About 120 members of United Steelworkers Local 8565 employed at Rotek Inc. went on strike Friday, January 18, according to a company spokesperson.
Join the discussion below, or Read more at Recordpub.com.
#2766 May 5, 2013
Trade unions: know your facts from the fiction!
Fiction: Unions aren’t formally recognized in my workplace so I can’t join
FACT: Anybody has the right to join a union regardless of whether their employer formally recognizes trade unions or a union organizes within their workplace.
When you sign up you should be given information about which branch you belong to (this could be for a local area if there’s not one in your workplace). Unions also have contact numbers and/or helplines for members to access legal advice.
You can also get more active in your union by getting involved with campaigns and other activity/events.
Fiction: I don’t work so there is no point in me being in a union
FACT: Unite's new reduced rate 'Community Membership' will open up union membership outside of the workplace to members of the community who may not currently be in work and other people who may not traditionally feel a union is for them.
People who sign up to this new membership will gain access to a number of benefits but, more importantly will get the opportunity to be in the fabric of a union and have a voice – to form policy, participate in campaigns and create an active branch.
Being part of a trade union is not simply about ensuring you have representation in the workplace but also about being part of a wider movement to create a better society.
#2767 May 5, 2013
The Union Difference
Unionized workers are 54 percent more likely to have employer-provided pensions.
More than 83 percent of union workers have jobs that provide health insurance benefits, but only 62 percent of nonunion workers do. Unions help employers create a more stable, productive workforce—where workers have a say in improving their jobs.
Unions help bring workers out of poverty and into the middle class. In fact, in states where workers don’t have union rights, workers’ incomes are lower.
Collective bargaining is a process in which working people, through their unions, negotiate contracts with employers to determine their terms of employment, including pay, health care, pensions and other benefits, hours, leave, job health and safety policies, ways to balance work and family and more. Employees jointly decide their priorities for bargaining.
Union employees choose who will speak for them in bargaining sessions with the employer, and vote to accept or reject the contract reached by the employer and employee bargaining committees. A ratified contract legally binds both sides—management and workers—to the contract terms.
In the United States, some three-quarters of private-sector workers and two-thirds of public employees have the right to collective bargaining. This right came to U.S. workers through a series of laws. The Railway Labor Act granted collective bargaining to railroad workers in 1926 and now covers many transportation workers, such as those in airlines. In 1935, the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) clarified the bargaining rights of most other private-sector workers and established collective bargaining as the “policy of the United States.” The right to collective bargaining also is recognized by international human rights conventions.
The freedom to form and join a union is core to the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights and is an “enabling” right—a fundamental right that ensures the ability to protect other rights.
Every year, some 30,000 collective bargaining agreements are negotiated. Today, about 8 million private-sector workers and some 8 and a half million public-sector workers are covered by collective bargaining agreements.
#2768 May 5, 2013
How labor unions help informal workers
Labor unions face significant challenges reaching informal workers, who are generally “invisible”— scattered, difficult to contact, and often with inadequate formal schooling. Even when unions identify and contact informal workers, they find it difficult to make these workers aware of their rights and of the benefits of unionization. Labor unions often prefer to help informal workers set up their own organizations and then establish alliances with them, rather than organize them as union members. Established unions can provide guidance, training, and other support to enhance the capacity of informal workers and their associations in developing organizational structures and management to help them become effective democratic institutions. Unions also can train organizations of informal workers to promote social dialogue and engage in other democratic union-type activities in pursuit of their members’ interests. Other types of assistance include institutional support, such as acting as intermediaries with public authorities or financial institutions, and setting up programs such as cooperatives that benefit informal workers. An especially important role for established labor unions is lobbying on behalf of these informal worker organizations to help them to achieve recognition, bargaining power, and legal protection from governments and other formal institutions.
#2769 May 5, 2013
Unions and Organizing
What is a union?
A union is an organization of workers who join together to negotiate better terms of employment with the employer. Workers in a unionized plant have negotiated a contract, called a collective bargaining agreement, which guarantees workers certain wages, pay increases, benefits, working conditions, protection against unjust firing, and other advantages. The contract also establishes a procedure for workers to complain, called a grievance procedure, if the employer violates the terms of the contract.
A union contract protects workers from being fired for an unfair reason and usually guarantees better pay and benefits, such as health insurance and vacation pay, than workers get in a non-union plant.
All workers have the right to join a union.
Can my employer stop me from joining a union?
No. Every worker has a right to join with other workers to advocate for better workplace conditions, organize or join a union, and assist union or collective bargaining activities.
