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Work in Progress, October 2, 2000

Work in Progress, October 2, 2000

New members reported in this week's WiP: 2,375 new members reported in WiP, year todate: 114,499

NATCA ON THE MOVE--The Air Traffic Controllers welcomed 825 new members in three new bargaining units over the past month. At the Federal Aviation Administration s aircraft certification division, 532 aerospace engineers, flight test pilots, administrative officers, aircraft certification assistants and technical support workers voted for NATCA. In August, 263 workers in FAA s airports division, which distributes airport improvement funds and coordinates airport design and land purchases, chose the union, as did 30 occupational health service specialists in regional FAA offices.

CHOOSING UFCW--A total of 414 workers chose a voice with the United Food and Commercial Workers last week. Some 310 teacher retirement board employees in San Juan, Puerto Rico, overcame employer intimidation and captive audience meetings and voted for Local 481. Another 104 support staff at Newaygo, Mich., public schools voted for the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union District Council Local 386.

EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT--The 380 newsstand cashiers, clerks and warehouse workers employed by Hudson News Co. are the newest members of The Newspaper Guild of New York/Communications Workers of America. A majority of the workers, most of them immigrants from India and Pakistan, voted for a voice on the job Sept. 21.

SEIU WINS IN N.Y.--Seeking a voice on the job on behalf of themselves and their patients, the majority of 310 care givers at Ferncliff Nursing Home in Rhinebeck, N.Y., voted for Health & Human Service Employees Union 1199/SEIU Sept. 21. After a four-month unfair labor practice strike by 30 janitors, the Muss Development Co. in Brooklyn agreed to recognize SEIU Local 32BJ as their bargaining representative.

AFSCME WINS FOR THE KIDS--Despite being threatened and locked in rooms for captive audience meetings, the 257 employees at Allegheny Child Care Academy--the largest child care provider in Pennsylvania--voted for the United Child Care Union, an affiliate of the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees/AFSCME. The Sept. 22 vote focused on dignity and respect for the largely minority workforce, which includes welfare-to-work participants. Meanwhile, union-busting tactics did not deter 105 Monmouth County, N.J., Head Start workers who recently voted for Council 73.

UNIÓN SÍ--The 41 Miami-based flight attendants at the Spanish national airline, Iberia Air Lines, became the first flight attendants for a foreign carrier to gain union representation by voting unanimously for the Flight Attendants Sept. 27. For more information, visit AFA s website at

A CONCRETE VICTORY--The 14 drivers at Payless Concrete in St. Joseph, Mo., chose a voice at work with Laborers Local 579 Sept. 27. The workers overcame an aggressive anti-union campaign that included spying, coercion, threats and replacement of some workers, according to Local 579 Business Manager G.E. Pierce.

RALLY AGAINST HATE--More 300 union members, lesbian and gay activists and religious, civil rights and community group members gathered in Washington, D.C., Sept. 28 to rally in support of strong hate crimes legislation, currently bottled up by opponents on Capitol Hill. Provisions to strengthen federal hate crimes law to include sexual orientation, gender and disability are included in the fiscal year 2001 Defense authorization bill, now in a House/Senate conference. But Republican leaders are attempting to remove the strong hate crimes provisions. Speakers urged rally participants to contact House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and their own lawmakers to urge them to retain the hate crimes provision in the bill. (You can send Hastert and Lott e-mails about the measure directly from The rally was a vigil for CWA member Danny Lee Overstreet, who was gunned down Sept. 22 in a hate crime in a Roanoke, Va., gay and lesbian bar. Six others were wounded.

HISTORIC KAISER PERMANENTE PACT--In the first national labor accord in the history of the health care industry, 25 unions and Kaiser Permanente have agreed on a pact that affords 64,000 front-line caregivers a greater voice in crucial decisions affecting the quality of patient care. They will have a say about staffing levels, quality of care and business planning through a ground-breaking joint labor-management decision making structure. The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, which includes 24 AFL-CIO unions, and the health care giant negotiated the contract. "I believe that when front-line staff are involved in decision making, they are more committed to the desired outcome," said Arthereane Brown, who has been a nurse at Kaiser for 19 years. Nearly all the workers have ratified the five-year agreement, which includes wage increases and improved health benefits. "When health care workers have a voice and are able to work together with managers, they can improve their work lives, as well as quality of care for patients," said AFL-CIO President John Sweeney at a Sept. 26 news conference in Washington, D.C., which was covered live by webcast on the AFL-CIO website. In 1997, unions and Kaiser, which serves the health care needs of 8.5 million people in 11 states and the District of Columbia, announced a partnership to tackle issues that cut across state boundaries. Workers in locals of AFSCME, AFT, the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, Office and Professional Employees, SEIU, UFCW and the Steelworkers will be covered under the agreement. For more information, visit

