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Workers Shine a Spotlight on Employer Abuses in Music City

Thu, 07/13/2017 - 11:13
Workers Shine a Spotlight on Employer Abuses in Music City July 13, 2017 / Sonia Singh<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

Marches by immigrant workers are not an everyday sight in Nashville, Tennessee. But 50 hotel workers and supporters took to the streets June 20 to make visible the conditions facing low-wage workers in this city.

With the support of the worker center Workers’ Dignity, they marched through downtown and led delegations to management at six prominent hotels, handing in petitions calling on the hotels to adopt a Cleaning Workers’ Bill of Rights.

Book Review: Organizing America's Anti-Union Movement

Thu, 07/06/2017 - 13:40

The final two decades of the 19th century, beginning with the great strike wave of 1877, and the first two decades of the 20th century were a period of intense class combat in the United States. The industrial working class struggled with the financial and industrial employing class in a bitterly fought battle that established an initial relationship of forces between the two emerging classes.

Call Center Unions Build International Connections

Fri, 06/30/2017 - 13:50
Call Center Unions Build International Connections June 30, 2017 / Dan DiMaggio<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

One big issue in May’s three-day strike by 38,000 AT&T workers was the company’s offshoring of jobs. To shine a spotlight on the issue and strengthen international solidarity, a group of union members visited the Dominican Republic a couple of weeks before the strike to meet the call center workers on the other end of that offshoring.

According to the Communications Workers (CWA), AT&T has closed 30 U.S. call centers and downsized dozens of others since 2011, eliminating 12,000 jobs—nearly one-third of all its call center employees.

How We're Surviving Right to Work: Letter Carriers Keep Numbers up with Shop Floor Action

Wed, 06/28/2017 - 15:42
How We're Surviving Right to Work: Letter Carriers Keep Numbers up with Shop Floor Action June 28, 2017 / Alexandra Bradbury<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

Postal unions, like all federal employee unions, are open shop. That means workers can get the benefits of union representation while opting out of paying dues.

Yet the postal unions generally maintain high rates of voluntary union membership—and Letter Carriers Branch 82 in Portland, Oregon, does even better than most. From 90 percent membership five years ago, it has “slowly up-ticked,” says Organizing Chair Willie Groshell, to around 95 percent of the 1,200 represented carriers.

Transit Workers Take the Driver's Seat in 'Right-to-Work' Tennessee

Fri, 06/23/2017 - 11:01

At Labor Notes trainings I hear lots of reasons why union members think their co-workers aren’t involved: They don’t understand labor history. They don’t appreciate all the union has done for them. They watch Fox News. They’re scared or apathetic.

I always say, “Remember what inspires people to organize a union in the first place. They join and stay involved when they experience what it means to wield collective power.”

Striking Wireless Workers Make Their Voices Heard

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 14:43
Striking Wireless Workers Make Their Voices Heard June 22, 2017 / Dan DiMaggio<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

“Retail workers are basically told their entire lives that they’re never going to have any power in any way, in any facet of their lives,” says Will Blum, who works at an AT&T Mobility store in Boston.

But tens of thousands of cell-phone retail workers proved otherwise in May when they walked out on strike for three days, fighting for new contracts with the tenth-largest company in the U.S.

Campus Workers Smell a Rat

Mon, 06/19/2017 - 16:13
Campus Workers Smell a Rat June 19, 2017 / Kevin Mahoney<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

When students and faculty at Pennsylvania’s Kutztown University returned to campus in January after winter break, Lytle Hall became the building to avoid. It stunk. The moment you entered the main doors of the building, you were greeted by the overwhelming stench of a rotting animal.

Readers React to Criticism of 'Buy American' Campaigns

Fri, 06/16/2017 - 17:24

Some unions are ready to jump on Trump's "Buy American" bandwagon. In an op-ed last week, Teamsters President James P. Hoffa, Auto Workers (UAW) President Dennis Williams, and Machinists President Robert Martinez, Jr., applauded the president's “Buy American and Hire American” executive order and urged Congress to do more.

A Strike against Squeezing Profits from Kidney Patients

Thu, 06/15/2017 - 15:27

On June 12 Teresa Schloth, a Brooklyn dialysis nurse for 32 years, walked out on her first-ever strike. She and her co-workers are battling a billion-dollar corporation that’s trying to wring greater profits out of kidney patients by skimping on staffing and shifting jobs out of the unions.

People with chronic kidney failure—the technical name is end-stage renal disease—qualify for Medicare regardless of age. Three times a week they go in for dialysis, where they spend hours hooked up to a machine that cleans their blood.

Honduran Melon Workers Push for Union Rights

Mon, 06/12/2017 - 13:16

“Those melons are contaminated by exploitation.” That’s what one melon worker in Choluteca, Honduras, told me she would say to a U.S. consumer thinking about buying the fruit grown, harvested, and distributed under the control of the multinational Sumitomo and marketed under the brands Fyffes and Sol.

“They don’t use that money to pay us well,” she said. “What happens is they wind up with their pockets full, and we wind up with our bellies empty.”

How to Orient New Members to the Union

Fri, 06/09/2017 - 12:36
How to Orient New Members to the Union June 09, 2017 / Heather Roe<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

Labor history, it’s vital to remember, is still being made. The people hired today will shape our movement’s future. That’s one reason why it’s so important for unions to connect with new hires as soon as possible.

Review: Book Explores How to Be an Anti-Corporate Teacher

Wed, 06/07/2017 - 13:10

Fighting for justice in our classrooms, schools, and communities has lately been a particularly overwhelming venture. It helps to step back and take the long view.

In his new book Educational Justice: Teaching and Organizing against the Corporate Juggernaut, Howard Ryan analyzes the corporate assault on public education, chronicles struggles and successes, and crafts a vision for the schools that our communities deserve.

Addicted to Profits: Workers Locked Out at New Jersey Drug Treatment Facility

Tue, 06/06/2017 - 15:50

One hundred ten addiction treatment beds are empty, and 120 employees without a paycheck, after for-profit American Addiction Centers locked workers out of its Lafayette, New Jersey, facility.

The day before workers planned to kick off a three-day strike, the company changed the locks on the building and put patients on planes to its other facilities around the country.

Love These Contract Fights

Fri, 06/02/2017 - 12:06

Contract time is a gift. On an ordinary day, any number of work, family, and personal concerns compete for union members’ time and energy. But when your contract is about to expire, when your wages and benefits are on the table, when there’s a chance of a strike or lockout—that’s when your union has more of its members’ attention than at any other time.

Vigorous Campaign Revives Transit Union in Right-to-Work Virginia

Wed, 05/31/2017 - 12:00
Vigorous Campaign Revives Transit Union in Right-to-Work Virginia May 31, 2017 / John Ertl<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

Going into its latest contract, the transit union in Fairfax County, Virginia, was in tough shape. People weren’t active because they didn’t believe the union could do much—and the union couldn’t do much because people weren’t active.

Management never budged on the issues that stewards brought up. Grievances piled up, unresolved. And since Virginia is a “right-to-work” state, half the workers in the bargaining unit weren’t even members of Transit (ATU) Local 1764.

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.

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