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Columbia Grad Workers Set to Strike, As Admin Refuses to Bargain

April 23, 2018 / Katie Fustich
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Graduate students at Columbia University are on the verge of a strike over the university’s refusal to bargain with their union, Auto Workers Local 2110.

Members voted earlier this month to authorize a strike, with 93 percent voting yes. “There’s a general sense of injustice and frustration as the university continues to stall illegally,” said bargaining committee member Rosalie Ray, a Ph.D. student in urban planning.

Posted: April 23, 2018, 7:26 pm

Workers Call on Labor Department to Investigate General Dynamics as Wage Theft is Uncovered at Five More Call Centers

Workers at five federal contract call centers operated by General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT) filed new wage theft complaints with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. Since January, over 2,000 current and former GDIT call center workers have come forward to call on the Department of Labor (DOL) to investigate violations of prevailing wage law at the company.

Posted: April 23, 2018, 7:11 pm

Becky and the Grind

Becky and the Grind Becky’s aunt had given her $300 to catch up on her electric bill so the power would not be turned off in her apartment.  But when Aunt Millie checked with the electric company, the outstanding bills … Continue reading
Posted: April 23, 2018, 2:26 pm

Celebrate Working People This Earth Day

Celebrate Working People This Earth Day

Earth Day is an annual event that celebrates our planet’s natural beauty and calls for the protection of our natural treasures and mitigation of the damage human activity can inflict on our planet. Across the country, working people are a key part of those efforts. Here are some key examples of how working people are making our world a cleaner, safer place every day.

  • AFGE represents workers at the Environmental Protection Agency, National Park Service and the Department of the Interior.
  • Transport Workers (TWU) represents members at various observatories and zoos.

  • At NASA, Machinists (IAM) members build and launch the satellites and rockets that explore Earth from above. The Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA) represents the scientists and engineers at NASA.

  • A large percentage of U.S. Forest Service workers are represented by IAM-NFFE.

  • AFSCME represents water quality workers, solid waste and sewage treatment plant processors who keep the Earth clean. Also represented by AFSCME are parks and recreation employees throughout the country, as well as city/county/state parks workers, including those who monitor fishing and game licenses, animal control, watershed rangers, vehicle emissions testers, public transportation and port workers.

  • Communications Workers of America (CWA) represents working people at state and municipal parks who maintain our natural treasures and make sure they are accessible to the public.

  • Transit and other workers who are part of the Transportation Trades Department (TTD) provide cheaper and more planet-friendly travel options to millions of Americans.

  • Members of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) are farm workers throughout the country who harvest our food and get it to our tables.

  • Among the working people represented by the Utility Workers (UWUA) are those who clean the water in St. Louis for Mid-American Water, city recycling workers, arborists who save trees and parks employees.

  • International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) members not only produce the energy-efficient air and heating systems that keep homes and business healthy and comfortable, they manufacture electric buses and team up with various groups to make buildings more environmentally friendly.

  • Electrical Workers (IBEW) are at the forefront of the clean energy revolution, particularly in the growth of wind and solar energy and managing the electrical grid to accommodate more clean energy production.

  • UAW members produce electric cars, lithium battery packs, fuel cells and autonomous vehicles. Members also work at places such as Sierra Club headquarters and Lansing, Michigan’s Forestry Division and Potter Park Zoo.

  • Building and Construction Trades Department (BCTD) union members install wind turbines and solar panels, and operate the best training programs for renewables installation.

  • Heat and Frost Insulators improve energy efficiency in thousands of buildings large and small.

  • Plumbers and Pipe Fitters (UA) members install high efficiency HVAC systems that reduce emissions, and assembled 400 volunteers to change water lines and faucets in Flint, Michigan.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to working people working at jobs that are friendly to our planet. Did we miss something? Email us at website@aflcio.org and we’ll add to this list!

Kenneth Quinnell Sat, 04/21/2018 - 11:12
Posted: April 21, 2018, 3:12 pm

From a Whisper to a Roar: The Working People Weekly List

From a Whisper to a Roar: 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.

 

Andrew Pallotta: A National Lesson in Unionism: “You can hear it building: A movement growing from a quiet whisper to a full roar. In West Virginia and Oklahoma—and in Kentucky and Arizona—teachers are finding their voices. They are standing with their unions to use that collective voice to improve their lives and their communities.”

Arizona Teachers Vote to Strike, Sparking First-Ever Statewide Walkout: “Teachers in Arizona held a strike vote on Thursday that launched a first-ever statewide walkout and turned down a proposed pay raise—instead demanding increased school funding. The Arizona Education Association and the grassroots group the Arizona Educators United announced that teachers will walk off the job April 26.”

Trump’s SEC Proposes Obama-Era Broker Conflict Rules Rewrite: “And on Twitter, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka panned the SEC’s action, calling it ‘insufficient to hold Wall Street accountable.’ ‘We won’t stop fighting,’ Trumka wrote.”

I’m an Undocumented Immigrant. I Pay My Taxes Every Year: “As a young boy, I remember accompanying my parents to visit their accountant and seeing them turn over large folders, neatly organized, with all of their tax forms and corresponding documents. My mother would tell me her priority was to show the government our family was contributing, so that when it came time to become legal permanent residents, and later U.S. citizens, there would be no questions about our contributions to the country.”

Senate Bill to Curtail Labor Rights on Tribal Land Falls Short: “The AFL-CIO said passage of the measure, the subject of several years of tribal lobbying, would have amounted to the most aggressive erosion of labor protections since 1940s. A package of bills containing the measure fell five votes short of the 60 needed to break a filibuster.”

Paid Summer Breaks and Other Common Myths About Teachers: “As teachers in several states across the United States protest for higher pay and more funding for public education, lawmakers and onlookers are debating whether teachers deserve more money. But many of the arguments against teachers’ demands are based on misconceptions about the teaching profession and how they’re compensated.”

Increase Wages, But Also Restore Rights: “As the United States, Mexico and Canada renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, there is a lot of room for improvement. No improvement is more needed, however, than a new labor system in Mexico that secures for all workers the freedom to form and join free and independent unions, so that working people can act democratically and responsibly together to improve their wages and working conditions.”

New Rule on Investment Advice Leaves Working People Vulnerable: “Workers depend on investments in the financial markets to finance our retirements and grow our other long-term savings. That means we need sound investment advice, provided by experts who are looking out for our best interests. While it seems obvious that the people whom we rely on to provide this advice should be required to act in our best interest and not line their own pockets, that is not always the case under current rules. Research shows that, as a result, many working people lose more than one-fourth of their potential retirement paychecks to corrupt financial advice.”

