- MAJOR CONTRACT SETTLEMENTS & NEGOTIATIONS
- ADMINISTRATIVE & COURT DECISIONS
- LEGISLATION & POLITICS
- CRIME & CORRUPTION
- The National Mediation Board reinstated a hyperlink on the NMB’s Web site to be used by airline and railroad employees who are eligible to vote in a representation election to access the NMB’s Internet voting site. The link was removed in 2008 out of concern for voters’ privacy. The NMB maintained its prohibition against posting of hyperlinks to the voting site by election participants, as that would allow the participants to track persons accessing the voting site.
- The NMB dismissed a petition for a representation election by the International Association of Machinists, which has been working to organize customer service and ramp and reservation agents at AirTran Airways. The NMB stated that the IAM failed to submit a sufficient number of authorization cards to demonstrate that at least 35 percent of the workers in the proposed bargaining unit support union representation, as required for an election.
- The International Brotherhood of Teamsters announced that a representation election among 8,000 fleet service employees of Continental Airlines will be conducted by the National Mediation Board between Jan. 4 and Feb. 8.
B. Major Contract Settlements & Negotiations
- The average first-year wage increase in contract settlements reached during all of 2009 was 2.3 percent, compared with 3.6 percent reported in 2008, according to a BNA analysis of contract data. The median first-year increase for 2009 settlements was 2.5 percent, compared with 3.3 percent in 2008, and the weighted average was 2.8 percent, compared with 3.6 percent.
- Members of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee ratified a four-year contract covering 2,000 registered nurses at four Daughters of Charity hospitals in Los Angeles and the San Francisco bay area in voting that took place Nov. 23-25. The contract provides a 20 percent wage increase over term, did not increase health care premium contributions, and enhances retirement benefits.
- Harley-Davidson announced that it will not close its facility in York, Pa. after members of the International Association of Machinists voted to ratify a seven-year contract covering 1,900 workers with the company. The agreement calls for a restructuring of Harley-Davidson’s two York-area plants into a single plant that will employ 1,000 workers by 2012, with those workers targeted for layoff receiving severance pay and a $10,000 bonus or the option to decline the bonus and remain eligible for recall.
- Members of various unions representing 9,900 workers at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding facilities in Mississippi and Louisiana ratified a two-year extension of their current contract on Dec. 1, which was set to expire in March 2010. The extension provides for an hourly wage increase of $1.10 over term, a ratification bonus of $1,000, and maintains the same employee share of monthly health care premiums.
- Service Employees International Union members ratified a four-year agreement with four Massachusetts hospitals operated by Caritas Christi Health Care covering nearly 4,000 workers. The contract establishes a new minimum “living wage” of $12.62, provides an 11 percent wage increase over term, and provides a new low-cost health plan with no deductible or co-payments.
- Members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 99 ratified a three-year contract covering 24,500 supermarket employees in Arizona at Fry’s Food & Drug Stores, Smith’s Food & Drug Centers, and Safeway, Inc. The new contracts increase hourly wages $0.50 over term, provide ratification bonuses of $500 to full-time employees, and do not require contributions to health care premiums.
- Communications Workers of America District 3 announced a tentative three-year contract with AT&T Southeast Region that would cover 35,000 employees in nine states. The tentative contract would increase wages 8.75 percent over term, increase pension benefits 6 percent over term, and require employees to contribute to their health care premiums beginning in 2011.
- Members of the International Association of Machinists ratified a two-year contract extension covering 625 ramp service and stores agents, but in a separate vote, rejected a similar two-year contract extension covering 2,800 clerical, office, and passenger service employees. Both tentative agreements provided for 1.5 percent increases to base wages in both years of the extension and eliminated the current profit-sharing plan, shifting the workers to a company-wide performance-based pay plan.
- Members of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 310 ratified a three-year contract with Wisconsin Public Service Corp. covering 950 workers at the gas and electric utility’s Green Bay, Wis. location. The contract raises wages 7.5 percent over the term and maintains health insurance without an employee contribution to the premium.
- The Communications Workers of America District 6 reached a tentative four-year agreement with AT&T Advertising Solutions Southwest Region covering 1,650 workers. The tentative contract provides workers with wage increases of 11.25 percent over the term and expanded pension benefits, but requires employees to contribute to their health care premiums for the first time.
- Major collective bargaining agreements reached in Canada during October produced average annual base rate wage increases of 2.2 percent, up from the 2 percent average in September, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada reported Dec. 15.
C. Administrative & Court Decisions
- A Federal Labor Relations Authority administrative law judge ruled that NLRB General Counsel Ronald Meisburg must bargain with the National Labor Relations Board Professional Association with respect to a consolidated unit of approximately 130 NLRB attorneys. Meisburg has refused to bargain with the union over the consolidated unit in order to obtain court review of the consolidation, which he argues violates the NLRA’s separation of board and general counsel responsibilities. (NLRB, FLRA ALJ, No. WA-CA-09-0326, 11/18/09)
- National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Ronald Meisburg announced that the NLRB’s overall case intake remained steady during fiscal year 2009, with an increase in unfair labor practice case filings offset by a decrease in representation case filings.
