Monday, February 26, 2018

US public employees mobilize as Supreme Court weighs union rights

An impending US Supreme Court decision threatens the right of public employees to union representation and collective bargaining, and it is a decision that will “hit every public-sector worker across this country,” says Corey Upchurch, a school bus driver for special needs children in Washington DC.

“Just imagine if money is taken off your table, or you’re not able to send your child to college or you not able to retire because you don’t have a pension,” says Upchurch, a father of three children, ages 16, seven and five. “That’s what this case is trying to do.”

Upchurch was amongst thousands of US public employees and their allies who rallied in the US capital this past weekend to demand the High Court respect fundamental worker rights. The Court’s decision will directly affect nearly 18 million public sector workers, disproportionately impacting African-American women – who make up 17.7 percent of public employees. African-American women are paid only 65 cents of the dollar that their white male counterparts are paid – and unions help reduce this pay gap.

The issue involves “agency fees,” which are deducted from paychecks to cover the costs of union representation. The case was brought by an Illinois public worker, Mark Janus, against his union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), and is part of a larger corporate attack on freedom of association in the United States and, more broadly, around the world.

“The loss of agency fees threatens to trigger an insidious free rider dynamic in which some workers avoid paying for the union’s representation thus weakening the union’s ability to defend the workers it represents, which in turn will discourage others from paying, perpetuating a destructive cycle that quickly undermines union strength,” says Joseph McCartin, executive director of the Kalmanowitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor at Georgetown University.

Full story here..............

Teamsters Make Further Progress During Third Round of UPS Contract Negotiations

The Teamsters National UPS Negotiating Committee continued to make progress on a variety of issues as the third round of contract negotiations with UPS and UPS Freight wrapped up today.

“We made further progress on a number of non-economic issues,” said Denis Taylor, Director of the Teamsters Package Division and Co-Chairman of the Teamsters National UPS Negotiating Committee. “We look forward to more progress when we resume negotiations next week.”

Among other issues, the following were on the table this week:

  • Article 12, Polygraph/Timeclocks; dealing with members’ rights to receive copies of ODS messages;
  • Article 17, Paid For Time; dealing with members’ ability to review hours and rates of pay as well as confirmation and identification of grievance payments;
  • The Committee introduced a proposal dealing with Hours of Service for Package Drivers;
  • The Committee made further progress on Article 37, Section 1A, Harassment;
  • The Committee continued its discussion on the work week; a supplemental issue that the National Committee is coordinating.

In addition, subcommittees continued to meet in conjunction with the National Committee dealing with topics such as Leave of Absence, Temporary Alternate Work, and the Hazardous Materials Handling Program

“At UPS Freight negotiations, the union committee continued to make progress on several issues, including CDL training and grievance procedures,” said Kris Taylor, Co-Chair of the Teamsters National UPS Freight Negotiating Committee.

The next round of negotiations will take place Feb. 26-March 1.