Posts Tagged ‘right to organize’

Attorneys’ choice to organize underscores universal need for workplace protection

From the crowded aisles of a 747 to the rows of a tomato farm, unions have a role in every workplace. All of America’s workers deserve fair pay and respect, whether they are an autoworker or an attorney. Did I say attorney? Yes, even lawyers, who know the law and their workplace rights better than most, can benefit from having a voice through their union. Just ask those working in the New Jersey Attorney General’s office.

Tired of scant benefits, stagnant pay, and, most importantly, not having any power to change things in their workplace, these men and women decided to form a union with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). Like a growing number of professional workers, the attorneys understood that they would be better protected if they had a say in their workplace. Read more »


Arrested for… talking?

We’re taught in school that in America, you’re free to talk about what you want, with who you want, on your own time. Apparently the management at Giant Eagle missed that lesson. Just ask Debbie Weiloch.

Debbie, in her thirty-sixth year at the company, was talking about the benefits of unions with colleagues over lunch, a time when they were all on their breaks and off the clock. Much to her surprise – and to the surprise of anyone with a general understanding of right and wrong – her manager called the police and ordered her handcuffed and arrested for trespassing. (Calmer, more rational heads ultimately prevailed when a judge found no evidence to support Giant Eagle’s claims.)

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‘Biggest Loser’ crew members losing out

In a day and age when fast food companies seem to be in competition to create the unhealthiest sandwich, the TV show “The Biggest Loser” puts forward a much-needed message about personal well-being. As it chronicles the contestants’ weight loss, the show stresses the importance of diet and fitness for one’s health. Given that focus, it’s pretty ironic that the show’s producers are obstructing crew members’ attempts to gain health care and retirement benefits for themselves and their families.

Last week every crew member on the show signed authorization cards to join the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), the union that represents stagehands throughout show business . In seeking union representation, they weren’t interested in becoming millionaires or keeping up with the latest fashions on Rodeo Drive. These workers want health care coverage. But when they asked for recognition, the producers said no. Seems a bit hypocritical doesn’t it?

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NLRB rules resident doctors have right to form union

Richard Scarry wrote in his classic children’s book that “Everyone is a worker: Farmer Alfalfa, Blacksmith Fox, Stitches the Tailor,” and yes, even “Doctor Lion.” The folks over at the National Labor Relations Board must understand this simple truth. The agency just ruled that resident doctors at St. Barnabas Hospital in New York City are workers, not students, who have the right to form unions and collectively bargain. This ruling upheld a 1999 Board decision that medical interns and residents are statutory employees with a right to organize under the National Labor Relations Act.

The residents at St. Barnabas overwhelmingly voted to form a union last year, yet the hospital challenged their right to organize, arguing they were students, not employees.

Update June 11: the NLRB released the vote count totals today: the vote was 119-2 in favor of the union.