Long Island Rail Road workers reluctantly set strike start date

by Laura Clawson<

Workers on the Long Island Rail Road say they have been forced to set a strike date by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s refusal to bargain. Two Presidential Emergency Boards have sided with the workers, and the union asked the MTA to extend a cooling-off period so that a strike wouldn’t hit Long Island during its peak tourist season. However, the MTA is refusing that offer, saying it would hit schoolchildren instead of tourists.
Continue reading

Booming Business at Alabama Shipyard Fuels New Union Campaign

by  Bruce Vail

Vail_Alabama_Shipyard_Union_250_251

The Austal shipyard in Mobile, Alabama specializes in building littoral combat ships like the USS Independence. (Austal)

Rapid business growth may be the key to finally unionizing shipbuilding workers in Mobile, Ala., where an Australia-based defense contractor has successfully fought union organizing for more than a decade.

That’s the estimation of Ron Ault, President of the AFL-CIO’S Metal Trades Department (MTD), an umbrella group for unions representing boilermakers, machinists, pipefitters, and other skilled shipbuilding workers from around the country. “There is a boom in Gulf Coast shipyards now,” Ault says, and high demand for skilled workers may give unions a foothold. Gulf shipyards are recruiting workers from all parts of the country, including heavily unionized areas, and the presence of this whole new generation of workers is a real opportunity for labor organizing, according to Ault. Continue reading