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On Eve of Union Vote, Chattanooga VW Workers Describe Rampant Workplace Injuries

June 11, 2019 / Chris Brooks<?
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?>“I’m only 33 and I can’t see myself working here for another 10 years,” said Ashley Murray. “I would be disabled by then. We need a union because they are a multibillion-dollar company and they treat us like shit.”
Murray is a production employee at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, one of 18 hourly employees there I interviewed for this story. Comments like hers were almost universal.

On-the-job injuries are rampant in auto factories, where many dangerous tasks are still done by hand and in a hurry. It’s one of the main reasons why workers are organizing a union at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The vote begins June 12. Here plant worker Kim Onofrey describes what happened to her. –Eds.
I was working on the metal finish line that repairs defects on the bodies of the vehicles before they go to the paint shop.

IBEW member Rod demonstrates how to easily install wire and short runs with conduit.
Step 1 – Find a 3M wire nut that has a solid metal cap on the inside.
Step 2 – Using a knife, cut the end of the wire nut and peel away the plastic that’s around the metal bullet inside.
Step 3 – Screw the metal bullet onto the wires to push it into the pipe.
Step 4 – Feed the bullet into the connector and push it through the pipe. The sound it makes as it hits the other end lets you know it’s hit the box. Pull it out of the box and unscrew the metal bullet back and go back to the beginning to do the same thing over again.
This method is really efficient because you don’t have to keep a roll of tape with you. You can screw it onto the wire without bending or stripping it, or making some kind of a head. Plus, you can reuse it when you’re done.
For more helpful tips, visit IBEWHourPower.com.
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The post Job Tip: Wire Pulling appeared first on IBEW Hour Power.

Steward's Corner: Pennies for Evelyn

June 06, 2019 / Patrick Weisansal II<?
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?>An issue doesn’t need to violate contract language to spark a winning fight, as this story from my union demonstrates.
Just before Christmas last year, management told one of our members at Buffalo General Hospital that as of the first of the year, she would no longer receive a $1.50-an-hour pay bump as the department lead.
Evelyn is a file clerk in the imaging department, where patients go for X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs. She had been receiving this pay differential since the late 1990s in exchange for taking on extra duties as the lead.

You’re at a union meeting, brainstorming for a campaign, when a hand shoots up. “What we need is better messaging. Can we get a billboard? Maybe we could make a meme.”
We’ve all been there. Maybe you’ve said it yourself. It seems like common sense that if we can just find the right words and the correct medium, we’ll win over our fellow workers, or the community, or politicians.
I was frustrated daily by this logic when I was president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, leading the campaign against a ballot question that would allow for more charter schools.

Baltimore Teachers Unseat Incumbents, Who Demand a Do-Over

May 31, 2019 / Samantha Winslow<?
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?>What happens when new leaders run for office and beat an eight-term incumbent? In the Baltimore Teachers Union, it seems, the incumbent tries for a second bite at the apple.
A slate called “The Union We Deserve,” backed by two rank-and-file caucuses, ran for office this spring. Its platform was to open the union up to its own members and join with parents to fight for fully funded public schools.

As VW Election Nears, CEO Stokes Fears over Plant Closing from 1988

May 31, 2019 / Chris Brooks<?
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?>The new head of Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant led two all-plant captive-audience meetings on Tuesday, a day before the National Labor Relations Board announced it has scheduled a union election.
Labor Notes has obtained audio of the speeches by CEO Frank Fischer. Both times he insinuated that the United Auto Workers were to blame for the closure of Volkswagen’s plant in Westmoreland, Pennsylvania, in 1988.
All 1,709 hourly employees at the plant will be eligible to participate in the election June 12, 13, and 14.

Strike by Drivers Disrupts Uber Launch

May 31, 2019 / Joe DeManuelle-Hall<?
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?>Rideshare drivers around the world rallied and struck May 8, the day Uber went public. Joined by unions in London and in Melbourne, Australia, drivers from at least 12 U.S. cities participated in the first globally coordinated protest against rideshare companies Uber and Lyft.
During the strike, Lyft’s stock dropped to its lowest value since going public. Uber’s stock market launch (known as an initial public offering, or IPO) lost more value in its first day than any other in U.S. history.

Congratulations to the 2018 IBEW Instructor of the Year, Ben White. Ben is from IBEW Local 570 from Tucson, Arizona where he works as a fifth year instructor. He’s described as someone who’s motivating, dedicated, and disciplined. He always strives for excellence and pushes others to be better.
Ben was hired at the Tucson JATC in 2007 to be an instructor. Karen King, Tucson JATC Training Director, said Ben puts so much time into making sure what he teaches will be understandable. He puts in his own time to make sure he’s always prepared. Ben becomes contagious because he leads by example.
Steven De La Rosa, Apprentice, IBEW Local 570, said, “He definitely pushes us to succeed and he doesn’t just give you the answers. He wants you to work through the answers, and he’s always giving you that little nudge. You’ve got to think everything through with him.”
Ben’s wife said not only is Ben working full-time as an instructor, but he’s also going to school for his engineering degree. He has two beautiful children, and he makes them a priority in his life by camping together and going on bike rides. He’s a very supportive family man.
Chuck Grube, Business Manager...

Strike Empties the Shelves at Stop & Shop

May 28, 2019 / Griffin Buell<?
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?>Thirty-one thousand workers at New England grocery giant Stop & Shop struck for 11 days in April, beating back concessions with a display of power that took management by surprise.
Members of five Food and Commercial Workers locals in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut walked out April 11 over company proposals to hike health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs, kick 1,000 spouses off the company’s health plan, get rid of time-and-a-half on Sundays, and gut workers’ pensions.