• The AFL-CIO, in conjunction with two global unions, sent a letter to the Organization for Economic cooperation and Development alleging that Roquette Frères, a French manufacturer of starch and sugar derivatives, and its U.S. Subsidiary, Roquette America, violated the OECD’s Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises when it locked out approximately 240 workers at a factory in Iowa. The workers at Roquette America’s Iowa plant are presented by Local 48G of the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM). BCTGM and Roquette management began bargaining for a new contract on September 14, 2010. When the workers voted to reject Roquette’s final offer, the Company locked them out on September 28. The letter alleges that Roquette’s final offer was “deliberately provocative” because it eliminated sick, personal, and maternity leave, increased worker contributions to health care premiums, ended the pension plan, froze wages for four years, and gave Roquette the ability to hire temporary workers at less than half the wages of the permanent workforce with no benefits.
  • Law professors and other law school professionals engaged in picketing activities alongside members of UNITE HERE Local 2 in San Francisco, California, to protest the American Association of Law Schools for holding sessions of its annual meeting at the Hilton San Francisco, one of nine hotels Local 2 is urging consumers to boycott. Local 2 represents 850 workers at the Hilton, and has been without a contract with San Francisco hotels in three out of the past six years. Local 2 has been in contract negotiations with Hilton since June 2009. AALS reported that approximately two-thirds of the programs scheduled to be held at the Hilton were moved at the urging of association members, but also noted that the contract with the Hilton had been signed nine years prior to the actual event, before the dispute with Local 2 arose.
  • The UAW voted to authorize a strike, if necessary, at Caterpillar Inc. The company and union are engaged in negotiations for a contract to replace one that expires March 1, 2011. Caterpillar issued a statement about the strike authorization vote, saying the company considers the vote “an internal union matter.” UAW and Caterpillar began contract negotiations December 15 for a new labor agreement covering approximately 9,500 workers.
  • Hotel workers represented by UNITE HERE Local 11, who have been working under an expired contract since November 2009, staged a one-day strike on January 26 at the Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles to protest a wage and benefit cut. Housekeepers, front desk agents, food and beverage workers, and bellmen at the Wilshire Hotel all participated in the strike. At the beginning of January, the Wilshire required workers for the first time to contribute $700 to $1,000 per month to the health care premium if they chose to continue coverage, and reduced wages for housekeepers and laundry workers to the state minimum wage of $8 per hour, down from $10 per hour, and cut front desk agents' wages to $10 per hour, down from $13.10 per hour.