AFL-CIO Web Blog
News for working families
Updated: 1 year 42 weeks ago
Jennifer Angarita, AFL-CIO National Worker Center coordinator, sends us this report.
Since 2008, states across the country have witnessed a wave of restrictive voting changes, which limit individuals’ access to the polls and the ease with which they can register to vote. Advocates, community members and working people gathered this week at an advocacy roundtable at the Center for American Progress to learn about efforts to suppress voting rights on the state level.
Our democracy is one about providing opportunities to individuals and voter restriction is a pushback and retrogression from [democracy], countering efforts under way for the past decade….In 2011, 20 laws and two executive orders were passed that had the effect of voter restrictions. There are lots of other efforts also under way restricting rights to vote.
Panelists at the advocacy roundtable explained the profound impact recent voting changes will have on the outcome of the next presidential election. According to a study by the Brennan Center for Justice, new voting laws could make it harder for more than 5 million eligible voters to vote. The study found that states that cut back on voting rights have more than 60 percent of the electoral votes needed to win the presidential.
Panelists provided a broad overview of new voter ID requirements, such as burdensome changes that require voters to show government-issued photo ID in order to vote. Laws such as this could disenfranchise the 11 percent of U.S. citizens who lack photo identification. In particular, studies show students, minorities, the elderly and persons with disabilities will be disproportionately affected by these voter ID requirements.
Voting is the extension of our civic participation. These voter ID laws are part of a larger strategy by extreme right-wing organizations such as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to [disenfranchise certain] voters.
Together, members of the advocacy roundtable called on working people to raise awareness of new voting requirements and begin a collaborative fight back against the rising tide of voter suppression.
For more information, check out Cost of Freedom App, a location-based Web app that will provide voters with concise information on how to apply for a voter ID.
While Mitt Romney is campaigning in Michigan this week, workers there are letting him know just how offensive they find his claim that “we should have let Detroit go bankrupt,” when the economy and the auto industry were about to collapse.
Skilled trade electrician and UAW Local 1700 member Jeff Klayo says Romney’s comment is “an attack on American workers.”
We’re out there trying to get the American dream, we’re trying to keep our jobs, save our jobs, get a good wage, put food on our tables, pay our taxes….If the company is successful, we can be successful. If the company’s taking a downturn, we take a downturn with it.
Not only is Romney’s statement, made in 2008, an assault on working people, it’s really bad economics. On Wednesday, General Motors (GM) announced that 2011 saw its largest profit ever: $7.6 billion. That means profit-sharing for workers, who in turn will plow the money back in to the community—creating even more jobs and economic resurgence.
Foreshadowing the political impact of Romney’s stance, Stacie Steward, a skilled trade electrician and UAW Local 1700 member, put it this way:
There’s not a person in Michigan who doesn’t have a sister or a brother, a cousin, a friend that is tied to the auto industry. Every Michigan citizen should be appalled by what Mitt Romney said.
Even a contributor to the conservative business publication Forbes writes:
General Motors (GM) went bankrupt in 2009. But thanks to President Barack H. Obama, it restructured itself and emerged from bankruptcy. GM’s record profit for 2011 vindicates Obama’s action. GM’s record profit for 2011 vindicates Obama’s action.
The auto industry rescue saved more than 1.4 million jobs up and down the supply chain. And helped ensure the resurgence of an industry vital to U.S. manufacturing. But Romney’s opposition to bolstering U.S. jobs and key industries is supported by Republican presidential frontrunner Rick Santorum.
Prior to the emergency rescue loans, UAW members made deep sacrifices beginning in 2005 to save the company, giving up pay increases, overtime pay, holidays, agreeing to a reduced pay and benefit
In return, America’s carmakers retooled to create the energy-efficient cars of the future and repaid their outstanding loans years ahead of schedule.
