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Tens of Thousands Strike on Day without Immigrants

Thu, 02/23/2017 - 16:06
Tens of Thousands Strike on Day without Immigrants February 23, 2017 / Dan DiMaggio, Sonia Singh<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

Arkansas poultry workers, Brooklyn warehouse workers and house cleaners, Twin Cities roofers, and thousands of students in places like Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Charlotte, North Carolina. They were all among the tens of thousands who stayed home from work or school across the country during Thursday, February 16’s “Day without Immigrants.”

Illinois State Workers Authorize Strike Against Governor Who Invoked Legacy of PATCO

Thu, 02/23/2017 - 10:35
Illinois State Workers Authorize Strike Against Governor Who Invoked Legacy of PATCO February 23, 2017 / Chris Brooks<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

For the first time in four decades as a union, 28,000 Illinois state workers could be going on strike, facing down a Republican governor who campaigned on the promise to force a showdown with the union.

In a 20-day vote that ended February 19, members from the 70 locals that comprise AFSCME Council 31 voted in favor of strike authorization.

“Eighty-one percent of members voted yes to give the bargaining committee the authority to call a strike,” said Roberta Lynch, executive director of Council 31, at a press conference announcing the results.

How We Got Out of a 401(k) and into a Real Pension

Tue, 02/21/2017 - 12:08
How We Got Out of a 401(k) and into a Real Pension February 21, 2017 / James W. Russell<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

After being trapped in an inferior 401(k)-style retirement plan, is it possible for a union to reverse the trend and switch back to a traditional defined-benefit pension?

Connecticut state employees did just that in 2012. Our little-known story, combined with similar victories in Massachusetts and West Virginia, shows it can be done. There’s a small but growing movement to follow suit in other states.

Minneapolis Bakery Workers Call Out Super Bowl Hypocrisy with ‘Taste of Justice’

Mon, 02/20/2017 - 14:16

Every year on the eve of the Super Bowl, celebrity chefs, National Football League players, and Hollywood stars come together in the game’s host city for an opulent fundraiser for local and national food banks. It’s called the Taste of the NFL.

“The most mainstream dish” in Houston this year, the Star Tribune said, was “veal meatballs and a cheesy pasta with truffles.” Since its founding a quarter-century ago, the event has raised $15 million for food banks.

More Repression, More Fightback! El Salvador's Labor Movement Defends the Minimum Wage

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 10:59
More Repression, More Fightback! El Salvador's Labor Movement Defends the Minimum Wage February 17, 2017 / Luke Walsh-Mellet<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

On January 1, workers in El Salvador won a big increase in the minimum wage—in some cases doubling their pay.

But before they had time to celebrate, the multinational companies who thrive on the country’s still-low wages counterattacked with mass layoffs, judicial maneuvers, and a bid to undermine the eight-hour day.

Viewpoint: The Boeing Vote Was Not a Referendum on Organizing the South

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 10:30

The Machinists’ loss in Wednesday's union vote at Boeing was devastating. Out of 3,000 workers eligible to cast ballots at the Charleston, South Carolina, plant, 2,097 voted against unionization, and only 731 in favor.

But contrary to the armchair wisdom of pundits, this vote was not a referendum on whether or not it’s possible to organize in the South.

The Machinists faced a relentless anti-union campaign. Boeing and a statewide business advocacy group saturated local television, radio, newspapers, and social media with hundreds of anti-union ads.

Viewpoints: Building Trades Activists Argue for a Different Approach to Trump

Wed, 02/15/2017 - 11:58
Viewpoints: Building Trades Activists Argue for a Different Approach to Trump February 15, 2017 / Len Shindel and Kevin Norton<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

After national leaders of the Building Trades unions met with President Donald Trump January 25 and heaped praise on him, two readers sent in their thoughts. One is a local assistant business manager, the other a retired communications staffer for the Electrical Workers (IBEW). Here are excerpts from both. –Editors.

Fawning over Trump Shuts Out Our Movement’s Future

by Len Shindel

How We Got Our Lead Nurses Back

Tue, 02/14/2017 - 12:23
How We Got Our Lead Nurses Back February 14, 2017 / Deirdre Lacey<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

Nurses sat stunned. We had been called to a meeting about a “new vision.” In one week, our chief nursing officer (CNO) announced, the charge nurse role would be eliminated.

Credit Mass Resistance, Not Anti-Union Judge, for Blocking Trump’s Travel Ban

Mon, 02/13/2017 - 10:55

When I first heard the good news on February 3 that U.S. District Court Judge James L. Robart had slapped a restraining order on Trump’s travel ban, I texted a labor attorney friend: “Goodness—Judge Robart! Am I obliged to like him now?”

You see, while millions of people are applauding Judge Robart for upholding the Constitution and blocking xenophobia, some of us have had a very different experience in his Seattle courtroom.

Puzzled over Andrew Puzder for Secretary of Labor

Fri, 02/10/2017 - 14:01

“They’re always polite, they always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there’s never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex, or race discrimination case.” That’s Andrew Puzder, Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Labor, praising the advantages of employing robots over human beings in an interview with Business Insider last year.

