Labor Notes # 478
The principle of “just cause” is the keystone of the collective bargaining agreement. By imposing rigorous qualifications for discipline, the just-cause standard protects everyone in the union.
If an employer could fire workers for trivial or manufactured reasons, it could easily rid itself of militant officers, stewards, and rank and filers.
Employers are always looking for sources of leverage. One way they may hit a union in the wallet is by targeting dues checkoff—an agreement that requires the employer to deduct dues from union members’ paychecks.
Anti-union politicians have already banned dues checkoff for public sector union members in Wisconsin and for teachers in Alabama and Michigan—and have threatened to do so in many more states, including Indiana, Tennessee, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania. Their goal is to make the administration of the union as cumbersome as possible, sapping time and energy.
Workers at the Four Roses bourbon distillery and bottling plant chose their moment well.
Just as their industry was preparing to welcome thousands of visitors for September’s Kentucky Bourbon Festival, they walked out on strike—in defense of workers they hadn’t even met yet.
“This is a family company,” said Matt Stone, a leader in Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 10D. “Grandfathers, fathers, sons all work here for generations, and my family may be working here one day. We want to take care of the next guy.”
When government legislation ordered Canadian postal workers back to work, other unions and labor groups across the country organized picket lines to support postal workers and the right to strike.
Picketers stopped mail entering and exiting Canada Post processing centers, distribution facilities, and plants in Vancouver, Richmond, Surrey, Edmonton, Mississauga, Ottawa, Oshawa, Whitehorse, Windsor, London, and twice each in Halifax and Hamilton.
After two months of strikes, workers at the largest hotel company in the world have won their biggest demands and set a new pattern for the hospitality industry.
The seven UNITE HERE locals in Hawaii, San Francisco, Oakland, San Diego, San Jose, Detroit, and Boston bargained separately, but similar contract expiration dates allowed 7,700 workers to strike Marriott at the same time.