Steelworkers on strike at Rotek Inc. ...

Steelworkers on strike at Rotek Inc. in Aurora

There are 4998 comments on the story from Jan 18, 2013, titled Steelworkers on strike at Rotek Inc. in Aurora. In it, reports that:

About 120 members of United Steelworkers Local 8565 employed at Rotek Inc. went on strike Friday, January 18, according to a company spokesperson.

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Louisville, KY

#2664 Apr 26, 2013
Unions remain as important today as in any time of our history. Though issues facing the Union and its members have changed over the last century, our basic philosophy has not.

No longer do we fight the demons of the past – child labor, 40-hour workweek, vacation time, etc. We’ve moved forward and progressed, taking up the banner for today’s working class men and women on key fronts such as health care, fair and equitable pay, respectful treatment, short staffing, forced overtime and job and retirement security for all its members.

As the global economy evolves and the federal government and multi-national corporations back away from providing health care, retirement plans and job security for employees, Unions such as the USW are more vital than ever.

Louisville, KY

#2665 Apr 26, 2013

We’re steelworkers. We slurry and smelt aluminum. We mine for iron ore and create cement. We make glass and metals of many kinds. We produce paper and paper products. And we craft energy-saving wind turbines that help save our Earth.

We’re nurses and nurses’ aides. We make Harley Davidson motorcycles and Carrier air conditioners. We’re rubber workers who make your tires; metal workers who make the materials that go into buildings, homes, automobiles, planes and roads.

We serve you at banks and teach at universities. You’ll find us in oil refineries and grocery stores. At utility companies and in chemical plants. We work in the public sector and in the forests. We drive taxi cabs and work in airports. We’re security guards and electricians. We’re miners and pharmaceutical workers. We’re 1.2 million active and retired members strong. You’ll find us fighting for a better life for all workers in union halls, at the work place, in the courts and in legislatures.

Louisville, KY

#2666 Apr 26, 2013
The Crisis in Manufacturing

Trade and industrial revitalization.

Poor trade, dollar and tax policies, combined with the health care crisis in the U.S., have put American manufacturing workers at a competitive disadvantage in the global economy. We need measures that rectify these failed policies and return American manufacturing capacity to its former levels. This requires "highroad" industrial development policies—increased access to capital investment, technical assistance and workforce training incentives—that modernize and expand the nation’s manufacturing industries, while preserving and creating good manufacturing jobs. Key measures include:
•Fair trade policies that reduce the U.S. trade deficit, enforce existing U.S. trade laws and require inclusion of enforceable workers’ rights and environmental standards in trade agreements.
•Revised tax laws that eliminate incentives for corporations to move production overseas and punish those that do; opposition to reform of the Foreign Sales Corporation (FSC) tax that would encourage shifting manufacturing jobs overseas; replacing FSC with tax incentives that help American manufacturers create U.S. jobs and help companies cope with retiree health care and pension costs.

We need strong legislation that penalizes companies that incorporate overseas to avoid taxes, including denying government contracts to these companies. Legislation that would strengthen the manufacturing base for national defense and homeland security through procurement reform, enhanced "Buy American" requirements, an updated assessment of critical defense manufacturing capabilities and limits to "offsets" that drain critical technology and good jobs.

Louisville, KY

#2667 Apr 26, 2013
Unions protect quality of job opportunities

Southern states, and Texas in particular, are known as non-union states. Politicians and many citizens proudly state that we don’t need unions and unions are bad for the economy and the nation. As a result, the South and Texas are attractive to manufactures who provide lower wages and fewer benefits than those demanded by workers in the Northern states who tend to be unionized.

While there has been corruption in the labor unions, many people fail to recognize that the unions are responsible for many of the rights and benefits that employees now enjoy. It was the unions which demanded that there be child labor laws. That coffee-break and uninterrupted lunch break you enjoy are the result of the efforts of union workers. Safe working conditions and vacations are enjoyed by most of us because unions demanded it. Even the minimum wage law was the outgrowth of union efforts. It has always surprised me when the very people who have been helped are proud of the fact that they are non-union.

