Summary of Daily Labor Report, as Reported by BNA, For Week of March 7, 2008








1.  American Axle Strike To Cut Hours At GM's Janesville Plant


JANESVILLE, WI- General Motors Corp.'s Janesville, Wis., assembly plant will work reduced shifts next week because of parts shortages caused by a strike at American Axle and Manufacturing Holding Inc.  Janesville, which employs about 2,300, operates two 10-hour shifts four days a week, but a spokesman said both shifts would be cut to five hours next week.  Talks between the United Auto Workers and American Axle are scheduled to resume Thursday for the first time since the strike began Feb. 26.  Tenneco involved: The strike has idled six plants that produce GM pickups and sport-utility vehicles, putting nearly 14,000 hourly workers on temporary layoff, and has caused production slowdowns at other suppliers.  Lake Forest-based -based Tenneco Inc., which makes exhaust systems for GM, said Wednesday that it has laid off about 630 workers in Canada. Lear Corp has laid off 1,000 workers in the U.S. and Canada.


Source: Chicago Tribune


2.  Private Sector Charges Jump In Fiscal 2007, With Race, Retaliation Most Common Claims


WASHINGTON, DC- The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received 82,792 private sector discrimination charges in fiscal 2007, a 9 percent jump over the previous year and the commission's highest volume of charges since 2002, EEOC announced March 5.  Race discrimination, retaliation, and sex discrimination were the most frequently alleged violations by individuals submitting charges to EEOC, with retaliation charges reaching a record-high level of 26,663, the commission said.


Source: DLR


3.  Growth In Output Per Hour Slowed In Fourth Quarter To 1.9 Percent, BLS Says


WASHINGTON, DC- Growth in nonfarm business productivity slowed to 1.9 percent in the fourth quarter at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, after surging 6.3 percent in the prior three months, according to figures released March 5 by the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Despite the slowdown at the end of 2007, output per hour rose 2.9 percent during the year, more than the 0.9 percent in 2006 and the most since 4.7 percent in 2003, BLS said in revised fourth-quarter productivity estimates.


Source: DLR


4.  Planned Job Cuts Decreased Slightly In February To 72,091, Challenger Reports


CHICAGO- U.S. employers announced 72,091 job cuts in February, down 3.9 percent from the 74,986 planned workforce reductions in January, Challenger, Gray & Christmas reported March 5.   The Chicago-based outplacement firm described the February number of job cuts as "virtually unchanged" from that of January. The February figure is 14.2 percent lower than in February 2007, when 84,014 planned job cuts were reported.


Source: DLR


5.  Peninsula Nurses Vote On Authorizing Strike

SAN MATEO, CA- Some 700 Peninsula nurses began voting Monday on whether to authorize their union to call a strike of up to 10 days at two Peninsula hospitals.  The nurses work for the Peninsula Medical Center in Burlingame and Mills Health Center in San Mateo, which are operated by Mills-Peninsula Health Services, an affiliate of Sutter Health.  The local nurses are among 5,000 nurses at 11 Bay Area hospitals operated by Sutter. All the nurses are taking a strike vote that is expected to be completed this week.

Source: San Jose Mercury News, By Tim Simmers

6.  Nurses At San Leandro Hospital, Alta Bates Summit In Berkeley And Oakland OK Strike

BERKELEY, CA & OAKLAND, CA- Nurses at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center campuses in Berkeley and Oakland and at San Leandro Hospital voted Monday to give their union the authority to call a 10-day strike.  This would be the third California Nurses Association strike on Bay Area hospitals in the Sutter Health system.  Nurses at 11 Sutter hospitals held two-day walkouts in October and December, citing concerns over breaks, health care benefits and reduced staffing at Sutter facilities.  The union hasn't provided a specific time line for a strike, but must give 10 days' notice before striking.


Source: East Bay Business Times, By Marie-Anne Hogarth


7.  Bus Co. Says It's Making Final Offer


NEW YORK- Lakeland Bus Lines has told drivers and mechanics it plans to present a "best and final" contract offer, a union representative reported Tuesday. The union expects employees to vote on the proposal sometime this weekend.  John J. McHale, president of Local 1614 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, said the company's decision to make the offer came at a Feb. 20 meeting between the two sides and attended by a federal mediator.


Source: New Jersey Herald, By Bruce A. Scruton


8.  Delphi Thermal Feels AAM Strike


NEWYORK & MICHIGAN- The UAW strike against American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc. facilities in Western New York and Michigan continued to have a ripple effect as the labor dispute entered its second week March 4.  Delphi Thermal Systems will temporarily lay off 190 workers at its Lockport plant at the end of this week because of the strike.  The number of General Motors Corp. U.S. plant closures is expected to reach seven by next week. Thousands of employees will be temporarily laid off.  GM's engine plant in Tonawanda, however, continues to escape the impact, said a plant spokeswoman, who added that she does not anticipate any immediate affect.  GM is American Axle's largest customer.  The strike involves 510 United Auto Workers union members at American Axle operations in Tonawanda and Cheektowaga. Picketing continues at both sites, a union official said.



Source: Buffalo Business First, By Thomas Hartley


9.  BLET Reaches Tentative Pact With Amtrak, Ratification Ballots Due By End Of Month


WASHINGTON, DC- Ratification ballots are due to be returned March 28 for a tentative agreement reached between Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (BLET) and Amtrak covering 1,300 locomotive engineers, the union said March 4.  If ratified, the tentative collective bargaining agreement would replace a contract that became amendable on Jan. 1, 2000. The agreement covers engineers who operate Amtrak's national passenger railroad trains throughout its 21,000 mile, 46- state route system.

The tentative agreement was reached on Feb. 19 and is based on the recommendations of the Presidential Emergency Board established to investigate collective bargaining disputes between Amtrak and eight other rail unions, BLET said (2 DLR A-10, 1/4/08). BLET was not one of the unions involved in that dispute.  The tentative agreement is "typically identical to agreements reached" by the eight rail unions involved in the PEB, BLET said (13 DLR A-1, 1/22/08).


Source: DLR


10.  Representation Plan By Health System, SEIU In Ohio Pledges No Employee Pressure


CINCINNATI, OH- Under an innovative set of ground rules, 7,700 employees of Catholic Healthcare Partners, the largest nonprofit medical system in Ohio, will decide later this month whether or not they want union representation.  CHP and Service Employees International Union District 1199 WV/KY/OH have established pre-balloting ground rules and procedures governing the upcoming Ohio representation elections designed to allow workers "to freely choose without undue pressure," the union's Hospital Program and Policy Director Joyce Moscato said March 4.


Source: DLR


11.  UFCW Ratifies King Kullen, Stop & Shop Contracts


NEWYORK, NY & LONG ISLAND, NY- Members of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 342 ratified separate four-year contracts with King Kullen Grocery Co. March 3 and with Stop & Shop Supermarkets March 1 that together cover about 1,125 meat, seafood, and deli workers at 98 supermarkets in the New York City metropolitan area, the union announced.  In statements posted on its Web site, Local 342 said the King Kullen agreement was "overwhelmingly approved" in the March 3 voting. The contract includes "improved wages, improvement for second tier members, a pension supplement, an annuity, improvements for part-timers, second tier cutters, second tier wrappers, second tier seafood and deli clerks, and second tier managers," the union said.


Source: DLR


12.  Hardin County Teachers On Strike


HARDIN COUNTY, IL- School is cancelled in Hardin county the rest of the week due to a teachers strike. School administrators were unable to reach an agreement with the teachers union Monday, and as a result members say they will be picketing at the school starting Tuesday.  The union wants benefits and health insurance for teacher's aides, custodians, and other support staff members. School administrators say those workers knew the job didn't come with any benefits when they accepted the positions.

Source: WSIL TV, By Ryan Kruger

13.  IAM Members Ratify Three Contracts With Lockheed Martin For 4,900 Workers


WASHINGTON, DC- Members of the International Association of Machinists during meetings March 2 ratified three separate contracts covering some 4,900 workers at eight Lockheed Martin Corp. facilities located in several states.  IAM praised the agreement as the "best pay package" and the largest retirement benefit increase "ever achieved in our negotiations with Lockheed Martin." The union said the ratification vote marks the first time in nearly 20 years that workers ratified all three of the major contracts on the first vote.


