Category: Union Matters

A Broken Immigration System

From the AFL-CIO

After a week of family separation, workplace raids and even more bad legislation, it is clearer than ever that we must fix our broken immigration system.

“The Trump administration is using enforcement overreach to terrify immigrant workers and is directly threatening our freedom to stand together and fight in unions for fair pay and treatment,” said AFL‑CIO President Richard Trumka.  

Trumka added: “Nothing embodies our broken immigration system more than the unnecessary pain and suffering of our immigrant brothers and sisters as families are torn apart at the border.”

America’s broken immigration system and threats of detention and deportation have been used as leverage to lower pay, worsen benefits and make workplaces less safe for decades.

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Unions...Yes!

From the AFL-CIO

After holding steady for decades, the percentage of American workers in all jobs who would say yes to join a union jumped sharply last year, by 50%, says a new independent study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The evidence is clear: The popularity of the labor movement is surging as more people want to join unions than ever before. Every worker must have the freedom to negotiate in a union over pay, benefits and working conditions.

The national narrative that the economy is doing OK, while working people struggle and billionaires bask in their latest round of massive tax cuts, is all wrong.

The truth is more working people want collective power. From 1977 to 1995, the percentage of all workers who would say yes to a union drive stayed flat, at about 32% of nonunion workers. Today, that number is 48%, a remarkable 50% increase.

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Make Unions Militant Again

Richard Cucarese

Richard Cucarese Rapid Response Coordinator, USW Local 4889

It’s never been glamorous to be a coal miner, truck driver, steelworker, waitress, janitor or the like, but over the past four decades, it’s been quite an effort to financially survive in these professions.

In earlier times, one way Americans could assuage the combative efforts of corporations that denied them the ability to enjoy a better life was to seek membership in a union, thus ensuring their chances for safer working conditions, better wages, benefits and rights through collective bargaining.

And while in many cases this created a rising, more affluent working class than America had ever witnessed, corporate America, with the assistance of Wall Street, Washington, their powerful lobby groups and certain members of the judiciary were setting the wheels in motion to crush labor’s strides with a tsunami of damaging legislation.

Think tanks were created and out of the bowels of back room meetings emerged The Powell Memo, the World Trade Organization, the insidious beginnings of free trade agreements and the crushing of collective bargaining under the guise of the falsely-friendly sounding Right-to-Work laws.

When the dust settled, labor’s grand accomplishments, which had once been a shining example of how democracy with a mixture of solid, progressive ideals could work, were left in tatters.

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We Love You, Dad!

From the AFL-CIO

Six years ago, President Barack Obama started a program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA, which temporarily gave security to nearly a million immigrants brought to the United States as children. On this Father’s Day weekend, as we celebrate our families while children are torn from the arms of parents seeking asylum in the United States, it’s time for all working people to look to our core values as a labor movement and a nation of immigrants. We must do better.

The increasingly harsh treatment of immigrants and those seeking asylum in America has become a political flashpoint, because of its shocking cruelty and because it is part of the larger effort by the right wing to divide working people while rigging the economic rules to keep us all poor.

Working people are taking a stand in defense of immigrants, because policies like DACA and TPS protect a vital part of the American workforce and clear the way for ALL working people to stand together and fight to improve pay and working conditions.

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A Better Deal for Workers

From the AFL-CIO

Democrats in Congress this week introduced a key piece of legislation designed to combat growing inequality and strengthen working people’s right to fight for our economic rights.

“All working people should have the freedom to join together to negotiate with their employers for better wages and working conditions,” said AFL‑CIO Government Affairs Director William Samuel in a letter urging members of Congress to support the bill. “Help us build an economy that works for all working families and not just the privileged few.”

As corporations continue waging a full-blown assault on the freedoms of working people, our allies on Capitol Hill have introduced a piece of legislation that would mark an enormous step forward in the struggle for economic justice. The most recent proposal in congressional Democrats’ Better Deal agenda, the Workers’ Freedom to Negotiate Act, would enact several key provisions expanding collective bargaining rights, such as:

  • Strengthening penalties against abusive and predatory corporations that violate workers’ rights.
  • Combating misclassification of workers as supervisors and independent contractors.
  • Strengthening our right to strike for the wages, benefits and working conditions that we deserve.
  • Creating a mandatory mediation and arbitration process to ensure that corporations and newly organized unions reach a first contract.
  • Banning state laws that undermine our freedom to join together and negotiate.
  • Protecting the integrity and fairness of union elections from employer propaganda.

