Grievance Manager Case Study: Communications Workers of America

We were contacted by District 3 about help with their grievance process in late 2015, and scheduled an online/phone conference call and screen demonstration with top-level District officers and staff, including CWA Vice President Richard Honeycutt and Assistant to the VP Nick Hawkins.  Using a screen-sharing conference tool (GoToMeeting), District 3 officers and staff were able to join this conference from various locations, which made the meeting easy to schedule and attend.

 

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About CWA District 3
 

The District is a large regional jurisdiction of the Communication Workers of America (CWA), representing 65,000 workers in over 100 locals in the Southeastern US.  District 3 includes Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, South Carolina, North Carolina and Puerto Rico.  The District represents both public and private sector employment in diverse industries that include telecommunications, airline, health care, public service, printing and news media, broadcast and cable television, higher education and corrections.

 

During our online meeting, we learned that the District handles grievance appeals at Step 3 and arbitration from most of their Locals across a wide array of bargaining units, and they needed a unified system to help them manage the volume and diversity of grievances while maintaining and strengthening a consistent District-level process for managing details, processes and timelines for these important cases.

 

Discussion of Issues

 

The District wanted a uniform, consistent and centralized processing and document tracking system for their grievance processes.  The system needed to:

 

1. Provide all case record-keeping and document storage in a single database, accessible to the District and all Locals via the internet. 
2. Provide the ability to require required information standards across the District.
3. Provide flexibility to accommodate a wide variety of bargaining units and contracts and a substantial degree of Local specialization in all steps.
4. Provide reminder emails for approaching case due dates. 
5. Provide reports and other administrative and end-user features to increase the visibility and utility of archived data and documents. 

To accomplish these goals, we needed to provide District Staff with the ability to:

 

1. Design and create multi-screen procedures potentially specific to each local and bargaining unit, using an administrative “back end” application, as well as copy those procedures to other Locals as needed. 
2. Set time-line email alerts per Local, per bargaining unit procedure. 
3. Upload Contract provisions, per bargaining unit procedure, for easy reference and citation in grievances. 

The Planning Process

 

First, we worked with District staff to determine the District-wide standard for information requirements, using forms and procedures that they had been using to that point.  We created a set of charts and data sheets for review and correction by District staff, and eventual inclusion in the formal Project Plan.

 

Next, we began to design the application’s data relationships and schema, and created flow and data relationship diagrams for internal review and testing.

 

Drafting and Finalizing Specifications

 

We drafted screen specifications as “wire-frame” mock-ups for District Staff review.  These included individual screens with information on inputs and on-screen information display.  This began a process of edits and discussions about specific display and navigation features.  Several rounds of revisions were made and the Proposal was submitted.

 

The Administrative back-end was planned to be as clear and transparent as possible, with the goal of making administrative processes self-evident from the screen layouts and on-screen information.

 

District 3 accepted the proposed plan, specifications and consideration, beginning a 120 day timeline to produce the application for client beta testing.

 

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Development Process
 

Development was done on a LAMP platform using object oriented PHP, MySQL, Javascript and JQuery.  These tools were chosen for their flexibility and widespread support across platforms and the software development industry.

 

Before development began, project management procedures were implemented using collaboration and work management software.  This was designed to keep the project on a schedule and to mitigate any slippage.  Progress and schedule were charted with tabular and Gantt chart reports throughout the development and non-developer alpha testing process.

 

Testing ended and the application was presented ready to the client within the agreed timeline.

 

Implementation

 

District staff was trained online to use the Administrator’s back end to create Local and CBA specific procedures.  Because the application was designed specifically for these processes and staff was previously engaged in the design, this was a short and easy training session of around 30 minutes.

 

The District 3 staff are now using Grievance Manager, and will be gradually rolling it out to their locals to enter sample sets of grievances representing various processing scenarios and obtaining feedback.

 

District Staff will be working with locals to determine whether procedures met local requirements and practices.  Changes were made to the District Standards. According to feedback and other considerations, procedures were modified by Administrators and some newly added inputs were made District Standard.

 

As the implementation process continued, several changes were made to standardized data inputs as well as the structure of the application.  Knowing all along that the planning process is never perfect, this flexibility was key to making the application achieve its original goals.

