News of the Week: NUHW pickets and contract victory draw headlines

NewsMay 23, 2018

Each week we share articles on subjects that are important to NUHW and its members. Here are several must-read stories over the past seven days:

The Los Angeles Times wrote about our Sodexo Fountain Valley workers winning a contract with raises of up to 42 percent over the next 18 months.

The San Fernando Valley Business Journal covered our picket outside Providence Tarzana Medical Center.

The Supreme Court dealt an initial blow to millions of workers Monday May 22 in the first of two major disputes this term pitting corporations against labor unions, USA Today reports. In a 5-4 decision controlled by the court’s conservative wing, the justices ruled that employers have the right to insist that labor disputes get resolved individually, rather than allowing workers to join together in class action lawsuits. Millions of workers routinely sign such arbitration agreements unknowingly, only to find out later that they are barred from collective action. About 25 million workers are affected by those contracts.

The Supreme Court has still not ruled in the Janus case. A new study by the Illinois Economic Policy Institute predicts that a Supreme Court decision forbidding public sector unions from collecting so-called fair share fees will drive down public sector union membership in California by about 9 percent and cost public employees $2,079 a year in income. The analysis, covered in the Sacramento Bee, is based on a comparison of union membership and public sector compensation in fair share states like California and in right-to-work states like Texas. It found that public sector compensation would fall about 3.6 percent if right-to-work becomes the law of the land.

Modern Healthcare published a lengthy story on families continuing to battle insurers to get coverage for needed mental healthcare or addiction treatment. Insurers blame access problems on the national shortage of behavioral health professionals and a lack of reliable quality measures for behavioral health facilities.
The first comprehensive study of the massive pay gap between the US executive suite and average workers has found that the average CEO-to-worker pay ratio has now reached 339 to 1, with the highest gap approaching 5,000 to 1, The Guardian reports. In 188 of the 225 companies in the report’s database, a single chief executive’s pay could be used to pay more than 100 workers; the average worker at 219 of the 225 companies studied would need to work at least 45 years to earn what their CEO makes in one.

A union representing AT&T Inc. employees filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board accusing the telecom giant of illegally withholding information about how it plans to spend its windfall from President Donald Trump’s tax overhaul. Bloomberg reports that The Communications Workers of America, which is currently in negotiations over contracts covering 14,000 AT&T employees, said in a complaint filed Friday that the company is violating the federal labor law that requires firms to provide the unions that represent their staff with information germane to collective bargaining. The union alleges that the company “has frustrated the bargaining process” by refusing to provide the data, according to the complaint, which was obtained by Bloomberg News

Another healthcare scandal for USC, whose former Medical School dean was was revealed last year to have done drugs with prostitutes, reports the New York Times. The dean’s replacement then quickly resigned following sexual harassment allegations. Now the university acknowledged it failed for decades to properly investigate complaints of sexual misconduct by its only on-campus gynecologist. Even after it finally suspended Dr. George Tyndall, it failed to report him to the California Medical Board.