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Season 5, Episode 92

Utah H.B. 285 defeated by strong union showing on Capitol Hill



Guest Name:

Jeff Worthington

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Jeff Worthington, President of the Utah AFL-CIO, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to talk about Utah’s H.B. 285, the efforts by the state’s unions to defeat the bill and organizing in the state.

Utah House Bill 285 is a piece of legislation similar to several bills that unions nationwide have been working to prevent over the past 12 months. H.B. 285, titled The Labor Union Amendments, sought to amend provisions governing public employers and labor organizations. Worthington talked about a few of the provisions, like a 5-year recertification vote run by a third party that would be paid for by the Local Union and changes in how dues can be collected. He talked about the support the affiliated unions showed during the bill’s committee hearing earlier this year and what it means for the future of unions in the state. According to Worthington, the bill was never heard on the House floor as the union’s hard work paid off when all of the representatives, but the bill’s Chief Sponsor, said they’d vote no. 

In Utah, union organizing has not been easy, Worthington said. However, in recent years, there has been a major improvement in organizing efforts, with no thanks to the recent legislation being introduced by lawmakers, he added. He talked about the gerrymandered districts in Utah and how they have impacted the voting districts' alignment. Worthington said his ability to reach across the aisle and build a relationship with both sides of the aisle is why he’s been able to get any pro-worker legislation passed. 

Worthington has a long history in railroading, he started in 1978 with the Western Pacific Railroad as a Locomotive Engineer. In 1983, following massive flooding that decimated the Western Pacific Railroad, Union Pacific took over the company, and Worthington continued in his position for another 39 years. He spent 25 years as a union representative for his union, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen. He said that he felt it was only right to continue working for workers in the state once he retired from the rail. In 2018, Worthington was elected President of the Utah AFL-CIO.

To hear more on the state of unions in Utah, please listen to the show above.

America’s Work Force is the only daily labor podcast in the US and has been on the air since 1993, supplying listeners with useful, relevant input into their daily lives through fact-finding features, in-depth interviews, informative news segments and practical consumer reports. America’s Work Force is committed to providing an accessible venue in which America's workers and their families can hear discussion on important, relevant topics such as employment, healthcare, legislative action, labor-management relations, corporate practices, finances, local and national politics, consumer reports and labor issues.

America’s Work Force Union Podcast is brought to you in part by our sponsors: AFL-CIO, American Federation of Government Employees, American Federation of Musicians Local 4, American Alliance for Manufacturing, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council, Communication Workers of America, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local 50, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Crafts, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 6, Ironworkers Great Lakes District Council, The Labor Citizen newspaper, Laborers International Union of The National Labor Office of Blue Cross and Blue Shield, North America, North Coast Area Labor Federation, Ohio Federation of Teachers, Survey and Ballot Systems, United Labor Agency, United Steelworkers.


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