 

Use in The Field

 

The application has been in use for several months, and has been embraced by District 3.  This is a continuing process, but seems to be going well.  When we asked for comment, Assistant VP Nick Hawkins responded:

 

“Union Built PC’s Grievance Manager is changing the way we do business in District 3 and enabling us to better serve our members.  I can’t express how wonderful their staff has been in designing a program that is custom built for the specific needs of our District.”

 

Learn More about Grievance Manager

 

Union Membership Hits New Low

Fewer American workers belong to labor unions than at any time since the government began tracking membership, according to a new report released Thursday.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said just 10.7 percent of American workers were members of labor unions in 2016, down from 11.1 percent the previous year, and down from 20.1 percent in 1983, the first year the bureau collected union statistics. The number of union workers dropped almost every year during the Obama administration.

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“These numbers bear out a trend that’s been underway for some years, and it puts into starker relief the urgency of the moment for labor, now that the Trump administration is in power,” said Joseph McCartin, director of the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor at Georgetown University.

In 27 states, fewer than one in 10 workers are union members. Just 1.6 percent of South Carolina workers are members of labor unions.

On the other end of the spectrum, nearly a quarter of New Yorkers are members of a union, and almost 20 percent of those employed in Hawaii pay union dues.

More than half of the 14.6 million union workers in the nation live in just seven states — California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Jersey and Ohio.

The long-term decline in union membership comes as the American manufacturing industry has fallen precipitously. The automotive industry alone, once the bedrock of the labor movement, now employs far fewer people than it did during its heyday.

Federal labor laws, first written after the Great Depression and seldom updated thanks to political gridlock, have hurt the union movement, McCartin said.

“We have a labor law that’s 80 years old, that was created for a different economy than the one we have now,” McCartin said. “As the economy changed and the law remained the same, it became increasingly difficult for unions to organize successfully.”

The long-term trend of declining union membership has been accelerated in some states, where Republican-led legislatures have passed so-called right-to-work laws that allow employees to opt out of paying union dues. Twenty-seven states have right-to-work laws on the books, after Kentucky passed a version earlier this year. Two more states, Missouri and New Hampshire, are moving to implement right-to-work laws in current legislative sessions.

Some companies that once employed thousands of union workers are opting to locate new production and manufacturing facilities in right-to-work states. Boeing, which employs tens of thousands of union workers in Washington, opened a new assembly line that builds its 787 aircraft in South Carolina, a right-to-work state, in 2011.

In recent years, Republicans in such states as Wisconsin and Ohio have targeted public employee unions, one of the last remaining bastions of strong labor participation. Just more than 40 percent of local government employees are members of unions, the BLS reported, the highest rate of any industry segment.

Older workers are most likely to be members of unions, while new entrants into the work force are least likely. Just over 14 percent of workers between the ages of 55 and 64 are union members, while just under 10 percent of those between 25 and 34 belong to unions.

YOUR TURN

What do you think we can do to increase Union Membership? We want to hear from you! Sound off on the Union Built PC Facebook Page or on our Twitter or LinkedIn feeds. And don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly #UnionStrong email newsletter for articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.

The Pros to Joining a Labor Union

Thanks to labor unions, wages have improved, the workweek is shorter and the workplace is safer.

However, employers sometimes complain that unions are harmful to business and to the economy. From an employee standpoint, is being a union member beneficial? Here are some pros of union jobs.

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Better wages. The median weekly income of full-time wage and salary workers who were union members in 2010 was $917, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. For nonunion workers, it was $717.

More access to benefits. Some 93 percent of unionized workers were entitled to medical benefits compared to 69 percent of their nonunion peers, according to the National Compensation Survey published last year by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The survey represented about 101 million private industry workers and 19 million state and local government employees.

Unmarried domestic partners — same sex and opposite sex — also had access more often to these benefits if they were unionized. Workers with union representation also had 89 percent of their health insurance premiums paid by their employer for single coverage and 82 percent for family coverage. For nonunion workers, the comparable numbers were 79 percent and 66 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And 93 percent of unionized workers have access to retirement benefits through employers compared to 64 percent of their nonunion counterparts.

Job security. Nonunion employees are typically hired “at will,” meaning they can be fired for no reason. There are exceptions. Employers can’t terminate a worker for discriminatory reasons such as race, religion, age and the like. Nor can they fire an at-will employee for being a whistle-blower and certain other reasons.

However, workers with union jobs can only be terminated for “just cause,” and the misconduct must be serious enough to merit such action. Before an employee can actually be fired, he or she can go through a grievance procedure, and if necessary, arbitration.