While mentioning some of the attributes of unions, I am more concerned about the jobs that are being brought into Texas. Our governor proudly points out the many jobs and businesses that he has brought to Texas. While his numbers may be impressive to him and to other people, a bigger question is being left unanswered.“What type of jobs have been brought to Texas?” should be the question that he is being asked, not how many.

Entry level jobs at just above minimum wage have an impact on the entire environment of a city or a state. The first indication of companies needing only entry level jobs moving to a state is the quality of the education in that state. Obviously, higher paying jobs demand a higher and more rigorous education. Since Texas has been declining in their ranking in education, is this contributing to our attracting lower paying jobs?

Jobs that do not offer a future in the place of employment often means that the community does not offer much of a future to the employee. Attracting a large plant is good for any community, but that plant must offer some future for the employee. If there is a maximum wage for the employee, what contribution will that employee make to the community? The employee must see opportunities in both the workplace and community to stay and contribute. How many small communities with entry level employment have seen their community become a training ground for another city? Too many, unfortunately.

Are there some ways that communities can ensure that while they are getting companies to move to their community, the company is more than just an entry level employer? The first thing that should be asked is exactly what type of jobs and employees does the city wish. It is easy for a company to espouse high wages and working conditions to get tax incentives to move to a city. However, it is near impossible to enforce the promised wages once the company is located. Too many communities have been the victim of such deals.

Cities and states, and their individual entities must look at potential employers if the city is to grow. The city and state must have the quality of life that the workers will want to stay and better the community. Cooperating with the community, the employer must also add to that quality of life. Sales tax and real estate tax are not the only contributions that will help the community. If the employer is paying just above the minimum wage, how can we expect the employees to be more than just that? How have the employer and the community shown the employee that they are a good place, not only to work but also to live?

Our employment opportunities are important, but so is the quality of life of our residents. We must take this into consideration when we are offering incentives to companies. It is argued among economists that incentives do not generally pay for themselves. Let’s not give our community away just for low paying jobs.

Louisville, KY

#2668 Apr 26, 2013
Why do we need unions?

“I see no reason why an employer should not be able to tell you to work from 6 a.m. until 10 a.m. and then have you come back and work from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. After all, isn’t that an eight-hour day? It is the employer’s right to work you 10 hours a day with no additional pay. It is a job isn’t it?”

If you find those remarks absurd, you are probably pro-union. If you don’t, you are probably against unions. As more and more states implement right-to-work laws, it is becoming evident that the common worker is losing his power in the work place. Unfortunately, most of the states implementing right-to-work laws are governed by the Republican Party. The very workers who elect these state leaders are the ones who would most likely benefit from protection by labor unions.

How many of us take for granted our work place rules and regulations? That eight-hour day with regular pay is something that labor unions fought for. In most industries, anything more than an eight hour day requires extra compensation, either in pay – one-and-a-half times normal rate – or time off. This rule was brought about by the influence of labor unions.

Many of us have benefited from medical insurance paid partially, or in some cases entirely, by the employer. Where would the average worker be today if he or she did not receive this benefit? Check with some of the elderly in stores such as Walmart, Sears or any other major retailer and ask why they are working. You will hear “for insurance and a little extra money.”

Labor unions have brought so many benefits to the common laborer. If you need to know why labor unions were even created, read a bit of American history prior to 1900. American workers revolted against the working conditions at that time. Read about the strikes and the suppression of those strikes by the companies and, in many instances, not only by local governments but the national government, as well.

Today, there are some rather disheartening statistics showing the average worker’s compensation has actually declined since 2000. While the workers’ compensation and buying power have stagnated, the profits of the corporations have skyrocketed. The disparity between middle-class wealth, which was created because of the demands of labor unions, and those in the upper class has increased enormously and is continuing to widen. And this widening gap is happening while more and more Republican-led state legislatures are implementing right-to-work laws.

It is apparent that the middle class in the United States is becoming poorer while the rich are becoming the super-rich. Are we going to see the society that Jacob Riis saw in his 1890 book “How the Other Half Lives”? Are we going to see the social ills of the 1880s and ’90s? Will we see, once again, National Guard units called out to put down strikes by workers demanding humane treatment? Are we willing to accept that the CEO of a corporation is paid thousands of times more than the average worker who makes the products? These are questions Americans need to be asking.

