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Some encouraging news regarding the teacher's strike in Mount Olive, Illinois.

The union is planning to return to the bargaining table tonight. Union officials will meet with school board officials at 7 PM. The two sides were not set to sit down until Monday.

Schools in the district have been closed since the strike started on Monday.

Published in Local News

   Fast food workers are expected to walk off the job in 50 cities Thursday, including at least two restaurants in St. Louis.   The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that an afternoon rally is also planned at the Old Courthouse downtown.  

   The workers are demanding a $15 per hour pay rate.  Striking workers have said that the federal minimum wage of $7.25 and Missouri's minimum wage of $7.35 per hour are too low.  

   Scott DeFife, spokesman for the National Restaurant Association is calling today's strikes "a bit of orchestrated theater."  DeFife says it's a move by unions to grow their memberships.

   Previous St. Louis-area walkouts took place in May and July.  

Published in Local News

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Prospects of a strike involving union workers at Patriot Coal Corp. are intensifying after a bankruptcy judge signed off on the company's push to abandon its labor agreement with the miners.

Bargaining between the United Mine Workers of America and St. Louis-based Patriot has taken a break, with the company empowered by the judge's May 29 ruling.

That decision allows Patriot to make deep cuts to benefits for thousands of retirees, while also altering its labor deal involving existing employees.

The union and the company say they are negotiating in good faith, though the union says what's on the table right now may be sent to the membership for consideration of whether a strike is in order.

Patriot counters that a walkout could force it to liquidate.

 

Published in Local News

   The ballots have been counted and after two days of voting, St. Louis public transportation workers are unanimous in their support for a job action.   

   Ninety percent of the voting membership of Transit Local 788 gave a thumbs up for a strike authorization. Local president Mike Breihan says the International office still needs to sanction the job action. 

  "The largest majority supported the strike," Breihan said.  "So what we do now is send the information up to the International. They make a decision on to sanction the strike or not. And then if that happens we will follow procedures and see what happens."  

   Breihan says the Union will wait to set a strike date until after a mediator issues his report in late June.

Published in Local News

   Transit workers in St. Louis appear poised to walk off the job as members of Local 788 of the Amalgamated Transit Workers Union continue a strike authorization vote Tuesday.  The union represents public transportation workers and any job action could effect Metrobus and Metrolink service.

   Nearly 600 of the 1,500 members cast ballots on Monday. Bus drivers, mechanics, Metrolink operators and clerical staff have all been working without a contract for two and a half years.

   Local 788 President Mike Breihan says he hopes it doesn't come down to a work stoppage.  "You know we really don't want to hurt the public," Breihan said.  "The people out here that ride the bus, they're like our family. And you know we don't want to hurt any of them, but we're going to have to do whatever we can do to protect our own."

   "This vote was just strictly to show that we are united and we're ready to move forward if we have to, to do whatever we need to do to get a contract," Breihan said. "You know we're not trying to rob the bank. All we're trying to do is make a decent living for our members and our families."       

   Breihan says no action will be taken until after a mediator, who is reviewing information submitted by both the Union and Metro, issues an opinion at the end of the month.

 

 

Published in Around Town

   Transit workers in St. Louis appear poised to walk off the job as members of Local 788 of the Amalgamated Transit Workers Union continue a strike authorization vote Tuesday.  The union represents public transportation workers and any job action could effect Metrobus and Metrolink service.

   Nearly 600 of the 1,500 members cast ballots on Monday. Bus drivers, mechanics, Metrolink operators and clerical staff have all been working without a contract for two and a half years.

   Local 788 President Mike Breihan says he hopes it doesn't come down to a work stoppage.  "You know we really don't want to hurt the public," Breihan said.  "The people out here that ride the bus, they're like our family. And you know we don't want to hurt any of them, but we're going to have to do whatever we can do to protect our own."

   "This vote was just strictly to show that we are united and we're ready to move forward if we have to, to do whatever we need to do to get a contract," Breihan said. "You know we're not trying to rob the bank. All we're trying to do is make a decent living for our members and our families."       

   Breihan says no action will be taken until after a mediator, who is reviewing information submitted by both the Union and Metro, issues an opinion at the end of the month.

 

 

Published in Local News

For a second day local fast food workers are expected to walk off their jobs at major national chains like Wendy’s, Hardee’s, and Domino’s.  They are pushing for higher wages, better working conditions and the right to form a union.

Late Wednesday morning, several Jimmy Johns' employees picketed outside the Soulard location and were joined by dozens of labor protesters. KTRS's Michael Golde was there as well...

"Workers at Jimmy Johns in Soulard say they want a livable wage of $15 dollars an hour. That includes Rasheen Aldridge who says pay isn't the only issue - management often humiliates the employees when they do something wrong.

