By Robert A. Vella

This week’s news on labor relations:

From Pittsburgh City PaperUPMC workers turn down “significant” settlement offer in NLRB case:

When Jim Staus was cornered at a staff meeting for wearing a sticker in support of forming a union at UPMC, he knew it wasn’t right.

“Shortly thereafter, my life at work became a living hell,” says Staus, who supplied nursing departments with everything from band-aids to needles and gloves. “They put me on a performance improvement plan after seven-and-a-half years of working. My performance dropped for some unknown reason according to them. According to me, I was still doing the same things at work.”

Staus is now among a group of four workers who say they are refusing a “significant” settlement offer in a federal National Labor Relations Board case accusing UPMC of several unfair labor practices including retaliating against employees for their unionization efforts. Neither the workers refusing the settlement nor the Service Employees International Union will reveal the amount of the settlement because the NLRB case is still pending. A UPMC spokesperson declined comment when asked about the settlement.

From YahooU.S. Capitol workers, others strike for higher pay, union:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Hundreds of striking federal contract workers, including for the first time some from the U.S. Capitol, rallied on Thursday to urge President Barack Obama to boost pay and spur unionization.

From The New York TimesVW to Allow Labor Groups to Represent Workers at Chattanooga Plant:

Volkswagen announced a new policy on Wednesday that was likely to allow several labor groups, including the United Automobile Workers, to represent employees at the company’s Chattanooga, Tenn., plant.

The U.A.W. applauded the move because it would mean partial recognition of the union and regular discussions between management and the U.A.W., and perhaps other labor groups as well. For years, the union has been straining to get a foothold in any of the foreign-owned auto plants in the South.

But VW’s new policy stops short of the U.A.W.’s ultimate goal of being the exclusive union and bargaining agent for the plant’s workers.