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  • Contributor 9:36 pm on June 19, 2019 Permalink  

    Working people have a “BS meter” 

     
  • Contributor 8:56 pm on June 19, 2019 Permalink  

    Miami airport workers vote to seek a strike 

    Maya Lora reports:

    In a two-day vote that ended Friday, workers at Miami Sky Chefs overwhelmingly voted to authorize their union, Unite Here, to request a strike. The vote drew a 72 percent turnout out of 874 employees and, among those who voted, 99.8 percent supported a strike.

    Rachel Gumpert, the press secretary for Unite Here, said Miami is a key city for the national campaign because it is an airline hub.

    Over the next week, voting will continue among thousands of Sky Chefs and Gate Gourmet employees in over 20 cities nationwide. If the workers authorize Unite Here, the union will then request a strike with the National Mediation Board, which must approve any strike request by airport and airline employees. The process could take months.

    Workers are seeking a $15 salary floor and more affordable health insurance. Unite Here said that currently, the average hourly salary for a Miami Sky Chefs worker is $12.25. And only 19 percent of employees were enrolled in company health insurance in 2018.

    “We have workers who have been there over a decade who still don’t make $12 an hour,” Wendi Walsh, the secretary-treasurer for Unite Here Local 355 in South Florida, said. “So you know these workers don’t have a chance in Miami.”

    Other airport employees are covered by the living wage requirement passed by Miami-Dade County in 1999. The ordinance covers businesses contracting with Miami-Dade, including businesses providing services at Miami International Airport. Last year, Miami-Dade commissioners extended that requirement for employees working in shops, restaurants and other vendors at MIA.

    Sky Chefs is exempt from that rule, though. D. Marcus Braswell Jr., who was appointed to the county’s living wage commission, explained that Sky Chefs only has a permit with the county, not a contract. The company’s permittee status means it’s only bound by Florida’s minimum wage, which is currently $8.46. That’s about five dollars below the living wage requirement.

    “I think that the spirit of our law is violated,” Braswell said. “We are charged with making sure that public monies go to companies that are paying a living wage.”

    Miami International Airport declined to comment.

     
  • Contributor 7:42 pm on June 19, 2019 Permalink  

    Gig companies are banding together to crush workers 

    Veena Dubal reports:

    The CEOs of the two top-competing gig firms—Uber and Lyft—penned a June 12, 2019 OpEd in the San Francisco Chronicle in which they claim that after over six years of local, state, federal, and international law-breaking, ignoring the concerns of drivers, and viciously fighting any efforts to achieve living wage and benefits, they are ready to compromise…in California. They claim that in exchange for getting rid of a bill that just passed the state assembly—which would extend California labor protections to many “gig workers” by making it easier for them to claim employee status under state law—they will agree to establish a wage floor, a “workers’ association,” and potentially, a deactivation appeals process.

    Why, after six years of legal and political intransigence, are these companies so ready to come up with a salve? And what should we make of their concessions?

    “Gig economy” companies in California are terrified of two things: (1) the abundance of lawsuits that they will undoubtedly face if this bill becomes law, and (2) the power of an independent union. While CA Assembly Bill 5 (“AB5”) does not explicitly give drivers the right to collectively bargain, the bill would establish legislative precedent that could move state and federal regulators in that direction. In just the past year, leading Democratic presidential candidates have introduced legislation that resembles California’s AB5, making it easier for “gig workers” to establish employee status for the right to organize and collectively bargain as employees under federal labor law. (And yes, the Trump NLRB General Counsel recently released a non-binding advisory memorandum stating the opinion that Uber drivers were independent contractors, but this would easily be tossed under a Democratic administration.)

