Union Workers File Federal Civil Rights Charges Against Cretex for the Mistreatment of Latinos

Fifteen members of Laborers Local 563 filed Federal civil rights charges today with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) against Cretex for its treatment of Latino workers. Members of Local 563 who work at Cretex' Shakopee, Minn. concrete plant have been on the picket lines since June 19 when they went on strike to protest company plans to slash retirement benefits.  Read more »

NLRB Nominees Set for Full Confirmation Vote

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee yesterday voted (13–9) to send the nominations of Nancy Schiffer and Kent Hirozawa for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to the full Senate for a confirmation vote. The vote will likely be next week.

Schiffer is a former AFL-CIO associate general counsel who also served as an attorney in the NLRB’s regional office in Detroit and in private practice. She told the committee earlier this week: Read more »

Harry Melander: Building builders, growing our economy

Drive to just about any region in our State. Look up or down, and you will see: "We are back."

You see new mining opportunities on the Iron Range and housing developments in our urban core. You see expansion of our medical center in Rochester and new investments in our regional transit system. All are indications that "we are back."

After suffering unemployment rates that reached Depression-year rates, the Building Trades industry is once again back in full swing. Union members are finding work, collecting paychecks and stimulating their local economies. Read more »

Kids These Days: Unions, Workers' Rights and the 'Now' Generation

You've probably heard it from a colleague, or maybe from a friend or family member: "Kids these days... they're just too ambivalent to care about labor unions or workers' rights."  But as it turns out, that's just not true. Young people are actually big fans of unions. Fully 61% of young people view labor unions favorably—that's more than 10 points higher than the national average—according to a new Pew poll. Read more »

Local 563 Delivers the Message of its Diverse Workforce against Cretex to Local Hispanic radio market

Listeners of AM 630 Radio Rey and La Mera Buena FM 107.5 will soon hear how cutting retirement benefitswould devastate workers’ futures.   Radio advertisements produced by Laborers Local 563 in response to Elk River-based Cretex plan to cut employee retirement benefits by roughly 80 percent are set to air on two Twin Cities’ Spanish speaking radio stations.  Read more »

Economic Policy Institute: CEOs Recovering Well, Workers Not So Much

CEOs Recovering Well, Workers Not So Much originally appeared on the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) blog.
Escalating CEO compensation is a major contributor to income inequality. Along with financial sector pay, growing CEO compensation has helped more than double the income share of the top 1 percent over the past three decades. Read more »

IBEW Apprentices Rescue Seniors from Pittsburgh Nursing Home Blaze

Pittsburgh Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 5 members are being credited with saving dozens of local senior citizens from a fire that tore through a nursing home June 25. Community College of Allegheny County instructor Tammy Miller was teaching a class of 24 IBEW members when some of the students spotted trouble at the senior living facility next door. Miller says: Read more »

Striking Workers Keep Health Benefits Thanks to Strike Fund and the Generosity of Other Unions

In a showing of support and solidarity, members of Laborers Local 563 will continue to receive health insurance benefits even though they are on the picket line fighting to keep their retirement benefits. A strike fund has been established by Local 563 to support the more than 40 construction craft laborers who are on strike against Cretex at the company's Shakopee facility. Read more »


Having failed in yet another frontal attack on construction workers' wages, through defeat of their plan to kill Davis-Bacon Act prevailing wage requirements, workers' foes are trying a new tack: Change the wage base, to make the wages as low as possible.

That's what they set out to do at a mid-June hearing before the ideologically polarized House Education and the Workforce Committee – a panel packed with Republican foes of workers and their pay. Read more »

Striking Laborers step up pressure with ad campaign

Union workers at Cretex Companies are stepping up pressure for a fair contract by airing ads on three Twin Cities radio stations.  Members of Laborers Local 563 went on strike June 19, pledging to walk the picket line until Cretex abandons its attempt to strip workers of their pension benefits.

Since negotiations on a new contract for 38 members of Local 563 began in January, Cretex has refused to budge from its proposal to quit making contributions to workers' pensions, Local 563 representative Steve Buck said. Read more »