Reacting to a spate of recent farmworker deaths, both houses of the
California legislature have approved a new "mediated election" process
for farmworker unions. AB 2386 will strengthen farmworkers abilities to form labor unions and address workplace conditions.
Six farmworkers have died this summer of
suspected heat illness and 15 have died since 2003 despite requirements
adopted in 2005 that employers provide minimum heat illness
safeguards. AB 2386, sponsored by Speaker Emeritus Nunez,
proposes a new process that allows farmworkers to quickly vote by mail
with two choices on the ballot to directly vote for the union on
the ballot or to vote for a more traditional union election later, with
the whole process overseen by a mediator jointly chosen by the union
and the employer.
It's well-known that deregulation of the trucking industry has led to
working conditions in the industry and
safety standards on the road. But new coalitions are focusing on the way
conditions in the trucking industry contribute to pollution that chokes
trucking hubs like our ports.
In honor of Labor Day, we thought we would highlight some of our past
Dispatches which outline steps states can take to protect workers'
rights and raise wage standards. With new Census data
showing that the median
income for working-age households is still $1,300 below 2001 when the last
recession hit bottom, the need for states to act to improve working conditions
is greater than ever.
week, the Oregon Senate voted to strengthen the
of state public employees to form unions, joining the Oregon House in
approving a bill,
2891, to simplify the organizing proces by having the state
government recognize a union for any set of workers where a majority of them
have signed cards to ask for a union.
The past thirty years have seen a marked decline in job quality for a substantial portion of the U.S. workforce: stagnant wages, shrinking health benefits and less job security.
While a number of factors explain this decline, there is little
question that the decline in the strength of labor unions in the US has
played a major role.
The National Labor Relations Board ruled this week that a range of
professionals, estimated at 8 million workers, are now deemed
"supervisors" and thus lose all protections under labor law. What this
means is that an estimated 8 million workers who say a positive thing
about unions can be fired at will by their bosses seeking to eliminate
unions. The AFL-CIO has more here on the legal details.
Despite a veto by the governor, the New York State legislature is poised to override and enact reforms to allow day care workers to form labor unions. The bill, A10060, sponsored by Assemblyman Adriano Espaillat (a Progressive States board member) and Senator Nick Spano,
would effect an estimated 52,000 day care workers in facilities
subsidized by state funds, given them standing to negotiate with the
state for wage increases, as well as benefits like health care,
workers' compensation, paid vacation or sick days.