● Union members from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers will be picketing the Super Bowl to protest Frontier Communications—which has a corporate partnership with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers—proposing to cut health care and retirement benefits in ongoing contract negotiations.
● Ohio auto parts workers went on strike to unionize, and when that didn’t succeed, petitioned the National Labor Relations Board for recognition.
● Former AFL-CIO President John Sweeney is dead at 86. Sweeney was a major figure in moving the labor federation to a more activist and inclusive stance.
In early January, members voted to reject a proposed contract that they say was insufficient and one-sided. After that, a 30-day mediation period began. That mediation period expires this week. Because of some delays on the VA’s side in appointing a negotiator, the union is hoping for an extension, though it is unclear what a final timetable will be. What is certain is that after a process that has been marked by lawsuits, intransigence, political battles, and charges of bad faith, there are still significant outstanding issues to be settled.
“We’ve alleged from the beginning that the VA’s never really come to the table with a sincere desire to reach agreement. There’s been a lot of bad faith behavior,” says Thomas Dargon, AFGE’s acting supervisory attorney working on the National Veterans Affairs Council (NVAC). “What we’ve been asking for all along is for them to come to the table seriously.”