Workers who know they can’t easily be fired, will be willing to speak up freely.

Strength in numbers. Unionized workers have more power as a cohesive group than by acting individually. What you gain is the muscle of collective action. Through collective bargaining, workers negotiate wages, health and safety issues, benefits, and working conditions with management via their union.

Seniority. Rules differ among collective bargaining agreements, but in the event of layoffs, employers usually are required to dismiss the most recent hires first and those with the most seniority last — sometimes called “last hired, first fired.”

In some cases, a worker with a union job who has more seniority may receive preference for an open job. Seniority also can be a factor in determining who gets a promotion. The idea is that seniority eliminates favoritism in the workplace. Ultimately, the chief advantage of seniority is it is completely objective.

YOUR TURN

What benefits do you see in being a Union Member? Sound off on the Union Built PC Facebook Page, on our Twitter or LinkedIn feeds and don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly #UnionStrong email newsletter for articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.

Answers To Objections About Joining A Union

The more members in a Union, the more effective the Union becomes. The power to achieve positive results in collective bargaining or individual disputes is directly linked to density (the percentage of members in the workplace).

Most people who haven’t joined Unions have never been asked. Recent research found that over 70 percent of non-members have never been asked to join a union.

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But there are also those who have been asked and have objections. Here are some great ways to handle those most common objections:

NOTE: The staff of Union Built PC, Inc. have been members of the following Local unions and Labor organizations over the course of many decades. For the sake of this article we will be using IBEW as an example.

  • CWA Local 9503 and 1101
  • USWA Local 3844
  • IBT Local 838
  • UAW Local 889
  • IBEW Local 17
  • UWUA Local 223
  • The Greater Kansas City Labor Council
  • Michigan Labor Press
  • Midwest Labor Press Association

Objection:

“Why should I join the union when I’ll get exactly the same wages and benefits without joining?”

Possible Answers:

  • “Right, you get all that the rest of us get. But we could get so much more if we didn’t have nonmembers. Aren’t you interested in further gains? Well, these can be won only if enough of us want them and are willing to work to get them.”
  • “If every worker felt as you do, we would have no union at all to bargain for us or to represent us in grievances. The longer you remain a nonmember, the more difficult it is for the union to improve your wages and working conditions.”
  • “Here is a card. Won’t you sign it so that you too can help to make possible the improvements we are all entitled to?”
  • “If everyone belonged, the benefits would be greater and the cost would be spread among more people.”
  • “As a nonmember, you are automatically on the side of the employer against the union at the bargaining table – you are agreeing with them that the demands made by the union are not proper, and that you are not entitled to any improvement in wages or working conditions. I’m sure you want to join with us to help make improvements possible rather than be counted as one who is against better wages and working conditions.”
  • “The union needs you. Your involvement and participation will make the union more effective. By not being a member, you miss the sense of belonging, the friendship, the feeling of being fully accepted by your fellow workers.”
  • “Each person has an obligation to share equally the cost of supporting the organization that wins the benefits. It’s just downright unfair to accept benefits that others are paying for. Suppose your next door neighbors paid no taxes on a house and yet sent their children to the public schools and used the roads and other public services. Would this be fair? Of course it wouldn’t. Nor is it fair for a person to realize all the benefits of unionism and not pay a fair share of the cost of gaining these benefits.”
  • “As a nonmember, you have no vote on whether to strike; and you have no voice in contract ratification or in election of representatives.”

Objection:

“I can’t afford to join. I’ve got a family to support and my check just isn’t big enough.”

Or, “The dues are too high.”

Possible Answers:

  • “You can’t afford not to belong. It doesn’t cost to belong to the union. It pays in the form of job security, better wages, and improved benefits.”
  • “Everything of value has a price. What you should do is to compare the value of a thing with the price you have to pay for it. If we do this with the union dues, I’m sure you will agree that union dues are a sound investment.”
  • “Compare the cost with your returns on this investment. Your return each year is far greater than the annual dues. And understand, we’re just talking about wage increases here. We haven’t begun to talk about the advantages of increased job security, seniority, better working conditions, such things as this. These are all extras that you get in return for your dues investment.”
  • “Did you ever stop to think how much less money you’d be making if it were not for the union? I’m sure that neither you nor I could afford to work for this employer at what we would make without a union. If it weren’t for IBEW, our wages would be far less than they are, and we would receive no fringe benefits. You owe it to yourself as well as to us to set aside a small portion of your higher wages to help raise wages even higher in the years ahead.”
  • “You say you have a family to support. You owe it to your family, above all, to be a member of a union that ensures job security, wage increases, and fringe benefits. Your family benefits directly from all of these.”
  • If the nonmember makes a specific reference to an inability to pay bills, mention the counseling service of the union (if this is available) and how union members with financial problems are afforded help.
  • If the nonmember pleads debt problems, mention the availability of the credit union, if you have one, and how a union member can borrow money at lower interest rates than are obtainable from a bank or finance company.

