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Thread: NEWSFEED: US union struggles

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    Default NEWSFEED: US union struggles

    As the thread says, please post any relevant articles in this thread regarding the current situation in the United States.
    ... To live – does it not mean to have indomitable faith in victory?
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    WSWS: Wisconsin state assembly passes anti-worker bill.


    Wisconsin state assembly passes anti-worker bill
    By Patrick Martin
    26 February 2011

    The lower house of the Wisconsin state legislature voted overwhelmingly early Friday morning to approve legislation demanded by Republican Governor Scott Walker that will slash wages and benefits and effectively abolish collective bargaining for public employees throughout the state.

    The bill was passed by a vote of 51 to 17, when the Republican-controlled state assembly put an end to a three-day debate and halted discussion of any further Democratic amendments. The vote was conducted so abruptly, shortly after 1 a.m., that two-thirds of the Democrats were not able to register their votes in time. The Republicans enjoy a 57 to 38 majority in the lower house, with one independent.

    More than a thousand protesters were in the state capitol at the time of the state Assembly vote, and they voiced their continued opposition by singing “We Shall Overcome” as soon as they learned of the action. The assembly Democrats have conducted their semi-filibuster as a publicity stunt to win credit for opposing the bill, while they actually support the draconian cuts in wages, health care and pensions that it contains.

    Only hours before the vote, a delegation of assembly Democrats met with a top Walker aide, reiterating their offer to vote for all the cuts if the provisions ending dues check-off, automatic union recognition and union bargaining rights were removed. Walker has flatly refused any such deal, insisting that the destruction of collective bargaining is an essential feature of his strategy for dealing with the state fiscal crisis.

    The Democratic minority in the state Senate is still blocking passage of the bill by absenting themselves from the capitol. Senate rules require a quorum of 20 senators present to adopt any legislation with financial implications, and the Republicans hold a 19-14 majority.

    The state senate took up the bill Friday, despite the lack of a quorum, but cannot give it final passage. But Republicans took action to insure that the legislation is not amendable if and when the Democrats return, meaning there would be an up-or-down vote on the legislation as drafted by the governor's office.

    Walker hailed the state assembly action, and saluted the role of the Democratic minority in agreeing to go through the motions of a debate and dropping efforts to filibuster the bill indefinitely. “The 14 Senate Democrats need to come home and do their jobs,” Walker said in a statement, “just like the Assembly Democrats did.”

    The governor began a statewide tour of the districts represented by the Senate Democrats, demanding that they return and warning that thousands of state workers will be laid off if his budget repair bill is not passed immediately. Walker is to present his biennial budget proposal to the legislature next Tuesday, March 1.

    The Republican governor has also declared that those who are fighting his anti-worker legislation are opposed to democracy, claiming that he campaigned for the bill “all throughout the election.” Actually, according to a review of the campaign by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Walker said nothing about eliminating collective bargaining during the campaign, and he sought and won the endorsement of several police and fire unions.

    The budget repair legislation would not only virtually put an end to future collective bargaining, but it calls into question existing contracts for local government and public school employees throughout the state.

    Milwaukee City Attorney Grant Langley announced Friday that he was drafting a legal opinion on whether the state could compel city employees to make pension contributions, as required by the bill. Under their current contract, the city makes the pension contribution for many workers as part of their compensation.

    The budget repair bill includes a $976 million reduction in state aid to local education over the next two years. Walker claims that by ending collective bargaining over most issues, local school districts will be able to recoup the lost aid by cutting salaries, health care and pension costs for their employees.

    This plan to pass the cost of the fiscal deficit along to the workers is not only completely reactionary, it is unworkable, because many districts have union contracts already in place which cannot be overridden by state law. The Milwaukee Public Schools, for instance, will lose $200 million in state aid but have union contracts in place through the 2011-12 school year. The likely result is mass layoffs of school employees when the money runs out.

    School districts throughout the state have begun issuing layoff notices to any employee who might conceivably be affected by the worst-case scenario for the state budget. The statutory deadline for nonrenewal of teacher contracts is Monday, February 28, the day before Walker officially unveils the budget. Some districts have gone so far as to issue layoff notices to every single unionized employee, as a “precaution” against lawsuits for unfair dismissal.

    Walker is deliberately exacerbating the schools crisis, telling the Journal-Sentinel that he was looking into refusing federal funds under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, a long-time target of right-wing ideologues. Wisconsin schools received $188 million in Title I funds, largely to assist low-income students, so a state rejection would have a devastating effect.

    The response of the unions to this right-wing rampage has been completely unserious and impotent. The Wisconsin AFL-CIO proclaimed that it was organizing the largest protests in the history of the state, to be held Thursday at more than two dozen sites.

    The actual result was a series of small protests around the state, involving, according to the state AFL-CIO's own count, less than 9,000 people, all told—fewer people than took part in any of the daily protests in Madison over the past week.

    The largest protest involved 2,500 in Stevens Point, where the University of Wisconsin has a campus. Less than a 1,000 people participated in three separate protests in Milwaukee, the state's largest city.

    In an effort to cover up the deliberate sabotage of the struggle against the Walker administration, the state AFL-CIO cynically changed its description of the Thursday day of protest, calling it “the largest day of demonstrations outside Madison in Wisconsin history” (emphasis added).

    Encouraged by the steady retreat of the unions and their deliberate stifling of the widespread popular opposition to anti-worker onslaught, the Walker administration and the Republicans in the state legislature are moving to close down the protests in Madison as well.

    The state Department of Administration confirmed that Capitol Police were working with protest organizers to remove large items like mattresses, folding tables and chairs from the state capitol, the second in a series of steps to scale down the occupation of the building by protesters. The first step, taken Wednesday, was to close meeting rooms and offices inside the Capitol after 4 p.m. Friday, the usual closing time.

    The rotunda and public hallways still remain open around the clock, and thousands of workers and students are expected to crowd them during protests this weekend. But the intention is clearly to put an end to the occupation before Walker delivers his budget message in the state capitol next Tuesday.

    The workers in Wisconsin face enormous dangers from the capitulation of the unions to the right-wing onslaught. They must act independently, without relying on either the parliamentary stunts by the Democrats or the handwringing appeals by the union leaders. It is past time for workers to initiate a fight for a statewide general strike to defeat this attack, and the broadest possible appeal for support from workers throughout the country.

    This requires the building of rank-and-file committees, independent of the trade unions and the Democratic Party, to mobilize the widest layers of workers and young people in a common fight to defend the living standards and democratic rights of the working class. This is, above all, a political fight against the entire economic and political setup in the United States, which sacrifices the interests of masses of working people to the wealthy few.



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    LABOR notes: New Voice in Wisconsin Protests: No Concessions, No Cuts


    New Voice in Wisconsin Protests: No Concessions, No Cuts

    Colette Brown
    | March 2, 2011

    A day after 100,000 people demonstrated in Madison—one of the largest protests in Wisconsin history—labor activists gathered to strategize with a new-found sense of power. Andy Heidt of AFSCME Local 1871, a union of county workers, repeated a recurring theme of the day: “One hundred thousand people do not need to beg.”

