Labor Notes

Viewpoint: Publicly Fund News Media, Because Journalists Fight for Us All

Steward's Corner - Fri, 2020-05-01 10:48

In a cataclysmic health crisis, it’s plain to see how essential the work of journalists has become. The public is turning to news media sources in record numbers, particularly online, to answer burning questions:

“Which hospitals are at capacity?”
“How many cases are in my state?”
“Is the curve peaking or flattening out?”
“What are the latest rules?”
“Are we re-opening the country for business too quickly?”
“Too slowly?”
“How do I stay safe?”

Categories: Labor Notes

Viewpoint: Publicly Fund News Media, Because Journalists Fight for Us All

Magazine Stories - Fri, 2020-05-01 10:48

In a cataclysmic health crisis, it’s plain to see how essential the work of journalists has become. The public is turning to news media sources in record numbers, particularly online, to answer burning questions:

“Which hospitals are at capacity?”
“How many cases are in my state?”
“Is the curve peaking or flattening out?”
“What are the latest rules?”
“Are we re-opening the country for business too quickly?”
“Too slowly?”
“How do I stay safe?”

Categories: Labor Notes

Lessons from the First Union Climate Strike in the U.S.

Steward's Corner - Thu, 2020-04-30 13:03
Lessons from the First Union Climate Strike in the U.S. April 30, 2020 / Iris Altamirano, Greg Nammacher, and Priya Dalal-Whelan

On a pitch-dark night on February 28, striking janitors led a huge march along the frozen streets of downtown Minneapolis. Any other night, the janitors would be warm inside, cleaning the buildings of the Fortune 500. Instead they were leading what some have called the first union-sanctioned “climate strike” in U.S. history.

Categories: Labor Notes

Lessons from the First Union Climate Strike in the U.S.

Magazine Stories - Thu, 2020-04-30 13:03
Lessons from the First Union Climate Strike in the U.S. April 30, 2020 / Iris Altamirano, Greg Nammacher, and Priya Dalal-Whelan

On a pitch-dark night on February 28, striking janitors led a huge march along the frozen streets of downtown Minneapolis. Any other night, the janitors would be warm inside, cleaning the buildings of the Fortune 500. Instead they were leading what some have called the first union-sanctioned “climate strike” in U.S. history.

Categories: Labor Notes

Los Angeles Teachers Use Contract Action Teams to Win COVID-19 Victory

Steward's Corner - Wed, 2020-04-29 17:20

In United Teachers Los Angeles, our 34,000-member union, we used Contract Action Teams (CAT) in every school to build up to our winning strike in January 2019. We used the CAT again in our school when our principal tried to push teachers to do the work of the administration while we are working from home.

A CAT is a school’s organizing team, made up of rank-and-file members who, with the chapter chair, strategize, disseminate information, and support staff with contractual issues.

Categories: Labor Notes

Los Angeles Teachers Use Contract Action Teams to Win COVID-19 Victory

Magazine Stories - Wed, 2020-04-29 17:20

In United Teachers Los Angeles, our 34,000-member union, we used Contract Action Teams (CAT) in every school to build up to our winning strike in January 2019. We used the CAT again in our school when our principal tried to push teachers to do the work of the administration while we are working from home.

A CAT is a school’s organizing team, made up of rank-and-file members who, with the chapter chair, strategize, disseminate information, and support staff with contractual issues.

Categories: Labor Notes

Viewpoint: During the Crisis, Teachers Need the Freedom to Focus on Student Needs, Not Online Metrics

Steward's Corner - Wed, 2020-04-29 15:40

My first teaching assignment was in a special education classroom in an elementary school basement; above the door in red were the words “Shelter Inside.”

I read those words every morning on my way in. The relationships inside the classroom were our shelter, and the community we built together made learning possible.

Now school districts across the globe have been closed due to the COVID-19 crisis. Some school districts have taken the position that by giving a student a Chromebook they have flipped a switch: remote learning is now in place.

Categories: Labor Notes

Viewpoint: During the Crisis, Teachers Need the Freedom to Focus on Student Needs, Not Online Metrics

Magazine Stories - Wed, 2020-04-29 15:40

My first teaching assignment was in a special education classroom in an elementary school basement; above the door in red were the words “Shelter Inside.”

I read those words every morning on my way in. The relationships inside the classroom were our shelter, and the community we built together made learning possible.

Now school districts across the globe have been closed due to the COVID-19 crisis. Some school districts have taken the position that by giving a student a Chromebook they have flipped a switch: remote learning is now in place.

Categories: Labor Notes

Organizing COVID-19 Action Teams in New York Hospitals

Steward's Corner - Tue, 2020-04-28 16:14

For most nurses and other health care workers it's been the most traumatic month of our careers. We knew we were going into this world-historic challenge with a crippled, fractured, understaffed, and under-capacity health care system. What we didn't quite realize was that there would be no real plan to protect us.

Categories: Labor Notes

Organizing COVID-19 Action Teams in New York Hospitals

Magazine Stories - Tue, 2020-04-28 16:14

For most nurses and other health care workers it's been the most traumatic month of our careers. We knew we were going into this world-historic challenge with a crippled, fractured, understaffed, and under-capacity health care system. What we didn't quite realize was that there would be no real plan to protect us.

