Archive for the ‘Unions’ Category
Tuesday, July 29th, 2014
By Holly Ramer, Associated Press, July 28, 2014
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Gov. Maggie Hassan vetoed a bill Monday aimed at protecting New Hampshire state employees from abusive work environments, saying it was well-intentioned but unworkable.
Lawmakers passed the measure after hearing from current and former state workers who said they experienced workplace bullying. It would have required state departments and agencies to develop policies to address harassment.
But Hassan said the legislation’s definition of “abusive conduct” was overly broad and would have made the most routine interactions potential causes of action. For example, workers could claim abuse if they believed they had “unreasonable” workloads, felt co-workers weren’t answering emails in a timely manner or had received constructive criticism from supervisors or peers, she said.
“The bill also attempts to legislate politeness, manners and the interpersonal relationships of co-workers,” Hassan said.
The governor said state employees deserve respect and the opportunity to work in respectful environments, but she argued the legislation would lead to a dramatic increase in lawsuits, which would in turn hinder productivity.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Diane Schuett, said she hopes lawmakers will override the veto.
“We all know there’s bullying in school, and just because someone graduates from school, doesn’t mean they stop doing it, and it carries over into the workplace,” she said. “It undermines the efficiency within state government if you end up with one or two employees being harassed on the job, either by another employee or a supervisor, and you end up with the entire agency being aware of it and feeling like they have to pick sides.”
Schuett, D-Pembroke, and other supporters said the state has no written policy against abuse in the workplace nor any office procedure to follow to address such issues. But Hassan said existing state rules give employees an avenue for making complaints.
Diana Lacey, president of the State Employees’ Association, disagreed. She said in the two years since the bill was first introduced, the governor has done little more than have the state personnel division develop an online “Respect in the Workplace” training presentation.
“It just feels like more stalling,” she said. “The governor has the power to issue an executive order to take this more seriously … If the governor wasn’t going to support the legislation, the governor’s office should’ve pitched an executive order and has not done so. So we’re very upset.”
As for the concern about litigation, Lacey said state employees already have been using the courts to seek relief.
The WBI response to the veto.
Tags: abusive conduct, bill, bill veto, HB 591, Healthy Workplace Bill, law, legislation, Maggie Hassan, New Hampshire, SEIU Local 1984, SEIU/NAGE, workplace bullying
Posted in Healthy Workplace Bill (U.S. campaign), Unions, Workplace Bullying Laws | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment (
Tuesday, July 29th, 2014
The President of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) is calling on Boeing CEO Jim McNerney to apologize to Boeing’s workforce for offensive remarks made during a quarterly earning call with reporters on July 23, 2014.
“The heart will still be beating, the employees will still be cowering, I’ll be working hard,” said McNerney in response to a reporter’s question about whether he had plans to retire after he turns 65 next month. Boeing’s policy is for executives to retire at age 65.
McNerney is ranked #126 on the Forbes list of CEO compensation earning $13.36 million per year.
“Boeing’s CEO would have been far better served to give credit to the workforce that has driven the company’s sales and profits to record levels,” said IAM President Tom Buffenbarger. “Instead, his unfunny and unnecessary remarks serve as reminder that the Jack Welch style of anti-personnel management is still alive and well at Boeing. If he is able to get his foot out of his mouth, the very next thing we hear from Mr. McNerney should be a sincere apology to all employees at Boeing.”
The IAM and Boeing have a contentious relationship with Boeing always threatening IAM with shutting down production plants and moving to anti-union states (as they did for one plant moving to South Carolina from Washington state).
On that same Friday, McNerney issued an apology distributed companywide. He said the comment made during a call about the company’s quarterly results was a “joke gone bad.”
Tuesday, July 15th, 2014
For our Union friends, we have created a Guide to Workplace Bullying that includes help with introducing Workplace Bullying into your Contracts (CBAs). Visit the WBI Union site.
Monday, July 14th, 2014
The Healthy Workplace Campaign is WBI’s effort to enact anti-bullying legislation for the American workplace state by state. The model bill is called the Healthy Workplace Bill (HWB).
Features of the HWB
• Suffolk University Law Professor David C. Yamada, text author, used federal Title VII Civil Rights laws as basis
• Defines severe abusive conduct — does not use term workplace bullying
• Provides legal redress for anyone subjected to abusive conduct, whether or not the person is a member of a protected status group
• Requires that abusive conduct result in either demonstrable health or economic harm to plaintiff
• Plaintiffs who file lawsuits make public formerly hidden, confidential employer processes that hide and deny bullying
• Prohibits retaliation against any participant in procedures involved in dealing with the abusive conduct complaint
• Requires plaintiffs to hire private attorneys, no fiscal impact on state government
• Provides incentives (affirmative defenses) for employers who implement genuine corrective procedures
• Preserves managerial prerogative to discipline and terminate employees
• Does not interfere with state workers’ compensation laws or union CBAs
We named the HWB in 2002. All other uses of the name HWB are unauthorized by us. California first introduced the HWB in 2003. It has been carried in over half of states and two territories since. The Workplace Bullying Institute trains and provides support to a national network of volunteer Sate Coordinators who lobby their respective state legislators to sponsor the HWB. You can track its status at the HWB website.
