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 »

Why Nearly 1,200 Nurses Unionized Last Week

sfam_photo/Shutterstock

(sfam_photo/Shutterstock)

Nurses at two local hospitals say they’re fed up with poor working conditions, subpar equipment, ineffective scheduling and inadequate staffing. The environment is simply unsafe for patients, they say — and last week nearly 1,200 of them voted to unionize.

More than 330 registered nurses at Delaware County Memorial Hospital voted to join the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals (PASNAP) union last weekend. Just days later, 850 nurses at Hahnemann University Hospital did the same. Read more »

850 Hahnemann Hospital Nurses Vote to Unionize

Photo from Hahnemann University Hospital's Facebook page

(Photo from Hahnemann University Hospital’s Facebook page.)

For the second time in the past week, hundreds of nurses at a Philadelphia-area hospital have voted to unionize.

This time it was 850 nurses at Hahnemann University Hosptial who voted to join the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals (PASNAP.) Nurses complained of poor working conditions, subpar equipment, ineffective scheduling and inadequate staffing, the union said. Now they’ll work with management on a contract.

“We wanted to get back to the foundations of nursing,” said Mike Winn, a registered nurse in the emergency department. “It should be about patients, not profits or shareholders. We were tired of having management’s decisions limit our ability to give the best care.” Read more »

330 Nurses Vote to Unionize at Delco Hospital

Del mem

This past weekend, more than 330 registered nurses at Delaware County Memorial Hospital voted to join the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals union. The vote, done in a secret ballot election conducted by the NLRB, came to a final tally of 164 to 130 in favor of joining PASNAP.

“DCMH and Crozer managers weren’t listening to us regarding our concerns about staffing and other working conditions. When they decided to sell the health system to a for-profit company, we became very concerned that we would have no voice in the process,” said Angela Neopolitano, a 34-year veteran of Delware County Memorial. Read more »

Will Supreme Court Break the Power of Philly’s Municipal Unions?

The U.S. Supreme Court | Shutterstock.com

The U.S. Supreme Court | Shutterstock.com

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday heard a case that could undermine the power of Philadephia’s powerful municipal unions.

The case, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, doesn’t directly involve Philadelphia. But the issue it decides — whether civic unions that serve the School District of Philadelphia, City Hall and other public institutions can force non-members to pay union dues as a “fair share” of the benefits they receive from union activity — could have a big impact here.

“All of the unions in the city of Philadelphia, certainly the school district, and the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, have negotiated fair share agreements. So if the court were to overrule that decision, it would have very serious consequences for all local unions, including the uniformed services,” attorney Elaine Williams told KYW. Read more »

Strike Averted: 1,400 Suburban Office Cleaners Reach Deal

Suburban office cleaners protest for better wages before reaching a new contract agreement on Tuesday. (Photo courtesy of 32BJ SEIU)

Suburban office cleaners protest for better wages before reaching a new contract agreement on Tuesday. (Photo courtesy of 32BJ SEIU)

With 1,400 suburban office cleaners threatening to strike at midnight on Wednesday, the 32BJ SEIU union agreed to a four-year agreement with the Building Operators Labor Relations (BOLR). Now the janitors will continue cleaning 170 office buildings without interruption.

The cleaners make $12.35 an hour but will see wage raises of nearly $2 an hour over the life of the contract. Benefits will remain at their current level.(More details will be available after a union ratification vote this weekend.) 

The workers clean the offices of companies throughout Bucks, Chester, Montgomery, and Delaware counties at businesses like Johnson & Johnson, Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, Brandywine Realty Trust and Vanguard Read more »

Uber, Lyft Drivers Can Now Unionize in Seattle. Could Philly Be Next?

Promotional photos from the press kits of Uber (left) and Lyft

Promotional photos from the press kits of Uber (left) and Lyft

Seattle has become the first American city to pass an ordinance allowing Uber and Lyft drivers to unionize.

As is the standard in the sharing or gig economy, Uber and Lyft drivers work as independent contractors — giving them flexible schedules but not company-paid health care or retirement benefits. If they were in unions, they can presumably negotiate wages and benefits with their respective companies.

“We’ve heard from Seattle drivers making sub-minimum wage, and companies like Uber have turned a deaf ear to their concerns. This bill was only introduced out of necessity after witnessing how little power drivers themselves had in working for a living wage,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien, in a statement. Read more »

Airport Workers Striking, Fasting and Hoping Holiday Travelers Notice

Workers at the Philadelphia International Airport pray for workers' rights before a Thanksgiving feast. They held a 24-hour fast to protest what they say are low wages and unfair treatment from management.

Workers at the Philadelphia International Airport pray for workers’ rights before a Thanksgiving feast. They held a 24-hour fast to protest what they say are low wages and unfair treatment from management. (Photo by Jared Shelly.)

First they went on strike for 24 hours. A few days later, they fasted for 24 hours. They held a “vigil” at City Hall, rallied alongside City Council members and the future mayor, and even held a makeshift Thanksgiving dinner — complete with a prayer session for workers rights.

They’re the workers at the Philadelphia International Airport who clean the cabins, push wheelchairs and handle baggage — and they’re stepping up organization efforts in a coordinated effort with workers at six other airports nationwide. They’re protesting what they perceive as low wages, poor treatment from management and pushback against non-union workers who attempt to organize. Some wheelchair pushers even say they’re not being paid the $12 mandatory minimum wage for subcontractors. Read more »

Philadelphia Airport Workers Going on Strike

Workers at the Philadelphia International Airport have announced that they’re going on a 24-hour strike from Wednesday evening until Thursday evening. They’ll be joined by workers in Chicago, Boston, New York, Newark and Fort Lauderdale at airports that collectively serve 393 million passengers per year.

The workers are subcontractors from the 32BJ SEIU union. The group includes line queue, baggage handlers, wheelchair attendants, cabin cleaners and other passenger-service workers employed by three airline service contractors—Prospect, PrimeFlight and McGinn Security. They’re protesting “low wages, poor treatment and unfair labor practices,” according to a union press release. Read more »