    Although the details of the “workers’ association” that the Uber & Lyft CEOs lay out in their op-ed are murky, reports indicate that it would stop short of giving workers the right to collectively bargain. This raises extraordinary concerns about both worker independence and worker power—both in and out of the so-called “gig economy.” A hallmark of U.S. labor law for almost a century has been a ban against company unions—that is, a prohibition against any labor association that the employer helps to form or influence, either through financial or in-kind support. If California legislates around this for gig workers, such a “worker association”—or company union— could easily become a reality in other sectors.

    Still, given that private union membership is at an all-time low, some in the labor community (including those currently negotiating with Uber and Lyft in California) contend that perhaps it is time to remodel US labor law to facilitate new and different kinds of organizing—even if it means giving up the legally-mandated rights of workers to form wholly independent organizations and to collectively bargain. Something—in their making—is better than nothing.

    Keep reading

     
  • Contributor 6:52 pm on June 19, 2019 Permalink  

    Montana AFL-CIO to Hold Annual Convention  

    Convention to Feature Address from AFL-CIO National President Richard Trumka 

    What: The Montana AFL-CIO will hold its 63rd annual convention starting Thursday. The convention acts as the supreme governing body of the State Federation, which is in accordance with the National AFL-CIO Constitution and Rules Governing State Federations. The focus of this Constitutional Convention will be officer elections, constitutional amendments and resolutions that will guide the work of the State Fed moving forward. 

    The Montana AFL-CIO will host their Leadership Luncheon on Friday, June 21, at 11:30 AM. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka will provide the Keynote Address. President Trumka’s remarks will highlight the importance of protecting workers’ rights, establishing fair trade agreements, raising workers wages, while advocating for social and economic justice. President Trumka leads the labor movements efforts to create an economy based on broadly shared prosperity and to hold government and employers accountable to working families. President Trumka will be available for questions following the luncheon. Anyone interested in attending this avail should RSVP to Andrew Linton at andrewl@mtaflcio.org. 

    Who: Montana AFL-CIO

    When: June 20-22, 2019

    Where: DoubleTree Edgewater Hotel, 100 Madison St., Missoula, MT, 59802

    Contact: Andrew Linton, 610-952-5957, Andrewl@mtaflcio.org

     

     
  • Contributor 6:37 pm on June 19, 2019 Permalink  

    StoryCorps workers STILL fighting for a contract 

    You can contact StoryCorps HERE and tell them to work with the union.

     
  • Contributor 6:33 pm on June 19, 2019 Permalink  

    This Robot May Displace 500,000 Workers 

    Robot Friends of Labor

    Labor Union Report reports:

    “Robots do not call off, robots don’t take breaks, and robots do not take vacation,” states ‘serial robotics entrepreneur’ Linda Pouliot, CEO and founder of Dishcraft.

    [And, they don’t pay union dues or go on strike, one might add.]

    From cafeteria workers to those who work in restaurants large and small, there are more than half a million people working as dishwashers in the United States today, reports CNBC.

    Enter Dishcraft’s Pouliot and her CTO Paul Birkmeyer.

    To learn whether or not kitchens could be automated, Pouliot and Birkmeyer went to work as dishwashers and “discovered that work in the dish room is the same as it has been for decades — repetitive, frantic and physically punishing,” according to CNBC.

    Pouliot wrote about her first day washing dishes.

     
  • Contributor 6:30 pm on June 19, 2019 Permalink  

    Take a second and hear how detrimental the new NAFTA will be 

     
  • Contributor 6:27 pm on June 19, 2019 Permalink  

    Gig workers deserve protections 

    Uber and the gig economy from Friends of Labor

    By Mario Cilento

    I have officially seen it all. Tuesday on this page, a union funded through the salaries and dues its members earn through collective bargaining and a quasi-labor organization argued against granting union organizing rights to working people. If the authors of that op-ed do not believe in the power of working people to join together and achieve change through their union, it may be time for them to turn in their charters and go start a corporate-funded not-for-profit.

    The issue is legislation that the New York State AFL-CIO supports, which would grant workers in the on-demand or “gig” economy basic rights and protections including collective bargaining.