Source: DLR


14.  UAW Members' Ratification Of Contract With Magna International Called Job Saver


SYRACUSE, NY- United Auto Workers locals 624 and 2149 members have voted to ratify a four-year labor contract with Magna International Inc. covering 2,500 workers with auto supplier New Process Gear Inc. in Syracuse, N.Y., that will reduce wages but save jobs at the plant, the union said.  By a 76 percent majority, production workers represented by Local 624 Feb. 22 ratified the agreement, while 92 percent of the salaried bargaining unit represented by Local 2149 voted for approval, according to Doug Havens, president of Local 624. He said in a Feb. 22 statement that the ratification vote was an "unselfish act" that "not only saved jobs at our facility, but it saved jobs throughout our community ... because of the financial support derived from our members."


Source: DLR


15.  Activity In Manufacturing Fell In February, Employment Continued To Decline, ISM Says


TEMPE, AZ- Economic activity in the manufacturing sector declined in February, reversing a slight rise in January, while factory employment fell for the fourth straight month, according to survey results released March 3 by the Institute for Supply Management.  ISM's manufacturing index fell to 48.3 percent in February, down 2.4 percentage points from 50.7 percent in January. An overall index above 50 percent indicates general expansion of the manufacturing economy, according to the Tempe, Ariz.-based institute. The manufacturing index has been at 50.0 percent or below for three of the past four months.


Source: DLR


16.  Ford To Lay Off 2,500 Workers, Cut Shifts At Plants For 'Efficiency'


CHICAGO & KENTUCKY- Ford Motor Co. March 3 announced plans to reduce shifts at three manufacturing plants and lay off 2,500 U.S. hourly workers as part of its ongoing effort to improve plant efficiency.  Ford also will delay restart of production until the fourth quarter at its Cleveland Engine Plant No. 1, where production resumption had been planned for May. That plant has been idle since May 2007.  Cleveland Engine Plant No. 2, which employs about 800 workers, will drop from two shifts to one shift in late April. The Chicago Assembly Plant, currently employing 2,300 workers, and the Louisville [Ky.] Assembly Plant, which has about 2,300 workers, will begin to operate on one shift this summer on a date not yet determined, the company said in a statement. 

Source: DLR


17.  Stoppage Planned At Good Shepherd Home


FOSTORIA, OH- Union officials informed Good Shepherd Home’s Executive Director Chris Widman Monday the UDCW Local 911 will commence a work stoppage March 15.  Union officials, Good Shephard Home administration and Richard Terpinski with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service will be meeting March 11 to try and reach an agreement, according to a release from Widman.  The two outstanding issues between the union and administration are wages and insurance.  Good Shepherd Home has begun to implement their work stoppage intervention plan to insure the home’s residents continue to receive care and services during the possible work stoppage.



Source: Tiffin Advertiser Tribune

18.  Chao Testifies Before House Committee In Support Of DOL FY 2009 Budget Request

WASHINGTON, DC- Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao testified about the Labor Department's fiscal year 2009 budget request of $53.1 billion before the House Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies March 6.  In exchanges that occasionally grew testy, subcommittee members and the labor secretary discussed her recommendation for consolidating various employment services with Workforce Investment Act programs, as well as an Inspector General's report that criticized the department for awarding grants noncompetitively.


Source: DLR


19.  Initial Jobless Claims Fell By 24,000 In Week Ended March 1, ETA Reports


WASHINGTON, DC- The number of first-time claims for unemployment insurance fell by 24,000 in the week ended March 1, bringing the total number of claims to 351,000 seasonally adjusted, according to figures released March 6 by the Labor Department's Employment and Training Administration.  The decrease in filings in the week ended March 1 followed an increase of 21,000 in the week ended Feb. 23, when 375,000 initial claims were filed with state workforce agencies, according to ETA's revised figures.


Source: DLR



20.  UFCW Members in Kroger's Delta Region Ratify Contracts Covering 7,500 Employees


WASHINGTON, DC- Members of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1529 have ratified contracts that provide hourly wage increases of $1.50 per hour over the four-year term but introduce new employee contributions to health insurance premiums for some 7,500 Kroger Co. employees in Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee, a union official told BNA March 6.   Lonnie Sheppard, president of Memphis-based Local 1529, said the two contracts--one covering clerks and the other covering meat, seafood, and deli workers--were ratified in voting completed March 1. The clerks' contract was approved by about 90 percent of union members participating in the vote, he said, and the meat, seafood, and deli contract was approved by about 95 percent of those members voting.


Source: DLR