Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Center workers fight for higher pay

After contract negotiations to renew a 2016 contract broke down, court administrators for the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court and Detention Facility ended negotiations in December and kicked out the Laborers International Union of North America (LiUNA) Local 860, who represented 135 workers. Recently, Cuyahoga County officials agreed to a pay raise for juvenile court workers from $18 to $24 per hour due to a staffing crisis that led to juveniles being locked down for long periods of time.

LiUNA Local 860 Field Representative Colin Sikon joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss struggles at the detention center, and how Local 860 continues to advocate for higher worker pay despite being locked out of contract negotiations by the court. Continue reading

Zantac users diagnosed with cancer may be entitled to compensation

Zantac was pulled from store shelves two years ago because its use was linked to various forms of cancer due to the medication containing a product used in the manufacturing of jet fuel.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has labeled N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) as a probable carcinogen. Furthermore, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found the heartburn medication’s use of NDMA could lead to cancer in humans, if taken in a high doses. Sanofi, the manufacturer of the brand-name version of Zantac, recalled its product in 2019. Since then, the company reformulated its recipe, as new versions of the drug sold on shelves today do not contain the cancer-causing chemical.

Brian Kelley, an Associate with Kelley & Ferraro, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss the lawsuits filed against Sanofi by people who used Zantac and developed cancer, as well as other lawsuits by relatives of people who passed away after using Zantac and developing cancer. Continue reading

Sprinkler fitter apprenticeships pave the way to good paying careers that save lives

In the last year, North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) affiliates combined to invest roughly $2 billion in training and education. The United Association (UA) invests about $300 million every year to train their apprentices and journeymen.

Tim Coleman, UA Local 669 JATC Recruitment and Outreach Specialist, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss outreach efforts of the JATC, particularly when it comes to sprinkler fitter apprenticeship programs. Continue reading

Performers survived the pandemic and a decimated industry thanks to union help

No other demographic in America was affected by the pandemic quite like the live performance industry.

Within a week after March 12, 2020, the entire industry shutdown. Musicians, performers and stagehands suddenly found themselves with no income and their health insurance threatened, with no sign of when the world would re-open.

Adam Krauthamer, President of the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) Local 802, joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss the challenges performers faced during the pandemic and how the AFM fought to secure pay, healthcare and pension benefits for its members. Continue reading

America is stronger with unions

James Hart, President of the Metal Trades Department of the AFL-CIO, joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss the importance of unions in the fight to advance the middle class, why workplace safety protects workers while simultaneously making companies more profitable and the importance of the Rich Trumka PRO Act. Continue reading

Vaccine mandates create a safe space for artists and audiences

Len DiCosimo, President of the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) Local 4, joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss mask requirements and vaccine mandates, particularly at concerts and theater performances.

He also discussed how the American Rescue Plan helped artists, musicians and venues recover from the financial devastation of the pandemic — and why the arts need to stick together through these trying times. Continue reading

Ohio teachers’ union calls on governor to institute school mask mandate

The Ohio Federation of Teachers is calling on Ohio Governor Mike DeWine to institute a mask mandate for all Ohio public schools, arguing it would reduce the spread of COVID-19 and allow more schools to remain open for face-to-face instruction.

Melissa Cropper, President of the Ohio Federation of Teachers, joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss why mask mandates in Ohio schools are necessary to protect the health of children and teachers in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

She also discussed an upcoming union election at the Worthington Public Libraries, as well as redistricting efforts in Ohio that many argue continue to be heavily gerrymandered. Continue reading

Will vaccine mandates become a reality on union construction sites?

Tom Germuska Jr., Editor of The Labor Citizen, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss the possibility of vaccine mandates and why they may eventually become inevitable.

He also discussed a $435 million deal between the Cleveland Indians, the city of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County and the state of Ohio to renovate Progressive Field and extend the team’s lease in Cleveland for at least 15 years.

Lastly, he discussed a study that showed partnerships between the pharmaceutical industry and craft unions yielded $23.6 billion in major construction projects over six years. Continue reading

Kelley & Ferraro lawyer discusses Zantac and Philips CPAP recalls

Joyce Reichard, an Associate at Kelley & Ferraro, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss the Zantac and Philips CPAP recalls, both of which have spurred numerous lawsuits because of their potentially cancer causing effects. Continue reading

Refinery to hire non-union workers for turnaround

For generations, the Lima Refinery routinely relied on Local Union workers for its annual maintenance turnaround — repairing and replacing worn out parts, pumps and equipment to ensure the plant continues production and avoids costly shutdowns.

In operation for over 135 years, the Ohio plant was acquired by Canadian-based Cenovus Energy in January. The new owners told building trades leaders they planned to bring in 3,000 out-of-town non-union workers to do the turnaround — an unprecedented move considering multiple generations of union families in Lima have consistently performed the turnaround work. Continue reading