October 1: Boston March and Rally for Jobs and a Real Economic Recovery

Photo by Rand Wilson

Photo by Rand Wilson

More than 1,000 union members, unemployed workers, students, clergy and community leaders came together for an October 1 march and rally to highlight the growing jobs crisis. The group protested on the Boston Common, at Verizon’s New England headquarters and at the Hyatt Regency Hotel against a corporate agenda that has left far too many workers behind.

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ILRF Issues Freedom at Work Toolkit

The International Labor Rights Forum has released a Freedom at Work Toolkit.

Workers around the world face systematic barriers to organizing, including egregious acts of violence and intimidation. According to the International Trade Union Confederation’s Annual Survey, at least 76 labor activists were killed as a result of their actions defending workers’ rights worldwide in 2008.  Thousands of workers were physically and verbally harassed, arrested and abducted for their involvement with unions as they continue to be denied their fundamental, internationally recognized right to freedom of association and collective bargaining.

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Columbian labor activist seeks support

Yessika Hoyos and unidentified translator

Yessika Hoyos and unidentified translator

by Duane Campbell

Yessika Hoyos, daughter of assassinated Columbian labor leader Jorge Dario Hoyos urged Sacramento area labor activists in an event organized by the Sacramento Central Labor Council on Sept.25,2009. Ms. Hoyos is the recipient of the 2008 AFL-CIO Human Rights Award for her work to seek justice for the assassination of union leaders.
Hoyos asked for labor support to pass California Assembly Joint Resolution 27 to oppose a free trade agreement. Continue reading

Gettelfinger to receive Debs Foundation Award

Debs delivering the anti-draft speech for whic...

Image via Wikipedia

On October 3, in Terre Haute Indiana, the Debs Foundation will present its 2009 Debs Award to UAW President Ron Gettelfinger. Giving the keynote speech will be Michael Sullivan, President of the Sheet Metal Workers and President of the Debs Foundation.

Since its founding in 1962, the foundation has preserved the Debs Home and kept it open as a museum for the public.

To honor the memory of Debs and to assist in keeping alive the spirit of progressivism, humanitarianism and social criticism epitomized by Debs, an award has been given every year since 1965 with the exception of 1971. The award  honors a person whose work has been in the spirit of Debs and who has contributed to the advancement of the causes of industrial unionism, social justice, or world peace. So each late October or early November a banquet is held as a tribute to Debs and honoring an individual who has made significant contributions to society in the “Debsian” tradition.

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Reforming Resurrection Health Care Or Why We Need the Employee Free Choice Act

by Bill Barclay
New Ground 126

On September 25 through 26, there will be a vigil outside of Resurrection Health Care in Chicago, here’s the background.

IHeart AFSCMEn 2004, Resurrection Health Care (RHC), the second largest hospital chain in Chicago, acquired Oak Park’s West Suburban (West Sub) Hospital. Since this acquisition, and despite its identity as a Catholic company, RHC has behaved as any other for profit corporation. RHC has cut labor costs by increasing the patient:nurse ratio (despite numerous studies that demonstrate the crucial role of this ratio in patients’ recovery time), switched accreditation from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations to the less stringent American Osteopathic Association’s Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program and aggressively resisted efforts by employees to organize for union representation.

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Backstage, front stage, and off stage at the AFL-CIO Convention

By Carl Finamore


Carl Finamore

Any large national convention attracting over 1000 delegates and 2000 guests like the 11.5 million-member AFL-CIO gathering in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on September 13-17, is necessarily well-scripted and choreographed. This is to be expected.

Scheduled appearances by President Barack Obama and other luminaries generally add enough adrenalin to keep people awake for the day’s remaining important plenary debates and workshops.

But other parts of the agenda not so center stage are, nonetheless, just as notable and even, sometimes, quite remarkable in themselves. Even before the pounding of the gavel signaled the convention opening, you could detect charged enthusiasm in the room. You could see it in the faces of the delegates.

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The Situational Ethics of Union ‘Raiding’

by Steve Early

Steve Early

Steve Early

No subject arouses the passion of labor officials more than “raiding.” In his blustery maiden address as president of the AFL-CIO, Rich Trumka won thunderous applause this week at the federation’s convention in Pittsburgh by announcing that anyone daring to “raid an AFL-CIO union will find 1,000 organizers coming to the rescue of that union.”

In unions that too often treat their own members like chattel, there are few threats greater, within the “house of labor,” than an affiliate which tries to steal the dues-paying “property” of another.

The very term used to describe this activity conjures up images of unfriendly Native American visits to the first European colonies in North America. In labor circles, “raiding” almost always has a negative connotation.

Unless, of course, your own union is the one dispatching the “raiding party.”

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