Round One Goes to Working People in Ohio Township RTW Fight

Union members across southwest Ohio flooded the city hall in West Chester Township Tuesday evening to protest a proposal to institute a so-called “right-to-work” (for less) designation for the township. Fighting Machinists stood shoulder-to-shoulder with other local unions in victory as the trustees withdrew the proposal citing the legality of the issue.

Two of the trustees had proclaimed the anti-worker law a priority for the township in 2017 and worked with legal counsel to draft a resolution. Citing a recent federal appeals court opinion that opened RTWFL status to cities and limited home rule townships, the trustees introduced the resolution two weeks ago in a meeting that also saw union members and residents attending in force to speak out against the issue.

Tuesday’s meeting swelled drastically from the previous meeting, with a capacity crowd making the chamber standing room only, forcing the overflow crowd into every available space in the hall. Chairs were added to the lobby, side rooms, and many still were left outside the doors on the sidewalks.

Within the opening minutes, trustees proposed and approved removal of the resolution, citing a pending ruling on a motion to reconsider the previous ruling from the federal court of appeals.

“This isn’t about the freedom to choose, this is an attempt to cut wages, lower benefits and eviscerate worker protections,” said IAM Local 912 President Eric Kratzer. “Ironically today is the 65th Anniversary of Local 912 being chartered in 1952. It’s all the more fitting that our retirees mobilized by the dozens to stand against this attack on our brothers and sisters in this community.”

“IAM members and working union families aren’t going to idly standby while big special interest groups attack their well-being with bad ideas – schemes to rob them of wages, benefits, and a better way of life,” said Eastern Territory General Vice President Jimmy Conigliaro, Sr. “I’d like to thank all of the IAM members, retirees, Eastern Territory staff and the other unions who came out in support of working families, not just in Ohio, but all across the country. This is a very real threat, and sadly it isn’t likely to end here.”

Even with the withdrawal, residents, business owners, and property owners took time to address the board. Comments were respectful, yet pointed regarding the proposed rule change for their community. Several noted that the term of office for board president Mark Welch, a publicly staunch supporter of right-to-work, is up for reelection this year.

At least one Trustee, Lee Wong, has made his dissent from the board on the issue, not only public, but as a matter of record during the meeting, calling it a “state issue.”

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IAM, St. Louis Labor Joins District 9 Strike Rally at American Pulverizer

Nearly a hundred Machinists, labor union brothers and sisters, and community supporters converged upon St. Louis, directly in front of anti-union manufacturer American Pulverizer headquarters, to stand in solidarity with IAM Local 41 and 313 members on strike there.                    

IAM leadership – International President Bob Martinez, General Secretary-Treasurer Dora Cervantes, Midwest General Vice President Philip J. Gruber, and Headquarters General Vice President Rickey Wallace – stood proudly among the ranks.

“If American Pulverizer wants a fight on their hands… brothers and sisters, I think it’s safe to say they sure got one!” said Gruber. “When you have a company that has been stripping away benefits throughout the last two contracts – and now they’re coming back for more – at some point, brothers and sisters, you have to say enough is enough. IAM members have helped build this company since 1948 – that’s almost 70 years! It’s time they showed us some respect.”

“Every IAM member across the United States and Canada supports you!” said Martinez. “You work hard for them! Put out a tremendous product. Make them money – $30 million last year to be exact. I want to remind you, American Pulverizer, who’s putting food on the table for you. Who makes all this possible? It’s my brothers and sisters on this strike line!”

American Pulverizer forced the workers to go out on strike 12 weeks ago when negotiations failed over the company’s proposal to roll 87 percent of health care costs onto the members, offer minimal and inconsistent wage increases, take away premium pay for overtime, and not guarantee holidays off. The company also wants workers to use their vacation time for things like medical leave, FMLA, and time off due to workers’ compensation. In addition, American Pulverizer wants to strip away workers’ rights to take part in union activity and change the “management rights clause” to give the company the ability to arbitrarily change work rules as it sees fit.

These recent egregious proposed changes come after contract talks in previous years where the company stripped workers of their IAM health and welfare and IAM pension plans.

Contract talks, which reconvened in recent days, failed again this week.

IAM District 9 has filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board, (NLRB).