Iowa’s New Union-Busting Bill Is Worse Than Wisconsin

Fri, 02/10/2017 - 13:23
Iowa’s New Union-Busting Bill Is Worse Than Wisconsin February 10, 2017 / Peter Knowlton, Andrew Dinkelaker, and Gene Elk<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

Republicans in both houses of the Iowa state legislature have introduced a bill that is aimed at destroying public sector unions and the rights of public employees in that state.

This legislation is designed to render collective bargaining meaningless by making it illegal to negotiate most of the subjects now covered by contracts, and to cripple unions financially by eliminating the dues checkoff process which union members voluntarily pay to support their union’s activities.

Get Your Protest On: Tips for Taking It to the Streets

Thu, 02/09/2017 - 12:37

On January 28 I woke up, heard the news about immigrants being detained because of the president’s executive order, and decided to head over to New York’s JFK Airport.

Part of why I wanted to act is that members of my own union, which represents university professors at Rutgers, and their families are from the targeted countries and will be directly affected by this order.

Viewpoint: Trump’s Trade Reforms Will Not Increase U.S. Wages

Thu, 02/09/2017 - 11:10

President Donald Trump claims he will use international trade policy to bolster the middle class and reduce income inequality.

“The great American middle class is disappearing,” he wrote for USA Today during his campaign. “One of the factors driving this economic devastation is America’s disastrous trade policies.”

That rhetoric resonated with many of the disaffected and downwardly mobile workers who had voted for Democrats in past elections. It seemed to echo labor’s longstanding criticisms of so-called free-trade deals.

Staples Removed: How Postal Workers Defeated a Privatization Scheme

Mon, 02/06/2017 - 11:29
Staples Removed: How Postal Workers Defeated a Privatization Scheme February 06, 2017 / Alexandra Bradbury<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

The Staples boycott is over, and the union won. The Postal Workers (APWU) announced January 5 that the Postal Service will terminate its deal with Staples, closing down the 540 “mini-post offices” inside stores by the end of February and nixing plans to expand them to all 1,600 locations.

The union fought for three years against the deal, which amounted to contracting out post office work to the low-wage, non-union office retailer.

S- -Argentina: Workers Occupy Printing Plant

Fri, 02/03/2017 - 14:58

Versión en español aquí.

Printing plant workers in Buenos Aires showed up for their 6 a.m. shift as usual last Monday, only to find locked doors, police, and private security blocking their way. Grupo Clarín, the biggest media group in Argentina, had locked them out. The 380 workers were fired, with management planning to replace well-paid union workers with cheaper, non-union replacements.

Solidarity Outlasts 'Right to Work' in Indiana Shipyard

Thu, 02/02/2017 - 11:45

Plenty of union officers are justifiably worried about how many members will quit their unions if Congress or the Supreme Court imposes “right to work” conditions on the whole country.

Five Steps to Maintain Unity and Membership under Right to Work

Wed, 02/01/2017 - 11:22
Five Steps to Maintain Unity and Membership under Right to Work February 01, 2017 / Leah Fried<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

Number one on the new administration’s anti-union to-do list is “right to work”—or as many prefer to call it, “no rights at work” or “right to work for less.” But whatever you call it, more of us will be faced with new laws that codify freeloading, making it optional to pay for union representation.

Spanish - Where to Find Better Candidates? Oregon Unions Are Growing Their Own

Tue, 01/31/2017 - 19:18
Spanish - Where to Find Better Candidates? Oregon Unions Are Growing Their Own January 31, 2017 / Sara Ryan<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

S - Election night 2016 was bittersweet for me. I spent most of the day with Oregon legislative candidate Teresa Alonso Leon, a Service Employees (SEIU) member.

Alonso Leon worked for the state as a high school equivalency and GED administrator, helping students find their paths to careers, college, and job skills training programs. I had helped to recruit and train her through the Oregon Labor Candidate School, which offers union members the training and support to run for public office.

New York Taxi Workers Strike Back Against Muslim Ban

Mon, 01/30/2017 - 18:19

In solidarity with a massive protest that erupted at New York’s JFK Airport January 28, the city’s Taxi Workers Alliance organized a one-hour strike at the international terminal.

New Yorkers flocked to protest after President Donald Trump’s Executive Order banned legal immigration from seven predominately Muslim countries and refugees from anywhere.

Hundreds of immigrants were detained that day by border agents upon arrival at international airports across the U.S., including dozens at JFK.

Utility Locators Fight for First Contract

Mon, 01/30/2017 - 14:08
Utility Locators Fight for First Contract January 30, 2017 / Dan DiMaggio<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

Utility locators in New York City and Long Island are fighting for a first contract with United States Infrastructure Corporation. Members say the company has been stonewalling at the bargaining table, aiming to frustrate them into decertifying the union.

Before utility companies can perform underground excavations, laws require that lines be marked aboveground. Locators induce a signal from underground lines, then spray paint the ground to guide utility workers when they dig.

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