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Today’s Labor Updates, December 9, 2017

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04Dec2017 Posted by: charlesakrugel   / Charles Krugel / Client Relations

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Select events and news from the world of organized labor November 2017


According to data released by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the number of petitions for representation elections (RC) filed during the 2017 fiscal year declined to 1,854 from 2,029 filed during the 2016 fiscal year. In addition, the data revealed that during the 2017 fiscal year, the number of elections where the union prevailed declined from the prior year. Specifically, unions prevailed in 940 out of the 1,366 elections held during the 2017 fiscal year, compared to winning 1,014 and 1,120 elections during the 2016 and 2015 fiscal years, respectively. In regards to timing, the median time between the filing of an RC petition and the election was 23 days in both the 2016 and the 2017 fiscal years, and 98.5 percent of all elections were held in less than 56 days. In contrast, the median time between the filing of an RC petition and the election was 33 days in fiscal year 2015, and 38 days for fiscal years 2010 through 2014. Significantly, the 2017 fiscal year 2017 marks the second full fiscal year since the NLRB enacted its union election rule, which shortened the time between a union’s filing of a representation petition and the actual union election.

Plant employees at Fuyao Glass America’s automotive glass manufacturing facility in Moraine, Ohio voted 886–441 against joining the United Auto Workers (UAW). The UAW has stated that it is currently investigating the election and may file objections to the election results with the NLRB.

Employees at Green Valley Ranch, a casino, hotel, and spa located in Henderson, Nev., overwhelming voted in favor of representation by the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and the Bartenders Union Local 165. The bargaining unit consists of about 900 hotel cooks, service workers, and housekeepers.

After more than a year of organizing, Fordham University’s faculty voted 456-28 in favor of joining the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 200. The bargaining unit is comprised of 900 adjunct professors, full-time lecturers, and postdoctoral students.

Employees at Vox Media voted to unionize with Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE). Over 350 employees across Vox Media’s eight locations will be included in the future WGAE bargaining unit.

Health care workers at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at Riverbend in Springfield, Ore., voted in favor of representation by the Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals (OFNHP). The bargaining unit consists of 350 health care professionals, including respiratory therapists and pharmacy technicians.

Strikes & Labor Disputes

A week after New York editorial employees at DNAinfo and Gothamist voted 25-2 in favor of unionizing with the Writers Guild of America East, Joe Ricketts—owner of both local news outlets—announced that he was discontinuing all further publications of DNAinfo and Gothamist. Staff members of the two publications voiced their concerns that Rickett’s decision to discontinue the publications was an act of retaliation for the staff members’ successful unionization effort.

Off-duty nurses represented by the California Nurses Association (CNA) picketed outside 22 Kaiser Permanente facilities in California. The CNA claimed the goal of its “information picket” was to inform the public about nurse staffing levels that the union asserts are too low. While the picket did not constitute a strike because it involved only off-duty personnel, the nurses have not had a contract with Kaiser Permanente since November 1, 2016. The CNA—which represents more than 19,000 nurses working for Kaiser Permanente in California—and Kaiser Permanente have been negotiating a new union contract since mid-July of this year.

Ninety-three percent of Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1005 members voted against ratifying a proposed labor contract submitted by the Twin Cities’ Metropolitan Council. The ATU Local 1005 members took issue with the fact that the proposed agreement failed to address security issues that bus drivers faced on a daily basis, while eliminating a 30-hour cap for part-time bus drivers, and requiring employees to contribute funds to the costs of tools. ATU Local 1005 announced plans to engage in a 10-day strike beginning on January 26, 2018—when Minneapolis will host the Super Bowl. The parties are currently engaged in mediation before Minnesota’s Bureau of Mediation Services to resolve the dispute before the Super Bowl activities begin. The ATU Local 1005 represents about 2,500 bus and rail operators in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.

