Attacks on Labor Extend to Elevator Operators, Security, Tradespeople
March 13 -- Beyond the anti labor
moves the UN has deployed
on its UN TV and other engineers, now the elevator operators at the
UN are under fire.
In the week since Inner City Press wrote about
moves under Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to stop collecting dues for
the UN Staff Union, and to more slowly pay lower level staff, the UN
hasn't answered but other workers have stepped forward.
operators face cut backs; the Trades and Crafts staff are threatened
with downgrade to General Service. UN Security officers see this
impacting them, although senior UN official Franz Baumann denies or
distances himself from it.
pattern is unmistakeable: under
Ban Ki-moon, the UN is eroding labor and collective bargaining
rights. The UN TV and engineers jobs have been advertised, at G-7
posts. And under Ban, payments for injury in the line of duty at the
UN in New York have reportedly been decreased by 42%. Will the
outside union working on the Capital Master Plan respond?
Friday the UN Dispute Tribunal shot down the attempt to stop collecting
union dues. Click
here to see the decision. But still the UN
Controller Jun Yamasaki wants to dictate where the funds are
UN's Ban & Kane over left
shoulder Alderstein at right, labor moves and impact on CMP not shown
March 7, after
a first round up on Ban's anti labor moves, Inner City Press
Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky for a response:
Press: I wanted to ask you about a couple of labour issues that
seem to have arisen. One is the Union, the International Brotherhood
of Electrical Workers, that represents the UNTV, UN Radio and
Conference Services people, put out a press release over the weekend
complaining of how they… complaining that their labour rights are
being destroyed. I know that the Staff Union here has said that the
UN no longer collects dues for it and essentially seems not to
recognize it as a union. And the G-level staff have submitted a
petition — maybe you could confirm that — to the
Secretary-General about changing the ways in which they are paid and
saying this violates their rights. What’s… is it… what would
you say to those who say they see a trend of kind of anti-labour
actions by the Secretary-General and on each…? Can you confirm the
receipt of the petition, and will there be a response to complaint of
these IBEW workers that they have now made public?
I really don’t agree with the notion that there is some
kind of trend here. On the other specific questions you have asked,
if I have further details, then I would get back to you.
no response has
been forthcoming. We have to go back some time to a written response
from earlier this year, to just one of the issues, from UN official
Three Press questions
From: Franz Baumann [at] un.org
Matthew R. Lee [at] InnerCityPress.com
Thanks, as usual, for checking... On the Publishing staff: I can
confirm that DGACM has requested OHRM to convert to the General
Service (GS) category all Trades and Crafts (TC) category posts and
staff in DGACM. This, incidentally, is not at all a downgrading, and
our request emphasized that the conversion is to be done in a
cost-neutral fashion and that the emoluments of the staff should be
what they are now. Converting the TC staff makes them more
reason for this
request is that technological advances – the replacement of
traditional offset printing by digital, high speed photocopiers and
much reduced print-runs - obviates the need for licensed tradesmen
since digital equipment can be operated by GS category staff. And by
considerably fewer. So, when switching from steam to electric
trains, what to do with those who have shovelled the coal? A
compassionate employer converts them so that they can find useful &
reality, the TC
category has long been obsolete in the Publishing Section. Of the
currently 70 or so TC staff, less than a quarter came with licences. It
is worth noting also that the staff at the three other DGACM
conference-servicing duty stations, UNOG (Geneva), UNOV (Vienna) and
UNON (Nairobi), who work in similar printing facilities, are – and
always have been - in the GS category.
says he has nothing to do with UN Security staff, the same argument
is being made, that outside of New York, UN Security are General
Service staff. But under Ban, payments for injury in the line of
duty -- taking a bullet, as one argues -- at the UN in New York have
reportedly been decreased by 42%.
11 at the UN, Department of
Safety and Security staff told Inner City Press of fight back at the
ISCE, and of more fights to come. Others spoke of solidarity with the
elevator operators, and with the Aramark food service workers, also
hurt by the Capital Master Plan. But would the Plan be slowed, by the
Teamsters and AFL-CIO workers? Watch this site.
* * *
Under Ban Ki-moon Attacks Unions, G Staff & IBEW Engineers, Will
Fight Capital Master Plan?
