by Paul Garver
DATE: Sun. March 17th, 2013
TIME: 4:00 PM – 6: 00 PM
PLACE: Joseph S. Murphy Institute
25 West 43rd Street, 18th floor
New York City
Sponsored by Jacobin Magazine, Labor Notes and Talking Union
· Eli Friedman, Cornell University
· Anita Chan, University of Technology-Sydney
· Chris King-Chi Chan, City University of Hong Kong
· Elaine Sio-ieng Hui, University of Kassel, and others
· Seth Ackerman, Jacobin magazine
Over the past few years, millions of Chinese workers have been striking for better pay and working conditions – and many have been winning their demands. This activity – especially against a background of labor defeat in the developed world – is both stunning and largely unexplored. Talking Union has been covering these developments for several years.
This Roundtable will provide an opportunity to learn more about what is happening in China. Professor Eli Friedman will give depth and detail to the strike wave, with particular attention to the question of contemporary trends that will influence the future of Chinese labor politics. (See “China in Revolt” – Jacobin Magazine, Summer 2012 for background.)
Commentary will be provided by several leading China labor scholars, all drawing from extensive research. The discussion is intended for activists, academics and practitioners.
Have a Union Thanksgiving.
Foster Poultry Farms—UFCW
The 2013 edition of the Union Communication Services Inc. (UCS) Labor Books Catalog has been released, offering titles on topics about labor, including negotiating and grievance handling, organizing, health and safety, labor law and labor history. It includes many worker-friendly fiction, young adult and children’s books as well.
New titles for 2013 include Just Cause, a guide to winning discipline cases, by Robert M. Schwartz; The Whistleblower’s Handbook; Unions for Beginners; Kings in Disguise, a wonderful graphic novel about the Great Depression; From First Contact to First Contract, a union organizer’s handbook by Bill Barry; and a new Lenny Moss mystery, by Tim Sheard.
by Wade Rathke
Vancouver There is little argument anymore that Wikipedia, the on-line, crowd built “encyclopedia,” is the first source in the 21st century for innumerable high school and college term papers and much of the information random people get about most of the rest of us. I can’t count the number of gnarly introductions I’ve gotten in different places around the world that were directly attributable to some mash-up of fact and faction on Wikipedia. No matter how much all of us use and love it, there can’t be any doubt that no small amount of it continues in computer-speak to be “garbage in, garbage out.”
Derek Blackadder the “Webwork” columnist for the quarterly Canadian labor journal, Our Times, in their fall issue called for a “labor wikipedia initiative” along just these lines. Not only did he correctly nail the issue that many community and labor organizations are almost constantly under attack from conservatives and corporate shills and web-workers who “manage” their social media presence, but he also pointed out that invariably if you poke around a bit on Wikipedia it’s hard not to stumble over some better rough and pointed edges of bias in the portrayal of progressive institutions. As Blackadder says in talking about labor:
Sometimes it may be clear, at least to someone in the know, that an entry, or part of an entry, is ideologically anti-union. Sometimes it is not so clear. Sometimes the ‘analyses’ look to be genuine, sometimes they look very much like something that is part of an organized effort.
by Harold Meyerson
Labor started early this year. America’s most politically active union, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), first deployed staffers to Ohio and key battleground states in March, says SEIU President Mary Kay Henry, with whom I spoke by phone on Saturday afternoon as she walked precincts in Cleveland. SEIU hasn’t confined its outreach to its roughly 30,000 Ohio members: 151 members from other states have taken off from their jobs to work fulltime in Ohio, 140 paid canvassers were hired for a joint project with another voter mobilization group, Progress Ohio, and roughly 2,300 SEIU members have volunteered to walk and phone this weekend and on Monday and Tuesday All these campaign workers are focusing not just on SEIU members but on the state’s African-American and Latino voters as well.
That focus reflects a high level of strategic coordination within what is still, formally, a divided labor movement. While SEIU has emphasized registering and mobilizing black and Latino voters, the AFL-CIO, from which SEIU disaffiliated in 2005, has made a massive push in Ohio’s white working class through its Working America program, which has signed up more than 1 million working-class Ohioans who don’t belong to unions to become members of its political action program. While Henry is door-knocking in a four-block stretch of Cleveland’s black community, AFL-CIO officials are canvassing the white working-class neighborhoods of Canton and Columbus. And both campaigns supplement the massive efforts of the Obama campaign itself. (more…)
by Nyegosh Dube
The September job figures have given President Obama’s supporters cause to cheer. For the first time since he took office in January 2009, unemployment has fallen below 8%. But this news did not slow down the momentum that Mitt Romney gained due to the President’s weak performance in their first debate. One way the GOP nominee dominated was by repeatedly expressing concern about the job situation and the hardships faced by the middle class. In their second showdown on October 16, Romney again hammered away at the high levels of unemployment under the Obama administration. Although the President did much better this time, his opponent’s attacks are resonating.
But Romney has actually not offered any plans that will seriously tackle unemployment. In fact, as we all know, the Republicans have done everything to try and stop government measures aimed at saving jobs and boosting job creation – like the auto bailouts, the massive 2009 stimulus, and the 2011 jobs bill that failed because of a solid wall of Republican obstructionism. Clearly, Republicans have wanted to keep unemployment high as part of a strategy to defeat the President this November. So, it’s not surprising that Republican voices are now casting doubt on the legitimacy of the latest job figures!
By Seth Sandronsky
Forty three thousand AT&T wireline employees, members of Communications Workers of America, could be striking this summer if AT&T holds to its position that certain workers must take pay cuts and decreased health and retirement benefits.
The workers’ four CWA-AT&T contracts in the East, Midwest and West expired on April 7. Bargaining continues.
The economic gap is wide and speaks to the gulf between the 99% and top 1%. AT&T seeks changes to wages, costs for health care and pensions and workplace rules, according to Sara Steffens, a CWA staffer with District 9. Leaving one to conclude that lower-paid workers will likely bear the brunt of cuts, AT&T spokesperson Marty Richter said, “We’re committed to working together with the union to bargain a contract that will allow us to continue to provide and protect high quality middle-class careers for our employees.”
The company is not proposing to cut the wages of call center representatives or network technicians, according to Richter. While declining to state the specifics of AT&T’s wage proposals, it appears that the company is seeking pay cuts for other CWA workers under new, lower-cost contracts. AT&T also seeks to change the benefits of employees covered under current CWA contracts. One benefit of no small matter is health care insurance. According to Richter, AT&T employees under CWA contracts have health-care costs “in the lowest one percent of surveyed companies.” (more…)
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