Ten Years Later: Worker Wins: “Our latest roundup of worker wins begins with a victory 10 years in the making and includes numerous examples of working people organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life.”

JetBlue In-Flight Crew Members Overwhelmingly Vote to Join TWU: “In-flight crew members at JetBlue overwhelmingly voted to join the Transport Workers (TWU). With more than 86% of eligible employees participating in the vote, more than two-thirds voted in favor of joining TWU.”

12 Things We’ve Learned About the GOP Tax Bill: “President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans rushed to pass the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in December 2017, leaving very little time for public scrutiny or debate. Here are a few things we have learned since the GOP tax bill passed.”

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 04/20/2018 - 13:08
Posted: April 20, 2018, 5:08 pm

Increase Wages, But Also Restore Rights

Increase Wages, But Also Restore Rights

As the United States, Mexico and Canada renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, there is a lot of room for improvement. No improvement is more needed, however, than a new labor system in Mexico that secures for all workers the freedom to form and join free and independent unions, so that working people can act democratically and responsibly together to improve their wages and working conditions.

If Mexico’s corrupt labor system does not change, the rest of the NAFTA renegotiation won’t be worth much. Mexico will continue to be a haven for worker exploitation and abuse, and a popular outsourcing destination for greedy CEOs who seek to increase their bottom lines while their employees live in dire conditions. In this, Napoleón Gómez Urrutia, president of Mexico’s Mineworkers Union, compellingly argues that North America’s working families have a shared interest in Mexico’s labor rights regime (translated from Spanish):

There has been a lot of talk about the possibility of using the NAFTA renegotiation as an impulse to increase wages in Mexico, since the increase in Mexican workers’ income would eliminate the pretext mentioned by Donald Trump to complicate the treaty, arguing that low wages favor Mexican companies to the detriment of those of the United States and Canada....

But the increases are not so valuable when they are granted without accompanying democratic rights with which workers can defend their gains. In recent years, the Mineworkers Union has achieved an average increase in salaries and benefits above 12%, that is, two or three times higher than those obtained by employer-dominated unions. This success is mainly due to the willingness and ability of our members to mobilize together with their communities, to democratically and responsibly exercise the right to strike to make the union grow with new investment projects, and to organize new members.

It would be a mistake to think that the increases by themselves could solve the deficit of democratic rights that persists in the Mexican labor world. As many experts have observed, Mexican wages in large industries are lower compared with those in other countries, not because of lack of productivity, but because of a diabolical pact between politicians, businessmen and employer-dominated unions to use the legal structure to systematically rob the workers, dividing the booty among themselves.

The most recent example of this alliance is the legislation to implement constitutional reforms in labor matters, which is to be debated in the Senate this week. As many lawyers, academics and trade union leaders have warned, the bill aims to consolidate control of the institutions of labor justice by corrupt unions, complicit officials and companies associated with them, closing off all spaces for workers to attempt to organize in democratic unions and thus negotiate collective agreements that guarantee good salaries, workplace health and safety, the profit sharing to which they are legally and fairly entitled, and the possibility of a dignified retirement....

The only effective strategy to revert the control of large companies and their corrupt union lackeys is to defeat this false bill and approve one that faithfully implements constitutional norms and international agreements signed by Mexico that protect the rights of workers.

This has been the main demand of the international trade unions of Canada, Europe and the United States in their letters addressed to the senators of Mexico. It is another cruel irony that they worry more about the rights of Mexican workers than our own government and, of course, the corrupt trade unionists.

Read the full text of the op-ed (in Spanish).

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 04/20/2018 - 13:01
Posted: April 20, 2018, 5:01 pm

Your Union-Made Snack Guide!

Your Union-Made Snack Guide!
Union-Made Snacks
AFL-CIO

You like snacks, right? Everybody does! Did you know that your snack choices can reflect your values and show support for working people? That's right, when you choose these snacks made by the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM), you not only have fun, you use the power of your wallet to make the world a better place. Here's a handy guide to let you know which snacks are union-made!

Chips and Pretzels: You have lots of options here (all made by BCTGM), including: Rold Gold pretzels made in Canton, Ohio (Local 19); UTZ pretzels made in Reading, Pennsylvania (Local 6); Frito-Lay products made in Topeka, Kansas (Local 218) and Vancouver, Washington (Local 364); Pirate's Booty and Keystone Foods products made in Easton, Pennsylvania (Local 6); Mikesell’s potato chips made in Dayton, Ohio (Local 57); Happy’s potato chips made in St. Paul, Minnesota (Local 22); and Bugles made in West Chicago, Illinois (Local 316G).

Ice Cream Toppings: If you love ice cream and want some special toppings, get those made by BCTGM at the Masterson Company of Milwaukee (Local 244).

Sweet Goods: Prefer your desserts baked? Try out Safeway's bakery goods made by BCTGM Local 114 (Portland, Oregon), Local 118 (Washington, D.C.), Local 68 (Baltimore) or Hostess Brands, including Ding Dongs, Twinkies, SnoBalls, made from either the Indianapolis (Local 1) or Columbus, Georgia (Local 42) bakeries. 

Bread and Rolls: The following products are made by various BCTGM locals: Bimbo, SB Thomas, Sara Lee, Nature’s Harvest, Earthgrains, Freihofer, Colonial, Metz, Arnold, Brownberry, Oroweat, Entenmann’s, Ball Park, Marinela, Maier’s, Beefsteak, D’Italiano, J.J. Nissen, Boboli, Mrs. Baird’s, Heiner’s, Tia Rosa tortillas and Stroehmann.