Objection:

“I don’t believe in unions.”

Possible Answers:

  • Point out what unions have done historically. Describe how things were in American industry before unions. Workers were fired at the whim of management or arbitrarily at the age of 40. Describe the extremely low wages, long hours, no fringe benefits, no unemployment compensation, no social security, no workers’ compensation. Stress not only the contract gains but also the efforts of labor to enact better laws and create better communities.
  • “Unions are just associations of people banded together for mutual protection and benefit. Everyone – farmers, merchants, bankers, lawyers, utility companies – everyone joins together today to increase their effectiveness. Why not workers?”
  • “The newspapers do their best to make unions look bad, and this is understandable since employers spend a lot of money on ads. But prove things for yourself – join us, come to our meetings, and then decide whether unions are good or bad.”
  • Try to find out the specific reason behind this objection, and then try to correct the false impression the employee has.

Objection:

“I don’t need a union; the employer is fair. The employer will take care of us without a union. I get along fine with my boss. What has the union gotten for us that we wouldn’t have gotten anyway?”

Possible Answers:

  • “This is a good place to work now, and the union played a big part in making this so. But of course, this is no reason why we shouldn’t try to make it an even better place to work. Your job has been made more pleasant and secure because of the union representation afforded you on the job. Your supervisor has to treat you fairly since the contract requires that he or she do so. The employer is fair because the union is always looking over its shoulder. Even so, almost every employee at one time or another has a grievance or complaint. That’s where the union comes in.”
  • Rely on history, and point out the job security clause in the contract including the final step of arbitration. Explain about conditions of work, including low wages and poor working conditions before IBEW. You might want to call in an older worker to give a firsthand account. Discuss the history of bargaining in the specific bargaining unit. You might contrast the first offers of the employer versus the final settlement and show the difference in terms of cents per hour or dollars per year. Point out that the employer often admits that the union forces them to grant more than they would like to grant. You might want to use a prepared sheet showing union gains over the years. Also point out specific grievances the union has won (use cases that you personally are familiar with).
  • “The employer will treat you well so long as this is the profitable thing for them to do. But you’re like the rest of us. We’re merely numbers on a page. There’s no room for sentiment or humanity in this employer or any other giant firm today. The union provides protection from arbitrary and unfair treatment by the employer.”
  • “You never know when you might need the help of the union. The union has been able to get a clause in the contract that assures employees fair treatment if the need should ever arise. If too many people felt the way you feel, there would be no union and no protection for anyone.”
  • Point out that very frequently personality clashes arise between employees and supervisors. Ask: “What would you do if this should happen to you? What would you be able to do to help yourself if the employer fired or demoted or otherwise mistreated you?”
  • “Individuals may not know their rights under the law and under the contract. In today’s complex world, organizations of all sorts are necessary to achieve any important objectives. This is the reason for the union. The union has to be able to bargain from strength in order to adequately protect employees from arbitrary treatment, to get better wages, longer vacations, more adequate pensions, and so on.”
  • Point to the article in the contract which makes IBEW the sole bargaining agent. This means that the employer as well as the government recognizes that only IBEW is able to speak for all of the employees. The employees can’t by law deal directly with the employer.

Objection:

“I’m only going to be working here a short while (on a temporary or part-time job).”

Possible Answers:

  • “Even if you do leave within a few months, you are receiving all the benefits that all the rest of us pay for while you are here, and we think it only right that you pay your share while you remain on the job.”
  • “While you are with us, we want you to be one of us. We want you to fit in with the group and be an equal. You will enjoy it more and we will enjoy having you.”
    “Whether you stay here six months or thirty years, you’ll get full benefits and full protection while you are employed.”
  • “Who knows, you might decide to stay on, or you might decide to return a year or five years from now. You know that we have a leave of absence and job return policy. You can get a withdrawal card from the union if you do decide to leave.”

Objection:

“My spouse would divorce me.”

