Posted on May 15, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
The New Era Windows Cooperative opens its doors (and windows) for business
by Kari Lydersen
Reprinted with permission
from In These Times
(May 9, 2013) The workers know launching and running a company won’t be easy, but given their deep knowledge of the industry and their personal investment in the project, they are confident they can do it.
Today, in a revamped Campbell’s Soup building in an industrial and residential section of southwest Chicago, the New Era Windows Cooperative will celebrate the grand opening of its new factory.
Becoming a worker-owned cooperative is the latest chapter in the saga of the workers of Republic Windows and Doors, who gained the nation’s attention by occupying their factory—twice—and became a symbol of resistance in the face of corporate corruption and the economic crisis.
The journey to this moment has been a long and rocky one. Right before the December 2008 holidays, with the economy plunging into crisis, unemployment skyrocketing and a cold snowy winter setting in, 300-some workers at the Republic Windows and Doors factory on Goose Island in the Chicago River learned they were about to lose their jobs. Owner Richard Gillman announced that the factory would be closed, leaving workers without the unused vacation pay and severance pay legally due them. And their health insurance would be cut off promptly.
Filed under: Economy, Organizing, Solidarity | Tagged: Republic Windows, The Working World, UE, worker coops | 1 Comment »
Posted on May 4, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
Workers wrapped in mock shrouds protested in San Francisco, decrying horrific inattention to safety by retailers like GAP and Walmart. Since 2006, close to 1,000 garment workers in Bangladesh have died in factory disasters at the retailers’ suppliers. Photo: Marc Norton.
by Marc Norton
When terrorist bombers killed three people in Boston on April 15, the FBI moved heaven and earth to find and apprehend those responsible. When Walmart’s suppliers in Bangladesh killed over 380 people, at last count, in one of their garment factory death traps on April 24, the FBI sat on their hands, despite the fact that those responsible – Walmart’s Board of Directors – are well known and could be easily apprehended.
Walmart ranges the globe searching for cheap labor for its goods, leaving death and destruction in its wake. What is the difference between Walmart’s actions and terrorists planting bombs? Both sets of criminals know that they will create carnage among the innocent. Is the murderous search for profit at any cost less criminal than placing a bomb?
Filed under: Global organizing, Solidarity | Tagged: Bangladesh garment workers, Latino Community Foundation, Rana Plaza collapse, Tazreen garment factory, Walmart | 2 Comments »
Posted on May 1, 2013 by dcampbell1
Posted on May 1, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
Every year on May 1, workers around the world celebrate the trials and triumphs of working people. This year, May Day comes with a bold soundtrack thanks to Tom Morello, the Nightwatchman.
While May Day is not a national holiday like Labor Day, it celebrates workers across the globe. It began in the United States in 1886 to commemorate the martyrs of the Haymarket riot and the fight for the eight-hour workday. But what good is a working-class holiday without good working-class music?
This year, Morello, the pioneering guitarist behind the politically charged rock group Rage Against the Machine, has partnered with the Teamsters to promote songs from his union-inspired album, “Union Town.” He is giving away his music on the Teamster.org website in honor of May Day 2013. Morello has worked with the Teamsters in the past, performing at the 2011 Teamster rally in Los Angeles and the Teamster Convention that year. Accompanying the May Day 2013 “Union Town” giveaway, the following Teamster Nation interview with Morello gives us a look at his inspiration and insights on music and the labor movement.
Filed under: Solidarity | Tagged: May Day, Teamsters, Tom Morello | Leave a Comment »
Posted on April 30, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by John Jacobsen
A response to Matthew Yglesias‘ musings on Bangladesh, outsourcing, and the murder of 359 garment workers.
“Where’s my mother? Where’s my mother?” cried Rana Ahmed as she rushed through Enam Medical College and Hospital.
Mosammat Khurshida wailed as she looked for her husband. “He came to work in the morning. I can’t find him,” she said. “I don’t know where he is. He does not pick up his phone.
An arm jutted out of one section of the rubble. The lifeless body of a woman covered in dust could be seen in another.
Only 4 months after a factory fire in Dhaka killed 112 workers, another 362 have died in the collapse of a garment factory in Savar, Bangladesh; and in a compassionately timed piece put out by Slate this week, business correspondent Mathew Yglesias explained to us why “it’s entirely appropriate for Bangladesh to have different—and, indeed, lower—workplace safety standards than the United States.”
Filed under: Low wage workers, Solidarity, Workplace health and safety | Tagged: Bangladesh, factory deaths, Matthew Yglesias | Leave a Comment »
Posted on April 30, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
Working people are facing sustained and often brutal attacks on their rights in every region of the world. Inequality and unemployment are hitting record levels, as governments continue to follow the failed and destructive policy of austerity-at-any-cost, and the onslaught against collective bargaining continues. The future of an entire generation of young people is at serious risk.
