Donald Cohen – In the Public Interest
Donald Cohen – In the Public Interest
The Supreme Court’s war on the labor movement may soon claim some high-profile casualties.
By Ian Millhiser – The Nation
ate June has become a time of terror for anyone on the left. These early days of summer are traditionally the last of the Supreme Court’s term, and at a time when the Court is dominated by Republican appointees, Democrats, liberals, and leftists alike often spend the last week of June dreading what the Court is about to do to health care, workers, and the rights of women or racial minorities.
This June, however, was different. With the Court down a justice for most of the last year, its members avoided most politically charged cases that were likely to produce a 4-4 split. Compared to past terms, the last year at the Supreme Court was relatively boring. The term’s biggest decisions—an erosion of the separation of church and state and a lamentable decision to temporarily reinstate parts of Trump’s Muslim ban—both were decided after Republicans placed someone in the Court’s final seat.
Remember how good this boredom feels, because it won’t last. With Neil Gorsuch now occupying the seat that Republicans held open more than a year until Donald Trump could fill it, the next term will not be boring at all. And the Court’s Republican majority has a familiar target in its sights: the American worker
Last year, many of America’s unions had a near-death experience.
In January of 2016, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, a case that sought to starve public sector unions of the money they need to operate. The arguments before the justices seemed to herald an impending disaster for the unions, with Anthony Kennedy—the closest thing to a swing vote—appearing visibly angered by some of the pro-union arguments presented to the Court. After the arguments phase, there was little doubt that organized labor would lose in a 5-4 decision that threatened many unions’ ability to operate.
Then Antonin Scalia died.
Without Scalia to cast the fifth vote against labor, the justices split 4-4 in Friedrichs and the threat to unions seemed to have passed.
Now, however, Gorsuch occupies Scalia’s old seat. And Gorsuch is, if anything, well to Scalia’s right. The Supreme Court’s war on unions, in other words, will now resume. And there’s already a case in the works that will allow the Court’s Republican majority to pick up where it left off in early 2016.
Earlier this month, lawyers led by the anti-union National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation asked the Court to hear Janus v. AFSCME, a case that is nearly identical to Friedrichs. Both challenge what are sometimes called “agency fees” or “fair share fees.” And Janus, like Friedrichs, is an existential threat to many public sector unions.
By law, unions must bargain on behalf of every worker within a bargaining unit, regardless of whether each individual worker joins the union. That creates a free-rider problem, because each individual worker gets to keep the higher wages and increased benefits that normally accompany unionization without having to pay membership dues.
Collective bargaining, moreover, is an expensive process that can require a team of lawyers and financial experts. Hiring good negotiators costs money. If too many workers refuse to pay union dues, unions can find themselves without enough funds to operate.
To solve this free-rider problem, union contracts often contain a provision requiring non-union members to reimburse the unions for their fair share of the costs of collective bargaining. These are called “agency fees.” That means that just as everyone gets to share the benefits of unionization, everyone also pays their share of the costs.
Many state legislatures, in an effort to weaken unions, ban these agency fees—that’s what so-called “right-to-work” laws do. As the Economic Policy Institute’s Elise Gould and Will Kimball explain, such a law is “associated with $1,558 lower annual wages for a typical full-time, full-year worker.”
Janus asks the Supreme Court to impose a right-to-work regime on all public sector unions. And with Gorsuch now occupying a seat on the Court, it is overwhelmingly likely that the Court will side with the anti-union attorneys behind Janus.
Should these lawyers prevail, the effects will be threefold.
First, wages and salaries will decline. According to Gould and Kimball, wages in right-to-work states “are 3.1 percent lower than those in non-RTW states.” State and federal workers who currently aren’t bound by a right-to-work law can expect to see similar downward pressure on their own earnings.
Second, Republicans will gain ground on Democrats. Unions provide much of the Democratic Party’s political infrastructure, including thousands of volunteers. Though agency fees cannot lawfully be spent on political activity, Janus is likely to starve many unions for cash and could cause some unions to fail entirely. That places the party of Neil Gorsuch in a much stronger position each election year.
Finally, even when Democrats do perform well at the polls, the Democrats elected in a post-Janus world are likely to act much more like Republicans. Because organized labor plays such a crucial role in the Democratic coalition, Democratic politicians take anti-labor positions at their own peril. As labor’s role diminishes, those politicians will have less to fear from labor—and more to fear from the big donors unleashed by decisions like Citizens United.
By lashing out at unions, in other words, the Supreme Court can help ensure that its future members look more like Gorsuch and less like the blocked Barack Obama nominee, Merrick Garland.
A majority of the Court, moreover, is likely to rule against public sector unions in Janus, despite the fact that the plaintiff’s arguments in this case are weak.
In essence, the lawyers behind Janus argue that agency fees violate the First Amendment because they compel non-members of a union “to subsidize the speech of a third party…that they may not wish to support.” When unions bargain, they must engage in speech to do so. And a non-union member might disagree with that speech. So that, according to the lawyers behind Janus, is unconstitutional forced speech.
It is true that, as a general matter, the government cannot compel someone to speak. But different rules apply to government workers, and for good reason. If the state hires me to teach algebra, the First Amendment doesn’t let me keep my job if I decide instead to teach my students about Japanese art, or to teach them nothing at all. As Justice Kennedy explained in Garcetti v. Ceballos, “government employers, like private employers, need a significant degree of control over their employees’ words and actions; without it, there would be little chance for the efficient provision of public services.”
Moreover, if the Supreme Court holds that bargaining between an employer and its employees is a First Amendment–protected activity, that could have absurd results. Consider a hypothetical that Justice Scalia offered in an earlier case involving agency fees.
Suppose you have a policeman who is dissatisfied with his wages. So he makes an appointment with the police commissioner, and he goes in and grouses about his wages. He does this, you know, 10 or 11 times. And the commissioner finally is fed up and tells his secretary, I don’t want to see this man again. Has he violated the Constitution?
It would be difficult, to say the least, to run a workplace if managers cannot discipline a government employee who harasses their supervisors with frivolous requests. The First Amendment has never been understood to impede workplace management in this way.