The workers of America made this country what it is today. But, no longer do corporations reward the laborer. Yes, we still need labor unions. Unfortunately, too many people have forgotten what unions have done for all of us.

Louisville, KY

#2669 Apr 26, 2013
PEC settles labor law case: Employees still pushing for union

part 1

The Pedernales Electric Cooperative (PEC) recently settled a case out of court after employees of the firm filed charges that the firm violated federal labor law by threatening and interrogating employees about union organizing activities. PEC employees are not currently unionized.

Preventing employees from organizing a union is prohibited under the National Labor Relations Act of 1935.

According to documents filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), charges against PEC included: interrogating employees about their union activities; orally promulgating and prohibiting employee discussions about the union during work; threatening termination if employees discussed union organizational activity while they were working; interrogating an employee about union sympathies; soliciting employee complaints and promising increased benefits and improved working conditions if they refrained from organizational activity; and implicitly threatening employees with reprisals for union activity and sympathies.

According to Tim Watson, NLRB regional attorney, the charges were independently investigated.

“We found in this case that the law was violated,” Watson said.

In the Sept. 26 settlement, the day the case was headed to court, PEC admitted no wrongdoing but agreed to several conditions including changes to its employee policy manual, according to Kay Jarvis, PEC spokesperson.

PEC must also post on official board notice – the Confirmed Notice for Employees flyer from NLRB – stating the list of things the company will not do.

Examples include:

“We will not make coercive statements in response to our employees’ union activities” and “We will not threaten our employees for engaging in union activities.”

According to Watson, 20,000 charges of unfair labor practices are filed every year in the United States.

“Our role is to educate the public and private sector employees about their rights under the law,” Watson said.

The settlement also included reinstating lost wages of an employee who was disciplined for violating company policy.

Louisville, KY

#2670 Apr 26, 2013
PEC settles labor law case: Employees still pushing for union

part 2

That employee, Gary Alvarez, has been with PEC for 11 years as a lineman. He currently works at the Kyle branch of the firm. He was instrumental in trying to organize a labor union at the firm.

According to Larry Hayes, union organizer for International Brotherhood of Electric Workers (IBEW), PEC linemen held a vote in January of this year to join IBEW, one of the largest and oldest electrical worker unions in the United States and Canada.

The vote failed 126 to 78, but Alvarez said he expects another round of voting in the near future.

Hayes confirmed that PEC employees are calling him again to start another campaign, possibly as soon as next month.

He said management likes to tell employees that unions are bad, but he said they actually make companies better because they protect employees.

“A union is a partner. We help bring stability, higher production, happy workers and higher morale to companies because the employees know they have a voice,” Hayes said.“And happy employees mean higher profits.”

Hayes said today’s employees can thank unions for things such as safety programs at companies, child labor laws and five-day/40-hour work weeks.

CEO R.B. Sloan commented on why PEC wanted to settle.

“I heard loud and clear from a number of employees that they are ready to put the rancor created by past union activity behind them so that they can concentrate on doing what they do best – working together as a team to provide superior member service. That is what PEC has done,” said Sloan.

The grievances against PEC, said Alvarez, are that nothing has changed since the vote in January.

“We have more chance of winning the vote this time,” Alvarez said,“because nothing has changed.”

Alvarez said the company is still trying to intimidate employees into voting against unionization.

He contends that employees want more respect, to be treated better and to have their voices heard by management.

“’Employees have had enough,” he said.
Truth is a joke

Bedford, OH

#2671 Apr 26, 2013
Unions Protect the workers based on seniority. Not by their performance. They turn Company's into average or non-competitive which costs you your jobs. Wake up! Truth is full of canned union propaganda. Think for yourselves

Florence, KY

#2672 Apr 26, 2013
Heard Garr is on the choppin block anyway. So he may get his wish, have to find a union job so he can be happy.