Botched Amendments & Unanticipated Consequences
As authors of the HWB, we naturally want the full and original version of the bill enacted into law. And we realize compromises will be made during the process. It is “sausage making,” after all. We just wish all bill sponsors would refuse to allow major revisions that change the spirit of the bill from protecting abused workers to something else. Since the HWB was first introduced, different amendments have been proposed or made.
Often the well-intended sponsor, a pro-worker advocate, agrees to compromise adopting the belief that the law can be built in steps. Let’s get this version passed now and it will be revisited in the coming years and supplemented with the other desired provisions.
Tags: amendments, business lobby, Chamber of Commerce, David Yamada, Gary Namie, Healthy Workplace Bill, Unions, vicarious liability, workplace bullying, Workplace Bullying Institute
Posted in Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things, Fairness & Social Justice Denied, Healthy Workplace Bill (U.S. campaign), Tutorials About Bullying, Unions, WBI Education, Workplace Bullying Laws | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment (
Monday, June 30th, 2014
Unions have certainly become punching bags recently for anti-union zealots — Republican Governors, mainstream media, the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) and their long-standing arch enemy, the National Right to Work foundation. The right to work meaning without union protections so you can work for minimum wages and absolutely no say in how your work is organized and assigned. Incredibly, 24 states have adopted “right-to-work” legislation that undermines unionism. The NRTWF is the organization that sues unions on behalf of workers fed up with their unions.
So arose the court case Harris v. Quinn (the State of Illinois). The SEIU has been organizing low-paid workers in the home health industry for years. Those workers are typically women of color. They serve disabled individuals in their home — hard work by compassionate underpaid people. When they unionize, wages rise a bit.
Unions, like corporations, engage in political activity. Unions contribute to politicians’ election campaigns at a fraction of the amount corporations do, given that the latter have all the cash. Two SCOTUS decisions — Citizens United decision and one this session — made limits of corporate giving disappear. Anti-union groups like the NRTWF exaggerate the amount of union dues spent on political activity and have successfully separated union funds set aside for that activity from funds to run the business of the union — being advocates for their members. Some states require non-members to pay a “fair share fee” to the union in order to take advantage of workers’ benefits negotiated in collective bargaining agreements between unions and government employers. In other states, anti-union legislation has allowed public sector employees to benefit without having to join or to pay the union. Unions call this “free riding.” Alito thinks the phenomenon is “something of an anomaly.”
Wednesday, June 11th, 2014
A lawsuit funded by Silicon Valley rich guy, David Welch, is shaking the public education world. A California Superior Court judge, Rolf Michael Treu, found for the plainitffs — nine students backed by the group Students Matter.
The ruling was filed on June 10, 2014.
Teachers think students matter, too. But the pitched battle between non-educators who once went to school which they think qualifies them to know everything about K-12 education, and those who train just to teach schoolchildren has been fought for years. The tack is to beat up teachers publicly, blame teachers, call them bad. And in this case, Vergara vs. California, bad teachers are branded “grossly ineffective.”
Nine students were named as plaintiffs.
The plaintiff’s attorneys were from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. The defense was represented by the Attorney General, joined by the California Teachers Association and the Calfornia Federation of Teachers.
Tags: AFT, California constitution, California Federation of Teachers, California Teachers Union, disadvantaged students, equal schools, grossly inefficient, Jonathan Kozol, Students Matter, teachers, Unions, Vergara
Posted in Fairness & Social Justice Denied, Rulings by Courts, Unions | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment (
Wednesday, May 14th, 2014
Chico State and the rest of the California State Universities struggle with institutional bullying, causing health issues and fear among employees.
By Yessenia Funes, The Orion, Chico State (CA) University, April 24, 2014
A Chico State employee spends nights awake in bed.
The next day at work, the employee is welcomed by threats from a supervisor and singled out — micromanaged and stripped of the ability to make work-related decisions. Disturbing comments are made behind closed doors. Performance evaluations are held when no one else is in the office.
“I’m actually ill from all this. I can’t sleep at night. I cry as soon as I leave work. I’m paranoid that my supervisor will come into my office and fire me,” wrote the employee in a set of anonymous comments prepared by a labor union representative for Chico State.
Bullied high school students often make the news, but what about university employees?
Tom Dimitre, Chico State’s labor representative for the California State University Employees Union, spends 30-40 percent of his time handling union members’ bullying complaints, he said.
He works with employees in the Student Health Center and Facilities Management and Services, which Dimitre said generate the most bullying complaints. Clerical personnel are also common, he said.
These employees aren’t the only ones who face bullies, said Vincent Ornelas, Chico State’s former president for California Faculty Association’s Chico State chapter.