Janus, in other words, asks the Supreme Court to embrace a novel and dubious reading of the First Amendment. And it does so in service of a cause that will harm workers and greatly benefit the GOP. And there is little doubt as to how the five Republicans on the Supreme Court will vote.
One scholarship of $1,500 will be awarded for each category. To be eligible for these awards, applicants must be children of members in good standing of Laborers’ Local 1001 and enrolled in an accredited college or university undergraduate program in the fall semester of 2017. Only one entry per student applicant and one scholarship per family. All information will be verified prior to awarding a scholarship.
You can fill out the application on our app or by submitting a paper copy that has been mailed to all eligible members.
We are proud of all of our LiUNA Brothers and Sisters who came out from the Chicago Laborers’ District Council, including some of our very own Local 1001 members, for the Chicago and Cook County Building Trades Softball Tournament today.
It is always such a great event which raises money for Diabetes.
Hope to see and even bigger turnout and hopefuly see LiUNA in the championship game.
SUPERVISING TIMEKEEPER – LABORER
Job Number: 293243
Department of Transportation
These positions are open to the general public and to all current city employees covered under the terms of the City’s collective bargaining agreement with COUNTY, MUNICIPAL SUPERVISORS AND FOREMAN LOCAL 1001 (BARAGINING UNIT 54).
IF YOU ARE A CURRENT CITY EMPLOYEE AND WANT TO EXERCISE YOUR CONTRACTUAL RIGHTS TO BID, YOU MUST APPLY ON THE BID ONLYSITE AT: www.cityofchicago.org/CAREERS
(Once the website opens, scroll down and click on the button titled “Bid Opportunities.”)
IN ADDITION, YOU MUST CHECK THE BOX ON THE CAREERS APPLICATION TITLED “ALREADY EMPLOYED BY THIS COMPANY”, CORRECTLY ENTER YOUR EMPLOYEE ID, AND SELECT THE CORRECT BARGAINING UNIT.
YOU MUST USE THE EMPLOYEE NUMBER FOUND ON THE UPPER LEFT-HAND CORNER OF YOUR PAY CHECK STUB LABELED “PAYEE/EMPLOYEE NUMBER.”
IMPORTANT – Help protect construction jobs!
Tomorrow, June 30, an IDOT funding bill will be proposed in the Illinois House and Senate. If this bill does not pass, IDOT projects will be forced to shut down and workers will be sent home.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: Follow this link to find your State Representative & Senator. Call or email BOTH and ask them to support this 1-year IDOT funding bill. http://www.elections.il.gov/districtloca…/addressfinder.aspx
Help keep your brothers and sisters working, take action now, and please share this on your page to help spread the word!
Happy Father’s Day to all of the hard working LiUNA dads that make our Union Proud.
To all the LiUNA Local 1001 dads who are the coaches, mentors, leaders in our neighbothoods, wards and city, we wish you a Happy Father’s Day!
Keep up the great work both on and off the job, you’re strength and dedication to your family, community and your Union will continue to move us forward.
Below is a copy of the notice from DSS.
DEPARTMENT OF STREETS AND SANITATION
CITY OF CHICAGO
TO: ALL LOCAL 1001 MEMBERS
FROM: Raymond Laureano
Managing Deputy Commissioner
DATE: June 15, 2017
RE: Transfer Requests
At this time we are accepting transfer requests from all 1001 represented employees.
To be considered, employees must be active at the time we have the transfer meeting. All transfer requests must be personally dropped off, date stamped at City Hall, Personnel Section, Rm 1107, no later than end of business June 30, 2017. When submitting more than one (1) transfer request, please indicate your choice of preference (ie: 1st choice, 2nd choice) at the top right hand corner of your transfer request form. Also, please include your phone number on the transfer form.
When completing the “desired days off and desired work location” section of the transfer request you MUST specify if you only want to be considered for a specific work location and days off. If you are “open” to working any shift and/or at any work location, you must write “Open” next to “Desired days off and desired work location” section. For example, if you ONLY want to be considered to a south side location, you must indicate this (ie: SOUTH SIDE ONLY).
If you change your mind AFTER submitting in a transfer you must contact Nadia Suarez at (312) 744-4672 and inform her of you decision no later than June 30th.
Lastly, if you submitted a transfer request prior to May 5, 2017 you will need to re-submit one.
If you have any other questions, please contact Nadia Suarez at (312) 744-4672.
IF YOU ARE A CURRENT CITY EMPLOYEE AND WANT TO EXERCISE YOUR CONTRACTUAL RIGHTS TO BID, YOU MUST APPLY ON THE BID ONLY SITE AT: www.cityofchicago.org/CAREERS
Unposting Date: Jun 26, 2017, 11:59:00 PM
BU: 54 Salary: $25.80/hour
Check out the full bid announcement in the Jobs section of our app.
The next few days may see near record temperatures in the Chicago area, please remember to stay hydrated. Working in the heat is not new to many of you but please remember to work smart and work safe.
Please take a minute to read the heat related materials below, it can make a difference for you or one of your co-workers.
Contrary to what the City of Chicago is attempting to do through third parties, Local 1001 will not be dragged in or put in a position to debate our positions and the value of our members, in the press.
We are well aware, as well as every taxpayer who benefits from the outstanding service our members deliver to the city each and every day, of your dedication to your work.
In the extreme heat, in the bitter cold, rain, snow, you the members of Local 1001 serve the taxpayers of the City of Chicago at a fair and reasonable rate for the outstanding services you perform.
We will not let the City try to influence your negotiating team by its use of these third parties, who are doing nothing more than trying to drum up support in an effort to diminish what your Union has built.
This is not the first time your negotiating team has seen this type of tactic during negotiations, it will not change our positons or our dedication to our membership.
Your team has years of experience, and the faith and trust you exhibited on May 20, 2017 gives us the motivation and support to show the City that Local 1001 is not going to buy into the BS that they are selling.
We will continue to negotiate the best possible contract for all of our members and keep the newspapers where they belong, in the recycling garbage can.
Below is just one of the recent articles we are referring to.
By Mac-Z Zurawski.
