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About Northwest labor press. (Portland , Ore.) 1987-current | View Entire Issue (July 21, 2006)
...Goal is to restrict union membership ...TriMet seems embarked
on campaign against ATU
(From Page 1)
right to join a union and bargain collec-
tively from 8 million Americans
throughout the labor market.
The Economic Policy Institute has
analyzed the potential impact of the de-
cisions in two ways: by examining the
supervisory duties associated with the
occupations involved in dozens of cases
pending before the NLRB or its hearing
officers, and by examining the supervi-
sory duties of the entire U.S. private-sec-
tor workforce that is covered by the
Looking just at the dozens of pend-
ing cases, the position advocated by the
employers involved would lead to the
exclusion of approximately 1.4 million
employees as supervisors.
Across all occupations, this extreme
employer-centric position would strip 8
million more workers of their right to
participate in a union and bargain col-
lectively, adding to the approximately
8.6 million first-line supervisors that the
Government Accountability Office esti-
mates have already been excluded by
prior interpretations of the NLRA.
(Editor’s Note: The authors work for
the Economic Policy Institute, a non-
profit, nonpartisan think tank that con-
ducts research on economic issues and
makes policy recommendations.)
CCUPATIONS DIRECTLY AFFECTED BY PENDING NLRB CASES
Census occupation title
Editors and Reporters
Licensed Practical Nurses
Sales Rep. Mining, Mftg. and Wholesale
Weighers, Measurers, Checkers
Baggage Porters and Bellhops
Tool and Die Makers
Sawing Machine Operators
Printing Press Operators
Production Inspectors, Examiners
Freight, Stock, and Material Handlers
duties at Level 2
EPI employed the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ estimates of the share of each occupation that has so-called “supervisory” duties. This share
is based on the factors provided in the BLSs’ National Compensation Survey, which assigns a level to each occupation according to its skill
content along 10 dimensions, including knowledge, complexity, etc. One of these 10 “leveling factors” is “Supervisory Duties,” describing
“the level of supervisory responsibility for a position.” EPI identified that those having supervisory duties at what NCS calls “Level 2” will
be impacted by the potential ruling.
(From Page 1)
much dues money, it goes to the Execu-
tive Board and the membership for ap-
Currently, close to 60 grievances are
at the point of going to arbitration.
The union has other beefs with
TriMet, including a longstanding cam-
paign to get bathroom breaks for bus
drivers. But it’s the grievance issue that
threatens to bankrupt Local 757 — or
force it to give up defending some of its
members — if every complaint, no mat-
ter how small, becomes a lengthy and
It became an issue in the recent in-
ternal union election, with some candi-
dates for union office objecting to
falling bank balances and soaring ex-
penditures on attorneys fees and “pro-
Much of those professional services
were provided by arbitrators and court
reporters, Hunt said. Hunt was the lo-
cal’s vice president, and won the elec-
tion in June to replace retiring president
Hunt says the union has an obliga-
tion to defend its members, even when
Thousands rally nationwide to protest pending NLRB cases
EUGENE — More than 100 people took part in a
rally here July 11 to demand that the National Labor
Relations Board conduct public hearings on a series of
cases that could erode union rights.
The rally was part of a national outcry by the labor
movement July 10-13 that culminated in a march of
more than 1,000 people on the NLRB office building
in Washington, D.C.
Rallies were held in more than 20 cities nation-
wide, including Eugene and Portland.
“I don’t know about you, but the thought of a far-
away court taking away my union rights, and sending
me back to 1935 workplace conditions, scares the
heck out of me,” said Cj Mann, president of the Lane
County Labor Council in Eugene. “And it should scare
the heck out of you. Without unions, EVERY worker
loses. We lose the only advocate we have for safer
workplaces and fairness at work. Without unions, we
lose our chance to bargain collectively for fair pay for
our labor, family health benefits, and secure retire-
ment. Without unions, every worker is vulnerable to
Three of the five-member NLRB were recess ap-
pointments by President Bush, thus voiding Senate
confirmation. On numerous rulings that have weak-
ened unions the board has voted 3-2 or 4-1.
Bush’s NLRB “is the most anti-worker, anti-col-
lective bargaining, anti-union board in the 71-year his-
tory of the National Labor Relations Act,” said AFL-
CIO Organizing Director Stewart Acuff, who attended
the Eugene rally.
After the marchers arrived at the NLRB headquar-
ters in Washington, D.C., 10 leaders, including Acuff
and American Federation of State, County and Mu-
nicipal Employees Secretary-Treasurer William Lucy
blocked its front doors, planning to be arrested for
peaceful civil disobedience.
When police refused to make arrests, the 10, with
police cooperation, strode to the middle of an adjacent
busy intersection where they lnked arms, awaiting the
paddy wagons. But police decided not to arrest them at
all, one officer told Press Associates Inc.
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that gets expensive. But he’s unhappy
that so many grievances aren’t being re-
solved quickly or cheaply.
“It’s painful,” Hunt said. “They’ve
tried to run our reserves down.”
And Hunt thinks its intentional.
Bob Nelson, TriMet’s executive di-
rector of operations, downplayed the
problem, saying he doesn’t see the
grievance process as broken.
“I think it’s working,” Nelson said.
Nelson acknowledges the number of
grievances is up since the contract was
signed, but attributes that to the newness
of some contract terms. And some of
the delay in scheduling, he says, comes
from the fact that bus operators aren’t at
the same physical location as their su-
Supervisors know they have the au-
thority to resolve issues at the first step,
he said, and aren’t required to check
with superiors. Nelson said manage-
ment is working to reduce the backlog
at higher levels.
Come what may, ATU officers are
keen to make sure the contract is en-
Local 757 members agreed to an un-
usually long union contract — six years
— because TriMet offered security, in-
creasingly rare in union contracts these
days. Bus operators and mechanics
make over $22 an hour, and under the
contract get annual cost-of-living raises
and all benefits maintained at the cur-
rent rate, even as the cost of health cov-
erage rises. The contract won’t expire
until Nov. 30, 2009.
In April, the union tried to get the at-
tention of TriMet general manager Fred
Hansen with an open letter on the front-
page of a special issue of the union
newsletter. Hunt said Hansen re-
sponded. They met, but so far haven’t
resolved the grievance issue.
To get results, the union is consider-
ing going public, relying on the fact that
TriMet is to some extent a political
agency. The union will likely start by
taking its complaint to the TriMet
Board of Directors, whose seven mem-
bers are appointed by the governor of
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NORTHWEST LABOR PRESS
JULY 21, 2006