Illinois Governor Acts to Curb Public Sector Unions

CHICAGO — Gov. Bruce Rauner, the newly elected Republican who has often criticized public sector unions, took his first step toward curbing their power on Monday by announcing an executive order that would bar unions from requiring all state workers to pay the equivalent of dues.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/10/us/illinois-governor-bruce-rauner-acts-to-curb-power-of-public-sector-unions.html?_r=0

Stop Fast Track and the Trans-Pacific Partnership!

by Paul Garver

Video produced by MoveOn and posted here at the request of the Communication Workers of America (CWA)
A good short primer from Robert Reich on the need to stop Fast Track and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a project of the Obama administration fervently desired by big business, supported by Republicans, and would lock in corporate control over the global economy against the interests of workers and consumers.  It has been negotiated behind doors closed to all citizens except 500 corporate lobbyists.  “Fast-Track” Trade Promotion Authority would permit the agreement to be speedily voted up or down by Congress without adequate debate or the possibility of amendment.
CWA and MoveOn have partnered in a petition against Fast Track and the TPP, which you can read and sign at  http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/tell-congress-we-cant?source=c.em&r_by=4842589

If Labor Dies- What is Next ?

David Rolf. SEIU.

[if you see Tefere Gebre either watch the entire panel or  go to the playlist tab, and click on video 3. I have been unable to change this]

The American Labor Movement at a Crossroads. – Session 1

Co sponsored by the Albert Shanker Institute, the AFT, the Hillman Foundation and others.

The American labor movement is at a critical juncture. After three decades of declining union density in the private sector and years of all-out political assaults on public sector unions, America’s unions now face what can only be described as existential threats. Strategies and tactics that may have worked in a different era are no longer adequate to today’s challenges. The need for different approaches to the fundamentals of union work in areas such as organizing, collective bargaining and political action is clear. The purpose of this conference is to examine new thinking and new  initiatives, viewing them critically in the light of ongoing union imperatives of cultivating member activism and involvement, fostering democratic self-governance and building the collective power of working people. Jan.15, 2015.

Continue reading

State of Our Unions – Secretary Thomas E. Perez

American Labor at the Crossroads Conference;  Jan. 15, 2015.

Co sponsored by the Albert Shanker Institute, the AFT, the Hillman Foundation and others.

[If when you start you see Randi Weingarten of the AFT, then click on the lower margin where it says playlist. The second video is of Perez.  Weingarten is good also.  I was unable to separate these.]

The US  labor movement is at a critical juncture. After three decades of declining union density in the private sector and years of all-out political assaults on public sector unions, America’s unions now face what can only be described as existential threats. Strategies and tactics that may have worked in a different era are no longer adequate to today’s challenges. The need for different approaches to the fundamentals of union work in areas such as organizing, collective bargaining and political action is clear. The purpose of this conference is to examine new thinking and new  initiatives, viewing them critically in the light of ongoing union imperatives of cultivating member activism and involvement, fostering democratic self-governance and building the collective power of working people. Jan.15, 2015.

Sit down, watch, educate yourself.

The conference has a number of leaders, including major DSA activists and former DSA leaders, to understand the reality of unions today and organizing the working class. Watch each of the sessions here.

http://www.shankerinstitute.org/labor-conference/

Breakthrough in Greece ? Austerity and Solidarity

An editorial on the upcoming elections in Greece by the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF) The Greek elections offer a potential breakthrough, but to carry out their program a government of the Left will need massive understanding and support abroad. Unions should be in the forefront of building that support.

Editorial by International Union of Food Workers

Greece will hold parliamentary elections on January 25 and Syriza, the left-wing party which has consistently called for debt restructuring and an end to austerity, is leading the polls. The IMF-European Commission-European Central Bank `Troika’ are warning of the “threat” of Syriza coming to power and have forcefully indicated their support for Greece’s ruling coalition by conditioning further financial support on the re-election of a pliable government. A Syriza victory indeed threatens the suffocating grip of the European and global austerity regime, and for that reason should be welcomed and actively supported.

For the last four years, a succession of aggressively harsh austerity programs have been imposed on the country by the IMF-EU-European Central Bank ‘Troika’ as a condition for supporting the banks and the treasury. At the Troika’s insistence, the minimum wage was reduced by 22%, and 32% for workers under 25. Collective bargaining has been shredded, in blatant violation of international and EU law. Public services have been gutted and there are shortages even of basic medicines. Economic output has declined by 25% compared with pre-crisis levels, a level of destruction normally associated with war. A quarter of the workforce is jobless, with unemployment over 50% for young people. Malnutrition and infant mortality are on the rise. Continue reading

Building power- the role of teachers and their unions

Building power beyond elections: The unique
role of educators and their unions

 By Joshua Pechthalt, President, California Federation of Teachers

The Republican victory in November reminds us that organized labor and the progressive movement can’t rely on elections to advance our agenda. Our power to improve the lives of members and community allies flows from our ability to organize the kind of powerful labor-community alliance that can demand change from politicians.

In spite of the national drubbing inflicted on Democrats, there were a few bright spots. The reelection of Tom Torlakson as state superintendent of public instruction demonstrated once again that mobilized educators can beat a multi-million dollar, anti-teacher campaign.

Significant victories across the country suggest that voters are not necessarily moving to the right on key issues. Voters passed measures to raise the minimum wage, legalize marijuana, and protect a woman’s right to control her body. In California, Democrats won every statewide office and continue to hold strong majorities in both the Assembly and Senate. They also picked up one congressional seat.

Electoral support for the Republican Party reflects the public’s deep uncertainty about the economy. While there has been consistent job growth for months, the majority of Americans worry about their current situation and the future.

Economic disparity is greater now than at any time since the Great Depression. Real wages have stagnated for years, job growth is primarily in the low-wage service sector, and for young people, a college education is expensive and no longer guarantees a decent middle-class job.

Conditions are ripe for the reemergence of a progressive political movement, yet none has developed. Democrats are not providing leadership; many people have lost confidence in them. They are unwilling to articulate a vision that puts people to work, rebuilds the nation’s infrastructure, invests in our schools and makes higher education affordable. Continue reading

Kentucky Local Right to Work Effort is a new front

In Warren County, Ky., a fiscal court has given preliminary approval to a local “right to work” for less ordinance. The measure is worded as to prevent any worker covered by the National Labor Relations Act from being required to join or pay dues to a union as a condition of employment. Since it is already illegal in the United States to require workers to join unions, the real focus of the measure is to weaken workers in negotiations with employers for decent wages and benefits. Instead of passing illegal ordinances that are a big waste of time and resources for the county, those efforts should be spent in other ways like focusing on raising wages for Warren County residents.

If you’re in Kentucky, call the fiscal court today and tell them you oppose the right to work ordinance: 1-855-721-3304. 

Here are seven specific ways that this measure would hurt workers in Warren County, most of which would apply to workers in other Kentucky locales (and elsewhere) if the process were repeated elsewhere: Continue reading

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