Tag: unions

The Sun’s Unionized Staff Appeal to Public in Fight for Pay Raises

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baltimore-sun-media-group-office

Unionized reporters, editors, photographers and others at the Baltimore Sun have launched an awareness campaign to help them secure an evasive 2.5 percent pay raise.

City Officials to Receive Awkward Automatic Raises

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Maybe she'll use her raise to buy another one of these ridiculously large umbrellas.
Maybe she’ll use her raise to buy another one of these ridiculously large umbrellas.

In 2010, an independent body — formed four years earlier by a ballot referendum — decided that Baltimore’s top elected officials would receive automatic pay raises tied to those of city union workers.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Comptroller Joan M. Pratt, and city council members are set to each receive a 2.5 percent raise, at a total cost of $31,000.

Though years ago we placed this process in the hands of an independent panel for the sole purpose of making the issue of city officials’ salaries less politically suspicious. But it’s always awkward for the mayor to get a raise — even a small one. It reminds us that she makes over $150,000 a year.

United Workers Scores a Win for Baltimore Casino Employees a Year Before the Casino Is Set to Open

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From United Workers' Fair Development rally. Photo by Liz Donadio.
From United Workers’ Fair Development rally.

When it comes to advocating for workers’ rights, why wait until the workers start working? United Workers, Unite Here Local 7, and Community Churches United organized a rally Saturday to make demands on Horseshoe Baltimore on behalf of the downtown casino’s future employees — including living wages, the right to unionize, and that most workers come from the city.

Wal-Mart Asks NLRB to Squash Black Friday Worker Protest

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With ever-earlier Black Friday sales threatening to one day completely obliterate Thanksgiving, retailers are trying harder and harder to coax consumers off their computers and into stores for the yearly American tradition of inadvertently trampling someone to death. 

Feds Prosecute Hyatt Regency Baltimore for Surveilling, Threatening Workers

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Baltimore’s Hyatt Regency hotel promises its guests a “luxurious” experience, a sanctuary where they can “breathe easy.” To hear the National Labor Relations Board tell it, the AAA Four Diamond hotel has been decidedly less hospitable to its workers, and now they are being prosecuted for it.

Is "Fair Share" a Raw Deal for State Workers?

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According to a recent article in the Baltimore Sun, the Fair Share Act, passed by the state legislature two years ago, will take effect this month. The bill allows state employee unions to collect dues from non-union employees, arguing that non-members have reaped many of the benefits of the unions’ collective bargaining without paying dues.

For the largest union affected by the bill, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the fees will fall between $10.80 to $14.96 every two weeks, those objecting to the dues paying the lower amount, full union members paying the higher, and all others paying somewhere in between. The bill does provide for an exemption on religious grounds, but the employee claiming the exemption must make an “alternative payment” to a charitable organization.

The Fair Share Act has come under criticism, not only from Republicans, but from workers themselves, two-thirds of whom have opted not to join a union, according to the Sun. Governor O’Malley signed the bill into law not long before Wisconsin passed a bill all but eliminating collective bargaining rights in that state (a power recently reinstated by the Wisconsin State Supreme Court, by the way).

Unions have become a truly divisive issue in recent years, and not just between corporate executives and workers, but among workers. The problem is two-fold: these organizations created to fight corruption are not immune to corruption themselves; and patriotic Americans have developed an irrational aversion to anything that smacks of socialism.

Certainly, when unions stray from their responsibilities as earnest representatives of workers, they ought to be taken to task. But a blindly anti-union movement could hurt workers in the long run. As unions falter, and as increasingly cynical workers begin to reject unions, good old-fashioned worker exploitation will surely resurface via capitalism’s famed “invisible hand,” as large companies look for ways to cut costs in a recession and take advantage of a desperate labor market.

The responsibility to halt the anti-union trend rests on unions. Get back in touch with the reality of the workers you represent, or risk extinction.

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