Posts Tagged ‘Unions’

Minnesota Union and State collaboratively create Workplace Bullying policy

Sunday, April 12th, 2015

Minnesota leap frogs Tennessee with respect to having a state policy to thwart workplace bullying. First a bit of background. In 2014, Tennessee passed a law (Public Chapter 997) that assigned policy writing to a state commission (TACIR) comprised of elected officials with technical support from WBI-affiliated professionals. The group did produce a model policy. However, several lawmakers refused to allow the policy’s implementation. The workplace psychological safety of public employees in that right-to-work state remains unresolved, treated as a political game.

Thus, the first state to implement a workplace bullying policy for all state workers is Minnesota. The successful story begins with the state employees union MAPE (Minnesota Association of Professional Employees) becoming aware of bullying-related problems for members in January 2012. Discussions of bullying surfaced in contract bargaining sessions. In February 2013, some bullying managers were removed in partnership with the union. Education accelerated in May 2013 when MAPE held a seminar for stewards with lessons gleaned from a public session sponsored by the Minneapolis Bar Association at which Dr. Gary Namie spoke.

Audio report:

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By August 2013, MAPE had produced videos of their bullying experiences. In September, results of a membership survey revealed that 1 out of 4 members were either directly bullied or they had witnessed it. State. The state Department of Human Services Commissioner, Lucinda Jesson, signed an anti-bullying petition to ensure safe, retaliation-free reporting of bullying.



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Clubbing unions to death akin to fighting terrorists: president-wanna-be Scott Walker

Friday, February 27th, 2015

“We need a leader who will stand up and say we will take the fight to them and not wait until they take the fight to American soil,” declared Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, a 2016 presidential hopeful, to the audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, DC. This is his reference to ISIS terrorists.

Then he said: “If I can take on 100,000 protesters, I can do the same in the rest of the world,” a clear reference to both ongoing protests against new anti-worker laws and a historic revolt in 2011 against Walker’s push to dismantle collective-bargaining rights for the state’s labor unions.

Walker denies he connected the dots but his “dog whistle” points were clearly heard by the radical right wing CPAC audience. He is bragging about busting unions — what he refers to as Democratic special interest groups.

“To compare the hundreds of thousands of teachers, students, grandmothers, veterans, correctional officers, nurses and all the workers who came out to peacefully protest and stand together for their rights as Americans to ISIS terrorists is disgusting and unacceptable,” said Wisconsin AFL-CIO President Phil Neuenfeldt in a statement. “To compare hard-working men and women who work for a living to terrorists is a disgrace. Coming together to peacefully protest for freedom, to raise your voice for a better Wisconsin, this is not an act of terror.”

Let’s hope America doesn’t make the same mistakes that Wisconsin voters have made in recent elections.

The irony in America that not one word may be spoken against the military or those who serve in it (all are “heroes”) but defaming the working women and men who dare to organize to fight against abusive practices by government and corporate employers (who are well organized and funded) can go unpunished is not lost on us.


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Anti-union advocates pervert notion of bullying in the workplace

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

For 12 years we have led advocacy for state laws to prohibit health-harming abusive conduct (workplace bullying). The bill — the WBI Healthy Workplace Bill — has no hidden agenda. It is straightforward in its purpose and language. We are trying to right a wrong. Opponents are apologists for employer abuse, plain and simple. They choose to protect employers’ rights over workers’ rights to employment free from abusive interference. When they oppose the HWB, they distort and pervert the terms of the bill. They lie in their testimony without consequences. Lawmakers blindly appease the business lobby.

Michigan, a state dominated by Republicans in recent years, became a right to work state. That means if unions exist, they must serve all workers whether or not they pay union dues. It is a tactic designed to bankrupt unions. Now comes Michigan State Rep. Kevin Daley with an “anti-bullying bill” (HB 5847) that purports to “protect” workers from unions who post names of workers who opt out of union membership.

We are mired in distorted semantics. The moniker “right to work” is promoted as freedom while it actually discourages unions who can bargain with employers for more rights and privileges than workers as individuals can never attain.

