Labor - USA

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Two words that SEIU does not know how to say

Angela Glasper, National Union of Healthcare Workers, February 14, 2012 Last Friday, Kaiser reported 2011 profits of $2.1 billion. That makes $6.1 billion in the last three years. 

$4.4 billion of those profits come directly from the day-to-day operations of the hospitals and clinics where we work. 

Like most of you, I knew Kaiser was profitable. I just didn’t know how much! 

So, when I heard the tape of Dave Regan, President of SEIU-UHW, speaking to the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions last month, I could not believe my ears. ... Two

Can Labor Organize the Unemployed?

Jenny Brown, Labor Notes, February 14, 2012 Wrenching testimonies from laid-off workers are overflowing the internet, crying out from the pages of policy reports, and popping up in commercial media. But unions are still grappling with how to organize the unemployed, including their own ex-members, into a political force. Department of Labor figures for December showed 13.1 million unemployed and actively looking for work, almost half of them for more than six months. Another 8.1 million were working part-time involuntarily, and 2.5 million were too discouraged to look for work. ... Can

New Rules for Wisconsin Unions: No Rules

Theresa Moran, Labor Notes, February 10, 2012 Wisconsin public workers face harsher work rules and shrinking paychecks as contracts expire and additional provisions of Governor Scott Walker’s anti-union bill set in. State unions are being forced to shift from a decades-old servicing model to an organizing model in a fight for their survival. New compensation rules took effect January 1, increasing the amount employees pay toward benefits. Union contracts for the majority of state workers were terminated, though some county and municipal employees still have contracts in place. Walker’s bill banned collective bargaining over everything but wages, eliminated dues check-off ... New

Transit Workers Look to Bust the Austerity Box

Tim Schermerhorn, Labor Notes, February 9, 2012 Like public sector workers everywhere, New York City’s transit workers face a withering attack on our compensation and our collective organization. As contract talks continue between Transport Workers Union Local 100 and the Metropolitan Transit Authority, small pay raises in the fourth and fifth years of a proposed deal are tossed about in the press. But between giant health care cost increases, full-time job cuts, and workplace destabilization, transit workers would go backwards. The contract, covering 35,000 subway and bus workers, expired January 15. ... Transit

Nurses Fight for a Dose of Tax Justice

Before there was Occupy, thousands of nurses were already taking on Wall Street to demand a financial transaction tax. Sarah Anderson, Yes! February 1, 2012 By now, nurses in bright red scrubs are a familiar sight at rallies in Washington, DC, New York City, and at Occupy protests around the country. National Nurses United (NNU), a union representing registered nurses, is a major, visible force in the growing movements challenging corporate power. Several months before the birth of the Occupy movement, they were already mobilizing thousands of their members to speak out against Wall Street. ... Nurses

On Not Asking the 'Job Creators' the Tough Questions

Tom Gallagher, Common Dreams, February 6, 2012 Do state-level “job creation” programs work? Hard to say, according to a new study. The belief in cutting business taxes as a reliable method for increasing local employment is so widely shared in the US that every state – plus the District of Columbia – offers financial incentives for businesses to “create jobs” within its jurisdiction. So deep is that belief, in fact, that states frequently don’t even consider a cost/benefit analysis necessary. At least that’s the conclusion that a Washington, DC-based public policy center, Good Jobs First, reached in Money for Something, a review of 238 separate job creation programs ... On

The Heroes of Super Bowl Sunday

Dave Zirin, The Nation, February 6, 2012 I emerge from the echo-chamber of Super Bowl Sunday energized and armed with a new set of heroes and folk-tales to pass on to others. My hero on our great (near) secular national holiday wasn’t Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who one suspects would be going to Disney World whether he won or lost. It wasn’t the incredible looking Madonna, spotted backstage drinking her daughter's stemcells, or M.I.A. with her middle finger malfunction. It also wasn’t Clint Eastwood who made a commercial where I think he threatened to murder Detroit. My new heroes are the people in the Occupy and Labor movements who gathered to protest on Super Bowl Sunday. ... The

NFL players opposed to right-to-work

Lockout taught us power of the team. Demaurice Smith, Concord (NH) Monitor, February 4, 2012 Granite Staters have a lot of things to be proud of: their magnificent Seacoast and White Mountains, their position as the first presidential primary state in America and the AFC Champion New England Patriots. But most important, they're proud of their "Live Free or Die" tradition. And they've shown that they'll fight to keep their freedoms safe. Last year, thousands of New Hampshire families came together to defeat a "right-to-work" bill pushed by out-of-state special interests that would have jeopardized the freedom of workers to organize as a team ... NFL