DISAPPOINTED, BUT DETERMINED--Contract talks between striking Screen Actors and Television and Radio Artists and the advertising industry broke down Sept. 27 after industry representatives refused to modify their position in response to the unions compromise proposals. SAG President William Daniels and AFTRA President Shelby Scott expressed "profound disappointment" at the development, but pledged to continue to seek a fair contract. At a midday press conference, dozens of celebrities spoke in solidarity with the strikers. Some 135,000 SAG and AFTRA members walked out May 1 over management demands to roll back actors pay for commercials. To support the striking actors by sending messages to advertisers, visit or For more information on the strike, check out and

KMART SPECIAL--Members of the UAW employed at Kmart distribution centers in Warren, Ohio, and Morrisville, Pa., ratified their first contract with the discount retailer Sept. 25. The three-year agreement gives the 1,600 warehouse workers a $1.70-an-hour raise over term.

DIGNITY AND RESPECT, FINALLY--After fighting for a decent wage and respect on the job for 15 years, janitors in the Denver metro area Sept. 30 ratified a new contract that will raise their wages by 30 percent over the next three years and provide health insurance coverage. By the end of the contract, entry-level workers in this unit will be earning more than the highest paid earn today, according to SEIU s Justice for Janitors. The janitors joined SEIU Local 105 in 1985. With the support of unionized janitors, union and community allies, janitors in the suburban office complexes joined the union in 1998.

HEALTH CARE DIFFERENCES--There is a sharp contrast in the positions and records of Vice President Al Gore and Gov. George W. Bush on major health care issues, giving voters a real choice of approaches, according to a new report, Health Care and the 2000 Elections, by FamiliesUSA. The report reviews the positions of the two presidential candidates on such key health care-related issues as prescription drug costs, Medicare, expanding health insurance coverage, patients rights and long-term care. A copy of the report is available at FamiliesUSA s website at

SENATE OK ON MINE SAFETY MEASURE--In a unanimous vote, the U.S. Senate approved an International Labor Organization convention designed to improve safety and health conditions for miners around the world. While just 1 percent of the global workforce is employed in mining, the industry accounts for 8 percent of workplace fatalities--about 15,000 deaths a year. The convention calls on governments and employers to reduce mining hazards, provide for thorough inspections and implement adequate training. It also urges governments to establish an authority to enforce safety rules.

STICK WITH A WINNER--Congress is on the verge of passing legislation that would protect health care workers from needle injuries. H.R. 5178 and S. 3067 would require the use of safer needles in health facilities and involve front-line workers in decisions about needle use. Unions with health care members are urging activists to phone their members of Congress by calling toll free 877-611-0063.

MERGER UP IN THE AIR--Flight Attendants concerns about a pending merger of United Airlines and US Airways must be addressed before the union will approve the merger, AFA President Patricia Friend and Linda Farrow, president of the United Master Executive Council, told United CEO James Goodwin Sept. 25. Contract language gives United s AFA members the right to approve the merger. After an aggressive AFA information campaign, United agreed to order its managers to stop violating the AFA contract or face discipline and to review training procedures and begin work on an expedited grievance procedure.

FEAR OF CLOSING--International trade and investment policies, combined with ineffective labor laws, have created a climate that has emboldened employers to threaten to close, or actually close, their plants to avoid unionization, according to a new report, Uneasy Terrain: The Impact of Capital Mobility on Workers, Wages and Union Organizing, written for the U.S. Trade Deficit Review Commission by Kate Bronfenbrenner, director of labor education at Cornell University. To access the full 86-page report, go to and download the file bronfenbrenner.pdf.

TEXAS TRUTH TAPES--You ve read about the Texas Truth Squad--now here s your chance to see and hear from Texas union members what life has been like for working families under Gov. George W. Bush. The Truth from Texas Working Families, a seven-minute video, highlights firsthand facts the Texas Truth Squad has been sharing with audiences around the country about Bush s dismal record on working family issues. The video is suitable for union meetings, conferences, conventions or wherever union families gather. Single copies are free. Order online at or contact AFL-CIO Support Services, 815 16th St. N.W., Washington, D.C., 20006; phone: 800-442-5645 or 202-637-5042 in Washington, D.C.; fax: 202-637-5058.

TAKE YOUR KID TO VOTE--The AFL-CIO has joined with several other organizations to support the Take Your Kids to Vote campaign to raise children s interest in voting and democracy. For more information and for suggested activities, visit

Special e-lerts on election year, when you register for you will receive special information about issues important to working families. To receive these special e-lerts, register at now!

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