“They think they can join their right to work (for-less) buddies and go after us. They think it’s open season,” said Martinez in reference to the Missouri GOP’s proposed right to work law in which a final vote is expected today. “Well I have a message for American Pulverizer, owners Chris and Paul Griesedieck, and anyone else who wants to attack IAM members or working people – not on my watch! American Pulverizer: Stop surface bargaining. Negotiate a fair contract. We aren’t asking for much. We’re asking for what we’ve earned.”

Hundreds of St. Louis labor unions and folks from the community have shown their support throughout the strike, including members of Gas Workers Local 11-6 and Teamsters Local 688 who have been bringing by food and firewood. Local businesses like the Humane Society and Boyer Fire Protection have let the striking workers use their facilities for storage and personal matters.

U.S. Rep William Lacy Clay (D-MO) issued the following statement : “I stand in solidarity with the striking IAM workers at the American Pulverizer Company in their fight to restore dignity and fairness in their workplace. For 12 long weeks these valiant workers have steadfastly resisted the short-sighted and misguided attempts by a profitable company to impose drastic cuts in health care and other vital benefits. When labor and management work together we succeed as a nation. Now is the time for the company to sit down and bargain seriously in good faith with the workers and their union.”

See Rep. Clay’s full statement .

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TSA Issues Proposed Rule on Security Training for Railroads

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has submitted a proposed rule that would require Amtrak, commuter, and freight rail carriers to provide security training to their employees. The rule was part of the “Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007,” but it is just now being written.

As proposed, the TSA plans to divide training requirements from the 9/11 Act into four sections: prepare, observe, assess and respond (see ‘Training’ section). You will also find below a chart that outlines the types of employees that would be trained.

The TSA proposes that the rule would apply to:

  • Amtrak
  • Freight railroad carriers, OR railroads transporting Rail Security Sensitive Materials (RSSMs) through identified High Threat Urban areas, OR railroads that host other higher-risk rail operations.
    • NOTE: this would include Class II and Class III railroads that meet the second two criteria. A total of 36 (7 Class I, 8 Class II, and 21 Class III) freight railroads would therefore be included.
  • Public transportation and passenger railroads (PTPRs) operating in the eight regions with the highest transit-specific risk. This consists of 46 systems.

Overview:

The rule generally proposes that entities subject to the requirements:

  1. Develop security training programs to enhance and sustain the capability of their security-sensitive employees how to identify and respond to security matters.
  2. Submit the required security training program to TSA for approval.
  3. Implement the security training program and ensure all existing and new security-sensitive employees complete the required security training within certain timeframes.
  4. Maintain records demonstrating compliance and make the records available to TSA.
  5. Appoint security coordinators and alternates. These people will be accessible to TSA 24/7.
  6. Review and update security training programs as necessary to address changing security measures or conditions.

 

Highlights:

  • TSA has stated that is seeking to make its regulations regarding responsibility for compliance consistent. This section clarifies that owner/operators, employees, contractors, and other persons can be held liable for violating TSA’s regulations.
  • TSA will allow the use of existing security programs, such as those mandated by the FRA or FTA, to be utilized to fulfill the new training requirements.
  • Employees must be trained one year after the TSA’s approval of the safety program. Annual recurrent training may be mandated for safety-sensitive employees/positions. The proposed positions are listed in the image below (see A through H)

 

 

Training:

TSA proposes that a security-sensitive employee who does not receive training cannot perform security sensitive functions unless under the direct supervision of an employee with this training. TSA also proposes a 60-day limit on this arrangement, after which the employee must be trained. 

In meeting the statutory requirements for training, as outlined in the 9/11 Act, TSA divides these responsibilities into four categories that security training must address. 

  • The ‘‘prepare’’ category is intended to address training that may be specifically relevant to a particular job function. TSA intends for training provided under this category to satisfy 9/11 Act requirements for in-depth security training for ‘‘hazmat employees.’’
  • The ‘‘observe’’ category is intended to provide knowledge to increase a security-sensitive employee’s observational skills. This category would address behavior recognition requirements of the 9/11 Act.
  • The ‘‘assess’’ category requires providing knowledge of how to determine if what is observed requires a response and what those appropriate responses may be.
  • The ‘‘respond’’ category includes training on security incident responses—including how to appropriately report a security threat, interact with the public and first responders at the scene of threat or incident, applicable uses of self-defense devices or protective equipment, and communication with passengers.

 

If you would like to read the full notice on the Federal Register click HERE

 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the TCU Legislative Department at (301) 840-8704.

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