Archive for the ‘Unions’ Category

Padma Lakshmi and ‘Top Chef’ crew find Teamsters’ Local flavor bitter

BostonHerald

seiu-union-redefinedThe Charlestown-based Teamsters Local 25 — the crew that drives for most TV and movie productions made in Massachusetts — reportedly harassed and threatened the cast and crew of Bravo’s “Top Chef” while the show was filming in Milton earlier this summer, but a network source said the ugly incident won’t deter them from returning to Boston in the future.

“It was an isolated incident but we had a great experience overall shooting in Boston,” the source told the Track. “I don’t think it would prevent us from coming back. Boston is a great city with a lot to offer.”

According to Deadline.com, the Teamsters threw up a picket line while the hit TV cooking competition was filming at the Steel & Rye restaurant in Milton. The union types were miffed because Bravo was using production assistants to drive their cars and not the union. When “Top Chef” star Padma Lakshmi arrived on the set, picketers called her a “(expletive) whore,” our source confirmed, and threatened to “bash that pretty face in.”

The picketers lobbed sexist, racist and homophobic slurs at the rest of the cast and crew for most of the day, the website reported, and when production wrapped, the “Top Chef” crew found that tires were slashed on 14 of their cars. Milton police confirmed that the union members were “threatening, heckling and harassing” but said no arrests were made. The union protest was confined to just that one day during “Top Chef’s” two-month shoot.

Local 25 president Sean O’Brien was out of town and unavailable for comment yesterday, according to spokeswoman Melissa Hurley.

“As far as we’re concerned, nothing happened,” Hurley said. “This is typical of nonunion companies who often make excuses for why they won’t hire union labor.”

If given an informed choice, nobody in their right mind would join a union…

SEIU Membership Drops 80 Percent After Dues Skim Ends

seiu-union-redefinedMore than 44,000 home-based caregivers no longer are part of the SEIU Healthcare Michigan, according to federal reports filed by the union.

The workers previously were forced to pay dues or fees to the SEIU after the union orchestrated a scheme that took money from the Medicaid checks of the people the workers were caring for in homes across the state. The “dues skim” ended in 2013, but not before the SEIU took more than $34 million from the elderly and disabled across the state.

According to the union’s LM-2 report filed with the U.S. Department of Labor, 44,347 home-based caregivers have opted to stay out of the union.

That number represents virtually all of the long-term home-based caregivers affected by the dues skim. It also is more than 80 percent of the 55,265 members the union claimed to have at the end on 2012. Most of those who have remained in the union are workers employed at private medical facilities and joined the union in traditional organizing drives. The SEIU health care workers were organized in a mail-in effort that most did not participate in nor did they know a vote was even taking place.

Teachers Union Abruptly Breaks Rank On Common Core

Good.

In a major surprise, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the country’s second-largest teachers union, opened its biannual convention Friday by announcing a step back from its support for Common Core education standards.

The group, gathering in Los Angeles, announced that it will now provide monetary grants from its Innovation Fund for teachers who want to critique the standards or even write entirely new ones themselves.

The AFT’s executive council is also introducing a resolution, to be voted on at the convention, which would declare that the standards had noble intentions but have fallen short due to outside meddling and an inordinate focus on standardized tests.

The announcement came as part of a general opening address by AFT President Randi Weingarten.

“Some of you in this room think the standards should be jettisoned,” told thousands of assembled teachers. “Some of you, myself included, think they hold great promise, but they’ve been implemented terribly.”

With that in mind, Weingarten said, the AFT was willing to offer support funds for teachers who want to improve, modify, or otherwise change the content or implementation of Common Core.

Supreme Court ruling on union dues could cost SEIU millions in payback

A bite in the backside for unions…

seiu-union-redefinedOne of the nation’s most powerful labor unions could face a costly onslaught of lawsuits seeking tens of millions of dollars in dues, after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the money was collected improperly, legal experts said.

In a ruling Monday, the high court held that Service Employees International Union cannot force people who care for loved ones to be union members and deduct dues from the government checks of those they care for. The practice has gone on for several years in a handful of states, creating a lucrative stream of cash for the powerful labor organization, which represents more than 2 million workers and takes in about $300 million per year.

“The whole point of the decision was that the folks milked by the SEIU weren’t really public employees and should not be forced to pay union dues at all,” said Hans Bader, senior attorney for the Competitive Enterprise Institute. “So they should be able to sue for refund of their compelled union dues back as far as the statute of limitations will allow.

“It could have a large effect,” he added.