Candy: If you want candy, your options are mind-expandingly plentiful. Here are some of the companies where BCTGM members make the candy you need:

  • Annabelle Candy Company: Rocky Road, Abba-Zaba, Look, Big Hunk and U-No made by Local 125 in Oakland, California.
  • Boyer Candy: Mallo Cups, Peanut Butter Cups, Smoothie Cups, Triple Twist Pretzels and Dark Chocolate Mallo Cups made by Local 19 in Cleveland, Ohio.
  • Brown & Haley: Almond Roca, Cashew Roca and Mocha Roca made by Local 9 in Seattle.
  • Concord Confections/Tootsie Roll Industries: All Tootise Roll brand products (made by BCTGM Local 1 in Chicago) and Double Bubble Bubble Gum (made by Local 264 in Toronto).
  • Frankford Candy & Chocolate: Gums, jellies, hard candy, molded filled, hollow and solid chocolate (made by Local 6 in Philadelphia).
  • Ghirardelli Chocolate: Pumpkin Spice Caramel Squares, Solid Milk, Milk & Caramel, Solid 60% Cacao Dark and Dark & Sea Salt Caramel and all varieties of chocolates (made by Local 125 in Oakland, California).
  • Hershey: Hershey Milk Chocolate Bars, Hershey Milk Chocolate with Almond Bars, Cookies 'N’ Creme Bars (snack, extra-large and giant sizes only), Hershey Kisses (Milk Chocolate, Milk Chocolate with Almonds, Special Dark, Cookies 'N’ Creme), Rolo and Hershey Nuggets (made by Local 464 in Hershey, Pennsylvania). 
  • Jelly Belly: Candy Corn, Jelly Belly Disney Villains bags, Harry Potter Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans, Harry Potter Jelly Slugs, Jelly Belly BeanBoozled, Gummi Rats, Gummi Tarantulas and other jelly beans (made by Local 125 in Oakland, California).
  • Nestlé Chocolate: Laffy Taffy, Rope Taffy, Tangy Taffy, Baby Ruth, Butterfinger, BB's, Pearson's Nips, Nestlé, Peanut Butter Cups and Minis, Nestlé Crunch Bars, Skinny Cow Candy and Sno Caps (made by Local 342 in Bloomington, Illinois, and Local 1 in Chicago).
  • New England Confectionery Company (NECCO): Mary Jane Peanut Butter Kisses, Mary Jane Original, Clark Jr., Skybar Zombie Food, Bat Wings, Mummy Hearts, NECCO Jr. Wafers (made by Local 348 in Framingham, Massachusetts).
  • Pearson’s Candy Company: Tins, bagged and chocolate mints, including The Nut Goodie Bar, Salted Nut Roll and Pearson's Mint Patties (made by Local 22 in Twin Cities, Minnesota).
  • Sconza Candy Company: Chocolate Jordanetts, Boston Baked Beans, Yogurt Raisins, Lemoncello Almonds, Chocolate/Yogurt Fruit & Raisins and other products (made by Local 125 in San Leandro, California).
  • See's Candies: Chocolates, nuts and chews, truffles, lollipops, brittles and toffees (made by Local 125 in San Leandro).
Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 04/20/2018 - 12:49
Posted: April 20, 2018, 4:49 pm

Macy’s Workers Unite Across the Country

Macy’s Workers Unite Across the Country
Rally for Macy's Workers
DC Jobs With Justice

Macy’s workers and their supporters held three rallies on Thursday, one as far away as Seattle, as United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) locals 400 and 21 gear up to negotiate their next union contracts with the company.

Workers want “better pay, better hours, better schedules, better everything,” UFCW 400 member Bianca Morris said on Thursday’s “Your Rights at Work” show on WPFW.

“Negotiations are slow going, but we’ve made it very clear to Macy’s that our goal is to take the time to get the deal that our members have earned,” said UFCW 400 mobilization director Alan Hanson, who joined Morris on the show.

UFCW 400 coordinated with Seattle sister local 21, which also represents hundreds of Macy’s associates, to hold simultaneous rallies Thursday. “We are really excited to be joining forces with our sisters and brothers in the Pacific Northwest,” Hanson said. “We have made a commitment to negotiate together to win the contract we deserve.”

This post originally appeared at Metro Washington (D.C.) Council AFL-CIO.

 

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 04/20/2018 - 11:04
Posted: April 20, 2018, 3:04 pm

She gave the President the finger. Employer gave her the boot.

Juli Briskman was on her own time, riding her bicycle, when President Trump’s motorcade drove by. She expressed her personal feelings with a middle finger salute, not realizing that a news reporter had captured her gesture on camera. She abruptly lost her job after the photo went viral on social media. Her employer, a government […]
Posted: April 19, 2018, 7:38 pm

Bargaining Update

The latest bargaining information for AT&T Midwest and AT&T Legacy T, New Jersey State Workers, Frontier Communications, and Piedmont Airlines.

Posted: April 19, 2018, 7:02 pm

On Tax Day and Beyond, CWAers Fight Back against Corporate Giveaways

CWA members across the country held events on Tax Day to highlight how the Republican corporate tax cut bill is a massive giveaway to big corporations paid for by working families.

Posted: April 19, 2018, 6:52 pm

Envoy and Piedmont Passenger Service Agents Call for Fair Wages

American and other corporations are facing national scrutiny over how they have used benefits from the Republican corporate tax cut bill that they claimed would lift wages for working families.

Posted: April 19, 2018, 6:44 pm

New York Takes Steps to Protect Public Workers before Janus Decision

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo stood with working people by signing legislation that makes it easier for public workers to join together in unions.

Posted: April 19, 2018, 6:36 pm

UCW-CWA Members Fight to Improve Adjunct Faculty Working Conditions

United Campus Workers (UCW-CWA) members held events across Tennessee this week for an Adjuncts United Week of Action.

Posted: April 19, 2018, 6:32 pm

CWA Members Defeat Attempt to Prevent Working People from Improving Working Conditions on Tribal Lands

The U.S. Senate failed to pass a bill that would have removed protections for working people on Native American lands.

Posted: April 19, 2018, 6:27 pm

Raising Standards Together in the Wireless Industry

Wireless workers from AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless, and T-Mobile joined a CWA town hall call this week to share their stories about how they are standing up for their rights.

Posted: April 19, 2018, 6:25 pm

CWA Local 2204 and Next Gen are CWA STRONG!

CWA Local 2204 and CWA Next Generation teamed up for a CWA STRONG training in Lebanon, Va., this week.

Posted: April 19, 2018, 6:20 pm

New Rule on Investment Advice Leaves Working People Vulnerable

New Rule on Investment Advice Leaves Working People Vulnerable

Workers depend on investments in the financial markets to finance our retirements and grow our other long-term savings. That means we need sound investment advice, provided by experts who are looking out for our best interests. While it seems obvious that the people whom we rely on to provide this advice should be required to act in our best interest and not line their own pockets, that is not always the case under current rules. Research shows that, as a result, many working people lose more than one-fourth of their potential retirement paychecks to corrupt financial advice.