On May 20th, 2017 one of the largest unions in Chicago, LiUNA Local 1001, re-elected a woman, Nicole Hayes, as their president. For over eight years, Ms. Hayes has been an integral part of this union’s growing women’s membership, now fully a quarter of 2000 strong. On Hayes’ journey, she has encouraged other women to run for office and win, including two recently elected. Nikki continues the tradition of trailblazing women in Chicago’s Labor Movement herstory.
That herstory would not be complete without including Lucy Gonzalez Parsons(1853 – 1942). Parsons, who was considered by Chicago Police to be more dangerous than a 1000 rioters, was a radical advocate of working women and men in all aspects of labor in Chicago and the globe. She was a founding member of the Industrial Workers of the World in Chicago while advocating as a renowned writer for the labor movement. She was one of the first feminists to believe women should be treated equally in the labor force, including pay and benefits. Unfortunately, she did not live to see the vast changes that accompanied WWII. Her life ended as Rosie the Riveter’s began. Happily however, on May Day 2017, a street honorarium was finally dedicated to one of Union’s fiercest loyalists, on the very holiday Lucy helped to create.
In 1930 Addie Wyatt(1924 – 2012) and family moved to Chicago seeking a golden opportunity as part of the Great Migration. Yet, dismal realities set in as the family found intense racial segregation and unequal opportunities for African-Americans and women. At 17, Addie, though qualified to be a typist, was instead sent to the canning department of Armour & Company. She joined the United Packinghouse Workers of America in the early 1950s when she discovered they did not discriminate, and by her leadership women were finally allowed equal pay and expanded jobs on the packing floors. She consistently worked toward women’s and civil rights throughout her entire career, helping to formalize women’s equality in union contracts that were akin to the Equal Rights Amendment. Her advocacy and hard work kept her rising through the ranks of several unions, and eventually led her to be elected Vice-President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union in 1972. Addie’s list of union accomplishments is exhaustive, but include working alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and being appointed to a position on the Labor Legislation Committee of the U.S. Commission on the Status of Women by Eleanor Roosevelt. Additionally, she collaborated to create the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists promoting both color and gender, and in 1974 she introduced the Chicago Coalition of Labor Union Women. Both groups are still alive and kicking in Chicago.
Fast forward as Karen Lewis(1953 -), president of the 29,000+ member Chicago Teachers Union, repeats herstory. On September 10th, 2012 with just two years under her belt as president, she led the first CTU strike since 1987. After decades of declining workers’ rights throughout most industries, she won rights and guarantees for teachers reminiscent of the Wyatt and Parsons eras. That strike revitalized the Labor Movement in Chicago, spurring the powerful formation of various Independent Political Organizations and Chicago’s Progressive Party. Her leadership continues to create educational classes through the CTU Foundation for all workers, parents, and Chicagoans, in general. She has continuously pushed her membership to march in the streets, participate in 1 day strikes and become politically active. Chicago’s very own, Ms. Lewis has become the 21st century icon for women in labor.
These stories provide a glimpse of the amazing women who have broken through boundaries for women in unions. Today, women union leaders continue to flourish in Chicago including the CTU, UAW, LiUNA, APWU and SEIU. Women like Katie Jordan, a founder of CLUW with Addie Wyatt, continues to grow membership, leadership, and educational opportunities for union women. The newly formed Working Journalists Union of Chicago has women leaders aiding in professional development, and negotiating for equal pay when formalizing writing contracts. If you’re a union woman in Chicago, the glass ceiling is penetrable, and the sky’s the limit. Let’s fight to keep it that way.
By day Mac-Z Zurawski is an 18 year member of LiUNA Local 1001 working on a garbage truck for the City of Chicago. At night she is an adjunct professor, media and policy liaison for Alderman George Cardenas (12th Ward), writer, researcher and social activist. Check out her new blog, Political Star at http://maczzurawski.tumblr.com/. Feel free to contact her regarding educational, speaking and consulting opportunities. LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/maczzurawski Twitter: @maczzurawski
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
This Memorial Day weekend, while many of us will have time to spend with friends and family, thousands of brave men and women in the armed services are far from home and family and living in daily danger. Their sacrifices and heroism and those who have willingly laid down their lives to protect our democracy and freedom must never be forgotten.
Our nation’s veterans deserve our honor, respect and appreciation on Memorial Day and every day of the year. On behalf of the entire LIUNA General Executive Board, I wish each and every one of you an enjoyable holiday and hope that you will also take time to reflect on those who sacrificed themselves to keep us safe.
With kind regards, I am
In states where the law exists, “right-to-work” makes it illegal for workers and employers to negotiate a contract requiring everyone who benefits from a union contract to pay their fair share of the costs of administering it. Right-to-work has nothing to do with people being forced to be union members.
Federal law already guarantees that no one can be forced to be a member of a union, or to pay any amount of dues or fees to a political or social cause they don’t support. What right-to-work laws do is allow some workers to receive a free ride, getting the advantages of a union contract—such as higher wages and benefits and protection against arbitrary discipline—without paying any fee associated with negotiating on these matters.
That’s because the union must represent all workers with the same due diligence regardless of whether they join the union or pay it dues or other fees and a union contract must cover all workers, again regardless of their membership in or financial support for the union. In states without right-to-work laws, workers covered by a union contract can refuse union membership and pay a fee covering only the costs of workplace bargaining rather than the full cost of dues.
There is scant evidence these laws create jobs, help workers, or are good for a state’s economy, as supporters claim. Instead, these laws weaken unions and thereby hurt workers, the middle class, and local economies. We present here a Right-to-Work 101 so that the debate over right-to-work laws proceeds based on the facts.
Researchers who study the impact of right-to-work laws find that these laws do not create jobs—despite supporters’ claims to the contrary. The Indiana Chamber of Commerce, for example, claims that “unionization increases labor costs,” and therefore makes a given location less attractive to capital. The purpose, then, of right-to-work laws is to undermine unions and therefore lower wages in a given state, thus attracting more companies into the state.
