ENews: September 6, 2018

NBC News 10: Parents show support for Woonsocket teachers

WOONSOCKET, R.I. (WJAR) — Parents demonstrated Wednesday outside of Woonsocket High School as teachers went back to school under a “work to rule.”

Connie Powers has a daughter in the Woonsocket public school system.

She said after overhearing teachers in her hair salon talk about the current contract struggle, she felt the parents had to step in and offer more support.

“She makes less money now, take home-wise, than when she started because they haven’t gotten a pay raise in nine years,” Powers said.

But health insurance has continued to go up over the years.

“They deserve a raise. They teach and mold our future, and these children are going to take care of us one day and they are going to remember this,” Powers said.

The Woonsocket Teachers’ Guild voted to work to rule, meaning no extra volunteer hours. -READ MORE

Providence Journal: On Labor Day, R.I. unions saw a contentious year so far

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — As Rhode Islanders pause to celebrate working men and women this Labor Day, they look back on a year with two significant events on the labor front:

A strike by professionals at Rhode Island Hospital and a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that threatens the might of government employee unions.

The summer brought unprecedented labor strife to Rhode Island Hospital, the state’s largest hospital and only Level 1 Trauma Center, as it was locked in contentious negotiations with members of the United Nurses and Allied Professionals union Local 5098. The dispute reached a crescendo in July with a three-day strike and one-day lockout as hospital management brought in replacement workers. By the end of August, after each side brought unfair-labor-practice charges against the other and federal mediators oversaw six sessions of talks, the two sides agreed to a five-year contract that includes periodic raises and addresses staffing and other issues the union had emphasized.

While the labor turmoil may have been unprecedented for the hospital, labor actions, some of them deadly, are woven into Rhode Island’s history, according to James Parisi, president of the Rhode Island Labor History Society. -READ MORE

Providence Journal: OMNI Providence Hotel protesters call for contract

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — As much of Rhode Island celebrated Labor Day, a federal holiday honoring workers’ contributions to the country, supporters of Omni Providence Hotel employees were on the picket line, marching, chanting and carrying signs.

About 50 supporters of the 200 hotel workers, who have been working at the Omni Providence Hotel, 1 West Exchange St., without a contract since the end of January, conducted an informational picket on Monday.

Members of Unite Here Local 26 from other venues, such as T.F. Green Airport, Twin River Casino and the downtown hotels Biltmore Providence and Renaissance Providence, as well as community supporters, turned out to make some noise about the Omni’s lack of a contract. -READ MORE

RI NPR: Scott MacKay Commentary: Labor Day and Public Employee Unions

It’s Labor Day, when we honor workers and the unions that gave them better lives. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says this year’s big labor issue is the fate of public employee unions, following asignificant Supreme Court decision.

The labor movement has been playing defense for more than a generation, as once heavily union manufacturing companies have moved abroad in search of cheaper labor. Labor’s private-sector decline was also fueled by aggressive anti-union tactics by corporations aided by federal  laws that, labor leaders assert, discriminated against workers who sought collective bargaining. -READ MORE

Gallup: Labor Union Approval Steady at 15-Year High

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sixty-two percent of Americans approve of labor unions today, which is consistent with the 61% who approved last year and up from 56% in 2016. Before 2017, public support for unions hadn’t exceeded 60% since 2003, when 65% approved.Our latest roundup of worker wins begins with New York taxi drivers fighting to save lives and includes numerous examples of working people organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life.

The American public has long supported organized labor, starting with Gallup’s earliest measure, taken in 1936 at the dawn of the U.S. labor movement. In fact, support for unions was relatively high across the first three decades of measurement, averaging 68% from 1936 to 1967. During this period, approval never dropped below 61%, and twice — both times in the 1950s — it stretched to 75%. -READ MORE