    People who obtain work via electronic apps often perform the same work or the same type of work as traditional employees, but do not have the same rights under law. Most such workers are classified as independent contractors by their employers. This classification allows workers to be exploited for their labor while freeing the companies they work for from complying with minimum standards and protections.

    App workers are not paid minimum wage or overtime; provided with employee health-care or retirement benefits; afforded the right to collectively bargain or engage in protected concerted activity; or covered by unemployment insurance, temporary disability insurance, paid family leave or workers’ compensation insurance policies.

    Further, the companies that classify their workers as independent contractors have a competitive advantage over traditional employers because they do not pay the costs associated with these basic protections.

    Keep reading

     
  • Contributor 6:22 pm on June 19, 2019 Permalink  

    More proof the Trump Tax Scam isn’t helping America: bonuses are drying up 

    Eric Morath reports:

    A boom in employee bonuses handed out by some companies in the wake of the 2017 Republican tax cut proved to be temporary, Labor Department data released Tuesday showed.

     
  • Contributor 10:59 am on June 19, 2019 Permalink  

    Presidential Candidates Are Finally Talking About Poverty 

    Greg Kaufmann reports:

    For candidates to discuss poverty, be asked about poverty, or speak directly to people in poverty—is still rare. As the Rev. Dr. William Barber II, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, pointed out last week, “During the 2016 Presidential primaries and campaign, there were 26 televised debates, but not a single hour was devoted to how candidates would address America’s poverty. Republicans talk about the economy, while Democrats speak of the middle class. Nobody talks about the poor. The Poor People’s Campaign is organizing across lines created to divide us and we’re forcing those in power to listen.”

    Monday marked a major step forward for pushing a conversation about poverty into presidential politics. The Poor People’s Campaign held a historic forum featuring nine Democratic presidential candidates who gathered to explicitly discuss the issue. Attendees included Vice President Joe Biden and Senators Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren. (Invitations were sent to the Republican National Committee and Donald Trump. but neither replied.)

    One important outcome of the forum was that Reverend Barber obtained a commitment from each and every candidate to push for a presidential debate focused exclusively on poverty and what the Poor People’s Campaign views as the interlocking issues that create and sustain poverty—systemic racism, ecological devastation, militarism and the war economy, and the distorted moral narrative often promoted by religious extremists that focuses on issues like abortion, rolling back gay rights, and inserting prayer in school instead of the suffering of the marginalized. Should the campaign ever need to remind the candidates of their pledges, it can put together a great montage of each one promising to fight for that debate.

    As for policy, there was quite a bit that the candidates agreed on: a restoration and expansion of the Voting Rights Act; universal pre-K and affordable childcare; a $15 minimum wage; health care as a right; repealing the Trump tax cut for the wealthy; bringing the troops home from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and reallocating those billions of dollars domestically; making college affordable or free. There was also a shared sense that scarcity of resources is a myth—the United States has plenty of money to do big things. Candidates also seemed to agree broadly that Democrats must respond to the right’s attempts to use race to pit poor people against one another by investing time and energy in building a multiracial coalition.

     
  • Contributor 4:17 am on June 19, 2019 Permalink  

    Both Old NAFTA and New NAFTA Serve the 1% 

    CommonDreams reports:

    Mick Mulvaney, a millionaire who is President Trump’s acting chief of staff and director of the Office of Management and Budget, awarded himself another job last week: spokesman for labor.

    Referring to the proposed new NAFTA, he told the Wall Street Journal, “We know that labor supports it.”

    That, right there, is the problem with NAFTA, old and new. One percenters like Mulvaney, self-dealing corporate honchos and fancy-pants corporate lobbyists negotiated the deals. Those fat cats claimed they spoke for labor. But when they opened their mouths, only the word profit emerged.

