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March 23, 2018
Posted On: Feb 21, 2018

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Wednesday February 21, 2018

From the Steward Update Arbitration Reporter
Discharge Overturned for Worker Who Failed Test
An employer wrongly discharged a worker for failing a water treatment certification test. An arbitrator ruled that the employer ordered the worker to take the test, but did not specify that he had to pass it. He noted that the order to take the test was not given in a timely fashion that allowed the worker an opportunity to study for the test. In addition, the arbitrator said the employer should have applied progressive discipline before discharging the worker. The arbitrator reinstated the worker with full back pay and ruled the worker should take the water certification test during 2017. 

Steward Update Survey: Winners Announced!
Back in December we reached out to Steward Update readers and asked them to complete a short survey to be entered in a drawing to receive one of four prizes.  We would like to thank all of you who replied, we had a fantastic response.  Congratulations to these prize winners!:
$100 Visa Gift Card:  Chuck Griffith of CWA Local 7777
$50 Gift card for Perry Kettner of GCC/IBT
$50 Gift card for Del Parson of IBEW Local 34
$50 Gift card for Maureen Ashford of APWI
The winners will be notified via email on how to claim their prizes. Thank you, again, for a wonderful response!

Labor Cartoon
Paul Kales

Steward Tip
The Union Difference
Many members covered by a union contract have forgotten just how cold the outside world really is.  An excellent educational activity is to produce comparisons between non-union jobs – particularly in the same industry – and union jobs.  Call it “The job’s the same, the union’s the difference” and keep telling the members about the value of their organization.
—Excerpted from The Union Steward’s Complete Guide (2nd Edition, Updated)

Today in Labor History
February 21
A state law was enacted in California providing the 8-hour day for most workers, but it was not effectively enforced - 1868

Transportation-Communication Employees Union merges with Brotherhood of Railway, Airline & Steamship Clerks, Freight Handlers, Express & Station Employees - 1969

United Farm Workers of America granted a charter by the AFL-CIO - 1972

February 22
Representatives of the Knights of Labor and the United Mine Workers meet in St. Louis with 20 other organizations to plan the founding convention of the People’s Party. Objectives: end political corruption, spread the wealth, and combat the oppression of the rights of workers and farmers - 1892
Albert Shanker dies at age 68. He served as president of New York City’s United Federation of Teachers from 1964 to 1984 and of the American Federation of Teachers from 1974 to 1997 - 1997
February 23
W.E.B. DuBois, educator and civil rights activist, born - 1868
The National Marine Engineers Association (now the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association), representing deck and engine officers on U.S. flag vessels, is formed at a convention in Cleveland, Ohio - 1875
The Journeyman Bakers’ National Union receives its charter from the American Federation of Labor - 1887
William Randolph Hearst’s San Francisco Examiner began publishing articles on the menace of Japanese laborers, leading to a resolution in the California legislature that action be taken against their immigration - 1904
Woody Guthrie wrote “This Land Is Your Land” following a frigid trip—partially by hitchhiking, partially by rail—from California to Manhattan. The Great Depression was still raging. Guthrie had heard Kate Smith’s recording of “God Bless America” and resolved to himself: “We can’t just bless America, we’ve got to change it” - 1940
(Woody Guthrie: A Life: Folksinger and political activist Woody Guthrie contributed much to the American labor movement, not the least of which are his classic anthems "Union Maid" and "This Land Is Your Land." This is an easy-to-read, honest description of Guthrie’s life, from a childhood of poverty to an adulthood of music and organizing—and a life cut short by incurable disease. Guthrie’s life and work inspired millions while he lived and continues to do so through musicians such as his son Arlo, Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, Billy Bragg and Bruce Springsteen, to name just a few. Guthrie is portrayed as he was—an imperfect being but one with a gift that helped millions as they struggled toward better lives.)
Association of Flight Attendants granted a charter by the AFL-CIO - 1984
Following voter approval for the measure in 2003, San Francisco’s minimum wage rises to $8.50, up from $6.75 - 2004

—Compiled and edited by David Prosten.

Steward Update Weekly is brought to you by your union and Union Communication Services—Worker Institute at Cornell ILR, publisher of the Steward Update print edition newsletter, which provides union stewards with helpful information and advice. We hope the Steward Update Weekly will be a helpful tool in your important work as a steward for your union; if you have questions or suggestions on how the Weekly can be more useful, please email us at

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