Imagine an employer giving a unionized workforce an ultimatum for concessions, then imposing cuts when the local union balked. That is what happened, and the employer is the AFL-CIO.
Employees of the AFL-CIO say the labor group is not practicing what it preaches, and they’re prepared to picket over it.
About 50 janitors, drivers, secretaries, and accountants at the union’s offices in greater Washington, all represented by the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU), voted Tuesday to authorize a strike if their employer does not meet their demands. The AFL-CIO offered them a new contract in September that included a three-year wage freeze, less reliable hours, cuts to sick leave, and weaker seniority rights. After they rejected those terms, the AFL-CIO notified them Monday it would impose the contract.
What the AFL-CIO is doing almost sounds like union busting. That’s how Trumka would put it if a private employer used those tactics. In fact, Trumka is currently running a campaign attacking private employers as greedy and demanding more concessions from workers, which makes this strike sound a bit “inconvenient.” It will be interesting to see whether Trumka ends up crossing the picket line.
Matt Austin owns Austin Legal, LLC, a boutique law firm based in Ohio that limits its representation to employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can reach Matt by calling him at (614) 843-3041 or emailing him at Matt@MattAustinLaborLaw.com.