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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
It’s said that those who go through a strike never forget it. Peter Shapiro took part in a mid-1980s cannery strike as a community supporter, and never forgot it. Thirty years later, retired from a career in the U.S. Postal Service, he wrote a book about that remarkable strike—a rare union victory during an era of union-busting.
When President Donald Trump nominated billionaire Betsy DeVos for Education Secretary, teachers in her home state of Michigan were outraged—again.
In her confirmation hearing, DeVos’s responses to senators’ questions may have made her look uninformed and unprepared. She said schools need guns to protect students from grizzly bears; she didn’t know federal disability laws apply to schools; she couldn’t explain basic education policy; she refused to answer whether charter schools and traditional public schools should be judged on the same accountability measures.