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AFGE seeks to represent screeners (Read More…)

By Chris Strohm CongressDaily February 22, 2010

The largest federal employee union filed a petition on Monday requesting an election to represent about 40,000 airport security screeners—a direct challenge to Republicans in Congress who argue that giving those workers collective bargaining rights will hurt national security.

In announcing its filing with the Federal Labor Relations Authority, the American Federation of Government Employees asserted that more than 30 percent of the screeners employed by the Transportation Security Administration and working in over 100 airports want the union to become their sole representative.

The election would be a critical step toward winning collective bargaining rights for TSA screeners, which they have never had since the agency was founded in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

“We are going to continue our quest for collective bargaining and we know we are going to get it. But you have to do an election anyway,” AFGE president John Gage said on Monday. “We’re just not going to take no for an answer.”

Workers United and Rival UNITE HERE Fight Over Aramark Employees in Pittsburgh (Read More)

February 18, 2010 By Michael Bagen
Pittsburgh—A press conference Downtown led to confrontation today as members of Workers United were met by members of rival union UNITE HERE.

The confrontation took place outside Mellon Arena (a.k.a. “the Igloo”) on Thursday when reps of Unite HERE interrupted a press conference of Worker’s United, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). The conference was called to draw attention to the Friday announcement by Aramark, the firm who manages Mellon Arena’s service industry.

On February 12th, Aramark announced that they will not be honoring the Mellon Arena contract at the new CONSOL Energy Arena. The igloo’s workers will lose their existing wage and benefit standards. They will also have to reapply for their new jobs at CONSOL as new employees, losing not only their seniority but their job security in their move across the street. This announcement was made available to employees via letter distributed before closing on Friday prior to the pre-Olympic lull.

Representatives of Workers United have called this an attempty by Aramark to weaken or remove the union, lower wages and reduce benefits.

“Its very unsettling,” said G. Ryin Gaines, a seven year employee and Suite Attendant at Mellon Arena. Gains pointed to the timing as a step taken to avoid any backlash at the announcement of Igloo employee job security being effectively nullified as of the new arena’s completion. Gains is an affiliate of Worker’s United.

But who works at the Mellon Arena; Workers United, or United Here? The answer comes from a March 2009 split by the UNITE HERE from the Pennsylvania Labor Board. A contract signed in September 2006 with Mellon Arena names three parties in the agreement UNITE HERE, Local #57, and Joint Labor Board.

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