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You Gotta Fight for Your Right to Vote

From the AFL-CIO

Powerful right-wing interests are continuing to weaponize a fabricated epidemic of voter fraud in their assault on Americans’ voting rights.

Yesterday, five justices sided with a wrong-headed law designed to deny targeted citizens’ constitutional right to vote. By inviting these deep-pocketed groups to continue their assault on voting rights, the Supreme Court has opened a floodgate of attacks on our democracy.

Ohio’s voting restrictions—some of the most extreme in the country—begin the purging process if a voter misses one federal election cycle. If they miss a single mailed notice, their registration is then slated to be purged in four years.

This extreme, unwarranted effort already has blocked tens of thousands of Ohioans from voting. With the court failing to protect our right to vote, it’s time for working people to double down and continue fighting for our collective voice. With right-wing forces as ambitious as ever, it has never been more important for the labor movement to mobilize and fight back.

A Coffee Bean Baron Rushes to Our Rescue

Sam Pizzigati

Sam Pizzigati Editor, Too Much online magazine

Billionaire Howard Schultz, the former CEO of the Starbucks coffee empire, has just announced he’s stepping down as the company’s chairman. Political insiders think that move means that Schultz just may be planning to make a bid for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination. The day after the announcement, in a CNBC interview, Schultz not so subtly hinted that he’d be running to oppose progressive proposals on single-payer health care, job guarantees, and the like. Pronounced the coffee king: “It concerns me that so many voices within the Democratic Party are going so far to the left. I say to myself, how are we going to pay for these things?” Maybe we could start by raising taxes on billionaires like Howard Schultz.

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Check the Big Banks

From the AFL-CIO

Over the past several weeks, Republican leadership in Congress and the Trump administration have weakened our financial security by loosening rules that protect our economy from Wall Street bankers, opening the door for banks to discriminate and making it easier for Wall Street bankers to gamble with the savings of hardworking families.

America’s working families know that holding big banks accountable is essential to winning new economic rules that put Main Street first.

The right financial regulatory system will put Wall Street to work for working people, not the other way around.

The AFL-CIO is building a powerful and independent political movement to win commonsense financial rules that will keep big banks in check.

Break up big banks. Too few banks control too much of America’s financial system, which is risky because if they fail, they will bring down all of us.

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A Sensitive CEO Wants Props for His Sensitivity

Sam Pizzigati

Sam Pizzigati Editor, Too Much online magazine

Jim Murren, the CEO of gaming giant MGM Resorts International, is feeling more than a little peeved. Last month he blasted the investor community for not recognizing his company’s efforts to promote women into management. Investors, Murren charged, “talk about wanting companies with a good conscience, but they’re really looking for companies that are going to make them a lot of money.” Workers at MGM, meanwhile, are still waiting for Murren to flash a “good conscience” toward them. MGM has just announced a new $2 billion share buyback program, on top of a recently completed $1 billion buyback. All those billions will mean a hefty stock-based pay hike for the 56-year-old Murren, who already makes 396 times more than the median MGM worker. Unions representing MGM’s 24,000 workers in Las Vegas joined last month with workers at other local casinos and voted to authorize a strike when their current contract expires the end of this month.

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Proud and Powerful

From the AFL-CIO

As 50,000 Culinary Workers members in Las Vegas fight for fair pay and good benefits and as the first group of workers at Boeing Co. in South Carolina choose to join the Machinists (IAM), America’s working people celebrate worker activism and the start of Pride Month. June is an opportunity for all of us to consider the close bonds between the labor movement and the LGBTQ community.

Working families in all our diversity are ready to stand united for dignity, fair pay, good benefits and strong communities.

America’s labor movement and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community cannot be separated, and we are particularly united today because the attacks on both LGBTQ equality and worker freedoms come from the same dark web of corporate interests.

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Union Matters

A Broken Immigration System

From the AFL-CIO

After a week of family separation, workplace raids and even more bad legislation, it is clearer than ever that we must fix our broken immigration system.

“The Trump administration is using enforcement overreach to terrify immigrant workers and is directly threatening our freedom to stand together and fight in unions for fair pay and treatment,” said AFL‑CIO President Richard Trumka.  

Trumka added: “Nothing embodies our broken immigration system more than the unnecessary pain and suffering of our immigrant brothers and sisters as families are torn apart at the border.”

America’s broken immigration system and threats of detention and deportation have been used as leverage to lower pay, worsen benefits and make workplaces less safe for decades.

More ...

Concern of Concentration

Concern of Concentration