    About 70 people gathered in Madison for an emergency meeting called by National Nurses United under the banner of “No Concessions.” Panelists and attendees were unhappy about public employee union leaders’ signals that they would concede on all pay and benefit take-backs demanded by Governor Scott Walker in exchange for preservation of collective bargaining rights. The givebacks would amount to 8 percent pay cuts for state workers.

    Participants also viewed Walker’s proposed social service cuts as unacceptable. The state budget the governor introduced Tuesday contained $1.5 billion in cuts to education and local government. This included sweeping changes to the state’s Medicaid program providing health care coverage to low-income families. The income benchmark for enrolling in the program would drop from $1,800 per month to $1,100—and 70,000 people could lose coverage. Walker’s bill could also force forfeiture of more than $46.6 million in federal transit aid, more than half the state’s federal transit aid.

    The consensus was that these attacks on Wisconsin’s poor and working class are designed to divert attention from the real culprits behind the state’s fiscal problems—tax cuts for corporations and the rich, whose profits and incomes have continued to soar during the recession.

    Jan Rodolfo of National Nurses United reviewed panelists’ main points: Blame should be placed on Wall Street for the country’s economic woes, not on workers. The solution to budget challenges lies in taxing the rich and closing loopholes—not in Walker’s budget cuts. Gains for workers must be considered as much a priority as saving collective bargaining rights.

    Rodolfo asked the group to consider what result would qualify as a victory in the rapidly evolving landscape of Wisconsin’s labor battles. The group offered several ideas.

    “We should involve the public in a participatory budgeting process and put forward an alternative budget that relies on increased taxes on the rich rather than cuts in social services for the poor and cuts in pay and benefits for public workers,” said Patrick Barrett, a University of Wisconsin staff member.

    Participants spoke of the need to maintain momentum and keep up the unprecedented unity in the labor movement that has emerged over the last two weeks. Speakers advocated reaching out to non-union workers, emphasizing how Walker’s plans will affect them.

    Others spoke of redirecting public resentment of union benefits and wages by showing how political leaders and their corporate supporters manufactured the budget crisis for their own benefit. While the image of shared sacrifice is often invoked by political and union leaders, corporations and rich people have not contributed their fair share to Wisconsin for years. Currently, Wisconsin allows the exclusion of 30 percent of capital gains income from taxation.

    In 2010, this tax break amounted to $151 million, according to a report from the non-partisan Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. The $82 million in tax cuts proposed in Walker’s budget would exclude even more capital gains from taxes.

    Participants have scheduled a “No Concessions” event for Thursday at 5 p.m., which will include a New Orleans jazz funeral procession protesting Walker’s planned program cuts, with a rally after that at the Capitol.

    Colette Brown is a Wisconsin state employee and member of the Wisconsin Professional Employees Council, AFT Local 4848.
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    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41996994...more_politics/

    MADISON, Wis. — Republicans pushed a provision stripping public employees of their collective bargaining rights through the state Senate Wednesday evening by separating it from Gov. Scott Walker's controversial budget bill.

    The action, if it stand, would have the effect of rendering moot a Democratic attempt to keep the provision from passing the Senate. The vote in the Senate was 18-1. No Democrats were present.
    All 14 Democrats had left the state to prevent passage of the overall budget bill in opposition to the collective bargaining rights.
    The Senate is split 19-14 with Republicans in the majority. Because the union provision was part of a budget bill, Republicans in the Senate needed at least 20 senators present for a quorum.
    By separating the anti-union measure from the budget bill, Republicans did not need 20 senators for a quorum.
    Before the Senate floor vote, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald read the bill to a hastily created joint conference committee. Rep. Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, objected, saying the committee's meeting was in violation of the state's open meetings law. But Fitzgerald went ahead with the vote, which was seen live on WisconsinEye, and the measure was approved.
    Senate Democrats reportedly were meeting to decide how to respond. Some argue that Senate Republicans were violating legislative rules with the vote.
    The stand-alone measure would have to be approved by both the Senate and the Assembly, the lower chamber. The Assembly was not in session Wednesday and it was not clear that it could be convened until Thursday.
    Stripping out the collective-bargaining provisions into a "non-fiscal" bill raises questions about the governor's and the Republicans' argument that the issue of collective bargaining rights is crucial to the budget.
    NBC News' Mike Taibbi, John Yang, Mark Murray Samira Puskar and Stephanie Himango, and msnbc.com staff contributed to this report.
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    Mo' Fuckin' General Strike is on the horizon! Walker will sign it within 24 hours, no doubt.

    Wisconsin Assembly passes anti-labor bill
    Workers and students step up the struggle


    Originally Posted by Answer Coaliton
    If public and private sector workers in Wisconsin engage in a general strike, it will be supported by workers and students across the country. This struggle will not be decided in the halls of the state government, but in the streets—and spreading the word and building national support will be critical as workers prepare for the next stage in this battle.
    ANSWER organizers have been helping to organize from the epicenter of this historic labor battle. Thousands of people poured into the streets to protest the illegal vote to strip workers of their rights. Our organizers have also been reporting and tweeting live throughout the day. They will continue to send in reports, video and photos of the actions as they continue to unfold in the coming days. ANSWER has also produced and distributed placards and other materials in Madison in solidarity with the workers and students.
    Please help us at this critical moment of struggle by making an urgently needed donation. Your support will help cover the cost of organizers on the ground as well as the production of materials for the demonstrations.
    Eyewitness report
    This eyewitness report was sent today by activists at the labor demonstrations in Madison, Wis.
    In a 53-42 vote, the Wisconsin State Assembly just passed the bill at the center of labor struggle that has unfolded in Madison for the past several weeks. The new legislation strips public-sector workers of collective bargaining among other fundamental union rights. Gov. Scott Walker—the most ardent backer of the bill—has already indicated he’ll sign it into law.
    But if Gov. Walker thinks he can silence the workers and students and succeed with his anti-labor agenda, he is seriously mistaken.
    Help with this fight now. We can win.
    Thousands of demonstrators immediately began converging at the state capitol last night after a special legislative committee pulled a procedural sleight-of-hand to get around the required three-fifths quorum that had been prevented by the Senate Democrats. Last night's Senate vote on the bill allowed it to proceed to the Assembly.
    Protesters continued to arrive today in a show of force against the union-busting legislation. Middle- and high-school students walked out by the thousands to join the demonstrations. The impressive outpouring delayed the Assembly vote for several hours.
    Now comes the the next phase of the struggle. More student walkouts are planned for tomorrow and a mass labor action has been announced for Saturday. Prior to the vote on the bill, the Madison-based South Central Federation of Labor’s 45,000 members endorsed a resolution calling for preparations for a general strike should the bill pass.
    Please make an urgently needed donation today.
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    Default Immokalee workers demand higher wages from Publix

    Immokalee workers demand higher wages from Publix

    By Jared Hamil



    Lakeland, FL – For almost five years farmworkers in Immokalee, organized by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), have been fighting for higher wages from Publix Supermarkets. Immokalee, located in southwest Florida, grows many crops, including tomatoes and oranges. The city is home to many migrant farmworkers mostly from Mexico and Central America. Publix, whose headquarters is in Lakeland, Florida, is a multi-billion dollar corporation with over 1000 grocery stores throughout the South.