Says UAW President Bob King:
The auto industry added more than 200,000 jobs in the last two-and-a-half years, and 2011 was the strongest year of industry job growth since 1994. Demand for their cars is going up, so GM, Ford and Chrysler are starting to run three production shifts a day at many plants. Added shifts and new facilities mean jobs for thousands more workers in Michigan, Ohio and other places across the country.
This is a cross-post by Chase Brandau from Working America’s Main Street blog.
In late 2008, 28-year-old Rochester, Minn., native Tim Wynn injured his hand on the job while working as a machinist and was eventually unfairly fired due to the injury. “It was at that time I had to file for unemployment insurance,” Wynn recalls. “Which was only a little over $400 a month, but we were able to make it work with one of us still working.”
Wynn had to rely on unemployment insurance for over a year, while looking for a job and simultaneously trying to get the surgery he needed for his damaged hand but could not afford to pay for. However, if the federal system for unemployment benefits had been overhauled to include new proposals, Wynn would not have qualified for unemployment insurance.
Working America, the grassroots organization for workers whose 250,000 members in Minnesota have expressed great concern about these new requirements, has been bringing awareness to this issue to Minnesotans all over the state. “One of these new state requirements would be to deny unemployment insurance claimants without a high school diploma from receiving benefits, unless they are currently enrolled in a GED program,” says Working America’s Minnesota State Director Brianna Halverson. “Barriers that would require jobless workers have diplomas are simply unfair and unworkable when the waiting lists for GED programs are sometimes years long.”
Wynn, like many, had a family early in life. “I did what I needed to do,” he said, “which was to take responsibility for my family and go straight into the workforce. I knew my career choices would be limited, but I was willing to work hard to provide for my child.”
“I never thought that I would have been in the situation I was in, but the idea that not having a high school diploma would prevent me from receiving unemployment insurance is outrageous,” exclaimed Wynn. “Actually, it would discriminate about half of the co-workers I’ve ever known, many of whom are currently out of work and would be devastated by this.”
Halverson adds, “This provision seems part of a larger agenda to stigmatize unemployment insurance by suggesting that Americans are jobless because of their own failings, rather than because our economy still has 6 million fewer jobs than when the recession started.”
After three years, Wynn prevailed in holding his former employer accountable for unfairly firing him; allowing him to get the surgery to repair his wrist. Wynn now has medical clearance to work again. When asked what would have happened if he had been required to have a high school diploma to receive unemployment insurance, Wynn said: “We would have lost everything. Those benefits were the only thing that kept a roof over our heads and our spirits up.” He added that without the insurance, he would never have been able to get surgery and would have lost use of his hand forever.
Information in a Jan. 26, 2012, statement from Committee of Ways and Means Democrats indicates that if House Republican bill H.R. 3630 is enacted, more than 35,000 Minnesotans would lose unemployment insurance.
“I want others in Minnesota to stop looking at unemployment insurance as something that only costs taxpayers money and which can be easily cut,” says Wynn. “When people have money to stay above water, that means they’re spending it into the economy, which keeps many businesses, employees and families above water as well. Congress should not make being jobless even harder than it already is.”
Donna Gratehouse, who blogs at Democratic Diva and elsewhere on all things Arizona, sends us this.
After a four-hour hearing described by Arizona Capitol Times reporter Jeremy Duda as “testy” on his Twitter feed, the Employment and Regulatory Affairs Committee of the Arizona House of Representatives approved Gov. Jan Brewer’s plan to remove civil service protections from state workers and make them at-will employees. It was a 6-3 party-line vote with Republicans for and Democrats against, proving (once again) that elections have consequences.
Several representatives of AFSCME, the AFL-CIO and public safety unions spoke against the measure. They were countered by the usual assemblage of Chamber of Commerce and Goldwater Institute people who are invariably behind every attack on public workers in Arizona. One Democrat on the committee, Rep. Daniel Patterson, noted that all of the evidence cited in support at the hearing came from (surprise!) a 2010 Goldwater Institute report on the need for personnel reform.
