Our latest roundup of worker wins includes numerous examples of working people organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life.
|NLRB Upholds Portillo’s Union Election Win: Hot diggity dog! Last week, National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) officials upheld the results of an April union election at a Portillo’s food preparation facility in Addison, Illinois. Workers at the plant prepare iconic menu items, such as Italian beef and sweet peppers, for local Portillo’s restaurants. Other members of the bargaining unit include forklift operators, mechanics and sanitation workers. Staff voted this spring to unionize with Ironworkers, but Portillo’s objected to the successful vote within days. Local NLRB officials then issued a report overruling the company’s objections, which Portillo’s promptly appealed. On Dec. 18, National Labor Relations Board Regional Director Angie Cowan Hamada ruled again, in favor of the union. “I feel very happy because once again, we demonstrated to Portillo’s that our union election was clean,” said Portillo’s worker Fernando Jimenez, who has worked at the facility for more than three decades. “We want them to finally sit down and negotiate our contract, and stop spending money on union busting.”
|AP News Guild Secures Christmas Eve Contract Deal: Do you believe in Christmas miracles? The Associated Press (AP) News Guild—part of The NewsGuild-Communication Workers of America (TNG-CWA)—announced Christmas Eve that they have finally struck a deal with management on a three-year contract after 19 months of negotiations. AP workers secured wins up and down the contract including bonuses, raises, pathways to permanent positions for temporary employees, parental leave increases and more. “This announcement follows rounds of intense discussions with the company over the last two weeks, culminating in even more intense discussions over the last two days. Our efforts were backed by strong member pressure through social media, petitions and emails to AP executives,” AP News Guild said in a statement.
|IBEW Signs Agreement for Largest Renewable Energy Project in North American History: The Electrical Workers (IBEW) signed a project labor agreement last week as part of the largest renewable energy project in North American history. Pattern Energy’s 3.5-gigawatt Sun Zia wind project has been in the works for years, but thanks in part to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act (signed by President Biden this year and in 2022, respectively), shovels are finally hitting dirt in this massive clean energy infrastructure. In addition to producing enough clean power for more than 3 million homes, the $1.3 billion, 580-mile transmission line stretching from New Mexico to Arizona is estimated to create more than 2,000 construction jobs. “The IBEW leads the way in recruiting and training the highly skilled workforce needed to build out a clean energy infrastructure and a resilient and modern grid,” said IBEW International President Kenneth W. Cooper in the press release.
|Ohio Nurses Win Insurance Pricing Arbitration Against University of Cincinnati Medical Center: Part-time nurses at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center (UCMC) are celebrating a huge win after an arbitrator ruled that a sudden hike to their insurance rates violated their contract. The Ohio Nurses Association (ONA)—a state constituent of the American Nurses Association and American Federation of Teachers (AFT)—represents 1,450 registered nurses at the medical center, 300 of whom are part-time employees. The fight started back in 2020 when UCMC increased insurance rates for the part-time nursing staff despite the contract clearly outlining that all nurses were entitled to the same rates. The ONA argued that part-time employees were unfairly targeted, with some facing up to a 60% increase in their medical costs and premiums. However, thanks to the diligence of union leadership in the grievance process, the ONA has received notice that the hospital will issue reimbursement for the past three years in 2024. “People are excited. They see that when we work together, we can get something done,” said Kelly Hickman-Begley, vice president of the Registered Nurses Association of UCMC, the chapter represented by the ONA.