Jimmy Johns is known for their slogan "subs so fast you'll freak." Aldridge says that when employees lag behind, they have to hold signs reading "I don't make sandwiches fast enough." Reporting from Soulard, Michael Golde, KTRS News"

Several hours later,  several employees walked off the job at a Florissant McDonalds.    Similar protests have taken place in New York and Chicago.

 
Published in Local News

Workers at the gourmet sandwich chain Jimmy John’s plan to picket today in south city over what they say is unfair treatment and poor pay. 

They plan to walk off their jobs at the Soulard location in the 16-hundred block of  South Broadway  later this morning. 

Workers say they will strike for a $15 per hour wage floor and to take a stand against unfair retaliation targeting workers who are sticking together to speak out for better jobs. 

Nationally, workers say during the past several months, managers required workers to publicly hold signs stating that they were incapable of making sandwiches fast enough or getting customers through the drive-thru quickly. 

Inspired by fast-food workers in New York City and Chicago who walked off their jobs last month.

Published in Local News

    The union representing about 800 building and food service workers who went on strike at the University of Illinois earlier this month says they've reached a tentative deal with the school.  Service Employees International Union spokesman Adam Rosen says employees will vote on the four-year offer today and tomorrow.  

     Details of the agreement aren't being released, but University spokesperson Robin Kaler says administrators are optimistic that it will be accepted.

 
Published in Local News

SEATTLE (AP) - Boeing Co.'s engineers have accepted a new four-year contract while technical workers rejected their offer and voted to authorize a future strike.

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The union representing both groups had recommended rejection of the contract because it would not provide pensions to new employees. They would have a 401(k) retirement plan instead.

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The union called that unacceptable, but the Chicago-based aerospace company said the change was important to its future.

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The vote tallied late Tuesday came as the company is trying to solve battery problems that have grounded its new 787s.

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The engineers and technical workers in the union work on plans for new planes and solve problems that arise on the factory floor. The two units bargain at the same time, but their contracts are separate and independent agreements, the union noted.

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While a strike by the technical workers is not imminent, the vote means the negotiating team can call one at any time, said Bill Dugovich, spokesman for the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace.

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The engineers' vote means those 15,500 employees have a new contract in place, Dugovich said. Union negotiators hope to resume contract talks soon on behalf of the 7,400 technical workers, he said.

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Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Ray Conner said in a statement that the company was pleased with the engineers' vote but "deeply disappointed" in the technical workers' rejection of what he called the company's "best and final" offer.

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"The realities of the market require us to make changes so we can invest in new products and keep winning in this competitive environment," Conner said in his statement.

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"That's why our proposal to move future hires to an enhanced 401(k)-style retirement plan is so important, as we have repeatedly emphasized over the course of these negotiations."

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Boeing spokesman Doug Alder said the company is legally obligated to have discussions with SPEEA, but he noted Conner's statement about the importance of the 401(k) transition for future hires.

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"That remains our position," Alder said.

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Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said he's concerned about the split vote and spoke to union and Boeing representatives, urging them to resume negotiations.

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"We cannot overstate the importance of the aerospace industry to the economy of Washington," Inslee said in a statement. "There are more than 131,000 employees in aerospace-related companies working across the state, the vast majority of which are directly reliant on the Boeing Company."

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Union members rejected one contract offer in October. The previous contract expired in November.

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SPEEA went on strike for 40 days in 2000.

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"With this second rejection by technical workers of Boeing takeaways, it's time for the company to stop wasting resources and improve its offer to reflect the value and contributions technical workers bring to Boeing," SPEEA Executive Director Ray Goforth said in a statement. "That way, we can avoid a strike and focus on fixing the problems of the 787 and restoring customer confidence in Boeing."

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The latest labor unrest is happening as U.S. regulators launch an open-ended review of the 787's design and construction. Last month, a battery on a parked 787 caught fire in Boston. On Jan. 16, another 787 made an emergency landing in Japan after another battery problem.

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All 50 787s that Boeing had delivered so far are grounded until the issue is resolved.

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The union's nearly 23,000 employees are mostly in the Puget Sound region. Union leaders believe a strike would shut down Boeing production lines in Everett, Wash., where its big planes are made, as well as in Renton, Wash., where it cranks out the widely used 737.

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The factory-floor assembly work is done by the members of the International Association of Machinists. The Machinists approved a new, four-year contract in December 2011, after a walkout in 2008 that contributed to a 3 1/2-year delay in delivering the first 787.

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It was also a factor in Boeing opening a plant in South Carolina, where laws make it more difficult to unionize.

 

Published in Local News
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