But in practice this low-road strategy for job creation just doesn’t pan out. Despite boosters’ promises of job creation, researchers find that right-to-work had “no significant positive impact whatsoever on employment” in Oklahoma, the only state to have adopted a right-to-work law over the past 25 years⎯until Indiana did so days ago⎯and consequently the best example of how a new adopter of right-to-work laws might fare in today’s economy. In fact, both the number of companies relocating to Oklahoma and the total number of manufacturing jobs in the state fell by about a third since it adopted such a law in 2001.
Indeed, most right-to-work advocates’ purported evidence of job growth is based on outdated research and misleading assertions. An Indiana Chamber of Commerce-commissioned study found right-to-work states had higher employment growth between 1977 and 2008 compared to states without a right-to-work law, but much of that growth could be attributed to other factors. Those factors included the states’ infrastructure quality, and even its weather—which the study ignored.
Recent research from the Economic Policy Institute that controlled for these factors finds that right-to-work laws have not increased employment growth in the 22 states that have adopted them.
Right-to-work laws lower worker pay and benefits and make workplaces more dangerous for all workers—whether unionized or not—by weakening unions.
Unions have a significant and positive effect on the wages and benefits of union and nonunion workers alike. Unionized workers are able to bargain for better wages, benefits, and work conditions than they would otherwise receive if negotiating individually. The effect on the average worker—unionized or not—of working in a right-to-work state is to earn approximately $1,500 less per year than a similar worker in a state without such a law.
Workers in right-to-work states are also significantly less likely to receive employer-provided health insurance or pensions. If benefits coverage in non-right-to-work states were lowered to the levels of states with these laws, 2 million fewer workers would receive health insurance and 3.8 million fewer workers would receive pensions nationwide.
The fact that unionization raises people’s wages and benefits is borne out by surveys of union members and by common sense. Unions also affect the wages and benefits of nonunion workers by setting standards that gradually become norms throughout industries. To compete for workers, nonunion employers in highly unionized industries have to pay their workers higher wages. And unions support government policies (such as minimum-wage laws) that raise workers’ pay.
Right-to-work laws also may hurt workplace safety. For instance, the occupational-fatality rate in the construction industry—one of the most hazardous in terms of workplace deaths—is 34 percent higher in right-to-work states than in states without such laws. And one academic study finds that increasing union density has a positive effect on workplace safety in states with no right-to-work laws (for every 1 percent increase in unionization rates there is a 0.35 percent decline in construction fatality rates), but in right-to-work states, the effect of union density on safety disappears.
Unions are democratic organizations: If employees didn’t like their contracts, they would vote to reject the contract, vote to change their union officers, or vote to get rid of their union—all of which can be done under current law.
By weakening unions right-to-work laws also weaken the middle class. From pushing for fair wages and good benefits, to encouraging citizens to vote, to supporting Social Security and advocating for family-leave benefits, unions make the middle class strong by giving workers a voice in both the market and our democracy.
Nine of the 10 states with the lowest percentage of workers in unions—Mississippi, Arkansas, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Tennessee, Texas, and Oklahoma—are right-to-work states. All of them also are saddled with a relatively weak middle class. The share of total income going to the middle class—defined as the middle 60 percent of the population—in each of these states is below the national average.
If unionization rates increased by 10 percentage points nationwide, the typical middle-class household—unionized or not—would earn $1,479 more each year. In fact, dollar for dollar, strengthening unions is nearly as important to the middle class as boosting college-graduation rates.
Since few small businesses are ever unionized, changing union regulations won’t affect them. Yet unlike big manufacturers who can choose which state to expand into, most small businesses are rooted in a local community and dependent on local consumers. When right-to-work laws lower the wages and benefits of area workers, they also threaten to reduce the number of jobs in the economy by reducing consumer demand.
The Economic Policy Institute estimates that for every $1 million in wage cuts, six jobs are lost in the service, retail, construction, real estate, and other local industries. For big manufacturers that sell their products all over the globe, this may be less important.
For small businesses that depend on local sales, reducing the amount of disposable income in local employees’ pockets can be devastating.
The corporate lobbyists who push for right-to-work legislation—such as the Chamber of Commerce and the National Right to Work Committee—want unions to operate under a set of rules that none of them accept for themselves. These lobbyists would never think of serving the interests of companies that refuse to pay dues to their organizations, yet they want unions to do so in order to drain their resources.
Federal law already guarantees every worker who is represented by a union equal and nondiscriminatory representation—meaning unions must provide the same services, vigorous advocacy, and contractual rights and benefits. This guarantee applies regardless of whether the employee is a union member. So if a non-dues-paying employee encounters a problem at work, the union is required to provide that individual full representation at no charge.
By contrast, the Chamber of Commerce and other employer organizations restrict some of their most valuable services to dues-paying members. When asked if they would agree to provide all services to any interested business, even if that business does not pay dues, Chamber representatives explained that they could not do that because dues are the primary source of Chamber funding and it would be unfair to other dues-paying members. And that certainly makes sense—for unions as well as the Chamber.
The Chamber of Commerce and National Right to Work Committee want unions to be the only organizations in the country that are required to provide full services to individuals who pay nothing for them. This is no different than enabling some American citizens to opt out of paying taxes while making available all government services. This is not an agenda to increase employee rights but rather to undermine the viability of independent-employee organizations.
Right-to-work laws infringe on the democratic rights of the electorate by weakening unions. Unions help boost political participation among ordinary citizens and convert this participation into an effective voice for pro-middle-class policies. By weakening unions, they are less able to advocate for pro-worker policies within our government and help get workers out to vote.
Research shows that for every percentage-point increase in union density, voter turnout increased by 0.2 to 0.25 percentage points. This means that if unionization rates were 10 percentage points higher during the 2008 presidential election, 2.6 million to 3.2 million more citizens would have voted.
Unions also help translate workers’ interests to elected officials and ensure that government serves the economic needs of the middle class. They do this by encouraging the public to support certain policies as well as by directly advocating for specific reforms. Unions were critical in securing government policies that support the middle class such as Social Security, the Affordable Care Act, family leave, and minimum-wage laws.
Indeed, this may be a large part of why many conservatives support right-to-work laws. Research demonstrates that supporters’ claims that these laws will create jobs and strengthen local economies are not credible. Instead, supporters may back these laws as a pretext for attacking an already weakened union movement in hopes of crippling it as a political force and as an advocate for all workers.
The bottom line: Right-to-work laws work against the critical needs of our economy, our society, and our democracy.
David Madland is Director of the American Worker Project at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Karla Walter is a Senior Policy Analyst with the project. Ross Eisenbrey is vice president of the Economic Policy Institute.
Since he took office, Vice President Pence has been working with high-level Trump backers to develop a comprehensive strategy to weaken labor unions. The strategy he is developing revolves around so-called “right to work” laws that have already been rammed through numerous state legislative bodies. Among the GOP bright lights attending the closed-door sessions with Pence have been Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Pence’s role as architect of a new federal assault on unions is one of the topics tackled recently in an excellent article in the March/April issue of Voice of the ILWU, published by the union’s local 142 in Hawaii. The article, entitled “Trump backs attack on union,” delves into the history of “right to work” and how it has been used to bash workers and their unions.
After a January 28 meeting with Pence and Gingrich, it is noted, Walker bragged that he showed how “bits and pieces” of what he did in Wisconsin to “reform” union law and civil service, can be “applied at the national level.”
The advice Walker gave to the Trump administration is to begin the attack on labor by first going after public workers and their unions. Pence and Trump are likely to oblige that advice since they had already promised to do just that during their campaign.
“So-called right to work laws are designed and funded by big business to weaken unions,” the Voice article says. “They force unions into an impossible situation by making them legally responsible for representing all workers in a shop, while stripping the union’s ability to collect enough fees to cover those representation costs. Strong union shops where everyone is a paying member would be outlawed under the proposed law and replaced with ‘open shops’ where division, disunity and financial hardship weaken the union and leave workers with lower pay, meager benefits and little say over working conditions.”
Perhaps the most powerful feature of the piece is a hard-hitting section on the “ugly origins of right to work.”
The first “right to work” laws, it is noted, were instituted in 1936 by a Texas organization, “the Christian American Association.” The Voice describes the group as a racist outfit run by Southern oilmen and Northern industrialists. Today, their work is continued by organizations like ALEC.
“A top associate of the group once explained her hostility toward workers by criticizing what President Roosevelt’s wife, Eleanor, had done to help workers, especially African Americans: “…Roosevelt stands for a $15 a week salary for all n****** house help, Sundays off, no washing, and no cleaning upstairs,” adding, “My n***** maid wouldn’t dare sit down in the same room with me unless she sat on the floor at my feet!”
The first right to work laws, the article points out, were passed in 1944. The first two states to approve them were Arkansas and Florida and by 1947 they were law in some 14 southern states. That was the same year that the GOP-controlled Congress passed the infamous Taft-Hartley law which removed from unions and workers numerous rights they had gained under the Wagner Act, passed during the tenure of President Roosevelt. “The anti union laws were popular in the South,” the ILWU article says, “where segregationists warned that union shops and civil rights would lead to ‘race mixing and communism.’”
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. waged a campaign against right to work laws in the 1960’s. He is quoted: “We must guard against being fooled by false slogans, such as ‘right to work.’ It is a law to rob us of our civil rights and our job rights. Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining by which unions have improved wages and working conditions of everyone. Wherever these laws have been passed, wages are lower, job opportunities are fewer and there are no civil rights.”
Another interesting part of the article is how it treats the conservative and right wing reaction to the civil rights gains of the 1960’s including the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, drawing the connection between the attacks on civil rights and the attacks on labor rights:
“Richard Nixon won in 1968 with a ‘Southern Strategy’ that used racist code language, including talk about ‘welfare, less government, violent criminals and states right,’ to win white votes in the South – plus blue collar votes from whites in the Midwest and Northern industrial cities. Nixon’s Chief of Staff, H.R. Haldemann, explained: ‘You have to face the fact that the whole problem is really Blacks. The key is to develop a system that recognized this while not appearing to.’ Ronald Reagan’s campaign strategist, Lee Atwater, explained how racist appeals had won white votes:
“You start out in 1954 by saying, “n*****, n*****, n*****,” By 1968 you can’t say “n*****”- that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff…”
“This is how,” the ILWU article concludes on this point, the term “right to work” became one of the many racist code words that white politicians used to communicate bigotry and win elections; beginning in the South, and now throughout much of the country.”
We all know all too well that, unlike Las Vegas, what happens in the South does not stay in the South. As of today 28 states, a majority of the states in the country, have “right to work” laws on the books. And we have Vice President Pence working hard on a strategy to make “right to work” national law.
The ILWU’s president, Robert McEllrath, remains undaunted, however. Interviewed for the article in the Voice, he said, “Workers and unions have never gotten anything handed to them on a silver platter, because progress only gets made by pushing the powerful to do what’s right. That’s the way it has always been. And that’s what we need to be doing now and in the future.”
The decline of the middle class and rise of income inequality have been at the heart of the nation’s economic storyline for years, and a new report attempts to quantify how those trends have hit Illinois.
Middle-income households, which in the early 1970s made up 59 percent of all households in Illinois, constituted just 49 percent of the state’s total during the past five years, according to the report from the Project for Middle Class Renewal at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Meantime, Illinois’ median household income among the middle class has grown very modestly over that period, to $80,800 in 2015 from $79,300 in 1980, adjusting for inflation. But high-income households have seen their median income jump 14.5 percent, to $192,900 from $168,500. The median pay for low-income households has barely budged, to $26,100 from $25,800.
Illinois faced a slightly steeper decline in its middle class than the national average because it had a greater share of middle-income households to begin with. Nationally, middle-income households shrunk from 56 percent to 48 percent over the past 40 years.
Measuring the middle class is challenging, the report said, in part because it isn’t clear how to define it given associations with education and occupation type. The report’s analysis measured middle class by income level, adjusted for household size. So households earning more than two-thirds of the state’s median income and less than double the state’s median income — between $43,000 and $130,000 — are considered middle class.
The shrinking of the middle class has come as the middle-income jobs that used to form its bedrock have eroded. In 1980, nearly 20 percent of middle-income heads of household were working in office and administrative support, and that declined to 15 percent by 2015. The sharpest decline has been in production, which includes manufacturing.
