Daily Work In Progress Updates Concerning Hot News Items

Past Issues
April 2004
May 2004

State by State Breakdown Of Job Loss

FTAA Facts

June 2004

New members reported in this week's WIP; 2,248
New members reported in WIP, year to date: 61,929

TEAMING UP--Some 798 employees of Caesars Indiana Riverboat Casino and Hotel in Elizabeth, Ind., won a voice on the job with the Teamsters, Operating Engineers and Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees in a joint organizing drive through a majority verification or card-check process, in which an employer agrees to honor the workers' choice after a majority indicates the desire to form a union by signing authorization cards. IBT Local 87 will represent 198 workers, and the other two unions will represent about 600 workers. In Chicago, some 581 employees of 14 landscaping companies voted May 14 for representation by IBT Local 703 and the IUOE. Nineteen train and engine service employees of the Louisville & Indiana Railroad Co. voted May 7 for representation with the Locomotive Engineers/IBT.
AFSCME'S HOT WINS--By an overwhelming margin, 250 service employees at the University of Central Florida voted to join AFSCME Council 79. The university is the sixth of 11 state campuses to organize and restore collective bargaining rights since Gov. Jeb Bush (R) eliminated those rights in 2003. In North Kansas City, Mo., a unit of 148 school district bus drivers and aides voted to form a union with Council 72 on May 3. And in Washington County, Fla., 50 bus drivers won a voice on the job with AFSCME Council 79 after the school board voted unanimously to accept their majority verification campaign.

HEAD START TO RESPECT--In New York state, 190 Head Start workers joined SEIU Local 200United for a stronger voice in advocacy as part of the local's Campaign for Action, Respect and Equality (CARE). On May 12, the majority of about 80 staff members at the Early Childhood Learning Center in Cairo, voted to form a union. Six days later, a unit of some 110 workers at the Broome County Child Development Council in Binghamton achieved voluntary recognition from their employer. Meanwhile, the majority of 70 patient care technicians, licensed practical nurses, aides, secretaries and other employees of New York Dialysis Services Inc. voted May 26 to form a chapter of SEIU District 1199NY. The company operates five dialysis centers in the Rochester area.

--A total of 95 workers recently voted to join PACE International Union, including 63 workers at H.B. Fuller Co., which makes adhesives and other chemicals in Paducah, Ky.; 27 workers at Azon/InteliCoat Technologies in Torrance, Calif.; and five workers at Cemex/Mineral Resources Technologies in St. Louis.

--The majority of 47 lay faculty members at the LaSalle Institute, a Catholic school for boys in Troy, N.Y., voted in late May for a voice on the job with New York State United Teachers, an AFT affiliate.

WALK TO VICTORY--In June, working family activists in battleground states will go door-to-door to get the word out about America's real priorities: good jobs, overtime pay, affordable health care and other critical issues in this election year. The massive labor-neighbor mobilization will put thousands of union members on their communities' streets to talk to their neighbors about the Bush administration's failed policies--lost and exported jobs, unaffordable health care, job safety rollbacks and attacks on overtime pay and workers' rights. The battleground states, where union household voters can make a big difference on Election Day, are Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. There's plenty of work to be done in all 50 states, so visit to sign up to join the fight for America's working families in your community and to find out how you can reach out to your friends, family, colleagues and neighbors to urge them to join in, too. After you sign up, you will be contacted about specific activities you can join in your community.

CWA WINS CONTRACT AT SBC--More than 100,000 members of Communications Workers of America in 13 states reached a tentative five-year contract with SBC Communications May 25 that strengthens employment security, protects health security and improves wages and pensions. Following three months of contract talks and a four-day strike, CWA and the company agreed to the pact, which also gives union workers access to new Internet and DSL broadband jobs at SBC as new technologies continue to grow. CWA and SBC agreed to work together to bring back tech support jobs from overseas when the current outsourcing contract expires. SBC has sent 29,000 U.S. jobs overseas in the past three years. "This agreement helps ensure that American workers and their communities benefit from the promise of new information technology jobs," said CWA President Morton Bahr. Under the tentative contract, SBC will continue to pay for health care benefits.

WALL STREET RECOVERS--FOR BUSH--The nation's financial and insurance industries have funneled more than $12 million to President George W. Bush's campaign war chest, and many of those contributions came from firms that have cashed in on Bush's tax cuts and other policy changes, according to a May 24 story in "The Washington Post." "Such measures were explicitly designed to encourage investment, thus channeling billions of dollars through Wall Street investment banks." At the same time, the "Post" reported Bush's elimination of the estate tax and big reductions on capital gains taxes will cost the U.S. treasury about $248.5 billion in revenue through 2010. The article also notes Bush's plans to privatize parts of Social Security "are potentially even more lucrative for the securities industry."

PRICE HIKES NEGATE DRUG CARD SAVINGS--Soaring prices for prescription drugs drastically undercut the small savings seniors might see with new Medicare prescription drug cards, two new studies found. The studies, by Families USA and AARP, found drug prices are climbing at up to four times the rate of inflation. "It's the functional equivalent of going to a used car salesman and being told you're getting a good deal because you got a $3,000 discount. Only before you came, he raised the price by $4,000," said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA. The drug discount cards, offered through Medicare-endorsed private companies as part of the Medicare prescription drug law signed by President Bush, were supposed to reduce drug costs before the Medicare drug benefit takes full effect. But the law benefits drug companies and leaves seniors with huge gaps in coverage. For more information on the studies, visit and . For more information on the Medicare drug law, visit or .

SPECIAL INTERESTS WIN INFLUENCE--Bush administration actions have fueled a corporate-backed dismantling of public safeguards, a new report revealed. "Special Interest Takeover: The Bush Administration and the Dismantling of Public Safeguards" outlined how the Bush administration, with the strong backing of the corporate community, has rolled back workplace safety, environmental, public health and other protections and reveals that many former business executives have won appointments to regulate the same industries in which they formerly worked. The report, released May 25, was prepared for the coalition Citizens for Sensible Safeguards, the Center for American Progress and OMB Watch. To read the report, visit .

NATIONAL WORKERS' RIGHTS BOARD LAUNCHES--Workers struggling to form unions at Wackenhut, a security company, and cable television giant Comcast will speak out about the obstacles they face at the inaugural hearing of Jobs with Justice's national Workers' Rights Board in Washington, D.C., June 2. In more than 20 communities, religious leaders, elected officials, lawyers and academics on Workers' Rights Boards use their stature to make sure employers honor workers' rights. The national group will take on multistate campaigns. For more information, visit .

ONLY HALF HAVE RIGHTS--The United States is one of several large countries that has not ratified important international standards to uphold workers' rights, denying half the world's workers fundamental rights on the job, says a new report by the International Labor Organization (ILO), a United Nations agency. Released May 24, "Organizing for Social Justice" said lawmakers in Brazil, China, India and Mexico also have not ratified ILO conventions protecting workers' freedom of association and right to collective bargaining. The report can be found at .

CAFTA IS A 'DISASTER'--Union activists and allies protested in Washington, D.C., as the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) was signed May 28 by the foreign ministers of the CAFTA nations and U.S. trade representative Robert Zoellick. CAFTA would extend to Central America the disastrous job loss and environmental damage caused by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The deal eliminates tariffs from the United States, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua and is a "disaster for working people in both the United States and Central America," said AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Linda Chavez-Thompson.

--The Bush administration's inadequate response to the nation's transportation security threats and its gross neglect of the needs of frontline workers has earned it a failing grade, said Edward Wytkind, president of the AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department. The administration, while great at photo opportunities, comes up short on follow through, providing little more than "press releases and vague warnings" to protect passengers and workers, he said. Wytkind urged full funding of security programs and federally mandated worker training, as well as rigorous whistle-blower protections, closing security loopholes and requiring inspections of container seals and empties at U.S. ports.

ARTS, ORGANIZING AND POLITICS--The Labor Heritage Foundation's annual Great Labor Arts Exchange and the Conference on Creative Organizing are set for June 20-22 at the George Meany Center for Labor Studies in Silver Spring, Md. Union members, staff, officials and activists will join labor educators, artists, retirees and youths to celebrate the cultural heritage of working people through songs, art, poetry, theater and other media. The Conference on Creative Organizing incorporates these cultural tools into union organizing, with special emphasis on using creativity in political campaigns. For more information, visit or call Peter Jones at 202-974-8040. To register online, visit .
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