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Facing Wisconsin-Style Attack, Iowans Stick to the Union

Thu, 2017-11-16 12:33
Facing Wisconsin-Style Attack, Iowans Stick to the Union November 16, 2017 / Dave Kamper<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

Never let a good crisis go to waste. Iowa’s Republican legislative majorities assumed that an aggressive anti-union law would persuade public employees to abandon their unions. Instead they created a backlash, sparking unions to reconnect with members and their communities.

So far 29,552 people have voted to stay union, and just 651 have voted against.

Categories: Labor Notes

Fighting a Co-Worker's Deportation at Our Hospital

Tue, 2017-11-14 15:41

When our hospital bargaining team learned that our co-worker Maria Mendoza Sanchez and her family were to be deported in less than a week, we were shocked. Though we knew it might be too late to act, we decided we had to do something.

Categories: Labor Notes

Relieving Racial Resentment in Our Unions

Fri, 2017-11-10 12:11
Relieving Racial Resentment in Our Unions November 10, 2017 / Jane Slaughter<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

An electrical workers local in San Francisco found itself in a mortifying situation: one of its members was outed as an active white supremacist. Wireman John Ramondetta had traveled to Charlottesville this August to march alongside Nazis and the KKK.

“For the membership as a whole there is disappointment, embarrassment, and disgust,” said Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 6 Business Manager John Doherty. “The overriding theme is 'We're being tied to this guy!' He doesn't reflect our values.”

Categories: Labor Notes

Confronting Zero Tolerance

Wed, 2017-11-08 11:25
Confronting Zero Tolerance November 08, 2017 / Robert M. Schwartz<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

Bosses are in love with zero tolerance policies. One arbitrator calls them “the last refuge of weak managers.”

Zero tolerance policies authorize employers to discharge workers who commit specified infractions without consideration of the surrounding circumstances, length of service, or the employee’s lack of prior discipline.

Categories: Labor Notes

In Puerto Rico, Unions Lead in Hurricane Relief Efforts

Tue, 2017-11-07 11:45
In Puerto Rico, Unions Lead in Hurricane Relief Efforts November 07, 2017 / Stephanie Basile<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, as Puerto Rico faces government neglect, unions’ relief efforts have been critical.

Teachers and students across the island have cleared debris off the roads and delivered medical supplies. On the outskirts of San Juan, communications and transport workers cooked and distributed hot meals. Union volunteers on Isla Verde drove door to door with water and supplies. And these are just a handful of stories among hundreds.

Categories: Labor Notes

Book Review: Ants among Elephants

Thu, 2017-11-02 10:16

Ants among Elephants is an absorbing and moving history of modern India from the perspective of a family of Christian “untouchables.”

Author Sujatha Gidla, now a New York City subway conductor and member of Transport Workers Local 100, traces three generations of her family to describe life at the bottom rungs of caste society, the changes that came about—or didn’t—following Indian independence from Great Britain, and the country’s development in the second half of the 20th century.

Categories: Labor Notes

Viewpoint: A Union Plan for Hurricane Repair: Local Hire, Prevailing Wage

Wed, 2017-11-01 11:06

After Harvey, Irma, and Maria, many thousands of homes have been lost and lives wrecked. People in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico need decent paying jobs while they try to put their lives back together, and the one industry that will be booming is construction.

The question is whether these will be good jobs for local residents. They can be good jobs only if prevailing wage laws are upheld—and local hire agreements are put in place.

Categories: Labor Notes

NAFTA Talks: What's the Deal?

Tue, 2017-10-31 10:34
NAFTA Talks: What's the Deal? October 31, 2017 / Arthur Stamoulis<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

As renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) chugs along rapidly behind closed doors, President Donald Trump will soon be forced to decide whether to keep or abandon his campaign pledge to make the pact “much better” for working people.

NAFTA’s renegotiation should be an opportunity to end its quarter-century legacy of job loss and wage suppression. Longtime fair trade advocates warn, however, that without increased public pressure, Trump could end up making NAFTA even worse for working people.

Categories: Labor Notes

Bracing for Right to Work, Public Sector Unions Up the Ante

Fri, 2017-10-27 10:47
Bracing for Right to Work, Public Sector Unions Up the Ante October 27, 2017 / Samantha Winslow<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

The whole public sector will likely become “right to work” next year, barring another miracle at the Supreme Court.

Once the conservative majority rules in Janus v. AFSCME, likely before June, life will change for unions in the 23 states that till now have rejected right-to-work laws. Public sector unions in those states will no longer be able to collect “agency fees” from workers whom they represent but who choose not to join their locals.

Categories: Labor Notes

Time for Labor to Up Our Game on Racism

Thu, 2017-10-26 16:08

The most important actions by union members this fall are happening on, of all places, the football field.

If other unions are smart, they'll take advantage of this moment. They'll use the fact that every single member knows about NFL players' protests for racial justice, and start conversations in their own locals.

Some might be tempted to shy away from this discussion, worrying it’ll divide us even further along racial or political lines, or that they’ll lose their seat in the next election.

