Thursday, 250 Teamsters in Seattle went on strike against Republic Services, the second-largest waste disposal company in the United States. Workers in Buffalo, New York, and Columbus, Ohio struck Republic for three days earlier this week. These workers aren’t responding to moves by local management. Instead, they went on strike in Teamsters with 24 striking co-workers in Alabama. That kind of strike has become all too rare in the modern labor movement – and it’s usually illegal.
“It means a whole lot to know that other guys stand behind us…” says Alabama striker Robert Agee. “To have that much support from people you don’t even know means a whole lot.” That solidarity – from South to Northeast to Midwest to Northwest – may be what brought Republic back to the negotiating table for the first time in months.
Officials with the Mobile-based Teamsters Local 991 say that after nearly a year of negotiations, they reached a contract deal with Republic last month. But after votes to ratify the deal had already begun, Republic backtracked on one of its provisions: eliminating two fees on workers. One is a $40/ month fee on workers who use tobacco; the other is a $100 / month fee on workers whose spouses have access to another healthcare plan (even a much worse one) but use Republic’s plan instead.
In response to Republic’s announcement it would not lift the fees, the Teamsters filed Unfair Labor Practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (being stubborn in negotiations isn’t itself illegal, but backtracking often is). “They broke federal labor law.” says Chuck Stiles, Assistant Director of the Teamsters’ Solid Waste and Recycling Division. “We had an agreement that the surcharge was going to be completely waived, and that’s what they pissed backwards on.” At 11:30 PM on March 22, Alabama Republic workers went on strike. 90 minutes later, Teamsters mounted picket lines in Buffalo and Columbus, and workers there refused to work.
Union Members Storm Grain Terminal In Washington State
“Early on Thursday, the protesters stormed the EGT facility, smashed guard shack windows, pushed a security vehicle into a ditch, cut brake lines on several rail cars and dumped grain from some cars onto the ground, Duscha said.
No one was injured and protesters disbursed before police arrived so no arrests were made, he said. Police were still assessing the damage.
The action was the latest in an increasingly tense dispute between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which represents the protesting workers, and EGT.
The union said it had an agreement with the Port of Longview that required the hiring of workers from the local ILWU chapter to man the facility. EGT planned to hire workers from a different union.
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As my friend Jeremy often says, “Shock. Gasp. Clutch the pearls.” At least when Ed Schultz of MSNBC got caught doing this, he corrected it and apologized.
36 Reasons Why You Should Thank a Union
- All Breaks at Work, including your Lunch Breaks
- Paid Vacation
- FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act)
- Sick Leave
- Social Security
- Minimum Wage
- Civil Rights Act/Title VII (Prohibits Employer Discrimination)
- 8-Hour Work Day
- Overtime Pay
- Child Labor Laws
- Occupational Safety & Health Act (OSHA)
- 40 Hour Work Week
- Worker’s Compensation (Worker’s Comp)
- Unemployment Insurance
- Workplace Safety Standards and Regulations
- Employer Health Care Insurance
- Collective Bargaining Rights for Employees
- Wrongful Termination Laws
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
- Whistleblower Protection Laws
- Employee Polygraph Protect Act (Prohibits Employer from using a lie detector test on an employee)
- Veteran’s Employment and Training Services (VETS)
- Compensation increases and Evaluations (Raises)
- Sexual Harassment Laws
- Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
- Holiday Pay
- Employer Dental, Life, and Vision Insurance
- Privacy Rights
- Pregnancy and Parental Leave
- Military Leave
- The Right to Strike
- Public Education for Children
- Equal Pay Acts of 1963 & 2011 (Requires employers pay men and women equally for the same amount of work)
- Laws Ending Sweatshops in the United States
I swear, people come out with more absurd statements every day
There’s a reason most Ron Paul fans are on college and high school campuses
They foolishly believe that he will legalize weed and they always think they’re so smart and perfect that they will always be on the employer side of things.
People need to find out more about Ron Paul & that fact that he’s just as crazy as the rest of the Republicans. He just does a better job at hiding it.
Ohio Governor John Kasich delivered his “State of the State” speech March 8 with all the pomp expected of a new governor setting his agenda.
But 3,000 union members and allies—led by 2,000 firefighters along with teachers, state workers, electrical workers, steelworkers, and many others—had just finished rallying outside the Columbus statehouse damning Senate Bill 5, the governor’s proposal to gut public employee unions.
And now hundreds of protesters packed the hearing gallery, with many more outside, filling the air with boos and “Kill the Bill” chants while the governor spun down-home tales, like one about a young girl who walked up to him during his campaign to say, “Mister, please don’t tax my eggs.”
Seth Rosen, vice president of Communications Workers District 4, said Ohio politics are usually mild. Booing the governor isn’t typical.
The governor and the legislature’s Republican majority certainly don’t have moderation in mind. After a little reworking, the senate passed a bill in early March that ends collective bargaining for most state workers, by a 17-16 vote. The assembly was still considering it at press time.