– By Jeff Monahan NYC school bus strike continue Bids for New York City’s school bus route contracts are due Monday but this is nothing more than a mark on the timeline of the drivers’ strike that has lasted almost four weeks. The strike has shown litt …

Walton Pantland

– By Jeff Monahan

NYC school bus strike continue

Bids for New York City’s school bus route contracts are due Monday but this is nothing more than a mark on the timeline of the drivers’ strike that has lasted almost four weeks. The strike has shown little signs of progress, the bids will not help to move things along, and, unfortunately, the union does not seem to have a lot of leverage. The city has opened up bids in hopes of decreasing costs, and the union is upset about the changes to employee protection provisions that provide job security. So far, though, the city has saved roughly $16 million during the strike because the cost of reimbursing some parents for their child’s travel has been less expensive than paying the drivers. With the city believing that it has the advantage, it has little incentive to negotiate with the union.

Attacks on collective bargaining in Alaska

Bad news from Alaska as Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan is taking actions similar to those in Wisconsin to destroy collective bargaining as we know it. His office proposed an ordinance on Friday afternoon that would prohibit labor stoppages, eliminate pay raises based on performance, and tie all pay increases to average cost of living. The change would also give the city council the power to finalize contract proposals if the city and union are unable to agree.

These drastic changes cause drastic consequences. Taking the power to strike away from a union puts them at the mercy of the city to not take advantage of its position. And it is hard to believe that the city council would ever pick the union’s contract offer over the city’s in the event of an impasse. The proposal affects police men, firefighters, electrical employees, port workers, and more. It will be first heard by the city council on Tuesday.

Largest public sector union in Illinois prepares for strike

In Illinois, the largest public sector union is preparing its members for a strike. Negotiations for a new contract for 30,000 workers have not made progress and a session ended on Friday without resolution. The state is concerned with over committing itself financially in the new contract, and both sides have tossed around the idea of pay freezes, but the length of the freeze is a major sticking point, as are health care costs.

The new contract could affect pension benefits not only for employees, but retirees as well. The union sent a letter to its members this week, obviously concerned. It advised them to set money aside from each paycheck, refrain from making any large purchases until the possibility of a strike passes, and schedule doctor appointments now before health care benefits could change. Obviously neither side wants a strike, but the union’s preparation instructions are eye opening nonetheless.

 


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Walton Pantland

South African trade unionist living in Glasgow. Loves whisky, wine, running and the great outdoors. Walton did an MA in Industrial Relations at Ruskin, Oxford, and is interested in how trade unions use new technology to organise.

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