Labor Notes #458
For public-employee unions in Wisconsin, an open shop isn’t even the worst of it. The anti-union Act 10, which Governor Scott Walker forced through in 2011, mandated annual recertification votes and all but eliminated collective bargaining. Some unions gave up on staying certified at all—but not the Milwaukee Teachers Education Association. So far its 4,600 members include 69 percent of the district’s teachers and a narrow majority of educational assistants.
“I think the key is get to them as often as you can, early in their career,” says General President Scott Hoffman. At each new-hire orientation, a representative walks new hires through the benefits the union has won. A week later there’s another chance, at the training session for window clerks. “We ask who still hasn’t joined or had anybody talk to them,” Hoffman says. “Try to get as many bites at the apple as you can in the beginning.”
Backed by a huge banner reading “Buy American—Hire American,” President Trump declared in March that his administration would make the U.S. the “car capital of the world” again.
“For decades, I have raised the alarm over unfair foreign trade practices that have robbed communities of their wealth and robbed our people of their ability to provide for their families,” Trump said. “They’ve stolen our jobs, they’ve stolen our companies, and our politicians sat back and watched, hopeless. Not anymore.”
It started when a few nurses at Temple University Hospital told stewards that they weren’t being paid for their experience.
One of the first to speak up was Jessy Palathinkal, who had become a nurse in India in 1990. She got her U.S. nursing license when she moved here in 1995. But when she started working at Temple, her placement on the pay scale was as though those five years of nursing never happened.
She asked why. Human Resources told her the hospital didn’t count years of experience in foreign countries.