In a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board)­administered vote, the 263 resident physicians and fellows at Howard University Hospital in Washington, D.C. elected the Service Employees International Union’s Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR/SEIU) as their bargaining representative. NLRB certification of the 13,000­member CIR/SEIU as the resident physicians and fellows’ representative is pending, as the hospital has filed various objections to the election, which are pending investigation at NLRB Region 5 in Baltimore.


The secretary­treasurer of International Brotherhood of Teamsters (Teamsters) Local 853 in San Leandro, Calif. wrote a letter to the Chief Executives of Apple Inc., Yahoo Inc., eBay Inc., Genentech Inc., Zynga Inc., and Amtrak, urging them to support unionization efforts by about 120 employees of Compass Transportation, a shuttle bus service company that provides transportation services to the six companies. The Teamsters filed a petition with the NLRB seeking a representation election on January 20th. In his letter, the secretary­treasurer accuses Compass Transportation of “fabricating issues” to delay the representation election process and of using “union busting, harassment, innuendo, threats, and intimidation” tactics.


Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. has declined an offer from the U.S. State Department’s National Contact Point to mediate a dispute with the United Auto Workers (UAW), stating that the NLRB is the appropriate body to consider the employment dispute. In their filing with the State Department, the UAW and IndustriALL, an international labor group, claim that Nissan has violated international labor rules by interfering with the union organizing efforts of workers at its Canton, Miss. plant. Nissan maintains that it follows Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development guidelines.


The American Council of Employees (ACE), a 501(c)(3) labor organization, has been verified to represent over 15 percent of the hourly and salaried employees at Volkswagen Group of America Inc.’s (VW) Chattanooga, Tennessee plant. This level of support meets the “level 1” threshold of VW’s “community organization engagement” policy. ACE, which was formed to oppose the UAW, will now be permitted to reserve meeting space within the plant and to meet monthly with VW’s human resources department. ACE ultimately hopes to form a European­style “works council,” at which workers will meet with plant executives to set plant policy. UAW Local 42, which represents only hourly workers, was previously the sole representative of employees at the plant. The union has reached the “level 3” threshold of VW’s policy, having been recognized as the representative of more than 45 percent of the plant’s employees. Level 3 is the highest level of company access, allowing UAW Local 42 to meet biweekly with human resources and monthly with VW­Chattanooga’s executive committee. The union also seeks to form a local works council, but through a collective bargaining agreement. Despite having lost its representation election bid in February 2014, UAW Local 42 states that it now represents more than 50 percent of the plant’s workers.


Non­tenure track full­time professors at Tufts University voted in favor of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) as their exclusive bargaining representative, joining the university’s part­time professors in SEIU Local 509. The union is conducting a nationwide campaign to organize adjunct professors.


In another victory for SEIU Local 509, adjunct faculty at Bentley University in Waltham, Mass. elected Local 509 as their exclusive bargaining representative, joining adjunct professors at Tufts, Lesley University, and Northeastern University. The adjunct professors voted 108­42 in favor of union representation, despite having voted 100­98 against, in October 2013. Joan Atlas, adjunct professor at Bentley, attributed the change to unaffordable benefits and wages being frozen at $5,000 per undergraduate course, despite full­time professors receiving raises. SEIU represents more than 23,000 adjunct and non­tenure track professors nationwide.


The Writers Guild of America East (the Guild) seeks to organize some 2,000 nonfiction television writers and producers at about 40 production firms in New York City. The Guild argues that writers and producers of “reality TV” programs work long hours with no overtime and weak benefits. Production firms hire freelancers to avoid paying taxes and employee benefits, according to the Guild. Writers and producers at ITV Studios voted for Guild representation in 2010, but ITV and the Guild have not agreed on a collective bargaining agreement. The Guild stated in October 2014 that it will not allow its members to work on a high­profile reality show starring Neil Patrick Harris unless a collective bargaining agreement is reached. In November 2014, the Guild filed an unfair labor practice charges with the NLRB, claiming that ITV had failed to bargain in good faith, had reduced employee compensation by $300 per month, and had implemented a high­deductible insurance plan. ITV maintains that it has not violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).


According to the AFL­CIO’s annual membership report, the federation’s member unions saw an annual drop of 43,483 members in 2014. Fourteen unions, including the UAW, the American Federation of Teachers, and National Nurses United, saw an overall increase of 39,763 members. These gains were offset among the 24 unions, including the AFSCME, USW, and UNITE HERE, that lost a total of 83,246 members. Average membership among the 56 unions that make up the AFL­CIO was 9,323,990 in 2014, not including about 3.3 million members of the federation’s affiliate for unrepresented workers, Working America, or about 4.4 million members of the affiliated Alliance for Retired Americans.