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October 20, 2017
Posted On: Sep 27, 2017

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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

In the current Steward Update newsletter
Nurse Gets Back Pay for Management Delays
A Veterans Administration hospital was wrong to have delayed its investigation of charges against a nurse accused of patient abuse. Following the October 15, 2015 incident, the nurse was taken off night shift duties and assigned to day shift work that removed her from patient contact, and caused the nurse to lose premium pay for night shift work and appropriate holiday pay. A fact-finding procedure found the abuse charge was not warranted; yet, management did not restore the nurse to her night shift (with its premium pay) until January 18, 2016. The arbitrator said the hospital must make the nurse whole for all shift pay she lost during the three-month period as well as the holiday pay that was denied during the winter holiday period.

Labor Quote
"For millions of Americans, poverty isn’t caused by the inability to work or to find work. It’s caused by lousy pay."
—Sarita Gupta, Executive Director, Jobs With Justice.

Labor Cartoon
Harry Nelson

Steward Tip

Confidentiality Claims
An employer defense that is sometimes successful is confidentiality. This defense can only be used to protect information or records that are particularly sensitive. Employee medical records, psychological data and aptitude test scores are usually considered confidential. Company records disclosing trade secrets or containing sensitive research data have also been deemed confidential. To invoke the confidentiality defense, an employer must have an established policy barring disclosure and must have consistently adhered to that policy. An employer who asserts confidentiality must be willing to bargain with the union to attempt to accommodate the union’s needs. If medical confidentiality is asserted, for example, the union might agree to allow the employer to delete medical references from personnel files or delete employee names. If trade secrecy is raised, the union can offer to sign an agreement promising not to disclose the information.
—Excerpted from The Union Steward’s Complete Guide (2nd Edition, Updated)

Today in Labor History
September 27
Striking textile workers in Fall River, Mass., demand bread for their starving children - 1875
The Int’l Typographical Union renews a strike against the Los Angeles Times; a boycott runs intermittently from 1896 to 1908. A local anti-Times committee in 1903 persuades William Randolph Hearst to start a rival paper, the Los Angeles Examiner. Although the ITU kept up the fight into the 1920s, the Times remained totally nonunion until 2009, when the GCIU—now the Graphic Communications Conference of the Teamsters—organized the pressroom – 1893

Int’l Ladies' Garment Workers Union begins strike against Triangle Shirtwaist Co. This would become the "Uprising of the 20,000," resulting in 339 of 352 struck firms—but not Triangle—signing agreements with the union. The Triangle fire that killed 146 would occur less than two years later - 1909
Twenty-nine west coast ports lock out 10,500 workers in response to what management says is a worker slowdown in the midst of negotiations on a new contract. The ports are closed for 10 days, reopen when President George W. Bush invokes the Taft-Hartley Act - 2002

September 28
The International Workingmen’s Association is founded in London.  It was an international organization trying to unite a variety of different left-wing, socialist, communist and anarchist political groups and unions. It functioned for about 12 years, growing to a membership declared to be eight million, before being disbanded at its Philadelphia conference in 1876, victim of infighting brought on by the wide variety of members’ philosophies - 1864
September 29

A report by the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics finds that the average weekly take-home pay of a factory worker with three dependents is now $94.87 - 1962

—Compiled and edited by David Prosten.

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