WBEZ | Service Employees International Union http://www.wbez.org/tags/service-employees-international-union Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Sister union’s vote could affect leverage of teachers http://www.wbez.org/news/sister-union%E2%80%99s-vote-could-affect-leverage-teachers-99962 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Local73.JPG" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px; float: left; width: 276px; height: 480px; " title="SEIU members march with the Chicago Teachers Union in a 2011 downtown protest to support public education. (Photo courtesy of Local 73)" /></div><p>As the Chicago Teachers Union tallies <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-06/ctu-president-karen-lewis-talks-strike-authorization-vote-99844">a vote</a> that could lead to a strike, some balloting Saturday by the school district&rsquo;s second-largest union could affect the teachers&rsquo; bargaining strength.</p><p>Service Employees International Union Local 73 is holding a ratification vote on a tentative contract covering 5,500 Chicago Public Schools employees ranging from bus aides and special-education assistants to custodians and child-welfare attendants.</p><p>Local 73 Vice President Taalib-Din Ziyad and other union leaders are urging members to approve the deal because the district has privatized a lot of the work once done by the union&rsquo;s members.</p><p>&ldquo;We were able to save those jobs that were threatened as well as get language that there would be no further contracting out of any of our jobs,&rdquo; Ziyad said.</p><p>Local 73 and CPS said they would not release a copy of the agreement until after the ratification vote. Union leaders say the deal covers three years and sets up 2 percent annual raises.</p><p>The tentative pact follows a CPS contract settlement with Unite Here Local 1 announced last month. That agreement, a five-year deal, covers about 3,200 lunchroom workers and limits the district&rsquo;s switch to &ldquo;warming kitchens&rdquo; in which private venders provide preprepared food.</p><p>It&rsquo;s not clear whether the two settlements leave the CTU&rsquo;s 25,000 members out on a limb or increase their leverage. The teachers are finishing a vote on whether to authorize union leaders to call a strike. That vote, which began Wednesday, comes amid tough contract talks involving everything from pay to the school-day length.</p><p>Orlando Sepúlveda, a Local 73 member campaigning against ratification, calls the tentative agreement &ldquo;a hollow victory&rdquo; and says his union could have done better by waiting for the teachers to get a deal.</p><p>&ldquo;The defense of public education &mdash; meaning not only halting privatization, but also the improvement of all its constituent elements &mdash; will require the unity of all the community that it serves and all the workers involved in it,&rdquo; Sepúlveda wrote in a Web commentary.</p><p>The settlements could affect the CTU&rsquo;s negotiations, according to leaders of that union.</p><p>&ldquo;The members of both Unite Here and SEIU are hourly workers so they&rsquo;re not a good precedent for salaried teachers,&rdquo; CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey said. &ldquo;But one thing that could set a precedent for us is the job-security language that those unions won.&rdquo;</p><p>The CTU has lost thousands of members in recent years, partly as a result of the district&rsquo;s approval of nonunion charter schools.</p></p> Fri, 08 Jun 2012 19:42:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/sister-union%E2%80%99s-vote-could-affect-leverage-teachers-99962 Protesters: Pacific trade pact will help export jobs http://www.wbez.org/story/protesters-pacific-trade-pact-will-help-export-jobs-91530 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-05/PTP march.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>About 500 activists marched Monday afternoon in downtown Chicago to protest U.S. trade negotiations with some Latin American and Asian nations.<br> <br> The march ended at the Hilton Chicago, where delegations from nine countries on Tuesday will begin their eighth round of talks toward what they’re calling the Trans-Pacific Partnership.<br> <br> President Obama’s administration says U.S. aims in the negotiations are jobs and prosperity for the American people. His team says it’s addressing shortfalls of earlier U.S. pacts, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement.<br> <br> That’s not convincing critics. “Thousands of workers here in Chicago and all over the Midwest are out of jobs because of trade agreements like NAFTA,” said Tom Balanoff, president of the Service Employees International Union Illinois Council, at a rally before the march.<br> <br> NAFTA has also “destroyed the livelihoods” of millions of Mexican farmers, Balanoff added. “And what do they tell us in Washington? ‘Let’s keep following those policies.’ ”<br> <br> The protestors say they will deliver 10,000 postcards to negotiators on Tuesday. The cards urge the United States to make sure any deal protects labor rights, the environment and human rights.<br> <br> On Wednesday, AIDS activists are planning to protest proposed treaty provisions that would strengthen pharmaceutical patents. The activists say the patents lock in prices for life-saving medications that poor people can't afford.<br> <br> The Chicago talks are set to run through September 15. Besides the United States, the nations include Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.</p></p> Mon, 05 Sep 2011 21:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/protesters-pacific-trade-pact-will-help-export-jobs-91530 Blagojevich prosecutor's laser-like focus http://www.wbez.org/story/blagojevich-prosecutors-laser-focus-86292 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-09/110505 Blago Leaving Court 1_Wildeboer.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Prosecutors are continuing their laser-like focus on the so-called Senate seat allegations in the retrial of former Illinois Gov.Rod Blagojevich.&nbsp;</p><p>The strongest evidence in the first trial came from secret recordings of Blagojevich's phone calls so that's what prosecutors are focusing on with their first witnesses this time around.<br> <br> Tom Balanoff is a union president, and he told jurors that after Barack Obama was elected president, he became a messenger between Obama's people and Blagojevich.&nbsp;</p><p>Balanoff told Blagojevich that Obama wanted his advisor Valerie Jarrett appointed to his old Senate seat and on a secretly recorded phone call, Blagojevich responded that he'd like to head up a national non-profit that advocated for healthcare.&nbsp;</p><p>"That'd be very attractive," said Blagojevich.&nbsp; "And you know George Soros and Buffet and all those guys, you know, overnight can put 10, 15, 20 million dollars in an advocacy group like that couldn't they? Yeah, and then we could help our new Senator Valerie Jarrett go out and push that."</p><p>Balanoff testified that he thought Blagojevich was suggesting a trade, one for the other.&nbsp; Jurors have heard other tapes in which Blagojevich talks about getting a huge salary from the suggested non-profit.</p><p>Balanoff takes the stand for a second day Tuesday to face more question from the former Illinois governor's defense attorney.</p><p>As testimony wound to a close Monday, Judge James Zagel warned defense attorney Aaron Goldstein not to keep trying to make arguments in the form of questions to jurors.</p><p>Zagel told Goldstein he could cut his cross examinations short and have him sit down if he persisted.</p><p>When Goldstein asked if he could respond to the judge's admonition, Zagel responded, "I don't want you to respond to it. I want you to comply with it."</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 10 May 2011 10:04:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/blagojevich-prosecutors-laser-focus-86292