AG suing to halt new overtime rule, which raises wages for 100k Michigan workers
LANSING – On September 20, 2016, Attorney General Bill Schuette signed onto a lawsuit with 21 states to stop the Obama administration’s new overtime rule, which will extend mandatory overtime pay to 100,000 Michigan workers. The Michigan AFL-CIO issued the following statement today blasting Schuette’s frivolous lawsuit:
“This lawsuit is a slap in the face to working people in Michigan,” said Ron Bieber, President of the Michigan AFL-CIO. “By suing to stop the Obama administration’s new overtime rule, Bill Schuette is putting himself squarely on the side of corporate CEOs who want to continue denying overtime pay to Michigan’s working men and women. That’s just wrong.
“This new rule is long overdue. Overtime protections have been gutted over the past four decades without a significant adjustment for inflation. The new rule will help protect wages from being eroded by rising costs, and ensure that working people get paid for the work they do.
“Bill Schuette needs to stop carrying the water of big corporations, and start protecting the paychecks of Michigan workers.”
The new overtime rule raises the salary threshold under which most white collar salaried workers are eligible to receive overtime pay from $455 a week ($23,660 a year) to an estimated $970 a week ($50,440 a year) in 2016.
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Sheila Pederson, Region 1A, Local 898
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(LOS ANGELES) – Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa, Teamsters General Secretary-Treasurer Ken Hall and Local 2010 Secretary-Treasurer Jason Rabinowitz led hundreds of Teamster women on a march through Hollywood today in support of University of California (UC) Teamsters seeking a fair contract.
Working families are getting squeezed in all kinds of ways these days, but few expenses are more frightening than higher education. Whether you’ve got kids graduating high school or you’re looking to move forward in your own career, you’ve probably wondered how you’ll manage to keep up with skyrocketing tuition costs.
There’s less to worry about thanks to a new benefit for AFSCME members and families. Starting this summer, every member or retiree member, as well as spouses, children, grandchildren and dependents of AFSCME members, can earn a two-year degree online for free. That’s right — free college just for being a member in good standing.Flexible Options for Working Families
AFSCME is partnering with Eastern Gateway Community College to provide all members and families access to their classes online. Eastern Gateway is an accredited, non-profit public institution with campuses serving eastern Ohio, but AFSCME members can enroll in the distance learning program from anywhere in the country. Right now you can earn an associate degree in Business Management or Criminal Justice, or you can complete an Associate of Arts program that can be transferred to a four-year college.
The enrollment process is simple. Just visit freecollege.AFSCME.org and verify your AFSCME membership. From there, you can fill out a simple Eastern Gateway application form and an online financial aid form. You will be contacted by an enrollment advisor to help you with any questions you may have about enrollment. You may also contact your local or council. AFSCME members around the country are being trained to help one another through the process.
This program has been running in Ohio for a year now, and hundreds of AFSCME members and their families are already taking advantage of it.
Beverly Payne, a member of Local 416, OAPSE/AFSCME, has been working full time as the secretary and transportation coordinator for a preschool for 30 years. She spends her days helping children get a start on learning. But her own educational goals were on the back burner until now.
“I had wanted to go to college a long time ago, but with four children I never had time,” she says. “When I heard about this program I decided to finally get my degree at 71 years old.”Learning Without the Price Tag
Payne wasn’t sure how she’d adjust to student life after 50 years in the workforce. But the program allows her to take one class at a time, and her professors have been very supportive. The online, self-paced classes offered in the program are broken into two eight-week sessions each semester. She’s acing her classes so far — and her positive experience has encouraged her family members to enroll, too.
“My daughter is enrolled right now, and another daughter is looking into it, as is my granddaughter,” she says. A third daughter has her bachelor’s degree but is thinking of taking additional courses to further her career.
The Department of Education estimates that the average associate’s program costs $3,440 per semester. It would ordinarily cost tens of thousands of dollars to put six family members through school — but thanks to AFSCME, Beverly Payne can do it simply by keeping up-to-date with her union dues.
“Public service workers are passionate about their jobs. They strive to do better for their families and their communities, and they want their union’s help to grow personally and advance professionally,” said AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders. “We know the important role education plays in the lives of so many working-class families — helping them learn new skills and climb the ladder of opportunity. This partnership will help public service workers and their families prosper, and live their best lives.”