Louisville, KY

#2673 Apr 26, 2013
Truth is a joke wrote:
Unions Protect the workers based on seniority. Not by their performance. They turn Company's into average or non-competitive which costs you your jobs. Wake up! Truth is full of canned union propaganda. Think for yourselves
1) Corporate profit margins just hit another all-time high. Companies are making more per dollar of sales than they ever have before.(And some people are still saying that companies are suffering from "too much regulation" and "too many taxes." Maybe little companies are, but big ones certainly aren't. What they're suffering from is a myopic obsession with short-term profits at the expense of long-term value creation)

2) Wages as a percent of the economy just hit another all-time low. Why are corporate profits so high? One reason is that companies are paying employees less than they ever have as a share of GDP. And that, in turn, is one reason the economy is so weak: Those "wages" are represent spending power for consumers. And consumer spending is "revenue" for other companies. So the profit obsession is actually starving the rest of the economy of revenue growth.

3) Fewer Americans are working than at any time in the past three decades. The other reason corporations are so profitable is that they don't employ as many Americans as they used to. As a result, the employment-to-population ratio has collapsed. We're back at 1980s levels now.

In short, our current obsessed-with-profits philosophy is creating a country of a few million overlords and 300+ million serfs.

That's not what has made America a great country. It's also not what most people think America is supposed to be about.

So we might want to rethink that.

Specifically, we might want to have the goal of our corporations be to create long-term value for all of their constituencies (customers, employees, and shareholders), not just short-term profit for their shareholders.

Louisville, KY

#2674 Apr 27, 2013
Union Members Live Better!

As union members, we bargain collectively with our employers over wages, benefits, and rights.

We have the best chance of receiving better wages, benefits and fair treatment in the workplace by bargaining collectively as a union. Most of us have very limited bargaining power as one person, but as a group, we are strong. And, with a good negotiated contract, we have legal protections we would not have otherwise.

Need another reason to form or belong to a union?

Under the employment at will doctrine, the cornerstone of American employment law, in general terms, unless we belong to a protected group, our employer has the right to discipline or terminate, with impunity, us for any reason -- even a bad one -- or for no reason at all. That's why it is sometimes called the fire at will doctrine.

With a collective bargaining agreement, we have rights. Management must have "just cause" for any disciplinary action taken against a union employee. "Just cause" is spelled out in our union contract so that we know exactly what is expected of us.

Louisville, KY

#2675 Apr 27, 2013
Members Run the Union!

* You elect your own local union officers.

* You run your own local union affairs.

* You have your own negotiating committee.

* You make the decisions on your own union contract.

* You have your own shop stewards.

* You decide important policies and actions of your own union by majority vote.

* You elect your international union officers.

* You elect your own delegates to the international conventions.

* You -- the membership -- are the final voice of authority and decision in your Union.

Louisville, KY

#2676 Apr 27, 2013
NLRB Election

Section 9 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) requires that 30% of the employees sign cards authorizing the union to represent them before the union can ask for recognition from the company.

1. When a majority of cards (65% of the bargaining unit) have been secured, the IBEW will ask the company to recognize your union.(Even though the law only requires 30%, we think it is wise not to ask for recognition with less then 65%. We don't want to waste your time or our time if we don't think we can be successful.)

2. If the company should refuse such recognition, the cards may then be taken to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) where the union files a petition for an election.

3. The Board then sets a date when you vote -- by secret ballot -- for the union.

4. You vote -- in secret -- "Yes" for union representation, "No" for no union representation.

5. A simple majority wins.

6. The Board then certifies the union -- and soon thereafter contract negotiations begin with your employer for higher wages, job security and -- improved working conditions.

Louisville, KY

#2677 Apr 27, 2013
National Council of Churches (Representing 33 million Protestants)

part 1

Whereas, the churches, in the statement of 'The Social Ideals' have stood for 'The right of employees and employers alike to organize for collective bargaining'. Resolved: that the National Council record its conviction that not only has labor a right to organize, but also that it is socially desirable that is do so because of the need for collective action in the maintenance of standards of living.
-National Council of Churches (Representing 33 million Protestants)

Baptist Churches

We recognize the right of labor to organize and to engage in collective bargaining to the end that labor may have a fair and living wage, such as will provide and culture.-Southern Baptist Convention

We reaffirm the right of labor to organize into unions or to affiliate with national labor bodies.-Northern Baptist Convention

Catholic Church

In the first place, employers and workmen may themselves effect much in the matter which we treat-(saving the workers from being ground down with excessive labor). The most important of all are workmen's associations...but it is greatly desired that they should multiply and become more effective.-LEO XIII

What is to be thought of the action of those Catholic industrialists who even to this day have shown themselves hostile to a labor movement that we ourselves recommended.-PIUS XI

Labor can have no effective voice as long as it is unorganized. To protect its rights it must be free to bargain collectively through its own chosen representatives.- Catholic Church

Church of the Brethren

Laborers are always to be regarded as persons and never as a commodity. Industry was made for man, and not man for industry. Employees as well as employers have the right to organize themselves into a union for wage negotiations and collective bargaining.-Brethren Service Commission, Church of the Brethren

Congregational Christian Churches

We stand for the replacement of the autocratic organization of industry by one of collective effort of organized workers and organized employers.

