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Coming Soon An Epic Mini-Series “Strength In Union”

“Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” Edmund Burke

I don’t think truer words have ever been spoken.  The labor movement’s history is long and glorious.  There were many points along the way that, looking back, we can say “that was the moment when….”  There were good days and bad days.  Stories of life and death.  All of these stories are important.

The NH Labor News along with other pro-labor websites are working to ensure that our proud history is not forgotten.  We regularly post ‘Today in Labor History‘, where we talk about some important moment on today’s date.

What if we could capture all of these moments in an epic mini-series? That is exactly what Arete Living Arts Foundation is doing.  They are creating a five-part mini-series of the best and worst moments in our history.

“Strength In Union” will most likely air on PBS.  The films will also be shown at film festivals throughout the country.   Here’s how the Foundation describes the project:

The Strength In Union film will….

  • Present union workers in a heroic light as men and women who have sacrificed for the public good
  • Combat anti-union propaganda that is presented in right wing media such as Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and Glenn Beck
  • Use engaging entertainment to educate the public on the many rights and benefits unions have given to all workers, such as weekends, 8-hour work days, sick days, health and retirement benefits, safety regulations, etc.
  • Create an emotional connection and personal identification with the labor movement for people all across America

According to Film Director Caeser Pink, “This is a great story that must be told, and it is another way of understanding the history of the American people. Among the film’s goals are to educate the public so that they understand the struggles and sacrifices that were made by heroic union men and women so that working people are able to enjoy the lifestyle that we now take for granted.”

Principal filming is progressing rapidly. Over 50 top labor leaders, historians, and activists have been interviewed for the project, including

  • Leo Gerard, International President of the United Steel Workers,
  • Cliff Guffey, President of the American Postal Workers Union,
  • Captain Lee Moak, President of the Airline Pilots Association,
  • Lawrence J. Hanley, President of the American Transportation Workers, and
  • William Dougan, President of the National Federation of Federal Employees.

Narrators include famed actor Reg. E Cathey (The Wire, Person Of Interest, House Of Cards), Emmy and Golden Globe winner Barbara Hershey, and legendary activist and folk singer Pete Seeger

Here is a much more in-depth look at the movie from Arete Living Arts.

Are you as excited as I am to see this movie? Here’s a sneak peak for you:


Be sure to visit Strenth In Union website for more information and release information.

 

Transportation Unions Roll Out Strategies to Move $1 Trillion Transportation Infrastructure Package

Labor Leader Release List Of Priorities For 2017 And Beyond 

San Antonio, TX – Transportation labor leaders laid out an aggressive strategy yesterday focused on shaping the President’s $1 trillion transportation infrastructure package and tackling unprecedented challenges faced by frontline transportation workers. Some of those challenges include the looming transportation automation wave, risks to jobs and safety, and reckless political forces taking aim at workers’ rights to bargain collectively for good wages and benefits.

“We committed to rally behind a $1 trillion infrastructure package that doesn’t rely mostly on tax incentives but instead includes an infusion of billions in new federal funding and embraces high labor standards,” said Edward Wytkind, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD). “We cannot toll our way to modernizing and expanding our transportation system and creating millions of new jobs.”

TTD hosted Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) for a discussion on the pressing issues affecting America’s transportation workers, including the need to advance a robust infrastructure package. Denham is a senior member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and chairman of the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials.

“Our nation’s transportation system, and the men and women who build, operate and maintain it, play a crucial role in keeping our economy strong,” Denham said. “I look forward to working with transportation labor leaders to advance strategic infrastructure investments that will rebuild our vast transportation network and, in the process, drive middle-class job creation in California and throughout the nation.” 

Transportation labor leaders laid out key issues for 2017 and beyond, including:

 Responding to the Wave of Transportation Automation

  • Automated technologies will drastically change the nature of work in transportation industries, will put millions of jobs at risk and pose new safety and security threats requiring rigorous federal regulations.

