Labor Roundup | January 2020

So-called “new NAFTA” moves closer to passage. The controversial U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) in Mid-December gained enough support from House Democrats and organized labor to set it up for ratification in coming weeks.

The trade pact would replace the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which led to a mass exodus and transfer of U.S. jobs, including between 770,000 and 1 million factory jobs.

The new deal includes worker-rights provisions, advocates said.

“We knew this deal was too important to get wrong or be rushed,” said AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka. “Working people persevered, winning truly enforceable labor standards and an elimination of special carve-outs for big corporations.”

The Machinists and Aerospace Workers unions rejected the pact.

“It alone is not a solution for outsourcing, inequality or climate change,” Trumka conceded. “Successfully tackling these issues requires a full-court press of economic policies that empower workers, including the repeal of tax cuts which reward companies for shipping our jobs overseas.”

AFL-CIO joins ‘Dreamers’ in fight to remain. Organized labor, led by Congressman Jim Boland, D-Fla., and Bricklayers president and chair of the AFL-CIO’s Immigration Committee joined beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA)’s Temporary Protected Status program (TPS) in lobbying the GOP-run Senate to follow the Democratic-run U.S. House to let “Dreamers” stay in the country.

President Trump issued executive orders ending TPS and declaring that when Dreamers’ current papers expire, the cardholders must leave.

Federal courts have stopped Trump, as has Congress, with temporary extensions. But with the latest extra time set to expire early next year, the TPS holders came to D.C. to try to talk lawmakers into permanent help.

In a first, Machinists sue NLRB. In the first use of a 61-year-old Supreme Court decision, the Machinists are suing the National Labor Relations Board for throwing out their union recognition election win among 178 Boeing flight tech workers in North Charleston, S.C.
The suit, says the Trump-named three-man GOP NLRB majority illegally overturned Regional Director John Boyle’s approval of the union’s 104-65 win among flight technicians at Boeing.

The Machinists’ suit is the latest chapter in a long-running saga over Boeing’s move of most of its 787 Dreamliner production from its Machinists-unionized plants in the Pacific Northwest to North Charleston.

Trump NLRB dismantling workers’ protections: study. In a comprehensive study of NLRB actions during the Trump’s administration, the Economic Policy Institute finds that the three-member NLRB GOP majority is dismantling worker protections wholesale, working from a U.S. Chamber of Commerce wish list, among other influences.

The NLRB’s cuts in worker rights include: restricting union opportunities to communicate with workers, letting bosses determine who can unionize, making it easier for anti-union workers to throw out the union, changing the contract without telling the union, expanding “management rights” clauses in contracts, restoring bosses’ roadblocks to organizing drives and forcing workers to take grievances to “impartial” arbitration.

The complete study is on

News briefs courtesy of The Labor Paper

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