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October 20, 2017
Posted On: Oct 11, 2017

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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

From the Steward Update Arbitration Reporter
New Machine Ruled to Be ‘Union Work’ 
The question of whether a new machine that requires special training should be included as “bargaining unit” work was reviewed in a recent arbitration. The company contended that because the machine was used less than half time it was therefore “experimental,” and not covered by the labor contract. An arbitrator, however, agreed with the union that the machine, which had been purchased in 2011, had ceased to be “experimental” and was producing goods for the company’s customers and was therefore “production.” He noted that the contract said “all production” at the plant was to be covered by the labor contract. He ordered the company to “cease and desist” in using non-bargaining unit employees on the machine.

Labor Quote
MLK on Labor
“No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”
—Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Labor Cartoon
H.L. Schwadron

Steward Tip

When Your Authority Is Challenged
When your authority as a steward is challenged, you need to stand your ground, getting support from your union representative and, especially, from the others in your unit. Remind them that an attack on you, the steward, is an attack on the union and can threaten everyone. Your best strategy is always to keep your co-workers well informed and get them involved in what’s happening in the union. When you can demonstrate that you have the support of others, you won’t have to worry about your authority being regularly challenged.
—Excerpted from The Union Steward’s Complete Guide (2nd Edition, Updated)

Today in Labor History
October 11
The Miners’ National Association is formed in Youngstown, Ohio, with the goal of uniting all miners, regardless of skill or ethnic background - 1873
Nearly 1,500 plantation workers strike Olaa Sugar, on Hawaii’s Big Island - 1948
October 12
Company guards kill at least eight miners who are attempting to stop scabs, Virden, Ill. Six guards are also killed, and 30 persons wounded - 1898

Fourteen miners killed, 22 wounded at Pana, Ill. - 1902
Some 2,000 workers demanding union recognition close down dress manufacturing, Los Angeles - 1933
More than one million Canadian workers demonstrate against wage controls - 1976

October 13
American Federation of Labor votes to boycott all German-made products as a protest against Nazi 
antagonism to organized labor within Germany - 1934
More than 1,100 office workers strike Columbia University in New York City. The mostly female and minority workers win union recognition and pay increases - 1985
National Basketball Association cancels regular season games for the first time in its 51-year history, during a player lockout.  Player salaries and pay caps are the primary issue.  The lockout lasts 204 days - 1998
Hundreds of San Jose Mercury News newspaper carriers end 4-day walkout with victory - 2000

—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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