Labor Roundup | October 2019

Union-backed anti-racism demo links white supremacy, Trump. The Teachers, Service Employees, the AFL-CIO and Labor’s Council for Latin American Advancement all backed hundreds of protesters outside the White House after mass murders in El Paso and Dayton. Demonstrators vowed to campaign to get Congress to pass meaningful gun legislation.

The crowd was angered by Trump’s reaction to the massacre in El Paso by an Hispanic-hating white male Trumpite who posted an anti-Mexican internet screed, and later killings in Dayton.

Trump ignored gun-control measures the Democratic-run House passed but stalled in the Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R.-Ky., won’t bring it to a vote. Instead, Trump blamed the media and called the killings a matter of mental health – the usual Republican excuse for inaction. He also ignored that most of the El Paso dead were Hispanic-named.

UE union endorses Sanders. Citing Bernie Sanders’ constant and long support for workers and especially those forced to strike, the independent United Electrical Workers convention unanimously endorsed him for president. Their decision at their convention in Pittsburgh made the 35,000-member UE, one of the nation’s most-outspoken progressive unions, the second union to issue a presidential endorsement this year. The first, at the moderate end of the political spectrum, was the Fire Fighters, who endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden.

“Bernie understands the need for workers to have a democratic, independent union movement that is unafraid to challenge Corporate America’s stranglehold on our economy,” said union President Peter Knowlton.
Sanders accepted the labor nod, commenting, “I am humbled to receive the endorsement of my union brothers and sisters from UE. We are running a true working-class campaign, which speaks directly to workers and confronts the massive inequality we see in our society today.”

Staff at Michigan’s big McLaren-McComb Hospital joins its nurses in OPEIU. By a 172-113 vote, support staffers at McLaren-McComb Hospital in Mount Clemens, Mich., have joined its nurses as members of Office and Professional Employees Local 40. The vote overcame hospital management efforts to delay the balloting and to challenge who was eligible to vote.

“McLaren management has been fighting its workers with every trick in the book, dragging out the process while they bombard the employees with misleading anti-union literature and mandatory captive audience meetings,” said local President Jeff Morawski, an RN there.

The new group of members includes 329 clerical associates, critical care techs, dispatchers, lab assistants, patient access reps, patient sitters, pharmacy techs and several other classifications.

Local 40 will now represent them and the hospital’s 600 RNs.

Trump schemes to smash immigration judges’ union. GOP President Donald Trump, infamous for hating federal workers and their unions, has now taken the next step. Not satisfied with cutting back on workers’ rights, he’s scheming to obliterate the union that represents federal immigration judges.

And when the union president spoke up to defend her workers and her union, their Trump-named boss responded with anti-Semitic slurs (although neither of the top two union leaders targeted is Jewish).

Trump’s Justice Department filed papers with the Federal Labor Relations Authority in August seeking to declare every single one of the nation’s 440 immigration judges a “manager.” That means under labor law, the judges, all members of the National Association of Immigration Judges, a Professional and Technical Engineers sector, can’t be union members.

“It’s absurd that anyone would consider us managers,” said Ashley Tabaddor, an immigration judge from Los Angeles who’s NAIJ president. “We don’t even have the authority to order pencils.”

“Our union certainly has the right enemies,” said Paul Shearon, president of the immigration judges’ parent union, the Professional and Technical Engineers. “This horrible attempt at ethnic intimidation shows exactly why immigration judges – like other highly skilled technical and professional workers – need a voice on the job. We are committed to stand together against any attempt to harass or threaten our members.”

U of C Medical Center nurses OK strike. More than 2,000 members of the National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United at the University of Chicago Medical Center have voted to authorize a one-day strike at the facility amid continuing contract negotiations. By law, nurses would need to give the hospital 10 days’ notice before walking out.

The nurses, who work at several of the system’s outpatient clinics as well as the main medical center, say they want lower nurse-to-patient ratios and more security at the hospital.

“There are days where nurses have to take care of more patients than they can safely take care of,” said nurse Talisa Hardin, chief representative of the union.

The previous contract expired in April.

News briefs courtesy of The Labor Paper
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