More than 40 Sysco Corp. delivery drivers engaged in a strike at Sysco’s Olathe, Kansas facility, citing Sysco’s failure to enter into a collective bargaining agreement with the delivery drivers, who unionized with International Brotherhood of Teamsters (Teamsters) Local 41 in October 2014. The delivery drivers hope the strike will pressure Sysco to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement, as deliveries to Sysco’s clients could be delayed during the strike. Teamsters Local 120, which represents Sysco delivery drivers in St. Paul, Minnesota, honored the picket line extension.

Workers at Plimoth Plantation, a nonprofit “living history” museum in Plymouth, Mass., initiated picketing in an effort to pressure their employer to agree to a first collective bargaining agreement. The Society of Allied Museum Professionals, United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 2320, which represents approximately 70 of Plimoth Plantation’s 180 historical interpreters, craft center artisans, and maintenance workers has been negotiating with Plimoth Plantation since the employees unionized in November of 2016. As part of the negotiations, the union is asking Plimoth Plantation for hourly wages of $13 to be effective immediately, and with increases to $15 per hour in 2018.

About 400 First Student Inc. bus drivers represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (Teamsters) Local 174 engaged in a one-day strike in Seattle, Wash., forcing the overwhelming majority of Seattle Public School’s 12,000 students to seek other means of transportation. The strike came nearly one month after Seattle Public Schools informed First Student that pursuant to their contract, First Student would be required to pay Seattle Public Schools a $1.2 million dollar penalty for each day that the bus drivers fail to complete their routes during a strike. The contract negotiations between First Student and Teamsters Local 174 are currently focused on better health care benefits and retirement funding for the bus drivers.

Major Contract Settlements & Negotiations

Bloomberg BNA reports that contract settlements through November 27, 2017 showed an average first-year wage increase of 2.6 percent, compared to an average first-year wage increase of 2.5 percent during the previous two-week period and an average first-year wage increase of 2.7 percent during the same period in 2016. The rise in the average first-year wage increase from the previous two-week period can be attributed to the non-manufacturing sector, which rose from an average first-year wage increase of 3.2 percent to an average first-year wage increase of 3.3 percent. All other sectors remained unchanged. When lump-sum payments were included, the manufactory industry all-settlements average first-year wage increase rose to 3.3 percent, compared to 3.2 percent during the previous two-week period.

After a year-long strike, 90 percent of performers in the SAG-AFTRA union ratified a three-year agreement with 11 major video game publishers. The agreement, which covers 7,200 SAG-AFTRA members, provides performers with bonuses of up to $2,100, dependent upon the number of sessions that they contribute to a particular project. The agreement also gives voice actors the opportunity to receive information regarding the nature of the assignment before accepting the project. For example, video game publishers are required to disclose to voice actors in advance whether the video game contains graphic, violent, and/or sexually explicit material. Finally, the agreement contains “an employer commitment” to prevent damage to an actor’s voice during vocally stressful performances.

Workers at the largest military shipbuilder in the United States voted to extend their contract with their employer, Huntington Ingalls Industries. The four-year deal covers 7,100 workers who are represented by five unions: the Pascagoula Metal Trades Council (Pascagoula MTC), the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), the International Association of Machinists (IAM), the United Federation of Special Police and Security Officers (UFSPSO), and the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU). Under the contract, workers will receive a ratification bonus of $2,500 and a lump-sum payment of $2,500, as well as wage increases and a freeze for the life of the contract on the amount that the workers pay in monthly health insurance premiums.

Kroger grocery store employees, represented by United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 400, ratified a new contract covering nearly 4,200 workers in West Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky. The nearly three-year-long agreement is effective immediately and provides employees with raises, while maintaining the employees’ health care and retirement benefits.

Allegiant Air LLC reached a tentative five-year agreement with the Transport Workers Union (TWU). The agreement covers 1,150 flight attendants and includes a 33 percent wage increase over the term of the agreement. In addition, the tentative agreement provides flight attendants with improved sick leave, vacation, part-time and scope-and merger policies, as well as comprehensive grievance procedures, protection during furloughs and recalls, and additional pay for extended delays and training. Although the flight attendants unionized in 2011, they have never entered into a collective bargaining agreement with Allegiant Air. The previous agreement between the two parties was rejected by union members in 2016.

