Union Organizers Call McDonald’s Wage Raise “Publicity Stunt” – April 15 Strike Still Looms

 Organizers of a fast-food worker strike scheduled for later this month say the strike threat prompted McDonald’s to announce it is giving workers a pay raise. However, the strike is still on because the raise is not enough and most McDonald’s employees won’t get it.McDonald’s President and CEO Steve Easterbrook announced on Wednesday that the company would be paying workers at least $1 more than the local minimum wage starting in July. McDonald’s will also let workers who have been with the company for more than a year earn up to five days of paid time off each year. However, that only applies to corporate owned stores. There are three corporate owned stores in the Twin Cities area — two of them in Minneapolis — with the rest owned by franchisees. Continue Reading

Why I joined the picket line

I’ve never been a member of a union. In fact, I was raised in an anti-union family. My father-in-law broke a union picket line as a management-level worker before I was married. My lens was always from the management side of the labor equation.

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Hastings medical workers begin two-day strike

Employees at Regina Medical Center walked off the job today, commencing a two-day strike to protest the hospital’s current contract proposal. The 230 employees, represented by Service Employees International Union Healthcare Minnesota, include nurses’ aids, custodial workers and x-ray technicians. The current three-year contract expired at the end of October, and there are no additional contract negotiations planned. Unlike most recent labor disputes, the chief stumbling block here isn’t healthcare coverage, but rather employee retirement accounts. “We are here to save our pensions,” said Jan Salo, who has sterilized surgical tools at the facility for 20 years, at a rally this afternoon in front of the facility in Hastings. Continue Reading

Pickets up at GM facility in Hudson, Wis.

About 90 members of the United Auto Workers are picketing the General Motors Parts Distribution Center in Hudson, Wis., as part of the nationwide strike against GM that began Monday morning. “It’s about job security, about making sure they make some cars here instead of shipping them in from overseas,” said Dave Pertile, member and former chairman of UAW Local 722. Members were surprised that a strike began while negotiations were still ongoing, but “apparently things weren’t moving in the right direction,” he noted. “We hope it (the strike) is quick.” Pickets are up at the distribution center around the clock, he said. Continue Reading