Posted on March 6, 2014 by dsalaborblogmoderator
As International Women’s Day approaches, the global labor movement is mobilizing to put teeth into the celebration’s 2014 theme, “Equality for women is progress for all.” Solidarity Center allies around the world also are getting set to highlight the struggles of working women with actions that include rallies by banana workers who are members of the union SITRABI in Guatemala and a conference honoring women workers from Jordan and Palestine. (Follow Women’s Day actions on Twitter with the hashtag #IWD2014.)
Two days after International Women’s Day, commemorated annually on March 8, union activists will take part in the 58th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). There they will push for concrete goals to redress income inequality that focus on employment, well-being and security in large part by addressing gender inequality in the labor market and in social policies. Continue reading
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tagged: International Women's Day, ITUC | 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 February 25, 2014 by dsalaborblogmoderator
It can be isolating to be a progressive Jew in North Carolina. In a state where just 1% of the population identifies as Jewish, it can be tough just to find a religious community, let alone a politically active one. Although older Jews who may have been activists in the civil rights movement of the 20th century still live there, it appears their coordinated work for justice ended along with that era. There is no sustaining, Jewish-identified organizational infrastructure that today’s generation of younger North Carolina Jews could revive and harness for today’s fights.
But recently one Raleigh-based Jewish group has tapped into a wellspring of political passion among Jews, and is mobilizing them across the state to challenge the Republican takeover of the legislature. Through building coalitions with other faith and community-based groups, turning Jews out to the Moral Mondays rallies at the state capitol, and organizing laypeople and rabbis to take action, the members of Carolina Jews for Justice (CJJ) are speaking up for the political changes they want to see in North Carolina. Continue reading
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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 »
Posted on February 22, 2014 by dsalaborblogmoderator
China Labour Bulletin
[Editorial Note: For many years the China Labour Bulletin (CLB) has been a reliable source for information on and analysis of the workers' movement in China. Alhough the CLB remains highly critical of the official trade union structures, its editors have documented and encouraged efforts by certain regional union officials to initiate badly needed reforms essential for meeting the workers' rising demands for a genuine voice in the workplace. However, as this excellent new report shows, the real impetus for positive change is coming from the rising consciousness of Chinese workers themselves.--Paul Garver]
China’s workers have emerged over the last few years as a strong, unified and increasingly active collective force. Workers have time and again demonstrated the will and the ability to stand up to abusive and arrogant managements and to demand better pay and working conditions.
However, workers are still hampered by the lack of an effective trade union that can maintain solidarity, bargain directly with managements and protect labour leaders from reprisals. As a result, workers are turning to labour rights groups that can advise and support their collective actions while, at the same time, demanding more of the official trade union and putting pressure on it to change.
In China labour Bulletin’s new research report on the workers’ movement, published today, we examine this evolving relationship between the workers, the trade union and civil society and look at how the government is struggling to respond to rapid social and economic change. Continue reading
Filed under: Global organizing, Low wage workers, Solidarity, Uncategorized, Worker Centers | Tagged: ACFTU, China, China Labor Bulletin, Chinese workers | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 19, 2014 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Harold Meyerson
America is where class struggle gets derailed by culture wars. It’s happened throughout our history. It happened again last week in Chattanooga.
For more than a decade, the ability of the United Auto Workers to win good contracts for its members—clustered in GM, Ford, Chrysler, and various auto parts factories across the industrial Midwest—has been undercut by its failure to unionize the lower-wage factories that European and Japanese car makers have opened in the South. Daimler, BMW, Nissan, Toyota, Volkswagen—all of them ventured to the non-union South to make cars on the cheap for the American market. All these companies have good relations with the unions in their homeland, but by going south, they signaled they had little to no intention of going union in the U.S. Continue reading
Filed under: Organizing, Uncategorized | Tagged: Chattanooga, UAW, VW | 1 Comment »
Posted on February 14, 2014 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Gregory N. Heires
The housing crisis has led to the foreclosure of the homes of 10 million people–equivalent to the population of Michigan. The foreclosures have particularly devastated the African-American community, which has lost over half its wealth because of the housing and jobs crisis that followed the 2008 financial crash.
A powerful book, “A Dream Foreclosed: Black America and the Right for a Place to Call Home” by Laura Gottesdiener (Zuccotti Park Press, 2013, 208 pages), details the human wreckage of this crisis while also chronicling how the victims of predatory lending, misguided public policies, and callous profit-seeking banks are fighting back. Continue reading
Filed under: Book Reviews, Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged: foreclosures, housing | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 13, 2014 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Chaz Bolte
Rule one in the “Right-to-Work” implementation playbook is to tie its potential passage to an inevitable economic rebound. Yet, history has shown that “Right-to-Work” is more of an economic slow bleed than a miracle maker.
As the Missouri state legislature prepares to debate the merits of becoming the 25th “Right-to-Work” state in the U.S., it is important for the general public to understand the ramifications of such a path. And a new report released Monday by University of Missouri-Kansas City professor Michael Kelsay helps with that very task, concluding that “Right-to-Work” laws would severely harm Missouri’s middle class workers. The numbers for statewide income loss? In the billions. Continue reading
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tagged: "right to work", Missouri, right to work for less | 1 Comment »
Posted on February 12, 2014 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Jane Slaughter
A win for the United Auto Workers at Volkswagen looks likely this week, as 1,550 workers vote on union representation Wednesday through Friday. The UAW had previously gathered a majority of pro-union signatures and management has made its approval clear.
Last week at joint meetings of VW management and UAW leaders with workers, management said, in effect, “We want you to have a works council, the only way to have one is to have a union, and the only union you can vote for is the UAW.” UAW Regional Director Gary Casteel then made a pitch. Continue reading
Filed under: Uncategorized | 2 Comments »
Posted on February 5, 2014 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Deborah Meier
I’m returning to my roots! Marx occasionally had it right. Along with Horace Mann, John Dewey et al.
This whole “new reform” movement in education is being fueled (the $$$$) by ordinary greed. Or second-hand greed—seeing a chance to destroy the political power of an already waning labor movement by undermining the two teacher unions. This is being done by fooling folks who mistakenly saw their own longtime critique of the public bureaucracy in the “radical” sounding idea charter schools. Afraid of being part of the “status quo” some genuine school-based reformers thus provided cover for a shift in power quite the opposite of what they had in mind. Most of those genuine school and educational people, including of course Diane Ravitch, have been abandoning that ship and returning to their roots.
Having failed time after time with vouchers—direct public funding of private schools, the new reformers saw a way around it. Their instincts also suggested that history favors reforms that make repeal difficult, almost impossible. So the motto is: move fast and thoroughly. Continue reading
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tagged: charter schools, Deborah Meier, Education reform | 7 Comments »