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August 19, 2017
Posted On: Aug 09, 2017

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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

From the Steward Update Arbitration Reporter
False Time Sheets Not ‘Stealing’
A mechanic who misstated his time spent on various projects did not deserve firing, an arbitrator ruled. A company had discharged the worker, who had 26 years of generally satisfactory service, for “stealing from the company” by overstating the amount of time he worked on a particular job. This was time for which the company said it was unable to charge the customer, thus cutting into its profit. The arbitrator said that the company could not prove the worker committed theft, since the act of thievery requires “intentional wrongdoing.” Furthermore, he said the worker did not seek to conceal his actions. He reinstated the worker to his job, but without back pay for the 12 months he was off work, claiming the worker bears responsibility to provide correct time-reporting.

Labor Quote
Overtime Pay
"President Trump likes to put workers in photo ops, but instead of sticking up for the middle class, he sides with the CEOs and top executives who want to keep pay low and force workers to work unpaid overtime."
—From People's World

Labor Cartoon
Norman Jung

Steward Tip

Many Sources of Leverage
When you lay proper groundwork, leverage that can be used to help the union will “luckily” fall your way. Your strategy should include an evaluation of the importance of a particular issue, so that you don’t waste valuable leverage on a routine matter. You look for leverage when you have something major, like subcontracting or moving your work. That’s when you need every ounce of strength you can get. Sometimes “external” events will appear, like the new process in the mill that the Steelworker steward was able to take advantage of. Another opening for leverage could be an employer who is beginning a big public relations campaign, possibly involving workplace tours by the public. He can be vulnerable to a lively and visible campaign in support of a particular grievance.
—Excerpted from The Union Steward’s Complete Guide (2nd Edition, Updated)

Today in Labor History
August 09
Knights of Labor strike New York Central railroad, ultimately to be defeated by scabbing - 1890
Nine men and one woman meet in Oakland, Calif., to form what was to become the 230,000-member California School Employees Association, representing school support staff throughout the state - 1927

A fire and resultant loss of oxygen when a high pressure hydraulic line was cut with a torch in a Titan missile silo near Searcy, Ark., kills 53 people, mostly civilian repairmen - 1965
United Papermakers & Paperworkers merge with Int'l Brotherhood of Pulp, Sulphite & Paper Mill Workers of the U.S. & Canada to become United Paperworkers Int’l Union, now a division of the Steelworkers Union - 1972
Some 73,000 Bell Atlantic workers end a successful two-day strike over wages and limits on contracting out of work - 1998
The United Steelworkers and Amicus, the largest manufacturing union in the United Kingdom, announce formation of a strategic alliance to work on a range of mutual concerns - 2005

August 10
The Air Line Pilots Association is founded at a meeting in Chicago attended by 24 activists from across the country - 1931

Hundreds of Transport Workers Union members descend on a New York City courthouse, offering their own money to bail out their president, Mike Quill, and four other union leaders arrested while making their way through Grand Central Station to union headquarters after picketing the Interborough Rapid Transit offices in lower Manhattan - 1935
President Roosevelt signs amendments to the 1935 Social Security Act, broadening the program to include dependents and survivors' benefits - 1939
Construction on the St. Lawrence Seaway begins. Ultimately 22,000 workers spent five years building the 2,342-mile route from the Atlantic to the northernmost part of the Great Lakes - 1954
I.W. Abel, president of the United Steel Workers of America from 1965 to 1977, dies at age 79 - 1987
President Barack Obama signs a $26 billion bill designed to protect 300,000 teachers, police and others from layoffs spurred by budgetary crises in states hard-hit by the Great Recession - 2010
August 11
Federal troops drive some 1,200 jobless workers from Washington D.C. Led by unemployed activist Charles "Hobo" Kelley, the group's "soldiers" include young journalist Jack London and William Haywood, a young miner-cowboy called "Big Bill" - 1884

One hundred "platform men" employed by the privately owned United Railroads streetcar service in San Francisco abandon their streetcars, tying up many of the main lines in and out of the city center - 1917
Int’l Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union receives CIO charter – 1937

Maine lobster fishers form a local of the Machinists union as they face a 40-year low price for their catches, and other issues.  By October, the New York Times reported, it had 600 members, 240 of them dues-payers - 2013

—Compiled and edited by David Prosten.

Steward Update Weekly is brought to you by your union and Union Communication Services—Worker Institute at Cornell ILR, publisher of the Steward Update print edition newsletter, which provides union stewards with helpful information and advice. We hope the Steward Update Weekly will be a helpful tool in your important work as a steward for your union; if you have questions or suggestions on how the Weekly can be more useful, please email us at

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