Views on President Trump’s Call for a $1 Trillion Infrastructure Investment Initiative

  • Any transportation infrastructure plan advanced by the President and Congress must include a significant infusion of new federal funds and embrace strong worker protections, labor standards and Buy America requirements.

Mobilization Against Job-Killing Right-to-Work Laws

  • Transportation labor will engage in an aggressive effort to stop national right-to-work legislation, which is part of an orchestrated, deliberate attempt by extremists to crush the wages and benefits of working Americans.

Protecting Airline Customer Service Agents from Assault

  • Too many airline customer service agents are verbally or physically assaulted on the job. Federal legislation must mitigate the problem by providing clear protocols for violent situations, preventing violent travelers from boarding planes and subjecting those who assault customer service agents to arrest and prosecution.

Strengthening Transportation Buy America Rules

  • Billions in new transportation investments must be used to not only grow the economy, but to maximize middle-class job creation through vigorous and strongly enforced Buy America policies.

Protecting and Expanding Middle Class Freight Rail Jobs

  • Transportation unions are committed to policies that strengthen and expand freight rail and will oppose reforms that would weaken the freight rail sector’s ability to expand business, invest in its network and workforce, and support middle-class job creation.

Supporting Cargo Preference Laws that Strengthen Our National Defense

  • The Trump Administration and Congress must uphold cargo preference laws that ensure a viable U.S. merchant marine, strengthen our national defense and support mariner jobs.

Protecting Official Time for Federal Employees

  • Transportation unions will mobilize against the Official Time Reform Act, which is a thinly veiled attack on public sector unions and federal employees.

The Executive Committee heard a presentation from Wytkind, who was appointed to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s federal advisory committee on transportation automation, on the safety and security challenges as well as massive job impacts from emerging automation technologies.

“Every sector of the transportation industry faces massive change and significant job loss from the development and deployment of automated technologies,” said Wytkind. “Our priority going forward is to ensure that these technologies are tools for frontline workers to enhance safety, security and service, rather than enablers of massive job and wage destruction.”

The Union Leader Blasts Andru Volinsky While We Applaud Him For Standing Strong Against Edelblut

This morning, the Union Leader took aim at Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky for his actions during the confirmation hearing of Frank Edelblut for NH Commissioner of Education.

Embarrassing: Andru Volinsky off to a bad start:

Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky must have thought he was back in the courtroom, or a high school production of “A Few Good Men.”

The Concord Democrat, best known as the lead attorney for the plaintiffs in the Claremont Education Lawsuit, treated the council chambers like his personal stage on Tuesday during the public hearing on Frank Edelblut’s nomination to head the New Hampshire Department of Education.

Volinsky tried to make the case that Edelblut was unqualified for the post because he has never worked inside the education bureaucracy. His grandstanding drew the ire of his fellow councilors, as Volinsky threatened to take more than an hour.

I am sorry, but at what point did being elected to the Executive Council, by the people of New Hampshire, mean that you must rubber stamp all of the Governor’s appointments?

Councilor Volinsky showed everyone that he is not going to roll over while the Governor tries to repay his fellow Republican Gubernatorial contender with a position he is completely unqualified to hold.

Utilizing the skills he acquired as a courtroom lawyer, Volinsky shredded Edelblut for having no experience as an educator and no experience as a school administrator.  Edelblut tried to say that his experience home schooling his seven children has provided him the experience needed to be Commissioner of Education.  The two have no connection at all.  It’s like saying, “I taught myself how to fly and have no license but I am now qualified to run the pilot training program for American Airlines.”

Volinsky showed his true commitment to strengthening New Hampshire’s public schools, something he cares deeply about and has fought for as a litigator for many years.  As the lead attorney for the plaintiffs in the landmark Claremont Decision, Volinsky fought to ensure that all schools received adequate funding from the State.

Last year, Volinsky won another case against the state over school funding. The state ruled that the ‘Cap On Adequacy Grants To Public Schools was unconstitutional and awarded Seacoast area schools nearly $12 million dollars as a result of the state’s failure to provide mandated funding. 