Categories: Labor Notes

Chicago Grad Workers First to Win COVID-19 Demands

Steward's Corner - Tue, 2020-04-28 14:46

UPDATE: On May 1 graduate employees won free summer 2020 housing in the dorms for all international students who need it. The union continued to pressure the university administration after winning its MOU earlier.

Workers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have bargained what we believe are the first set of wins for a graduate union negotiating the effects of COVID-19. It was our winning strike last year that made our employer realize it should come to the table and give us what we demanded.

Categories: Labor Notes

Chicago Grad Workers First to Win COVID-19 Demands

Magazine Stories - Tue, 2020-04-28 14:46

UPDATE: On May 1 graduate employees won free summer 2020 housing in the dorms for all international students who need it. The union continued to pressure the university administration after winning its MOU earlier.

Workers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have bargained what we believe are the first set of wins for a graduate union negotiating the effects of COVID-19. It was our winning strike last year that made our employer realize it should come to the table and give us what we demanded.

Categories: Labor Notes

Plexiglas and Union Power

Steward's Corner - Mon, 2020-04-27 14:37

Unions at the three hospitals on the University of Washington campus asked management for protective Plexiglas barriers similar to what we are seeing at grocery stores. When management said no, we built them ourselves.

On April 14 our unions in AFSCME Council 28 asked Labor Relations for the barriers. We asked for barriers on main campus and at the UW and Harborview Medical Centers, in all public-facing areas, including registration in the emergency departments and cashiers at all points of sale.

Categories: Labor Notes

Plexiglas and Union Power

Magazine Stories - Mon, 2020-04-27 14:37

Unions at the three hospitals on the University of Washington campus asked management for protective Plexiglas barriers similar to what we are seeing at grocery stores. When management said no, we built them ourselves.

On April 14 our unions in AFSCME Council 28 asked Labor Relations for the barriers. We asked for barriers on main campus and at the UW and Harborview Medical Centers, in all public-facing areas, including registration in the emergency departments and cashiers at all points of sale.

Categories: Labor Notes

How New Orleans Library Workers Shut It Down

Steward's Corner - Mon, 2020-04-27 11:57

Libraries are one of the last social services to normally be open to all. Our labor affects the community health in many ways. But New Orleans library workers understood that our workplaces’ social role also made libraries a potentially massive infection site for the at-risk populations we overwhelmingly serve.

Categories: Labor Notes

How New Orleans Library Workers Shut It Down

Magazine Stories - Mon, 2020-04-27 11:57

Libraries are one of the last social services to normally be open to all. Our labor affects the community health in many ways. But New Orleans library workers understood that our workplaces’ social role also made libraries a potentially massive infection site for the at-risk populations we overwhelmingly serve.

Categories: Labor Notes

VIDEO: Nurses Rally at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center to Demand #PPEoverProfit

Steward's Corner - Fri, 2020-04-24 16:35

More than 50 health care workers and supporters held a socially distanced rally in front of Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center on April 15 as part of a national day of action for healthcare workers.

Nurses and other workers held signs about their growing number of co-workers who have died and the still-urgent lack of PPE. Signs read “I can’t help anyone if I become a patient,” “Essential workers’ lives aren’t disposable,” and “My patient deserves a nurse with proper PPE.”

Categories: Labor Notes

VIDEO: Nurses Rally at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center to Demand #PPEoverProfit

Magazine Stories - Fri, 2020-04-24 16:35

More than 50 health care workers and supporters held a socially distanced rally in front of Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center on April 15 as part of a national day of action for healthcare workers.

Nurses and other workers held signs about their growing number of co-workers who have died and the still-urgent lack of PPE. Signs read “I can’t help anyone if I become a patient,” “Essential workers’ lives aren’t disposable,” and “My patient deserves a nurse with proper PPE.”

Categories: Labor Notes

Safety: Bosses Want to Fix the Worker, Unions Want to Fix the Job

Steward's Corner - Fri, 2020-04-24 14:52
Safety: Bosses Want to Fix the Worker, Unions Want to Fix the Job April 24, 2020 / Jay Herzmark

Unions and bosses have different outlooks on safety. Employers say illnesses and injuries are caused by worker carelessness: he didn’t wash his hands enough; she touched her face. That’s the way the boss wants you to think, too.

But the union realizes that it’s the hazards themselves that cause injuries, and that it’s the boss who sets up the workplace, either designing in hazards or failing to design them out. The boss has everyone work in the same tiny space. The boss won’t install a cough guard between you and customers. Emphasize these different outlooks with workers.

Categories: Labor Notes

Safety: Bosses Want to Fix the Worker, Unions Want to Fix the Job

Magazine Stories - Fri, 2020-04-24 14:52
Safety: Bosses Want to Fix the Worker, Unions Want to Fix the Job April 24, 2020 / Jay Herzmark

Unions and bosses have different outlooks on safety. Employers say illnesses and injuries are caused by worker carelessness: he didn’t wash his hands enough; she touched her face. That’s the way the boss wants you to think, too.

But the union realizes that it’s the hazards themselves that cause injuries, and that it’s the boss who sets up the workplace, either designing in hazards or failing to design them out. The boss has everyone work in the same tiny space. The boss won’t install a cough guard between you and customers. Emphasize these different outlooks with workers.

Categories: Labor Notes
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