an NLRB-monitored election, 406 workers voted against continued representation by the Guild while 378 voted to keep the union. Some 844 employees in … Read More ➡
Billboards urging customers to shun Walgreens drug stores are up around Madison, WI, as part of a continuing battle between local union electrical workers and the pharmacy firm. The battle began when Walgreens hired a non-union electrical contractor as part of an expansion of a distribution center. But although the job is nearly complete, bitterness remains and could spill over into other states. The union is upset because a portion of the $50 million project went to a non-union contractor. The move so angered International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 159 that it set up a picket line for 132 days calling it off only after Walgreens hired a union electrical contractor to do inside wiring as part of the renovation. [Madison Capital Times 06/09/98]
SEIU Organizing Blitz Descends on L.A.
For 2 weeks starting Jun. 14, some 70 organizers from Service Employees International Union locals around the country will … Read More ➡
The Delaware River Port Authority ejected union members from its meeting Jun.17 following a rowdy protest on behalf of 12 workers terminated for blocking traffic during a demonstration in May. Unionists turned out to support the toll collectors, and maintenance and construction workers fired last week by the Port Authority. The workers were fired for shutting down the Benjamin Franklin Bridge during a protest May 16. The agency said they created an unsafe condition on the span.
Shortly after the meeting began, Bill Kane, president of the NJ State Industrial Union Council, AFL-CIO, sought permission to address the commissioners. Union members, who lined the perimeter of the room, stood and began
clapping. They chanted,”Let him speak!”as the chairman pounded the gavel, attempting to restore order. The chairman declared the protesters out of order and directed the sergeants-at-arms and security to remove them from the room. The union members left … Read More ➡
“It is good that a prolonged bus strike has been averted in Worcester. But the question is: at what price?
[The] one-day strike, staged by the local chapter of the Amalgamated Transit Union, AFL-CIO, was described as an “illegal” job action by Robert E. Ojala, administrator of the Worcester Regional Transit Authority. That may have been an understatement. The specter of labor action by this union has been lingering for some time. It threatened to picket the Worcester Centrum Centre during the Democratic State Convention, but a last-minute compromise negotiated by the city manager and the mayor saved the city from embarrassment.
Evidently, this time the union was determined to call a strike, no matter how flexible management has been. And management has been flexible to a fault. Some of the concessions the WRTA made to avert a strike – often under political pressure – are outright unreasonable. For … Read More ➡