Union Pressure Forces Prison Official To Step AsideKevin Rector of the Baltimore Sun writes that Jon Galley, an executive director of Maryland’s prison system for the northern region, has stepped down after working for more than 30 years in the corrections industry after representatives of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) began pressing him to step down.  Union officials had claimed that prisons in Galley’s region had seen a recent uptick in inmate/guard violence.

"Many front line officers felt strongly that managers like Jon Galley tied the hands of wardens, not allowing them to run facilities like NBCI like the maximum security prisons they are," said Patrick Moran, AFSCME Maryland president, in a statement. "This is a good first step to begin to restore the confidence of officers in management’s ability and willingness to proactively protect their safety in the wake of an unprecedented spike of assaults against officers."

In a short statement, a Maryland state official lauded Galley’s service.  His retirement is official November 1st of this year. 

Fast-Food Strike Set for August 29Yash Bhutada of PolicyMic reports that the long-rumored fast-food workers strike now has a set date.  This coming Thursday, fast-food workers across the countries’ major cities are expected to walk off the job in protest against what they believe to be low wages and substandard benefits.  The primary goal of the campaign is to raise wages for fast-food workers to at least $15 per hour.  Many workers backing the campaign are also looking for the right to unionize.  We will make sure to keep you updated on the outcome of this labor action.

Ban Public Transit Strikes? Columnist Thinks NotDaniel Borenstein of the Contra Costa Times writes that banning public transit strikes as a response to the recent Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system unrest in the San Francisco Bay Area raises too many risks to be worth the reward.  Borenstein’s main point is that by banning strike actions and forcing the parties into binding arbitration, voters and taxpayers will essentially be powerless to control any deal that may result.  This is because a binding arbitration action would take place far away from any elected officials, who are clearly held accountable via the ballot box.  Instead, a deal would be struck between the parties by an independent neutral who would hold no real accountability to anyone.

The 60-day cooling off period imposed by Governor Jerry Brown on the BART unions and management expires October 11.  Currently, there is little hope for an amicable resolution of this dispute as the parties are still very far apart, particularly concerning wages and health benefits.  We will keep you posted as the strike deadline moves closer.

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