Worker Wins Update: April Showers Bring Big Wins for Workers

Workers across the country have stood up in the past month to fight for better wages and working conditions.

Harvard Hotel Workers Make Smart Choice to Organize: Following a two year campaign, workers at the Soldiers Field Road DoubleTree Hotel, located in a building owned by Harvard, voted to organize with UNITE HERE Local 26. The workers will join Harvard dining hall workers as well as Boston-area hotel staff in the local union.

Next Stop for Double Decker Bus Tour Guides: A Union: Workers at a double-decker bus tour company in New York City have voted to join Transport Workers (TWU) Local 100, fighting back against poor working conditions and pay cuts. Local 100 currently represents some 40,000 transit workers throughout New York City.

Casino Workers Go ‘All-In’ on Union: The cards at the Horseshoe Baltimore Casino will be dealt by union members after workers voted to join the National Gaming Workers Coalition, which includes UNITE HERE, UAW and Operating Engineers (IUOE).

Toady’s Lesson at Detroit Charter Schools: Forming a Union: Teachers from three Detroit charter schools have come together to file petitions to be represented by the Michigan Alliance of Charter Teachers & Staff, a local union affiliated with the AFT.

Gawker Writers Submit Stories and Union Cards: Workers at Gawker Media announced that they will be forming a union with the Writers Guild of America, East, AFL-CIO in New York City. Gawker writers cited need for a fair salary and stated clearly that “every workplace could use a union.”

Alaska Nurses Find the Right Prescription, Affiliate with AFT: In a move to strengthen the voices of nurses in Alaska, the Alaska Nurses Association Labor Program agreed to affiliate with AFT Nurses and Health Professionals. With this affiliation, AFT now represents 113,000 health care professionals across the country.

Rutgers Faculty Win Big in Classroom and at Bargaining Table: Nearly 4,700 full-time faculty and graduate teaching assistants signed a new contract protecting members from salary freezes, health care rate hikes and promising a raise in wages throughout the life of the contract. The contract, fought for by members of the American Association of University Professors–AFT, also will provide protections for about 7,000 graduate teaching assistants.

Howard University Physicians On-Call for Better Pay, Benefits: Resident physicians at Howard University Hospital in Washington, D.C., have asked hospital officials to negotiate a new contract with their newly formed union after the National Labor Relations Board upheld the results of its January election last week.

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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Bus Drivers Win $350 Million Lawsuit, By Banning Together

Have you ever thought about how much money your employer is saving when you perform job duties off the clock?

Well, a group of bus drivers in Baltimore banned together and won a $350 million wage theft case against their employer, Durham School Services, for that exact reason.

From 2011 to 2013 Durham failed to pay workers overtime for things like bus inspections, cleanings and fueling, In These Times reports.

“We work hard and don’t make a lot of money to begin with,” Rosedale driver Martin Fox commented in a union press statement. “For many of us, the pay we didn’t receive was the difference between being able to pay the electric bill and having food on the table for our families. We are glad to finally win back the pay that was stolen from us.”

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 750 has been trying to organize drivers and aides for quite some time. The union was instrumental in getting the workers to file suit, and the union hopes that this move will be a stepping stone in the unionization process.

As it pertains to Durham School Services, there are several instances of this type of behavior. Worker complaints have been recorded in Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Florida. In 2011, California school bus drivers won a class action suit against Durham for $7 million in lost wages.

Photo courtesy of woodleywonderworks on Flickr

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Why We’re Baltimore Ravens Fans (Today)

If you’re an NFL fan, you know that Thursday night was not good for the Baltimore Ravens. But no matter what the scoreboard says, the 2013 Super Bowl Champions are still champions to us this week.

The Baltimore Ravens will partner with the state of Maryland to educate the public on their new options for health insurance starting October 1. According to the office of Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, the Ravens we’ll be participating in a multi-media advertising campaign promoting Maryland Health Connection, that state’s health exchange.

This isn’t just flashy, it’s effective, as Lt. Gov. Brown’s office details:

Research shows that 71 percent of the uninsured population in Maryland have watched, attended or listened to a Ravens game in the past 12 months. The partnership will provide Maryland Health Connection with the opportunity to reach and engage fans while making them aware of the new opportunity they have for health coverage beginning this fall through the health insurance marketplace.

An estimated 14 percent of Marylanders, around 800,000 people, are uninsured. Maryland Health Connection will provide access to subsidies for qualifying individuals. Administrators are expecting nearly 180,000 Marylanders to take advantage of the exchange.

Thanks to the state’s acceptance of Medicaid expansion (coughTexascough) an additional 100,000 Marylanders will be eligible for coverage under that program.

But the Ravens’ participation was almost blocked outright by Senate Republicans. While President Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius were lobbying the National Football League to help get the word out about the October 1 open enrollment, Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and John Cornyn (R-TX) sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell urging him to refuse.

Ultimately, Commissioner Goodell decided against an outright partnership to promote the health exchanges, but allowed individual teams to make their own partnerships with states. We applaud the Ravens for doing the right thing and using their well-earned star power to educate Marylanders on their health care options.

As for your upcoming season, buck up Flacco and Company! You’ll get ‘em next time.

Photo by Baltimore Ravens on Facebook

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