Or, “My parents don’t like unions.”

Possible Answers:

  • Find out why the spouse or parent objects. Offer to sit down and talk things over. Offer to go home that very evening with the nonmember to discuss the matter with the relative. (House calls are very successful.)
  • “Your (husband, wife, father, etc.) lets you work and accepts your contribution to the household. They should let you do your part to make your job more pleasant and better paying. You’re the one who is working on the job. You put up with the working conditions. You get the paycheck. You know better than anyone else whether a union is good for you. Let me visit your home and discuss this matter with you and your family this very evening.”

Objection:

“The union doesn’t do anything for you (as in, grievances are not settled satisfactorily).” Or, “I don’t like the people who are running things in the union.”

Possible Answers:

  • Insist upon specifics – the specific grievance the nonmember has in mind. Check out the problem, obtain the facts, and report back to the nonmember. Concede that the union can make mistakes, but point out that many grievances have been won, again being specific.
  • “Officers and stewards do their jobs the best way they know how. If you or someone you know has not been treated fairly, tell us about it so that it can be remedied.”
  • “Your local officers and stewards work for this employer just as you and I do. They need lots of training, experience, and help from you to do the job well. Your signature on this card will give you the right and the opportunity to help in running this union better.” Point out that the members have an obligation to replace those officers and stewards who continue to do their job poorly.
  • “You are the union. You can get involved and run for office to help change the things you don’t like.”
  • Enumerate the contract benefits – choice of hours, vacations, sick benefits. Remind the nonmember that these didn’t come automatically.
  • Discuss the need to use the grievance procedure properly. Frequently some of the complaints we have about grievances occur because the proper procedure was not followed.
  • “Hundreds of grievances are settled satisfactorily. But with 100 percent membership, we could do an even better job of investigating and processing grievances.”

Objection:

“I can’t afford to strike. How can I be sure I won’t be out on strike? I don’t believe in strikes.”

Possible Answers:

  • “It’s up to the members to decide whether to strike. Of course, if you’re not a union member you will have no say whatsoever in the matter.”
  • “When unions are weak, employers force them to strike or else accept low wages or poor working conditions. But if unions are big enough to hurt the employer in a strike, management will offer more and thereby avoid a strike. In short, if workers are unified, a strike is less likely.”
  • “Strikes are very infrequent in this union.”
  • “Do you know about the union’s defense fund? If workers are forced out on strike by an impossible employer position, this fund exists to assist members in meeting their more important bills. We now have millions of dollars in the defense fund so that no one will go without or be badly hurt if we are forced to strike.”
  • “Year after year, less than one-fifth of one percent of all working time is lost by strikes. Now this is only a small fraction of the time lost through layoffs or industrial accidents or other sickness. You read in the newspaper about strikes because, of course, strikes are news. You never read in the newspapers about the hundreds and thousands of negotiations that are settled without the necessity of a strike. What I’m trying to say is that strikes are really very unusual.”

Objection:

“I can handle my own affairs. I can take care of myself. I’ll make my own decisions. I don’t intend to stay on this job forever; I’m looking for a promotion.”

Possible Answers:

  • “This may be true, but the chances are that you might need help somewhere along the way. Besides, all your fellow employees aren’t as fortunate. They need help. They need your help.”
  • “You are working in a large industry and necessarily are a cog in a very large machine. Unless you fit into this machine, you are not a desirable employee, so your future depends in large part on your ability to get along with everyone, including your fellow workers.”

Objection:

“My religion doesn’t permit me to belong to any outside organization.”

Possible Answers (and yes, this can be a sticky one):

  • “I’ve never heard of a faith that bars membership in a union. I would like to discuss this matter with you and with your pastor so that we can clear up any misunderstandings. Unions have always worked closely with churches. Our goals are similar: to help our fellow human beings.”
  • Follow through on this. Contact the pastor or minister. Verify the church’s policy and report back to the nonmember.
  • “Your religion and all other religions teach you to love your neighbor, to be responsible for your brother’s welfare. And that is what the union is designed to do. There is no conflict between the goals of unions and religions.”

Objection:

“My boss doesn’t believe in unions. I’ve seen what happens to union members.”

Possible Answers:

  • “It used to be that many supervisors didn’t like unions, but most of these have either changed their ways or have been transferred.”
  • “At one time, supervisors were virtual dictators with power to hire or fire you on the spot. Now they must live up to the contract and treat people with respect. If a supervisor can’t do this, management will get rid of them.”
  • “The law, the contract, and public policy guarantee you the right to join and engage in union activity.”