Investor advocates have been fighting for decades to close this egregious loophole. On Wednesday, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission proposed a rule called Regulation Best Interest. And while any movement in this area could be viewed as a positive sign, the proposal as is appears to be inadequate.

The devil is in the details, which will take some time to fully understand. The standard of conduct required of brokers appears to fall short of a clear and unambiguous requirement that brokers recommend the best available investment options.

Democratic SEC Commissioner Kara Stein said:

Does this proposal require financial professionals to put their customers’ interests first, and fully and fairly disclose any conflicting interests? No. Does this proposal require all financial professionals who make investment recommendations related to retail customers to do so as fiduciaries? No. Does this proposal require financial professionals to provide retail customers with the best available options? No. 

Could we have proposed a best-interest standard? Yes, we could have proposed such a standard. Unfortunately, we did not.

Commissioner Robert J. Jackson Jr., also a Democratic SEC commissioner, said:

The standard set forth in Regulation Best Interest is far too ambiguous about a question on which there should be no confusion: the duty that investors are owed by those who are entrusted with ordinary families’ economic futures. Americans deserve a clear best-interest rule that places the client’s needs ahead of the broker’s. Period.

The commissioners’ statements say it all. The SEC should have proposed a rule that would stop people who provide investment advice from skimming our savings. The proposal does not do that.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 04/19/2018 - 11:59
Posted: April 19, 2018, 3:59 pm

Ten Years Later: Worker Wins

Ten Years Later: Worker Wins
OPEIU Protest
OPEIU Local 459

Our latest roundup of worker wins begins with a victory 10 years in the making and includes numerous examples of working people organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life.

OPEIU Workers Win Historic 10-Year Fight at American Red Cross: After a decade-long battle, workig people at American Red Cross in Michigan have won a new contract. They also came to resolution of an unfair labor practice charge that will repay workers more than $1.6 million in lost benefits.

A Growing Wave of Campaigns Are Organizing: In advance of the 2018 midterm elections, nine Democratic campaigns have come together in union. Additionally, Revolution Messaging, a digital communications firm, also has unionized. The newly organized campaign workers are represented by The Campaign Workers Guild, which is assisting in negotiations with dozens of other campaigns. The nine campaigns that have organized so far are: for the U.S. House of Representatives—Randy Bryce (Wis.), Brian Flynn (N.Y.), Dan Haberman (Mich.), Jess King (Pa.), Marie Newman (Ill.), Andy Thorburn (Calif.); attorney general—Renato Mariotti (Ill.); governor—Erin Murphy (Minn.); and County Council—Chris Wilhelm (Montgomery County, Md.).

Restaurant Workers Win Protection for Their Tips: Restaurant workers across the country won big with legislation that codifies protections for tipped workers against employers taking any portion of their tips. "Today represents a historic victory for restaurant workers. The National Restaurant Association wanted to steal workers’ tips, but the workers said no—and they won. The fact that hundreds of thousands of workers stood up and said no to employers taking their tips, and that congressional leadership listened and acted, is a testament to the power of workers standing up together," said Saru Jayaraman, president of Restaurant Opportunities Centers United.

California Nurses Want New Safety Rules Made National: The California Nurses Association/National Nurses United (CNA/NNU) pushed for and got new safety regulations, as the rate of nonfatal violence against nurses is three times higher than against other industries. Now the nurses are pushing for the same rules to be established nationally. "What works for health care facilities should be extended to all workplaces. Our patients and their families are then also at risk because violence impacts everyone in the vicinity. We know that the frequency and severity of these violent attacks can be drastically reduced through workplace violence prevention plans that are specific to the needs of each facility and unit and are created with the expertise and input of nurses and other workers," said NNU Executive Director Bonnie Castillo.

Onion Staff Request Formal Recognition of Union: The overwhelming majority of staff at satirical website The Onion have signed cards expressing their desire to be represented by the Writers Guild of America, East, (WGAE) and asked management to voluntarily recognize the union. The unit would represent all of the creative staff at The Onion and related websites.

Aviation Workers at FAA Join PASS: Working people at the Federal Aviation Administration's Eastern, Central and Western Service Centers voted by an overwhelming majority of 89% to be represented by the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS). "This is a big win for PASS, of course," said PASS National President Mike Perrone, "but more importantly, it’s a big win for these dedicated federal employees. They will soon be able to enjoy the workplace benefits of a collective bargaining agreement."

Facebook Cafeteria Workers Win Major Improvements: Food service workers at Facebook's offices in Menlo Park, California, ratified their first union contract. "We’re glad to have negotiated this first contract; it’s a big step forward for cafeteria workers in Silicon Valley. We still have work to do, and we’re not going to stop until all the food service jobs have the job standards and security that people need to live a decent life," said Enrique Fernandez of UNITE HERE Local 19.

New Republic Employees Continue Trend of Editorial Organizing: Editorial staff at The New Republic, which has been published for more than 100 years, have joined The NewsGuild of New York, joining a growing trend of editorial organizing, which includes publications like the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune and Mic.com. "We all work for TNR because we love it here, but all workers need the protection of a union. We believe that unionizing is the best way to strengthen our workplace, not just for ourselves but for future generations of journalists. By organizing, we're simply affirming our commitment to The New Republic's progressive values. We're also affirming our commitment to each other," said Sarah Jones, staff writer.

California Virtual Educators Agree to First Union Contract: Teachers who work for California Virtual Academies, one of the largest online public charter schools, reached an agreement on their first union contract. "Organizing teachers in a workplace—where we don’t see our peers and where the bargaining unit stretches across a state as large as California—isn’t easy, and it also isn’t easy establishing a precedent-setting agreement. We are so proud of the hard work and commitment our teachers made in ensuring that our core values on work status, caseloads and workload were recognized....Our schools here in California and other online schools have had very little input from the teachers on the front line. This agreement will change that and allow those who work most closely with students a greater say in shaping the curriculum and school policies."

NLRB Regional Director Certifies Green Valley Ranch Employees' Election to Join Culinary Workers: Despite a history of telling employees that it would respect the results of their union election, Station Casinos challenged the election where a super majority of 78% of Green Valley Ranch's working people voted in favor of the union. The NLRB regional director rejected the challenge and certified the election, finding no objectionable conduct by union organizers.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 04/18/2018 - 13:38
Posted: April 18, 2018, 5:38 pm

Ending a Rigged System: In the States Roundup

Ending a Rigged System: In the States Roundup

It's time once again to take a look at the ways working people are making progress in the states. Click on any of the links to follow the state federations and central labor councils on Twitter.

Alaska AFL-CIO:

#TaxDayProtest pic.twitter.com/bDl4juYQLR

— Alaska AFL-CIO (@AKAFLCIO) April 17, 2018

Arkansas AFL-CIO:

Tough weather did not stop AFSCME Local 965! #1u #afscme #livingwage https://t.co/ZyIiiWGKRs

— Arkansas AFL-CIO (@ArkansasAFLCIO) April 9, 2018

California Labor Federation:

⚡️Women standing strong together to end a rigged system⚡️ "Uber whistleblower Susan Fowler backs California legislation to end forced arbitration" Must read from @Cookie and @jonrussell on #AB3080 👉https://t.co/uEGhCgcJ1Q #1u @AFLCIO @susanthesquark @LorenaSGonzalez #MeToo pic.twitter.com/dpNSFq2gRL

— California Labor Federation (@CaliforniaLabor) April 18, 2018

Colorado AFL-CIO:

All eyes are on Colorado as the fight for gig workers’ rights continues #SayNoToCorporateGreed #SB171 https://t.co/t0bTXWJR3u

— Colorado AFL-CIO (@AFLCIOCO) April 17, 2018

Connecticut AFL-CIO:

.@AFSCME's Tim Birch at #C4Lobby18: The #JanusvAFSCME case won't be decided on its legal merits, it will be decided based on politics. And we can't match the anti-worker forces dollar for dollar, but we have the numbers @AFSCMECT4 #RespectWorkers #ItsAboutFreedom

— Connecticut AFL-CIO (@ConnAFLCIO) April 18, 2018

Florida AFL-CIO:

“Right to Work only works for the rich” #1u https://t.co/MJ2a0Nl7km

— Florida AFL-CIO (@FLAFLCIO) April 8, 2018

Georgia AFL-CIO:

“Abrams fights for guys like me, and she’ll make a great #GAGov.” @staceyabrams understands all of Georgia and stands up for working families. Check out her new video: https://t.co/4hhwwID422 #TeamAbrams #gapol #1u

— AFL-CIO Georgia (@AFLCIOGeorgia) April 13, 2018

Idaho State AFL-CIO:

#Solidarity https://t.co/URxSUOdKaL

— Idaho State AFL-CIO (@IdahoAFLCIO) April 10, 2018

Indiana State AFL-CIO:

The 2018 @INAFLCIO legislative scorecards are out! Click here to find out how your state lawmakers vote https://t.co/QbSJc71sH9 d in this past legislative session

— Indiana AFL-CIO (@INAFLCIO) April 17, 2018

Iowa Federation of Labor:

Do We Really Think People Choose To Be Poor? – Iowa Starting Line https://t.co/2V5gyql300 pic.twitter.com/jZfuawgvmV

— Iowa AFL-CIO (@IowaAFLCIO) April 18, 2018

Kansas State AFL-CIO:

School funding bill misses the mark in more ways than one. Another quick fix will be necessary. https://t.co/mLChfm7uDB

— Kansas AFL-CIO (@KansasAFLCIO) April 10, 2018

Kentucky State AFL-CIO:

ICYMI: “Matt Bevin's apology to teachers: Sorry you're too dumb to understand what I was saying” https://t.co/uuyin48XH2

— Kentucky AFL-CIO (@aflcioky) April 17, 2018

Maine AFL-CIO:

Ready to build the movement for Medicare for All! #Medicare4All #1u @mlighty60 @erinrn01 @matt_schlobohm @AdamAGoode pic.twitter.com/aykRpY8X5Q

— Maine AFL-CIO (@MEAFLCIO) April 12, 2018

Massachusetts AFL-CIO:

Read this @massteacher member's breakdown of what Janus is really about: wealth and power. Should public employee unions be allowed to charge nonmembers fees to help pay for collective bargaining? https://t.co/omYfTc7Zm6 via @BostonGlobe @mass

— Massachusetts AFLCIO (@massaflcio) April 14, 2018

Metro Washington (D.C.) Council AFL-CIO:

Rev. Erica Williams talks about The Poor People’s Campaign at tonight’s Metro Washington Council @PoorpeoplesC pic.twitter.com/vENItd7oki

— MetroDCLaborCouncil (@DCLabor) April 16, 2018

Michigan AFL-CIO:

Today Betsy DeVos’ @usedgov kicked @afgenational out of all onsite office space. #StandWithEdWorkers and tell @BetsyDeVosED that having union representation is a right. pic.twitter.com/DG8KwwFWJ2

— Michigan AFL-CIO (@MIAFLCIO) April 11, 2018

Minnesota AFL-CIO:

Political Campaign Workers Continue to Organize https://t.co/Ld98OcFJKv (via @workdaymn) #1u @CWG_Workers pic.twitter.com/vLk4TkvzXF

— Minnesota AFL-CIO (@MNAFLCIO) April 18, 2018

Missouri AFL-CIO:

"In real terms, meaning after you adjust for inflation, the average U.S. teacher today makes $30 less a week than they used to.” https://t.co/OHCsBeyCax

— Missouri AFL-CIO (@MOAFLCIO) April 12, 2018

Montana AFL-CIO:

BREAKING: Missoula News Guild Unanimously Votes Yes For Union! https://t.co/0K8NDbbeFC #mtpol #1u

— Montana AFL-CIO (@MTaflcio) April 6, 2018

Nevada State AFL-CIO:

.@NVAFLCIO President Liz Sorensen calls the 2018 #NVCOPE Conference to order. NV #1u ready to work for NV working families! pic.twitter.com/7n7x5FpMk3

— Nevada State AFL-CIO (@NVAFLCIO) April 16, 2018

New Hampshire AFL-CIO:

Honor Our Sister Linda Horan by Contributing to the NH AFL-CIO Scholarship Fund! https://t.co/V94ahFVYdR pic.twitter.com/frv2wC7gjf

— NewHampshire AFL-CIO (@NHAFLCIO) April 18, 2018

New Jersey State AFL-CIO:

Labor joins @GovMurphy and key stakeholders from the health care, transit, technology, and academic communities to invest in jobs, innovation, and infrastructure to drive our state economy forward. pic.twitter.com/8IaxOFhq4h

— New Jersey AFL-CIO (@NJAFLCIO) March 19, 2018

New Mexico AFL-CIO:

Today is National Lineman Appreciation Day! Thank you for keeping the power on Brothers and Sisters! #ThankALineman #1u #UnionStrong #IBEW
.@AFLCIO @IBEW pic.twitter.com/Gq1AgRNQay

— NMFL (@LaborFed4NM) April 18, 2018

New York State AFL-CIO:

New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento Congratulates TWU and JetBlue Flight Attendants https://t.co/P0AbQZHmfu

— NYSAFLCIO (@NYSAFLCIO) April 17, 2018

North Carolina AFL-CIO:

Did you pay your taxes yesterday? Don't you wish the rich paid their fair share? #TaxDay https://t.co/w3ZGwmIAac

— NC State AFL-CIO (@NCStateAFLCIO) April 18, 2018

Ohio AFL-CIO:

It's Back! #Columbus #Union Night With @DropkickMurphys! Meet the band at a pre-show party just for @AFLCIO Union members, family & friends! If you already have tickets, you can also get your preshow wristband from Amanda. Details for a June 1 Cleveland event coming soon! pic.twitter.com/dAT92f9NFz

— Ohio AFL-CIO (@ohioaflcio) April 18, 2018

Oklahoma State AFL-CIO:

We will support our teachers and state employees one day longer than it takes! pic.twitter.com/L6kN7jVnU5

— Oklahoma AFL-CIO (@OK_AFL_CIO) April 10, 2018

Oregon AFL-CIO:

If your boss broke the law, your taxes might be higher.https://t.co/HGSPRI4gSb #TaxDay

— Oregon AFL-CIO (@OregonAFLCIO) April 18, 2018

Pennsylvania AFL-CIO:

The Labor Movement was forged through the collective action of working people. And together we will keep fighting for workers’ right to organize! #1u @AFTunion @AFTPA @AFTWV @PSEAhttps://t.co/GtXNWzsALE

— PA AFL-CIO (@PaAFL_CIO) April 18, 2018

Rhode Island AFL-CIO:

#UnionStrong #UnionYes #1U #WorkersRights #LaborMovement #Unions https://t.co/PqeAM2VR4N

— Rhode Island AFL-CIO (@riaflcio) April 18, 2018

South Carolina AFL-CIO:

JetBlue "Disappointed" As 66% Of Flight Attendants Vote To Join Transport Workers Union https://t.co/e2BzyIwgLo

— SC AFL-CIO (@SCAFLCIO) April 17, 2018

Texas AFL-CIO:

“We are going to show Greg Abbott our papers and we are going to show them at the ballot box,” @MontseTXAFLCIO tells @UTOpportunity as she highlights labor role in citizenship forums for eligible immigrants. #1u #EducationAustin pic.twitter.com/Q3M5kr8kvU

— Texas AFL-CIO (@TexasAFLCIO) April 13, 2018

Virginia AFL-CIO:

Va. House committee tries again for Medicaid expansion, with tougher work rules https://t.co/1Nz9rx94nD

— Virginia AFL-CIO (@Virginia_AFLCIO) April 16, 2018

Washington AFL-CIO:

Thank you, @PattyMurray and @SenatorCantwell, for standing up for workers! https://t.co/VFOFOzPrEC

— WA State AFL-CIO (@WAAFLCIO) April 18, 2018

West Virginia AFL-CIO:

“We’re seeing a great field of pro-working family candidates in 2018.” WV AFL-CIO Endorses Candidates in 2018 Primary Election: https://t.co/OCkGxJOrS7 #wvpol pic.twitter.com/4nXM8HBkpf

— West Virginia AFLCIO (@WestVirginiaAFL) March 26, 2018

Wisconsin State AFL-CIO:

Ascension faces mounting criticism over plan to cut services at St. Joseph hospital, https://t.co/PAGt7IK8wc

— WI AFL-CIO (@wisaflcio) April 18, 2018
Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 04/18/2018 - 12:51
Posted: April 18, 2018, 4:51 pm

JetBlue In-Flight Crew Members Overwhelmingly Vote to Join TWU

JetBlue In-Flight Crew Members Overwhelmingly Vote to Join TWU
Victory at JetBlue
TWU

In-flight crew members at JetBlue overwhelmingly voted to join the Transport Workers (TWU). With more than 86% of eligible employees participating in the vote, more than two-thirds voted in favor of joining TWU.

TWU President John Samuelsen said:

This historic victory is yet another example of the tide turning in America as workers continue to lock arms and fight back to defend their livelihoods. The TWU intends to immediately commence contract bargaining with JetBlue. It is our sincerest wish that the company comes to the table and bargains a fair and just contract with the workers they employ....If JetBlue refuses to bargain in good faith, this union is prepared to engage in a fightback campaign that will continue until a contract is secured and the in-flight crew members are protected.

JetBlue said it respects the outcome of the election. Once the National Mediation Board authorizes TWU as the representative for the in-flight crew members, contract negotiations will begin.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka applauded the victory:

Powerful, congrats! #1u https://t.co/pKWdDrpny5

— Richard L. Trumka (@RichardTrumka) April 17, 2018

New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento said:

On behalf of the 2.5 million members of the New York State AFL-CIO, I congratulate the Transport Workers Union and their president, John Samuelsen, on today’s overwhelming vote to unionize JetBlue flight attendants. We are a stronger movement today as we continue to fight back against those who seek to diminish organized labor. Working people understand that by standing shoulder to shoulder and speaking with one voice, we raise the standard of living and quality of life for all working men and women.

Larry I. Willis, president of the AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department, said:

At a time when our economy favors the rich and powerful, today’s victory by JetBlue’s in-flight crew members to join the Transport Workers Union demonstrates the power working people have when they come together. JetBlue’s 5,000 in-flight crew members want nothing more than a share in the profits they make possible, a say in workplace policies and procedures, and a seat at the table. Having a powerful union voice evens the playing field and ensures these hardworking, dedicated employees receive the dignity and respect they deserve. I congratulate JetBlue’s in-flight crew members on their hard-earned victory and welcome them to the transportation labor family.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 04/18/2018 - 10:14
Posted: April 18, 2018, 2:14 pm

New Jersey to be tenth state with paid sick leave, but the U.S. stays at the bottom worldwide

More than a million workers will be getting paid sick leave soon after New Jersey’s legislature has passed a bill, which Gov. Phil Murphy has said he supports. That makes New Jersey the tenth state to require paid sick leave, and the second to do so in 2018, but New Jersey’s path to this point has […]
Posted: April 18, 2018, 10:32 am

On Tax Day, Working People Are Angry and Fighting Back

A Statement from CWA President Chris Shelton about how those in Congress and the White House have doubled down on increasing the wealth of top executives and shareholders at the expense of everyone else.