Donna Gratehouse, who blogs at Democratic Diva and elsewhere on all things Arizona, sends us this.
Raise your hand if you were supporting yourself and maybe helping to support your family when you were 18. I know I was, so I can’t fathom what the Arizona Legislature is thinking by putting forth a ballot
Proponents argue that it would only apply to those working less than 20 hours a week or for a duration of 90 days or less and that Arizona’s minimum wage stifles job creation. The assumption behind this is that young people who work part time live at home or are otherwise supported by their parents and don’t really need the income. This ignores the harsh economic reality of many families in Arizona, where every working member’s income is needed to keep a roof overhead and dinner on table. And oftentimes part-time work is all that is available to young people. It’s also incredible that the Legislature would propose this at the same time they are seeking to raise tuition at Arizona’s colleges an average of $2000 per student.
“What happened to equal pay for equal work?” asked Wyatt Manoil, a college student who works part-time to help pay his living expenses at school.
I’m barely making it as it is. I don’t even think I could afford to work if that’s all I was making.
Indeed, it’s hard to understand how anyone could think that paying workers less than subsistence wages would benefit Arizona’s economy. No one, not even supporters, expects the referendum to pass at the ballot box. Voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot initiative in 2006 that raised Arizona’s minimum wage higher than the federal rate and indexed it to inflation despite intense negative campaigning by the restaurant and other industries. So this is basically tea party legislators wasting our time rather than taking tangible steps to balance the budget and bring good jobs to Arizona.
Patient care improves and costs come down as a result of labor and management partnerships, according to a new Cornell University study.
The report, “How Labor-Management Partnerships Improve Patient Care, Control Costs, and Labor Relations,” profiles joint work involving front-line staff, unions and management at Kaiser Permanente’s San Rafael and San Diego medical centers in California, Fletcher Allen Health Care in Vermont and the Contact Center at Montefiore Medical Center’s Care Management Corp. (CMO) in New York.
At the four facilities studied, joint labor-management activities have resulted in:
Peter Lazes, director of Cornell’s Healthcare Transformation Project, says:
Reforming our health care system to be accessible and provide high-quality services has been at the core of many recent national and state initiatives. This report provides a roadmap for how to structure union-management partnerships in a healthcare setting. These activities, encouraged by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’s initiative Partnership for Patients to Improve Care and Lower Costs for Americans, are, in fact, making a difference.
The report was prepared by the Healthcare Transformation Project at Cornell University’s Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR) School. Click here for the executive summary. The full report will be available online Feb. 21.
Jazz musicians have been—and continue to be—among the most abused of professional performers, writes Todd Bryant Weeks in a Black History Month feature for the latest edition of Allegro, the magazine of American Federatoin of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM) Local 802 in New York.
From the days of traveling vaudeville and tent shows through to the civil rights movement and beyond, jazz musicians—especially black musicians—have been subjected to second-class citizenship, particularly in the Deep South.
Some of the greatest figures of the past century were among the most exploited, or were effectively discarded when they grew old and could not earn a living.
Managers, promoters, agents, producers and club owners regularly stole from performers by claiming writing, arranging and other recording credits, shorting players on royalties and other payments, Weeks writes. In 1938, the legendary Joe “King” Oliver,
perhaps the most influential American jazz musician before Louis Armstrong, a renowned performer with an international reputation, was discovered in Atlanta, destitute and working as a street vendor.
But even today, jazz musicians continue to face hardships. In New York City, jazz club owners, who are beneficiaries of a tax relief bill championed by Local 802 that was expected to be used to help fund musicians’ pensions and other benefits, have refused to put the money toward benefits.
Donna Gratehouse, who blogs at Democratic Diva and elsewhere on all things Arizona, sends us this.Nick Martin of TPM reported this week that one of the worst in a package of anti-union bills before the Arizona Legislature was “on life support.”
