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September 19, 2017
Posted On: Aug 16, 2017

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

From the Steward Update Arbitration Reporter
Rule on Funeral Leave Pay Covers Non-church Service
Funeral leave pay should be granted to an employee whose father had died even though there was no church representation at the father’s memorial service. The company had denied payment because the grievant produced no note from a church representative that a service had been held. An arbitrator ruled that a clause in the contract said funeral pay should be paid for three days in cases of the death of an immediate relative provided that a death notice was presented, which it was. The ruling noted that such pay was to be provided for the purpose of “attending the funeral or other services.” The arbitrator found that the memorial service, which included a speech by the widow and the planting of a tree in the deceased’s honor, met the definition of “other services.”

Labor Quote
Workers of the World awaken
Break your chains, demand your rights.
All the wealth you make is taken
by exploiting parasites.
—From Workers of the World Awaken, words & music by Joe Hill.

Labor Cartoon
A.A. McCourt

Steward Tip

Unionism as a Movement
What makes a good union steward? Dozens of qualities go into the mix, obviously, but while discussing this question one night in a leadership training class, a steward from CWA Local 2106 in Salisbury, Maryland, came up with something unique. She said that a good steward brings in information from outside the workplace about the union movement as a whole, exposing members to bigger issues and broader fights. She specifically mentioned local political activities, area labor battles, union organizing campaigns and even a boycott list. Everyone else in the class realized the importance of this good quality because it put the role of a steward in a whole new perspective. A steward often gets locked into handling only day-to-day problems in a particular workplace – dealing with the contract, with a specific workforce, with a narrow set of problems. A somewhat broader definition of a steward’s job description includes building the union:  increasing membership involvement, creating group grievances, even signing up new members – but, still, focused only on the steward’s particular workplace.
—Excerpted from The Union Steward’s Complete Guide (2nd Edition, Updated)

Today in Labor History
August 16
George Meany, plumber, first AFL-CIO president, born in City Island, Bronx. In his official biography, George Meany and His Times, he said he had "never walked a picket line in his life." He also said he took part in only one strike (against the United States Government to get higher pay for plumbers on welfare jobs). Yet he also firmly said that "You only make progress by fighting for progress." Meany served as secretary-treasurer of the AFL from 1940 to 1952, succeeded as president of the AFL, and then continued as president of the AFL-CIO following the historic merger in 1955 until retiring in 1979 - 1894

Homer Martin, early United Auto Workers leader, born in Marion, Ill. - 1902
Congress passes the National Apprenticeship Act, establishing a national advisory committee to research and draft regulations establishing minimum standards for apprenticeship programs. It was later amended to permit the Labor Department to issue regulations protecting the health, safety and general welfare of apprentices, and to encourage the use of contracts in their hiring and employment - 1937
National Agricultural Workers Union merges into Amalgamated Meat Cutters & Butcher Workmen - 1960
Int’l Union of Wood, Wire & Metal Lathers merges with United Brotherhood of Carpenters & Joiners - 1979

August 17
IWW War Trials in Chicago, 95 go to prison for up to 20 years - 1918
Bakery & Confectionery Workers Int’l Union of America merges with Tobacco Workers Int’l Union to become Bakery, Confectionery & Tobacco Workers - 1978
Year-long Hormel meatpackers' strike begins in Austin, Minn. - 1985
August 18
Radio station WEVD, named for Eugene V. Debs, goes on the air in New York City, operated by The Forward Association as a memorial to the labor and socialist leader - 1927

Founding of the American Federation of Government Employees, following a decision by the National Federation of Federal Employees (later to become part of the Int’l Association of Machinists) to leave the AFL - 1932

—Compiled and edited by David Prosten.

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