Posted on March 11, 2014 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Bruce Vail
Baltimore area bus drivers, shown here protesting wage theft last May, will collect $1.25 million from employer Durham School Services once their settlement is finalized in April. Photo via Teamsters Local 570
More than 350 Baltimore-area bus drivers are preparing to celebrate victory in a $1.25 million wage theft case against Durham School Services, an Illinois-based bus-contracting company with operations across much of the country.
The case, which covers the employees at Durham between March 2010 and September 2013, reflects a troubling national trend of companies cheating workers out of their earnings. “Wage theft is a huge problem, and it’s outrageous,” says Andrew Freeman, one of the attorneys at Brown Goldstein Levy, the Baltimore-based firm that filed the suit against Durham last year. In their suit, the plaintiffs accused the company of failing to pay employees for overtime work such as bus inspections, bus cleanings, fueling, and other related tasks.
The settlement of the U.S. District Court case should be finalized April 4, with distribution of the stolen wage money following immediately afterward, says Moe Jackson, a union organizer for International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 570. For almost two years, the local has been trying to organize the drivers and aides at Rosedale, Jackson says, where employees are also bristling over low pay, substandard benefits and overbearing management practices. The Teamsters initiated the wage theft case on behalf of the workers, officers say, as a step in the unionizing process. Continue reading
Filed under: Low wage workers, Organizing | Tagged: Baltimore, Durham School Services, school bus drivers, Teamsters, wage theft | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 27, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Bruce Vail
On December 6, workers rallied outside of Prospect Capital Corporation, which owns the company that handles most of the concessions at Baltimore-Washington Airport. (Unite Here)
During President Barack Obama’s December 4 speech about income inequality to the Center for American Progress, he named “airport workers” among the many Americans who struggle with low wages and long hours. It’s unlikely that Obama was aiming his shout-out at union campaigners at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI)—but given their recent flurry of activity, maybe he should have been.
At BWI, Unite Here, which represents hospitality workers throughout the United States and Canada, is ramping up its organizing campaign to a critical stage. The campaign focuses on food and service workers in the airport, most of whom would easily match Obama’s description of Americans who “work their tails off” at poverty level wages.
Yaseen Abdul-Malik is one of those BWI workers. Now 28, he was first recruited by the Baltimore-based Unite Here Local 7 two years ago, when organizing at BWI was largely clandestine. Now, he’s become a public face for airport employees—and he says he’s trying to “break the shackles of fear” that hold many of them back from demanding the better wages and working conditions they deserve. Continue reading
Filed under: Low wage workers, Organizing | Tagged: AirMall, Baltimore, Baltimore-Washington Airport, National Labor Relations Board, Unite Here | 2 Comments »
Posted on March 20, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Bruce Vail
Jeff Nelson (R), research director of UNITE HERE, with Charlotte Knox (L), a 25-year veteran housekeeper at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore who told the City Council that working conditions have deteriorated. (Photo courtesy of Bill Hughes/UNITE HERE)
UPDATE: The full 14-member Baltimore City Council voted unanimously on March 18 to approve a resolution aimed at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore hotel, where a union organizing drive is currently underway. The resolution, passed in a voice vote, calls on Hyatt to sign a ‘Labor Peace Agreement’ to improve hiring practices and to protect the city’s financial interests as a union-sponsored global boycott goes forward.
BALTIMORE—Hyatt Corp received an implicit vote of ‘no confidence’ from the Baltimore City Council late last week when the Labor Committee advanced a resolution to halt the hotel giant’s union suppression efforts.
The resolution pressures Hyatt to sign a ‘Labor Peace Agreement’ that would allow UNITE HERE Local 7’s organizing campaign at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore to go forward without obstruction from managers. Approved in a 3-0 vote on March 14, the resolution now heads to the full City Council, where it enjoys overwhelming support.
Filed under: Organizing, Strikes and work action | Tagged: Baltimore, Hyatt Hotels, Hyatt Hurts, UniteHere | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 18, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Bruce Vail
L to R: Union supporter Angel Castro stands with Hyatt workers Mike Jones and Tarrance Taylor, who were fired, then reinstated.
BALTIMORE—Three hotel workers fired last year for pro-union activism at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore are back on the job this week as part of a January 26 deal to settle unfair labor practice charges brought by UNITE HERE.
Mike Jones, the last of the fired employees to resume his old job, reported for work this week. He’s eager to restart his union organizing activities, he tells Working In These Times. (The story of Jones’ firing and his efforts to win his job back were the subject of a Working In These Times story in November of last year.)
Filed under: Busting the union busters, Organizing | Tagged: Baltimore, Hyatt, UniteHere | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 10, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Cory McCray
by Cory McCray
Metro Baltimore Council AFL-CIO President Ernie Grecco.
There have been many lessons that I have learned from being a part of the labor movement, and there have been many lessons that I have learned from Metro Baltimore Council AFLCIO President Ernie Grecco. Many of those lessons I have shared with friends and leaders within my community. A broad action that was exhibited by President Ernie Grecco, gives me another opportunity to share the learning lesson that we may already know, but find that it is always great to reiterate the principles that we know are effective.
Filed under: Organizing, Politics | Tagged: Baltimore, Baltimore AFL-CIO, Project Labor Agreements | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 17, 2012 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Cory McCray
Last week, I had the opportunity to be a part of a coalition of community leaders, business leaders, churches, and other progressive leaders whom are concerned about raising the Maryland minimum wage for working families. Currently Maryland minimum wage is $7.25/per hour which is roughly $15,000 for 40 hours times 52 weeks. Keep in mind that for tipped workers, the minimum wage is 50% of the full minimum wage ($3.63/per hour).
Interesting Points Learned During Coalition Meeting:
- 19 States have minimum wages that are higher than $7.25/per hour
- 7 States require that tipped workers be paid 100% of the minimum wage
Filed under: Low wage workers, Organizing | Tagged: Baltimore, Marlyand, minimum wage, poverty | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 3, 2012 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Bruce Vail
Fired hotel worker Mike Jones speaks out against the managers of the Hyatt Regency Baltimore at a Nov. 13 press conference. Also shown are NAACP representative Tessa Hill-Aston (center) and UNITE HERE Local 7 President Roxie Herbekian (far right). Photo by UNITE HERE.
BALTIMORE – “They fired me [for organizing],” said Hyatt worker Mike Jones at a Baltimore rally this month hosted by Hyatt Hurts, a nationwide campaign against labor abuses at the hotel chain. Jones, a 10-year employee of the Hyatt Regency Baltimore, is one of four workers there who claim they were axed in a crackdown against a unionization initiative by UNITE HERE Local 7.
Jones’ statement has been backed up by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which filed a complaint against the hotel November 1. In the complaint, NLRB Acting Regional Director Albert W. Palewicz ordered a formal hearing on the charges to be held on January 14, 2013.
According to Jones, the Local 7 unionization campaign has been under way for about 18 months, but was not confirmed to hotel managers until May of this year. Since then, he says, managers have singled out union supporters for unfair disciplinary procedures in order to build a case for firings and to intimidate other workers.
Filed under: Organizing, Strikes and work action | Tagged: Baltimore, Hyatt Hurts, NLRB, UniteHere | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 17, 2012 by dsalaborblogmoderator