Wisconsin unions struggle with “Right to Work” and Prevailing Wage loss

During the leadership of former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Wisconsin became anti-union, with the enactment of so-called “Right to Work” laws and the elimination of Prevailing Wage. Though current Gov. Tony Evers is more union-friendly, the Wisconsin legislature maintains a historically anti-union majority

The existence of so-called “Right to Work” laws and the loss of Prevailing Wage created a hostile climate for Wisconsin unions as they struggled to fight for the rights of all workers, to maintain quality wages and to ensure workers have a safe and healthy work environment.

International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) District Council 7 Business Manager/Secretary Treasurer Jeff Mehrhoff joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss how the IUPAT approaches these challenges and why more must be done to improve the lives of workers. Continue reading

Stricter prevailing wage laws to prevent wage theft

Wage theft has become a major problem in the non-union construction industry. Many in the labor movement are insisting on strengthening prevailing wage laws to help working people.

Prevailing wage laws help prevent wage theft, but how effective are the laws? Cleveland Building and Construction Trades Council Executive Secretary Dave Wondolowski addressed the current state of the laws and what can be done to hold employers more accountable on America’s Work Force Union Podcast.

Wage theft negatively affects local economies

Prevailing wage laws were put in place to make sure that construction workers are paid a living wage, but they also help prevent wage theft.

Wondolowski said that even though there are laws in place, wage theft still runs rampant in the construction industry with non-union workers.

He said the Biden administration will be hiring an attorney to go after wage theft and issue stricter penalties to those caught doing it. Wondolowski noted that wage theft is destructive to communities by stripping them of money that would have flowed through their economy via tax revenue and spending.

With expectations that the Biden Administration appointed attorney will crack down on wage theft, there comes hope that the playing field for construction will be evened out. Right now it is already difficult for unions to compete against non-union contractors. Wondolowski expressed that he is hopeful that wage theft will be dealt with soon.

COVID rescue plan

Multiemployer pension plans have been a discussion point for years now. Finally, there is a multiemployer pension protection plan expected to be in the COVID-19 rescue package.

Wondolowski mentioned that lawmakers are ensuring there will be laws put in place in order to keep pension trustees accountable and keep the plans in good financial standing. After years of talking about a multiemployer pension plan, there is finally being action taken to protect them.

Wondolowski also discussed various projects happening in Cleveland and throughout northeast Ohio, including the Sherwin Williams Headquarters project in downtown Cleveland.



 

Central Ohio Building Trades Exec. Secretary-Treasurer on new wage theft legislation in the area

Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council Executive Secretary-Treasurer Dorsey Hager talked about the need for more young people in the trades, wage theft legislation in Ohio and more on the Oct. 2 episode of America’s Work Force Union Podcast. Continue reading

Promoting the Construction Trades on America’s Work Force Radio

On March 5, Bill Brown from Ben Hur Construction, St. Louis, Missouri, spoke about the benefits of going into the construction trades during his time on America’s Work Force.

Ben Hur ConstructionBrown, who was a former marine, discussed going into the construction trades after he transitioned from active-duty back into civilian life and how easy he had assimilated to the training. He talked about programs such as Helmets to Hardhats, that provide training in the trades while guaranteeing job placement or an earn while you learn apprenticeship with a federally approved apprenticeship program. Brown talked about all of the benefits of an apprenticeship, such as free training, earn while you learn, good starting wages and a path to the middle class rather than going to college or university and taking on student debt without being guaranteed a job. He then talked about the quality of training in union construction and how they spend hundreds of hours perfecting their craft to make sure the work that they will be providing is well above the competition’s quality of work.

AFL-CIOTim Burga, President of the Ohio AFL-CIO spoke with AWF on March 5 about Governor Dewine’s gas tax increase to help fix roads and other infrastructure. He also talked about the misguided priorities of legislators over the years, avoiding the problems with fixing roads, as well as giving tax breaks to corporations who could help fix the roads. Lastly, Burga discussed lawmakers trying to repeal prevailing wage, in a union busting fashion, in certain areas where they do not think it is necessary to have it.



America’s Work Force is the only daily labor-radio program in the US and has been on the air since 1993, supplying listeners with useful, relevant input into their daily lives through fact-finding features, in-depth interviews, informative news segments and practical consumer reports. America’s Work Force is committed to providing an accessible venue in which America’s workers and their families can hear discussion on important, relevant topics such as employment, healthcare, legislative action, labor-management relations, corporate practices, finances, local and national politics, consumer reports and labor issues.

AMERICA’S WORK FORCE RADIO IS BROUGHT TO YOU IN PART BY OUR SPONSORS LIUNA,COMMUNICATIONS WORKERS OF AMERICA, UNITED STEEL WORKERS, UNITED LABOR AGENCY, INTERNATIONAL UNION OF PAINTERS AND ALLIED TRADES, UNITED AUTO WORKERS, INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS, AFL-CIO, OHIO FEDERATION OF TEACHERS, CLEVELAND FEDERATION OF MUSICIANS, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES.

Communication Workers of America Administrative District 4 Director Discussed AT&T Jobs on America’s Work Force Radio

Frank Mathews, CWA District 4 Administrative Director, provided an update on AT&T Midwest jobs during his Dec. 11 appearance on America’s Work Force Radio.

Communication Workers of AmericaMathews said AT&T received a tax cut and he hoped they would create more jobs with the extra funds. Instead of creating jobs, AT&T ended up cutting thousands of jobs through offshoring and outsourcing. He then explained the importance of holding corporations accountable for their actions. Mathews spoke about current legislation in Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Dave Wondolowski Cleveland Building and Construction Trades CouncilDave Wondolowski from the Cleveland Building and Construction Trades Council joined America’s Work Force Radio and talked about how apprenticeship programs affiliated with the Cleveland Building and Construction Trades Council were praised for their high quality of training. He explained the affiliated apprenticeship programs are all self-funded. Wondolowski talked about the recent Cleveland Building Trades Apprenticeship Fair, which had a record turnout, as more than 300 people attended the fair to learn about the opportunities provided by the trades. He also spoke about the importance of enforcing Project Labor Agreements and Prevailing Wage.

Ed “Flash” Ferenc, host of AWF, discussed the recent lame duck legislation in Wisconsin, as well as the Trump administration’s new attack against collective bargaining agreements.


America’s Work Force is the only daily labor-radio program in the US and has been on the air since 1993, supplying listeners with useful, relevant input into their daily lives through fact-finding features, in-depth interviews, informative news segments and practical consumer reports. America’s Work Force is committed to providing an accessible venue in which America’s workers and their families can hear discussion on important, relevant topics such as employment, healthcare, legislative action, labor-management relations, corporate practices, finances, local and national politics, consumer reports and labor issues.

AMERICA’S WORK FORCE RADIO IS BROUGHT TO YOU IN PART BY OUR SPONSORS LIUNA,COMMUNICATIONS WORKERS OF AMERICA, UNITED STEEL WORKERS, UNITED LABOR AGENCY, INTERNATIONAL UNION OF PAINTERS AND ALLIED TRADES, UNITED AUTO WORKERS, INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS, AFL-CIO, OHIO FEDERATION OF TEACHERS, CLEVELAND FEDERATION OF MUSICIANS, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES.