Hundreds rally to support striking Laborers at Cretex

Arturo Sanchez is accustomed to working outside in all kinds of weather, making concrete products at Cretex Companies. He didn’t mind the hard work, he said, because he was earning a decent living and putting money into a pension plan for the day he would retire.

Now Cretex wants to take that money and convert the workers’ secure, union-based pension plan into a 401(k) worth much less. That prompted Sanchez and some 40 other members of Local 563 of the Laborers International Union of North America to walk off the job seven weeks ago. Read more »

Stand Up for Cretex Workers Rally planned for August 6

Members of Laborers Local 563 are on strike because their employer, Cretex Companies, has threatened to cut retirement benefits roughly 80 percent for employees at the company's Shakopee, Minn. plant—destroying the dream of a secure retirement for dozens of area households. Read more »

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 »