Opting out of union membership violates the free market concept of fairness in that one must pay for services received. Benefits of union membership should accrue only to those who belong to unions. If you want the benefits without paying for them, you are a freeloader. So, while proponents of “free markets” and unbridled capitalism feel no sympathy for those lowest on the economic rung, even calling them lazy (as Speaker of the House John Boehner did while on a 7 week vacation), they are the same people who want workers in right to work states to bleed unions dry by forcing services to be provided to non-members.

If Rep. Daley cares about workers not being bullied, then he should introduce the HWB! We dare him.


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Posted in Healthy Workplace Bill (U.S. campaign), Unions, Workplace Bullying Laws | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »

For unions: negotiate for workplace bullying CBA prohibition

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.


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Healthy Workplace Bill legislation: A 2014 perspective on distorted amendments

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.



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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 | 1 Archived Comment | Post A Comment () »

A California judge guts teachers unions

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.

Read the judge’s decision.



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Posted in Fairness & Social Justice Denied, Rulings by Courts, Unions | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »

UK Unions Address Workplace Bullying

Friday, November 29th, 2013

A new study from the UK Federation of Entertainment Unions found that workplace bullying, along with harassment and discrimination, is major issue in the creative industries.

The report took center stage at the Creating without Conflict conference in London on November 19, 2013. Along with the survey results the Unions called for confidential hotlines to help their bullied members, as well as better training for management.

From The Stage

These findings come from a survey, Creating Without Conflict, compiled by the Federation of Entertainment Unions, which includes Equity, the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain, the Musicians’ Union, BECTU and the National Union of Journalists. Its aim was to assess how widespread bullying, harassment and discrimination is in the entertainment and media industries, with more than 4,000 people from across the different unions taking part. Respondents included household names and top screenwriters, as well as people at the beginning of their careers.



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To close Freedom from Workplace Bullies Week, mobilize Unions

Saturday, October 26th, 2013

For Freedom Week 2012, we gathered at the National Press Club in Washington DC to hear two union presidents declare their opposition to Workplace Bullying. Here are those statements repeated.

Unions are the most natural advocates for anti-bullying. However, bullying befuddles many union leaders (they are tough guys and gals themselves, they aspire to management and co-opt union goals). Rank-in-file members want and deserve protection against bullying assaults, regardless of the source — management or member. Member-on-member bullying provides the union with opportunities to do better, to serve more, to support abused members, to correct abusive members, to use freedom from bullying as an organizing tool.

Help WBI help your union do more. Visit our Workplace Bullying for Unions website. Attend Workplace Bullying University® to equip the entire union with requisite skills to attack the problem. Tell defiant leadership to stand down and not become bullies themselves.


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2013 Freedom from Workplace Bullies Week: Oct. 20-26

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

Breaking the Silence about this Hidden Epidemic

Freedom From Bullies WeekAnnouncing the 2013 Workplace Bullying Institute Freedom from Workplace Bullies Week — October 20-26. Created to be a special time to try something different to stop workplace bullying for bullied targets, coworkers, family members, supervisors, managers, HR, executives, lawmakers, cities, counties and communities. Read our suggestions for activities.

Watch videos from the 2012 Washington DC event featuring union officials. Read the proclamations from cities and counties.


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Posted in Events & Appearances, Freedom Week, Unions, WBI Education | 1 Archived Comment | Post A Comment () »

Naomi Klein: Working stiffs as corporate “overburden”

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

At the launching convention this past Labour Day weekend of a new Canadian union — Unifor — Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, spoke.

Her book describes the international conservative movement to privatize governments, to bust unions and to commodify natural resources for corporate profits. The Shock Doctrine is the impetus for removing public control of the city of Detroit and putting it in the hands of a financial manager prepared to sell off nearly all public assets and privatize all services. The Shock in her doctrine is the false claim that we are broke and cannot afford to help citizens anymore. [If only we weren’t so busy making expensive wars that sap taxpayer funds.] Governments then impose austerity on the public and worsen their situations. Then, they make the argument that corporations know better how to run businesses so they should take over where government “failed.”



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Posted in Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things, Fairness & Social Justice Denied, Unions | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »

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