Strong Unions, Stronger Communities

Several major unions have released a report and graphics Strong Unions, Stronger Communities and we hope you will amplify it via social media using the accompanying toolkit and that you’ll talk about it with your respective communities.

The report details several cases around the country in which strong unions have led to positive outcomes for entire communities, making them stronger and safer. Whether it’s EMS workers negotiating for better staff ratios that decrease emergency response times, or teachers speaking up together for smaller class sizes, the report underscores that strong unions are needed now more than ever.

We need your help to create momentum and focus renewed attention among our friends and elected officials about the value unions currently bring to our country. This issue is particularly important in light of the Supreme Court case, Janus v. AFSCME, which is an unprecedented attack on the freedom of working people to join strong unions.

Thank you for your support!

Here are some things you can do to help:

  • Post to social media using the toolkit we have prepared
  • Reference and share the report with allies in speeches and at conferences and meetings
  • Write an op-ed or LTE, referencing one of the cases in the report or another in your community
  • Ask your elected officials to speak about the value of unions to their communities
  • Hold an event or rally in your community to highlight the value of unions to everyone
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The Dreamers Were Created by NAFTA

JUSTICE FOR DREAMERS – PUNISH THE AUTHORS OF FORCED MIGRATION
By David Bacon
Working In These Times, 9/8/17
https://davidbaconrealitycheck.blogspot.com/2017/09/justice-for-dreamers-punish-authors-of.html
http://inthesetimes.com/working

Dreamers and supporters march in San Francisco defying the announcement by Attorney General Jeff Sessions that the government will rescind DACA.  More photographs – https://www.flickr.com/photos/56646659@N05/albums/72157684965038512

The DACA youth, the “dreamers” are the true children of NAFTA – those who, more than anyone, paid the price for the agreement.  Yet they are the ones now punished by the Trump administration as it takes away their legal status, their ability to work, and their right to live in this country without fearing arrest and deportation.  At the same time, those responsible for the fact they grew up in the U.S. walk away unpunished – even better off.

We’re not talking about their parents.  It’s common for liberal politicians (even Trump himself on occasion) to say these young people shouldn’t be punished for the “crime” of their parents – that they brought their children with them when they crossed the border without papers.  But parents aren’t criminals anymore than their children are.  They chose survival over hunger, and sought to keep their families together and give them a future.

The perpetrators of the “crime” are those who wrote the trade treaties and the economic reforms that made forced migration the only means for families to survive.  The “crime” was NAFTA.   Continue reading

How Today’s Unions Help Working People

union-workers-8-27-2017

Graphic from Portside

How today’s unions help working people
Giving workers the power to improve their jobs and unrig the economy
Report • By Josh Bivens, Lora Engdahl, Elise Gould, Teresa Kroeger, Celine McNicholas, Lawrence Mishel, Zane Mokhiber, Heidi Shierholz, Marni von Wilpert, Ben Zipperer, and Valerie Wilson • August 24, 2017

Americans have always joined together—whether in parent teacher associations or local community organizations—to solve problems and make changes that improve their lives and their communities. Through unions, people join together to strive for improvements at the place where they spend a large portion of their waking hours: work.

The freedom of workers to join together in unions and negotiate with employers (in a process known as collective bargaining) is widely recognized as a fundamental human right across the globe. In the United States, this right is protected by the U.S. Constitution and U.S. law and is supported by a majority of Americans.1

Over 16 million working women and men in the United States are exercising this right—these 16 million workers are represented by unions. Overall, more than one in nine U.S. workers are represented by unions. This representation makes organized labor one of the largest institutions in America.2
Continue reading

Dealing With Federal Lay Offs

For federal readers, the defense you need is joining your agency’s union NOW. If you are too afraid to sign up for dues withholding, know that in some agencies you can pay quarterly by check. Your second line of defense is to get you coworkers to join too. Without the involvement of most of your staff the union’s response might be limited. Below is an example of a Reduction in Force (RIF i.e. layoffs) during the Reagan administration.

When Reagan became president there were RIFs in many parts of the government in addition to the smashing of the air controllers’ union. In the Department of Energy, the RIFs were organized by 1st tier organizations (sub agencies). This article is a brief story of the RIF in the Energy Information Administration (EIA). It also gives a comparison with Trumps potential RIFs.

In DOE as a whole there was great concern about job stability. There was an anecdotal story that some DOE researchers were so upset that we had a suicide although I cannot confirm that. However, keeping tabs on you coworkers is a good idea. If they are troubled seek assistance.
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

Teachers’ Union Helps Immigrant and Refugee Children

Pages from im_uac-educators-guide_2016The American Federation of Teachers provides Tools and Resources to help protect immigrant youth and their families in case of ICE, immigration, raids and enforcement efforts.
Prepared by the American Federation of Teachers.
Excellent resources.
Downloadable copy  at aflcio.org/immigrationresources.

California Labor Steps up for Immigrants

LACLAA

by Duane Campbell

The California Federation of Labor is holding a series of Immigrant Workers Rights and Defense Training around the state. I attended one today and they were well done. Immigrant rights activists and labor groups were working together. Contact the Labor Federation for sites. http://calaborfed.org Numerous unions including SEIU, Unite/Here and others are holding their own events.

Topics include:

Know Your Rights, Raids at the worksite, at home and in the community. E –Verify, Family Preparedness Plans, sample union contract language and efforts and guidelines for unions in protecting their members. There are good on line resources here http://iamerica.org/ : SEIU : http://www.seiu.org/justice-for-immigrants/

 

There will be a number of rallies, marches and events in California and states of the Southwest during the next week to recognize Cesar Chavez Day. Many of these will be connected to immigrants’ rights work. These offer DSA chapters opportunities to table and distribute DSA Immigrant Rights information including promotion of our work on the Dia Sin Inmigrantes.

In Sacramento the march will be March 25. Another march will be March 31 planned by the California Federation of Teachers.

For information contact antiracism@dsausa.org