The National Labor Relations Board is the federal agency that enforces labor laws protecting your right to organize collectively. If your employer has threatened you in any way when you have engaged in union activity or have joined with one or more coworkers to complain about a workplace condition, you can contact your union representative if you have one, a workers' center, legal aid office or other employment attorney. You can also file a complaint directly with the US National Labor Relations Board. Their toll free number is: 1-866-667-NLRB (1-866-667-6572) or (TTY) 1-866-315-NLRB
#2770 May 5, 2013
Does joining together with my coworkers protect me even if I don't have a union?
Yes. Any time that two or more workers join together to talk to a supervisor or someone from management about a problem that they are having or a situation that they would like to address, they are protected by the federal law. Your employer cannot fire, suspend, demote or harass you for joining together with your coworkers to address the problems in your workplace.
Additionally, even if you do not have a union, you have the right to ask for a coworker to be present in any meetings that you have with your employer if you think that this meeting may lead to some disciplinary action, such as being suspended, demoted or fired.
#2771 May 5, 2013
Is education a ticket out of poverty?
The ongoing attacks on public education are reducing the odds--which were already long to begin with--that working people and the poor can improve their social conditions with a better education.
ACCORDING TO an August report by the Pew Research Center called "The Lost Decade of the Middle Class: Fewer, Poorer, Gloomier," the U.S. "middle class" is shrinking.
Furthermore, 85 percent of the self-described respondents in the Pew study said that life is harder for them now than it was a decade ago. And the middle class share of the pie has shrunk. Middle-income people, as defined in the survey, now earn 45 percent of the total reported income in the U.S. It was 62 percent in 1971. The rest, of course, went to the top 20 percent, which now takes 46 percent of total income. And note, we're talking about income. Income is chump change to most wealthy people, whose real power comes from their wealth.
Union workers have higher pay, more respect on the job and more say-so over their conditions of work. Our students need nothing less than the rebirth of a bottom-up labor movement, led by workers who stand up for themselves and their communities, make themselves heard and fight for a bigger share of the pie.
#2772 May 5, 2013
Don’t Get Cheated by the Dream of Higher Education
A huge part of the American Dream is that, once you have a "good education", you can get a "good job". Along with that Dream (which started around the beginning of the 20th century, when factories needed more workers) came along some dangerous ideas that never have been entirely true and are now practically fictitious. The Dream of the Good Job included the idea that once you had that Good Job, you were set for life. The job meant security: as long as you worked hard, you could retire from that same job in twenty years, receiving a gold watch, a pension and a membership at the local country club. The fact is, that while a few people whose working lives took up the 1950's,'60's and maybe '70's did manage to hang onto their Good Jobs with the same company, most did not. Either people changed, wanting more money, better working conditions or a different occupation, or companies changed, preferring to let the experienced employees go and hiring new workers who commanded smaller salaries. My Dad is 71 now, and he always counseled me to get a good, secure job, so I wouldn't have to worry. What he didn't understand was the extent to which the world of work had changed since he was a young man. By the time I was old enough to get a job, companies were making it a practice to let go of their experienced personnel and hire inexperienced ones at much lower cost.
While everyone knows that the long-term cost of cheating your long-term employees out of their hard-won positions and training new ones who will undoubtedly leave the company in a year or two anyway is much greater than keeping your employees, paying them fairly and promoting them from within the company, companies no longer tend to consider long term costs as important as short-term strategies. Showing a quarterly profit to your stockholders is considered more important—you can hide the long-term losses over a period of time, absorbing them into company costs, but if you take a loss in any three month period, your stockholders may desert you the way you deserted your employees. The fact that employees are no longer loyal to the companies they work for is not surprising—it's a direct reflection of the way the entire corporate world has been running lo, these past thirty years.
What the current corporate ethos means to those of us who don't want to be poor is that it's a mug's game to rely on any job ever being truly secure. You can lose your job at the drop of a hat, the drop of a cent in the share price, the drop of a hint of a merger. You can lose your job because your boss doesn't like your shoes, because you are a woman, because you are too young or too old, because of your ethnicity (even if you're Caucasian), because the HR people don't feel like ordering you a new chair. It doesn't matter if you are the most valuable person in the office, or if you regularly save your boss's ass at meetings. It doesn't matter if you're the only person who knows what's going on. Being indispensable is no longer a guarantee that you will keep your job, believe it or not. Believe it.
For those whose parents taught them the old American Dream, the fact that hard work and a great attitude are no longer enough can be overwhelmingly depressing. Understanding that one's job can disappear virtually at any moment causes the thinking person distress, and can be vastly demoralizing if you intend to try to earn your money within the normal corporate world. If you understand that our parents' embraceable Dream is dead, but still choose to make it in the usual US working culture, you will find yourself working with people whose personal work ethic includes being hyper-competitive, dog-eat-dog and generally mean-spirited about work. You can certainly try to claw your way to the top with the millions of others who have decided that the Dream requires clawing.