Categories: Labor Notes

Jersey Day Spooks Kroger Management

Fri, 2017-10-20 10:29

According to Kroger, sports partisanship on the job is OK but union partisanship is not.

The grocery chain has long allowed employees to wear team jerseys of their choice on designated “game days.” NASCAR and NFL teams are among the honorees.

But when Kroger workers in West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio began wearing UFCW Local 400 jerseys to work on game day, as part of their campaign for a new contract, the company abruptly announced that only Kroger uniforms were allowed—nationwide.

Categories: Labor Notes

Review: No Shortcuts: Organizing for Power in the New Gilded Age

Thu, 2017-10-19 13:51

Jane McAlevey’s No Shortcuts is an exciting book. It tells the stories of important struggles and it tackles the big questions facing the labor movement. McAlevey is a former staffer, organizer, and national leader of the Service Employees (SEIU) on the losing side of a power struggle, then an academic and now a consultant.

Categories: Labor Notes

Canada GM Workers Strike, but Can’t Get Guarantee on Jobs

Wed, 2017-10-18 13:44
Canada GM Workers Strike, but Can’t Get Guarantee on Jobs October 18, 2017 / Gerard DiTrolio and Doug Nesbitt<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

As negotiators from Canada, the U.S., and Mexico carry out secretive talks aimed at fixing NAFTA, a strike at an Ontario auto plant shows how difficult it can be to challenge the power amassed by corporations thanks to the trade deal.

The 2,800 members of Unifor Local 88 walked off the job September 17 at the CAMI assembly plant in Ingersoll seeking contract language to secure their jobs.

Categories: Labor Notes

No Casting Couch for Low-Wage Women, But Lots of Sexual Harassment

Fri, 2017-10-13 15:18
No Casting Couch for Low-Wage Women, But Lots of Sexual Harassment October 13, 2017 / Jane Slaughter<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

Sexual harassment doesn't happen just to glamorous women in glamorous industries. Since sexual harassment is about power, not sex, it’s not surprising that low-wage women in lousy jobs get a lot of it.

Categories: Labor Notes

Labor's Stake in the Fight for Veterans' Health Care

Thu, 2017-10-12 11:20
Labor's Stake in the Fight for Veterans' Health Care October 12, 2017 / Suzanne Gordon and Ian Hoffmann<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

In January President Trump delivered on his promise to shrink the federal government: he announced a hiring freeze, despite thousands of federal job vacancies.

As a candidate, Trump campaigned as a great friend of veterans. He pledged to make big improvements in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), the arm of the Veterans Administration (VA) that operates the largest health care system in the country.

But Trump’s hiring freeze deepened an already existing staffing crisis at VHA hospitals and clinics throughout the U.S., where there are 49,000 vacant positions.

Categories: Labor Notes

New York Teamsters Block Union-Busting Move

Tue, 2017-10-10 09:25

New York City-area movers packed up the inflatable rats—all three of them—and declared victory in late August. For two months, while members of Teamsters Local 814 were locked out of their jobs, they had mobilized in the streets to protest a local company’s decision to drop its unionized movers and warehouse workers.

Categories: Labor Notes

Public Sector Right to Work: Gateway to Combating All Unions

Fri, 2017-10-06 10:50

Corporations are making the most headway on their anti-worker agenda by buying state legislatures, argues Gordon Lafer in his new book, The One Percent Solution: How Corporations Are Remaking America One State at a Time.

An excerpt from Chapter Two of the book, “Deunionizing the Private Sector,” is provided below. For more, see the full interview with Lafer on the Labor Notes website.

Categories: Labor Notes

Interview: The Billionaire Battle Plan

Fri, 2017-10-06 10:16
Interview: The Billionaire Battle Plan October 06, 2017 / Gordon Lafer<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

It's national politics that get the headlines, but corporations are making the most headway on their anti-worker agenda by buying state legislatures. So argues Gordon Lafer in his new book, The One Percent Solution: How Corporations Are Remaking America One State at a Time.

You may think you know how pervasive corporate money is in politics, but Lafer, a labor educator at the University of Oregon, reveals a nationally coordinated, corporate-funded strategy that's gained steam since 2010.

Categories: Labor Notes

Building Power before Janus–And After: Lessons from CUNY

Tue, 2017-10-03 13:01

As recently as 2014, just 22 percent of my co-workers were members of our chapter in our big wall-to-wall union. The rest—some 1,242 employees—paid the “agency fee,” which for us is the same as membership dues. The chapter had been defunct for several years. Few bothered to explain to new employees why it mattered to join and what power might come from engagement.

Categories: Labor Notes

Review: The Big Rig: Trucking and the Decline of the American Dream

Mon, 2017-10-02 10:41

Truck drivers seem to have re-entered the public consciousness in 2017—but today our understanding of the occupation is far from the freewheeling “cowboy of the highway” image of the 1970s. It’s also no longer synonymous with “Teamster” or even seen as a desirable job.

Categories: Labor Notes