    The CIW has been pressuring Publix to pay a penny more per pound of tomatoes it buys from the farms in South Florida. As it stands, the Immokalee workers are paid by piece, meaning they are paid anywhere from 30 to 50 cents per 30 pound bucket of tomatoes they pick. Since the corporate buyers set the price they pay for tomatoes, they essentially set the wages for the farmworkers in the fields. The CIW have also been trying to get Publix to sign onto the Fair Food Program, which would advance the conditions for the workers. It would help stop slavery, harassment from the bosses, allow for break times, and many other things.

    Since March 5, Immokalee workers on “The Now Is the Time Tour” had been going to different cities throughout the South to talk about the Fair Food Program and urging companies like Publix and Wendy's to sign on. Different cities had marches and protests. On March 14, the CIW arrived in Lakeland. Hundreds of protesters gathered outside of a local Publix store. Groups of people arrived throughout the night to take part in a 24-hour vigil. The local police were in full force, as well. They told people not to enter the parking lot - threatening them with arrests and car towing. On March 15, hundreds more gathered outside the store. The crowd was a mix of farmworkers, community members and students. They picketed for hours while chanting “The people united will never be defeated!” and “J-U-S-T-I-C-E is what we want, Justice in Immokalee!”

    In the hot Florida sun, almost 1000 people marched into the streets towards downtown Lakeland. For over two miles, men, women and children of all ages waved banners, flags and signs in the face of traffic and onlookers. Cars honked their horns and people cheered from the sidewalks.

    They marched to a park in downtown Lakeland where the CIW had set up a stage for speakers, and musicians. It opened up with speakers, and was followed with Huapango music (Mexican folk). Oscar Otzoy, a farmworker and member of the CIW said, “We're here to celebrate the dramatic transformation underway in the fields as a result of a the Fair Food program and communicate the urgency of Publix's participation as Publix continues to ignore us, to disseminate misleading statements and turn their back on the farmworkers who fuel their soaring profits.”

    Farmworkers acted out in a theatrical piece which showed the horrible conditions that they endure in Immokalee. It also showed how conditions improve when farms sign onto the Fair Food Program.

    From the stage, students from around Florida spoke. Diego Guerra of CHISPAS from the University of Florida fired people up and led them with a chant, “What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!”

    Veronica Juarez who grew up in Immokalee spoke on behalf of Tampa Bay Students for a Democratic Society, stating “My mom is a farmworker so I've seen the horrible conditions that the farmworkers face first hand; from the harassment of the crew leaders to the wage theft. It's great to see that the CIW is trying to change these realities so that the workers will have better working conditions and higher wages.”

    Marisol Marquez, an activist from Tampa and member of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization had this to say, “The U.S. time and time again, continues with exploitation of undocumented immigrants and farm workers - specifically those who are from Mexico and Central America. Just like Publix, the U.S. tries to turn the other way when confronted by the same people they oppress. NAFTA is one of those horrible examples of how the U.S. doesn't start its terrible treatment of immigrants just at home, it also does it abroad. That is why you see so many immigrants crossing the border and risking everything to do so. Using economics and exploitation, they hurt people across the globe.”

    Marquez continued, “My parents, who are from Mexico, are a part of this. My mother swam through the Rio Grande and my father held onto the bottom of a train for four straight days; looking for work. They met in the crop fields. I remember growing up how they took me from tomato field to tomato field with them. Almost every immigrant around the country knows that farm workers will work under brutal conditions if they move to the state of Florida. And yet Florida is known by big businesses as the number one producer of crops like oranges, strawberries and tomatoes. It's no surprise that business booms when people are forced into slavery and have to work for low wages. Enough is enough, the people are fighting back! And the CIW is paving the way!”

    The CIW plans to continue demanding that Publix sign onto the Fair Food program. Over the years the CIW has reached agreements with corporations like: Taco Bell, Burger King, Walmart, Subway, Aramark, among many others. It is only a matter of time before they make Publix cave in like the rest.

    Read more News and Views from the Peoples Struggle at http://www.fightbacknews.org. You can write to us at [email protected]






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    Default Stop Kellogg greed! Locked out Memphis workers tell their stories

    Stop Kellogg greed! Locked out Memphis workers tell their stories


    Locked out Memphis workers tell their stories - stop Kellogg greed!





    The BCTGM has released a series of powerful videos depicting Kellogg's workers' fight against rampant corporate greed. The union has posted the videos at www.kellogggreed.com from where you can also send a message to the company.



    Union workers at the transnational cereal maker's Memphis factory have been locked out since October 22 for rejecting the company's efforts to impose a plan under which all newly employed workers would be employed as casuals with no guaranteed hours at significantly lower pay and benefits. Kellogg's call this "The New Workforce of the Future".

    Union factories have been closed in Australia and Canada, production is being shifted to low-wage facilities and the company is demanding unacceptable conditions around the world to feed a voracious appetite for executive pay and stock dividends.

    View the videos and SEND A MESSAGE to top Kellog executives demanding a halt to the destruction of decent jobs and working people's loves and communities. If you live outside the United States, just enter your country in the postal zip field.


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    Default Campus workers in Chicago will take strike vote

    Campus workers in Chicago will take strike vote

    By staff

    Chicago, IL - 3000 workers at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) have gone without a contract, and without a contract raise, for over a year. In response, the Joint Bargaining Committee of Clerical, Service and Maintenance, and Technical units at UIC has called for a strike authorization vote. The workers are represented by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 73. The voting will take place from Monday, March 31 through Thursday, April 3. Fight Back! interviewed Joe Iosbaker, a clerical worker at UIC who chairs the joint committee.

    “In negotiations with management, their chief negotiator Steve Katz said, ‘None of your members are underpaid.’ In other words, management is saying, ‘just be glad you have a job and stop expecting raises.’

    “Now management is threatening us that the politicians in Springfield want to cut 12.5% of the university’s budget for next year. They say it's because the state will lose that much revenue when the temporary income tax increase ends on Jan. 1, 2015. Management wants us to give up any hope of a fair contract.

    “The three bargaining committees met and agreed to fight on both fronts. Our message to Springfield: No pension cuts! No budget cuts! Make the rich pay their share of taxes! We adopted a resolution to send a message to the politicians.