Court: Public union can’t make nonmembers pay fees

AP

The Supreme Court dealt a blow to public sector unions Monday, ruling that thousands of home health care workers in Illinois cannot be required to pay fees that help cover the union’s costs of collective bargaining.

In a 5-4 split along ideological lines, the justices said the practice violates the First Amendment rights of nonmembers who disagree with the positions that unions take.

The ruling is a setback for labor unions that have bolstered their ranks – and bank accounts – in Illinois and other states by signing up hundreds of thousands of in-home care workers. It could lead to an exodus of members who will have little incentive to pay dues if nonmembers don’t have to share the burden of union costs.

In the case of public-sector unions, though, the employer is the government. And for that reason, the challengers in Harris argued, the unions’ collective bargaining is inherently a political activity—they’re essentially lobbying the government.

The challengers said allowing public-sector unions to collect fair-play fees is therefore requiring non-union employees to support political activities they don’t necessarily agree with—a violation of their First Amendment rights.

Monday’s ruling means that hundreds of thousands of home caregivers—in Illinois and in other states—will be free to stop paying membership dues, as they are effectively no longer considered public employees.

Chrysler To Add 1,000 Part-Time Workers, UAW To Collect Full-Time Dues

RedState

According to the Detroit Free Press, Chrysler will be adding 1,000 part-time workers to its plant in Toledo, Ohio.

As part of the deal hammered out between Chrysler and the United Auto Workers, the part-timers won’t be getting full-time work or even full-time benefits. However, they will be paid $15.78 per hour—the same as entry-level full-time employees.

Additionally, it is expected that the part-timers will be required to pay union dues—the same amount as full-time workers.

Currently, UAW dues are two times the hourly pay per month, which means that part-timers will be paying $31.56 per month to the UAW—just as full-time workers do. For the UAW, with 1,000 new part-timers, that will mean an addition $31,560 per month, or $378,720 per year going into the local’s coffers.

Good for them. Fight back harder!

United Auto Workers Union Stunned by Devastating Defeat in Tennessee

Workers at a Volkswagen factory in Tennessee have voted against union representation, a devastating loss that derails the United Auto Workers union’s effort to organize Southern factories.

The 712-626 vote released late Friday stunned many labor experts who expected a UAW win because Volkswagen tacitly endorsed the union and even allowed organizers into the Chattanooga factory to make sales pitches.

The UAW for decades has tried without success to organize a foreign-owned plant in a region that’s wary of organized labor. The loss now makes it even harder for the union to recruit members at another Southern factory.

Shocked? Well, you shouldn’t be…

Ex-New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin guity after courtroom ‘belly flop’

He was one that aided and abetted in the Katrina debacle…

Ray Nagin came into the mayor’s office in New Orleans as an avowed scourge of corruption and led the city through the worst disaster of its modern history.

He left a federal courthouse a convict Wednesday, after a jury found him guilty of taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and other favors from businessmen looking for a break from his administration. Of the 21 counts against him, he was convicted of 20.

“He got a lot of media attention as being a reformer, a non-politician, first run for office — a businessman who was going to come in and get it right,” said Pat Fanning, a veteran New Orleans lawyer and no fan of the former two-term mayor.

After Hurricane Katrina ravaged the city in 2005, the onetime cable television executive would reassure people queasy about sending taxpayer money to a state with an epic history of corruption by telling them, “Google me. You’re not going to find any of that in my record,” Fanning said, quoting Nagin. “Well, Google him now.”

Is Graduate School a Racket?

MotherJones

By chance, I was talking to a professor buddy of mine about this just last week. His take was quite different: he thinks that unions love adjuncts and part-timers and have largely abandoned the interests of full-timers. This is because three part-timers produce three times more union dues than one full-time tenured professor. State legislatures love part-timers too, because three part-timers cost less than one full-time tenured professor. As a result, the number of tenure-track positions in his department has gone down from 22 to 8 in the past couple of decades. This is not because they have fewer students. They have more. It’s because the vast majority of classes are now taught by part-timers.

Beat them at their own game…

‘Little Sisters’ Unionize, Seek ObamaCare Exemption

Just hours after the Justice Department contested the Supreme Court delay of a federal mandate for contraceptive insurance, a plaintiff’s attorney announced that the Little Sisters of the Poor would form a collective bargaining unit and seek an exemption from ObamaCare.

“The nuns have sought refuge in a higher power,” according to an unnamed lawyer working on the case. “By incorporating as the International Sisterhood of Mercy Workers (Local 316), they hope to join the dozens of other organized labor groups that the Obama administration has shielded from the devastating impact of ObamaCare.”

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