WIN Week In Review: Saturday, October 7, 2017
By Doug Cunningham
The Newark Teachers Union has won a big arbitration victory that awarded millions of dollars to hundreds of teachers.
The arbitrator decided that the state of New Jersey violated a 2012 collective bargaining agreement by reneging on major provisions the state had agreed to.
AFT President Randi Weingarten said “Gov. Christie and his appointees really didn’t care about respecting educators or making Newark public schools better, so they ignored the aspects of the then-new contract that enabled teacher voice and professionalism.”
Newark Teachers Union President John Abeigon.
[John Abeigon]: “Oh, we were ecstatic when we got the news. We won five out of the seven grievances. That’s pretty much keeping with our success rate over the years.
But more importantly we’re happy from the members that are gonna benefit from this.”
In three separate class action lawsuits Menards workers are accusing the company of essentially stealing overtime wages by violating the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The class action suits accuse Menards of not paying legally required overtime and of forcing workers to work off the clock for all breaks. The suits also assert that workers aren’t getting paid for company-required meetings.
This alleged company wide policy affects hundreds of locations and tens of thousands of workers at Menard’s retail stores, distribution centers and manufacturing facilities.
Menard’s workers say they put in as many as 50 hours a week for years without getting paid all the overtime pay they earned.
The suits seek compensation for all Menard’s workers “similarly situated.”
In addition to these lawsuits Menard’s is facing an OSHA investigation and NLRB complaints on other violations of labor law.
Laurie Mowery is a former Missouri Menard’s worker fired after complaining about safety issues at the store in Farmington Missouri.
Laurie says she also found Menard’s wasn’t paying her in full for her work. And she has no doubt that Menard’s is doing the same to other workers.
[Laurie Mowery]: “It’s absolutely happening to all the employees.”
America’s largest freight railroads with billions of dollars profit since 2015 are trying to keep union worker wages lower than those won in past contracts while increasing health care costs for workers.
The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way division of the Teamsters union represents more than 25,000 workers at CSX, Union Pacific, Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Norfolk Southern, among others. The union is in multi-employer bargaining, which has gone into mediation under the National Railway Labor Act.
Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way’s Don Griffin says here’s what the union wants for these workers.
[Don Griffin]: “We want to make real wage gains for our members. We want to be able to hold the line on health care costs. Our guys already pay thousands of dollars a year for health care.
And we are simply trying to get a fair and just agreement, given that we are dealing with some of the most profitable companies in the United States.”