Reuters reached a tentative agreement on a new labor agreement with the News Guild of New York. The tentative agreement covers nearly 400 journalists and includes unspecified pay increases.

Nurses represented by the California Nurses Association (CNA) unanimously ratified a three-year agreement with Rideout Regional Medical Center, a hospital located in Marysville, Calif. The agreement covers 530 nurses and includes a 7.75 wage percent increase over the term of the agreement. In addition, the agreement caps insurance premiums and preserves the nurses’ current healthcare benefits.

Employees working for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) on its “Fight for $15” campaign joined the United Media Guild (UMG). The bargaining unit consists of 52 SEIU office workers located in Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, and Richmond, Va. The SEIU voluntarily recognized UMG as the exclusive bargaining unit of its employees after a majority of workers signed membership cards in support of the union.


Seventy-eight percent of flight attendants represented by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) voted in favor of ratifying a five-year deal with their employer, Omni Air International, a charter airline that provides services to corporations, sporting organizations, and the U.S. military. The agreement covers 300 flight attendants and provides the employees with pay increases, defined schedule and work rules, enhanced job security, and additional benefits.

Administrative, Court & Other Decisions

The United States Supreme Court denied the National Right to Work Legal Foundation’s petition for certiorari in Hill v. SEIU, a case wherein home health care and childcare providers challenged the exclusive bargaining representative provisions of the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act. In this action, the plaintiffs argued that the Act violated their First Amendment associational rights by compelling them to adhere to a labor contract. The Seventh Circuit dismissed the case for failure to state claim. Hill v. Serv. Employees Int’l Union.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld an NLRB decision finding that a paper supply company violated the NLRA by suspending and terminating an employee who engaged in protected union activity. The employee, a delivery driver, also served as a union steward for Drivers, Chauffeurs and Helpers Local Union No. 639. The employee was first terminated for driving on a suspended license just one week prior to a grievance hearing scheduled to address issues regarding his job performance. While the employer eventually reinstated the employee to his previous position, it refused to compensate him for the time he had been out of work and retroactively converted his termination into an unpaid suspension. The union then filed grievances challenging both the employee’s initial termination and subsequent suspension. One week before the employee’s scheduled hearing on his grievances, the employee was once again terminated for refusing to drive another employee’s truck to a repair facility after he had already completed his contractually required eight hours of work. With regard to the employee’s first termination and subsequent suspension, the Fourth Circuit reasoned that there was substantial evidence to support the NLRB’s conclusion that the employee’s license was not expired, and therefore the employer falsely relied upon the status of the employee’s license in making its adverse employment decision. With regard to the employee’s second termination, the Fourth Circuit concluded that substantial evidence supported the NLRB’s finding that the employee was terminated for engaging in concerted activity permitted under the collective bargaining agreement when he refused to work overtime because the employee expressly referred to the collective bargaining agreement when refusing the additional driving assignment. S. Freedman & Sons, Inc. v. NLRB.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit vacated the Western District of Tennessee’s decision granting the NLRB an injunction that reinstated an employee who was terminated after he committed a variety of workplace safety violations, including operating his forklift without a seatbelt and stepping away from his forklift while the machine was running. While the NLRB argued that the worker’s termination was the direct result of the employer’s antiunion animus, the Sixth Circuit disagreed, citing a lack of evidence that the worker was openly pro-union and/or was engaged in protected activity. The Sixth Circuit ultimately concluded that the worker’s safety violations, not his union affiliation, was the true reason for his termination. McKinney v. Ozburn-Hessey Logistics, LLC.