    “And our message to management: We’re prepared to fight, and even strike if we have to. Salaries for top management have exploded while we have struggled to keep up with the cost of living, with no hope of getting ahead.

    “We are asking all union members to come out to vote Yes! to authorize our committees to call a 3 day strike.”

    Below is the resolution adopted unanimously by the joint meeting of bargaining committees (Clerical and Administrative, Service and Maintenance, and Technical units) of the Service Employees International Union Local 73 at the University of Illinois at Chicago:
    Tax the Rich!

    Resolution adopted unanimously by the joint meeting of bargaining committees (Clerical and Administrative, Service and Maintenance, and Technical units) of the Service Employees International Union Local 73 at the University of Illinois at Chicago, representing 3000 workers.

    The State of Illinois has an unfair tax system. Wealthy people don’t pay their share. In Illinois, the rich pay less in taxes that 42 other states.

    Many major corporations located in Illinois pay little or no taxes. Take for example the Boeing Company. They are the second largest arms manufacturer, and get most of their contracts from the federal government. From 2003 through 2012, Boeing had $35 billion in profits, but paid zero in state taxes.

    Now the politicians in Illinois want to cut hundreds of millions of dollars from the higher education budget, and billions from other programs that benefit working class people.

    We shouldn’t pay for this crisis! The politicians have been raiding our pension funds for 30 years because they don’t tax the rich enough. Illinois state workers have met our obligation by paying into our pension fund from each paycheck. Our pensions are under attack already. Now we’re being threatened with this 12.5% budget cut.

    No pension cuts! No budget cuts! Make the rich pay their share of taxes!

    Read more News and Views from the Peoples Struggle at http://www.fightbacknews.org. You can write to us at [email protected]






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    Default Tell the state of CA to take Prima's owners to court ASAP!

    Tell the state of CA to take Prima's owners to court ASAP!



    http://action.ufw.org/prima


    Gerawan Farming - which markets its fruits under the Prima brand - is a multi-million dollar company employing over 5,000 farm workers. These farm workers are hardly part of the 1%. In early 2013, the UFW was able to negotiate wage increases of $1 to $2.50 an hour for these Prima workers. For example, general laborers received an increase from $9 to $10 an hour. For those workers who work full time, that's over $2000 more a year, money much needed to support them and their families.

    But $10 still falls way short of what one needs to have a decent standard of living. Four months ago, the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) ordered Gerawan to raise wages on March 15, 2014 to at least $10.75 an hour. But workers have yet to see this increase. In fact, in spite of there being a final order, Gerawan is continuing to flaunt the ALRB order and not paying workers what they're legally entitled to.

    Is there a pattern here? Perhaps. Remember that only last month, workers sued Gerawan Farms for wage and hour violations.

    Juan Cruz Lopez, who labors in Gerawan's fields says, "So much time is passing and they are not giving us what we deserve. Where are our rights? Where are the contract wages we are entitled to?"

    Long time Gerawan worker Primitivo Santiago Gutierrez tells us, "It is very important to us to have a contract because we need Gerawan respecting our rights, benefits and better work conditions… Farm workers are the ones who suffer the company abuses of power … Lots of stress, and fear of being fired if we try to do anything, fear of discrimination for exercising our rights.”

    Workers at Gerawan labor hard to pick the peaches and harvest the grapes we see in supermarkets under the Prima Brand. They're proud of the work they do and want to see their company prosper; but they also need Gerawan to comply with the order and the law.

    Tell the State of California there can be no more delays. Go to court and force Gerawan to follow the law.



    http://action.ufw.org/prima


    After you take action, please ask your friends and family to take action too. You can send them an e-mail, post this campaign on your Facebook and/or Twitter page by clicking here or by going to: http://action.ufw.org/page/share/prima


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    IUF dairy affiliates to fight trade and investment agreements

    Posted: 01 Apr 2014 07:56 AM PDT

    IUF dairy division members call on their respective Governments to abandon the current model of investment agreements and to conduct trading relationships which respect human rights and promote food security and economic sovereignty.


    U.S. Government charges Kellogg's with serious violations of federal law

    Posted: 01 Apr 2014 05:45 AM PDT



    The United States government has charged transnational cereal-maker Kellogg's with multiple and serious violations of federal labour law in connection with the lockout of more than 220 union workers in Memphis.


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    Default Call UPS now! Tell them: "STOP retaliating against 250 drivers. No more firing!"

    http://action.workingfamiliesparty.o...ction_KEY=9589


    Working Families


    Call UPS now! Tell them: "STOP retaliating against 250 drivers. No more firing!"


    CALL UPS CEO Scott Davis at 404-828-4816


    Report how the call went here:

    Call UPS CEO Scott Davis at 404-828-4816. When you get a hold of his assistant tell her:

    "I'm calling because I'm appalled UPS has fired 20 drivers in Maspeth, NY and is continuing to threaten 230 drivers -- all for protesting. This is workplace retaliation, and it's wrong.

    [If you have used UPS before] I am a customer of UPS, and I am playing close attention. Please tell CEO Scott Davis that I want UPS to do the right thing. Stop retaliating, negotiate with the workers' union, and re-hire the 20 drivers.

    [If you have not used UPS before] As a consumer, I'm paying close attention. Please tell CEO Scott Davis that I want UPS to do the right thing. Stop retaliating, negotiate with the workers' union, and re-hire the 20 drivers."

    After the call, please take a moment to fill out the form on the left and leave a comment about how your call went.

    If you don't get through to a person right away, keep calling!

    First Name*
    Last Name
    Email*

    Phone
    Zip/Postal Code*
    How did the call go?




    © Working Families | 2013design by theCoup.org
  20. #12
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    Default UPS starts firing drivers, outrage spreads

    UPS starts firing drivers, outrage spreads

    By staff

    New York, NY - Following a walkout by 250 UPS drivers in Maspeth, Queens, and the subsequent unjust retaliation by UPS, the fight for justice continues.

    Workers walked out to defend a union activist and 24-year worker, Jairo Reyes, after UPS attempted to fire him through an abuse of the grievance procedure - a common practice to retaliate against workers enforcing their rights. UPS issued working terminations to the 250 brave drivers from Teamsters 804, claiming they could maintain the right to dismiss them at anytime. In response, the local union launched a national campaign of support with the aims of bringing UPS back to the table, and rescinding the terminations. The support included a national petition which garnered over 100,000 signatures in just two weeks.

    Union leaders, stewards and rank-and-file activists from Local 804 hit the gates of every building in New York City educating members and gathering signatures from their 6000-person membership.

    “We want to show UPS we’re united and won’t tolerate them retaliating against our brothers and sisters. UPS created this situation by violating the contract and refusing to respect the grievance procedure,” said 804 member Dustin Ponder. “The workers we talked to were eager to sign. They stand behind the drivers and our local.”

