Support the Workers’ / Students’ Strike on May Day

CosechaUn Dia Sin Inmigrantes

Cosecha and DSA.

Cosecha, Immigrant Rights Organizations, Workers Centers and several unions have launched  a  national strike billed as a “day without immigrants” to demonstrate that the country depends on the labor of immigrants and working class.  Thousands of students and workers have already pledged to strike in what organizers expect to be the largest national strike since the Megamarches of 2006.

Join with DSA and this growing movement to strike on May 1. Don’t be left behind. Organizers from Moviemento Cosecha have said that more than 400,000 workers have committed to strike. See story here http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/20071/the_upcoming_may_day_strike_could_be_the_biggest_in_over_a_decade

As the strike day approaches the presidents of the Almagamated Transit Union, the Communications Workers of America, the Nation Nurses United, and the United Electrical Workers  have urged their members to participate in the strikes, boycotts and protests in an outreach piece organized by Labor for Our Revolution.

We encourage DSA chapters, students and unions to join in the massive strikes, boycotts, and other actions beginning on May 1. The movement will continue after May 1.  Information on the post May 1 events is at www.lahuelga.com

Do you have a right to strike?  Can workers strike for political issues ?

What actions can workers at risk of retaliation take to protect themselves?

In the lead up to the March Day Without Immigrants, the Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha (CTUL) suggested that their members who wanted to participate should take these  precautions to mitigate their risks:

1  Tell your employer, in writing, your reason for striking

2  Make sure the reason is directly related to your workplace

Inform your employer that you will be back at work on your first workday after the strike.

  1. Send the message as a text and keep a copy of the text as evidence.

If you are a member of a union, discuss your strike plans first with your union representative. See a detailed description of your right to strike and how to protect yourself here. https://talkingunion.wordpress.com/2017/02/24/immigrants-strike-by-the-thousands/ Continue reading

Labor Statement on Support for “A Day Without Immigrants”

labor_for_our_revolution_small_logo

Labor for Our Revolution statement in Support of “A Day Without Immigrants”  

Millions of immigrants, both documented and undocumented, who lead hard working and productive lives, are also union members.

Donald Trump launched his political campaign in 2015 with a racist attack on Mexican immigrants, painting them as rapists and murderers. He made attacks on our Muslim sisters and brothers his political trademark — even going so far as to propose a religious test for immigration. This kind of race baiting and immigrant bashing has a long history in our country – a consistent attempt by business elites to divide working class people in order to advance their pro-corporate agenda.

As leaders of the unions who supported Bernie Sanders for president, we refuse to go down that road of hatred, resentment and divisiveness. We will march and stand with our sister and brother immigrant workers against the terror tactics of the Trump administration.

We are a nation of immigrants. Every generation and every race and ethnic group has seen attempts to divide the working class based on race and ethnic origin. Together we say NO to the politics of division! We call on Trump and his supporters to end the attacks on immigrant workers!

On May 1, 2017 millions of immigrant workers will engage in public resistance to the Trump administration. In some places that resistance will include labor strikes and boycotts. Millions will march in cities and towns all across the country. We pledge to support these protests and will urge our organizations’ leaders and members to participate in whatever way we can.

Workers, united, will never be defeated!

In Solidarity,

Larry Hanley, President, Amalgamated Transit Union

Chris Shelton, President, Communications Workers of America

RoseAnn DeMoro, Executive Director, National Nurses United

Peter Knowlton, General President, United Electrical Workers

Note. A DSA statement on Cosecha and the Dia Sin Inmigrantes will follow.

For more information, contact Labor for Our Revolution coordinator Rand Wilson laborforourrevolution@gmail.com or (617) 949-9720

Labor, Socialists and Immigration

Evans_Signage_HumanoIlegal.pngDr. Duane E. Campbell, April 19, 2017

In spite of the economic boon for the wealthy, working people in the U.S. have yet to receive a significant improvement in their standard of living for over 30 years. At the same time, democratic forces are once again confronted with anti immigrant campaigns- this time fostered and promoted by a President of the U.S.

As socialists, we stand with and among the US working class in opposition to the rule of the transnational corporations and their exploitation of the economy and their despoliation of our lives, our society and our environment.

We are currently experiencing a major restructuring of the global economy directed by the transnational corporations to produce profits for their corporate owners. The impoverishment of the vast majority of people in pursuit of profits for a small minority has pushed millions to migrant in search of food, jobs, and security. Global capitalism produces global migration. Along with wars NAFTA and other “Free Trade” deals each produce a new waves of migration.