The Disciples of Christ

Be It Resolved by the International Convention of the Disciples of Christ:

That It is our conviction that workers should have the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist in forming labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing and to engage in such activities as are within the limits of Constitutional rights for the purpose of bargaining with employers and other mutual aid protection.

Evangelical and Reformed Church

In order that the Christian principles of respect for personality, establishment of brotherhood, and obedience in the revealed will of God may find more adequate expression in the economic order, we commit our selves to work for ...the recognition of the right of employers and workers to organize for collective bargaining, as a step toward the democratic control of industry for the good of society.

Jewish Synagogue

The same rights of organization which rest with employers rest also with those whom they employ. Modern life has permitted wealth to consolidate itself through organization into corporations. Workers have the same inalienable right to organize according to their own plan for their common good and to bargain collectively with their employers through such honorable manes as they may choose.-Central Conference of American Rabbis

Louisville, KY

#2678 Apr 27, 2013
National Council of Churches (Representing 33 million Protestants)

part 2

Jewish Synagogue

We believe that the denial of the right of workers to organize and to form group associations so that they may treat as economic equals with their employers is tantamount to a curtailment of human freedom. For that reason, we favor the unionization of all who labor.-Jewish

Methodist Church

We stand for the right of employees and employers alike to organize for collective bargaining and social action; protection of both in the exercise of their right; the obligation of both to work for the public good.-The General Conference of the Methodist Church

Collective bargaining, in its mature phase, is democracy applied to industrial relations. It is representative government and reasoned compromise taking the place of authoritarian rule by force in the economic sphere. In its highest form it is the Christian ideal of brotherhood translated into the machinery of daily life.-General Board of Christian Education of the Methodist Church

Presbyterian Church

Labor unions have been instrumental in achieving a higher standard of living and in improving working conditions. They have helped to obtain safety and health measures against occupational risk; to achieve a larger degree of protection against child labor; to relieve the disabled, the sick, the unemployed; and to gain a more equitable share in the value of what they produce.-Board of Christian Education, Presbyterian Church, U.S.A.

The right of labor to organize and to bargain collectively with employers is clearly an inalienable right in a democracy, and has so been recognized by our government.-Synod of Tennessee, Presbyterian Church of U.S.A.

The Protestant Episcopal Church

We recognize the right of labor to organize and to engage in collective bargaining to the end that labor may have a fair and living wage, such as will provide not only for the necessities of life, but for recreation, pleasure, and culture.

Lutheran Church

We are convinced that the organization of labor is essential to the well being of the working people. It is based upon a sense of the inestimable value of the individual man. United Lutheran Church In America

It is the right of every man to organize with his fellow workers for collective bargaining through representatives of his own free choice. It is the duty of both management and labor to accept and support conciliations and arbitration in industrial disputes.-Board of Social Mission and the Executive Board of the United Lutheran Church in America.

Louisville, KY

#2679 Apr 27, 2013
DEAR AMERICA: You Should Be Mad As Hell About This

America just isn't working right now.

It's not just Americans who aren't working. It's America itself, a country whose economy once worked for almost everyone, not just the rich.

In the old America, if you worked hard, you had a good chance of moving up.

In the old America, the fruits of people's labors accrued to the whole country, not just the top.

In the old America, there was a strong middle class, and their immense collective purchasing power drove the economy for decades.

No longer.

Over the past couple of decades, the disparity between "the 1%" and everyone else has hit a level not seen since the 1920s. And there is a widespread and growing sense that life here is not fair or right.

If America cannot figure out a way to fix these problems, the country will likely become increasingly polarized and de-stabilized. And if that happens, the recent "Occupy" protests will likely be only the beginning.

