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Unions

Schoolbook

City Releases Details of Turnaround Plans

Friday, July 27, 2012

The city has released plans outlining reforms at the 24 "turnaround" schools. Staffing changes were thwarted by a judge's ruling, and the rest of the plans also appear to be at risk because they relied on federal aid that has been held up because of litigation involving the city and its unions.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Shortchanged: Joe Nocera on Unions and the Middle Class

Thursday, June 07, 2012

In light of the failed Wisconsin recall, Joe NoceraNew York Times op-ed columnist and co-author of All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis, discusses the correlation between the decline of unions and the widening gap between the rich and the middle class.

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It's A Free Country ®

As Walker Rises, So Does Christie

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

WNYC

Not long ago, a Republican Governor elected just after the Obama landslide in a “blue” state painted a line in the sand. 

In a big-union state, he took on the unions.  In a state formed by rail transportation, he killed a big federal rail project and sent huge sums back to the federal government.  The more the unions howled, the happier he seemed poking sharp sticks in their eyes.

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The Takeaway

Why The American Middle-Class Needs Unions

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Last night in Wisconsin, voters weighed in on whether Governor Scott Walker would stay in office. The recall began with protests over Governor Walker's attempts to curb union bargaining power in Wisconsin. However, as the election approached it grew into a divisive political fight, with $60 million on both sides. Whether or not the Wisconsin recall will prove to be a bellweather for the 2012 presidential election, it's certain to have implications for the future of labor unions throughout the country.

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WNYC News

Bloomingdale's, Workers Reach New Contract for Flagship Store

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Bloomingdale's and the workers in its flagship 59th Street store have reached an agreement on a new contract for the store's 2,000 unionized workers.

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WNYC News

Bloomingdale's Workers Rally for Better Wages, Benefits

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Workers at Bloomingdale's flagship location on 59th Street rallied outside the store Wednesday, asking why the company's strong profits are not translating into better compensation for its workers.

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WNYC News

Strand Bookstore Workers Reject Contract

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Workers at the legendary Strand Bookstore near Union Square voted down a new employment contract Thursday that had been proposed by the store’s owners.

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WNYC News

Pension Reform Causes Unions to See Red

Thursday, March 15, 2012

An overnight session in the state legislature where pension reform and other items were approved has left public worker unions, and even some lawmakers, fuming. Meanwhile Governor Andrew Cuomo says it had to be done that way.

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WNYC News

Carpenters Union Fights to Keep Members from Joining Competing Union

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

After their local union was dissolved due to corruption allegations, 700 dock builders are in the process of voting on which union should represent them: The New York City District Council of Carpenters or the newly formed Amalgamated Union. The District Council, which has more than 20,000 members, allege that Amalgamated was created by former members kicked out of the union for being corrupt.

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WNYC News

Campaign Finance Scandal Gives City Comptroller John Liu Labor Pains

Friday, March 09, 2012

A cloud has been over City Comptroller John Liu's since his campaign treasurer was arrested over a week ago. His current problems may be undermining his image as the city's chief fiscal watchdog, and leading to weaker support from unions.

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The Takeaway

President Obama Addresses United Auto Workers

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

As voters in Michigan prepared to head to the ballots Tuesday, President Obama delivered a rousing speech to the United Auto Workers Union in Washington D.C., taking the opportunity to campaign on the success of the auto-bailout. Three years and some $80 billion later, the rescue of Chrysler and GM has remained fresh in the minds of voters in Michigan. However, the significance of the bank and auto bail-outs may mean something else — or perhaps nothing at all — to voters in other parts of the country.

WNYC News

Hotel Workers Win Substantial Raises

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

More than 20,000 hotel workers appear to be reaping the benefits of a thriving hospitality industry. A recent labor contract agreed to on Tuesday has workers earning a 29 percent raise over 7 years.

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Transportation Nation

TWU Suspends Talks with NY MTA Over Contract

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Transport Workers Union Local 100 President John Samuelsen, left (Photo: Janet Babin/WNYC)

Talks broke down today between New York's Transport Workers Local Union 100 and New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Members of The Transport Workers Union gathered in the lobby of New York City Transit headquarters in Lower Manhattan and accused the authority of bargaining in the media, instead of at the negotiation table.

Local 100 President John Samuelsen said the city’s 34-thousand transit workers found out about the MTA’s contract proposals before union brass did.

“You had bus operators, track workers, signal maintainers, reading the newspaper today, with a better grasp of what the MTA was going to do with the negotiation committee of the union and the leadership of the union...and that's an outrage, “ said Samuelsen.

Details about the MTA offer surfaced in the New York Daily News Thursday.  The union's contract expired Sunday.  But the two sides have continued to negotiate. The union held a rally at the beginning of talks last month but this is its first public demonstration of anger at the authority.

Sticking points in the contract include increased healthcare costs and the amount of wage increases.  The News said the MTA had offered the union a five year contract,with a 1%-percent increase for the first three years, and 2%-percent increase in the subsequent two years. But the union wants a three-year contract.  It also wants wage that keeps up with inflation.   The MTA has said that any increases in union wages should be revenue neutral.

Even though Samuelsen cancelled talks, he said the union was willing to return to the negotiating table.  “No new talks are scheduled,” said Samuelsen.

