Hyatt Sweeps Dirty Safety Record Under the Rug

By Carl Finamore

Carl Finamore

Carl Finamore

The Hyatt Corporation just posted quarterly profits that jumped six hundred percent with their stock prices climbing at around the same rate. Along with this jumping and climbing, the corporation has taken up running, as in running away from the worst safety record in the industry.

Hyatt ranks last in workplace injuries suffered by its housekeeping staff according to UNITE-HERE, the union representing over 100,000 workers in more than 900 hotels in North America. The union is not alone. It cites a peer-reviewed academic study published by the American Journal of Industrial Medicine that places Hyatt dead last among the 50 hotels studied.

The abysmal record prompted Hyatt housekeepers at twelve hotels in eight different cities to simultaneously file injury complaints a few weeks ago with the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). The union cites public records submitted by the hotels that indicate a 50 percent higher injury rate than the rest of industry.

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The Democrats and Social Class

by Jack Metzgar

It’s more than a little frustrating trying to follow Democrats’ analysis of social classes in this country.  Most of the time now, there are only two classes – the rich (very precisely defined as those with at least $250,000 in annual family income) and the middle class, which includes everybody else.  But in the analysis of elections a “working class” shows up, one which is invariably “white” and, it seems, predominantly male.

Most Democrats, and especially the more progressive ones, know that moving the white working class away from its decades-long lopsided loyalty to the Republican Party is crucial to achieving a long-term governing majority.  But instead of appealing to this demographic electoral block directly, it seeks to lump them in with what Dems think is a universally beloved “middle class.”  This is a tactical mistake, as in many working-class precincts calling somebody “middle class” is meant as a put down and an insult – somebody who doesn’t live “real life,” lacks common sense, and yet thinks they’re “all better.”  Believe me, I’ve been on the front end of this insult, sometimes deservedly so.

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Bah, Humbug! Nominate the Scrooge of the Year

By Allison Fletcher Acosta

Scrooge Fat CatThe holiday season is fast approaching, and around here that means one thing: it’s time for our annual “Scrooge of the Year” election!

Starting today, Jobs with Justice national is accepting nominations for the greediest, most cold-hearted company, CEO, or politician of the year for our eleventh annual “Scrooge of the Year” election.

Nominate your candidate for the 2010 National Scrooge of the Year.

Last year’s  Scrooge of the Year was the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for their narrow, radical agenda advocating for anti-worker, profit-focused solutions to the broken health care, labor, and environmental systems.  Other past winners of this dubious honor include:  WalMart, George W. Bush, and the Wall Street executives who broke our economy.

We’ll pick the top nominees and start the national Scrooge of the Year election shortly after Thanksgiving.

Atlanta Douglass-Debs Dinner Message: Stop Wage Theft

by Milton Tambor

At Atlanta DSA‘s November 6 Douglass Debs Dinner in Atlanta, Kim Bobo, executive director and founder of Interfaith Worker Justice, urged and exhorted the 125 people in attendance to carry out the prophet Malachi’s message and fight those who are defrauding labor of their wages and depriving immigrants of justice. Bobo then graphically described the “crime wave no one talks about”–the billions of dollars stolen from millions of low wage workers in the US every year. Those abuses include paying workers far less than the legal minimum wage, denying workers their rightful overtime and purposely mis-classifying employees as independent contractors.

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LabourStart Photo of the Year Contest Opens


LabourStart has announced its  2010 Labour Photo of the Year Contest.  The deadline for entering is December 1.  With the contest, LabourStart  recognizes the talents of worker-photographers around the world, and at the same time encourage them to tell the stories of our struggles in photos.

First prize is a two year Pro account on Four runners-up shall receive a one year Pro account. The finalist photos will be featured on LabourStart and announced to the 75,000 trade unionists on our mailing list.

In addition, LabourStart will work to place the winning photos with labour publications (online and paper) worldwide and  will make them known to labour galleries and art events worldwide. And of course the winner will be featured on LabourStart as a Photo of the Week.

This is a judged and voted competition. To learn more about the contest, check out the rules for the 2010 LabourStart photo of the year contest.

Protected freedom of speech for workers on Facebook?

by Kate Thomas and Richard Negri

In an era where it’s not unheard of for an employee‘s use of social media to lead to their dismissal, one question that comes up more frequently these days regarding a worker’s rights is “Can I say that on Facebook?

This week, the National Labor Relations Board alleged that Connecticut company acted illegally when they fired an employee after she bad-mouthed her supervisor on Facebook. The labor board charged that the company wrongfully denied the employee union representation during an investigatory interview, as well as “maintained and enforced an overly broad blogging and Internet posting policy.”

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Illinois Labor History Society Annual Banquet

llinois Labor History Society will be holding its annual banquet on Friday, November 19, at the National Association of Letter Carriers, 3850 S. Wabash in Chicago. The event begins at 5:30. This year’s dinner has special importance to the Society as they are raising money specifically for rehabbing the Haymarket Monument in time for its 125th anniversary next year. Apropos, they will be inducting both the monument itself and the late Irving Abrams into the Union Hall of Honor. Tickets remain at $75 each and may be obtained from The Illinois Labor History Society, 28 E. Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL 60604.

More information is available at or by calling 312.663.4107.