“Senate President Steve Pierce and Senate Whip Frank Antenori expressed serious doubt that there were enough Republicans in the upper chamber willing to pass a bill ending collective bargaining,” the Guardian reported. Antenori described the bill’s chances as “questionable.”Still, it’s probably too early for unions in Arizona to declare victory. At least two other bills designed to restrict their impact in the state are likely to pass, the senators told the political news website.
While the collective bargaining bill delay is welcome news for public-sector workers here, there’s another big attack on state workers here that isn’t getting the kind of national attention that the Wisconsin-style union bills are. Gov. Jan Brewer wants to do away with Arizona’s merit-based employment system for state workers. (Contact Arizona lawamkers now and tell them to vote NO on Brewer’s personnel bill and bills in the Senate that would take away collective bargaining rights for workers. Click here to take action.)
Some 80 percent of state workers are under the current system, in which managers must show cause to fire employees. The merit system is considered very important to a lot of state employees because it protects whistle-blowers and workers falsely accused of violations. It also means the people performing the important public services Arizonans rely on are dedicated public servants and not cronies or patronage hires. Brewer’s plan is to offer employees a one-time pay increase in exchange for voluntarily leaving the merit system (a move critics call a bribe) and to weaken protections for employees who remain covered by it.
Sheri Van Horsen, president of AFSCME Local 3111, exhorted supporters to contact the governor and their legislators on Facebook:
We do not need a return of political patronage in state government and wiping out the merit system Republicans put into place to stop corruption and cronyism in state government should not be rushed through!
Van Horsen is right: Republicans had the good sense to create the merit system for Arizona four decades ago but today’s Republicans are in the thrall of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the Goldwater Institute. Goldwater’s Mark Flatten says the ”sweeping civil service reforms” are necessary because it’s too difficult to fire “unruly, inept and ineffective state workers.”
Naturally, Flatten cites an investigation, conducted by none other than the Goldwater Institute, to bolster his claims. I’m sure Boss Tweed would approve.
A House of Representatives special committee meeting has been set for Thursday to discuss Brewer’s 275-page “reform” proposal.
Sarah Seltzer writes for Alternet and other online publications and sends us this.
Trader Joe’s, the popular food chain, which caters to the socially conscious set, had been falling short of its healthful and “progressive” image recently—by refusing to sign onto an agreement to protect tomato pickers. But after a tireless campaign by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), the company has agreed to sign on, and planned protests in front of a Trader Joe’s were canceled.
For well over a year—since fall 2010—the CIW has been pushing for Trader Joe’s to sign on to its Fair Food program, which aims to improve the lot of tomato pickers by calling for better wages, a “penny-per-pound premium” on tomatoes and, most important, a thorough and strict code for fair working conditions.
The CIW is based out of Florida, where the majority of the country’s tomatoes are grown and harvested. After a two decades-long push, including protests, letter-writing campaigns and hunger strikes aimed to educate buyers and suppliers, the CIW is having considerable success in changing conditions for workers on the ground. In recent years, CIW has successfully pushed both major suppliers and major chains, including Whole Foods and McDonald’s to sign onto the Fair Food agreement, with the latter pledging not to deal with tomato suppliers whose practices don’t comply.
Throughout the months that it rebuffed CIW’s call for a Fair Food Agreement, Trader Joe’s insisted that it was already paying the extra penny-per-pound. Given that major growers were already signed on, that may well have been true—which suggests that Trader Joe’s true objection may have been less about spending money than about sacrificing power.
Although CIW never called a boycott of Trader Joe’s, “it was always a possibility if we needed to get there,” says CIW staffer Julia Perkins….“The persistence of fair food activists,” says Perkins, “and of their consumers, too, who kept going over and over to them…helped to show them that this was something they wanted to do.”
In a previous story for AlterNet, Eidelson spoke to workers who told him that although tomato pickers still may not make a living wage, these Fair Food agreements over working conditions have curtailed many of the ongoing abuses, including rampant threats and sexual harassment.