Health care has absorbed many middle-class breadwinners. In 2015, nearly 6 percent of middle-income heads of households were working in health care, compared with 3.4 percent in 1980. Education and business and financial operations also saw notable increases.
But the most occupational growth has been in service jobs with a range of salaries, including financial services at the higher end and food service at the lower end, leaving fewer options in the middle.
The report, authored by Robert Habans, a postdoctoral research associate, did not offer policy recommendations but did suggest how policymakers should think about policy with the objective of shoring up the middle class.
That includes policy that improves the quality of jobs, such as higher minimum wage or unionization, as well as policy that affects labor supply and demand, such as infrastructure investments to create jobs or education investments to improve the talent pool.
“In short, shoring up the middle means making bad jobs better, keeping good jobs good, and supporting the growth of the economy as a whole,” Habans wrote.
On June 1st, 2013 I posted my first blog piece after returning from voting in my LiUNA Local 1001 election. Four years later, a few union education certifications and many late nights of reading, I realized why my vote counts. It counts because I count. On May 20th, 2017 the LiUNA Local 1001 Integrity slate composed of a majority of the same leaders of the past several years won sweepingly and mostly by a landslide. They won because they did listen to members needs including, but not limited to: membership expansion, transparency and inclusion.
The More the Merrier
In the past four years these leaders have increased union membership by nearly 500 people. Yes, many of those members are now on the second tier but what union isn’t using tiers? Very few. As Chicago’s pension crisis rages on, the new general laborers are creating additional funding to our pension while helping our union increase working members. A majority of new members are twenty somethings and minority. Integrity slate is inadvertently curing the violence of this city by hiring the targets of our epidemic. While organizations throughout the city scramble to find people in violence prone areas jobs, Integrity slate did it. Infusing the general laborers into various bureaus creates an overall lower budget per department. The lower budget enables 1001 to bargain for expanded jobs in other fields such as FSS, Dispatcher, Arborist, and RCCs for members to receive an expanded career. When I researched and collaborated on the Enterprise Fund, what is commonly termed the Garbage Fee, the major complaint from the City was the expense of prevailing wage labor. The lower tiered pay scale balances our labor costs. General laborers can bid into other Local 1001 positions such as Sanitation Clerk, Asphalt Laborer, Laborer Transportation and others. For the career service employees, go to the training opportunities that 1001 posts. Kronos training helps on any management position or iron barricade training which qualifies you for additional overtime opportunities. If your job matters to you and expansion and security is what you really want and need, then support how all that is being done. It’s for you and because of you.
Taking Off the Cover
Integrity slate has increased transparency of transfers adhered to by seniority than ever before. The old pull the names out of a hat is not only outdated but illegal. Integrity understood this and has won that battle with a major city’s HR department. Before people complain they should know of the countless grievances for years that 1001 submitted against the City for the illegal transfers. Unions, just like any advocacy organization, must file complaints on behalf of workers. They don’t get on the Bat phone and tell Commissioner Gordon what to do. The 1001 app brings light to events, news, bids, contract and more. The app itself is a transparent means to find out anything that is occurring with our union. If a member sees or hears something through the grapevine call the union or go to a meeting. You’ll get an answer. Before you ask please study the contract and our constitution which have both been posted on the app, website and online. That’s transparency.
The election was an amazing catalyst of change for our union. The company, USA Elections, was precise, professional and accurate. As a lifelong election judge and poll watcher, their system should be used in America’s general elections. The software and equipment was state of the art along with the superbly trained staff. Their knowledge allowed the election to be recorded on a real time status. It allowed union members to vote quickly, accurately and confidentially. The entire process was transparent.
One Union to Rule them All
The hashtag #1u is an amazing reminder that we are part of a Labor Movement, grown over 100 years. When we want something, we must share with our brothers and sisters. If family isn’t your thing, then union may not be either. Because here we share. During the past four years, members knew that women, African-Americans and Latinos received more promotions that at any other time. From FSS to RCC and even a laborer turn superintendent, our membership is balancing out for all members. Our leadership is more diverse than ever before. Though America didn’t believe a woman could be president, our union has decided it’s right for our progress. For eight years we lived in a country that was devastated by a Great Recession that was cured by an African-American president. We have re-elected a strong African-American man that has taken us through recessions, investigations and the real threat of privatization successfully. He will be successful again. As we shudder when we hear of the “Wall”, we’ve progressively elected a Latino Secretary-Treasurer for a second term. Why wouldn’t we want that in our union? We the people run this country, we the people should represent us on the job.
The future of your job is in your ability to be a good, contributing and confident member of your union family. Infighting, gossip and lack of activism hurts us all. Politicians that we need to vote for us, need our support in their events and in their elections. They also need to see our strength in numbers as we can turn an entire ward orange. Our future depends on our collective activism. If we don’t show our orange, they’ll show us the door.
On Saturday, May 20, 2017, LiUNA Local 1001 held its Officer Election.
The Integrity Slate won all positions on the ballot. Brother Chianelli was duly elected to the position of Recording Secretary without opposition at the Nomination meeting on May 4, 2017.
The results of the election are as follows, winners are in bold.
President: Nicole Hayes 442
Bessie Redding 387
Vice President: Steven Marcucci 517
Linda Cribbs 310
Secretary/Treasurer: Victor Roa 494
Terry Coleman 335
Business Manager: James Ellis 455
Paul Reed 380
Sergeant-at-Arms: Mark Payne 456
John Reza 358
Auditors (3): Michelle Harris 460
David Morales 402
Lawrence Pardo 387*
Jorge Velazquez 370
George Chesniak 336
Bob Murphy 387*
*tie was broken by coin flip
Executive Board (2): Tasha Sanders 437
David Torres 413
Larry Dunlevy 354
Michael Funches 375
Delegates to LDC (3): William Irving 469
Tommy Chirillo 394
Bob Chianelli 463
Ambrosio Medrano Jr. 271
Owen Cope 301
Jim Klockowski 284
Hector Maldonado 192
FOREMAN OF LABORERS : Job Number: 288903
JOB TITLE: FOREMAN OF LABORER
DEPARTMENT: STREETS & SANITATION
These positions are open to all current city employees covered under the terms of the City’s collective bargaining agreement with LABORERS INTERNATIONAL UNION OF NORTH AMERICA LOCAL 1001 (BARGAINING UNIT 54). Only employees in City job titles in this bargaining unit are eligible to bid on this position.
