Greetings from the Burgh, where we are closely monitoring a series of high-profile teachers’ strikes across Ohio, including in Columbus, over devastating property tax cuts.
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Tax Breaks Leading to Teachers’ Strikes in Ohio
As the school year begins, teachers and their students are feeling the pinch of new Ohio law that allows developers to get out of paying their fair share of taxes. To make up for budget cuts, many school districts are proposing measures to raise property taxes which has proved politically unpopular for many homeowners.
“The same year Columbus City Schools lost a record $51 million to tax abatements for wealthy developers and corporations, working families are being asked to approve a 13 percent increase in their property taxes,” the Columbus Education Association protested earlier this year. “In fact, the value of tax abatements draining our district budget has risen over 300 percent since 2014, according to data from the Franklin County Auditor… We call upon our Board of Education to join us in calling for the wealthiest among us to pay their fair share.”
Railroad Workers Blast Proposed Settlement
Earlier this month, President Biden created a Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) to propose a contract settlement when more than 115,000 railroad workers threatened to strike nationwide.
The PEB’s recommendations called for significant wage increases of 22 percent over five years. But rail workers fear that these wage increases could be eroded by the lifting of a cap that blocked workers from paying more than 15 percent for their health care.
Additionally, the major railroads are resisting a provision to guarantee railroad workers a minimum of 15 days paid sick leave; currently railroad workers are guaranteed no sick leave
For now, railroad workers are blocked by federal law from striking for 30 days as both sides consider the proposals. But workers warn the strike is quite possible if a satisfactory agreement is not reached.
“The supply chain problems are about to go from bad to much worse real quick if something doesn’t change for the better for workers real soon,” railroad engineer Nathan Bayer told More Perfect Union. “This is on the verge of being a real long-term national crisis, far worse than a little one-day strike could ever cause.”
Alabama General Electric Workers Move to Unionize
In Auburn, Alabama, 179 General Electric workers are seeking to unionize with IUE-CWA, demanding better pay and more flexibility and respect from their employer.
“GE workers in Alabama are sending a powerful message by coming together to form a union for the better pay, benefits and job security they have earned. Across the country at giant corporations like Amazon and Starbucks, CEOs are getting a wake-up call from workers making their voices heard,” IUE-CWA Conference Board Chairman Jerry Carney said in a statement announcing the effort at the GE plant.
Trader Joe’s Shutters Store After Workers Move to Unionize
Workers at Trader Joe’ wine store in Union Square, New York City, say their store was abruptly closed after workers decided to unionize. Dave Jamieson at HuffPost has more:
In the early morning hours of Aug. 11, Trader Joe’s abruptly informed them it was closing the popular wine shop, its only one in New York City.
Robert “Rab” Bradlea, a worker at the store and member of the committee, was blindsided when he woke up to texts about the closure last Thursday. Like three other workers from the store interviewed by HuffPost, Bradlea said he sees only one logical reason for it.
“They’re hoping this dissuades other workers from doing the same thing we’ve done,” the five-year Trader Joe’s veteran said.
Nurses Union Criticizes SEIU-Hospital Deal to Delay Seismic Protections
Finally, the California Nurses Association (CNA) blasted a proposed deal by the California Hospital Association and SEIU-UHW to delay implementation of earthquake safety measures at hospitals i for another seven years in exchange for wage increase.
“It is unconscionable that any union would demand handouts from our elected leaders to support a gift to the hospital industry instead of prioritizing the lives, protection, and safety of patients, hospital workers, and our communities,” said CNA President Sandy Reding, RN in a statement. “We call on California officials to reject this appalling proposed backroom deal that could endanger countless lives and access to essential care for many others across our state from the next major earthquake that is sure to come.”
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