Tomato pickers in Florida have suffered terrible working conditions up to and including those tantamount to slavery.
As for Trader Joe’s, it’s taken far too long for the company to do the right thing—but following the company’s agreement with CIW, thank you notes are pouring into the chain’s inbox.
This is a report from the Metropolitan Washington Labor Council by Chris Garlock and Julia Kann.
Hundreds of oil workers from three Philadelphia refineries slated for permanent shutdown early this year came to Capitol Hill yesterday to tell Congress “the closures threaten family-supportive jobs and will lead to persistent shortages of home heating oil and motor vehicle fuels in Pennsylvania and throughout the Northeast.” The workers—members of United Steelworkers—rallied in front of ConocoPhillips Co. and Sunoco Inc. in downtown Washington, D.C., presenting “pink slips” to management at both oil companies.
While unemployment insurance (UI) is running out for nearly 13 million unemployed workers, congressional Republicans have spent their time pushing a UI extension that included harsh and punitive requirements for jobless workers such as requiring unemployed workers to pay for reemployment services, acquire a high school degree, undergo drug testing and more. They also called for cutting 40 weeks of benefits from the unemployed.
Congress has reached a tentative deal extending UI–reportedly through the end of the year–that drops the most egregious proposals, yet caps at 73 the number of weeks for jobless benefits, down from the current 99. And in exchange for extending the desperately needed UI program for the nation’s nearly 13 million jobless workers and maintaining the payroll tax cut, Republicans also insisted on forcing cuts on federal workers’ pensions to pay for jobless benefits.
AFGE President John Gage says the cuts to federal workers retirement “is simply wrong headed.” He told reporters this afternoon that two successive federal pay freezes have cost workers some $60 billion.
Here we have workers being asked to pay for something that they didn’t cause or have any part in, yet the tax on millionaires, elimination of tax subsidies to big businesses, agriculture subsidies—none of this comes into play to pay for this UI extension. But one party has insisted it come out federal employee retirements from people making 30 to 40,000 actually having to pay for UI.
This latest partisan Republican game-playing follows moves by congressional Republicans to block the UI program several times last year.
Tune in Tuesday, Feb. 21, for the televised National Teach-In to Take Back the American Dream. Broadcast on Free Speech TV at 9 p.m. EST/6 p.m. PST, the teach-in will outline the facts on who broke the economy for the 99 percent and what needs to be done to fix it.
On the “National Teach-In to Take Back the American Dream” you’ll hear the real story about the economic crisis:
The teach-in is a joint effort of The Campaign for America’s Future (CAF), with Free Speech TV, Rebuild the Dream and Thom Hartmann’s “The Big Picture.” It will feature Thom Hartmann; Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor; Heather McGhee of Demos; Leo Hindrey, businessman and “Patriotic Millionaire”; Natalie Foster, co-founder, Rebuild the Dream; and CAF’s Robert Borosage.
Click here for more information, including how to host your own teach-in that night.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker knew better than to run his gubernatorial campaign on a platform based on decimiating jobs in Wisconsin. But just one year into his term, he’s already become Job Killer in Chief, according to a new report by the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO.
“Losses to Working Families Under Gov. Walker” highlights the effects of Walker’s actions, including large-scale job loss, attacks worker’s fundamental freedoms, loss of employment protections and benefits, the transfer of wealth to the 1 percent, loss of quality public education, increased taxes on low-income Wisconsinites, loss of health care coverage, loss of citizen access to the courts and the loss of honest, clean and open government. Here are a few of Walker’s “accomplishments.”
Loss of Freedom to Bargain Collectively. As of June 29, 2011, it is illegal for approximately 175,000 Wisconsin public employees to engage in real collective bargaining with their employers on wages, benefits and working conditions.
Barriers to Voting. Wisconsin has enacted some of the toughest barriers to voting in the nation.
