Labor

Netroots Nation in Detroit: The Art of War and the War of Art

Netroots Nation in Detroit

Rachele Huennekens: I heard a worker from OUR Walmart says she’s worried she won’t have a job next week when she returns from the conference, and I saw dozens of immigrant rights activists thrown out of Vice President Joe Biden’s speech for chanting “Stop deporting our families.”

Adolph Hitler, Union Hater

Hitler Hated Unions

Berry Craig: The unions strongly opposed Hitler, who wove his hatred of organized labor into his genocidal anti-Semitism. The latter resulted in the Holocaust, the systematic murder of six million European Jews. Many Jews were in unions, too.

Jobs Gone Bad: Reality TV Workers Organize

Reality TV Workers

Jenny Brown: “Some of the shows are frivolous and throwaway, no kidding, but these are hard-working people.”

California Teachers Take Another Hit From Politicians

California Teachers Pensions

Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer: Unions have the choice of continuing to elect sell-out, dead-end corporate politicians. Or they can create a real, politically independent grassroots movement, forging alliances between unions and the community, as the Chicago Teachers Union did, and build the necessary powerbase to counter the corporations and their politicians.

California Grad Employee Contract Shows Reform Works

California Grad Employee Strike

Katy Fox-Hodess: Another way we broke with the past is that we were willing to let the contract expire so that we could legally strike. The only real thing we lost was binding arbitration, and we gained the right to strike over grievances.

Assemblymember Chris Holden, Which Side Are You On?

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Peter Dreier: Pasadena Democratic Assemblyman Chris Holden cast a decisive vote that thwarted an effort to raise California’s minimum wage. His was the key swing vote that killed a proposal to raise California’s minimum wage to $13 an hour in 2017.

Skechers Can Run, But Not Hide From Abusive Labor Practices

Skechers Labor Practices

Peter Dreier: Skechers has not taken responsibility for making sure that its contractors not only comply with the law but provide decent wages and benefits so that these workers and their families can make ends meet.

Grocery Workers’ Vanishing Horizons

grocery store worker wages

Steve Mikulan: The three percent of the state’s private-sector workforce that is involved in selling groceries is finding it more difficult to buy food. Nearly a third of this industry’s workers depend on state assistance such as CalFresh or MediCal to meet basic nutritional and health care needs.

Manufacturing the American Dream

american manufacturing

Rachele Huennekens: Jobs to Move America advocates for maximizing the value of multimillion dollar contracts that American transit agencies award to global manufacturing companies to build our buses and trains, and for good jobs and opportunities for disadvantaged Americans.

Long-Term Unemployed Struggle with Mental Health Issues

Long-Term Unemployed

Tara Culp-Ressler: The recent economic downturn led to a sharp spike in suicide rates around the globe, and there were bigger increases in suicides in the countries where people were accustomed to financial success before the recession hit.

Ponygate: Denial of Worker Protection to Young Kids

Ponygate

Marcy Winograd: The high school and college age kids who shovel excrement at the Santa Monica farmers market have no workers compensation protection should their feet get crushed or they develop an infection from contact with the animals.

Seattle Minimum Wage Hike Began in NYC Zuccotti Park

Minimum Wage Victory

Peter Dreier: Ever since the Occupy movement hit the streets, an explosion of worker unrest—especially among Walmart employees, workers at fast-food chains, janitors, and hospital workers—has shaped the political life of America’s cities.

Seattle Got It Right

Seattle Raises Minimum Wage

Robert Reich: The gains from a higher minimum wage extend beyond those who receive it. More money in the pockets of low-wage workers means more sales, especially in the locales they live in – which in turn creates faster growth and more jobs.

Taylor Farms: Walmart in a Salad Bowl

Taylor Farms

Julie Gutman Dickinson: California-based Taylor Farms is giving the retail giant a run for its money when it comes to low-road labor practices, while offering another example of why it’s time for the U.S. to clamp down on the use of temp agencies by huge companies trying to evade responsibility for unconscionable working conditions.

Abuse of Temporary Workers

Abuse of Temp Workers

Gary Cohn: Today’s temp workers are just as likely to be hired to fill blue collar jobs as office positions, with one major caveat: the new “temporary” hires who pick crops, pack vegetables or clean hotel rooms can work at those jobs for years at the same company — and with little or no advancement.

Inequality Deepens on University Campuses

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Lawrence Wittner: As the incomes of the 25 best-paid public university presidents soared, the livelihoods of their faculty deteriorated. This deterioration resulted largely from the fact that tenured and tenure-track faculty were replaced with adjuncts and contingents.

Working Families Need a Better May Revise

Working Families Safety Net

Ashley Thomas: A strong safety net means that families have support during times of crisis, and many California families have experienced a financial crisis lasting eight years. The Governor needs to reinvest in social services and provide a strong safety net to vulnerable families.

Boney Fingers v. Soft Hands Work

Hedge Fund Managers

Jim Hightower: If it’s a big payoff you want from a job, go for what my Uncle Emmett called “soft hands work.” I recommend hedge-fund huckstering! Those guys (and they’re nearly all guys) never get a callus and do nothing of social value, yet they make the biggest haul of anyone.

Latino Workers Look to Aida Alvarez for Change at Walmart

Walmart-Protest-600

Venanzi Luna: Despite the growing number of Latinos in the US and Walmart being the nation’s largest employer of Latinos, we continue to face issues in the workplace that have not been addressed.

Who Makes the Game? Donald Sterling Asked the Right Question

Radical Rich

RJ Eskow: The “plantation” isn’t the only analogy for Sterling’s mindset. His attitude toward the players also resembles that of baronial landlords toward tenant farmers, or mine owners toward miners who were paid in “credits” for the company store.

Lien In: New California Bill Seeks to Curb Wage Theft

Curb Wage Theft

Steven Mikulan: Few things say “class war” more eloquently than wage theft, the practice by unscrupulous businesses of short-changing their employees by undercounting work hours or shaving off time for breaks that were never taken.

America’s Sweatshops on Wheels Find Light at End of Tunnel

Port Truck Drivers

Julie Gutman Dickinson: It’s been a long, dark road for America’s port truck drivers, but finally there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

Slowing the Mad Dash to Privatization

Privatization of Public Services

Vivian Rothstein: What if we had no government services and everything we used to get from government was run by private corporations? McDonald’s could be running the welfare system, Target the public schools and Walmart our mass transportation networks. What would be wrong with that?

Supreme Court Weighs Unions’ Future

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Kokayi Kwa Jitahidi: In the coming weeks the United States Supreme Court will render a decision in the case of Harris v. Quinn that could paralyze labor’s ability to organize workers throughout the country.

Network for Social Justice Unionism

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Roshan Bliss: I will fight to the death for the right of a teacher to have good compensation and job security and due process as much as I will for my students to have text books or proper health care and the things that they need to do well.

The Myth of the Pro-Labor Democrat

Pro-Labor Democrat

Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer: Are there really any politicians who could qualify as “labor Democrats” or should this category be consigned to the status of fiction?

Let’s Cheer for NFL Cheerleaders

Raiderettes Sue Raiders

Jim Hightower: Finally fed up, members of the Oakland Raiderettes cheerleading squad have sued their team’s corporate hierarch for gross labor violations.

Targeting the Black Jobs Crisis

black job crisis

Joe Rihn: Over the last 40 years the economy as a whole has seen a shift toward low-wage and part-time jobs. As a result, 30 percent of black workers in Los Angeles County are currently making less than $12 an hour.

Big Brown Waves White Flag

UPS-Rally-600

Jane Slaughter: In the wake of a relentless grassroots labor-community solidarity campaign, UPS waved the white flag and agreed to rehire all 250 New York City drivers the company fired last month. The campaign united drivers, elected officials, and even UPS customers.

The Plight of Child Care Providers

RCT-Ramona-600

Ashley Thomas: Thousands of women who serve our youngest and most at-risk children struggle to make ends meet; family child care providers earn less than $20,000 per year.

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