Labor - USA

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Six Sigma, 10 Years on: Was "the Promise" Realized?

Ian R. Lazarus, Becker’s Hospital Review, April 6, 2012 In October 2001, an article appearing in Managed Healthcare Executive announced the arrival of Six Sigma methodologies in the healthcare sector. While manufacturing industries had verified significant gains from Six Sigma, service industries like healthcare were only beginning to understand what Six Sigma was all about. Moreover, the healthcare industry had grown weary from a series of performance improvement methods that were tantamount to the flavor of the month. ... Six

Labor Notes Conference 2012: Solidarity for the 99% - May 4-6, Chicago

Labor Notes conferences are the biggest gatherings of grassroots union activists, worker center leaders, and all-around troublemakers out there - and this time we’re in Chicago! Registration is now open. More than 100 workshops and meetings to "put the movement back in the labor movement." Workshops Planned Include: Beating Apathy, Understanding the Economy, Direct Action, Bargaining Table Tactics, Assertive Grievance Handling, ‘Continuous Bargaining’ to Confront Workplace Change, Workers Organizing Around the Globe, Food Workers Fighting Along the Supply Chain, Blame-the-Worker Safety Programs, Talking Taxes, Taking on Management’s Technology ... Conference

Back to the Future: Union Survival Strategies in Open Shop America

Steve Early & Rand Wilson, Social Policy, Spring 2012 When the history of mid-western de-unionization is written, its sad chroniclers will begin their story in Indiana. That is where Governor Mitch Daniels paved the way, in 2005, for copycat attacks on public-sector bargaining in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Michigan - and for a successful assault on private sector union security in his own state earlier this year. A right-wing Republican, Daniels was elected in 2004. Immediately after taking office, he began cutting state agency jobs and, via executive order, revoked state-employee bargaining rights granted by his Democratic predecessor, Evan Bayh. ... Back

Court: Managers don't have to ensure lunch breaks

Associated Press, April 12, 2012 San Francisco - The California Supreme Court ruled Thursday that employers are under no obligation to ensure that workers take legally mandated lunch breaks in a case that affects thousands of businesses and millions of workers. The unanimous opinion came after workers' attorneys argued that abuses are routine and widespread when companies aren't required to issue direct orders to take the breaks. They claimed employers take advantage of workers who don't want to leave colleagues during busy times. ... Court

Trumka ‘Personally Outraged’ by Obama-Backed JOBS Act

Mike Elk, In These Times, April 11, 2012 Washington - Last month, the AFL-CIO's Executive Council endorsed President Barack Obama for re-election. About a week later, Congress passed the "Jumpstart Our Business Startup," or JOBS Act - a bill backed by President Obama and his Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, and strongly opposed by organized labor. President Obama signed it into law last week. "President Trumka is personally outraged by the JOBS Act and the implication that this administration thinks that it’s going to be good for the country to re-inflate a stock market bubble," a top AFL-CIO official told In These Times Monday night ... Trumka

Unions Seek to Regain Foothold at GE

Mischa Gaus, Labor Notes, April 10, 2012 If the war against unions has reached a tipping point, Wilma Smith is among those determined to rebalance the scales. The 58-year-old assembler at the General Electric plant in West Burlington, Iowa, was called back to work in September. She had been on layoff since 2007 from the non-union factory, which makes electrical switch gears for municipalities and energy-hungry factories, hospitals, and call centers. “You know how you have a fuse box in your house?” she asks. “These are like fuse boxes for a city,” the size of a refrigerator. But the job came with new terms: a 50 percent pay cut ... Unions

Wisconsin Workers Need More than a Recall

Tony Reeves, Labor Notes, April 9, 2012 In a post-recall world, will a Democratic governor willingly surrender the flexibility and power over state employees that Scott Walker has gifted her with? Wisconsin labor rejoiced when a federal court issued a temporary restraining order March 30 against enforcing parts of last year’s anti-union bill. The judge said the state cannot prevent public employee unions from collecting dues through check-off and can’t require that they recertify annually through a membership vote. But most provisions of Governor Walker’s Act 10 remain in place, and the effort to recall him proceeds full steam ahead. ... Wisconsin