    The groundswell of support spread nationwide as activists from groups like Teamsters for Democratic Union, the Vote No movement and Part Time Power at UPS circulated the petition outside gates across the country. Within days activists gathered petitions at hubs in Florida, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Philadelphia, Chicago, Rhode Island, Ohio, New Jersey and Arizona.

    The union held a rally outside the distribution facility in Maspeth, Queens on March 21, where union leaders and local politicians such as New York City Public Advocate Letitia James were joined by hundreds of workers and community supporters. They demanded the company rescind the terminations and begin respecting the contract.

    UPS attempted to raise the stakes on March 31 by terminating 20 workers after they completed their shifts, and stating more terminations of hard working drivers would follow. Outrage spread in a matter of days and the story quickly spread to national headlines.

    The union and their allies now want to shine the spotlight on up to $60 million in subsidies New York City gives the company. “We’ve given UPS breaks, particularly as it relates to this [parking] program,” Public Advocate Letitia James said in quote given to the Daily News. “They should not treat workers in this manner.”

    Local 804 issued a call for workers and community supporters to rally on April 3 at 10:00 a.m. outside city hall to continue the fight-back against UPS’ abuses of their workforce. The rally will demand that UPS reinstate all workers who walked off their jobs and rescind all outstanding terminations.
    Read more News and Views from the Peoples Struggle at http://www.fightbacknews.org. You can write to us at [email protected]






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  21. #13
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    Default Stop the attempted intimidation of adjuncts at the MD Institute College of Art

    Stop the attempted intimidation of adjuncts at the MD Institute College of Art




    Dear Chris,

    Here at the Maryland Institute College of Art, our administration has launched an all out union-busting campaign against adjunct faculty who recently filed for a union election. President Fred Lazarus and department chairs have sent out numerous anti-union emails, held one-on-ones and captive audience meetings to try to intimidate faculty, and made adjunct faculty leaders fear for their future at MICA. When asked about the adjunct union, President Lazarus said “I would vote no.”

    Send a message to President Lazarus and the MICA administration: stop trying to intimidate adjunct faculty and halt all union-busting activities!

    In 2013, part time faculty taught 45% of MICA’s credit hours, but received only 13% of total faculty compensation (less than 5% of the total compensation budget). Part time faculty compensation has not increased since 1999, despite regular cost-of-living adjustments, salary increases, and essential benefits delivered to administrators, staff, and full-time faculty. As students, we will not accept the administration using our tuition dollars to intimidate faculty as they fight for fair working conditions and quality education.

    Email President Lazarus and ask him to halt all anti-union emails, phone calls, and captive audience meetings.

    We know that adjunct faculty working conditions are students’ learning conditions, and that an adjunct faculty union will lead to higher quality education.

    In solidarity,

    Estelle Kline and Karyn Lao
    Students Supporting the Adjunct Union


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  22. #14
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    Default Arrested for picketing

    Arrested for picketing




    Dear Chris,

    Last week during a peaceful picket line at the University of California Santa Cruz, riot police tackled a union leader and photographer, and arrested 22 students and union members. On April 2nd and 3rd, members of UAW 2865, the union that represents Teaching Assistants at nine UC campuses went on strike to stand up for their rights and to protest a pattern of intimidation and harassment of campus workers. The UC proved it will do whatever is necessary to prevent student-workers from exercising their right to lawfully picket as part of a strike against UC’s unfair labor practices.

    Send a message to President Janet Napolitano and Executive Vice Chancellor Alison Galloway: drop the charges and settle a fair contract for UC Teaching Assistants!

    Riot police were brought in from UC Berkeley prior to the strike. The Berkeley police are known for their willingness to physically assault both students and faculty at peaceful demonstrations. Wearing riot helmets, and resting their hands on their weapons, police used conflicting messages to create confusion about what demonstrators could do to avoid arrest. A union leader was specifically targeted after communicating to administrators that the picket was about to begin. He introduced himself to Executive Vice Chancellor Galloway, and informed her that he was going to be exercising his right to picket, but that he would not be standing in front of cars or blocking traffic. Shortly after this encounter, he was tackled to the ground by police and arrested, along with a photographer who was documenting the incident.

    Tell President Napolitano and EVC Galloway to stop the intimidation of organized labor by the UC and drop the charges against peaceful protestors.

    This isn’t the first time the UC has used intimidation to suppress organizing. UC admin have threatened the visa status of international students who participate in union activities, and have threatened to withhold future employment if union members participated in a legally sanctioned strike. It’s time for the UC to stop the intimidation of union members and come back to the bargaining table to settle a fair contract.

    Sincerely,

    Joshua Brahinsky
    UAW 2865


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    Default

    SHOPPER ALERT!

    Diesel

    failed to require

    Dickinson & Cameron

    and their subs to pay Carpenter
    area standard wages and benefits
    on all of their jobs, all of the time.

    LABOR DISPUTE


    ---


    If you care about Workers, Families, and Community

    Go inside and talk to the store manager and

    Voice your OUTRAGE to the following:


    Diesel USA

    Tomasso Bruso, CEO
    220 W. 19th Street
    New York, NY 10011

    Tel: 212-675-4349
    Fax: 212-414-8202
    Email: [email protected]


    So it goes in San Francisco,

    So it goes in California,

    So it goes across the U.S.A.


    We do not seek recognition, nor are we asking anyone to stop working, stop deliveries, or cease doing business with any employer.

    Carpenters Local 22
  24. #16
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    Default

    IUF News

    UFCW calls for safety first in poultry industry changes

    Posted: 11 Apr 2014 07:09 AM PDT

    A new study released by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) confirms what workers in the poultry industry have been saying for decades-it is among the most dangerous places to work in America.

    You are subscribed to email updates from IUF News
    To stop receiving these emails, you may unsubscribe now. Email delivery powered by Google
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  25. #17
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    Default

    More than 2000 attend Labor Notes Conference

    By staff

    Chicago, IL - Over 2000 people attended the 2014 Labor Notes conference here, April 4-6, bringing together some of the best fighters in the labor movement for 140 crowded workshops of people discussing how to rebuild labor in the U.S. and abroad, and a militant protest at Staples on behalf of postal workers fighting privatization.

    Mark Dimonstein, the newly-elected president of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), gave a rousing speech in defense of postal workers and public sector unions.

    "We're living in a moment when six members of the Walmart family have the accumulated wealth of 40% of this country," he said, detailing how the super-rich avoid paying taxes and, after successfully beating down private sector unions, have now "unleashed their fury on public sector unions." Dimonstein added, "When they don't pay who does? We do. And when they still don't have the money they take it out of the public sector.”

    Asked to say something about the victory of his reform slate in the APWU, Dimonstein explained, "We simply told our members the truth as we understood it, we went to the rank and file around this country, we never offered a path of guaranteed or easy victories, the only thing we guaranteed is if we were elected we would wage an unrelenting fight alongside the membership to save the public postal service, the fight to rebuild our union contracts, the fight to save our union, and we promised to enter the battlefield without white flags or surrendering, that was our promise. We asked the members to support us if they want a union the is willing to fight back."