Updated with video of the event:
Today at 11 a.m. UAW President Dennis Williams will be answering questions and having a discussion with the media. Follow along on Twitter @UAW
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(WASHINGTON) – The Teamsters are calling on the House Education & Workforce Committee to go back to the drawing board rather than move forward with newly proposed legislation that changes pension funding rules to create “composite” multiemployer plans, saying they are a bum deal for both active participants and retirees.
A group billing itself as an alternative to the United Auto Workers union at the Volkswagen plant in Tennessee has failed to meet minimum enrollment standards under the German automaker’s internal labor policy.
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Elected officials, labor, clergy and community leaders express support for UAW members in Green Island and South Bend who have been locked out of work for over four months
(Albany, NY) – Supporters of UAW members locked out by Honeywell Aerospace blocked traffic and rallied today at the
O’Brien Federal Office Building in Albany demanding the federal government suspend contracting with Honeywell Aerospace until the company ends the lockout and negotiates in good faith. The Green Island factory and a sister plant in South Bend, Indiana, make braking systems and wheels for commercial and military aircraft, including the Boeing 737, the Boeing B-52 and F/A-18 and Lockheed Martin F-35.
Today’s action was in direct response to the Department of Defense’s recent announcement that it was awarding Honeywell in South Bend an $18.3 million contract for the manufacture of replacement brakes for the U.S. Navy’s F/A18.
“We believe the government should stop giving new contracts or extending old contracts to a deplorable company that is locking out its workers and destroying good, middle-class jobs,” said Julie Kushner, Director of UAW Region 9A. “The men and women of our military deserve to know they are flying in planes made with parts made by skilled, high-quality union labor, not the inexperienced scab labor Honeywell has employed since May 9.”
Negotiations were held last week in South Bend between the parties, with the participation of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS). “The company arrived for bargaining with no new proposals and the ones we eventually received during the week did not move us closer to a contract,” said Tim Vogt, a 29 year Honeywell employee and President of UAW Local 1508, who was present at the negotiations in South Bend.
Numerous labor leaders spoke in support of the locked out workers. “Our federal tax dollars should not be supporting a company that puts profits before people. It is unconscionable that Honeywell Aerospace is benefiting from a multimillion dollar defense contract while locking out the dedicated men and women who possess the necessary job skills required to safely manufacture the wheel and braking systems for our military,” said Mario Cilento, President of the 2.5 million member New York State AFL-CIO. “Honeywell’s action is an outright attack on the middle class. This contract should be suspended until Honeywell acts responsibly and negotiates a fair contract with our members.”
Supporters came from across the state to support the locked out workers. “We drove up from Eastern Long Island and are prepared to be arrested today to make the point that taxpayer money should not be used to line the pockets of union busters like Honeywell CEO David Cote, who put profits before the safety of our men and women in uniform, and the flying public,” said Brian Schneck, President of UAW Local 259 and a resident of Suffolk County.
The 42 members of United Auto Workers Local 1508 in Green Island were locked out, along with approximately 350 members of UAW Local 9 in South Bend, after both locals rejected a final offer from Honeywell which would eliminate accessible and affordable union-negotiated health care coverage, leaving the employees at the mercy of the company, eliminate their pensions, threatening the retirement income security of hundreds of families, unlawfully subcontract out union work, eliminate cost of living increases and curtail overtime pay.
Notwithstanding the union’s offer to continue to work past the expiration and continue negotiations, the company chose to lock out its skilled and experienced unionized workforce, leaving the production of vital aircraft braking systems to inexperienced and unskilled scab labor. The union’s charge that the company has illegally locked out the workers is currently being investigated by Region 3 of the National Labor Relations Board.
The UAW has offered dates for future bargaining while in South Bend and are waiting to hear from Honeywell.
Local elected officials and community leaders were also in attendance and addressed the crowd.
Teamsters Local 2010 Secretary-Treasurer Jason Rabinowitz talks with radio host Leslie Marshall about the Teamsters' fight for a fair contract at the University of California.http://www.spreaker.com/user/lesliemarshall/equalpayforequalwork-teamster-womens-con
BOILERMAKERS from across the country joined the United Mine Workers of America and other supporters on Capitol Hill Sept. 8 in urging lawmakers to pass legislation to prevent the loss of the coal miners’ health care and retirement benefits. Congressmen, senators, clergy, and UMWA President Cecil Roberts addressed the crowd of nearly 10,000 during the three-hour rally.