Objection:

“I don’t want anything to do with unions. They’re all corrupt.”

Possible Answers:

  • Show the nonmember a copy of IBEW’s constitution and point out how the constitution assures democratic procedures and membership control of the union.
  • Point out that membership in the union gives you a right to choose your own officers and to correct abuses.

Objection:

“I don’t know enough about IBEW or the union movement.”

Possible Answers:

  • “The officers of the local union and I will be glad to sit down with you anytime, any place, and tell you everything you might want to know about IBEW and answer any questions you might have. After you’ve learned some of the history of the union and how it operates, I’m sure you will want to become a member of IBEW.”
  • “What do you need to know about IBEW? IBEW is a large union; it is honestly run; it is efficient; and it is democratic.”

Objection:

“I’m not interested. I just don’t want to join.”

Possible Answers:

  • “You can’t afford not to be interested in the union. What happens in the union and between the union and the employer affects you; it affects all employees. Contract negotiations, grievances, etc., concern everyone in one way or another.”
  • It might be necessary to go into a general explanation of the reasons people join unions.

YOUR TURN

Have you come across these or other objections? We want to know how you handled them! Sound off on the Union Built PC Facebook Page or on our Twitter or LinkedIn feeds. And don’t forget to sign up for our monthly #Union Strong email newsletter for articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.

2016: Year in Review

Here’s looking back at some of 2016’s biggest #UnionStrong moments. We stand with you Sisters and Brothers!

NATIONAL…

scalias-death-ends-friedrichs-threatScalia’s death ends Friedrichs threat
In a case known as Friedrichs vs. California Teachers Association, the U.S. Supreme Court was getting ready to impose so-called “right-to-work” status on all public employees in the United States — making dues strictly voluntary and thus weakening unions considerably. But the death of conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in February resulted in a 4-4 deadlock on the case. The threat to labor could return, however, if a similar case is filed after another anti-union justice is appointed.

unions-count-verizon-strike-as-a-winUnions count Verizon strike as a win
America’s biggest strike in four years took place in April and May as 39,000 members of CWA and IBEW struck Verizon’s East Coast landline operations rather than accept contract concessions at the highly-profitable company. The strike ended after 45 days with a deal brokered by U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez on terms the union called a win, including 10.5 percent raises over four years, and protections against outsourcing of call center jobs.

Clinton loses in the electoral college
In the general election, Hillary Clinton had the support of nearly every labor union in the country, and she won nearly 3 million more votes than Donald Trump. But she lost where it mattered: The electoral college, thanks to narrow Trump wins in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

trans-pacific-partnership-dead-at-lastTrans-Pacific Partnership, dead at last
For the first time since NAFTA, a corporate-written trade deal died on the vine. The 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnerhip (TPP) was one of Obama’s top priorities, but broad public hostility to the deal — and the defection of some Republicans over industry concerns — prevented ratification in Congress. Trump’s election sealed its fate.

IN YOUR STATE…

Top legislative win: Minimum wage
With unions prepared to put minimum wage increases on the ballot, the Oregon Legislature stepped up to do the job and put the minimum wage on track to 12.50 to 14.75 by 2022, depending on the region. That amounts to an hourly raise of $3.25 to $5.50 an hour for hundreds of thousands of Oregon workers.

Biggest ballot defeat: Measure 97
Despite $16 million in local and national union money, a proposal to raise taxes on the biggest corporations doing business in Oregon was rejected by voters. As a result, instead of new investment in schools, health care and senior services, the state of Oregon faces a budget shortfall next year, once again.

Biggest union organizing wins:

  • 886 support workers at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center joined AFT.
  • 793 PSU grad students joined AFT/AAUP.
  • 310 hospital technicians at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center joined AFT.
  • 165 workers at Boeing paint contractor Commercial Aircraft Painting Services joined IAM.
  • 80 DirecTV workers joined CWA Local 7906.
  • 61 alcohol and drug treatment workers at Volunteers of America joined AFSCME.

