The Center for Worker Justice of Eastern Iowa (CWJ) is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising standards for low-wage workers. Formed in 2012 by a coalition of unions, churches, and community organizations, CWJ has already involved hundreds of low-wage workers in Know Your Rights classes and leadership training over the past year.
Part of our core mission is to bridge the gap between labor and communities, including the immigrant community, in order to build power for the working families and strengthen the voices of all working people. Our efforts are supported by the Iowa Federation of Labor and the State Building and Construction Trades Council and organized labor is represented on the Board of Directors of the Center.
The Center for Worker Justice of Eastern Iowa (CWJ) is the first workers center in the State of Iowa. It is affiliated with the national Interfaith Worker Justice network, a dynamic national network of dozens of centers with decades of experience in confronting workplace abuses of low-wage workers. By standing with low-wage workers, we can put employers on notice that workplace abuses will not be tolerated in our communities.
SEIU Local 199 is proud to be a founding affiliate member of CWJ!
A CWJ recent Know Your Rights class, “Can My Landlord Do That? – Me Puede Hacer Eso Mi Propietario?” is an example of a class that empowers low-wage workers right here in Eastern Iowa. Check the CWJ facebook events for upcoming classes and information.
The State Senate just passed Medicaid expansion on Monday, which would provide health security for an additional 150,000 Iowans, save our state money, and create thousands of new jobs.
Unfortunately, Gov. Branstad is opposed to expansion, and is determined to put politics ahead of our health care.
We are proud to be part of the Healthiest Iowa Initiative: a coalition of more than two dozen organizations, all educating their members and encouraging all Iowans to contact Gov. Branstad.
Here’s how you can help:
1) Sign the petition at healthiestiowa.com. Your signatures, along with those of thousands of Iowans, will reach the Governor and make a difference.
Tens of thousands of SEIU members are calling on Congress to pass commonsense immigration reform now.
4:41 PM Eastern – Tuesday, April 24, 2012
BY RICHARD NEGRI
Today the U.S. Senate voted in favor of working people when it smacked down a right wing resolution to block a common sense National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) rule impacting how workers organize our unions.
The year-long fight for something so simple, so sensible began when the NLRB proposed a rule change that would restore a measure of fairness to the union election process.
But as SEIU President Mary Kay Henry said in a statement, “Relentless attacks on workers have become all too familiar in our politics.”
Until now, anyone who has ever been part of an NLRB union organizing drive will tell you, it is not as easy and swift as most would think. It is an ongoing process of mudslinging and delays played out in legal proceedings. For Bob O’Neill it took eleven years!
O’Neill, a licensed practical nurse (LPN) at one of Florida’s largest for-profit nursing homes, was one of the caregivers there who voted to join SEIU 1199 in May 1997, but by exploiting the appeals process, the company was able to delay the election certification for eleven years.
Management harassed Bob and his coworkers by trumping up disciplinary problems, like signing in from break a minute late, or changing their schedules for them to leave early, and then writing them up for either not finishing up their work or for staying late to finish it up.
The right wing politicians have done everything in its power to keep workers like Bill down just a little bit more. Regardless of the fact that in this economy we need to strengthen our workers’ rights, there are many right wing organizations teamed up with puppet politicians they support that they’d do anything and everything to ignore the 99% of us living a check or two from being on the streets.
“We should be working together – unions, government and the private sector – to continue rebuilding our economy and creating good jobs that can support a family, instead of trying to undermine workers’ fundamental right to organize a union if they choose to,” President Henry said.
At the end of the day, instead of creating quality jobs and protecting what we have now, the majority of the Republican Party has spent ridiculous amounts of money and resources to keep a broken and antique section of labor law.
Know Your Rights: The Right to Representation
If you are ever called into an interview meeting with your supervisor or manager so they can investigate a situation which might result in discipline, you have specific representational rights. These rights are summarized below:
1. You have the right to have a Union steward present.
2. If you want a steward there, you must ask for him or her.
3. If you do not know why your manager wants to meet with you, ask him/her if it is a meeting that could result in a discipline.
4. If your manager refuses to allow you to bring a steward, repeat your request in front of a witness. Do not refuse to attend the meeting, but do not answer any questions either. Take notes. Once the meeting is over call your steward at once.
5. You have the right to speak privately with your steward before the meeting and during the meeting.
6. Your steward has the right to play an active role in the meeting. She or he is not just a witness.
These rights are called “Weingarten Rights” based on a 1975 Supreme Court decision (NLRB vs. J. Weingarten). As with all rights, if we do not use them we lose them.
This statement could save your job:
“If this discussion could in any way lead to my being disciplined or terminated I respectfully request that my steward be present at the meeting. Without representation present, I choose not to respond to any questions or statements.”