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NewsFeed - Labor

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Every Part of Us Has Parts

One of my first awakenings to the cultural divide between working-class and middle-class ways of seeing and being in the world was John Helmer’s 1974 book The Deadly Simple Mechanics of Society.   Focused on a critique of American sociology, the … Continue reading
Posted: January 16, 2017, 12:18 pm

At this Time of Challenge and Controversy, We Need Solidarity

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of convenience and comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

We’re coming off of an election that reminded us we still have considerable work ahead in the struggle for freedom and civil rights, and on Martin Luther King Jr. remembrance day, Dr. King’s quote is deeply relevant.

Posted: January 16, 2017, 12:00 pm

Follow AFL-CIO Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Civil and Human Rights Awards Ceremony on #1uMLK

Today, the AFL-CIO will be hosting the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Civil and Human Rights Awards Luncheon and Community Service Weekend. This year’s theme, “The Struggle Is Free, But the Dream Must Be Televised,” represents the constant battle for civil rights and justice that continues to plague our country. While the results of the election unveiled the sobering similarities with the civil rights movement, we still dream of the world Dr. King so eloquently described in his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. The labor movement will remain steadfast in our fight for civil, human and women’s rights, and to make justice a reality for everyone. We are the drum majors for justice and together we will honor the everyday heroes who are working tirelessly to improve jobs and achieve justice.

Posted: January 15, 2017, 10:00 am

The Working People Weekly List

Every week, we bring you a roundup of the top news and commentary about issues and events important to working families. Here’s this week’s Working People Weekly List.

Posted: January 14, 2017, 6:30 pm

Together We Will Shelter and Empower Immigrants and Native-Born Alike

Three years ago, Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez of Honduras spoke before us here in Washington about the need for the United States and all nations to set aside the single-minded pursuit of wealth. He repeated Pope Francis’ warning about an economy that kills. He cited global inequality that has left working families so far behind that they often don’t have safe places to sleep, enough food to eat or access to clean water.

Posted: January 14, 2017, 12:00 pm

After Late Night Vote, Republican Plan to Repeal the ACA Without Replacement Advances

In the early hours of last night, Senate Republicans pushed forward with their reckless plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Shortly after 1 a.m., while most Americans were sleeping, Republican legislators passed a resolution containing a measure that initiates the process to repeal the ACA. The vote was 51–48, along party lines. Democrats used the amendment process to try to improve the resolution, with more than 160 amendments being offered but rejected. The House could vote on the bill as early as Friday.

Posted: January 13, 2017, 7:42 pm

Where to Find Better Candidates? Oregon Unions Are Growing Their Own

January 13, 2017 / Sara Ryan
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Election night 2016 was bittersweet for me. I spent most of the day with Oregon legislative candidate Teresa Alonso Leon, a Service Employees (SEIU) member.

Alonso Leon works for the state as a GED manager, helping students find their paths to careers, college, and job skills training programs. I had helped to recruit and train her through the Oregon Labor Candidate School, which offers union members the training and support to run for public office.

Posted: January 13, 2017, 6:30 pm

A Global Supply Chain Still Built on Worker Misery: The Garment Industry in Bangladesh

Nearly five years after the torture and assassination of Bangladeshi labor leader Aminul Islam, the country's garment-sector employers and the government continue to persecute workers who try to exercise basic rights. In the three weeks since a December strike to protest the paltry $68 per month minimum wage, garment employers and the government have again shown their hostility toward workers and their rights. At that wage, workers in Dhaka would need to spend 60% of their income solely to rent substandard housing in a slum, leaving little to live on in a city about as expensive as Montreal (where the minimum wage is more than ten times higher).

Posted: January 13, 2017, 5:46 pm

CWA Campaign Restores Protections for Airline Agents Against Assault and Abuse

A longtime campaign and nationwide effort by the tens of thousands of passenger service agents represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) to protect all airline employees from physical and verbal abuse by passengers has succeeded.

Posted: January 13, 2017, 3:28 pm

New Report Details Systematic Labor Rights Violations in Colombia

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Labor released a report in response to the complaint filed by U.S. and Colombian unions detailing systematic labor rights violations in Colombia. The U.S. government acknowledged many of the serious issues raised in the complaint, including inadequate labor inspections and enforcement actions, abusive forms of subcontracting that prevent union organizing and keep the majority of Colombian workers in precarious jobs, and impunity for threats and violence against trade unionists, which creates a climate of fear.

Posted: January 12, 2017, 7:17 pm

Fighting Back – and Winning – against the Corporate Cabinet

CWAers have launched a major campaign to fight back against a corporate cabinet that puts the worst of Wall Street insiders in charge of our government.