We applaud, Councilor Andru Volinsky for doing exactly what the people elected him to do and ensuring that the unfit and unqualified Frank Edelblut does not become Commissioner of Education.

Trump Nominates Fast Food CEO As Sec of Labor And House Labor Committe Chair Implies Unions Are Obsolete

Image by Chris Potter ccpixs.com

Image by Chris Potter ccpixs.com

As if this incoming train-wreck we call President-Elect Trump is not bad enough two more horrible things happened last night.

First, Trump is considering the head of a fast food chain as his new Secretary of Labor.

Second, Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC), the newly elected chair of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce said we don’t need unions anymore.

The Hill is reporting that President-Elect Trump is considering Andrew Puzder as Secretary of Labor.

Puzder is a CEO of CKE Restaurants (Carls Jr / Hardees) and is an outspoken opponent of President Obama’s changes to the overtime rule, “claiming it will force employers to offset costs by making cuts elsewhere.”

“In an op-ed that ran in Forbes in May, Puzder said the rule adds to the ‘extensive regulatory maze the Obama Administration has imposed on employers.’”

As the head of a multi-national fast food chain with over 20,000 employees Puzder has also used his position to advocate against raising the minimum wage. He has threatened to fire workers and replace them with automated kiosks if the government increases the minimum wage. A threat that many fast food corporations have been using to counter the Fight for $15 movement.

Puzder will say anything to protect CKE’s profits that rose by 30% last year and his $4.4 million dollar compensation package.

According to PayScale.com the average fast food worker makes between $7.24 and $9.92 per hour. This means that Andrew Puzder makes more in one day ($17.250) that the average Carls Jr. worker make in a year.

Coincidentally, 52% of full-time workers who make between $7.42 and $9.91 must rely on some type of government assistance to survive. People like Savino, who works 72 hours a week, at a Brooklyn grocery store and still doesn’t make enough to get by.

“Sometimes things are so bad that I have to decide—should I pay rent this month, or should I eat?” said Savino.

“When employers pay wages so low that working people have to turn to public assistance to make ends meet, they’re effectively receiving a subsidy from taxpayers,” said EPI economic analyst David Cooper. “Policies that raise wages would free up resources that could then be used to strengthen anti-poverty programs or make investments in any number of other policy priorities. The simplest way we can do this is by raising the federal minimum wage.”

Within the next few months we could have a new Secretary of Labor who opposes raising the minimum wage and we could have a Labor Committee chair that says unions are obsolete.

Representative Virginia Foxx told Reuters “Organized labor has ‘sort of lost its reason for being’ and one of her committee’s top priorities will be to roll back a slew of Obama administration labor initiatives.”

“At the top of her agenda is the U.S. Labor Department rule that would extend mandatory overtime pay to more than 4 million workers” wrote Robert Iafolla for Reuters.

What a strange coincidence, that is exactly what the potential Sec. of Labor wants to do as well.

Foxx is also targeting the NLRB decision on “joint employment.” This is the rule that “could make it easier for unions and regulators to hold companies accountable for the employment practices of staffing agencies, contractors and franchisees with which they partner. That issue has been most prominently in play in a case involving McDonald’s Corp over whether it, as well as its franchisees, can be held liable in complaints about the violation of employee rights,” Iafolla explained.

The change to the “joint employment” rule is to stem the growing trend of hiring workers as “independent contractors” to avoid having to pay any benefits or be held responsible for any labor or safety violations. This would also hold corporations accountable for the actions of their franchisees.

Together, Puzder and Foxx will put a massive target on the backs of working people. They want to undo all of the progress we have made in the fights to raise the minimum wage and expand workers rights.

Now, more than ever, we need to come together to push back against this anti-worker agenda. We must fight back against the oligarchs that President-Elect Trump is filling his Cabinet with. We cannot sit idly by while the super-wealthy reap all the rewards from our hard work. We need to keep organizing and redouble our efforts in the Fight for $15.