    They didn’t give a damn about jobs or wages or workers’ welfare. The ravages NAFTA inflicted on the non-rich prove that. The proposed new NAFTA is barely different. Mulvaney, though he tried to usurp labor’s voice, is far from labor’s mouthpiece. Labor speaks for itself. And it is railing against NAFTA, old and new.

    The United Steelworkers (USW) union opposed NAFTA from the outset and even filed suit in an attempt to prevent it from taking effect. Like 1992 independent presidential candidate Ross Perot, the union knew NAFTA was a giant vacuum that would suck American and Canadian factories and jobs south of the Mexican border, where wages were, and remain, untenably low and environmental laws unenforced.

     
  • Contributor 9:52 pm on June 18, 2019 Permalink  

    Labor leader laughs at President Trump 

    Politico reports

    President Donald Trump has repeatedly said unions are supportive of the new North American trade pact, as he ramps up his push for Congress to approve the deal this summer. But the head of America’s largest labor organization thinks Trump’s claim is laughable.

    “Maybe he’s talking about the unions in some other country?” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told POLITICO, laughing at Trump’s suggestion that unions are “in favor” of the deal his administration negotiated with Mexico and Canada to replace NAFTA.

    “I don’t have a clue” where Trump gets that from, Trumka said, “because we’re pretty united.” Unions in the U.S., he warned, will not support the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement in its current form.

     
  • Contributor 8:14 pm on June 18, 2019 Permalink  

    “NLRB Decision Shows Need for Reform” 

    The Teamsters report:

    The rollback of union rights in favor of big business continues. Last week, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) handed down a ruling that allows companies to bar non-employee union representatives access to public spaces on their property, overturning nearly four decades of precedent.

    The case was based on a 2013 incident where two organizers were ejected from a Pennsylvania hospital while meeting with members of its staff in its cafeteria. Previously, union organizers not working at a particularly jobsite could not be banned from worker cafeterias and restaurants open to the public under the “public space exemption.”

    It is the latest anti-union strike levied against workers. Former Obama administration rules that sought to raise the salary threshold for workers eligible for overtime and made it harder for companies to employ outside anti-union consultants have been undone in recent years, hurting workers and their families.

    Why is union membership better for workers? Because union jobs pay more! The median union worker makes $10,000 more a year than the median non-union one. They are also more likely to have health care and retirement benefits.

    That’s why it’s important that elected officials take steps to codify collective bargaining rights. Back in March, the House Education and Labor Workforce Protection Subcommittee held a hearing that sought to shine a light on the need for labor law reform.

     
  • Contributor 8:12 pm on June 18, 2019 Permalink  

    BREAKING: airline food workers OK strike 

    Mercury News reports:

     Less than half of the workers preparing meals served aboard three airlines flying out of San Francisco International Airport can afford the health care plans offered by their employers, union officials said Saturday.

    “I prepare food and beverage for some of the world’s biggest airlines, but I have to go to a free clinic because my company insurance is so expensive that I can’t afford it,” Roberto Alvarez, who loads airline carts full of food and beverages at one of the two San Francisco International Airport kitchens that held strike votes this week, said in a news release.

    Unite Here Local 2, the hotel and restaurant workers’ union of San Francisco and San Mateo counties, announced Saturday that about 1,500 workers — or 99.8 percent of the union’s members — voted this week to authorize a strike when released by the National Mediation Board.

    The employees work for LSG Sky Chefs and Gate Gourmet — subcontractors providing meals for United, Delta and American Airlines flights departing from SFO.

    The vote by SFO employees was part of a national contract negotiation by thousands of airline catering workers across the country. Employees in 21 cities are taking part in a strike vote that will culminate on Friday, according to union representatives.

    The decision to authorize a strike was made as a result of a growing crisis around airline catering workers’ health care and wages. Many of the union members live in poverty and cannot afford health care, according to union representatives.

     
  • Contributor 8:07 pm on June 18, 2019 Permalink  

    Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act introduced 

    It’s time for Congress to make it easier for workers to start and join unions.