The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia enforced an NLRB decision holding that three CVS retail workers were not eligible to vote in a recent union representation election at a CVS store in the Flatbrush neighborhood of New York City because they were “floaters” within the meaning of a stipulated agreement defining a voting unit. While workers at the Flatbrush location voted 4-3 in favor of organizing with UFCW Local 338, three workers who primarily worked at a different CVS store, but occasionally worked at the Flatbush location, were excluded from the vote. The stipulation agreement defined a voting unit to include “[a]ll regular full-time and part-time retail employees, . . . but excluding all floaters, seasonal employees, and pharmacy employees.” CVS maintained that the three workers at issue were classified “floaters” with regard to their position in the pharmacy, but were not “floaters” as defined by the stipulated agreement. The NLRB rejected this argument, reasoning that based upon the “well-established principle that no part of a contract’s language should be construed in such a way as to be superfluous,” these workers were in fact “floaters” within the meaning of the stipulated agreement, and were not part of the subset of pharmacy employees eligible to vote in the election. In enforcing the NLRB’s decision, the D.C. Circuit summarily concluded that the NLRB did not abuse its discretion by resolving the “interpretive ambiguity” of the agreement in favor of the union. The D.C. Circuit also rejected CVS’s argument that in resolving the ambiguity of the term “floaters,” the NLRB should have considered that the challenged voters were included on the voter list that CVS presented to the union. According to the D.C. Circuit, established precedent precluded CVS’s argument as “an employer’s placing of a name on such a list does not establish that the parties intended the employee to be included in a stipulated unit.” CVS Albany, LLC v. NLRB.article text

Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Cole of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois partially granted NLRB Regional Director Peter Sung Ohr’s petition for a preliminary injunction compelling MTIL Inc. to bargain with the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) Local 1103. In support of the preliminary injunction, the NLRB argued that after the UE Local 1103 filed an election petition to organize MTIL’s Bolingbrook, Ill. plant, MTIL engaged in a continuous campaign to quash the union activity of its employees by firing the head union organizing employee, threatening to require its employees to take drug tests if they became unionized, and informing its employees that the plant might relocate or even close in the event that the union was elected. While the court acknowledged that MTIL’s purported threats were “the type that courts consider detrimental enough to the union election processes to warrant relief that brings a return to the status quo” and therefore were sufficient to support a preliminary injunction, the court declined to reinstate the head union organizing employee’s employment. Ohr v. MTIL, Inc.

An NLRB Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) found that International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Talbot Lodge 61 violated Section 8(b)(1)(A) of the NLRA by refusing to arbitrate a grievance relating to the termination of a Cummins, Inc. maintenance mechanic on the basis that he was not a union member. The dispute arose after Cummins terminated the maintenance mechanic, among others, for violating its safety procedures. After his termination, the maintenance mechanic immediately contacted the union and successfully convinced it to file a grievance on his behalf. At the grievance meeting between the union and Cummins, the union defended the maintenance mechanic, arguing that he should not have been terminated. After Cummins denied the grievance, the union informed the maintenance mechanic that it would not arbitrate his grievance on his behalf because he was not a union member. The ALJ dismissed the union’s argument that it declined to arbitrate the maintenance mechanic’s grievance not because of his non-union status, but because his grievance was without merit. Accordingly, the ALJ ordered the union to: request that Cummins reinstate the maintenance mechanic to his former position; arbitrate the maintenance mechanic’s discharge if Cummins refused to reinstate him; and if not possible to pursue arbitration, make the maintenance mechanic whole for any increase in damages he suffered as a result of the union’s failure to arbitrate his grievance. International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers, W-2, Local 61 (Cummins Inc).