IF YOU ARE A CURRENT CITY EMPLOYEE AND WANT TO EXERCISE YOUR CONTRACTUAL RIGHTS TO BID, YOU MUST CHECK THE BOX ON THE CAREERS APPLICATION TITLED “ALREADY EMPLOYED BY THIS COMPANY”, CORRECTLY ENTER YOUR EMPLOYEE ID, AND SELECT THE CORRECT BARGAINING UNIT.
YOU MUST USE THE EMPLOYEE NUMBER FOUND ON THE UPPER LEFT-HAND CORNER OF YOUR PAY CHECK STUB LABELED “PAYEE/EMPLOYEE NUMBER.”
(NO OTHER FORMAT OR SYSTEM CAN BE USED TO GET YOUR EMPLOYEE NUMBER).
FAILURE TO CHECK THE “ALREADY EMPLOYED BY THIS COMPANY” BOX, ENTER YOUR EMPLOYEE ID, AND SELECT THE CORRECT BARGAINING UNIT WILL RESULT IN A REJECTED BID APPLICATION.
Number of Positions: 1
Under general supervision, functions as a working supervisor over work crews, overseeing and supervising Laborers performing unskilled manual work of a physical nature at assigned maintenance, repair or sanitation jobs / work sites, and performs related duties as required.
Wishing all the hardworking LiUNA Moms a very Happy Mothers Day, and to all the other Moms who made us the LiUNA men and women we are today!
HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!
By Leonor VivancoContact Reporter – Chicago Tribune
Chicago has added new graffiti-blasting trucks and crews to remove tagging reported on buildings and garages in neighborhoods in an effort to continue to get rid of graffiti in five days or less.
Eight new trucks, which cost a total of $552,000, use citric acid combined with high-pressure hot water to remove graffiti. Other trucks use baking soda to blast off graffiti from brick or stone and paint to cover up markings on metal and wood. Two trucks were retired, bringing the Streets and Sanitation fleet to 22 trucks, said spokeswoman Sara McGann.
The department shifted employees to its graffiti-removal operation from other tasks to add three new crews to its graffiti-removal program. Every day, 26 to 28 crews — each staffed with one or two employees — work to get rid of tagging, she said.
“It’s really to maintain the five-day-or-less removal time. We want to keep our city beautiful and free from vandalism,” said McGann, who added some new vehicles hit the street for the first time Tuesday. Quick removal helps the city deter vandalism, she said.
Requests made to the city to remove graffiti are down nearly 14 percent so far this year compared with the same period last year. For the first four months of the year, the city completed 33,931 removal requests citywide, down from 39,415 through April 30 last year, according to McGann.
Residents can report graffiti and request its removal by calling 311 or making a report on the city’s website.
Once again one of our LiUNA Local 1001 brothers went above and beyond to help a college student who had been robbed during an armed robbery recover their items.
As we have always said LiUNA members are the greatest, they go the extra mile every day and Brother Manolis, your LiUNA Local 1001 family is proud of you.
Keep up the great work everyone!
Honor the Fallen. Fight for the Living.
An Update from General President Terry O’Sullivan
Most of us can feel assured that after any given workday we’ll return safely to our homes and families. Yet for too many men and women, the workday will bring a serious injury and even death on the job. That’s why this April 28, known as Workers Memorial Day in the United States and National Day of Mourning in Canada, is so important.
While jobsite safety programs have improved and helped curb the rise of death and injuries, the fact remains that in the U.S. and Canada 5,688 workers died on the job in 2015, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. The 1,110 recorded worker fatalities in the construction industry alone show that construction work is particularly dangerous. That is too many lives cut short and too many lost loved ones.
We know that, in addition to safety training programs, having a strong union such as LIUNA is one of the most effective ways to reduce safety incidents. When we have a voice, we are more free to speak out against jobsite hazards. Studies show that construction fatality rates are significantly lower where unions are strong.
We still have work to do – death or injury should never be the price of going to work for any worker. So on this April 28, let us honor those who have fallen or been maimed while building our great countries. Let us spread the word about the need for safer jobsites and workplaces by participating in April 28 commemoration events or by sharing information, which you can find on LIUNA’s social media sites.
And let’s continue to make our strong union even stronger so that the day will come when no one pays the ultimate price simply for going to work.
Across the country, anti-union forces like the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) and the Koch Brothers have tried to sell the idea that so called Right to Work laws are actually good for workers. Now a new study finds that Right to Work (RTW) laws not only lower the union rate in the state, but they also lower the overall wages.
A new report from the Illinois Economic Policy Institute looked at the effect that RTW laws in Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin had, and compared the economic changes to 3 surrounding states with similar economies but no Right to Work laws; those states include Illinois, Ohio and Minnesota. What they found was striking. The study, which looked at data from 2010-2016 found that in three states with collective bargaining, wages were 8% higher than the three RTW states. The study also found that these laws caused a 2% drop in the overall union rates in the state. This study isn’t an anomaly either. Studies have consistently found that RTW reduces employees’ wages by 2-4% on average.
So, who was hit hardest by the move to rid these states of collective bargaining? Workers in construction saw the biggest pay cut. The study found that their hourly wages dropped almost 6%. Police officers and fire fighters also saw pay cuts of 3%. Industries that have workers who went to college but don’t have advanced degrees also faced 3% pay cuts. These pay cuts are especially disturbing because these jobs and education levels are often pathway positions to the middle class.
While middle class employees are making less, owners and management have not been effected. Over the last 6 years their wages have stayed the same, while almost everyone else has seen them decrease. The same people who sold RTW as good for the worker are the only ones doing okay from it. Another study from Hofstra University found that when RTW is implemented in a state, 2% of the income in the state is redistributed from the employees to the owners.