    Truthout reports:

    A record number of workers in the United States decided to go on strike in 2018. Now congressional Democrats are trying to harness that momentum to pass a massive labor reform bill that would make it easier for workers to join unions and collectively bargain.

    The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act was introduced on May 2 by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Washington) and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Virginia). The bill would usher in a multitude of protections for workers and give them more bargaining power.

    Some of its features include penalties for businesses that illegally fire employees, sped-up union elections that prevent employers from holding anti-union meetings with their staff, and National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) protections for many independent contractors who aren’t currently classified as employees.

     
  • Contributor 8:02 pm on June 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

    SHAMEFUL: Number of workplace safety inspectors falling under Trump 

    Politico reports:

    Despite assurances from Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta that he will boost the number of OSHA compliance officers this fiscal year, new data shows the number of inspectors has declined.

    According to statistics that POLITICO obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, the number of compliance safety and health officers tasked with conducting workplace inspections at the agency had fallen in April to 870. That’s down from the 875 safety inspectors that OSHA reported in January (in response to a FOIA request from the left-leaning National Employment Law Project).

    In addition, data provided to POLITICO from OSHA reveals that since January the agency has lost two area directors responsible for training and supervising safety and health inspectors.

    During the same month that OSHA recorded the 7-person decline, Acosta testified before a House appropriations panel that OSHA “expects to have a significant increase in inspectors in FY 2019.” The fiscal year runs from Oct 1 through September 30.

     
  • Contributor 7:30 pm on June 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

    Santa Monica public radio joins union 

    Deadline reports:

    Employees at KCRW, the public radio station in Santa Monica, have voted to recognize SAG-AFTRA as their union. The new bargaining unit will cover more than 90 public media professionals, including DJs, hosts, producers, reporters, production engineers, board operators and others who create content for all areas of KCRW, including music and news radio programming, digital content, podcasts and live events.

    The employees made the request to unionize on May 30, when they delivered a petition to station management with more than 75% support.

    “On behalf of SAG-AFTRA members, I am thrilled to welcome KCRW to our union family,” said SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris. “KCRW is a one-of-a-kind radio station that produces some of Los Angeles’ most dynamic and diverse programming, and we’re excited to make sure everyone’s voice is heard through the collective bargaining process.”

    The online vote was conducted according to an election agreement reached between SAG-AFTRA and KCRW through what both sides are calling “a mutually respectful and collaborative process.”

     
  • Contributor 5:54 pm on June 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

    Opinion: corporate greed is the problem 

    Originally published in the Times Free Press.

    Friday night, the United Auto Workers lost the union election at Volkswagen.

    There should never have been an election in the first place.

    There shouldn’t have to be.

    Want to start a business? You aren’t forced to hold an election. You’re free. Go start a business.

    Want to go to college? Get married? Cross borders? Assemble or go to church?

    You don’t need an election. You’re free.

    Religion, commerce, travel, education — these are basic human rights.

    So, too, is unionizing.

    VW workers ought to be free to join a union without hassle, interference, coercion or outside pressure. Sign a card. Say yes. Attend meetings. Join a union.

    “Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment,” proclaims the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. “Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.”

    Workers at VW shouldn’t have to go through hell and back to unionize. Ad campaigns, threats, videos, insinuations — the enormity of attention — all stymies and misrepresents the very reason for unions.

    So that work is dignified, ennobled and protected.

    So that labor is life-giving, not a means of extortion.

    So that collective power provides a check-and-balance against corporate greed.

    Unions are standard democracy across the world, yet here in Tennessee?

    Gov. Bill Lee traveled to VW to hold a closed-door meeting with workers, sending the message: don’t unionize.

    VW’s new CEO, Frank Fischer, held meetings with workers, sending the message: don’t unionize.

    State legislators threatened an end to incentive packages, sending the message: don’t unionize.

    How dare multimillionaires look $15.50-an-hour workers in the eye and declare what is and isn’t good for them?

    All this creates a narrative that focuses on the speck in Tennessee’s eye while ignoring the log.

    We focus on unions.

    Not worker safety.

    Not worker dignity.

    Not corporate greed and malfeasance.

    In 2008, without any public referendum or vote, our state legislators awarded VW with a $554 million tax incentive package, the largest in state history.

    Seven years later, Tennessee offered another $260 million.

    Yet VW was found guilty of international “Dieselgate” deception, fraudulently masking emissions output.

    And VW also pays some of the lowest wages in the auto industry, according to a 2015 Center for Automotive Research report.

    Both issues — low wages and Dieselgate — seem forgivable by Tennessee leaders, who are then outraged at the idea of workers organizing for collective power, safety and voice.

    It is a monstrously lopsided view that seems to suffocate the interests, desires and dignity of the very people — workers — on whom VW depends.

    Democracy and human rights should always come before business.

    “My coworkers are getting hurt, I’ve been hurt, there is constant threat of injury, and if it doesn’t change, none of us will survive,” one VW worker told Labor Notes.

    The NYC-based Labor Notes — specifically its dogged reporter Chris Brooks, a Chattanooga native and my friend — has reported on both Lee and Fischer’s meetings while also receiving multiple worker testimonies.

    Like this: “I shouldn’t have to give Volkswagen my body in exchange for the house that I live in and the lifestyle I try to provide for my family.”

    And this: “When I went and told my supervisor I had a problem with a hand, I was called a liar. I was told I was faking.”

    And this: “They push, push, push. They overload the pitches [section on assembly line] to make the job impossible, and when you are rushing to catch up, that is when you get injured.”

    Of course, not all workers agree.

    One VW worker told the anti-union Southern Momentum that unionization was a threat.

    “I can’t risk losing all of that. My kids can’t risk losing all of that. I’ve got three fixin’ to go to college. Am I going to go flip burgers for $24 an hour? After eight years? No, no I’m not. It’s time for the attacks to stop,” she said.

    Both types of stories — can’t flip burgers for $24 an hour and I shouldn’t give my body to VW — share a commonality.

    Desperation.

    The real issue here is not unionization.

    It is the ability for each Tennessean to earn bread for his or her table.

    It is the ability for each Tennessean to find safe, dignified work while remaining free to exercise autonomy, voice and power.

    I write this not in specific support of UAW, but as a Christian who believes that work should be dignified, life-giving and noble.

    If that is bad for business, then we must rethink the very nature of what we call business.

    David Cook writes a Sunday column and can be reached at dcook@timesfreepress.com

     
  • Contributor 3:09 pm on June 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

    The federal minimum wage has never been this stagnant 

    If our economy is booming, why haven’t we seen a raise in the minimum wage?

    EPI reports:

    June 16th marks the longest period in history without an increase in the federal minimum wage. The last time Congress passed an increase was in May 2007, when it legislated that the minimum wage be raised to $7.25 per hour on July 24, 2009. Since the minimum wage was first established in 1938, Congress has never let it go unchanged for so long.

    When the minimum wage remains unchanged for any length of time, inflation erodes its buying power. As shown in the graphic, when the minimum wage was last raised to $7.25 in July 2009, it had a purchasing power equivalent to $8.70 in today’s dollars. Over the last 10 years, as the minimum wage has remained at $7.25, its purchasing power has declined by 17 percent. For a full-time, year-round minimum wage worker, this represents a loss of over $3,000 in annual earnings. Moreover, since its historical peak in February 1968, the federal minimum wage has lost 31 percent in purchasing power—meaning that full-time, year-round minimum wage workers today have annual earnings worth $6,800 less than what their counterparts earned five decades ago.

     
  • Contributor 1:45 pm on June 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

    TAX SCAM: Corporations pocket Trump tax cut as workers see job promises vanish 

    The Guardian reports:

    Stephen Smith worked at an AT&T call center in Meriden, Connecticut, for over 20 years before the giant telecoms company announced it was closing the city’s three call centers in February 2019.

    “At 46 years old, I’m looking for a new job,” Smith said. “They basically told us we either need to move south or lose our job. It was out of the blue. We had no idea.”

     
  • Contributor 12:51 pm on June 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

    Trade: The current NAFTA deal is unenforceable 

    The Pittsburg Post-Gazette reports:

    NAFTA is an agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico to reduce trade barriers between the three countries. In 1993, President Bill Clinton signed it into law and it went into effect January 1994.

    “We need something that benefits all Americans, not just those at the very top,” Mr. Trumka said. “Something better for our working people. Something better for our economy. Something better for everyone.”

    Beth Mikus, a 30-year member and employee of Service Employees International Union, asked if it might be beneficial to accept the agreement if it’s better than the original and then fix it as time goes on. Mr. Trumka responded by saying that it is not better because it’s not enforceable. He said if they can’t enforce it, it’s useless.

    https://www.post-gazette.com/business/money/2019/06/17/AFL-CIO-President-Trumka-town-hall-NAFTA-negotiations/stories/201906170100

     
  • Contributor 12:32 pm on June 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

    Letter: Labor unions made America great 

    From Peter P. Sirois:

    “Make America Great Again.” I’ve been seeing and hearing a lot of that lately. And I have to admit, it can make sense if viewed from the proper perspective. We gain that perspective by asking, “What made America great in the first place?”

    From my seven decades experience on this earth, I learned that, first and foremost, labor unions initially made this country great. Until labor unions were formed, worker wages were poverty-level low. Working conditions were harsh and extremely dangerous. Men and women were killed and maimed on the job on a daily basis, and the factory and mine owners didn’t care one bit and did nothing to improve those barbaric conditions. Millions of families languished in abject poverty and harsh living conditions due to substandard wages. Proper nutrition was denied and millions of children suffered the effects of malnutrition. Some even died.

    In the late 19th and early 20th century, men and women joined labor unions. The goal of those unions was to make the factory and mine owners treat all workers with the respect and dignity they deserved. Because those early labor organizers suffered at the hands of the owners, we had for a time a period when workers actually gained much of that respect.

    For a while, workers enjoyed fair wages and humane working conditions. Of course, through costly lobbying, the owner class got legislation that weakened the labor unions to the point where they are almost non-existent. Even the non-union workers are hurt by this backlash.

    We are now headed back to the days when workers are no longer respected. The same workers that originally made America great. So, let’s make America great again. Support the labor unions that gave us fair wages and a respected and stable way of life.

     
  • Contributor 3:15 am on June 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

    BuzzFeed journalists just walked off the job in 4 cities because they want their union recognized! 

    Vox reports:

    BuzzFeed News journalists are getting impatient. It’s been four months since they voted to form a labor union, but the company still hasn’t officially recognized them.

    Managers at the popular news website, which employs more than 200 journalists in the US, have been fighting with union representatives for months about how many employees can join the bargaining unit, according to a statement BuzzFeed News Union shared with Vox. The union, which is represented by the NewsGuild of New York, says management keeps trying to exclude workers they claim are managers or supervisors, even though no employees report to them.

     
  • Contributor 2:38 am on June 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

    Breaking: ‘M.L.B. and Players’ Union Set to Begin Early Labor Talks’ 

    The New York Times reports:

    Top officials from Major League Baseball and the M.L.B. Players’ Association met at the league office on Monday, the first step in a process that the union hopes will result in substantive changes to the sport’s labor agreement.

    Monday’s meeting was only to discuss logistics for negotiations, officials said, but the beginning of the talks — more than two years before the current agreement expires — underscores the urgency of both sides to address the concerns of the players, who have been largely dismayed by the slow-moving free agent market the last two off-seasons and the subtext, they believe, of too many teams not spending to win.

     
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