Posted on March 6, 2014 by dsalaborblogmoderator
Coalition Joins Chicago Aldermen to Support Legislation to Boost the Economy, Protect Public Health and Strengthen Financial Security for Working Families
CHICAGO – In a strong show of support, small business owners, workers, health care practitioners, parents and Chicago Aldermen rallied Wednesday at City Council for paid sick days legislation. The group, organized by the Earned Sick Time Chicago Coalition, is calling on City Council to pass an earned sick time ordinance that would guarantee that the nearly half million Chicago workers who do not have access to paid sick days are able to take time off when they or their families are ill. A recent survey found that 82% of Chicago voters support paid sick days legislation.
“In this economy, it’s more important than ever that people can afford to stay home when they or loved ones are sick, without fear of falling behind on bills or losing their job,” said Alderman Moreno, co-sponsor of the Chicago Earned Sick Time Ordinance. “No working person in Chicago should be forced to choose between their family’s economic security and their family’s health.” Continue reading
Filed under: Organizing, Politics | Tagged: Chicago, earned sick leave, Earned Sick Time Chicago Coalition, sick leave | 1 Comment »
Posted on March 5, 2014 by paulgarver
Hong Kong, 28 February 2014
On the day of Apple’s annual general meeting, Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM) is urging Apple again to take immediate and constructive action to fulfil its corporate responsibility by improving the working conditions in its suppliers.
Despite respectable quarterly revenues of US$57.6 billion and a net quarterly profit of US$13.1 billion in the first quarter of its fiscal year of 2014, the company is unwilling to share its success with frontline workers – those who turn its ideas into real products. Apple’s newly published Corporate Supplier Responsibility (CSR) Progress Report projects an ideal workplace at Apple suppliers, yet we doubt workers are enjoying any benefit at all: Continue reading
Filed under: Fair Trade, Global organizing, Low wage workers, Organizing, Solidarity | Tagged: Apple, China workers, SACOM | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 5, 2014 by paulgarver
by Dave Jamieson
Reposted from the Huffington Post and Portside
March 3, 2014
[Editorial Note: This article by Dave Jamieson and accompanying image by Justin K. Aller ( Getty Images) have a special resonance for me. In 1970 when the US Steel Tower was still the headquarters of the giant steel corporation, I was arrested at a demonstration outside the Western Psychiatric Institute in support of a union organizing drive by Local 1199 of the Hospital Workers. Since then UPMC has engulfed and devoured most of the major hospitals in the Pittsburgh area, including Western Psychiatric, and planted its huge logo on top of the US Steel Tower. With 62,000 employees, the UPMC has eclipsed the steel industry as the largest employer. It is currently spending millions of its subscribers' dollars in a propaganda media war with a competing HMO to become even larger. Claiming to be a "charity" and not a business, UPMC even has denied it has any employees that could be represented by a union.
Local 1199 merged with the Service Employees International Union, and hospital worker organizing has returned to the Pittsburgh area after a long hiatus (I worked as an SEIU hospital organizer in the Pittsburgh area in the mid 1970s, where we had only modest success, mostly in the public and nursing home sectors). The stakes are even higher, now that the typical Pittsburgh worker labors in a medical or educational institution rather than a steel factory. And those workers need to have the voice of union representation as did the Mon Valley steelworkers two generations ago. - Paul Garver]
Hundreds of demonstrators poured into downtown Pittsburgh Monday to protest low wages at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, escalating a two-year showdown between labor groups and the area’s largest employer.
The Service Employees International Union has been trying to organize service workers at the hospital for at least two years. Joined by steel and mine workers on Monday, pro-union employees of UPMC marched to the hospital’s headquarters at the U.S. Steel Tower with some specific demands: a hospital minimum wage of $15, the elimination of employees’ health care debts to the hospital and recognition of a union. Continue reading
Filed under: Health Care, Low wage workers, Organizing, Uncategorized | Tagged: SEIU. UPMC. Pittsburgh, Service Employees International Union | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 3, 2014 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Laura Clawson
It seems unions are having a little too much success in Tennessee for the comfort of Republicans there, so the state legislature is planning to do something about it. Spurred by the fact that Tennessee added 31,000 union members last year, state Rep. Jeremy Durham has introduced a bill that would create a new “mass picketing” misdemeanor specifically aimed at labor activists: Continue reading
Filed under: Organizing, Politics | Tagged: free speech, Picketing, Tennessee | 1 Comment »
Posted on February 27, 2014 by dsalaborblogmoderator
Many salts said they preferred doing their organizing from inside the workplace. Photos: Jim West/jimwestphoto.com.
Bosses hate a salt—a pro-union worker who’s taken a job with the intent to organize.
A few unions are recruiting salts these days, usually young people who apply for low-wage jobs in retail, hospitality, or logistics. But unions are reluctant to talk about salting, not wanting to alert management to look out for suspicious characters. In this article every worker will use a pseudonym and their situations will be disguised.