Glenn Sago has been fighting for his union rights for 10 years, and he’s been through plenty. “It’s a lot of work,” he said. “It’s all worth it to know that your rights will be respected. I became a steward to stand up and make sure the contract was followed.”
But he’s never seen anything like the current situation in Illinois, where he works for the state in law enforcement support services.
Since Gov. Bruce Rauner was elected in 2014, AFSCME members there have been under fire like never before. “I’ve done negotiations with the previous governor, but this is a different battle,” says Sago, an executive board member at Local 448 (Council 31) in Rockford who also serves on the state bargaining committee.
The list of attacks is unprecedented. The governor has held the budget hostage for more than a year, blocked the state from fulfilling its promise to issue back pay to thousands of state workers, and wants to double health care costs and freeze wages for four years to implement his extreme agenda.
AFSCME Council 31's bargaining team members have told the Rauner administration repeatedly that they want to continue bargaining, but he walked away from the table in early January, seeking instead to impose his extreme demands. It seems reasonableness, compromise and collaboration are not in the governor's playbook. He's a billionaire bully, blaming the state's budget situation on working families and contending state workers make too much when, in fact, politicians in Springfield mismanaged the state's funds.We Won't Back Down
In July, the state Labor Relations Board rejected Rauner's attempt to fast-forward a hearing process that will decide whether the parties are ordered to resume bargaining. Roberta Lynch, Council 31's executive director and an AFSCME International vice president, applauded the decision.
“We have been and remain ready to return to the bargaining table, to do the hard work of compromise,” Lynch said. “We want to reach an agreement that is fair to all. The fact that the Rauner administration pushed for this unprecedented short-circuiting of board procedures demonstrates just how fiercely determined the governor is to try to impose his own harsh terms on state employees.”
In the face of Rauner’s anti-worker agenda, Sago and his colleagues are working harder than ever to connect with their co-workers, face-to-face. These conversations are a powerful tool against Rauner’s misinformation campaign.
“Every time Rauner makes statements about us, we are out talking to members and telling them the truth,” said Sago.National Support
AFSCME members nationwide are standing in solidarity with their sisters and brothers in Illinois. “Council 31, your fight is our fight,” Pres. Lee Saunders declared during his keynote address at AFSCME’s 42nd International Convention in July. “Your struggle is our struggle.”
Thousands of Convention delegates agreed. They voted to “stand in solidarity with AFSCME Council 31 members in state government who are directly confronting one of the most fiercely anti-union governors in the country today.”
Members of Council 31 are ready to meet whatever challenges come next. “We’ve stayed the course this long,” said Sago. “We’ve fought over a year and a half at the bargaining table and in the Legislature. It may get to the point that we have no choice but to go on strike, but the members have to vote and make that choice.”Ten thousand rally in Springfield, demand Governor Rauner stop hurting Illinois. (Photo by David Kreisman)
GREEN ISLAND, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Local employees of a manufacturing company protested Wednesday in demand of a fair contract.
The Honeywell workers, based in Green Island, say the company refuses to come to an agreement with their union.
Members of Local 688 in St. Louis are in the fight of their working lives with Schnucks market chain.
It was a clear, sunny September day when the unthinkable happened. But for Maryland school bus driver Renita Smith, the unthinkable was something she was well-prepared to handle.
Smith, a member of Local 2250 (ACE-AFSCME in Prince George’s County), had just made her third stop of the afternoon, dropping students off at their homes. Then, she said, “My bus started making noise,” and she prepared to pull over and notify her office. It appeared to be an inconvenience, but not a life-threatening emergency.
That’s when she began to smell smoke. And the children did too.
“Miss bus driver! Miss bus driver! We smell smoke!” her students cried out, Smith said. “Miss bus driver, we see smoke!”
Smith immediately pulled over, seeing flames in her rearview mirror. Calling in to her supervisor wasn’t going to help solve this crisis. “I put my radio down and got my babies up and in a straight line in the aisle. I had them hold hands.”
As the fire intensified, Smith led all 20 children safely off the bus and to a neighbor’s yard away from the smoke and fumes. Smith then did the incredible. She went back onto the bus — its windows melting around her — checking every aisle for a sleeping child, making sure all of them had gotten off.
