Illinois state employees and nurses, government-contracted tech workers, airport workers and helicopter pilots all have won a voice at work with AFL-CIO unions recently.
In Illinois, more than 500 Illinois state public service administrators won their fight for representation with AFSCME Council 31 after waiting more than a year and a half for their ballots to be counted. As Henry Bayer, Council 31 executive director, says: “In tough times, a strong union is essential.”
With AFSCME, all public service workers have the job security and decent wages and benefits only a strong union can provide.
The workers perform audits and other functions for many state agencies, primarily the Department of Revenue and the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.
In a separate election last month, 180 working nurse supervisors also joined Council 31. They work in mental health and developmental centers operated by the Department of Human Services and in other state agencies.
Meanwhile, 275 workers employed by Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) of Indian Springs, Nev., voted to join the Machinists (IAM). The CSC employees, who work at Nellis Air Force Base, a major training location for U.S. and foreign military air crews, now can bargain for raises under the Service Contract Act. The Service Contract Act covers employees working for employers holding contracts with the federal government.
In Ontario, Canada, 200 employees of Toronto Ground Airport Services voted to join IAM Local 2323, following a hard-fought organizing win. District 140 organizer Ian Morland says:
This is a very rewarding victory over an aggressive and anti-union employer. This campaign has been under way since May and it involved terminations and worker intimidation by the employer. We took the matter to the Federal Labour Board, who awarded us a vote and reinstatement for the terminated workers and severance for those who did not wish to return to work for this employer.
The new members include dispatchers and wheelchair assistants for physically challenged patrons who use the airport and its services.
Also in Canada, the 275-member Global Helicopter Pilots Association (GHPA) has affiliated with the Office and Professional Employees (OPEIU). The group will be known as GHPA, OPEIU Local 103.
After the Canadian pilots formed a union in 2006, they were forced to fight a series of legal challenges mounted by their employer, CHC, Helicopter Corp. GHPA voted to affiliate with OPEIU in March 2007, and affiliation was granted upon the recent issuance of a decision by the Canadian Industrial Relations Board. Kevin Kistler, OPEIU director of Organization and Field Services, says “this was a long time coming,”
but we’re glad we now represent the more than 275 GHPA pilots. Contract negotiations have begun, and we look forward to achieving an agreement that provides improved compensation, benefits, and working conditions.