SC's diverse union workers don't like bashing

Jeffrey Collins, Associated Press, February 4, 2012 Columbia - When the power goes out in South Carolina, chances are a union member repairs that line. When someone sends a letter or a package, the mail carrier or UPS driver is likely a union member. There are 59,000 workers in unions in South Carolina, doing jobs as diverse as making paper, unloading ships, fighting fires and playing music. And a number of them are angry at the suddenly fiery comments Governor Nikki Haley is making about organized labor. Haley hasn't hidden her dislike of unions during her first year in office, using Boeing's battle with the national Labor Relations Board to boost her stance ... SC

The Jobs Report: Call The Termite Inspector

Future Tense, February 3, 2012 This morning, I was having the usual breakfast and coffee with my girlfriend with CNBC on in the background on mute. We were discussing the Regis and Kelly show and who was going to be picked as her new co-host to replace Regis. A very big decision in our house. Then the jobs report hit at 8:30, the most important piece of economic data of the month, and so we took the TV off mute to listen. The report came in with an increase of 243,000 jobs in the month and the unemployment rate fell to 8.3%. The CNBC reporters were falling over themselves with excitement on how incredible the jobs recovery  was progressing. ... The

Occupy the Super Bowl

Indiana’s New Anti-Union Law Sparks Protest at Sport’s Biggest Spectacle. Democracy Now! February 3, 2012 Occupy protesters in Indianapolis are gearing up to use the media spotlight on Sunday’s Super Bowl XLVI to rally for union rights outside the statehouse. Earlier this week, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels signed a so-called "right to work" measure into law that critics say will result in lower wages and diminished collective bargaining rights. Indiana workers have received the backing of the National Football League Players Association, which has called "right to work" "a political ploy designed to destroy basic workers’ rights." ... Occupy

Indiana and NFL union leaders protest Hyatt

Tom LoBianco, Associated Press, February 3, 2012 Indianapolis - Indiana and NFL union leaders on Friday protested the possible layoffs of hotel workers at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Indianapolis as part of an ongoing labor fight with the hotel chain. 

Roughly 100 demonstrators marched outside the hotel chanting and carrying signs with the Hyatt corporate logo converted into a frowning face. The hotel is a few blocks from where the Super Bowl will be played on Sunday. 

"I love people who stand together to fight for what's right," NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith told protesters. ... Indiana

Jobs Report: Progress, But Don't Break Out The Bubbly

Isaiah J. Poole, Campaign for America’s Future, February 3, 2012 President Obama today will go to a fire house in the Virginia suburbs of Washington to tout his plan to promote hiring of veterans as first responders. It's a program that is sorely needed to address an American travesty: One out of every eight of the veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are out of a job. But as today's unemployment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows, the economy could still use a job corps for the rest of us as well. The news is good: 243,000 jobs were produced in January, and the unemployment rate went down to 8.3 percent. ... Jobs

Wal-Mart Warehouse Workers Move Ahead in Fight for Justice

David Moberg, In These Times, February 3, 2012 Warehouse workers from Wal-Mart distribution centers in metropolitan Chicago and southern California took two big steps this week toward enforcing laws on working conditions and wages, fighting retaliatory firings, and ultimately forcing Wal-Mart to live up to its responsibilities as an employer. Working through Warehouse Workers for Justice, workers at the Elwood, Il, distibution center - reputedly Wal-Mart's largest with 3 million square feet of space - filed suit against Eclipse Advantage and Schneider Logistics for firing roughly 65 workers on December 29. ... Wal-Mart

What Occupy taught the unions

SEIU and others are embracing the movement that has succeeded as they have faded. Arun Gupta, Salon, February 2, 2012 Unions are in a death spiral. Private sector unionism has all but vanished, accounting for a measly 6.9 percent of the workforce. Public sector workers are being hammered by government cutbacks and hostile media that blame teachers, nurses and firefighters for budget crises. To counter this trend organized labor banked on creating more hospitable organizing conditions by contributing hundreds of millions of dollars to the Democratic Party the last two election cycles. In return Obama abandoned the Employee Free Choice Act ... What

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