Labor Notes #464

An electrical workers local in San Francisco found itself in a mortifying situation: one of its members was outed as an active white supremacist. Wireman John Ramondetta had traveled to Charlottesville this August to march alongside Nazis and the KKK.

“For the membership as a whole there is disappointment, embarrassment, and disgust,” said Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 6 Business Manager John Doherty. “The overriding theme is 'We're being tied to this guy!' He doesn't reflect our values.”

Bosses are in love with zero tolerance policies. One arbitrator calls them “the last refuge of weak managers.”

Zero tolerance policies authorize employers to discharge workers who commit specified infractions without consideration of the surrounding circumstances, length of service, or the employee’s lack of prior discipline.

As renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) chugs along rapidly behind closed doors, President Donald Trump will soon be forced to decide whether to keep or abandon his campaign pledge to make the pact “much better” for working people.

NAFTA’s renegotiation should be an opportunity to end its quarter-century legacy of job loss and wage suppression. Longtime fair trade advocates warn, however, that without increased public pressure, Trump could end up making NAFTA even worse for working people.

The whole public sector will likely become “right to work” next year, barring another miracle at the Supreme Court.

Once the conservative majority rules in Janus v. AFSCME, likely before June, life will change for unions in the 23 states that till now have rejected right-to-work laws. Public sector unions in those states will no longer be able to collect “agency fees” from workers whom they represent but who choose not to join their locals.

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