Apprenticeship fair happening in Cleveland, Ohio

The construction trades are dealing with the reality of needing to encourage young people to seek a career in the field. As schools and parents pushed students toward college, the construction industry became neglected, surviving off the labor of older generations.

Plumbers Local 55 (Cleveland) President Doreen Cannon joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss a building trades focused job fair occurring on Oct. 13.

She also discussed the effort to recruit more women and minorities into the building trades workforce. Continue reading

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

Bank employees secure rare union contract

Last month, workers at Beneficial State Bank ratified their first union contract, an agreement with the Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 7901 and Local 9412. The contract covers 96 workers at 13 bank branches in Oregon, California and Washington, including bankers, consumer loan servicing representatives, loan processors, underwriters, file clerks and custodial staff.

CWA District 4 Administrative Director Frank Mathews joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss what he thinks this contract means for the banking industry and why he thinks it could have a domino effect across the country. Continue reading

Union recruitment struggles in So-Called “Right to Work” state of Iowa

Russ Jaeger, Business Manager for the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation (SMART) Workers Local 263, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss his union’s struggles in the So-Called “Right to Work” state of Iowa, where there is a Republican controlled legislature and governor.

He also spoke about how the COVID-19 pandemic is causing people to rethink ventilation systems and countertop materials.

Lastly, he discussed the SMART registered apprenticeship program and efforts to educate guidance counselors and parents about the benefits of a registered apprenticeship program as a pathway to a solid middle class job. Continue reading

Hollywood production staff authorize strike

Production staff affiliated with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) voted Monday with a 98 percent consensus to authorize a strike over contract disputes with studio producers. The Union is advocating for better schedules, pay and work conditions.

If IATSE does go on strike, it would completely shut down studio productions for the first time since 1945.

Carl Mulert, National Business Agent of IATSE United Scenic Artists Local 829, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss the strike and why artists and production hands are overwhelmingly stressed by Hollywood’s efforts to boost content efforts in the wake of COVID-19. 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

Apprenticeship programs actively recruiting to meet construction demand

David Rutledge, Assistant Business Manager for the Southeast Laborers District Council, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss how the construction market is heating up and what apprenticeship programs are doing to attract talent to meet the increased demand.

He also talked about the negotiation process for workers at Vanderbilt University and how the Laborers International Union of North America (LiUNA) is fighting for an increased living wage for its members. Continue reading

Union journeymen earn similar wages and benefits as college grads

A recent study by the Illinois Economic Policy Institute based on data from the U.S. Department of Labor found that those who complete union apprenticeship programs in the construction industry achieve nearly equal wages and benefits, on average, as other workers with four-year college degrees.

Tommy Maloney, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 96 Business Manager, joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss how a union apprenticeship can be a ticket to the middle class.

He also discussed two solar farms being built in Massachusetts and what the federal infrastructure bill means for jobs in the electrical industry. Continue reading

Comcast workers secure contract after a decade-long struggle

After more than a decade of fighting to secure a negotiated union contract, Comcast technicians in Fairhaven, Mass. signed an agreement in February between the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 2322 and the cable conglomerate. 

Eric Hetrick, Business Manager of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 2322, joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss the Union’s protracted fight to secure rights, decent wages and benefits for Comcast workers.

He also discussed the company’s anti-union efforts and how the PRO Act would secure regulations to help unions in similar struggles. Continue reading

Truckers work long hours for low pay, due to lack of unionization

For the majority of truckers on the road, the time spent waiting in port or for goods to be offloaded is unpaid. This practice robs truckers of a considerable portion of their wages.

Billy Randel, Chief Organizer for the Truckers Movement for Justice, joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss why truckers need to unionize to secure better wages and how the Truckers Movement for Justice advocates for truckers rights and higher pay. Continue reading