Interestingly, the people who were hit hardest by RTW were the union members who were most likely to vote for these anti-union politicians. Construction, Police, Fire and Teachers all saw wage cuts that were greater than the money they saved in union dues. Construction workers can expect their wages to fall even further in Wisconsin as the state has recently gotten rid of Project Labor Agreements (PLA’s) that require public works projects to pay a prevailing wage.
Over the last few years, RTW has expanded out of the South and into the Midwest. Now Trump is pushing a national RTW law.
Make America Great Again.
LOCAL 1001 has identified several positions for Sanitation/General Laborers which need to be filled prior to the open transfer period of the CBA. In order to best serve our membership we have worked to have those vacancies filled on or around May 1, 2017.
Below you will find a posting from the Department of Streets and Sanitation explaining where, when and how to make sure your transfer is submitted. Please note the timelines for submittal.
Now is a great time to show how much the brothers and sisters of LiUNA care. Let’s all help those who are in need and feed the hungry.
Please see the flyer below and share it with everyone you know.
Click on the flyer below to dowload a pdf copy to print and thank you for your particiapation in this great event.
The value of the hard working men and women of LiUNA Local 1001 extends far beyond what their normal every day job duties are. And the following is just another stunning example of what we our membership does.
On an early morning while brother Randy Mosby was servicing one of his units Ms. McKellvin wandered out of her home in a daze after just finding her disabled son deceased.
Brother Mosbey observed her walking in a state of shock down the block. She recalled that she was so upset that she could not speak and was only able to motion to Brother Mosbey that something was wrong inside of her home.
He was so concerned by her condition that he went into the house to try and find out what was wrong and immediately called 911.
She was so moved that Brother Mosby stayed with her and consoled her until help arrived that she personally called the Commissioner of Streets and Sanitation’s office to commend him for going above and beyond his duty as a Sanitation Laborer of the City of Chicago.
She stated Brother Mosby was her guardian angel that day and wanted him to know how much she appreciated what he did for her and her family. She said she will never forget his act of kindess.
We are proud of Brother Mosby’s actions and so many of the regular day in and day out things that our membership does which often goes unnoticed.
Keep up the great work everyone, LiUNA Proud!
AIRPORT OPERATIONS SUPERVISOR I
IF YOU ARE A CURRENT CITY EMPLOYEE AND WANT TO EXERCISE YOUR CONTRACTUAL RIGHTS TO BID, YOU MUST APPLY ON THE BID ONLY SITE AT: www.cityofchicago.org/CAREERS
(Once the website opens, scroll down and click on the button titled “Bid Opportunities.”)
IN ADDITION, YOU MUST CHECK THE BOX ON THE CAREERS APPLICATION TITLED “ALREADY EMPLOYED BY THIS COMPANY”, CORRECTLY ENTER YOUR EMPLOYEE ID, AND SELECT THE CORRECT BARGAINING UNIT. YOU MUST USE THE EMPLOYEE NUMBER FOUND ON THE UPPER LEFT-HAND CORNER OF YOUR PAY CHECK STUB LABELED “PAYEE/EMPLOYEE NUMBER.”
(NO OTHER FORMAT OR SYSTEM CAN BE USED TO OBTAIN YOUR EMPLOYEE NUMBER).
FAILURE TO CHECK THE “ALREADY EMPLOYED BY THIS COMPANY” BOX, ENTER YOUR EMPLOYEE ID, AND SELECT THE CORRECT BARGAINING UNIT WILL RESULT IN A REJECTED BID APPLICATION.
These positions are open to the general public and to all current city employees covered under the terms of the City’s collective bargaining agreement with LABORERS INTERNATIONAL UNION OF N.A., LOCAL 1001 (BARGAINING UNIT #54).
Location: O’Hare International Airport, City Atrium
Hours/Days Off: Vary
This position requires the selected incumbent to be available nights, weekends, and holidays based on operational needs. In addition, outside work/inspection is required with possible exposure to fumes, dust, noise, and work in all weather conditions.
Two years of airfield operations work experience, or an equivalent combination of education, training, and experience. A valid State of Illinois driver’s license is required. Must obtain airfield certification within six months of hire.
Work environment requires the ability to operate an SUV and truck and requires the ability to climb two flights of stairs through a narrow passageway. Some lifting (up to 25 pounds) is required.
Education & Employment Verification: Please be advised that if you are selected to be hired you must provide, upon request, adequate information regarding your educational and employment history as it relates to the qualifications of the position for which you are applying. If you received your degree internationally, all international transcripts/diploma must be accompanied by a Foreign Credential Evaluation. If the City of Chicago cannot verify this information, any offer extended to you will be withdrawn and you will not be hired.
KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS, ABILITIES:
NOTE: To be considered for this position you must provide information about your educational background and your work experience. You must include job titles, dates of employment, and specific job duties. (If you are a current City employee, Acting Up cannot be considered.) If you fail to provide this information at the time you submit your application, it will be incomplete and you will not be considered for this position. There are three ways to provide the information: 1) you may attach a resume; 2) you may paste a resume; or 3) you can complete the online resume field.
NOTE: You must provide your transcripts or diploma, professional license, or training certificates at time of processing, if applicable. You must also provide your valid U.S. driver’s license at time of processing of processing.
This position requires applicants to complete an interview. The interviewed candidate(s) possessing the qualifications best suited to fulfill the responsibilities of the position will be selected.
Preference will be given to candidates possessing the following:
Evaluation: Your initial evaluation will be based on information provided on the application form and documents submitted with the application. Applications must be submitted by the individual applicant. No second party applications will be accepted.
Residency Requirement: All employees of the City of Chicago must be actual residents of the City as outlined in 2-152-050 of the City of Chicago Municipal Code. Proof of residency will be required.
If you would like to request a reasonable accommodation due to disability or pregnancy in order to participate in the application process, please contact the City of Chicago, Department of Human Resources, at 312-744-4976 (voice) or 312-744-5035. (TTY). Please be prepared to provide information in support of your reasonable accommodation request.
ALL REFERENCES TO POLITICAL SPONSORSHIP OR RECOMMENDATION MUST BE OMITTED FROM ANY AND ALL APPLICATION MATERIALS SUBMITTED FOR CITY EMPLOYMENT.
The City of Chicago is an Equal Employment Opportunity and Military Friendly Employer.