Job Loss Continues. Data shows Wiscosnin has lost jobs for six months in a row–from July to December 2011–for a total of 35,600 jobs lost in the second half of the year. This stands in contrast to consistent job growth at the national level.
Private-Sector Jobs Lost from Attack on Unions and Cuts to State Budget. The ripple effects on private-sector jobs from the policies of Walker include a projected full-time job loss in the private sector at 5,400 jobs from budget cuts to state and local services, 1,200 jobs from cuts directed at individuals; 6,900 jobs from cuts in public employee compensation; and about 4,700 jobs from the various forms of federal aid rejected by Walker.
Eliminating Support for Jobs Related to Energy Conservation. The state’s Green to Gold Fund was eliminated, which offered $100 million in lower cost state loans to manufacturers to retool and expand production related to clean energy. It required specific wage standards as a condition of the loan to help create better paying jobs.
Apprenticeship Opportunities Limited. Walker rescinded an order signed by te previous governor requiring employment of more young apprentices on state-funded construction projects.
Walker Supports Job-Killing International Trade Agreements. Walker signed a letter to Congress urging approval of trade agreements between the United States and Colombia, Panama and South Korea and urged Congress restore fast-track authority for all future agreements, which would prohibit amendments such as those to project workers’ rights.
Denying Workers Paid Sick Days. It is now illegal for a local government to pass an ordinance that requires employers in its jurisdiction to provide better leave benefits than the state Family and Medical Leave Act.
A scheme to privatize Florida’s prisons failed (19-21) in the state Senate yesterday after a huge public outcry led by Florida working families, community and civil rights groups. The plan was backed by extremist Gov. Rick Scott (R), private prison companies and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), one of the key players in the drive to privatize prisons throughout the nation.
The corporate takeover would have cost 3,800 workers their jobs, and Florida AFL-CIO President Mike Williams says it would have “devastated small communities, working families’ economic stability and safety.”
The privatization bill was one of the largest efforts so far to give private corporations control of a state’s prison system. It would have turned over control of 27 state prisons and work camps in 18 south Florida counties to the GEO Group—formerly Wackenhut Corrections.
GEO is a major sponsor of ALEC, The Nation reported in August. ALEC has led the charge to privatize prisons by writing model legislation for its right-wing state legislature members to push in their states.
ALEC has also worked to pass state laws to create private for-profit prisons, a boon to two of its major corporate sponsors: Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and Geo Group, the largest private prison firms in the country. An In These Times investigation last summer revealed that ALEC arranged secret meetings between Arizona’s state legislators and CCA to draft what became S.B. 1070, Arizona’s notorious immigration law, to keep CCA prisons flush with immigrant detainees. ALEC has proven expertly capable of devising endless ways to help private corporations benefit from the country’s massive prison population.
Click here for the full report.
St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken J. Mascara says prison privatization puts the public’s safety at risk. In a letter to state Senate President Mike Haridopolos (R), he writes:
In the continued race to the bottom, private prison contractors reduce pay, benefits and quality of personnel in the interest of slashing budgets; but as in most other areas of life, you get what you pay for. I know when protecting our families from the most heinous individuals in our society, I don’t want the guard who will work for the least pay—I want a professional who receives proper training, a reasonable wage and benefits and the security of knowing that the people of Florida, and its elected leaders, appreciate the value of the often thankless job they do.
The AFL-CIO Solidarity Center sends us this report.
One year ago today, a peaceful demonstration massed in Bahrain’s capital, Manama, with tens of thousands of men, women and children joining the call for greater social justice in their country. By exercising their rights to free speech and free assembly, the brave protesters provided their government with the chance to address issues of equality and democracy.
Instead, they were met with harsh retaliation. Working people were fired from their jobs, detained or even imprisoned. The independent unions and associations representing workers were and still are under attack. Health care workers were punished for helping those injured during the government crackdown.
The AFL-CIO today marks this sad anniversary by standing in solidarity with Bahraini workers and the General Federation of Bahrain Trade Unions (GFBTU). Says AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka in a letter to the GFBTU:
The hopes of Bahrain’s majority for a more inclusive and democratic Bahrain expressed in those demonstrations unfortunately were met early on with brutal repression, turning what could have been an opportunity for national unity into a painful and dangerous rupture between the government and its people.
Throughout the year, the AFL-CIO has stood in solidarity with the GFBTU in its struggle to protect labor and human rights—and Trumka told the GFBTU the AFL-CIO will continue to do so as Bahraini workers brave ongoing threats to their dignity, economic stability and humanity.
When the nation’s housing crisis—fueled by “unscrupulous operators looking to make fast cash”—was beginning to explode, writes Richard Cordray, newly appointed head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), in a column on Politico:
No single federal government agency was focused on viewing the markets for financial products and services from the perspective of the consumer. That was a tragic error.
But now with President Obama’s recent appointment of Cordray—opposed, BTW, by every single Senate Republican—the CFPB is beginning to issue and develop new rules to protect current and future homeowners from the kind of practices that melted down the nation’s housing market, a housing market in which as many as 10 million homeowners at danger of default, according to Cordray.
But if union and consumer activists had not stepped up strongly in support of Obama’s breaking the Republican stranglehold on Cordray’s nomination, it is likely, some observers say, that CFPB would still be without a leader and Republicans would be emboldened even more in the efforts to dismantle the Wall Street reform law—Dodd-Frank—that created the agency.
Click here to read Cordray’s full column outlining the current and upcoming steps the CFPB is taking to fulfill its mission to protect the nation’s consumer financial products and here for information on the recent settlement with five of the major banks behind the crisis.
Earlier this month, American Airlines announced plans to eliminate the jobs of 13,000 workers and dump pension plans for nearly 90,000 workers as part of its bankruptcy plan. Roughly 9,000 Transport Workers (TWU) members are employed at American.
You can show your support for American Airlines employees by signing TWU’s “I Support American Jobs” pledge to support the workers by telling public officials, the news media and community leaders that employees at American Airlines and regional carrier American Eagle and all workers dependent on these airlines must be treated fairly.
In this latest “I Support American Jobs” video, William Keys, a retired fleet service clerk and Army veteran, says:
When I started for American they promised they would be there when I retired to help me out, now I’m not sure they’re going to be there. How do I get a job, I haven’t got the shoulders and the knees left for hard work like digging ditches. Do I have to start again? Click here to add tour name to the nearly 15,000 people who have signed the “I Support American Jobs” pledge.
Click here to add tour name to the nearly 15,000 people who have signed the “I Support American Jobs” pledge.
Donna Gratehouse, who blogs at Democratic Diva and elsewhere on all things Arizona, sends us this.
Arizona’s teachers have been under attack for years from right-wing ideologues intent on dismantling public education as we know it. Arizona ranks lowest in the nation in per-pupil spending and highest in number of students per teacher. This year the state legislature is targeting teachers along with other public-sector worker with “Wisconsin on steroids” union-stripping bills, but there are several other bills specifically aimed at teachers and public education on the docket.
“Some believe that many anti-education legislators see this session as their last chance to force their legislation through because new, more competitive legislative district boundaries will take effect for the 2012 election,” said spokesman Doug Kilmore in an e-mail to members of Arizona Education Association, the state’s largest teacher’s union.
Extremist groups are marshaling their forces in the legislature to attack public schools, public institutions, and public workers before they risk losing their super-majority.
The harsh bills Kilgore refers to include arbitrary performance pay measures, expansions to voucher programs, and takeover schemes where “failing” public schools can be closed and turned into charter schools. Bills targeting colleges and universities would increase tuition dramatically, allow concealed weapons to be carried on campuses (seriously) and protect conservative instructors from (mostly imaginary) persecution.