An NLRB ALJ found that delivery drivers were properly classified as the independent contractors of Menard Inc., a chain of home improvement centers with over 300 stores across the United States. The dispute arose after the NLRB’s Region 18 Director filed a complaint against Menard, alleging that the company violated Section 8(a)(1) of the NLRA by misclassifying delivery drivers as independent contractors rather than employees, and by maintaining delivery service agreements containing a mandatory arbitration clause that delivery drivers would comprehend as preventing them from bringing a unfair labor practice charge against the company. In his decision finding that the delivery drivers were not Menard employees, the ALJ reasoned that the delivery drivers had control over the details of the work, much like truck owner-operators. Specifically, the ALJ noted that the delivery drivers were free to work for other entities, were not guaranteed any minimum compensation by Menard, were identified in all relevant documents as independent contractors, and had a significant entrepreneurial opportunity for gain or loss. Moreover, the ALJ explained that the delivery drivers often dealt directly with customers, imposed special handling charges, hired and trained their own staff, purchased their own trucks from third-party sellers, independently decided their delivery routes, and did not use Menard’s employees to operate their equipment or accompany them on their deliveries. On the basis of this evidence, the ALJ dismissed both charges against Menard, holding that the delivery drivers were independent contractors who were not protected by the NLRA. Menard, Inc.

An NLRB ALJ ruled that CWA Local 1101 unlawfully attempted to cause Verizon Communications, Inc. to transfer an employee who crossed a picket line. The employee, who had been a member of the union since 1996, declined to picket during a multi-state strike involving 40,000 Verizon employees. While the employee cited her health issues as the reason for her inability to participate in the strike, the union found her level of participation in the strike unsatisfactory and refused to award her strike benefit funds. As a result, the employee resigned from the union and crossed the picket line to return to work. The employee alleged that the union then approached her supervisor and attempted to have her transferred. During the hearing, the supervisor testified that union agents approached him on multiple occasions, referred to the employee using profanity, and requested that the employee be transferred from the facility. The ALJ found the supervisor—as opposed to the union agents—credible, and concluded that the preponderance of the credible evidence supported a finding that the union violated the NLRA by requesting that the employee be transferred from her current work location because of her protected conduct. Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO Local 1101 and Sidra Epps.

An NLRB ALJ found that the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 150 violated federal labor law by imposing $20,000 fines upon seven IUOE Local 324 members who refused to violate the no-strike provision contained in their collective bargaining agreement with their employer, MacAllister Machinery Co., Inc. The dispute arose when Local 150—whose jurisdiction includes portions of Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa—staged an unfair labor practice strike after it unsuccessfully attempted to represent workers at MacAllister’s South Bend, Ind. facility. The strike made it difficult for Local 324—whose jurisdiction is limited to Michigan—to make deliveries to MacAllister’s Indiana facilities. After becoming frustrated by Local 324 members’ refusal to participate in the strike, Local 150 members began to meet at MacAllister’s Niles, Mich. facility and follow Local 324 members on their runs to Indiana. Local 150 members also tailgated Local 324 members, requested their union cards, and harassed them for not obtaining Local 150’s authorization before entering Indiana to make their deliveries. Ultimately, Local 150 found seven Local 324 members guilty of violating the union’s bylaws by crossing Local 150’s picket lines and imposed a fine of $20,000 upon all seven members. While Local 150 eventually rescinded the charges and fines against the Local 150 members as part of a settlement between the two local unions, the settlement made clear that future beaches of the union’s bylaws by Local 324 would result in charges and fines. The ALJ concluded that, in accordance with Board precedent, Local 150 could not penalize members who refused to violate no-strike provisions, as such behavior “encourages unions to abort their contractual pledges and creates labor instability.” While the ALJ acknowledged that Local 150 rescinded the charges and fines, he also maintained that the affected Local 324 members still lost substantial work opportunities after MacAllister subcontracted out their Indiana runs to avoid conflict at its Indiana facilities. Similarly, the ALJ concluded that Local 150’s actions caused the affected Local 324 members “to remain under contact fear and pressure that further fines would be forthcoming, if they retained Local 324 membership, and ultimately forced their withdrawal from the union.” Local 150, International Union of Operating Engineers, AFL-CIO (MacAllister Machinery Co., Inc.)