    Conference attendee Charles Jordan, of Teamsters Local 804 in New York City, was recently on the front lines of a battle with UPS in his local. Teamsters of Local 804 were fighting the unjust firing of their union steward, who has 24 years working for UPS. In response to management walking him off the job, 250 drivers held an emergency protest outside their facility. UPS started replacing some of the 250 and said they were going to fire all of them. A campaign to save their jobs resulted in a victory where all 250 are back at work now.

    Jordan stated, "The support for Local 804 was great. It was understood that the 804 fight was not only to primarily get our drivers reinstated, but also to protect the act of solidarity shown that fateful day when the drivers remembered, 'an injury to one, is an injury to all,' and they stood up for their brother unjustly fired."

    Fight Back! hosted a party Saturday evening that featured class struggle unionists, including the president of an AFSCME local in Minnesota; a labor leader from El Salvador, where the people just elected a pro-worker government; a leader of the Chicago Teachers Union, a worker from Teamsters 804 who was one of the 250 UPS workers that recently went on strike, and many more.

    One of the teachers in attendance at the Fight Back! party asked the crowd, “Where has unions following the rules gotten us? The game is rigged. Unions are going to have to start breaking the rules and looking at civil disobedience."

    Blake Branum, a rank-and-file Teamster from Local 344 in Milwaukee, said, "I was astounded not only by how much knowledge I had taken in but by the diverse amount of people who are proud and unwilling to compromise what they believe in their heart.”

    Cherrene Horazuk, president of AFSCME 3800, told the party attendees, "We know that working people win when we stand up and fight back, when we fight the boss for a better workplace, when we use the most powerful tools in our toolbox - the strike and solidarity - and when we organize as a class to make this a better place for all working people."

    Read more News and Views from the Peoples Struggle at http://www.fightbacknews.org. You can write to us at [email protected]






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    Default

    Tell British American Tobacco Chairman Burrows to Prevent Human Rights Abuses in U.S. Tobacco Fields!


    BAT must act on human rights abuses in U.S. tobacco fields!



    The situation for tobacco farm workers in North Carolina is dire. Many farm workers often live in labor camps with inadequate or non-functioning toilets and showers and other substandard conditions, suffer from illnesses resulting from nicotine poisoning and exposure to dangerous pesticides and work long hours for below-poverty wages.

    BAT is the major shareholder (42.02%) and an important customer of Reynolds American Inc., the largest tobacco company in North Carolina. BAT plays an important role in setting acceptable standards for tobacco farm workers in its supply chain.

    Since there is no American law which mandates compliance with internationally recognized human rights protections for tobacco farm workers such as freedom of association, the IUF-affiliated Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC), which represents tobacco farm workers, wants RAI to guarantee the human right to freedom of association and worker representation on its contract farms. BAT should use its influence and tell RAI to sign an agreement with FLOC.

    It's time for BAT to take responsibility for conditions in their U.S. supply chain - click here to send a message to BAT!

    E-mail: [email protected]
    Rampe du Pont-Rouge, 8, CH-1213, Petit-Lancy (Switzerland)
    www.iuf.org

    Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

    Subscribe to IUF NEWS by e-mail

    unsubscribe from this list update subscription preferences View it in your browser


    ---


    Protest inhuman conditions in North Carolina's tobacco fields

    Send a message to British American Tobacco.


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    View it in your browser.




    British American Tobacco (BAT) is the major shareholder and an important customer of Reynolds American Inc. (RAI), the largest tobacco company in North Carolina. BAT plays an important role in setting acceptable standards for tobacco farm workers in its supply chain.

    The situation for tobacco farm workers in North Carolina is dire.

    A 2011 report by Oxfam America and the IUF-affiliated Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) -- A state of fear: Human rights abuses in North Carolina's tobacco industry [1] -- showed that many farm workers live in labour camps with inadequate or non-functioning toilets and showers and other substandard conditions, and suffer from illnesses resulting from nicotine poisoning and exposure to dangerous pesticides. They work long hours for below poverty wages.

    As there is no American law which mandates compliance with internationally recognized human rights protections for tobacco farm workers such as freedom of association, FLOC, which represents tobacco farm workers, wants RAI to guarantee the human right to freedom of association and worker representation on its contract farms. The IUF has just launched an online campaign demanding this.

    Please take a moment to send a message to BAT Chairman Richard Burrows telling RAI to sign an agreement with the Farm Labor Organizing Committee.

    Thank you.



    Eric Lee

    [1] http://www.floc.com/wordpress/wp-con...port-final.pdf


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  27. #19
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    Default

    Airport workers deserve better


    Chris,

    For over a year now, workers at Baltimore-Washington International Airport have been organizing and asking the Maryland Department of Transportation for improvements in the quality of their jobs and for more job stability. They’ve made a pretty straightforward request: to make sure that they don’t lose their jobs whenever individual restaurants and stores close at the airport. Unfortunately, nothing has happened in response to the workers’ request, and now that could result in the loss of jobs at the airport for some at the end of this month.

    Send a message to the Secretary of Transportation and the workers’ boss asking them to take action to preserve job security for airport workers.

    Creative Food Group, a company that operates six restaurants at the airport, took over from another company at the beginning of 2012, and refused to rehire the majority of the existing workers. Now, that same company is closing one of its restaurants, and some of the workers will be out of a job by the end of the month. They have not been offered jobs at other Creative Food Group restaurants or at other BWI concession outlets, and haven’t even been placed on a preferential hiring list for future openings.

    This is the exactly the kind of problem that BWI workers have tried so hard to avoid. Workers have asked the State of Maryland to institute worker retention policies, like those adopted by several other airports around the country, to ensure that workers have continued opportunities when such restaurant closings occur. Despite many attempts to convince the state to implement such policies at BWI, no action has been taken, and as a result, workers will be left unprotected when their restaurant closes at the end of this month.

    Support these workers now by sending a message to the Secretary of Transportation and to the CEO of Creative Food Group!

    During the 2014 legislative session, a bill seeking to ensure that airport food and retail workers be paid equally to the lowest paid Maryland Aviation Authority workers gained over 30 legislative cosponsors. At the close of the legislative session, airport workers and their supporters staged a 300-person march in Annapolis that culminated in fourteen workers and clergy being arrested in an act of civil disobedience. As recently as last week, airport workers and clergy affiliated with Interfaith Worker Justice of Maryland asked the Department of Transportation to adopt policies that exist at other airports which provide continued work opportunities or preferential hiring when such restaurant closings happen.