The problem in a nutshell is this:

In the never-ending tug-of-war between "labor" and "capital," there has rarely—if ever—been a time when "capital" was so clearly winning.

And that's not just unfair.

It's un-American.

Louisville, KY

#2680 Apr 27, 2013
Corporate profits as a percent of the economy also just hit an all-time high. Profits are now VASTLY higher than they've been for most of the last half-century.

If corporations are doing so well, everyone who works for them should be doing great, right? Wrong. The folks who are doing well are at the top. CEO pay is now 350X the average worker's, up from 50X from 1960-1985.

CEO pay has skyrocketed 300% since 1990. Corporate profits have doubled. Average "production worker" pay has increased 4%. The minimum wage has dropped.(All numbers adjusted for inflation).

After adjusting for inflation, average hourly earnings haven't increased in 50 years.

In short ... while CEOs and shareholders have been cashing in, wages as a percent of the economy have dropped to an all-time low.

In other words, in the struggle between "labor" and "capital," capital has basically won.

Of course, life is great if you're in the top 1% of American wage earners. You're hauling in a bigger percentage of the country's total pre-tax income than you have at any time since the late 1920s. Your share of the national income, in fact, is almost 2X the long-term average!

And the top 0.1% in America are doing way better than the top 0.1% in other first-world countries.

It wasn't always this way ... From 1917 to 1981, the bottom 90% of wage earners in this country (blue) captured 69% of the total wage growth. The richest 10%, meanwhile, got 31% of the wage gains.

Between 1981 and 2008, however, things changed. The richest 10% grabbed 96% of the income gains in those years, leaving only 4% for the bottom 90%.

And from 1997-2008, things got grossly unfair. ALL of the wage gains went to the top 10%. The wages of the bottom 90%, meanwhile, declined.

In fact, income inequality has gotten so extreme here that the US now ranks 93rd in the world in "income equality." China's ahead of us. So is India. So is Iran.

And, by the way, few people would have a problem with inequality if the American Dream were still fully intact—if it were easy to work your way into that top 1%. But, unfortunately, social mobility in this country is also near an all-time low.

And then there are taxes ... It's a great time to make a boatload of money in America, because taxes on the nation's highest-earners are close to the lowest they've ever been.

And now we come to the type of American corporation that gets—and deserves—a big share of the blame.

So, the 1% is doing great, and the 99% are getting the shaft.

In short, America just isn't America anymore.
Truth is a joke

Bedford, OH

#2681 Apr 27, 2013
Like I said. Truth is a Union paid propaganda machine. Think for yourselves. Don't put your fate and your future into the hands of 5 bullies. Truth is paid by the Union to spread his pro union views. Let others express their views on this thread and quit filling up the screen with your canned propaganda.

Louisville, KY

#2682 Apr 27, 2013
Truth is a joke wrote:
Like I said. Truth is a Union paid propaganda machine. Think for yourselves. Don't put your fate and your future into the hands of 5 bullies. Truth is paid by the Union to spread his pro union views. Let others express their views on this thread and quit filling up the screen with your canned propaganda.
New Five-Year Study Shows Employers’ Anti-Union Behavior Intensifies

A new study by renowned labor expert and Cornell University professor Kate Bronfenbrenner reveals that private sector employer opposition to workers’ efforts to form unions has intensified and become more punitive than in the past. Employers are more than twice as likely to use 10 or more tactics – including threats of and actual firings – in their campaigns to thwart workers’ organizing efforts. Today’s anti-union activities include a greater focus than in the past on more coercive and punitive tactics designed to intensely monitor and punish union activity.

In No Holds Barred: The Intensification of Employer Opposition to Organizing, published by the American Rights at Work Education Fund and the Economic Policy Institute, Bronfenbrenner provides a comprehensive, independent analysis of employer behavior in union representation elections supervised by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The report also compares employer behavior data in the study’s time period (1999-2003) to previous studies conducted by Bronfenbrenner’s research teams over the last 20 years.