- A Pennsylvania state court judge issued an injunction prohibiting members of Teamsters Local 929 from blocking blood delivery vehicles entering or leaving the Philadelphia headquarters of the American Red Cross Blood Services. The picket followed stalled contract negotiations which led to a work stoppage on Dec. 3. (Am. Red Cross Blood Svcs. v. Int’l Bhd. Of Teamsters, Local 929, Pa. Ct. C.P., 12/3/09)
- A federal district court judge ordered that the Labor Department oversee an election of officers at International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 pursuant to an agreement settling a suit challenging the fairness of the Local 150's 2007 election of officers. The underlying suit sought to void the 2007 election on the grounds that union and employer funds were used to benefit an incumbent slate of candidates. (Solis v. Int’l Union of Operating Eng’rs Local 150, N.D. Ill., No. 08 CV 5557, 12/4/09)
- A federal district court judge upheld a jury verdict finding that the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental & Reinforcing Iron Workers’ Local 7 used workers’ dues to subsidize union contractors’ bids for construction contracts for which nonunion contractors were also competing. An antitrust claim, which alleges that the union undermined the market and violated the Sherman Act by collaborating with these union contractors, is expected to go to trial in 2010. (American Steel Erectors Inc. et al v. Local Union No. 7, D. Mass, No. 04-12536, 12/8/09).
- The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit upheld the NLRB’s ruling that Cintas Corp. violated Sections 8(a)(1) and 8(a)(3) of the National Labor Relations Act by interfering with union activity by workers in North Carolina and Connecticut. The court found that the NLRB properly rejected Cintas’ claim that the employees’ activity was an unprotected effort to engage in “economic extortion” aimed at coercing the company into signing a neutrality and card check agreement with UNITE HERE. (Cintas Corp v. NLRB, 8th Cir., No. 09-1344, 12/15/09)
- Associated Oregon Industries and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce filed suit in federal district court seeking declaratory relief that a new Oregon law prohibiting employers from disciplining or threatening to discipline employees who refuse to attend meetings aimed at communicating the employer’s religious or political views violates the First Amendment. (Associated Or. Indus. v. Avakian, D. Or., No. 09-1494) The Oregon Worker Freedom Act was enacted in the summer of 2009 and became effective Jan. 1, 2010.
D. Legislation & Politics
- Jayme L. Sophir has been named chief of the Regional Advice Brach in the Advice Division of the NLRB.
- The Senate sent the nomination of union attorney Craig Becker (D) for a vacancy on the National Labor Relations Board back to the White House on Dec. 24. Becker is associate general counsel for the Service Employees International Union and staff counsel for AFL-CIO, and his nomination to the Board has drawn substantial opposition from the Republicans and some Democratic senators concerned about his pronounced pro-union bias.
- On Dec. 30, the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards issued a final rule that it is extending the deadlines for unions to file Form T-1 Trust Annual Reports, which, absent this final rule, would have to be filed during the 2010 calendar year. The rule provides that those reports that would be due in 2010 must be filed in 2011, and was issued in anticipation of the Department’s “intention to propose the withdrawal of the Form T-1 rule as early as January 2010.”
E. Crime & Corruption
- Nick Maddalone and Paul Maddalone, two former board members of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181, were each sentenced to 10 months in prison, to pay restitution, and to serve two years of supervised release in connection with a scheme to extort cash from owners of a New York City school bus company. The brothers pleaded guilty to the scheme in September. (United States v. Maddalone, S.D.N.Y., No. 09-CR-550, 12/14/09)
- Wayne Mitchell, former president of the Mailers Union No. 6, was charged with embezzling more than $200,000 in unauthorized salary and expenses in a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. (United States v. Mitchell,. S.D.N.Y, No. 09-MAG-2702, 12/14/09)
- The United Auto Workers nominated Bob King, the union’s vice president for relations with Ford Motor Co., to succeed UAW President Ron Gettelfinger upon Gettelfinger’s retirement at the end of his term in summer 2010.
- Human Resources and Skills Development Canada reported that Canadian unions’ membership increased slightly in 2009, up 0.2 percent from its membership level in 2008, a significantly smaller rise than the 2.4 percent increase in 2008. However, Canada’s overall unionization rate decreased to 29.9 percent in 2009 from the 30.4 percent in 2008, a turnaround from the 0.1 percent increase in 2008 over 2007.
If you have questions about items that appeared in this bulletin, or would like to learn more about any of these topics, please contact William Miossi at (202) 282-5708 or (312) 558-6109, or one of the other Labor & Employment Relations partners listed here:
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