We are all in this together.

We still are the 99% and we must make our voices heard.

Union Leaders Cautiously Optimistic About Sale of FairPoint to Illinois-Based Consolidated Communications

 Fairness at Fairpoint Banner

Portland, ME—Leaders of unions representing telecom workers in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont responded to the announcement by Consolidated Communications Holdings Inc. that it plans to purchase FairPoint Communications in 2017. The sale is subject to approval by both companies’ shareholders and state regulators. 

“It’s clear that the ill-advised sale of Verizon to FairPoint in 2008 has had a profound negative impact on workers and consumers in Northern New England. Just last month, FairPoint announced another major layoff of nearly 10% of its workforce even as regulators continue to investigate their service quality failures,” said Peter McLaughlin, Business Manager of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 2327 in Maine. “Therefore, we view this potential sale with cautious optimism. We are hopeful that Consolidated will work with us to create and maintain good jobs in our communities and really improve the quality of service that our customers deserve.”

The unions confirmed that the recent layoff announced by FairPoint would go forward as planned.

According to Don Trementozzi, President of Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 1400, “Our members and our customers have been through the ringer with FairPoint over the last eight years, and our primary concern is that this transaction result in a more stable company that puts a priority on strengthening communities, not enriching Wall Street hedge fund owners.”

Union leaders said that they are looking closely at Consolidated’s finances, technical capacity, and history of labor relations as well as at the regulatory requirements for the sale. In 2007, the unions partnered with community groups to “Stop the Sale” of Verizon to FairPoint. They predicted the sale would be devastating for workers and consumers, but the sale went ahead and FairPoint declared bankruptcy in 2009. The company’s effort to slash labor costs by cutting pay and benefits and hiring unlimited contractors led to an historic four-month strike in the winter of 2014-15.

“As we were back in 2007 during the Verizon transaction, we will be deeply involved in the process to ensure a fair deal for FairPoint workers no matter the outcome of this transaction,” said Steve Soule, Business Manager of IBEW Local 2320 in New Hampshire. “While we certainly welcome FairPoint’s departure from Northern New England, we’ll be vigilant in examining any potential new owner and fighting for fairness for our members and our communities.”

Leaders emphasized their willingness to cooperate with Consolidated should the transaction succeed with shareholders and regulators. “As long as Consolidated is ready to engage with our members and our customers with respect and fairness, we welcome this opportunity to help re-build the company and make it the success it has been in the past,” said Mike Spillane, Business Manager of IBEW Local 2326 in Vermont.


The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers System Council T9 includes local unions in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont and represents more than 1,400 employees at FairPoint Communications. The Communications Workers of America Local 1400 represents 150 FairPoint employees in the three states.


Local Massachusetts Union Shirt Manufacturer Featured In New Clinton Campaign Ad

New England Shirt Company ShirtIn New Ad, U.S. Shirtmaker Criticizes
Trump for Outsourcing Jobs, Making Products Overseas

Small Business Owner: ‘Trump Says He’ll Make America Great Again
While He’s Taking the Shirts Right Off Our Backs’

new Hillary for America television ad set to air this week features a Massachusetts shirt manufacturer who employs more than 60 people criticizing Donald Trump for outsourcing jobs to make his products, including shirts, abroad. In the ad, Robert Kidder, the owner of New England Shirt Company in Fall River, says, “This factory has been here since 1883. We have over 60 people here making shirts labeled ‘Made in America,’ but Donald Trump’s brand of shirts come from China, his suits from Mexico, his coats from India.”

Going back to the colonial era, Fall River, Mass., has been central to America’s textile industry, and the New England Shirt Company remains the oldest operating ready-to-wear shirt manufacturer in America. Not only has New England Shirt Company been making shirts in Fall River for over 130 years, but they are also proudly union. Workers are represented by The New England Joint Board, a region group of UNITE HERE locals and “is one of the largest unions in the region representing manufacturing workers.”

Textile manufacturing unions in New England were some of the first and strongest unions in the country in the late 1800 and early 1900s.  Women and children slaved in the mills from Manchester, New Hampshire, through Lawrence, Massachusetts, through Lowell, Massachusetts, and all the way down to New York City.

Unions like the The International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union (ILGWU) and the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (ACWA) fought for workplace safety, shorter workdays, and for two full days of rest a week.  Workers banded together and pushed the Massachusetts legislature to pass strong labor like and to be the first to pass child labor laws that prevented children from working in the mills.  Laws that were later passed nationally as part of the National Labor Relations Act.

In 1976,  The International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union and the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America merged to form UNITE who in 1996 merged with HERE, the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union, becoming UNITE HERE.

The ad, ‘Shirts,’ joins a previously released ad, “Some Place,” in spotlighting Trump’s long history of making Trump-branded products outside of America as part of a concerted effort over the past month to contrast Trump’s hypocritical business record with Hillary Clinton’s agenda to make the economy work for everyone, not just those at the top. The new ad follows Clinton’s announcement Tuesday of new plans to jumpstart small business startups and strengthen small business growthKidder, the small business owner, closes the new ad, “Donald Trump says he’ll ‘make America great again’ while he’s taking the shirts right off our backs.”

Watch ‘Shirts’

The 30-second ad is a part of and ad buy in Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania. 

Clinton has pledged make the largest investment in job creation since World War II in her first 100 days in office and has proposed a comprehensive “Make It In America” strategy to boost U.S. manufacturing and crack down on corporations that ship jobs overseas.

BCTGM Union Endorses Hillary Clinton, Cite Solid Record Of Supporting Working Families

Kensington, Md. — The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) has announced that it is endorsing Hillary Clinton for President of the United States.

The following statement was released by BCTGM International President David B. Durkee in declaring the union’s endorsement:

BCTGM CrestDuring her career, Hillary Clinton has had a solid record of support on those issues most important to working families and union members, including workers’ rights and  organizing, workplace health and safety, health care, progressive tax policy and retirement security.

 Further, we are confident that Secretary Clinton will continue to seek the input and counsel of the AFL-CIO and its affiliates in developing her policy positions and priorities for our country.

 The BCTGM also believes that Secretary Clinton’s enormous experience in foreign affairs will strengthen our nation and enhance the security of our citizens.

 While Donald Trump talks a good game on maintaining American jobs, his companies have a notorious history of outsourcing work to low-wage countries such as Mexico and China.

 Beyond his advocacy of policies that are against the interests of working people and organized labor, Donald Trump’s vile bigotry towards Latinos and other ethnic groups is deplorable and antithetical to the principles and values upon which this Union was built and to which we will always adhere.

Today, following the endorsement of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM), Hillary Clinton issued the following statement:

“Members of the BCTGM don’t just help feed America—they helped build the greatest middle class in history.

“Members of the BCTGM know, as I do, that we are stronger together, when we are investing in our people and in the future. That’s why I have a comprehensive manufacturing agenda to create good-paying jobs and spur new industries—because we can and we will “make it in America.” I was honored to meet with BCTGM members in Chicago earlier this year who had been trying to work with Nabisco to keep good-paying jobs in America. For years, Nabisco had received tax breaks and investments from the people of Chicago and the people of Illinois to expand production—only to turn their backs on their workers and on the community by announcing plans to shut down the long-standing factory and move production to Mexico. That’s wrong. And that’s why I have called for creating a “clawback”—if a company turns its back on America, they should have to pay back every penny of the tax breaks they have received, and we’ll use that money to reinvest in affected workers and communities.

“I am honored to have earned the endorsement of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union.