6 -- With the US polarized by fights between labor and
state governments, and with the UN attributing turmoil in North
Africa and the Middle East to employment and cost of living issues,
the UN under Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has moved on several
fronts to undercut labor rights.
Ban's administration has been trying to break the UN Staff Union,
most recently by moving to no longer collect dues for it. Meanwhile,
it has moved to pay its General Service staff less frequently, and to
downgrade Tradespeople to general service staff.
been served a petition with hundreds of signatures attached,
protesting his move to pay General Service staff less frequently.
text of the petition, attached,
notes the UN's “United States Headquarters
Agreement, Section 7(b) which states, 'Except as otherwise provided
in this Agreement or in ,the General Convention, the Federal, State
and local law of the United States shall apply within the
question: does US and local labor law apply to what Ban's UN does to
workers in the Headquarters district?
does, not only would or
should the UN have problems with the Democratic Party constituency it
works most closely with -- most recently in defense, along with Peter
King (R-NY), of the UN keeping $100 million in US Tax Equalization
Funds -- but also with the organized labor groups from the AFL-CIO
and Teamsters who are on the UN campus as part of the Capital Master
observer mused that Ban Ki-moon is creating a little Wisconsin on the
banks of the East River.
telling Inner City Press to hold off the story because negotiations
continued, on March 6 the International Brotherhood of Electrical
Workers union, Local 1212, sent Inner City Press and a handful of
other UN correspondents a press release about workers of UN TV, as
well they say of IBEW engineers in UN Radio and Conference Services:
TBD 2011: Local union representatives are preparing for
what they describe as United Nations actions' that could result in
bankrupting their pension fund and significantly reducing the size of
their bargaining unit. The United Nations has notified IBEW Local
1212 through its contractor, Priority Productions Services, Inc.,
(PPS), that it intends to remove seventeen union positions and place
them under the direct auspices of the United Nations. The individuals
hired in these positions will receive less pay than the individuals
they will be responsible for supervising. In addition to decreased
benefits, these individuals will lose not only their collective
bargaining rights, but also the protections provided by Federal and
New York State Labor Laws.
concerned that this is just the first step, eventually
leading to the UN's absorption of the remaining bargaining unit
positions by the end of June 2012. The Union currently has 67 members
employed as broadcast engineers by PPS at the UN. After this initial
"reorganization", the unit size will be decreased to fifty.
Although, the Union engineers have provided uninterrupted television
and radio broadcast, and conferencing services at the United Nations
headquarters in NYC for the past sixty-seven years, the UN seems
focused on decreasing, if not eliminating, the Union's presence.
will require seventeen current supervisors and
maintenance engineers to reapply for their jobs as UN staff employees
at a lower pay rate and with a considerable reduction in benefits. They
will have to compete for their positions with UN staff members,
as well as with applicants from the general public. The supervisors
and maintenance engineers may opt to decline to apply for the UN
positions, in which case they will automatically be demoted to
non-supervisory positions at a significant reduction in compensation.
The scheme will result in a ripple effect as one IBEW engineer will
be laid-off for each supervisor or maintenance engineer who declines
to apply for the new UN position. Additionally, the elimination of
seventeen positions would seriously impact the Union Pension Fund's
financial stability as there would be a reduction in contributions to
the fund. The resultant decrease in participants in the medical
coverage offered by contractor PPS may also lead to an increase cost
for the remaining engineers.
to implement these changes on June 30, 2011 when the
current union contract expires. The United Nations has stated that
its plan is a cost cutting measure that will provide the UN with
continuity. Union representatives have offered cooperation in
negotiating an alternative resolution with the UN in exchange for
protecting the collective bargaining rights of its members. The
union maintains that it is prepared to offer workable, alternative
scenarios. The UN has not commented.
covered when the UN, under officials Angela Kane,
Nye and Joan
McDonald, gave the contract for this work to sports broadcasting
company Venue Services Group on the verge of bankruptcy which as it
shrank moved its
furniture inside the UN for storage. Now Ms. McDonald is back, as one
of many Ban administration returning
retirees, making new decisions, with no accountability, some say.
But this time, with the CMP underway
and being questioned, there could be consequences for these
anti-labor moves. Watch this site.
BloggingHeads.tv re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption