Ten Things We Liked About the Labor Movement in 2010

By Stuart Elliott

Mary Kay Henry

1. NEW LEADERSHIP IN SEIU AND UAW. We welcome the elections of Mary Kay Henry and Bob King to the presidency of the SEIU and UAW, respectively. The election of a woman to the top role in the nation’s largest union illustrates the growing role of women in the leadership of the labor movement. Under the new leaders SEIU quickly settled its debilitating raid on UNITE HERE, and both SEIU and UAW mobilized their memberships for the One Nation Working Together rally in Washington.

2. THE ONE NATION WORKING TOGETHER RALLY: Numerous unions mobilized their East Coast memberships to participate in the October 2 rally in Washington, D.C. The result was a solid tribute to the racial and cultural diversity of the U.S. labor movement.

3. LABOURSTART, the international labor news and campaigning site, is run on a shoestring and powered by nearly 800 volunteer correspondents. Every day the site publishes links to labor news in 23 different languages, and its news feeds appear on more than 800 union websites. It conducts e-mail campaigns in eight different languages. It can be found at http://www.labourstart.org.

In 2010, LabourStart held its first public international solidarity conference in Hamilton, Canada. The conference attracted over 200 participants from more than 28 countries, including national union presidents, representatives of Global Union Federations, local union officers, staffers and grassroots activists. We also like UnionBook, a LabourStart project to create an ad-free, non-corporate alternative to Facebook.

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Young Workers’ Plight in a Struggling Economy

by Cory McCray

Corey McCray

As we all continue to hear that the unemployment rate for workers is less than 10 percent have we taken the time to really understand the future of the young worker whose unemployment rate ie expected to linger around 20 percent? Among major demographic groups in the U.S., the jobless rates for young men (20.5 percent), young African-Americans (33.4 percent), and young Asian-Americans (21.6 percent) continued to rise from a year earlier. The unemployment rates for young women (17.5 percent), young Caucasians (16.2 percent), and young Hispanics (22.1 percent) hardly changed in the BLS reports.

To most this can be considered challenging or troubling, and that is because it is. The reality is that you’re competing in a workforce where people with 15 or 20 years of experience are fighting for the same job. There is almost a 20% unemployment rate amongst construction industries across the states for young workers that want to join apprenticeship programs; for those young workers that decided to go to college only to be disappointed with the unrevealing possibilities in the job market; for the young workers that have found some type of employment in this bad job market, research has shown that they are earning 17.5% less than their counterparts in a good economy. Research shows that this can adversely affect young workers for seventeen years of their life. As we deal with underemployment and less benefits than our parents generation. We are at a point in time where businesses are demonizing pensions to institute “save your own retirements 401K slaves”.

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Support the Baltimore Gas and Electric Workers 18 Month Campaign to Join a Union

by Cory McCray

BGE workers

BGE workers

On Thursday, August 26th, a petition was filed on behalf of the BGE (Baltimore Gas and Electric) Workers, to the NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) to hold an election in reference to joining a Union. This is the beginning to the work that was started by a small group of BGE workers during their 18 month campaign. The BGE workers have diligently worked to educate and organize their co-workers on the importance of collective bargaining. They have spent long days and night’s phone banking, visiting homes, and organizing meetings at various locations. Last October, they had as many as 200 BGE co-workers in one location to hear well known labor leader Stewart Acuff talk about the importance of bargaining collectively, the importance of a contract, and job security.

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