Posted: January 12, 2017, 7:16 pm

Bargaining Update

The latest bargaining updates from GE Appliance Park, Momentive and AT&T Mobility.

Posted: January 12, 2017, 7:08 pm

Breaking! Justice Department Confirms that Airline Agents Are Covered by Federal Assault Law

The U.S. Department of Justice has just confirmed that passenger service agents are covered by legislation that set significant penalties and jail time for anyone who "interferes with airport and airline personnel who have security duties."

Posted: January 12, 2017, 7:02 pm

'Politicians Didn’t Create the Labor Movement, and...Won’t Destroy the Labor Movement'

Hundreds of union members who rallied at Kentucky’s Capitol against a trio of Republican union-busting bills surely knew the legislation was unstoppable.

Posted: January 12, 2017, 7:00 pm

Cummings: MLK Day is a Call to Stand Together against Injustice and Hatred

Today, across our country, workers and civil rights activists, people of faith, human rights activists, and many others are standing together and standing strong, ready to defend the achievements of Dr. Martin Luther King and so many others.

Posted: January 12, 2017, 6:57 pm

CWA President Chris Shelton’s Statement on the Nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee held its hearing on the nomination of Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions to be U.S. Attorney General this week.

Posted: January 12, 2017, 6:50 pm

Join the Women’s March on Washington

So far, more than 500 CWAers are participating in the Women's March on Washington the day after the presidential inauguration, with more expected to join.

Posted: January 12, 2017, 6:46 pm

Scholarship Opportunities for CWAers and Families

Apply for the Beirne Foundation and Union Plus scholarships.

Posted: January 12, 2017, 6:42 pm

Check Out the New CWA Store

Starting now, CWAers can get a big discount on select items at the new CWA Store.

Posted: January 12, 2017, 6:30 pm

Workers Win Victory against Staples

In a victory for workers, the U.S. Postal Service announced that the deal between the U.S. Postal Service and Staples has ended.

Posted: January 12, 2017, 6:28 pm

At the Birthplace of Auto Workers' Sit-Down Strikes, Locked Out for Eight Months and Counting

Last week auto workers from Chicago and Detroit made a pilgrimage to the birthplace of auto workers' sit-down strikes to lend solidarity to workers who’ve been locked out for eight months and counting.

Honeywell locked out 320 aerospace workers with Auto Workers (UAW) Local 9 in South Bend, Indiana, on May 9 after they voted 270-30 to reject the company’s offer. Another 40 Honeywell workers with Local 1508 at in Green Island, New York, are also locked out.

Posted: January 12, 2017, 6:00 pm

Union Plus Scholarships Provide the Keys for Immigrant Families to Unlock the American Dream

Immigrants who have come to our country in search of better opportunities have been the economic backbone of America for well over a century. In the face of a difficult job market for many immigrants, their keys to the American Dream may not be readily available.

Posted: January 12, 2017, 5:12 pm

Andrew Puzder's Employees Explain Why He's the #AntiLaborSecretary

Yesterday, working people who have been employed by fast-food CEO Andrew Puzder shared their stories with Senate Democrats. They made it clear why Puzder is being called the #AntiLaborSecretary. Here are some of the key tweets that captured the hearings.

Posted: January 11, 2017, 6:38 pm

Postal Service Drops Staples Privatization Effort

The Postal Service’s experimental “pilot program” in privatizing the retail end of the USPS using Staples outlets has failed and ended. The “Grand Alliance to Save Our Postal Service” has forced the USPS to back off from partnering with Staples in their effort to privatize and undermine the wages and jobs of USPS employees. The […]
Posted: January 11, 2017, 3:29 pm

Labor Opponents Already Have The Next ‘Friedrichs’ SCOTUS Case Ready to Go Under Trump

The Supreme Court gave unions an unexpected victory last year when it issued a decision in a case that had threatened to take away the right of public sector unions to collect dues from workers they represent. That win may be short-lived. Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association was meant to be the capstone in decades […]
Posted: January 10, 2017, 8:15 pm

Union workers, not Donald Trump, pushed Fiat Chrysler into creating 2,000 jobs

Great news: Fiat Chrysler has announced a $1 billion, 2,000-job investment in plants in Michigan and Ohio. Donald Trump didn’t quite claim credit in his predictable tweet about the news, but Reuters, for instance, reported the story with the headline “Fiat Chrysler ups the ante as automakers respond to Trump.” Except that’s not what happened at all. In 2015 contract […]
Posted: January 10, 2017, 12:00 pm

Working-Class Nostalgia

The first time I presented a paper at an academic conference, I was accused of being nostalgic. My mistake, as my fellow academic pointed out, was that in my bid to find some value in working-class occupational cultures I was … Continue reading
Posted: January 9, 2017, 12:11 pm

Day 1 in the Newly Seated Kentucky Legislature Is About Attacking Working People

Kentucky Republican leaders, led by Gov. Matt Bevin, gained control of the state House, giving them control of the executive and legislative branches. Their first order of business? Go after working families. Bevin and the Republicans are pushing forward with several anti-worker resolutions. In the process, they have given more say in the state’s future […]
Posted: January 9, 2017, 5:18 am

Chattanooga Auto Workers to Host Strike Meeting

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At its monthly meeting this weekend, United Auto Workers Local 42 will be informing Volkswagen workers about their right to strike and access to strike benefits.

The meeting in Chattanooga, Tennessee, is the result of a motion brought by a worker frustrated at Volkswagen’s continued refusal to bargain with the skilled-trades unit.

Posted: January 6, 2017, 11:22 pm

New House rules allow Congress to slash the pay of individual federal workers

The Republican House majority proposed and passed a rules package on the eve of the GOP seizing control of the House, Senate, and the White House, and it contains more than a few surprises. Republicans received widespread constituent outrage in response to a proposal to gut an independent congressional ethics office and bring it under […]
Posted: January 6, 2017, 4:00 pm

Trump Nominates Non-Free-Trader Robert Lighthizer to Trade Office

President-“elect” Donald Trump today announced his nomination of Robert Lighthizer for the cabinet-level office of US Trade Representative (USTR). Lighthizer, who served as deputy USTR under President Ronald Reagan, is known for criticizing Republican “free trade” ideology. Before serving in the Reagan administration he was chief of staff for the Senate Finance Committee. Lightizer’s nomination […]
Posted: January 4, 2017, 6:39 pm

More U.S. Workers Have Highly Volatile, Unstable Incomes

The U.S stock market may be at record highs and U.S. unemployment at its lowest level since the Great Recession, but income inequality remains stubbornly high. Contributing to this inequality is the fact that while more Americans are working than at any time since August 2007, more people are working part time, erratic and unpredictable […]
Posted: January 3, 2017, 4:40 pm

Turning an Issue into a Campaign: How Minnesota Public Employees Stood Up for Paid Parental Leave

January 03, 2017 / Joan Treichel, Steph Meyer, and Johanna Schussler
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Many unions agonize over how to get young workers involved. At the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees (MAPE), we did it with a fight over an issue that mattered to younger members—paid parental leave.

“Three months after we adopted our second son,” wrote a member in one of the stories we gathered over the course of our campaign, “I had to empty all the change jars in our house to make sure we had enough money to pay our monthly mortgage.”

Because this member stood up, future members will not have to go through such an experience.

Posted: January 3, 2017, 2:47 pm

Trump falsely claims he created thousands of new jobs, and news outlets lap it up

It was a huge announcement. An announcement so full of winning that we may even get tired of winning. “Because of what’s happening and the spirit and the hope,” President-elect Donald Trump told reporters on Wednesday, “I was just called by the head people at Sprint and they’re going to be bringing 5,000 jobs back […]
Posted: January 2, 2017, 6:16 pm

Now Is the Time: Working-Class Studies in the Trump Era

I watched President Obama’s inauguration eight years ago with colleagues with whom I had been teaching and organizing around issues of race, class, sexuality, and gender for almost two decades.  That America had elected a black man to its highest … Continue reading
Posted: January 2, 2017, 12:33 pm

6 Ways We Could Improve NAFTA for Working People

 For years we’ve talked about the shortcomings of the North American Free Trade Agreement (we even released this detailed report on its 20th anniversary) and how trade deals created behind closed doors with corporate CEOs harm working people. Today we released a blueprint for how to rewrite NAFTA to benefit working families. This past election there […]
Posted: December 30, 2016, 6:05 pm

Income Inequality Is off the Charts. Can Local Policies Make a Difference?

The income gap between the classes is growing at a startling pace in the United States. In 1980, the top 1 percent earned on average 27 times more than workers in the bottom 50 percent. Today, they earn 81 times more. The widening gap is “due to a boom in capital income,” according to research […]
Posted: December 28, 2016, 2:40 pm

Let's Make 2017 the Year of the Slingshot

Fast food CEO Andrew Pudzer for Labor Secretary… Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Energy Secretary… Billionaire Betsy DeVos, enemy of public schools and public workers, to head Education…

President-elect Donald Trump promised to drain the swamp, but it’s obvious that the reptiles still have Washington in their claws. And with even more picks yet to come—including the late Antonin Scalia’s replacement on the Supreme Court—it’s hard to feel optimistic about the future.