For the vast majority of workers who want unions today but do not have them, the right to organize and bargain collectively—free from coercion, intimidation, and retaliation—is at best a promise indefinitely deferred. According to Bronfenbrenner, in NLRB election campaigns, it is standard practice for workers to be subjected by corporations to threats, interrogation, harassment, surveillance, and retaliation for union activity. From the 1999-2003 data:

* 63% interrogate workers in one-on-one meetings with their supervisors about support for the union

* 54% threaten workers in such meetings

* 57% threaten to close the worksite

* 47% threaten to cut wages and benefits

* 34% fire workers

Even when workers succeed at forming a union, 52 percent are still without a contract a year after they win the election, and 37 percent remain without a contract two years after the election.

At a briefing today to unveil the results, Angel Warner, a worker with Rite Aid in California trying to form a union and get a contract with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union said:“We wanted to form a union so we would be treated with dignity and could speak up without fear of losing our jobs. Now we finally got through the harassment to form a union and we still don't have a contract. It shouldn't be like this. If my coworkers and I want a union, we should have one."

Bronfenbrenner’s study documents the increased use by employers of more punitive tactics such as plant closing threats and actual plant closings, discharges, harassment, disciplinary actions, surveillance, and alteration of benefits and working conditions. At the same time, employers are less likely to offer “carrots,” such as unscheduled raises, positive personnel changes, bribes, special favors, social events, promises of improvement, and employee involvement programs.

According to the report, the failure of the current system to defend workers’ rights in a timely manner multiplies the obstacles workers face when seeking union representation, adding further delays that favor employers over workers. Bronfenbrenner finds that employers appeal a high percentage of the cases and in the most egregious cases the employer can count on a final decision being delayed by three to five years.

Of the few cases in the representative sample studied where a penalty was imposed, the heaviest penalty an employer had to pay was backpay, minus the worker’s interim wages

Louisville, KY

#2684 Apr 27, 2013
Our Issues

The USW on the National Scene

* Trade America’s working families’ jobs and future are being threatened by the predatory practices and unfair trade policies of countries like China and Indonesia. The United Steelworkers will not tolerate unfair trade practices that destroy American jobs. We will demand that our government investigate and enforce the rules of fair trade.

* Retirement The United Steelworkers upholds the right of all workers to be able to retire in dignity with a decent pension. We will work with all sectors of the international trade movement to stand up to the political parties and forces in defense of the livelihoods of retired workers. We support strengthening the Social Security system. We reject any effort to raise the retirement age, privatize the system, and otherwise undermine Social Security benefits.

* The Economy The continuing concentration of wealth in the hands of a few and the growing impoverishment of the many have dampened the hopes of an American Dream for a great number of working men and women. The United Steelworkers believe it is imperative that we maintain a strong middle class. Otherwise income inequality will ultimately fuel other kinds of social inequality.

* Health Care The United Steelworkers remain steadfast in the belief that health care is a right not a privilege. We believe that all workers should be entitled to affordable medical coverage. Our union will fight for three principles of health care: universal coverage, cost control and comprehensive coverage.

* Job Security People employed in non-union workplaces are – according to U.S. labor law,“at-will” employees, meaning that an employer may terminate an employee without reason. A primary benefit of a labor agreement in your workplace is to provide job security for rank and file workers. The United Steelworkers has qualified representatives who work hard to ensure our members get the best possible labor agreement.

* Work & Family Many companies treat workers as a commodity instead of identifying them as a valued resource. The United Steelworkers recognizes the needs of working families - good jobs with living wages; some time off every week with a couple of weeks set aside every year for vacations.

* Affordable health care insurance and a decent pension plan. In favorable economic times, our members work hard to increase the size of the economic pie. Our goal is to ensure our members get their fair share.

* Public Policy The United Steelworkers has always adhered to a public policy that addresses the concrete economic and social issues of working families; a public policy that offers opportunity, training and benefits for our members; and a public policy which not only makes the lives of working men and women richer, but better.

* A Voice At Work The right to form a union is one of the most basic rights that workers are entitled to, but this freedom remains under constant attack from a great many employers and political enemies. Over 60 million workers have indicated they wish to join a union, but workers who try to exercise this right to organize face discouraging obstacles such as illegal harassment, intimidation, unjust penalties and firings. The United Steelworkers remains committed to protecting an employee’s right to organize and to work toward having the Employee Free Choice Act passed in Congress.

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