The United States District Court for the District of Columbia granted Atlas Air, Inc.’s motion for a preliminary injunction enjoining its pilots’ union—the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (Teamsters)—from authorizing, encouraging, permitting, calling, engaging in, or continuing any strike, work stoppage, sick-out, concerted refusal to volunteer for or to accept work assignments, slowdown, or other self-help against the airline. The injunction will remain in effect until 30 days after the termination of mediation by the National Mediation Board, final adjudication of the case, or further order of the court. Atlas Air Inc. is a cargo airline that carries freight for and the U.S. military. Atlas Air Inc. v. Int’l Bhd. of Teamsters, Case No. 17-cv-1953 (D.D.C. Nov. 30, 2017).

Legislation & Politics

President Donald Trump’s nominee for the General Counsel of the NLRB, Peter Robb, was confirmed, 49-46, by the U.S. Senate. Once Robb is sworn-in, he will replace NLRB’s Acting General Counsel Jennifer Abbruzo and assume the role of General Counsel. Before his nomination, Robb focused his legal practice on defending employers in labor disputes. Abruzzo was named the NLRB’s Acting General Counsel following the expiration of Richard Griffin’s term, which ended on October 31, 2017. During Griffin’s tenure as General Counsel, Abbruzo served as the NLRB’s Deputy General Counsel.

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) asked the recently confirmed NLRB Member William Emanuel to publicly disclose any and all potential conflicts of interests that he may face during his appointment to the NLRB due to his long history of representing employers in labor disputes. David Rosenfeld, a California-based labor attorney, similarly filed a motion with the NLRB requesting that Emanuel be removed from hearing NLRB cases until his former firm—Littler Mendelson—discloses Emmanuel’s past clients. In response to the disclosure requests, Emanuel maintained that as a former partner and shareholder of the private law firm, he does not have access to Littler Mendelson’s client list.

NLRB Chairman Philip A. Miscimarra (R), along with his newly appointed Board colleagues Marvin E. Kaplan (R) and William J. Emanuel (R), have called for a review of the NLRB’s “blocking charge” policy. The policy suspends union elections and decertification votes until the Board resolves complaints of unfair labor practices. While the policy was enacted to defend employees from unlawful employer-coercion during union elections, opponents of the policy claim that unions use the policy to strategically delay elections and decertification votes. To curb abuse of the policy, the NLRB adopted a rule in 2014 requiring moving parties to offer adequate proof of serious unfair labor practices that justified blocking an election or decertification vote. However, it is unknown whether the rule has had any effect upon the number of blocking charges brought before the NLRB.

The U.S. Senate confirmed President Donald Trump’s nominees for the National Mediation Board (NMB). The three nominees—Gerald Fauth (R), Kyle Fortson (R), and Linda Puchala (D)—were approved by voice vote. Fauth assumed the role of Chairman of the NMB from departing Democratic member Harry Hoglander on November 9, 2017, while Fortson filled a vacant NMB seat on November 13, 2017.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Save Local Business Act by a vote of 242-181. The Act alters the definition of a joint-employer under the NLRA and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by providing that a person and/or entity may only be considered a joint employer if it “directly, actually, and immediately . . . exercises significant control over essential terms and conditions of employment.” The Act was sponsored by Rep. Bradly Byrne (R-Ala.) and was intended to overturn a 2015 NLRB ruling that held that a company is considered a subcontractor’s joint employer if it has “indirect” control over the terms and conditions of employment or has the “reserved authority to do so.” The U.S. Senate has yet to take action on the Bill.

The Illinois General Assembly was one vote short of overriding Governor Bruce Rauner’s (R) veto of Illinois Senate Bill 1905, which endeavored to ban local governments from creating and enforcing ordinances that would restrict collective bargaining rights. The bill would have allowed for civil fines against local governments and its elected officials as well as criminal penalties against municipal elected officers and elected officials who violated the bill’s provisions. In addition, the bill created a private right of action against local municipalities. This was the second time that the General Assembly attempted but failed to override Rauner’s veto. Rauner—who has focused on local right-to-work zones during his tenure as Governor—applauded the General Assembly’s inability to override his veto, reasoning that the restriction of local collective bargaining will provide Illinois localities with the resources they need to compete for jobs against bordering right-to-work states.