Posted: December 22, 2016, 4:11 pm

Five Ways to Defend Immigrant Members

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As the reality of a Donald Trump presidency sets in, unions and workers centers are gearing up for a massive fight to defend immigrant members, building on lessons from the past decade.

Undocumented workers are at risk both from the government and from their employers. Sometimes employers are under government pressure themselves. Other times they’re using the threat of immigration enforcement to discourage organizing or keep workplace standards low.

Besides workplace or home raids, over the past decade workers have faced:

Posted: December 19, 2016, 7:36 pm

A Ph.D. in Organizing

December 19, 2016 / by Dawn Tefft and Jeff Schuhrke
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Newly armed with the right to collective bargaining, teaching assistants, graduate assistants, and research assistants at private universities are organizing to join the ranks of the unionized.

Posted: December 19, 2016, 5:18 pm

 Hidden Anxieties of the White Working Class

Donald Trump won the election by what once seemed a far-fetched strategy: energize working-class whites, especially those in rural locales and the Rust Belt. Trump’s economic and cultural appeals to working-class whites have been widely analyzed by the media. He … Continue reading
Posted: December 19, 2016, 12:03 pm

Hotel Workers Defeat Boss Tactics to Win Union

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While many union members needed time to recover from the presidential election results, a group of Santa Monica, California, hotel workers didn’t have time to spare. News of Donald Trump’s victory only pushed them to fight harder to win their union election at a beachfront hotel.

A week after Trump’s win, hotel workers at Le Merigot Hotel voted 27 to 15 to unionize with UNITE HERE Local 11.

Throughout his campaign the president-elect routinely vilified immigrants. The hotel workers are mostly immigrant women, a majority of them from Mexico and El Salvador.

Posted: December 16, 2016, 3:15 pm

In Election Squeaker, Teamsters United Nearly Topples Hoffa

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For the first time in nearly two decades, reformers have won seats on the Teamsters’ international executive board—and come within a hair’s breadth of unseating the incumbent administration led by President James P. Hoffa.

Posted: December 15, 2016, 4:19 pm

A How-To in Solidarity: Teacher Takes Turkeys to Teamsters

What can you do to help your brothers and sisters when they’re on strike or locked out?

You might follow the example of Head Start teacher Jonathan Dudley. When Aubuchon Hardware locked out 60 workers in the town next door, he sprang into action and raised $1,830—enough to buy each worker a Thanksgiving turkey.

Aubuchon, a regional chain with 120 stores throughout New England, locked the warehouse workers and truck drivers out of its Westminster distribution center on November 8. The boss, fourth-generation owner Will Aubuchon, claims they struck.

Posted: December 13, 2016, 4:20 pm

Everyday Encounters:  Antagonism in the Sharing Economy

Much has been written about the growth of the sharing economy where information technology, such as mobile apps and automated software facilitate interactions between businesses, individual workers, and customers. Proponents argue that the system provides greater access to goods and … Continue reading
Posted: December 12, 2016, 12:18 pm

I, Daniel Blake and The Power of Working-Class Story Telling

Ken Loach’s latest film I, Daniel Blake (2016) was hard for me to watch. I left the cinema with a knot in my stomach and tears in my eyes. It was a visceral experience that brought back memories of my … Continue reading
Posted: December 5, 2016, 11:59 am

Deindustrialisation, Deregulation, and Division: The Case of Shirebrook and Sports Direct

Deindustrialisation has ravaged areas of the English North and Midlands, areas that are also some of the hardest hit by successive governments’ programs of austerity since 2008. A recent study claimed that the hollowing out of industry in these areas … Continue reading
Posted: November 28, 2016, 11:13 am

Engaging the Unreachables

Those of us from white working-class families with people we know and love who voted for Trump have a special heartache over this year’s election.  Why do so many good people have such deplorable politics?  I mostly took a pass … Continue reading
Posted: November 21, 2016, 11:44 am

Trumped Up Charges Against Evangelicals

Oops, they did it again! Those evangelicals ushered in yet another Republican president!  Britney Spears’s insight that some things just can’t be helped seems to apply to evangelicals and the way they vote. ABC News exit polls show that white … Continue reading
Posted: November 14, 2016, 11:35 am

Memo to the Next President: Don’t Forget the Working Class

At the end of most US presidential elections, most Americans are ready to see the last of campaign ads, social media commentaries and tension-fraught news coverage. That’s even more true this year. But more than in most recent elections, we … Continue reading
Posted: November 7, 2016, 12:17 pm