The TWU went on strike for nearly three days in 2005, crippling New York's transit system. In response to the union’s actions,  a spokesman for the MTA said only, “it does not negotiate in the press.”

 

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WNYC News

Public Employee Unions Sue State Over Increased Healthcare Costs For Retirees

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Public employee unions for New York State workers are suing the Cuomo administration in federal court in Albany over the state's decision to raise health care contributions for current retirees. The bump-up would raise the employee share 2 percent for both individual and family plans.

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It's A Free Country ®

OWS 2.0: Tactics and Tone Vary for November 17 Protests

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Are the protests on November 17 going to ratchet up the civil disobedience to show that eviction hasn’t weakened protesters’ resolve, or an opportunity to demonstrate a broad post-encampment solidarity across the country? Depends on whom you ask.

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: Ohio Collective Bargaining Victory Shows Tea Party's Overreach

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Demonizing teachers, police officers and firefighters turned off the public. Attacking collective bargaining just seemed un-American. And dealing with a national jobs deficit by attacking those who work for a living wasn't a winning strategy.

-Justin Krebs, It's A Free Country blogger.

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Transportation Nation

Detroit Bus Strike Slows City, Wins Safety Promises from Mayor

Friday, November 04, 2011

A Detroit bus stop. (By Flickr user JSmith Photo)

About 100 Detroit city bus drivers refused to work this morning to demand safer working conditions after a driver was beaten by a group of teens on Thursday afternoon at the city's main transit terminal.

Riders were stranded across the city until after lunch--more than 100,000 people use the transit system daily. Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, who has been criticized for not paying enough attention to transit, reacted quickly by promising new measures to improve safety for drivers and riders alike. Buses were rolling again by 1:30pm, according to Mayor Bing.

WDET reporter Quinn Klinefelter tells Transportation Nation the strike comes after months of mounting frustration. For the past six months the city and the union representing bus mechanics have been sparring, resulting in what the city calls a slowdown. "So there should be 300 or so buses on the road but there have been only 200 buses," Klinefelter says. That's led to hour-long delays and an increasingly dissatisfied ridership, some of whom have been taking it out on drivers.

Kleinfelter says that on Thursday, "a driver got off and got beaten up by teenagers" at the Rosa Parks Transit Station in downtown Detroit. The number of teens and exact circumstances are still unclear. The Detroit Free Press reports the teenagers were angered that the driver refused to wait for their friend. It took police 30 minutes to arrive even though headquarters is only blocks away.

In response to the attack and slow police response, this morning 100 drivers showed up to work but refused to get on the buses and drive, saying they didn't feel safe behind the wheel.

Mayor Bing, finding himself confronted by a second transit union, scrambled to react and get buses rolling again. He told a press gathering this afternoon that he had met with drivers, DDOT officials and Detroit Police about driver safety today. He said they reached "an understanding."

"The city is committed to providing security to both bus drivers and passengers alike," Bing said. "There will be zero tolerance for unacceptable behavior toward our bus drivers." He said the Detroit Police Department will institute random stops of buses to inspect them for safety and additional officers will be stationed at the Rosa Parks Transit Station. He also announced a $1,000 reward for tips leading to arrests of the attackers.

WDET's Klinefelter said Henry Gaffney, the head of Amalgamated Transit Workers' Union Local 26 representing the drivers, told WDET the city has agreed to put in bullet proof partitions around drivers. The city, however, denied any knowledge of the promise to Klinefelter.

Speaking to WDET earlier in the day, Megan Owens, the Executive Director of Transportation Riders United, explained why this strike was a long time coming. "For a lot of DDOT drivers [the attack] was the straw that broke the camel's back. They've been bearing the brunt of the bus problems for a long time with passengers verbally assaulting drivers pretty frequently, and they say if they can't feel safe going out on the roads, they're not going to drive."

The full conversation with WDET covers systemic needs and root causes behind today's strike in more detail. She argues the full DDOT system has been ignored and underfunded for years and calls for a regional transit authority to be created.

For a sense of the inconvenience the unannounced work action caused, see this video by the Detroit Free Press with stranded riders from earlier this morning.

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The Takeaway

PATCO: The Strike That Changed American Labor

Monday, October 17, 2011

In recent months there has been a resurgence of labor protests across the United States. From Ohio to Wisconsin, union members are taking to the streets once more. Yet despite this apparent resurgence, the power of American unions has declined significantly in recent decades. Today The Takeaway traces it all back to August 1981, when nearly 13,000 air traffic controllers went on strike creating a standoff with Ronald Reagan that ended when he fired the majority of them and de-certified their union, the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization. 

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Unions Join Occupy Wall Street

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

President of 32BJ Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Mike Fishman and president of the United Federation of Teachers in New York Michael Mulgrew explain why their unions are joining the Occupy Wall Street protests today.

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WNYC News

NY Union Floats New Idea to Avoid Layoffs

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Two days after one of the state’s two major worker unions rejected a contract, the Public Employees Federation President says he has “new ideas” for a contract settlement, and is anxious to meet with Governor Andrew Cuomo to discuss options to avert the 3,500 lay offs ordered by the governor.

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