Unions have been speaking out in the face of employer retaliation against union organizing. In Ohio, Mercy Health St. Vincent Medical Center has responded to a nurse, tech staff, and support staff strike by cutting job positions and paying replacement workers higher wages than the workers on strike. The hospital has also expressed interest in limiting benefits for striking workers. UAW Local 2213 strike captain Beth DenBensten said that Mercy Health’s actions have not undermined union solidarity but instead led to workers “pull[ing] together as a group.” At American Airlines, the TWU-IAM Association, which represents the airline’s mechanics, has been in contract talks with the airline since December 2015. On May 20th, American Airlines sued the mechanics, alleging that the workers had purposefully slowed down their labor to undermine the airline’s business. The union denies the slowdown and is threatening a “vicious strike action” if the airline continues to stall in negotiations.
A California Assembly bill to cabin the expanse of charter schools failed this past week. Despite the California Teachers Association’s efforts to change the state’s charter school laws, the Assembly rejected a proposal to create a statewide ceiling on charter schools. However, the union was able to generate enough support to pass a bill to give school districts more leverage in denying applications from new charter schools. Given the increase in union action by teachers throughout the state, Assemblyman Rob Banta is hopeful that the union will eventually succeed in reforming charter school law in California: “This moment is unique. There’s political will to do it.”
In Nevada, the Senate Finance Committee recommended the passage of collective bargaining for state workers. Last week, Nevada state workers gathered at a legislative hearing and urged state lawmakers to support the legislation. “Collective bargaining will assist us in addressing workplace and field safety issues and also the high vacancy rates in state government, which have caused and will continue to cause state employees to do not one but sometimes two and three jobs at any given time,” said state employee Betsey Crumine. The measure has become a legislative priority for Nevada Democrats.
In response to reports that Google mistreats its independent contractors, Vox Recode turned to the job review site Glassdoor to see if Google contractors reported lower salaries than Google’s full-time employees. Recode found that contract workers were reporting salaries almost $30,000 dollars less than those of full-time employees. Contractors also rated their experience at Google less positively than full-time workers.