Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Union buster to be appointed to National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)

It might not get as much press coverage as other Donald Trump administration calamities, but the U.S. president is set to appoint a known union buster to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), push the body to a Republican majority and reverse Obama-era protections that rankle Big Business.

On July 13, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee held hearings on Trump’s two NLRB selections and his deputy labor secretary pick. All three of these men are expected to be confirmed.

Trump is putting the NLRB in the position to undo a number of important Obama-era labor decisions. His NLRB could potentially reverse rulings that made it easier for small groups of workers to unionize, established grad students as employees, put charter school employees under NLRB jurisdiction, and held parent companies jointly liable for with franchise operators who break labor laws. Writing about the imminent anti-union crackdown on this website in May, Shaun Richman wrote, “Unions and their allies should be convening research teams to plot out a campaign of regulatory and judicial activism. That work should begin now.”


Saturday, July 1, 2017

The Homestead strike, 1892 - Jeremy Brecher

Jeremy Brecher's detailed history of the 1892 strike of workers at the Carnegie Steel Company against the eventually successful attempt of the employer to break their union, the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steelworkers. (summary at

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Faculty at Cesar Chavez Prep Middle School (CHARTER SCHOOL) vote to join AFT (DC)

Middle school teachers (including librarian)  at a charter school in Columbia Heights (District of Columbia) have voted to unionize, forming the first collective bargaining unit at a charter school in the district. 

The teachers at Cesar Chavez Prep Middle School voted 31-2 in favor of joining the American Federation of Teachers.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Student Library Employee Union Joins Teamsters-University of Chicago

SLEU will be the first nationally recognized union undergraduate and graduate union at a private university.

Image result for teamsters logo
University of Chicago student library employees have voted to unionize, with over 80 percent of voters supporting affiliation with Teamsters Local 743.

These workers, 226 in total, will be known as the Student Library Employee Union (SLEU), and affiliated with Teamsters Local 743. The election was held between June 2 and June 8 in a vote count conducted by the National Labor Relations Board.

"We welcome these student workers into the Teamsters family at Local 743," said Deborah Simmons-Peterson, President of Local 743. " We've been representing the professional library staff at the university since 1980 and that experience will enhance our representation of the student workers."

Sunday, May 14, 2017

William P. Faust Library (Westland, MI) protest staff lay offs

About 30 people turned out at a William P. Faust Library Board meeting Wednesday in Westland to protest the layoff of five librarians in March.
The unionization effort — not the first in the library's history — came in the wake of a reorganization that resulted in the lay-off of five librarians. Those librarians identified themselves as the organizing leaders and filed an Unfair Labor Practice alleging the lay-offs were related to union activity.
It was a repeat of earlier meeting protests as library staff has voted to unionize and an initial meeting between the sides is expected in June.

Monday, May 8, 2017

University of Chicago Student Library Employees File Petition to Unionize

University of Chicago Student Library Employees File Petition to Unionize

CHICAGO –(ENEWSPF)—May 8, 2017.  A coalition of University of Chicago student library workers filed a petition yesterday to become one of the nation’s first primarily undergraduate student unions at a private university. The group of student employees, calling themselves the Student Library Employees Union, worked with Teamsters Local 743, a local labor union, to file the petition with the National Labor Relations Board this past Sunday.
The petition calls for an election to determine whether student library employees will unionize and gain the legal right to negotiate with the University on issues such as employee wages, hours, and third-party legal representation in cases of Title IX, ADA and labor violations. Only as unionized workers will students be able to protect their rights as well as fully engage in the academic mission of the University of Chicago.
“Student workers do a large amount of the work that makes UChicago Library—and by extension, UChicago—function, and we need to have a legitimate say in the issues that affect us, affect our work environments, and affect our abilities to balance our jobs and education,” said fourth-year Daphne Xi, a student worker at the Joe and Rika Mansueto Library.
Students say that wages are too low and hours too irregular for part-time student library workers in need of a secure source of income, with some taking on second jobs outside of the university system to cover expenses necessary to receive an education. They say that the library bureaucracy is opaque such that it is difficult to push for changes when employers will not give them a fair deal.
“As a student worker with mental illnesses, unionization is an extremely important goal for me. I am not only a student worker, but an organizer, and a musician – in short, I don’t have much free time, and too often I’ve been put in a situation where I need to put work over my responsibilities as a student and even my well being as a person just so that I can have enough money to continue attending this school,” said third-year Alex Peltz, a student worker in the Regenstein Library.
He said, “Creating a union will provide me with the ability to bargain for a higher wage so that I can actually be a student at my own school, as well as offering me legal representation and defense against ADA violations, allowing me to feel safe and supported in the workplace.”
As unionized workers, students will be able to negotiate with the University for a better recourse on workplace violations. Student library employees with legal recognition as a body of workers will have the ability to participate in mandatory contract negotiations with the University administration. This ability is especially necessary for student employees, as the administration has habitually failed to meet with students in a timely or productive manner.
Furthermore, students will push for legal third-party representation in workplace grievance procedures regarding cases of harassment, Title IX violations, and ADA violations. The federal government has previously criticized and intervened in the University’s implementation of Title IX and ADA. With external arbitration, unionized student workers will be able to ensure the University acts on its commitments to student safety and health.
“I think that unionizing is crucial in order to get the accountability and security we need from the University,” said second-year Katie McPolin, a student worker at the Eckhart Library.  “I have long felt like I do not have a voice in the way that this university operates, as they continually fail to prioritize the things I care about—ADA compliance, for example, is something they have notoriously neglected—and instead pour funds into what’s most profitable. This is a huge step toward a democratic university, where my needs matter to administrators as much as the money in my pockets.”
The University’s Graduate Students United, a coalition of graduate student workers, will also file a petition to unionize today. Graduate and undergraduate student employees recognize the need for the University to implement better working conditions in order to both receive and provide an education.