Corporate greed runs unchecked, costing the lives of thousands of workers, most recently in Bangladesh and Pakistan as factories burn and collapse. Trade unionists in Colombia, Guatemala and elsewhere are paying the ultimate price for their commitment to social justice, while Turkish workers face the heavy hand of judicial repression for standing up for their rights.
The promise of transformation in the Arab world is being betrayed by the replacement of one form of autocracy by another. Decades of social progress in European countries are being wiped out by the untrammelled power of global finance, while people across Africa continue to suffer under neocolonial plunder and corruption. (more…)
Filed under: Solidarity | Tagged: ITUC, May Day | Leave a Comment »
Posted on April 27, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Paul Garver
The factory caught fire about 6 p.m. After the fire, they did not allow us to go out,” says Nazma. “They locked the gate. The workers were screaming together.” Nazma is among the survivors of the Tazreen Fashion factory fire in Bangladesh that killed 112 workers in November. Nazma and others describe the unsafe and deadly working conditions at Tazreen—conditions similar to those many Bangladesh garment workers face every day. Solidarity Center staff in Dhaka, Bangladesh, compiled this report.
Five months later, more than 300 garment workers were killed and 2000 injured by the collapse of the Rana Plaza building near Dhaka that housed five garment factories producing for American and European markets. This man-made tragedy only underscores the futility of “corporate social responsibility” initiatives that merely provide fig leafs for global corporations who disdain responsibility for the atrocious conditions under which their profitable goods are produced. (more…)
Filed under: Fair Trade, Global organizing, Labor History, Low wage workers, Organizing, Solidarity, Uncategorized, Video, Women, workplace safety | Tagged: Bangladesh, garment workers, Tazreen Fashion fire | Leave a Comment »
Posted on April 27, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
By Carl Finamore
Tunisian union leader Habib Rjeb
In northern Africa, winters are usually mild and summers normally dry and hot. The glorious Arab Spring revolts in this part of the world can also be measured in this same way – sometimes hot, in fact, blazing hot; sometimes warm; sometimes mild and sometimes just plain dry.
The full range of contrasts were on display as several Moroccan and Tunisian trade unionists shared their political experiences at a April 22 public meeting sponsored by the San Francisco Labor Council, AFL-CIO.
Filed under: Solidarity | Tagged: Arab Spring, February 20 Movement for Change, Morocco, Tunisia, UGTT | Leave a Comment »
Posted on April 26, 2013 by paulgarver
IndustriALL Global Union
The worst ever industrial accident in Bangladesh has killed more than 200 garment workers with fears of a final death toll reaching 1,000 as hundreds remain injured and trapped in the debris.
“Cut off my hand, save my life!” screams a woman trapped under the collapsed eight-story Rana Plaza building in Savar, 30 kilometres outside Dhaka. The same request is shouted by trapped Aftab, while other screams in the rubble demand oxygen. 200,000 local people have assembled in Savar offering to donate blood to the rescue effort, as hospitals are gravely under supplied.
The mass industrial manslaughter occurred at 9am, 24 April. The collapsed building, illegally constructed, contained five garment factories with 2,500 workers. Those five factories are Ether Tex, New Wave Bottoms, New Wave Style, Phantom Apparels and Phantom-TAC. These factories are believed to have produced for several well-known western brands including Mango, Primark, C&A, KIK, Wal-Mart, Children’s Place, Cato Fashions, Benetton, Matalan and Bon Marché.
Filed under: Fair Trade, Global organizing, Low wage workers, Organizing, Solidarity, Women, workplace safety | Tagged: Bangladesh, garment workers, IndustriALL Global Union, Rana Plaza | Leave a Comment »
Posted on April 16, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
Capital is global today, and not only wealthy, but politically powerful. Organized labor, like most democratic organizations, is local or national, and at a disadvantage. While corporate globalization hits manufacturing workers first, the resulting shift in wealth and power eventually affects service and government workers, and their unions, as well.
Capital, despite many heroic efforts by workers and their unions, appears to be winning the class war. Unions need to change.
I believe that organized labor, like political democracy, will need to coordinate much better globally to contribute at a significant level, and the sooner, the better. To be taken seriously, we must challenge the heart of corporate power – unchecked control over who works, who doesn’t, and on what terms. Globalization is much harder for organizations like labor unions that rely on communication from the bottom up, than for top-down corporate command structures, but workers of the world, unite! is still the path to justice. (more…)
Filed under: Global organizing, Solidarity | Tagged: globalization, outsourcing, union stragies | Leave a Comment »