Bipartisan Senate Energy Bill Will Strengthen Economy and Unlock Good Jobs and Clean Energy

 Washington, D.C.  – Terry O’Sullivan, General President of LIUNA – the Laborers’ International Union of North America – made the following statement today on Senate passage of S. 2012, The Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2012 crafted by Senators Shaheen (D-New Hampshire), Portman (R-Ohio), Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Cantwell (D-Washington):

“On behalf of the 500,000 members of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, I commend the Senate on their bipartisan vote (85-12) in favor for much needed energy legislation that will strengthen our economy and unlock good jobs and clean energy.

The bill streamlines the process for construction of pipelines on federal land and the natural gas export permit application process, which will help position the United States to lead globally as a clean energy super power, bring affordable energy to U.S. consumers, and create good jobs. It will also increase investment in renewable energies such as wind, solar, and hydropower and amend the Federal Power Act to encourage hydropower development by extending the total period for preliminary permits.

The bill has important provisions to incentivize energy efficiency for new state and commercial building construction; including a requirement that the Department of Energy work closely with manufacturers to invest in the research, development and commercialization of updated energy efficient technologies.

Senate Bill 2012 also addresses critical gaps in America’s nuclear energy research and production. LIUNA strongly believes that nuclear energy is not only integral to a clean energy economy, but it provides good jobs for workers across the country.

LIUNA urges the Senate and House to work together so that this bill can be conferenced and presented to the President and become law.” 

Union Busting: Legal Team Creates Unions To Raid Memberships, Benefiting Employers

A union busting legal firm, Seham Seham Meltz & Petersen, is working to undercut workers through divisive tactics and raiding the membership of United Association of Flight Attendants members.

union-busterUnion busting is nothing new. For over a hundred years employers have fought against unionizing efforts and worked to break unions after they win an election.

They use fear and intimidation to push people against forming a union. After a union is elected they hold up negotiations, even sending out false information to workers, in an effort to splinter union support.

Like I said, this is nothing new. We have seen these tactics in action for decades. Now we are seeing a new type of union busting, where the employer encourages workers to form a new union to replace the current union. Yes, you read that right, the employer works with a “union” to raid the membership of an existing union to gain enough support to have the existing union de-certified, thereby loosing all of the gains made from previous contracts.

This tactic is very sneaky and very hard to pull off, but it has worked in the past for one specific law firm, Seham Seham Meltz & Petersen (SSM&P). The conditions have to be just right to make this work. There must be a certain level of discontent within the exiting union and this usually happens as contract negotiations fail.   The “company union” then organizes the discontent workers into forming a new union to replace the exiting union.

A Long History of Pro-Company Union Organizing

Over the last forty years members of the law firm of SSM&P have been forming these new unions, mostly during times of chaos like massive mergers or labor strife.

EL AL Israel Airlines - Boeing 767-3Y0(ER) - Tel Aviv Ben Gurion - 4X-EAP

EL AL Israel Airlines – Boeing 767-3Y0(ER) – Tel Aviv Ben Gurion – 4X-EAP

In 1983, Martin Seham, working for El Al Airlines, attempted to break the International Association of Machinists union that was in long and bitter contract negotiation that ultimately resulted in a 28-month strike.

“During the strike, some of the clerical workers decertified IAM in favor of an independent union. Management imposed severely concessionary terms and recruited scabs as replacement workers,” wrote Captain DD, who has done extensive research on SSM&P when his union, the Airline Pilots Association, came under attack from a new SSM&P union. “Labor law firms advising management typically play very significant roles in developing these anti-union strategies. It is an undeniable fact that it occurred on SSM&P’s watch, and it occurred after that firm played a leading role in helping management to divide the rank-and-file and then crush its workers and the lAM at EI AI.”

In the early 1990s, Seham worked for Varig Airlines, a Brazilian air carrier, to once again undercut the Machinists union.

“This negotiation resulted in another strike. During these negotiations, management-with Seham as its advisor- insisted on removing all restrictions on its right to subcontract work and to remove the union security clause,” explained Captain DD. “The IAM understood that the notice was specifically designed to intimidate and coerce union members to resign their membership with the organization.”