    In solidarity,

    Julian Bloom
    Student Worker Alliance at American University
    USAS Local #34


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    Default

    Reclaiming Our Unions for Struggle: New Stirrings in the Labor Movement

    [please excuse duplicate postings; to subscribe / unsubscribe, contact [email protected]]

    http://socialistorganizer.org/jkzef

    Reclaiming Our Unions for Struggle:
    New Stirrings in the Labor Movement

    Despite the hammer blows that have rained down on the working class and its main organizations -- i.e., the trade unions -- for close to three decades, and despite the complicity of the top union leaders with this ruling-class offensive, union members at all levels, especially the rank and file, are seeking to reclaim their unions for struggle against the bosses and the government.

    There is not a mass labor upsurge at this time; workers and their unions are very much on the defensive. There is not, as of yet, an extension of the fightback that we witnessed with the Chicago teachers' strike almost two years ago. But there are repeated and important developments that indicate a willingness to fight back that is swelling beneath the surface and portend major class battles ahead.
    * IAM Reform Slate Makes Big Gains:

    The elections for the top officers of the International Association of Machinists are taking place in IAM lodges (their name for locals) nationwide throughout the month of April. The IAM Reform Slate website reports that their slate has been winning a majority of the votes in lodges where they did not even have contacts a short while ago.

    Their slate has re-energized tens of thousands of Machinists on a labor fightback / anti-concessions platform in the wake of the mammoth betrayal by the top union leadership at Boeing. "Rosie's Machinist" Shannon Ryker received the "Troublemaker of the Year" award at the recent Labor Notes conference. [You can hear her presentation on the video produced by Labor Beat in Chicago; see sidebar article.]
    For more information on this IAM Reform Slate, go to:
    http://rosiesmachinists751.net


    * Teamsters Union In New York Forces Management to Rescind Firings at UPS:

    Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU) reports that UPS has rescinded the terminations of all 250 drivers fired for reaching out to the public during contract negotiations in Queens, N.Y. All fired workers are members of IBT Local 804, the local of former IBT President Ron Carey, who had organized a successful national strike against UPS (and who, as a result, was forced out of office on trumped-up charges by the government).

    When the company refused to come to the table to negotiate a settlement, Local 804 organized a community support campaign. They collected more than 125,000 signatures on support petitions from Teamster members and public supporters. Drivers who had reached out to their customers in person, on camera and in the press were summarily fired.

    The grassroots mobilization brought UPS back to the table and ultimately forced the company to rescind the terminations. A press release from IBT Local 804 put it this way: "UPS executives had insisted the firings were a done deal. Local 804 members proved otherwise by staying united, taking their case to the public, and mobilizing support." It was a small, but significant, victory.

    * Teachers Organizing the Fightback:

    There has been a big increase in the number of rank-and-file caucuses in both the AFT and NEA nationwide. Protest actions of all sorts are taking place as part of the fight against the budget cuts, the growing opposition by teachers to the new performance-evaluation tests, and the overall fight against the privatization of public education. This is occurring in K-12 schools, but also -- as the fight at City College of San Francisco attests -- in higher education, mainly at the Community College level.

    From Los Angeles, teacher unionist Joel Jordan reports: "Great news at UTLA! The progressive organizing slate -- Union Power -- swept the officer and Board of Directors elections, with a run-off for president in April. . . . So we're looking at an overwhelming victory in the run-off and the opening of a 'second front' (with Chicago) in the second largest urban district in the U.S.!"

    The day before the April 5-6 Labor Notes conference in Chicago, a day-long meeting of dissident teachers' caucuses gathered in Chicago, with delegates from North Carolina, California, Washington state, Minnesota, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Oregon, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Ohio. The National Network Coordinating Committee of teachers will be holding a larger, open conference of rank-and-file teachers and reform caucuses in Chicago in August.

    * Postal Workers' Union Elect Militant Leader:

    A militant leader of the North Carolina chapter of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), Mark Dimondstein, recently won the election for union president. Dimondstein ran on a platform to stop the privatization and destruction of the U.S. postal service (which is far advanced at this point) and to build unity with the three other postal workers' unions to beat back and reverse the attacks against the Post Office and the workforce.

    The four post office unions, in fact, have just formed the Postal Union Alliance to fight back against the "unprecedented attack" on the Postal Service. The unions will work together to protest privatization, subcontracting, and other actions that have already led to the loss of tens of thousands of jobs. The alliance also "vows to form a common front in the fight for genuine postal reform legislation," to fight corporate welfare in USPS service rates, and to work to expand services to include basic banking, notary, check-cashing and other services.

    Dimondstein was a keynote speaker at the Labor Notes Conference. [His speech is included in the Labor Beat report; see below.]

    * Growing $15 an Hour Movement:

    Spurred by the electoral victory of Kshama Sawant and the successful organizing drive for a $15 minimum wage ordinance in Seattle, scores of labor-community coalitions have been building similar movements in cities across the country. In San Francisco, a resolution adopted by the S.F. Labor Council was followed-up by a decision to form a coalition, led by SEIU Local 1021 and Jobs with Justice, among others, to place a $15 an hour minimum wage initiative on the November 2014 ballot. "This is about lifting up everybody in the community, not just low-wage workers," said Shaw San Liu, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco Progressive Workers Alliance, which is spearheading this campaign.

    As a result of this mounting pressure from below, the national AFL-CIO has even come out for a $15 federal minimum wage -- at a time when Obama is pushing for a increase in the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour (a proposal that is being fought tooth and nail by the Republicans). Many young labor and community activists are mobilizing in support of this campaign.

    * Growing Labor for Single Payer movement:

    Outraged by the attacks on the unions' health plans, more and more national unions are speaking out against the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) and urging support for single payer. This issue surfaced in an explosive manner at the AFL-CIO convention in September 2013. But business has not returned to usual in the house of labor on the healthcare front. Some unions, such as UNITE-HERE, are actively educating the labor movement about the serious shortcomings of ACA. This is likely to be one of the main breaking points -- if not the main breaking point -- between labor and the Democrats (and one of the main leverage points for launching a Labor Party) in the period ahead.

    In many states, such as California, the labor movement is joining with community organizations to form coalitions with the goal of placing a single-payer initiative on the ballot in 2017. Under the provisions of the ACA, states can opt out, or modify, their ACA legislation in 2017 as they see fit -- and this could include opting out of the private-insurance-dominated ACA system to establish a single-payer system. The Campaign for a Healthy California (CHC), led by the California Nurses Association/NNU, is educating labor and community about the major problems with ACA and building a base to launch a successful campaign to defeat what will surely be a billion-dollar effort by the insurance companies to stop any single-payer ballot initiative in 2017.

    For more on the UNITE HERE campaign, go to:
    http://www.unitehere.org/detail.php?ID=3775

    For more information on how states can move toward single payer in 2017, to go the PNHP blog.

    * Moral Mondays Movement Spreads Across U.S. South:

    A recent article written by Tom Bias and distributed by the Labor Fightback Network noted that the "Moral Mondays" protests that shook North Carolina's capital through all of 2013 -- led by labor and community organizations -- have now spread to Georgia and South Carolina. UE Local 150 leader Saladin Muhamad called this a "budding mass movement" as he reported on the close to 100,000 people from throughout the South who turned out for a "Moral Mondays" protest in Raleigh on February 8.

