Labor News Around The Nation

VANCOUVER, Wash.–As a result of a Dec. 15 vote, 886 hospital support workers at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center will be represented by a local affiliate of American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the Northwest Labor Press reported. An earlier vote on Nov. 22 showed a clear majority of the workers wanted to unionize, but neither of the unions seeking to represent them had an outright majority.

So the Dec. 15 runoff between AFT Local 5017 and the Service Employees International Union saw the AFT local win, 319-110. The newly unionized service and maintenance unit consists of certified nursing assistants, food service workers, laundry workers, and several dozen other occupational classifications. They’ll now be members of PeaceHealth Southwest Caregivers United, a sub-local of AFT Local 5017, the Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals.


QUINCY, Ill. –Machinists Local 822 members in Quincy, Ill., went back to their jobs in mid-December, after approving an improved contract offer from Hollister-Whitney, an elevator parts company. Its prior offer forced them into a two-week strike covering the first half of the month. It was the first strike at the firm since the late 1980s.Hollister proposed a six-year agreement, insufficient wage increases, a slow progression rate and high healthcare premiums.

The final five-year contract has a 2.5 percent yearly raise, a doubled progression rate of 50 cents every six months until workers hit the top rate and premium caps on health care. The signing bonus was increased from $1,000 to $1,500 and each worker got a Christmas bonus of $150 for each year of service. “Thanks to our members’ determination, strength and solidarity, they were able negotiate a final deal that better reflects their worth and the hard work they’ve each put into this company,” said District 9 Business Representative/ Organizer Ross Miller.

“They received some justice on the job. I would also like to thank the families, members of the community and other unions who came out to stand with the IAM on the picket line and donated food, money and fire wood. Their support made a huge difference.” Machinists Midwest Vice President Philip Gruber said the “show of solidarity and tenacity” by Local 822, “in the wake of the recent election and anti-union rhetoric spewing from Springfield” — the Illinois state capital — “and D.C., is exactly the kind of fight we mean when we say we’re putting the fight back into the Fighting Machinists.”