Socialists support the rights of working people to organize, to form unions, and to protect their rights and to advance their interests. Unions have always been an important part of how socialists seek to make our economic justice principles come alive. Working people- gathered together and exploited in the capitalist workplace-are well positioned to fight their common exploitation. Continue reading

Unions and the Anti-Trump Movement

The Anti-Trump Movement: Recover, Resist, Reform

By Peter Dreier.  See the section on unions.

Needed H 1-B Visa Reform

News from EPIH-1B visa needs reform to make it fairer to migrant and American workers

A new EPI fact sheet outlines the major flaws in the H-1B visa program and the ways in which it can be reformed to make it fairer for both U.S. workers and guestworkers.

The H-1B program provides temporary, nonimmigrant visas for college-educated workers and fashion models from abroad. While it is important to attract high-skilled workers to the United States—many of whom contribute greatly to the economy—the H-1B program has been hijacked. The biggest beneficiaries of the H-1B program are not high tech, innovative companies, but are outsourcing companies that use the visas to replace thousands of U.S. workers with much-lower-paid H-1B workers and have a business model designed to send tech jobs abroad to lower-cost countries.

“The H-1B visa is supposed to bring the best-and-brightest workers to the United States,” said EPI Director of Immigration Law and Policy Research Daniel Costa. “But the truth is businesses like it because it provides a steady supply of workers who they can legally underpay and who can’t speak up about wage and hour abuses.”

H-1B workers are underpaid and easily exploited, as the visa itself is owned and controlled by the employer so an H-1B worker who is fired or laid off for any reason becomes instantly deportable. H-1B workers often pay large fees to labor recruiters, which means that many arrive essentially indentured to their employer, fearing retaliation or termination if they speak out about workplace abuses or unpaid wages.

Simple reforms that could fix the H-1B program include:

  • Requiring employers to recruit U.S. workers and offer jobs to any equally or better qualified U.S. workers before hiring H-1B workers.
  • Requiring employers who cannot find qualified U.S. workers to pay the H-1B workers they hire no less than the local average wage for the job.
  • Providing the Labor Department with additional legal authority to crack down on abuses and exploitation of U.S. and H-1B workers, and to conduct random audits of H-1B employers.
  • Increasing funding to the Labor Department to hire additional agents in the Wage and Hour Division and better scrutinize H-1B applications.
  • Providing H-1B workers with additional protections against employer retaliation and workplace abuse.
  • Ban employers from hiring additional H-1B workers if they have violated any wage and hour, labor, or immigration laws.
  • Reforming the H-1B lottery to prioritize higher-paying employers and non-H-1B-dependent employers.

See related work on Immigration

Continue reading

$1.4 Trillion With Earned Income Tax Credit

Paul Krugman: ” … we can limit the human damage when they do happen. We can guarantee health care and adequate retirement income… We can provide aid to the newly unemployed. And we can act to keep the overall economy strong — which means doing things like investing in infrastructure and education, not cutting taxes on rich people and hoping the benefits trickle down.”

We can rebuild union density so half the workforce isn’t getting paid way less than they would be paid if we had, say, German union density.

If McDonald’s can pay $15 an hour with 33% labor costs, Target pay pay $20 with 10-15% labor costs, Walmart can pay $25 an hour with 7% labor costs. At least that’s the hope — and labor being able to flex its bargaining muscles in the (truly) free market is the only way we are going to find out.

Labor unions are the only way to end punishing just-in-time work scheduling. Continue reading

Jobs at $20 Per Hour

by Denis Drew

Neither rust-belt Americans nor Chicago gang-bangers are interested in up-to-date kitchens or two vans in the driveway.  Both are most especially not interested in $10 an hour jobs.

Both would be very, very especially interested in $20 an hour jobs.

80 years ago Congress forgot to put criminal enforcement in the NLRA(a).  Had union busting been a felony all along we would be like Germany today.  Maybe at some point our progressives might note that collective bargaining is the T-Rex in the room — or the missing T-Rex.

The money is there for $20 jobs.  49 years — and half the per capita income ago — the fed min wage was $11.  Since then the bottom 45% went from 20% overall income share to 10% — while the top 1% went from 10% to 20%.

How to get it — how to get collective bargaining set up? States can make union busting a felony without worrying about so-called federal preemption:
+ a state law sanctioning wholesalers, for instance, using market power to block small retail establishments from combining their bargaining power could be the same one that makes union busting a felony — overlap like min wage laws — especially since on crim penalties the fed has left nothing to overlap since 1935
+ First Amendment right to collectively bargain cannot be forced by the fed down (the current) impassable road.  Double ditto for FedEx employees who have to hurdle the whole-nation-at-once certification election barrier
+ for contrast, examples of state infringement on federal preemption might be a state finding of union busting leading to a mandate for an election under the fed setup — or any state certification setup for labor already covered by NLRA(a) or RLA(a).  (Okay for excluded farm workers.) Continue reading