Former salt Kendra Baker says salting offers something the labor movement badly needs: a “space for young people to develop skills as workplace organizers.” The 2011 uprising in Wisconsin and the Occupy movement created “a lot of curiosity and enthusiasm about the labor movement,” she said.
Now coordinating a salting program, she stresses that salting ensures a union drive will have “a workplace-organizing component, to maintain a level of militancy on the shop floor and make sure the campaign is putting the workers first. Workers should be taking a lead on the messaging and on the goals and planning the actions.” Continue reading
Filed under: Organizing, Youth | Tagged: Labor Notes, salt, salting | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 26, 2014 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Randy Shaw
It may surprise some local progressives who believe corporate interests always call the shots in San Francisco, but the city has the most progressive worker benefits in the United States. It has a $10.74 local minimum wage, paid sick leave, a living wage law for those doing business with the city, a local health care law, domestic partner benefits and much more. Conservatives claim these benefits hurt rather than help workers. A new book edited by Michael Reich, Ken Jacobs and Miranda Dietz, When Mandates Work: Raising Labor Standards At the Local Level, conclusively refutes such arguments.
As local and state governments plan on moving forward to address rising inequality, San Francisco has long been the model for such action. But the combination of east coast media bias and the framing of San Francisco as “quirky” rather than substantive have left many unaware of the city’s path breaking leadership in raising labor standards. That’s why When Mandates Work should prove so helpful. Cities seeking to adopt similar measures need to know San Francisco’s experience, and that such laws have proved effective. Continue reading
Filed under: Book Reviews, Low wage workers, Organizing, Politics | Tagged: Ken Jacobs, Michael Reich, Miranda Dietz, When Mandates Work | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 25, 2014 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Clayton Sinyai
In December Seattle University joined the list of Catholic colleges and universities fighting to prevent their adjunct faculty from forming a union. Provost Isiaah (sic) Crawford addressed a letter to the adjuncts explaining that the university, although opposed to their union efforts, considered them “instrumental members of our academic community.” Presumably the Provost was using the word colloquially and was not implying they were mere tools of the University administration with no intrinsic value (cf Aristotle, Politics I. iv: “the slave is a living instrument”). Like St. Xavier University, Manhattan College and Duquesne, Seattle oddly invoked its religious identity to explain why the university opposed the union – even though Catholic social teaching is quite unequivocal about the right of workers to organize.
At this year’s annual Catholic Labor Network meeting, administrators, students, faculty and workers from Georgetown University explained how their institution embraced a more literal interpretation of Catholic social teaching and its obligations. Upon learning that Georgetown adjuncts were considering unionization the administration concluded that papal encyclicals like Rerum Novarum and Caritas in Veritate meant just what they said. The decision to join or forego union membership belonged to the adjuncts alone, and the university ought not interfere with their decision. Continue reading
Filed under: Conferences and Events, Organizing | Tagged: Catholic Labor Network, Just Employment Policy, Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 24, 2014 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Eric Fink
“Organize the South” was the call on Monday evening February 17 in Durham, North Carolina, where an overflow crowd gathered for a discussion on “How a Southern Workers’ Movement Can Change the Nation.” Worker advocates and adversaries alike have identified the South as a crucial battleground in the fight to reverse the long decline of the U.S. labor movement. This Fall, the AFL-CIO committed itself “to develop a Southern organizing strategy” as “one of its top priorities”. The UAW’s bid to represent workers at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee became a focal point in that fight, and the union’s narrow defeat in last week’s NLRB representation vote has led some to suggest–dolefully in the case of union supporters, cheerfully in the case of union busters–that a southern organizing strategy remains futile.
The panelists at Monday’s event in Durham rejected that pessimistic conclusion. Their common message was that unions can win in the South, and doing so is an essential part of the broader goal of defeating the reactionary political and economic agenda nationwide. The key to labor’s success in the South is cultivating and mobilizing community support for workers’ rights to organize and bargain collectively for better wages and working conditions.
Filed under: Organizing | Tagged: Duke University, FLOC, Organize the South, Smithfield Foods, Southern Workers Assembly, UAW, UE, UFCW, VW | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 22, 2014 by paulgarver
[Ed. note: Attributing its narrow loss at the Chattanooga VW plant to outrageous outside interference, the UAW formally filed objections to the election with the NLRB. This is new legal terrain, since the electoral misconduct stemmed not as customary from management but from misleading and coercive statements by right-wing politicians.
The success of the UAW's novel legal appeal is far from certain, despite its evident justification. It is also uncertain, even if a new election is granted, whether the union would necessarily prevail in an unchanged hostile external political environment and continuing opposition to the union by many workers. However a new combination of political mobilization in the community and renewed efforts to reach VW workers and their families could succeed. --Paul Garver]
The text of the UAW press release on the NLRB appeal follows below the line Continue reading
Filed under: Busting the union busters, Organizing, Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged: Chattanooga, NLRB, UAW, United Auto Workers, VW | Leave a comment »