January 17, 2019: The bargaining unit rejects the tentative agreement and requests from management to return to negotiations. Management requests the vote count and says that it is available "to talk." November 14, 2018: OPEIU International President Richard Lanigan travels to Washington, DC to talk personally with President Trumka. They reach a tentative agreement on furloughs that includes 12 days of furloughs under management's rights. October 31, 2018: The bargaining unit agrees not to go on strike before November 6th in order not to compromise AFL-CIO's campaign to elect pro-labor candidates on November 6th. October 23 - November 8, 2018: OPEIU Local 2 and AFL-CIO go through mediation. Talks break down around AFL-CIO's insistence that it should have the ability to unilaterally impose furloughs without negotiating with the union. October 9, 2018: OPEIU Local 2 files charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against AFL-CIO. Charges include: (1) unilaterally changing wages, hours, and terms and conditions of the bargaining unit without reaching a good faith impasse in negotiations with the recognized exclusive representative, OPEIU Local 2; (2) imposing terms seeking unlimited managerial discretion over workforce numbers, hours and days of operations; and (3) unilaterally reducing wages of bargaining unit employees. October 9, 2018:The bargaining unit votes to give strike authorization to OPEIU Local 2. October 2, 2018: The bargaining unit votes to reject management's LBFO. October 8, 2018: AFL-CIO management begins imposing an anti-union contract on its employees. September 12, 2018: AFL-CIO management gives its Last, Best, Final Offer (LBFO) to the Union.
October 11, 2018: Petition of solidarity from the Guild and supporters
"We, the over 500 undersigned, ask AFL-CIO management to return to bargaining with OPEIU Local 2 in good faith. As a labor movement, we value a fair return on our work, a respectful work environment, and dignity on the job. These core values should be the foundation of a contract with OPEIU Local 2. Affiliate needs and the political environment are always in flux, and we understand that the greater union movement, collectively, is experiencing challenging times. It has always been the AFL-CIO’s duty to be responsive to these needs, but we believe this can be done without compromising our values. Return to bargaining with OPEIU Local 2 to reach a contract that represents the collective values of the labor movement."
Note: Due to the possibility of retaliation, we have removed the petition. Thank you for your support!
October 10, 2018: March
We thank all of our allies who came out and showed solidarity with us.
The Guild, which represents more than 100 employees at the AFL-CIO, expressed its solidarity with OPEIU Local 2 members. In a letter sent to management, the Guild stated,
The Guild is in full support and will honor any concerted activity demonstrated by OPEIU Local 2 including a picket line whether real or virtual.
As you know, the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) shields union, nonunion, nonsupervisory employees’ decision to honor a picket line as protected concerted activity. Any discipline for an employee’s refusal to cross a picket line will be deemed a violation of the NLRA and an unfair labor practice. Further, if the AFL-CIO management were to pressure, let alone discipline, a Guild employee to cross the line – either physically do so or virtually do so by demanding that she/he perform work, we believe that would be improper and potentially an Unfair Labor Practice.
In addition, if the AFL-CIO decides to close the building it is the Guild’s position that all bargaining unit employee, headquarters and field, be should be paid accordingly as it it management’s choice.
We thank the Guild members - our coworkers - who stand in solidarity with us. We cannot thank you enough.
October 4, 2018: March + Solidarity from Union Privilege
Union Privilege and AFL-CIO employees present UP's letter of solidarity to Rich Barchiesi.
Union Privilege and AFL-CIO employees stand together.
AFL-CIO management notified us that it will implement (i.e. "impose") its last/best/final offer on Monday, October 8, 2018. Management chose to discontinue negotiating and rejected the idea of going to mediation. We will continue to fight against AFL-CIO management's anti-union contract.
October 2, 2018: OPEIU Local 2 members vote
OPEIU Local 2 members voted unanimously against AFL-CIO management's anti-union last/best/final offer.
September 27, 2018: March
The AFL-CIO is a federation of 55 national and international unions ("affiliates") that represent 12.5 million working men and women. OPEIU Local 2 represents 7,000+ members in 100+ workplaces ("shops") in Washington, DC; Maryland; and Virginia.
At AFL-CIO, OPEIU Local 2 represents 50+ employees who are paid hourly and therefore the lowest-paid at AFL-CIO. They are predominately an older workforce: 63% of the unit is at least 50 years old. These employees include cleaners, secretaries and accountants. Most (73%) have worked for AFL-CIO for 10+ years, while 54% have worked for AFL-CIO for 15+ years.
In late May 2018, contract negotiations began between the AFL-CIO and OPEIU Local 2. Management pushed several proposals that completely contradict its mission to "work tirelessly to improve the lives of working people." Simply put, they were anti-union. After OPEIU Local 2 unit unanimously rejected AFL-CIO management's last/best/final offer on October 2nd, AFL-CIO management rejected suggestions to continue negotiating or go to mediation. AFL-CIO management announced that on October 8th, it would impose its last/best/final offer, which:
Enables management to force unlimited furloughs (i.e. at any point, management can choose the number of employees to work, the number of days and the number of hours per days)
Eliminates layoff protection for 73% of its employees
Eliminates bumping rights of employees
Eliminates surplusing rights of employees
Reduces layoff notice time to employees
Eliminates review of financial benchmarks with the Union when a reduction in positions may occur
Caps severance, which affects 66% of the unit
Increases weekly hours without compensation
Provides a zero percent wage increase
Restricts applying to other positions within the organization
Increases probationary period
Significantly cut sick leave
The above is in addition to likely near-future cuts to healthcare insurance and the Staff Retirement Plan (i.e. pension plan).
“When workers sit down across the table from our employers and bargain, we bring home higher wages, have greater access to health care and a pension and are more likely to be safe on the job. Most importantly, workers who bargain collectively have a voice, a say in the terms and conditions of work." Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO President 2016
Is this the death of labor?
OPEIU Local 2 members unanimously rejected AFL-CIO management's last/best/final offer for three main reasons:
We believe that the contract is dangerously hypocritical of the AFL-CIO, which is supposed to be a leader of unions. In fact, if a company tried to force a contract like this, we believe that the AFL-CIO would deplore the company as anti-union.
Our union sisters and brothers are watching. If we agree to this contract, we are signaling to every other union out there that they should accept these terms from their employers. We won't do that to our 12.5 million sisters and brothers.
We don't believe that the contract moves AFL-CIO closer to its organizational goals. Management's contract signals to us that it does not value us or our work. They want to get rid of us. But we do the work. We know how the organization can improve, and we are part of the solution.
"It's so apparent that they don't want us here." AFL-CIO employee, OPEIU Local 2 member
Some OPEIU Local 2 members who work at AFL-CIO. August 8, 2018.
"I think management wants to eliminate layoff protection because they're trying to get rid of the most senior employees." AFL-CIO employee, OPEIU Local 2 member
Join us. We call on union members everywhere to pressure the House of Labor from being the House of Hypocrisy.
March with us. Join us as we hold informational pickets with our allies in front of the AFL-CIO building during our lunch break. Next marches: Please come back for updates! Meet in front of the AFL-CIO building: 815 16th St, NW, Washington, DC.
“Our goal is to have employers sit down with workers and bargain in good faith. But when you have companies that, instead of treating us as assets to be invested in, view us as costs to be cut, there’s going to be conflict.” Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO President 2016