By the looks of it, striking workers in Terre Haute, Indiana lost a lot of money on an issue of principle and union dues.
Workers represented by the SEIU’s new affiliate Workers United (formerly known as UNITE) ended a 40-day strike with a contract that 1) addressed the union’s need to include seasonal workers into the bargaining unit (more dues), while 2) partially addressing workers’ concerns that they and their families would not be required to take a Health Risk Assessment by the company’s insurance carrier.
According to the Tribune Star:
According to the [union press] release, issued by Eric Sharfstein, a spokesman out of Workers United’s New York office, “the agreement does away with Bemis’ plans to utilize temporary workers. Seasonal employees working for more than five months will become a part of the bargaining unit.”
Union officials noted throughout the strike that the issues of temporary workers and mandated Health Risk Assessments were key to their opposition.Regarding the proposed Health Risk Assessments, which would have required workers and their families to submit to medical testing, the release states “the union now has the right to bargain an alternative health plan that does not mandate Health Risk Assessment testing. In the company’s health care plan, children of workers will not be required to submit to Health Risk Assessments for the term of the contract.”
According to this strike calculator, it’s estimated that each of the workers lost over $2500 during the union strike leaving one to question: Was it worth it? [It sure appears to be worth it to the union.]
Just when you thought the union wars couldn’t get any more complex, the battle of the union bosses just got a whole lot messier.
The ongoing war between UNITE-HERE and Andy Stern’s new entity, Workers United, has pitted union boss against union boss.
However, until now, the war has been primarily contained between the former co-presidents of UNITE-HERE with Andy Stern backing Bruce Raynor and funding the new Workers United, with many of the other union bosses siding with UNITE-HERE and exciorating Stern and Raynor for raiding UNITE-HERE.
Now, the war seems to be spilling over to involve other unions, including fellow Change to Win union, the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA).
Apparently the Laborers union has encroached on UNITE-HERE’s traditional turf (hotel workers in Washington DC). Despite the fact that Workers United is currently raiding (with the SEIU’s help) hotel workers in other parts of the country, Stern and Raynor are urging the Laborers to back out of UNITE-HERE’s turf in what appears to be an olive-branch to UNITE-HERE’s John Wilhelm.
“Workers United and UNITE HERE are currently engaged in an effort to resolve our intraunion conflict over jurisdiction in a fair and equitable way.
“UNITE HERE represents the hotel workers in Washington D.C., and Workers United respects the work UNITE HERE has done in that city. Furthermore, we believe that it is in the best interest of the hotel workers in Washington D.C. that there be one hotel workers union in that city–UNITE HERE. That is why we are calling on the Laborers union to withdraw their petition and recognize UNITE-HERE’s jurisdiction over these workers.”
Confused? You should be.
With the Laborers entering the fray, it would appear that the union wars are turning into an all out free-for-all, with everyone shooting their arrows at each other waiting to see which falls first.
The full press release is here: