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Nursing Home Workers Win Wage Gains with Credible Strike Threat

Fri, 05/26/2017 - 11:38
Nursing Home Workers Win Wage Gains with Credible Strike Threat May 26, 2017 / Leah Fried<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

After close to three years of negotiations, stickers and leaflets weren’t getting the boss any closer to a fair agreement. The master contract covering 10,000 nursing home workers in Illinois had been expired for two years and extended several times.

Management was insisting on a wage freeze until Illinois overcame its budget impasse and increased Medicaid reimbursements. Long-term workers were languishing at minimum wage, even when their employers had begun offering higher wages to entice new hires.

May Day 2017: A Smattering of Strikes

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 14:44

Tens of thousands turned out for May Day demonstrations around the country, though the actions didn’t have the same spontaneous character as February’s “Day without Immigrants.”

Philly Teachers Call Off Work In Bottom-Up Campaign

Wed, 05/24/2017 - 16:18
Philly Teachers Call Off Work In Bottom-Up Campaign May 24, 2017 / Samantha Winslow<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

Teachers and their unions turned out for May Day this year in St. Paul, Minneapolis, Oakland, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Chicago, and Seattle. They held teach-ins at schools and pickets outside, and joined citywide demonstrations in solidarity with immigrant communities.

'Together and Unified,' AT&T Workers Launch Three-Day Strike

Fri, 05/19/2017 - 22:46

Forty thousand AT&T workers in 36 states launched a three-day strike on Friday afternoon, as they continue their push for new contracts with the telecom giant, the tenth largest company in the U.S.

It’s the first strike ever for 21,000 retail and call center workers and technicians in the company's wireless division, Mobility. They're joined by 17,000 AT&T wireline workers in California, Nevada, and Connecticut, as well as DirecTV technicians in California and Nevada. All are members of the Communications Workers (CWA).

How We're Surviving Right to Work: Conversations Are the Building Blocks for Milwaukee Teachers

Tue, 05/16/2017 - 14:16
How We're Surviving Right to Work: Conversations Are the Building Blocks for Milwaukee Teachers May 16, 2017 / Alexandra Bradbury<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?> Dispatches from the Front Lines of Right to Work

The open shop is the rule for private sector workers in 28 “right-to-work” states, for public sector workers in 25 states, and for federal workers all over this country. That means workers covered by a union contract get to enjoy the benefits of representation without being members or paying dues.

How We're Surviving Right to Work: Boston Postal Workers Use Grievances to Build the Union

Tue, 05/16/2017 - 13:53
How We're Surviving Right to Work: Boston Postal Workers Use Grievances to Build the Union May 16, 2017 / Alexandra Bradbury<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?> Dispatches from the Front Lines of Right to Work

The open shop is the rule for private sector workers in 28 “right-to-work” states, for public sector workers in 25 states, and for federal workers all over this country. That means workers covered by a union contract get to enjoy the benefits of representation without being members or paying dues.

How We're Surviving Right to Work: Oil Refinery Workers Get People in Motion

Tue, 05/16/2017 - 11:53
How We're Surviving Right to Work: Oil Refinery Workers Get People in Motion May 16, 2017 / Alexandra Bradbury<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?> Dispatches from the Front Lines of Right to Work

The open shop is the rule for private sector workers in 28 “right-to-work” states, for public sector workers in 25 states, and for federal workers all over this country. That means workers covered by a union contract get to enjoy the benefits of representation without being members or paying dues.

Book Review: How Electrical Workers Powered Up Their Union

Fri, 05/12/2017 - 13:03

For unions in corporate America, it’s always been hard times. Even in labor’s heyday—the 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s—unions had to struggle for everything. Plus, back then organizers risked being tarred as stooges for Moscow.

Interview: The Pitfalls of 'Buy American'

Thu, 05/11/2017 - 17:28
Interview: The Pitfalls of 'Buy American' May 11, 2017 / Chris Brooks<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

Backed by a huge banner reading “Buy American—Hire American,” President Trump declared in March that his administration would make the U.S. the “car capital of the world” again.

“For decades, I have raised the alarm over unfair foreign trade practices that have robbed communities of their wealth and robbed our people of their ability to provide for their families,” Trump said. “They’ve stolen our jobs, they’ve stolen our companies, and our politicians sat back and watched, hopeless. Not anymore.”

Peter Winkels, a Hormel Strike Leader, 1948-2017

Tue, 05/09/2017 - 16:23

Peter Winkels, the former business agent for Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local P-9—which gained worldwide fame for its 1980s strike against the highly profitable Hormel Co.—died on April 23. Winkels, who had suffered from diabetes and other illnesses, was 69.

How Black Lives Matter Came to Philadelphia’s Schools

Mon, 05/08/2017 - 12:13

When teachers in Seattle planned a Black Lives Matter action in response to an incident of violent racism last October, our caucus of teachers in Philadelphia got inspired.

Seattle’s John Muir Elementary had received bomb threats after planning a motivational event where elementary students on their way into school would be greeted by hundreds of African American men. After the threats, the union’s representative assembly voted to support the event, and thousands of educators wore Black Lives Matter T-shirts to support their students of color.

Beyond $15: New Book Shows Why Community Allies Are Crucial

Fri, 05/05/2017 - 12:04

Editors’ note: The nation’s first successful fight for a $15 minimum wage ordinance was won in the small city of SeaTac, Washington, in 2013. A new book by one of the campaign’s leaders, Jonathan Rosenblum, tells how they did it.

Philadelphia Union Wins Equal Pay for Immigrant Nurses

Fri, 05/05/2017 - 10:03
Philadelphia Union Wins Equal Pay for Immigrant Nurses May 05, 2017 / Samantha Winslow<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

It started when a few nurses at Temple University Hospital told stewards that they weren’t being paid for their experience.

One of the first to speak up was Jessy Palathinkal, who had become a nurse in India in 1990. She got her U.S. nursing license when she moved here in 1995. But when she started working at Temple, her placement on the pay scale was as though those five years of nursing never happened.

She asked why. Human Resources told her the hospital didn’t count years of experience in foreign countries.

Union Meeting Exercise: The 'Right to Work' Stress Test

Wed, 05/03/2017 - 09:17
Union Meeting Exercise: The 'Right to Work' Stress Test May 03, 2017 / Labor Notes Staff<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?> */ /*-->*/

As the labor movement stares down the threat of national “right-to-work” legislation, we’ve been getting more requests for resources to help union activists get ready. To bring our new Labor Notes “Preparing for Right to Work” workshop to your local, email training[at]labornotes[dot]org. Meanwhile, here is a short exercise you can try in your next union meeting.

Toilets Go Mobile at AT&T Mobility

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 10:52
Toilets Go Mobile at AT&T Mobility April 27, 2017 / Dan DiMaggio<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

Ever wanted to graffiti your boss a message in the toilet stall? AT&T Mobility workers put their own twist on that idea. They’re bringing the bathroom to the boss—carrying toilet seats to retail stores and call centers to demand that the company stop flushing their sales commissions and incentive pay down the toilet.

The Union Goes Live:

Phone Workers Learn Their Rights

In the Age of Trump, Can Labor Unite?

Wed, 04/26/2017 - 12:01

“In the Age of Trump, Can Labor Unite?” asks Labor Notes Editor Alexandra Bradbury in her May 2017 cover story for In These Times magazine. Here’s how it begins:

“You know you’re getting the short end of the stick as a worker, but you don’t really know why,” says Joe Tarulli, a Staten Island Verizon tech who’s put in 17 years with the company. “They make it seem like these rich people are just lucky they got the right chances, and these poor old working folks, nothing ever goes right for them. No! These corporations are doing it on purpose.”

Ramping Up for May Day around the Country

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 13:28
Ramping Up for May Day around the Country April 24, 2017 / Fernando Garcia and Sonia Singh<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

We've written about May Day 2017 plans shaping up in L.A. and Seattle, in the Twin Cities, and nationally. Here's what's cooking in a few other places:

Taking It to the Streets in the Twin Cities on May Day

Thu, 04/20/2017 - 12:20
Taking It to the Streets in the Twin Cities on May Day April 20, 2017 / Steve Payne<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

On May Day in the Twin Cities, janitors, bakers, university workers, teachers, and bank workers will team up with students, renters, and immigrant rights groups to confront the powerful corporations that control Minnesota’s economy.

Cartoon: May Day Strikes

Thu, 04/20/2017 - 00:00

Harvesting Union Rights in the Field

Mon, 04/17/2017 - 15:28
Harvesting Union Rights in the Field April 17, 2017 / Sonia Singh<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

Eli Porras Carmona had been coming to work planting and harvesting sweet potatoes in North Carolina for eight years when he got a call from Mexico. His wife needed emergency surgery and he had to return home.

Carmona works under the H-2A program, where thousands of guestworkers are granted temporary permits to work on farms in the U.S. for up to 10 months per year.

Many return year after year—and since guestworkers are tied to one employer, it’s risky to speak out on the job. The employer can easily send you home, or not call you back the next season.

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