Posted: April 17, 2018, 8:46 pm

Arizona teachers could be next to go on strike

Arizona teachers will begin voting on whether to strike on Tuesday. The voting will go on for three days. Although Gov. Doug Ducey (R) announced a proposal to raise teacher pay by 20 percent by 2020, which state lawmakers will debate this week, teachers say his proposal doesn’t address education cuts over the past decade or large […]
Posted: April 17, 2018, 10:23 am

Contracted Hospital Workers Win Job Security

April 16, 2018 / Laurel Albina
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For the first time in 15 years, 4,000 subcontracted hospital housekeepers and dietary workers in British Columbia have job security. They won that peace of mind by pulling off a series of escalating actions on the job.

Between 2002 and 2005 the provincial government, headed by the Liberal Party, fired 10,000 hospital support service workers—mostly women and people of color—and subcontracted their jobs to multinational corporations including Aramark, Compass, Sodexo, and Acciona.

Posted: April 16, 2018, 2:43 pm

12 Things We've Learned About the GOP Tax Bill

12 Things We've Learned About the GOP Tax Bill

President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans rushed to pass the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in December 2017, leaving very little time for public scrutiny or debate. Here are a few things we have learned since the GOP tax bill passed.

1. It Will Encourage Outsourcing: An April 2018 report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office confirms that two "provisions [of the GOP tax bill] may increase corporations’ incentive to locate tangible assets abroad."

2. It Has Not Boosted Corporate Investment: The rate of investment growth has stayed pretty much the same as before the GOP tax bill passed.

3. Few Workers Are Benefiting: Only 4.3% of workers are getting a one-time bonus or wage increase this year, according to Americans for Tax Fairness.

4. Corporations Are Keeping the Windfall: Americans for Tax Fairness calculates that corporations are receiving nine times as much in tax cuts as they are giving to workers in one-time bonuses and wage increases.

5. Corporations Are Using the Windfall to Buy Back Stocks: Corporations are spending 37 times as much on stock buybacks, which overwhelmingly benefit the wealthy, as on one-time bonuses and wage increases for workers, according to Americans for Tax Fairness.

6. Corporations Are Laying Off Workers: Americans for Tax Fairness calculates that 183 private-sector businesses have announced 94,296 layoffs since Congress passed the tax bill.

7. It Costs More Than We Thought: The GOP tax bill will eventually cost $1.9 trillion by 2028, according to an April 2018 report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. And we know some Republicans will call for cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security to pay for it.

8. We’ve Fallen Behind When It Comes to Corporate Tax Revenue: Thanks to the GOP tax bill, corporate tax revenue (as a share of the economy) will be lower in the United States than in any other developed country, according to an April 2018 report by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

9. Extending the Individual Tax Cuts Would Benefit the Wealthy: The GOP tax bill’s temporary tax cuts for individuals expires by 2025, and some Republicans are now proposing to extend them.  An April 2018 report by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy shows that 61% of the benefit from these extending individual tax cuts would go to the richest one-fifth of taxpayers.

10. It Is Shoddy Work: In March 2018, a leading tax expert concluded that the GOP tax bill’s new rules for pass-through businesses "achieved a rare and unenviable trifecta, by making the tax system less efficient, less fair and more complicated. It lacked any coherent (or even clearly articulated) underlying principle, was shoddily executed and ought to be promptly repealed."

11. It Is Still Unpopular: The GOP tax bill polls poorly, with a clear majority disapproving.

12. The Outsourcing Incentives Can Be Fixed: In February 2018, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) introduced the No Tax Breaks for Outsourcing Act, which would eliminate the GOP tax bill’s incentives for outsourcing by equalizing tax rates on domestic profits and foreign profits.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 04/16/2018 - 10:26
Posted: April 16, 2018, 2:26 pm

The Home Maintenance of Working-Class Identity After Deindustrialization

  Five years in a St. Florian foundry, they call it Industrial Park Then hospital maintenance and tech school just to memorize Frigidaire parts But I got to missing your Mama and I got to missing you too And I … Continue reading
Posted: April 16, 2018, 11:29 am

12 Things We've Learned About the GOP Tax Bill

President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans rushed to pass the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in December 2017, leaving very little time for public scrutiny or debate. Here are a few things we have learned since the GOP tax bill passed. 1. It Will Encourage Outsourcing: An April 2018 report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office confirms […]
Posted: April 16, 2018, 10:27 am

Indiana Teachers ‘Go Green’ To Track Member Sign-Up

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What will happen to public sector unions after the Supreme Court rules on the Janus v. AFSCME case this spring? Indiana teachers are already there. Slammed by a “right to work” law in 1996 and a new barrage of attacks in 2011, the teachers experienced what many unions are afraid of—a big drop in membership.

But the Indiana State Teachers Association didn’t roll over and give up after that. The union developed a tracking system called “Go Green” to help local leaders get membership back up.

Posted: April 13, 2018, 1:45 pm

The Special Status of Union Stewards

April 13, 2018 / Robert M. Schwartz
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Standing up to bosses is essential to being a steward. On the shop floor and in grievance meetings, you must defend the actions of members and contest those of management.

In many cases you should be able to make your points temperately, practicing “quiet diplomacy.” But occasions will undoubtedly arise when you will want to raise your voice, challenge a supervisor's credibility, or argue your case in other vigorous ways.

Posted: April 13, 2018, 12:44 pm

Acosta Refuses To Commit to Preserving OSHA Recordkeeping Rule

In a hearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee today, Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta today refused to commit not to rescind OSHA’s electronic recordkeeping rule. The rule, issued in 2016, requires employers to send injury and illness information into OSHA and prohibits employers from retaliating against workers for reporting injuries. The electronic recordkeeping rule has three major parts, […]
Posted: April 13, 2018, 10:20 am

Tesla Workers Say Elon Musk is a Union Buster. The NLRB Just Gave Their Case a Boost.

Tesla factory workers have been trying for months to win restitution for the company’s alleged union-busting and harassment. Now, a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) complaint against the company appears to be making strides. Last August, the NLRB filed a complaint against Tesla after finding merit in a number of accusations from employees at its […]
Posted: April 12, 2018, 10:16 am

Massachusetts Moves Forward on Protecting Public Employees. But millions remain without protection.

