By: Mark Gruenberg October 27 2014
WASHINGTON - For Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, unions represent what’s right with the U.S.
In a stem-winding speech at the National Press Club on Oct. 22, Perez, who grew up in a working-class family in Buffalo, declared unions are responsible for creating and sustaining the middle class. And the decline in unions is bad for the nation, he added.
Perez’ remarks are notable because they represent one of the Obama administration’s few full-throated instances of advocacy of unions before a non-union audience. While Obama himself says people should join unions - most recently in a Labor Day speech in Milwaukee - he’s restricted those remarks to appearances before union and/or partisan Democratic crowds.
They’re also notable because Perez has been backing words with enforcement actions. His predecessor, first-term Obama Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, repeatedly declared herself “the new sheriff in town.” She repeatedly used those words to union audiences.
But Perez’ DOL has been backing the words by acting on a wide range of labor law enforcement issues, unveiling job health and safety rules and cracking down on worker misclassification, for example.
Warren L. Wise Oct 3 2014
The union trying to organize Boeing Co.‘s 787 Dreamliner factory in North Charleston has mailed out pamphlets and knocked on doors since it set up an office on Dorchester Road in March.
Now, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers is trying a new campaign to drum up support.
The union has placed billboards along major arteries in North Charleston that say “Demand Better” or “Justice on the Job.”
The IAM is trying to get enough of Boeing’s 7,500 local workers to sign cards for an election to be called.
It’s not saying how close it is to calling for a vote, but one local union organizer said the IAM has gotten a “mixed” reaction.