Ornelas constantly heard bullying complaints during his two-year term leading the union chapter, which handles lecturers, coaches, librarians and counselors, he said.
Combined, the two unions include 95 percent of campus employees, and both Ornelas and Dimitre agree — bullying is an issue at Chico State.
Tags: bullying in universities, chico state, CSUEU, john orr, tom dimitre, Vincent Ornelas, workplace bullying, yessenia funes
Posted in Media About Bullying, Print: News, Blogs, Magazines, Unions | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment (
Tuesday, April 1st, 2014
The Workplace Bullying Institute and the New Workplace Institute are happy to announce the launch of a joint initiative, the U.S. Academy on Workplace Bullying, Mobbing, and Abuse, which will support and promote the multi-disciplinary work of leading and emerging educators, researchers, practitioners, writers, and advocates who are dedicated to understanding, preventing, stopping, and responding to workplace bullying and related forms of interpersonal mistreatment.
“For over a year, we’ve been contemplating how to bring together an American network of leading and emerging experts on workplace bullying and related topics. The Academy is our conduit for doing so. We look forward to highlighting the good works of these incredible people,” says David Yamada, Suffolk University law professor and New Workplace Institute director.
The Academy has over 50 Fellows including leading psychological researchers, physicians, attorneys, occupational health experts, professors of management, nursing, and communications, counselors, union trainers, military leaders, advocates, and consultants. The complete list of Fellows can be seen at workplacebullyingacademy.com.
“When we started WBI there was one trade unionist and a couple of academic researchers with the courage to focus on workplace bullying. Since then the field exploded exponentially,” says Gary Namie, PhD, Co-founder of the Workplace Bullying Institute, established in 1997. “We recognize the universality of these destructive behaviors, and this network focuses on the unique challenges posed by American employee relations, mental health, and legal systems.”
Tags: abuse, bullying research, David Yamada, Gary Namie, Mobbing, new workplace institute, U.S. academy, workplace bullying, Workplace Bullying Institute
Posted in Bullying-Related Research, Good News, Healthy Workplace Bill (U.S. campaign), Hear Ye! Hear Ye! 2, Products & Services, Social/Mgmt/Epid Sciences, Tutorials About Bullying, Unions, WBI Education | 1 Archived Comment | Post A Comment (
Sunday, January 5th, 2014
Update after Jan. 3 vote: 51% of Machinists accepted the final Boeing proposal under pressure from politicians and the IAM International. Read background story.
Statement of IAM Local 751:
Machinists Union members have voted to accept the Boeing Co.’s proposed eight-year contract with a 51 percent yes vote.
“Our members have spoken and this is the course we’ll take,” said Tom Wroblewski, the president of Machinists Union District Lodge 751, which represents more than 30,000 hourly workers at Boeing plants in Puget Sound.
The decision means Boeing will stop seeking alternate sites for its 777X aircraft program, the latest version of its best-selling widebody jet, and start preparations to start final assembly and wing fabrication in Puget Sound.
The union’s goal in coming years will be to fight to ensure Boeing lives up to its commitment to its workforce and keeps jobs in Washington state, Wroblewski said.
The vote to accept the contract came even though Wroblewski and the District 751 leadership team had unanimously recommended that union members reject Boeing’s offer, which included steep concessions on retirement and health care benefits and limits on future wage growth.
“All along we knew that our members wanted to build the 777X, and that it was in Boeing’s best interest to have them do it,” he said. “We recommended that our members reject the offer because we felt that the cost was too high, in terms of our lost pensions and the thousands of dollars in additional health care costs we’ll have to pay each year.
“Now, it’s up to all of us now to pull together to make this airplane program successful. I’m confident we will do that, because as we’ve said all along, this is the most-skilled aerospace workforce in the world.”
Thursday, January 2nd, 2014
Washington State Governor Jay Inslee was once a liberal democrat as Congressman. Now he fawns over one of the state’s two large employers — Boeing — as if he was once an executive there. After McDonnell-Douglas merged in 1997, Boeing became the only surviving American aircraft manufacturer. Its 787 Dreamliner model was fraught with problems when launched. It’s newest commercial project is to build the wide-body 777X model. Assembly is scheduled for the Seattle area. But before starting, Boeing decided to alter its contractual relationship with a big part of its laborforce — the machinists. The corporation is behaving as an unscrupulous monopoly.
Boeing moved its corporate headquarters from Seattle, its home since William Boeing bought his first airplane factory site in 1910. It settled contentious strikes, especially with its machinist employees (the IAM, Local 751 in Seattle) the most recent contract expires in 2016! However, negotiating for changing terms began in 2013. Boeing demanded more “givebacks,” concessions, by the union.
Tags: Boeing, contracts, employer abuse, IAM, IAM Local 751, Machinists
Posted in Commentary by G. Namie, Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things, Fairness & Social Justice Denied, Unions | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment (