Labor union summit held to organize local unions

Published: Apr. 6, 2018 at 6:45 PM CDT
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In an effort to organize and strengthen the unity of local labor unions, the first labor union summit in the area was held today, April 4th, 2018.

Over a dozen heads of labor unions attended the conference with the goal of strengthening their voice when it comes to pro worker government policies.

One of the main complaints heard was a bill introduced last summer by Senator Deb Fischer nicknamed the RAIL bill.

Essentially the bill privatizes safety by shifting the responsibility of overseeing safety regulations from a third party to the railroad company itself.

It would help reduce costs by eliminating certain safety checks and that has workers concerned that it could lead to layoffs and a less safe work environment.

"In my individual unit there's 133 people. So, I can go forward and inform all 133 and we can all together go forward to Deb Fischer and tell her this is unacceptable. This hurts us, this hurts our jobs. We can inform other unions, electricians, machinists and so fourth. They can bring their voices forward so that's hundreds of voices telling Deb Fischer 'that bills wrong' and so the union together makes it easier to make a collective movement on how that bill is wrong for us and wrong for everybody," says Mark Nicholson.

The meeting is the first of its kind in the area and is expected to become an annual event.

Sen. Deb Fischer says "The intent of this bill is to improve the regulatory process, not weaken safety standards. The main goal is to strengthen data and analysis and increase public participation to ensure sound regulation."

Ultimately, they say their mission is to bring economic justice to the workplace and social justice to the country.