Weekly Round-Up: Workers Protest Banks, Airlines, Mandatory Overtime

Jennifer Braudaway

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Workers unite to make Wall Street pay

More than 1,000 union members, workers and activists joined AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President William George to protest in downtown Philadelphia on Friday. The demonstration was part of a two-week initiative that started Monday called Good Jobs Now!” which, as In These Times reported, challenges the nation’s six largest banks to pay for their bailouts by contributing to job creation and doing their part to restore the economy. To read more about the protest in Philadelphia go here. For more on the Good Jobs Now!” movement, go here. (See video above)

Chicago Teamsters protest furloughs

More than 100 workers protested forced furloughs on Friday outside the Department of Water Management in Chicago, Ill. The workers are represented by Teamsters Local 700, which recently filed a stack of unfair labor practice charges against the city. City officials have refused to participate in federal mediation to reconcile the charges, and Friday’s furloughs were in violation of their contract with union employees. If the Illinois Labor Relations Board upholds the charges, the Teamsters will be permitted to strike. Read more about it at the Chicago Teamsters website.

Seattle construction workers demand jobs now

Around 600 building and construction workers rallied for jobs on Thursday, in Seattle, Wash., demanding that pending public-works projects be delayed no further. The public-works projects, including the Highway 520 floating bridge and the Alaskan Way Tunnel, are expected to create 2,200 construction jobs as well as permanent maintenance jobs and two new hotels. Seattle-area construction unemployment is currently at 35 percent. Read more here and here. (See video above)

Chicago United Airlines workers say new deal opens door to outsourcing

United Airlines pilots and flight attendants picketed outside the carrier’s Chicago headquarters on Wednesday in response to its joint venture with Ireland’s Aer Lingus carrier. The new service will be between Washington Dulles International Airport and Madrid, and will be flown by Aer Lingus pilots who have agreed to a lower pay scale, as well as third-party hired flight attendants. Union leaders worry that this arrangement will open the door to overseas franchising and outsourcing to non-union crews. Pilots from five other airlines joined the picket line. Read more at the Chicago Tribune.

Nurses in Massachusetts oppose mandatory overtime

Also on Wednesday, more than 100 nurses and supporters picketed outside Morton Hospital in Taunton, Mass. to protest failed contract negotiations. The Massachusetts Nursing Association (MNA) is seeking 12-hour shift limits, limits to the number of times a nurse can be forced to work overtime, and preservation of the pension plan which Morton hospital is seeking to dismantle. Nurses say mandated overtime is the product of understaffing and puts patients at risk. Read more here and here.

IBEW fights union-busting in Maine

Members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1837 demonstrated outside the WGME-TV station in Portland, Maine, on Wednesday, protesting unfair labor practices. The union workers say WGME-TV and its parent company, Sinclair Broadcasting, are trying to undermine contract negotiations by insisting on complete flexibility” in assigning work to non-union employees, as well as future discretion” in granting raises and changes in employee benefits. Employees have already taken a 10-percent pay cut through a previous, non-union approved contract. Read more about it here.

New Jersey state workers say no to budget cuts

Hundreds of state employees in the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and other unions protested throughout New Jersey on Thursday, in response to Gov. Chris Christie’s proposed budget cuts. Christie’s proposals include curbing public salaries, replacing pensions with employee contribution retirement plans, and cutting workers by privatizing state government operations. CWA Local 1038 Vice President Jeff Harley says the budget cuts will disproportionately affect low-income brackets. Read more here.

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Jennifer Braudaway is a Winter 2010 Web intern.
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