“There wasn’t a bus attendant with me that day to do the count,” she explained of her heroism. “So I knew I had to go back on the bus to make sure I got all my babies.” Because that’s what her instincts and training told her to do.
That’s the “never quit” spirit that AFSCME members bring to their jobs every day, whether they’re bus drivers, first responders or other public service workers. And they do it without expectation of special recognition.
“I was just doing my job and what’s expected of me,” said Smith, herself a mother of two. “Serving my community means that you’re not being selfish. You’re thinking of how to do something for others and not expect anything in return. For God to give me a supernatural power to do what I did and save those babies, I pat myself on the back and say, ‘Job well done.’ I’m proud because my babies are all home.”
And we’re proud she’s a member of our AFSCME family.The charred remains of driver Renita Smith’s school bus. (Photo by Kevin Kennedy, Local 2250/ACE-AFSCME, Prince George’s County, Maryland)
Fighting for justice and fairness is a part of AFSCME's DNA. Throughout our history, our sisters and brothers fought for workers’ rights, women’s rights and immigrants’ rights, among others, to advance justice for working families in our union and around the country.
So it’s no surprise AFSCME supported the Voting Rights Act (VRA), signed by Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson in August of 1965, to erase barriers that prevented Americans from exercising their right to vote.
Yet 51 years after this landmark law, some politicians still seek to drag us back to the old days.
This will be the first Presidential election in 50 years without the full protections of the VRA, thanks to a Supreme Court ruling that said a provision of the VRA was no longer necessary. And a rash of voter ID laws enacted to combat so-called voter fraud quickly followed that ruling. The result could be more requirements for people to vote, fewer days of early voting, long lines at the polls on Election Day and more voters turned away.Labor Rights and Voting Rights: the Same Fight
Voter ID laws make a mockery of our democracy. As Rev. Dr. William Barber said so powerfully during his address to AFSCME delegates at the 42nd International Convention in July, “…labor rights and the fight for voting rights are the same fights.”
At AFSCME we don’t let injustice go unaddressed.
Quentin Hutchins of Local 1644 is a school bus operator in Atlanta. But that’s not all: He also sees the effects of Georgia’s voter ID laws, one of the strictest such laws in the country, and is speaking out.
“Thousands of voters were given the wrong information about where to vote,” Hutchins told the assembled delegates at Convention, adding some who arrived at the correct voting site were not allowed to vote, even if they were in line before the polls closed.
Hutchins won’t allow attempts to silence his family, friends and neighbors. And we shouldn’t either. We need to make our voices heard against voter ID laws. That’s why delegates at Convention passed a resolution calling for the expansion of voting rights throughout the country.Voter Fraud Is a Myth
Let’s be clear: Voter fraud is a myth.
The facts back it up: The Department of Justice found “no apparent cases of in-person voter impersonation” when it reviewed its databases and other sources. Academic studies, investigative reports by journalists and court rulings draw the same conclusions.
Appropriately, the courts have blocked some of these voting restrictions. A federal appeals court recently struck down North Carolina’s voter ID law, saying the state’s General Assembly enacted it after “unprecedented African American voter participation in a state with a troubled racial history and racially polarized voting.”
Similarly, a federal court found Texas’ voter ID law violated the VRA. North Dakota’s voter ID law was blocked by a federal judge who said it unfairly burdened Native Americans. And a Kansas judge blocked the state’s two-tier voting system, which required proof of citizenship to vote in local and state elections, but not in federal elections.Our Democracy’s Sacred Cornerstone
The right to vote is the sacred cornerstone of our democracy. It is your voice. And your vote should be exercised unimpeded.
“We cannot sit silent while the forces against us try to chip away at the progress that was made,” Hutchins said.
He’s right. AFSCME members fight for what is right. That’s our tradition.
Listen to Teamster Nation News for Sept. 21-27.
Trump says he wants to make America great again (we think it’s already great), but he built his empire on the labor of low-paid workers in other countries. That’s not how you keep America great. Check out this USW video:
On September 19, the National Mediation Board sent a revised meeting notice that reconfirmed the status conference on September 26 and directed the parties to remain in Washington through September 28 to finalize all open issues. The NMB notice also reaffirmed that the NMB’s gag order remains in place, but authorized the parties to disseminate key agreed upon terms of the AIP. Below is a summary of the key agreed upon terms.http://teamsterair.org/node/2490