Monday, August 27, 2012

Reports Of The Unions' Death Are Greatly Exaggerated

The unions are dead! Long live the unions!
After a more than a year of bruising setbacks, one of Wisconsin's largest public employee labor councils saw a ray of hope this week as about 300 private sector employees of a Madison social services provider joined the union.

Social workers, psychiatrists, nurses and support employees at the Journey Mental Health Center voted to form two American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees bargaining units, going against the grain of steadily declining union membership in the private sector and more than a year of defeats for public sector labor organizations.

Journey workers say they organized not for higher pay or better benefits, but to have a voice in management, which has increased caseloads for counselors at the private nonprofit, which is largely funded by government grants.

The agency is justifiably trying to reduce its waiting list for its more than 13,000 clients, said Kevin McConeghey, chairman of the union organizing committee, but in doing so it heaped extra work on employees without asking their advice, and the result has been high turnover rates and much frustration.

"We tried to get management to listen, but we didn't get much response and that was one of the things that drove our effort," McConeghey said.
Welcome my union brothers and sisters! Solidarity!

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