    The protests have targeted the attacks by the Supreme Court and many Southern governors on the voting rights of Black people, the decisions by state legislatures not to participate in Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, the assault on public employees and their collective-bargaining rights, the "New Jim Crow" legislation across the South and the growing prison-industrial complex, the mounting attacks on pensions and unemployment benefits, the lack of housing, the attacks and deportations of immigrant workers, the loss of funding for civil rights enforcement agencies, and more.

    It is no surprise, therefore, that all the top leaders of the North Carolina Public Service Union, UE Local 50, were jailed and still face serious charges -- along with more than 900 other labor and community activists. Reclaiming the traditions of the early Civil Rights Movement, these activists are putting their bodies on the line -- and they are inspiring workers and youth in the rest of the country in the process.
    For more information on this movement, go to:
    http://southernworker.org/


    * Huge Turnout for Labor Notes (LN) Conference:
    The bi-annual LN conferences have always been a gathering place to do networking for serious labor activists and officials committed, as their slogan goes, "to putting the movement back in the labor movement." But this year's LN conference -- reflecting the rumblings occurring within the labor movement -- was different. For one thing, it was the largest ever -- 2,000 union activists, with a much larger percentage of youth, Black and Latino activists. A big contingent came from the Southern Workers Assembly in North Carolina. And some national unions attended the conference. This was the case of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), whose 400 delegates attending a prior union meeting in Chicago all came to the LN conference. -- A.B.

    * * * * * * * * * *


    LINK TO HIGHLIGHTS OF Labor Notes Conference 2014, Produced by Labor Beat (Chicago)
    On YouTube at:
    http://youtu.be/sEPHe-mFi04

    Speech excerpts from the Friday evening and Saturday morning plenaries of the April 4-6, 2014 Labor Notes Conference in Chicago. And before the speeches begin, a quick visit with the folks at the lit tables that provide much of the political ambience surrounding this biennial event.

    Speeches by: Karen Lewis, President of Chicago Teachers Union, who delivers the welcome; Jane Slaughter, Labor Notes Editor; Stephan Chan, Union of Hong Kong Dock Workers, who led a 40-day strike in 2013; Tim Sylvester, President of IBT Local 804, UPS New York; Jessica Davis, Workers Organizing Committee/Chicago; Mark Dimondstein, newly elected President of American Postal Workers; Kimberly Bowsky, Chicago Teachers Union.

    Mark Dimondstein, APWU President, dwelled on the attacks on the public sector unions, "along with this [privatization] drive of public services, from education, public transportation, public utilities, public hospitals, and public postal services. . . . Privatization represents the looting of what belongs to the people. Privatization represents a transfer of wealth from decently paid union workers to the bosses and owners who thrive off of non-union, non-living wage jobs."

    Dimondstein capsulized the basic strategy of the privatizers: "But since the people trust the Post Office, frontal privatization is not such an easy thing. First you have to degrade it, undermine it, not have enough people working the windows, have the lines long, close early, deliver mail late into the night, and people are going to be forced to look elsewhere. I compared it in our campaign to a lot of what's happened to public education in this country. Before you can destroy it, and move in for the kill, you have to undermine it and degrade it."

    President Dimondstein also noted at several points in his speech that both the Republican and Democratic Parties have been leading the privatization attacks.

    [The political ramifications of such political observations were addressed later at the Conference at a featured session on Labor and Independent Politics. We videotaped that meeting and will delve into that footage in some future Labor Beat show.] Length - 26:39

    Produced by Labor Beat. Labor Beat is a CAN TV Community Partner, and member of the Evanston Community Media Center. Labor Beat is a non-profit 501(c)(3) member of IBEW 1220. Views are those of the producer Labor Beat. For info: [email protected], www.laborbeat.org. 312-226-3330. For other Labor Beat videos, visit YouTube and search "Labor Beat".

    On Chicago CAN TV Channel 19, Thursdays 9:30 pm; Fridays 4:30 pm. Labor Beat has regular cable slots in Chicago, Evanston, Rockford, Urbana, IL; Philadelphia, PA; Princeton, NJ; and Rochester, NY.
    Visit our Web Site:
    http://www.laborbeat.org

    * * * * * * * * * *


    Mass Mobilizations Spread to
    Demand End to Deportations
    ALL OUT FOR MAY 1st!

    The failure by the Democrats and Republicans to reach a deal on "immigration reform" left an opening for labor and community activists who had not swallowed the "poison pill" of Comprehensive Immigration Reform to initiate a campaign to demand that Obama stop the deportations (more than 2 million under his watch to date), expand DACA (deferred action), and stop the firings of undocumented immigrants.

    Soon the campaign was endorsed by local unions and central labor councils -- and then by entire city councils (Los Angeles, San Francisco, and later many cities across California and the country). Labor activist David Bacon, in an aptly titled article titled, "How Change Happens," described this as "a growing insurgency . . . in direct response to the fact that the Obama administration, like the Bush administration before it, has implemented the harshest parts of Congress' immigration reform proposals, even while Congress has been paralyzed and unable to pass them."

    Bacon summarized some of the recent activities of this movement:

    "In early March, hundreds of people inside the Tacoma Detention Center launched a hunger strike against its private operator, Geo Corporation, demanding better conditions and a moratorium on deportations. A week later the strike spread to another Geo facility in Texas.

    "This is only the most dramatic action of a wave of activity around the country, in which community and labor activists, and now deportees themselves, have refused to quietly endure increased immigration enforcement. . . . These activists refuse to wait for Congress to enact its immigration reform proposals, and in fact many reject them as fatally compromised. Instead, they're organizing actions on the ground to win rights and equality:

    " - In Tucson, San Francisco, Phoenix, Chicago and other cities people sat down in front of ICE buses and vans, and chained themselves to vehicles, to block deportations. . . .

    " - Supervisors in Los Angeles and San Francisco passed resolutions demanding a moratorium on the huge wave of deportations -- 2 million people in 5 years. The San Francisco resolution also demanded an end to the tens of thousands of immigration-related firings.

    " - In Burlington, Washington, immigrant indigenous farm workers from Oaxaca went on strike repeatedly last year for labor rights, better pay, and to stop a grower from using the H2A guest worker program to replace them."

    Bacon concluded his article as follows:

    "Figuring out the alternative isn't really the hard part. It's building a movement strong enough to force Congress and the administration to enact it. But this is possible, as our own history tells us. Historian Howard Zinn warned: 'When a social movement adopts the compromises of legislators, it has forgotten its role, which is to push and challenge the politicians, not to fall in meekly behind them.'

    "Zinn believed people have the power to win radical demands. 'If there is going to be change, real change,' he said, 'it will have to work its way from the bottom up, from the people themselves. That's how change happens." -- Editors

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