FLIGHT ATTENDANTS CALL FOR JULY 16TH CONTRACT DAY OF ACTION AT UNITED AIRLINES

Communication Workers of America

The Joint Negotiating Committee of AFA-CWA flight attendants has called for a National Day of Action Thursday, July 16, to highlight the difficulties that they are facing bargaining a contract with United Airlines.

“The bottom line problem is the company’s unwillingness to put the required economic resources into a Flight Attendant Contract,” AFA-CWA President Sara Nelson said. “That is unacceptable and we are going to stand up to make it clear to the company that we expect much more, especially now as United’s profits are soaring.”

United management must understand that Flight Attendants are united for a fair contract. They are preparing for a System-wide Day of Action on July 16th in all the airline’s 16 base locations, including at Washington Dulles, where they will be joined by CWA President Chris Shelton.

Other locations include London, Frankfurt, Boston, New York, Newark, NJ, Chicago, San Francisco, Denver, Seattle, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Honolulu, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Guam. The workers have targeted July 23rd as the date for an agreement but it will take a very serious turn around at the bargaining table to get there. Flight Attendants will be joined at the National Day of Action by other CWA Locals as well as allies from other labor unions and progressive groups. Details for action are listed at ourcontract.org.

United has failed to reach a unified labor contract with its 24,000 flight attendants despite a boast by United Chief Executive Jeff Smisek following the airline’s October 2010 merger with Continental that he would complete joint contracts with all workers by the end of 2011. Meanwhile, United Airlines is making record profits and its 2015 income will be more than five times higher than in 2013; operating profit in 2015-2017 is expected to be $5 billion or more in each year; United has $7.0 Billion in cash on its balance sheet and its stock price has jumped 162% since negotiations began; Smisek’s pay is up 32% and other top executives and shareholders are also cashing in.

United showed it is tone deaf by announcing that it is investing $100 million in a Brazilian airline while refusing to invest in its own workers who spend more time with passengers than anyone else.

Flight Attendants, standing shoulder-to-shoulder, will demonstrate their solidarity for a joint Contract that recognizes and respects what each worker has brought to the airline since its United/Continental merger and the hard work all they do every day to make United Airlines fly safe.

Labor Leaders Meet with Presidential Candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders

American Postal Workers Union (APWU)

WASHINGTON – A “meet and greet” was held at the office of the American Postal Workers Union this evening between more than 40 U.S. labor leaders and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who is running for president.

“Bernie Sanders has been an outspoken champion of postal customers, postal workers and the public Postal Service – demanding expanded services for all Americans, an end to mail delays, and an end to the closure of postal facilities,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein.

“And he has been a forceful advocate for working people for decades. He’s not in the pocket of big corporations. We thought it was important to hear his ideas about the 2016 campaign – especially how he plans to take on the big-money interests that are strangling our political system and our economy.

“There has been tremendous interest and excitement about his campaign in the labor movement,” he said.

The meeting at APWU’s office was co-hosted by former president of the Communications Workers of America Larry Cohen, APWU President Mark Dimondstein and APWU Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth Powell. Neither the APWU nor the CWA has endorsed a presidential candidate in 2016. Both unions are affiliates of the AFL-CIO.

Largest UK Union Attacks Troika on Greece

by Paul Garver

The largest union in the United Kingdom, UNITE, representing 1.4 million members, issued the following statement in solidarity with Greece in its confrontation with European high finance and conservative politicians.

Last Sunday 5th July 2015 the Greek people sent a clear and unequivocal message that the era of austerity must end. UNITE congratulates them for their courage in standing up to the relentless intimidation and pressure of the Troika. The referendum was not about leaving the European Union or the Euro, all indications are clear that Greece wants to remain in the European Union and in the Euro, however it was a clear message that Europe needs to change.

The policies that have been imposed on Greece over the last five years have been a disaster on every measure. Unemployment and poverty have rocketed, the economy has shrunk by 26% and the debt has continued to soar. The crisis facing Greece was not caused by the Greek people – yet they have been made to pay the price time after time. A new approach is needed that starts by putting the interests and needs of the people of Greece ahead of those of the international bankers that caused the crisis in the first place. UNITE will continue to stand in solidarity with the Greek people and ahead of the coming summit on Sunday 12th July 2015 and urges the European Commission and European Governments to engage honestly with the new proposal of the Greek government to find a long term sustainable solution.

UNITE strongly condemns the comments made in the lead up to the referendum by many senior European and international figures. The language that has been adopted towards Greece displays an unacceptable arrogance and it is this attitude that has played a key role in the failure to find acceptable solutions. The call of the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, to replace the democratically elected government with a government of technocrats is a disgrace and epitomises everything that is wrong.

It is not Greece that needs the imposition of a technocratic government it is Europe that must listen to the democratic will of the people of Greece. Greece has been used as a laboratory for the policies of austerity. That experiment has now failed, as it is failing in the UK and elsewhere across Europe. It is up to the political leaders of Europe to now sit down with the Government of Alexis Tsipras and reach a deal that is sustainable and ensures a future for Greece based on solidarity, the future of Europe depends upon getting it right.

Global Petition: Urging Uniqlo to Resolve the Labour Dispute in the Artigas Factory in China

by Paul Garver

artigas 2

Numerous worker and labor solidarity groups based in Hong Kong, Taiwan and other Asian countries are supporting demands of clothing workers in Shenzhen, China, whose factory has been closed without consultation or compensation. They have created a global petition in Chinese and English languages to urge the giant apparel corporation that buys the products of the factory to intervene.

The English language text of the petition follows.

To view the list of signers and to sign the petition, go to

13 July 2015
Uniqlo is one of the fastest-growing fashion brands of the last decade. The brand has 1,621 stores around the globe. In China alone, it has experienced explosive growth, opening nearly 400 stores in just a few years. Uniqlo products are well-known for low prices, trendy looks and high functionality. However, 70% of them are made by Chinese garment workers who work long hours every day under dismal working conditions. Regrettably, Uniqlo, as the biggest Asian garment brand with plenty of resources and knowledge, refuses to fulfil its corporate social responsibility, repeatedly turning a blind eye to the malpractices of its supplier Hong Kong-owned Lever Style Inc. These malpractices include allowing Shenzhen Artigas Clothing and Leather (hereinafter Artigas), the factory managed by Lever Style Inc., to shut down its factory by secretly removing equipment and machines while denying severance payments and the payment of social insurance in arrears to affected workers. We as labour rights concern groups have been keeping close watch on this case and are very disappointed and angry at how Uniqlo is handling the issue.
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Sanders: Austerity Imposed on Greek People is Unacceptable

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) attacked the International Monetary Fund and European authorities on Wednesday (July 1)  for imposing what he called excessive austerity measures on Greece in negotiations over the country’s debt payments.

“It is unacceptable that the International Monetary Fund and European policymakers have refused to work with the Greek government on a sensible plan to improve its economy and pay back its debt,” Sanders said in an exclusive statement to The Huffington Post. “At a time of grotesque wealth inequality, the pensions of the people in Greece should not be cut even further to pay back some of the largest banks and wealthiest financiers in the world.” Continue reading

Creativity and Class

By Daniel C. Adkins

We face the critical problems of the needs of a sustainable future and creating an economy that works for all of us, not just the interests of the 1%. These goals cannot be reached without changing our political and labor system from a game rich people play to a more democratic and inclusive one. To reach our goals it is time we evaluated how our various social-economic groups use their creativity to change society (or not). Below is a quick view of different social class contributions.

The middle and upper middle classes cover a wide area and have created the crown jewels of our networked society. In addition to maintaining educational systems, small businesses, etc., they have created the new corporations of our technological world. The tech companies: Microsoft, Apple, Google, and Facebook have been created by middle class students enthralled by the opportunities of their disciplines, especially the technological ones. Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak is the son of a defense engineer who taught his son electronics so well that the “Woz” was able to build one of the first personal computers. Bill Gates learned coding so well that he was able to start a business. Steve Jobs got enough college under his belt that he was able to build a computer that was important in a cultural way as much as a business way. The Google guys created a company in the process of implementing their search algorithms. Although middle class professionals are unionized in education and government, unionizations have not caught on in some of the newer industries so when companies have gotten creative stealing workers options, the work force has had to create class-action lawsuits.

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Clocking In for Equality

by Seth Sandronsky

Clocking In is a new online tool from Race Forward, a New York-based group whose self-described goal “is to build awareness, solutions and leadership for racial justice.” Its analysis finds disturbing trends for people of color and women employed in the U.S. service industry. This virtual resource allows service employees to share their real-life job experiences with other workers, consumers, employers and policymakers 24/7.
90% of female tipped workers have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. Continue reading

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