Question 1: What did the following workers have in common? Mercer County village worker killed in industrial accident MENDON, MERCER COUNTY, OH — A Village of Mendon employee was killed in an industrial accident Thursday at the village utility department, Mercer County Sheriff Jeff Grey said. Brendan Poling, 49, had climbed inside the bed of a dump […]
Posted: April 11, 2018, 5:06 am

11 Things You Need to Know on Equal Pay Day

Equal Pay Day calls attention to the persistent moral and economic injustice working women face. For a woman to earn as much as a man, she has to work a full year, plus more than a hundred extra days, all the way to April 10. The problem is even worse for women of color, LGBTQ […]
Posted: April 10, 2018, 4:51 am

Going Public with Working-Class Studies

We started Working-Class Perspectives because we wanted to help readers understand how class works, especially for poor and working-class people. We offered commentaries on issues such as education, politics, and work as well as critiques of media representations of class. … Continue reading
Posted: April 9, 2018, 11:42 am

Kentucky lawmakers put decisions on black lung treatments in hands of industry-paid doctors

The political assault on science in the age of Trump has reached a point where even medical specialties are rising up in protest. Radiologists are fighting back against a new Kentucky law that excludes them from the black lung claims process for coal miners in the state. Under the new legislation, if a miner files a […]
Posted: April 9, 2018, 4:46 am

Most Americans think teachers are underpaid. Here's the graph that shows how right they are.

Are teachers underpaid? Teacher pay has been in the news recently as a wave of teacher walkouts and strikes has hit red states like West Virginia, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and a recent CBS News poll found that most people say yes. Overall, 68 percent of people said teachers were underpaid, but there were striking regional differences, […]
Posted: April 6, 2018, 4:42 am

50 Years after Memphis: Black Jobs Crisis Continues

April 04, 2018 / Steven Pitts
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On February 1, 1968, Echol Cole and Robert Walker left their homes for their jobs as Memphis sanitation workers. They never returned alive. They were crushed by a malfunctioning garbage truck. Their deaths sparked a strike by their 1,300 union brothers.

The strike was victorious only after months of protests, strong community support, the intervention of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.

Posted: April 5, 2018, 2:10 am

Interview: Reviving the Poor People's Campaign

April 03, 2018 / Rev. Nelson Johnson and Joyce Johnson
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The Poor People's Campaign was born out of the Moral Mondays movement in North Carolina, a clergy-led drive that beginning in 2013 united faith leaders, union members, LGBT activists, and immigrant rights advocates in mass marches and civil disobedience.

Their goals were broad because a right-wing state legislature was moving on all fronts to strip away rights—labor, voting, education, abortion, environmental, unemployment benefits—and the Governor was refusing to accept federal money to expand Medicaid.

Posted: April 3, 2018, 1:55 pm

Scabby the Rat Down Under

Scabby the Rat, a familiar figure on US picket lines, has taken his show on the road. In the past few years, he’s been spotted outside several Australian companies, sometimes accompanied by his pals, Fat Cat and Greedy Pig. Scabby’s … Continue reading
Posted: April 2, 2018, 11:57 am

The Only Way to Survive Janus

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The snows were still flying, but for unionists, spring came early this year. West Virginia’s teacher uprising burst onto the scene like rhododendrons opening: first one walkout, then another, and before you knew it a statewide strike was in full bloom.

The strikes were born at the grassroots, and that’s how they spread. Classroom teachers passed the word on Facebook, organized school votes, and rallied at the capital. Union leaders followed their members, but never took the reins.

Posted: March 30, 2018, 7:04 pm

Book Review: Wobblies of the World: A History of Globetrotting Troublemakers

Despite the “World” in its name, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) has largely been viewed as an American or North American union. Indeed, the proposed name “Industrial Workers of America” was considered and rejected at its first convention.

Posted: March 30, 2018, 2:35 pm

West Virginia Teachers Learned from 1970s Miners

As rank-and-file teachers waged their audacious strike in my home state, lots of people cited West Virginia’s stirring labor heritage: the epic mine wars in the 1920s, including the Battle of Blair Mountain, when planes dropped bombs on striking miners, fighting to unionize and end the dictatorship of the coal barons. Teachers proudly wore the miners’ red bandanas as a nod to that history.

Posted: March 28, 2018, 8:18 pm

Book Review: From Mission to Microchip: Rethinking California's Labor History

A recent New York Times article detailed the ways California as a state has become the Trump administration's bête noire. According to reporter Tim Arango, the morning after Trump was elected, "Kevin de León, the State Senate leader, and his counterpart in the Assembly, Anthony Rendon, said they 'woke up feeling like strangers in a foreign land.'"

Posted: March 27, 2018, 4:38 pm

Know Your Place: A New Generation of Working-Class Voices

A literary festival isn’t the obvious place to discuss class, but a couple of weeks ago I found myself introducing a session at my local Faversham Literary Festival on a new book called Know Your Place. Edited by Nathan Connolly … Continue reading
Posted: March 26, 2018, 9:51 am

Billy Graham and the Evangelical Origins of Organized Labor

When I heard over breakfast that Billy Graham had died, the news ricocheted around my mind and stirred up lots of memories. The counter of George’s Diner on Coney Island Avenue in Brooklyn was just the place to begin reflecting … Continue reading
Posted: March 12, 2018, 10:27 am

Have Ohio Democrats Learned Anything About the Working Class?

In presidential elections, Ohio has long been a swing state. Its voters supported Obama in 2008 and 2012, then swung right in 2016 to support Donald Trump. On the state level, however, Republicans have dominated for the past two decades. … Continue reading
Posted: March 5, 2018, 12:37 pm

Working-Class People on the Snowfields: Class at the Winter Olympics

The combination of renewed interest in Tonya Harding (due to the film, I, Tonya) and the winter Olympics made me think of class and sport lately – especially sports that involve snow and ice. Although winter sports might be considered … Continue reading
Posted: February 26, 2018, 12:50 pm

Low Cotton: A Class on Class

I have never picked cotton, but my mother has. She is the youngest of seven children, one of only two who finished high school. My granddaddy was a Scots-Irish sharecropper plowing Georgia red clay. He never owned his own home. … Continue reading
Posted: February 19, 2018, 11:02 pm

Tax Justice and Class Warfare

When Trump Republicans passed the historically unpopular Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, they continued a 3-decades long GOP effort to reshape the tax code in ways that are hard to reverse.  Relying on what political scientists call path dependency, Republicans … Continue reading
Posted: February 12, 2018, 12:22 pm