Most of the aforementioned legislation is boilerplate ALEC anti-public ed stuff. But there’s one very strange bill, S.B. 1467, the provenance of which is puzzling. It would require all public school instructors, from K-12 to university level, to comply with FCC regulations in their conduct. Penalties would range from suspension for the first outburst of “obscenity, indecency, or profanity” to termination for repeated
Well, there goes civics class. I mean, if you can’t utter the words ‘Arizona Legislature’….
It took more than two years, but 220 workers the Huntington Ingalls Shipyard in Newport News, Va.,—formerly Northrup Grumman Shipbuilding—got their votes counted and won representation with the Machinists (IAM).
The Radiological Control Monitors Techs (RCTs) voted in 2009, but the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) didn’t count the votes while it considered a request by Northrup Grumman to include more employees the voting unit, according to the IAM.
Because of underfunding and politically inspired delays to understaff the NLRB by Republican lawmakers, says the union, the decision on the case took more than two years. In 2011, Northrop Grumman spun off the yard to Ingalls. Says (IAM) Southern Territory Organizing Leader Tommy Mayfield:
It’s a travesty that these employees had to wait so long time to have a say on the job concerning their working conditions, benefits and wages. It shows how underfunded the NLRB is and what can happen when there is not a full Board to make legal decisions.
If Congress doesn’t act and renew unemployment insurance benefits for the nation’s jobless workers by Feb. 29, millions of workers like Kenny Wilkes will be left without a vital lifeline to keep their families head above water.
“We’d be devastated. The money my wife brings in couldn’t sustain rent, gas, electric, food and insurance. ”
Wilkes, who told the Raleigh News and Observer that he was laid off from his job in a North Carolina tobacco factory in July, joined a Walk a Mile in My Shoes rally in Raleigh, N.C., to urge lawmakers to act before they adjourn later this week for the Presidents Day recess.
Congressional Republicans are holding hostage an extension of the UI program by insisting that any UI renewal cuts as many as 40 weeks of benefits, imposes onerous restrictions on jobless workers and even makes them pay for re-employment services. NELP Executive Director calls the Republican proposals “punitive and unnecessary.”
In Helena, Mont., more than 30 people, including 20 jobless workers, tried to meet with Rep. Dennis Rehberg’s (R) district director, but the normally open office was closed, with a sign taped to the door that he would return shortly, but never did (see video above.)
Boilermaker (IBB) member Darren Brown says he a wants Rehberg and others to know:
We’re not getting unemployment because we don’t want a job, we’re getting unemployment because we don’t have a job…Don’t play politics with people’s lifeblood.
In Colorado, workers delivered to the office of Rep. Mike Coffman (R) several large boxes that contained an emergency care kit with contact numbers for food banks, shelters and other safety net programs. They asked staffers there to deliver those to constituents who will be knocked off the UI rolls if the current Republican plan goes through. They reported: “The staff look mildly horrified” at the prospect.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), one of the leading proponents of the Republican attack on UI benefits, spoke this weekend at a Beloit fundraiser and dozens of workers were on hand. Maria Morales, a jobless worker from Racine, said Ryan needs to “put politics aside and do what is right for hundreds of thousands of jobless Wisconsinites and extend unemployment insurance.”
Every day, I get up and look for work. While I am job searching, unemployment insurance provides a life line that helps me feed my family, put a roof over my head and keep the heat on. These proposals aren’t about saving money, but blaming the 99 percent for the jobs shipped off by the 1 percent and CEOs.
In Lakeland Fla., jobless workers and others and spoke against the support of Rep. Dennis Ross (R) for the GOP scheme. Dina Friedman, who lost her job at medical supply company, said Ross and other Republican lawmakers who claim jobless workers would rather collect UI checks than find a job are far off base.
No one would stay on unemployment if they didn’t have to. We are people who did work and want to work.
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