ENews: February 14, 2019

Providence Journal: Labor, city and town leaders clash at State House hearing over binding arbitration proposal

PROVIDENCE — Organized-labor leaders packed a State House hearing room on Wednesday night to pitch one of the most contentious legislative issues of past years: giving teacher and municipal employee unions the right to seek binding arbitration on financial matters when contract negotiations hit a wall.

Cranston Mayor Allan Fung showed up in person to protest. Other mayors objected in writing against giving an unelected “arbitrator” control over the finances of cities and towns, already “struggling” in many cases to pay massive retiree pension and benefit costs and mounting new costs to reconstruct their schools.

“Nothing in current law requires arbitrators to provide a fiscal impact statement quantifying the cost of an arbitration decision for taxpayers,″ said Brian Daniels, executive director of the Rhode Island League of Cities And Towns. “Nothing…requires an arbitration panel to remain within a municipality’s budget.”

AFL-CIO President George Nee told the lawmakers on the House Labor Committee, many of whom rode to reelection with organized-labor support last year: “This is one of the top priorities of the Rhode Island AFL-CIO.

“We have to have some finality. And it can’t be that I have the club and you’ve got nothing,″ Nee said. “This levels the playing field, makes it fair and everybody should see the light…Sometimes it’s an idea whose time has come. I think this is the year that the time has come.” -READ MORE


Providence Journal: Union for Blackstone Valley health care to strike Feb. 20

PAWTUCKET — Health care workers at Blackstone Valley Community Health Care on Monday gave notice that they will strike at 7 a.m. Feb. 20 if contract negotiations do not produce an agreement by then.

The next negotiating session is Feb. 15, said Emmanuel Falck, a spokesman for District 1199 Rhode Island Service Employees International Union.

The strike by 85 to 90 union members will affect locations in Pawtucket and Central Falls, Falck said. Members authorized the strike in a vote last week.

Wages are the key issue. The news release quoted Nissa Slacheck, a registered nurse, as saying “We don’t want to strike, but if that’s what we have to do to make management hear us, then we will.”

Workers doing the same job at the Providence Community Health Center earn almost 14 percent more, on average, than those at BVCHC, the news release said. -READ MORE



AFL-CIO: Painters Lend Helping Hand in the Construction Trades

Work in the construction trades is very physically and mentally demanding. For some workers, those conditions, combined with other factors, can lead to the need for support from the community. The Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) union is stepping up to provide that support for workers who are dealing with depression or substance abuse with IUPAT Helping Hand, a new program designed to raise awareness and provide resources for working people who are struggling.

Construction workers have the highest rate of suicide and drug abuse of any job category in the United States. Many of these addictions begin as treatment for work-related pain or injury. Workers often return to the job before they are fully healed in order to start earning a full paycheck again. Others come back to work still using painkillers that may affect job performance and safety. -READ MORE


Union Label & Service Trades Department, AFL-CIO: Put a Union Label on It Girl Scout Cookies Made by IBT, BCTGM

Thin Mints, Caramel deLites, Tagalongs or whichever flavor you prefer, the iconic Girl Scout cookies are all union-made. Members of the BCTGM and the Teamsters at two U.S. factories make and bake these delicious treats.

The Interbake Foods bakery in North Sioux City, South Dakota and the Little Brownie Bakers bakery in Louisville, Kentucky employ members of the BCTGM Local 433 and IBT Locals 783 and 554.

For more than 100 years, Girl Scouts and their supporters have helped ensure the success of the iconic annual cookie sale. Beginning as homemade cookies from the kitchens of girl scout members as a way to finance troop activities, the sale of cookies evolved to begin nationwide in 1937, with more than 125 Girl Scout councils holding cookie sales.

In 1951, with three varieties of cook-ies: Sandwich, Shortbread, and Chocolate Mints (now known as Thin Mints) girls began setting up tables at shopping malls to sell cookies. The numbers of cookie offerings have changed year after year, as have the flavors, but one thing remains the same, the mission behind the sales: to help girls learn skills that are essential to leader-ship, to success, and to life.

Today, the Girl Scouts sell cookies online as well as in person, offering a free downloadable app that can help cookie lovers find the nearest seller in their area. You can download the app for both Apple and Android devices or visit their website http://www.girlscouts.org

The sales are seasonal, but fortunately they are happening now. As well, February 23-25 is the National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend.


AFL-CIO: Get to Know AFL-CIO’s Affiliates: Amalgamated Transit Union

Next up in our new series of taking a deeper look at each of our affiliates is Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU). The series will run weekly until we’ve covered all 55 of our affiliates.

Name of Union: Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU)

Mission: To fight for the rights of transit workers and promote mass transit.

Current Leadership of Union: Lawrence J. Hanley is the current international president of ATU.

Oscar Owens serves as international secretary-treasurer and Javier M. Perez Jr. serves as international executive vice president.

Current Number of Members: Nearly 200,000.

Members Work As:Metropolitan, interstate and school bus drivers; paratransit, light rail, subway, streetcar and ferry boat operators; mechanics and other maintenance workers; clerks, baggage handlers, municipal employees and others.

-LEARN MORE



KITCHEN TABLE ECONOMICS

$11 billion: What the last shutdown cost the American economy.



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UPCOMING EVENTS:

ILSR Leadership for a Future

**Note: Deadline has been extended to February 15. Call (401) 463-9900 or EMail Erica at EHammond@riilsr.org.

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OEHCRI Lunch & Learn Seminar II

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THIS WEEK IN LABOR HISTORY

Unionist:

Mary Harris “Mother” Jones is arrested while leading a protest of conditions in West Virginia mines. She was 83 years old at the time – 1913

“White Shirt Day” at UAW-represented GM plants. Union members are encouraged to wear white shirts, marking the anniversary of the 1936-1937 Flint sit-down strike that gave the union bargaining rights at the automaker. The mission: send a message that “blue collar” workers deserve the same respect as their management counterparts. One of the day’s traditional rules: Don’t get your shirt any dirtier than the boss gets his. The 44-day strike was won in 1937 but the tradition didn’t begin until 1948, at the suggestion of Local 598 member Bert Christenson – 1948

-LEARN MORE



NEXT WEEK ON LABOR VISION: IWith no abatement in the opioid crisis in sight, and the second conference upcoming on abuse at the UA, Local 51 Hall, we are running the informative and fact-based segment on how to deal with a victim of an opioid overdose, demonstrated to us by Erin McDonough of the Rhode Island Disaster Medical Assistance Team’s Medical Reserve Corps.

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