Biggest union organizing losses:

  • 205 workers at a Jeld-Wen door plant in Chiloquin rejected the Machinists union in a 52-137 vote.
  • 179 workers at Portland Specialty Baking rejected the Bakers union in a 38-123 vote.

oregon-bernie-voteOregon Bernie vote: a mandate for bolder action by Democrats?
Hillary Clinton won among Democrats nationwide, but in Oregon, Democrats showed an appetite for a bolder kind of politics — backing a candidate who rejected Wall Street money and called for universal health care, free public college tuition, and a $15-an-hour minimum wage. In Oregon, Bernie Sanders packed arenas and outpolled Clinton by over 70,000 votes, 56 to 44 percent.

Minimum wage and sick leave
Raise the minimum wage to $13.50, and give workers the right paid sick leave? Voters did it, approving union-backed I-1433 by 59-41 percent.

sound-gets-serious-transit-investmentSound gets serious transit investment
Another ballot victory was voter approval for an ambitious 25-year plan to make $54 billion worth of transit improvements in the Puget Sound region, including 62 miles of light rail and new bus and heavy rail service to King, Pierce and Snohomish counties. The project will mean union jobs, less congestion, and a cleaner environment.

Madore is no more, in Clark County
Flamboyantly anti-union Clark County Commissioner David Madore — who once pushed unsuccessfully for a local “right-to-work” ordinance — lost reelection in the August primary. In the general election, union-backed candidate Tanisha Harris lost to John Blom, but local unions were still pleased to see their nemesis go.

berry-boycott-ends-with-union-dealBerry boycott ends with union deal
A three-year union boycott against Sakuma and Driscoll berries ended in September, when Skagit Valley agri-giant Sakuma Berries agreed to allow a union election and recognize and bargain a contract with the farmworkers union.

YOUR TURN

What were some of your biggest #UnionStrong moments of 2016? Sound off on the Union Built PC Facebook Page or on our Twitter or LinkedIn feeds. And don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly #UnionStrong email newsletter for articles like this one delivered straight to your inbox.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Statement by Governor Cuomo and CWA Pres. Shelton on VZW Closings

Thursday, October 13, 2016

STATEMENTS FROM GOVERNOR CUOMO SPOKESPERSON RICH AZZOPARDI AND PRESIDENT OF THE COMMUNICATIONS WORKERS OF AMERICA CHRIS SHELTON ON VERIZON’S PLAN TO CLOSE TWO CALL CENTERS IN NEW YORK

Statement from Governor Cuomo Spokesperson Rich Azzopardi:

“Today, with 20 minutes notice on one of the highest holy days for those of the Jewish faith, Verizon Wireless notified the Governor’s office that it would be closing two call centers in New York as part of a nationwide consolidation plan. This is an egregious example of corporate abuse – among the worst we have witnessed during the six years of this administration. Verizon’s negligence is astounding and as a result, hard-working New Yorkers will lose their jobs.

“New York is invested in our workforce and we remain committed to keeping and creating well-paying jobs across the state. Governor Cuomo has directed the New York State Department of Labor to dispatch its Rapid Response team to assist employees during their time of transition, and we will work to reverse the impact of Verizon’s reckless decision. In this state, we will continue to stand up to those who put profit ahead of people.”

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Statement from Chris Shelton, President of the Communications Workers of America:

“Verizon Communications brags about being the nation’s biggest wireless carrier. It’s an extremely profitable company. In July 2016, Verizon’s stock hit its highest price since 2000. It’s spending $4.83 billion to buy Yahoo’s Internet business.

“So why is Verizon closing call centers in New York? Why is it laying off 3,200 retail store workers nationwide, especially going into the busiest shopping period of the year?

“It’s corporate greed at its worst. Does this mean more jobs and more customer service problems will be shipped to Verizon overseas operations in the Philippines and other countries?

“CWA has been working with Verizon Wireless workers at call centers and retail stores, to help workers get the union voice and representation they want and so clearly need. In fact, workers at VZW stores in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Everett, Mass., just won a first contract just this year. We will keep up the fight against ‘very greedy’ Verizon.”

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For media inquiries, call CWA Communications at 202-434-1168, or email Candice Johnson. To read about CWA Members, Leadership or Industries, visit the Communications Workers of America website.

Union Built Cloud Services

With nearly universal Internet connectivity these days, there’s no reason you shouldn’t have access to all your important documents not only via your PC, but also from your smartphone, your tablet, your laptop anywhere you may be!  The Union Built Cloud offers automatic backup of your data and a secure  storage and syncing solution for security of your files and seamless access to Word docs, PDFs, spreadsheets, photos and any other digital assets.

