Labor Activists, politicians Call out NLRB by Mitch E. Perry

07/10/06

Labor organizers and local union workers rallied in front of the Tampa offices of the National Labor Relations Board today regarding 3 upcoming cases that they say could have a significant impact on workers right to form and join unions in the U.S.

Organizers call the cases The NLRB will rule on The “Kentucky River� decisions – decisions that they say will clairify issues left open by the Supreme Court’s Kentucky River decision in 2001 concerning what kind of workers are considered supervisors and thus NOT eligible for union protection. (roll tape#1 o.q.�lead people� )

Cheryl Schroeder is with the West Central Florida Federation of Labor.,…She said these decisions could affect people in the health care, shipping and construction industries (roll tape#2 o.q.�his trade along�)

Union organizers throughout the country fear that a broad interpretation of who is a supervisor could allow employers to strip hundreds of thousands of workers of their right to union protection. Similar rallies are being held in 17 other cities across the country.

They’re also unhappy with the NLRB for refusing to allow oral arguments on behalf of organized labor to be heard in the cases.

Floyd Suggs is the President with the West Central Florida Federation of Labor. He says if the NLRB rules against labor’s interest in these cases, some 2 million people would lose union status and protection (roll tape#3 o.q.� an injustice�)

In addition to about 3 or 4 dozen workers and other labor officials who gathered in downtown Tampa, 3 local Democratic Congressional candidates also were invited to address the media .

The event brought together two of the leading candidates in the race to succeed Jim Davis in Congress – Hillsborough County Commissioner Kathy Castor and State Senator Les Miller (roll tape#4 o.q.�to happen�)

Kathy Castor said the rulings have a particular impact on the Tampa Bay Area(roll tape#5 o.q.�action now�)

Rick Penberthy , who is running as a Democrat in the 5th Congressional District in the seat currently held by Ginny Browne-Waite, was also invited by the Labor group to address the assembled reporters and activists (roll tape#6 o.q.�union members�)

Although it’s unclear how the NLRB will rule in the Kentucky River decisions, labor activists say they’re expecting the worse from the George W. Bush appointed Labor Board. Ed Dees is President of the Gulf Coast Building Trades (roll tape#7�gonna count� )

Richard Gallo is a union iron worker in Tampa. He says he’s fairly protected because of union protections, but is concerned others could lose such benefits (roll tape#8 o.q.�and that sort of thing�)

Union organizers are urging citizens to contact their Congressional representatives to put pressure on the NRLB…Or to contact the NLRB Chairman Robert J. Battista directly to reverse the decision NOT to hear oral arguments in the Kentucky River cases.

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