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Bonnie Ladin Union Skills Training Program Provides Great Opportunity for Union Leaders and Staff, Community Activists

Adapted from the AFL-CIO

photo from AFL-CIO

photo from AFL-CIO

The AFL-CIO Bonnie Ladin Union Skills Training Program (BLUS) 2015 classes are now open for registration.

The program is designed for union leaders, staff and community activists and offers intensive hands-on training around the areas of collective bargaining; organizing; arbitration and grievance handling; leadership for new union officers; strategic campaigns for contracts; teaching techniques; and best financial practices.

Taught by a group of experienced instructors, the BLUS program brings together rising union activists and community allies with the end goal of helping participants to better serve their unions and communities.

The classes cover many aspects of union training, such as writing contract language, arbitration, and organizing.

Most classes are held at the MITAGS training center in Linthicum, MD. MITAGS is close to BWI Airport, Amtrak, and I-95. Free shuttle service is offered to and from the airport and train station.

For more information, visit aflcio.org/union-skills.

This is a great opportunity for UFCW Locals and members to get more involved in their union, workplace, and community.

Spokane Hospital Workers Vote Union Yes

spokaneLast month, service and maintenance workers at Providence Holy Family Hospital in Spokane, Wash., voted ‘Union Yes’ to join UFCW Local 21. More than 240 workers at the hospital won union representation.

UFCW Local 21 members from the nearby Providence Sacred Heart hospital were an active part of the campaign, reaching out to Holy Family workers with stories of their own organizing drive and first contract.

“Several years ago, we organized a union because we wanted job security and protection from management. Since we formed our union, we have had significant pay increases, rights at work, and peace of mind,” recounted Colette O’Harra, a housekeeper at Providence Sacred Heart. “I am proud to stand with the workers at Holy Family as they join our union family.”

Workers at Providence Holy Family look forward to using their new voice on the job to improve patient care and to negotiate a contract that provides better job security and fairness in the workplace.

We Want to Work Full-Time: IKEA Worker Speaks Out

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Dan Stillwell, a part-time worker from the IKEA store in Pittsburgh, Pa., spoke to Newshour about barely getting by while working seven days a week.

For thousands of workers in the retail industry, working full-time doesn’t mean the security of a full-time job. Instead, many workers cobble together multiple part-time jobs with no benefits. The result, predictably, is lower wages, fewer benefits, and schedules that make life impossible for families.

But workers at IKEA are coming together in a campaign to change the corporate practices that deny workers full-time positions. The workers have gathered more than 6,000 signatures on a petition asking IKEA to offer every employee a full-time position. The workers have also taken their fight public, most recently giving an interview to PBS’s Newshour.

Dan Stillwell, a part-time worker from the IKEA store in Pittsburgh, Pa., spoke to Newshour about barely getting by while working seven days a week.

As Dan explained to Newshour, “I’d like to have one job with benefits – forty hours – to pay my bills and be able to save up for retirement. Or I won’t be able to stop working until I die.”

Dan works fifty hours each week, but is not eligible for benefits at either of his two part-time jobs. Without benefits, he cannot afford health insurance. After investing 16 years with IKEA, he only makes $9.25 an hour. But Dan’s story is familiar to many retail workers. That is why he joined IKEA workers from across the country to speak out for a union voice at work.

Dan first spoke out in an editorial to a Pittsburgh newspaper. Since then, IKEA workers have been gaining momentum in their push for full-time hours. Last month, workers from IKEA stores across the country traveled to IKEA’s North American headquarters to deliver their petition directly to the company’s top management. Now, media and economists are taking notice of the struggle of workers putting in full-time hours at part-time jobs.

You can watch Dan’s interview on PBS’s Newshour, or read more about his story in an editorial that he published in the Pittsburgh News-Gazette. To show your support for IKEA workers, sign their petition for full-time hours.