#2773 May 5, 2013
Working poverty is not distributed equally among employment sectors. The service sector has the highest rate of working poverty. In fact, 13.3% of US service sector workers found themselves below the poverty line in 2009. Examples of low-wage service sector workers include fast-food workers, home health aids, waiters/waitresses, and non-unionized retail workers.
Although the service sector has the highest rate of working poverty, a significant portion of the working poor are blue-collar workers in the manufacturing, agriculture, and construction industries. Most manufacturing jobs used to offer generous wages and benefits, but manufacturing job quality has declined over the years. Nowadays, many US manufacturing jobs are located in right to work states, where it is nearly impossible for workers to form a union. This means that manufacturing employers are able to pay lower wages and offer fewer benefits than they used to.
#2774 May 5, 2013
RTW states have lower wages, lower pensions, inferior healthcare and a host of other issues. I am not sure why one would celebrate a race to the bottom. The decline in real wages and real buying power tracks quite snugly with the establishment of RTW states.
The Tide always changes.
In the beginning, Workers had nothing to lose, and risked their lives to win.
Today, Workers have precious little left to lose, and can see what they have slipping.
Time to fight back
#2775 May 5, 2013
"Why don't you speak intelligently to corruption, union bosses, fraud.... Union thugs"
You, in turn, sound like it's 1973... the days of "union thugs" and widespread corruption (which only ever existed in a couple of unions, most notably construction and transport) are long over.
#2776 May 5, 2013
Union corruption is stronger than ever. They use your union dues for political purposes. Why are unions afraid of right to work? Because they need your dues to spend on PAC'S. ask the Steelworkers how many junkets they go on every year. All the leaders are just as crooked as Jimmy Dimora.
And Truth is not only a joke. He's a shill for the Union.
#2777 May 6, 2013
And if its not garr. Then garr will soon be taking the heat for someone hiding behind their computer. Its coming
#2778 May 6, 2013
Going to be fun to watch. Garr, if it is you, i would just leave now. It's OBVIOUS what the majority here want.
#2779 May 6, 2013
Winter is coming boy
#2780 May 6, 2013
Here is a small list of things union leaders have done for dumbass's like yourself, and helping the middle class workers.
Without them we wouldn't have:
1.Weekends without work
2.All breaks at work, including your lunch breaks
4.Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
8.Civil Rights Act/Title VII - prohibits employer discrimination
9.8-hour work day
11.Child labor laws
12.Occupational Safety & Health Act (OSHA)
13.40-hour work week
14.Workers’ compensation (workers’ comp)
17.Workplace safety standards and regulations
18.Employer health care insurance
19.Collective bargaining rights for employees
20.Wrongful termination laws
21.Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA)
22.Whistleblower protection laws
23.Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA)- prohibits employers from using a lie detector test on an employee
24.Veteran's Employment and Training Services (VETS)
25.Com pensation increases and evaluations (i.e. raises)
26.Sexual harassment laws
27.Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
29.Employer dental, life, and vision insurance
31.Pregnancy and parental leave
33.The right to strike
34.Public education for children
35.Equal Pay Acts of 1963 & 2011 - requires employers pay men and women equally for the same amount of work
36.Laws ending sweatshops in the United States
It has been proven the right to work law, is the right to work for less. Nowadays many US manufacturing jobs are located in right to work states. This means that manufacturing employers are able to pay lower wages and offer fewer benefits then they used to. I am not sure why anyone would celebrate a race to the bottom.
However any union is better than no union, it's a start in the right direction.
It's Jimmy Hoffa not Jimmy Dimora dumbass.
#2781 May 7, 2013
"Because they need your dues to spend on PAC'S."
Only donation are used for PAC'S. How much money are you going to donate?
How will my dues money be used?
Dues provide the resources to stand up for good jobs and benefits, decent working conditions and a better future for our families. That's why union members in private industry earn 38 percent more on average than nonunion workers. They also receive 54 percent more in benefits. None of this would be possible without the strength that comes from our USW dues.
Most of your dues, 78 percent, stay with your local union in order to fund activities that give workers more power at the bargaining table, in the statehouse and in the community. Some of these activities include:
•Office equipment and regular administration expenses;
•Attorneys to assist in negotiations, grievances and arbitration;
•Research into companies and industries to gather information for negotiations and organizing;
•Accountants to analyze the company's books.
Members receive information about how dues money is spent by their local at regular monthly membership meetings, and local unions also file annual reports with the U.S. Department of Labor. The International Union publishes its annual audited financial statement.
#2782 May 7, 2013
#2783 May 8, 2013
At least we can all agree that Eric Palmer is an idiot.
#2784 May 8, 2013
Amen to that!!!
#2785 May 8, 2013
I just wish they'd put him on my machine so he'll blow it up and I get some non scheduled days. Wait till June or July though please
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