In the decades that followed, SSM&P has been connected with new start up unions at Northwest Airlines, United Airlines, US Air, Delta, and other carriers that were already represented by unions.

SSM&P say they are fighting for workers and trying to form a new union. What they are really doing is pitting worker against worker to completely break the existing union, leaving all of the workers without any protections and without a voice.

The Northwest Suicide Strike

Seham Seham Meltz & Petersen are most well known for forming the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Organization (AMFA), who some have called the worst union in the country, specifically for their raids on other unions and complete lack of leadership.

While AMFA was attempting to organize mechanics at Northwest Airlines, who were already represented by the International Association of Machinists, “Northwest assisted AMFA by allowing [AMFA] access to company property and equipment and that AMFA supporters were allowed to campaign while on company time.”

Northwest most likely assisted AMFA because they knew that a new union would be easier to negotiate with than the IAM and would eliminate all of the previously negotiated agreements.

The AMFA did ultimately win the right to represent the 10,000 mechanics at Northwest Airlines and in turn de-certified the IAM.

Striking union mechanics Don Diedrich, left, and Bert Atienza are on picket duty outside the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport, just after the vote result was announced. Both voted "no." (MPR Photo/Jeff Horwich)

Striking union mechanics Don Diedrich, left, and Bert Atienza are on picket duty outside the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport, just after the vote result was announced. Both voted “no.” (MPR Photo/Jeff Horwich)

In AMFA’s negotiations with Northwest, AMFA gave Northwest the ability to sub-contract work outside of the union. This resulted in nearly 8,000 good jobs being lost to outside contractors over the years that followed.

After 9/11, Northwest’s losses were piling up and they went to AMFA demanding concessions. AMFA refused to accept the concessions without holding a vote from the membership on Northwest’s “last best offer”. Then AMFA’s leadership took members out on strike, without holding a strike authorization vote, in what became known as the “suicide strike”.

Thousand of workers walked out in the strike. AMFA worked out a deal with Northwest for a “No Retribution, Retaliation or Harassment Due to Participation or Non-Participation in the Strike or Permanent Replacement Status.” In laymen’s terms, this let the scabs that crossed the strike line, keep their jobs and the rest of the unionized workers were laid off.

What union would ever agree to let scab workers keep their jobs while union members are being tossed aside? Any real, pro-worker union, not a company front group, would never have accepted these terms to allow scab workers to keep union member jobs.

Thanks to AMFA’s leadership the 10,000 mechanics at Northwest, were replaced by 500 scab workers.

After Northwest and Delta merged, “AMFA extinguished their certification with no fight at all.” This appears that they were never really in it for the workers.

Seham Seham Meltz & Petersen Strike Again With Another “New Union”

SSM&P are the legal team behind the United Flight Attendants Association, a new union trying to win representation rights from the Association of Flight Attendants (CWA-AFA), who currently represent United Airlines Flight Attendants.

AFA is currently deep in negotiations with United as their current contract is expiring and possible strikes are on the horizon. This situation is nearly identical to all of the other “new unions” formed by SSM&P to fracture the membership.

The newly formed UFAA is trying to get current AFA members to give up their membership and join with UFAA. If they gain enough support AFA would be ousted leaving SSM&P to negotiate on behalf of the workers. What could go wrong with that?

Sito Pantoja, General Vice President of the International Association of Machinists addressed this attempt to raid AFA’s membership without calling out UFAA by name. In an email to AFA members Pantoja clearly stated that IAM stands with CWA-AFA against this fake union.

International_Association_Of_Machinists_and_Aerospace_Workers_logo1“That is why I was extremely dismayed to hear that a few misguided individuals are trying to fracture your union. If they succeed, it will dismantle our successful partnership and all Flight Attendants will lose.”

“Your solidarity and bargaining strength is being undermined by an attempt to lure you away from AFA with promises from a union that does not even exist. This upstart has no finances, no structure, no resources and no experience. A website and a constitution written by a union-busting lawyer does not make a union.”