The Union Built Cloud offers:

  • Daily Automatic Data Backup and Status Reports
  • Protection from Ransomware, Malware and Viruses
  • Industry-Leading FailSafe Cloud Backup Protection
  • Reliability Monitoring by Union Built PC
  • Secure Hosting Platform
  • Unlimited Storage Customized to Your Needs
  • Guards your Union Office from Cyber Terrorism

Backup of Your Data is More Important than Ever

If you don’t yet have a service for storing and syncing your data in the cloud, you need one.  With the growing threat of Cyber Terrorism the Union Built Cloud provides a secure backup solution for all your data keeping these sensitive files safe from Cyber Criminals; particularly Ransomware, a growing Cyber Threat.

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FREE DOWNLOAD: What is Ransomware and How to Stay Safe

In fact, Union Built PC has been the leader in secure cloud solutions for Union Members and Union Offices since before most started worrying about cyber threats and online privacy. And we intend to stay one-step ahead of such threats long into the future.

Understanding ‘The Cloud’

The ‘cloud’ is a real buzzword, but what is it and how does it impact you and your Union Office?

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Union Built Cloud services refer to storing your files somewhere other than your computer’s hard drive.  Having data in the cloud also refers to the ability to access those files through the Internet. Your data is encrypted before making the journey over the Internet to the Union Built Cloud and, while they live on the Union Built Cloud servers, they’re also encrypted. The service doesn’t upload entire files every time they’re updated; just changes, saving you connection bandwidth and storage space.

FREE DOWNLOAD: Learn More about the Union Built Cloud

The Union Built Cloud is also an automatic backup solution for your data keeping it safe and secure so if you’re personal computing systems are ever attacked, Union Built PC can easily restore all of your files in their most current state.

How Union Built PC Resolved the Cyber Terrorism Strike Against JATC Union Local 351

On July 14, 2016 Union Built PC received an email from Lou Jiacopello, Training Director of JATC 351.  Lou reported that one of their workstations became infected with Ransomware.  We quickly took steps to eliminate this threat to no avail.  Union Built PC’s Director of Technical Support, Glenn Joseph, was quickly on hand to assess the problem.

Upon investigation, Glenn determined that the only backup JATC 351’s data was 3 days old and performing a complete restore would mean valuable data most definitely would be lost.

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We were forced to advise our client that only solution to this problem was to pay the ransom.  This did not sit well with us, and there was no guarantee that after paying the ransom all the data would be restored.  This was, however, the only viable option.

Ransomware attacks data files and encrypts these files denying you access.  This type of cyber attack forces you to pay a fee – the ransom – in order to obtain a key code that will unencrypt the files so they are restored and you can regain access.  Payment is made via bitcoin, and can get very expensive.  In this case our only option, due to the nature of the data, was to pay.

Glenn supervised the job from beginning to end, and we were able to fully restore all of JATC 351’s data.  The job did not end here!  Union Built PC provided JATC 351 with our secure Union Built Cloud Storage Solution, which backs up all data on a daily basis.  The Service also provides for client reports regarding the status of daily Backups.  These reports are sent to Union Built PC and analyzed, so that we, can monitor the safety of your data each day.

Union Built PC has now ensured that JATC 351 has a fully secure and reliable backup plan.

RELATED: Read the JATC 351 Ransomware Union Built Cloud Service Case Study

“We reached out to Union Built PC (as we have done in the past) to assist us when one of our workstations became infected with Ransomware.  Glenn Joseph (Director of Technical Support) for Union Built PC contacted us and quickly assessed the problem.  Thanks to Glenn we were able to get all of our data restored.  Pete Marchese, Director of Operations for Union Built PC, recommended their Union Built Cloud Storage Solution to provide us with a secure backup plan. It is now in place and protecting our data.  We never thought cyber terrorism would be something we’d have to worry about, but have now learned any person – any organization – can be vulnerable.  We highly recommend Union Built PC and their Cloud Services to all Locals and Training Centers in order to provide reliable and secure Cloud Backup to keep you safe from Cyber Terrorism.”

– Lou Jiacopello Training Director JATC LU 351

Download the Union Built Cloud Brochure and learn more about the cloud and how it’s now integral to everything you do.  And give us a call at (877) 728-6466 or contact us online to talk more about how we can keep your data safe and secure.

And don’t forget to Like Union Built PC on Facebook, Follow Us on Twitter and LinkedIn and subscribe to our monthly eNewsletter for Union News and articles like this one delivered straight to your inbox.