Could the 2016 SEPTA Strike Be the Last One Ever?

SEPTA 15th Street Station closed - locked gate

Two laws offer the possibility of making scenes like this a thing of the past. | Photo: Dan McQuade

Now that Transport Workers Union Local 234 has ratified a new, five-year contract that was pretty much what SEPTA had offered it on the eve of this latest transit strike — and which completely fails to address any of the valid scheduling matters the union raised during the run-up to the strike — it may be time to ask once again: Isn’t there some way we can get SEPTA and the TWU to end this recurring brinksmanship?

The answer to that question might be “yes,” but remember, this is Philadelphia, where old habits don’t die without a fight and contentious labor relations have a long and storied history. The union that has represented the bulk of SEPTA’s workforce since 1944 has a history of militancy, and it’s managed to maintain that reputation by walking more often than not when contract renewal time comes. Read more »

Restaurant Owner Says Union Protest Has Been Good for Business

Left: The flier being distributed outside Plenty Cafe in Queen Village. Right: Protest signs outside the restaurant. (Photos by Sarah Doran)

Left: The flier being distributed outside Plenty Cafe in Queen Village. Right: Protest signs outside the restaurant. | Photos by Sarah Doran

You can say a lot of things about the unions in Philadelphia. But you cannot say that they’re not persistent. This is something that Philadelphia restaurateur Anthony Mascieri knows firtshand. Read more »

The Workers Who Make Peeps Are on Strike

Workers on strike outside Just Born plant; also, some peeps

Strike photo via BCTGM Local 6

The people who make Peeps have paraded away from their posts.

Earlier this week, workers at Just Born in Bethlehem went on strike after rejecting a contract offer from the company. Workers have been shouting “No pension, no Peeps!” and “No money, no Mikes!” while picketing outside the factory. Read more »

With Just Days Until Deadline, Atlantic City Workers Preparing to Strike

Tropicana Casino, beach-side, in Atlantic City

The Tropicana Casino in Atlantic City. | Photo: Dan McQuade

Elaine Malloy has been a cocktail server at Bally’s for almost 26 years. She makes $8.99 an hour.

“It’s a disgrace to work at $8.99 an hour,” Malloy says, “and try to pay a mortgage, utility bills, clothing, college expenses. Everything in the economy goes up, but unfortunately my wage hasn’t.”

Malloy is a tipped employee, and she says she’s been able to survive on the “generosity of my customers.” But she says it’s hard to make a decent tip rate working at Bally’s because you’re always doing things that aren’t, officially, part of the job, like giving directions to attractions in the casino and the city.

“It’s a disgrace that, when over the years the casinos needed help,” Malloy says, “we the workers decided to give back over $1,500 to help them get out of the rut that they put themselves in. Now they need to help their workers.” Read more »

Faculty Across 14 Pennsylvania Universities Could Vote on Strike

A union representing faculty at 14 state-owned universities in Pennsylvania is discussing the possibility of a strike.

The Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties union said new contract negotiations with the Pennsylvania State Higher System of Education have been “stagnant.”

The faculty contract expired nearly a year ago.

On August 25th, if the majority of delegates from each of its 14 campuses approve, the APSCUF will decide on whether or not to vote on holding a strike.

The union previously postponed a strike-authorization vote set for April “out of concern for students,” according to a press release.

Read more »

39,000 Verizon Workers Go on Strike

Striking Verizon workers picket outside a Verizon office on Wednesday, April 13, 2016, in Albany, N.Y.

Striking Verizon workers picket outside a Verizon office on Wednesday, April 13, 2016, in Albany, N.Y.

At 6:00 a.m. this morning, 39,000 Verizon workers throughout the Northeastern U.S. from two unions went on strike after their self-stated deadline for a new contract passed.

The strike is in response to the workers’ opposition to proposed measures in their new contracts that could cut pension benefits and make outsourcing work easier. Their previous contracts expired around eight months ago, and talks between the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the two unions, and Verizon have broken down. Read more »

500 St. Christopher’s Nurses Unionize, Citing Safety Concerns

St. Christopher's Hospital for Children.

St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children.

For the third time in the past month, a large group of nurses voted to join the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals (PASNAP) union — and said safety concerns at hospitals were a big reason why.

This time it was 500 nurses at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children. They join more than 1,200 others from Hahnemann University Hospital and Delaware County Memorial Hospital who voted to unionize in January.

At St. Christopher’s — which is owned by Tenet Healthcare, the same company that owns Hahnemann — nurses say patient care is deteriorating and expressed concerns over staffing, equipment and protocols. Read more »

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