The State of New York’s constituents overwhelming voted against a proposition that would trigger a state constitutional convention. While the State of New York’s constitution requires its voters to decide every 20 years whether a state constitutional convention should be held, labor unions were particularly concerned that a state constitutional convention would result in a reduction in union protections. Currently, New York’s constitution guarantees private sector employees the ability to collectively bargain, requires prevailing wages for public work projects, and prohibits the state from diminishing or otherwise impairing state employee pensions.

Pennsylvania’s House State Government Committee approved two complementary pieces of legislation (S.B. 166 and H.B. 1174) that would prohibit public employers from deducting political campaign contributions from their employees’ paychecks, and would bar future collective bargaining agreements from permitting or requiring political contribution deductions from its members wages. The legislation would not apply to deductions made in accordance with existing valid collective bargaining agreements nor to “fair share fees” that cover a union’s nonpolitical collective bargaining activities. The bills have yet to be scheduled for a House vote.

Crime, Corruption & Other Misdeeds

Following allegations of sexual misconduct and abusive behavior toward female staff members, the SEIU terminated Mark Raleigh and Caleb Jennings, the leaders of the “Fight for $15” campaign in Detroit and Chicago, respectively. Similarly, Kendall Fells—a national leader of the SEIU’s “Fight For $15” campaign—and Scott Courtney—SEIU Executive Vice President—have also resigned from the SEIU amid allegations of sexual harassment.

During his opening speech at the AFL-CIO’s national convention, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka reiterated the union’s commitment to its code of conduct and outlined the union’s complaint procedure for reporting allegations of sexual harassment or any other discriminatory conduct. A mere two weeks after the AFL-CIO’s national convention, Terry Stapleton—who served as the union’s Chief Budget Officer as well as Trumka’s Assistant—resigned amid sexual harassment allegations. Stapleton’s resignation was not the first time that the AFL-CIO has faced allegations of sexual misconduct within its organization. This past May, the union settled a grievance brought against it by its own female employees who alleged that their supervisors called them by derogatory and sexist epithets while working on the 2016 campaign in Pennsylvania.


Stephanie M. DeBoer, a former bookkeeper for IBEW Local 876, pled guilty to embezzling $307,000 from the local union located in Edmore, Mich. According to court records, DeBoer embezzled $307,000 from the local union by using the union’s financial records to write herself personal checks and pay for her personal credit card accounts for a period of three years. A district court judge for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan will sentence DeBoer on February 20, 2018.

Hector Martinez, a former compliance officer at the NLRB’s Region 21 Office in Los Angeles, pled guilty to charges of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft after stealing more than $400,000 in back pay funds that nine different employers had submitted to the NLRB to be paid to employees in unfair labor practice cases during the period of December 2010 through October 2015. Judge Randolph D. Moss of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia sentenced Martinez to 52 months in prison and ordered him to pay more than $400,000 in restitution to the NLRB.

Henry Clay Green Sr., the former Financial Secretary-Treasurer of UNITE HERE Local 26, based in Boston, Massachusetts, pled guilty to embezzling more than $170,000 by falsifying expense records from May 2011 to July 2016. While Green has agreed to repay the $170,000 that he embezzled, along with any restitution ordered by the court, Green opposes the prosecutors’ recommendation that he also pay a fine or serve prison time as part of his sentence.

Richard D’Antuono, the former Rhode Island business manager and financial secretary for Operative Plasters and Cement Masons (OPCMIA) Local 40, was charged with two counts of embezzlement and one count of aggravated identity theft after he allegedly stole between $250,000 and $550,000 from the union’s operational account and employee benefit plan by forging officers’ signatures and forcing authorized signatories to sign blank checks from the period of October 2015 through September 2017. OCMIA Local 40 represents 85 workers across Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.

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