Why Campaigning for Democrats Cripples Labor Unions

Shamus Cooke, Common Dreams, April 9, 2012 As labor leaders across the US shift resources away from defending workers and into Obama’s re-election campaign, millions of organized and non-organized workers remain unemployed and hopeless. Contrary to the "optimistic" government jobs numbers, the jobs crisis grinds onward. Some labor leaders will argue that getting Obama elected is the first step towards addressing the jobs crisis, but they know better. The recent so-called JOBS Act that passed with strong Democrat and Republican support will create zero jobs - the law's intent is to lower regulations for banks and corporations, in an attempt to boost their profits. ... Why

Transit Troubles Provoke National Day of Protests

Darlene Lombos, Labor Notes, April 6, 2012 The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is a lot like other urban transit systems across the country. It’s underfunded, understaffed, and overworked as the Great Recession pushes more and more working people onto public transit. But the “T” was proposing fare hikes - from $1.70 to $2.40 - and service cuts that are among the harshest in the country. And that ignited a firestorm on April 4, the national day of action for transit justice. Marking the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination, the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) joined with community movements and Occupy in 15 cities ... Transit

Chicago Teachers Union: Teachers 'Fed Up,' Ready To Strike At 150 Schools - video

Huffington Post, April 6, 2012 As negotiations between the Chicago Teachers Union and Chicago Public Schools continue, the union announced Thursday that, according to their own informal polling, support for a strike among the city's public school teachers is widespread. Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis said that teachers are "fed up" when it comes to the "hostile" climate teachers are currently dealing with, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. At least 75 percent of the teachers polled at 150 schools reportedly support striking should the city and union not agree on a contract. ... Chicago

Unions Struggle to Regroup As Verizon’s Hits Keep Coming

Pat Fahy, Labor Notes, April 4, 2012 Seven months after last August’s bitter Verizon strike, the company's attack continues relentlessly. Hundreds of layoffs in New Jersey are underway as union leaders and rank-and-file rabble-rousers debate how to regain leverage. Photo: Unity at Verizon. Just a few days shy of the six-month anniversary of last August’s bitter Verizon strike, bosses in New Jersey celebrated by announcing the layoff of 336 technicians. The mass firing left only 20 Verizon Connected Solutions techs in the entire state. ... Unions

Obama JOBS Act Leaves Labor Fuming In Democratic Feud

Zach Carter & Ryan Grim, Huffington Post, April 4, 2012 Washington - President Barack Obama will sign the JOBS Act into law Thursday, clinching a rare and hard-fought bipartisan victory for his presidency. But to secure the legislative win, he had to pick sides in a simmering feud between interest groups aligned with the Democratic Party. One side of the fight - the tech industry and venture capital allies - is all smiles. But the other side - organized labor - is seething. The flashpoint for this Democratic Party conflict - the JOBS Act - is the brainchild of Obama's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, a 27-member group that the president stacked ... Obama

NY Pension Cuts Fuel Insurgent Public Employees

Jon Flanders, Labor Notes, April 2, 2012 New York state public employees, like their compatriots across the US, are in the gunsights of politicians eager to appease irate taxpayers by slashing workers’ pay and benefits. A new caucus inside a large and influential public sector union is determined to roll back the attacks and re-energize a demoralized workforce. The assault on state employees has been led by Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo, who after demanding contract concessions, spearheaded the drive for a pension cut. “Tier 6” is an additional lower pension level for new hires in the public sector. ... NY

The AFL-CIO is in a Deep, Defensive Rut

Open Letter to Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO. Ralph Nader, CounterPunch, March 29, 2012 You have come to your leadership position of our country’s labor federation of unions with 13 million members the hard way. Starting by working in the coal mines, then becoming a lawyer, heading the United Mine Workers, then becoming the Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO before assuming your present position in 2009, who can pull rank on you in the formal labor movement? Yet, the AFL-CIO’s public leadership in three major areas has been far less effective than one would expect. ... The

Robin Hood Will Search City for World Leaders

National Nurses United, March 6, 2012 With world leaders of the G-8 nations fleeing the US’ third largest city by moving their May summit to the rural woods outside Washington, the nation’s largest nurses union will bring Camp David and the G-8 summit back to Chicago for a special event on Friday, May 18. With the help of Robin Hood’s band of merry women and men, National Nurses United, joined by healthcare, labor and other community activists, and guests from other G-8 nations, will reconstruct Camp David in Chicago and conduct a search for the absent G-8 leaders. ... Robin

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