“The IAM has faced similar challenges from the same people directing this group, and each time airline workers lost…”

“…These divisive efforts surface only during contract negotiations, which cripples the Union bargaining committee and only benefits the company. When unionized workers sign an election authorization card to change unions they play right into the company’s divide and conquer strategy, making it much harder for your negotiators to attain the contract you have earned.”

“The Machinists Union strongly supports the AFA and looks forward to continuing and strengthening our partnership. I urge you to do the same and soundly reject any request to sign a card for this splinter group. Each card that is signed weakens your solidarity and position at the bargaining table.”

Do not be fooled by these union busting lawyers who are looking to steal your voice. They want you to sign a union authorization card, a legally binding document, to de-certify the AFA.

I do not have any proof that SSM&P are working for, or in collusion with, United Airlines but the parallels of their previous union busting actions are uncanny.

United flight attendants should beware that these union busting lawyers are behind this coup and their goal is to destroy the strength you have gained through years of negotiations, contracts and solidarity.

NH Senate Failure to Pass SB 507 and Strengthen Integrity, Innovation for Voting in New Hampshire

Legislation sought to bring New Hampshire voting, democracy into the 21st century

CONCORD, NH – The New Hampshire Senate voted today against SB 507-FN, authorizing online voter registration, by a vote of 13-11. Statements from voting rights advocates:

“New Hampshire is missing out on an opportunity to bring elections into the 21st century and expand access to voter registration. Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia have, with bipartisan support, implemented this approach to election modernization, and have seen savings in time, money and other resources,” said Brittnie Baker, Staff Counsel at Fair Elections Legal Network. “We need to continue to fight for common sense elections reforms that would help New Hampshire residents participate in elections.”

“New Hampshire’s voter registration system should be modernized and brought online to give every eligible voter an opportunity to participate in our democracy. Citizens can file taxes, apply for jobs, receive financial aid and register vehicles online,” said Paula Hodges, State Director of America Votes-NH. “Allowing for voter registration online ensures our democracy is keeping up with the technological world we live in.”

“Enabling fellow Granite Staters to securely exercise their right to vote should not be a partisan matter,” stated Devon Chaffee, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire. “Online voter registration has been adopted in blue and red states throughout the country, precisely because it lessens the burden on local election officials and improves the integrity of the election system as a whole.”

“As the “First in the Nation” Primary state with one of the highest voter participation rates in the country, we believe New Hampshire can become a model for the nation in administering inclusive, transparent, and high integrity elections,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress & Education Fund. “Updating our voting systems to ensure that all voters have equal access, regardless of income, race, gender, disability, or age strengthens our democracy.”

SB 507-FN had previously passed the Senate on a voice vote, but was re-referred to the Finance committee. Voting rights advocates questioned the steep fiscal note that was attached to the bill, which was more than it cost the State of California to overhaul its entire voting system.

“The League of Women Voters NH is very disappointed with the Senate’s decision to kill the opportunity for New Hampshire to move to online voter registration. This was a good piece of legislation that was undermined by a fiscal note that was not credible. It’s not possible for online voter registration in New Hampshire to cost more than it costs for the entire state of California when most states have found the costs to be modest or nonexistent,” said Liz Tentarelli, President of LWVNH. “More than 30 states now have online voter registration, and election officials across the country have praised the benefits of a modernized voting system. Online voter registration increases voter roll accuracy and security, it reduces workload and costs for municipalities, and it encourages citizens to register and vote.”


The New Hampshire Campaign for Voting Rights is a three pronged plan to strengthen integrity and build transparency into the voting process and improve access to the ballot box. The coalition includes America Votes-New Hampshire, Open Democracy, New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union, League of Women Voters-New Hampshire, NextGen New Hampshire, New Hampshire Citizens Alliance, People for the American Way, Granite State Progress & Education Fund, and Fair Elections Legal Network.

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