Category Archives: Union Rights

Leftist Party’s Win in Alberta May Affect Future of Oil Sands – NYTimes.com

With an economy dominated by the oil industry and a conservative, free-market political tradition, Alberta has long been cast as the Texas of Canada. But on Tuesday, not only did the province’s voters put the Progressive Conservative Party out of power after 43 years, they elected a government from the far left of Canada’s mainstream political spectrum.

The unexpected rise of the New Democratic Party, which was partly founded by labor unions, may have implications for Alberta’s oil sands, which, many critics say, enjoyed a light regulatory touch under Conservative governments. And with a federal election coming this year, the result will not be welcomed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a Conservative whose party’s power base is in Alberta, along with his own parliamentary constituency.

via Leftist Party’s Win in Alberta May Affect Future of Oil Sands – NYTimes.com.

The Farmworker Story Behind Your Cheap Food | Earthjustice

My name is Andrea Cabrera Hubbard. I started working in the fields as a child, picking squash for half the day and then going to school the other half. At school, my classmates would bully me for working in the fields. I made it to fourth grade and then quit. After that, I worked all day, every day, cutting tomatoes in Mexico. Sometimes the tomato cans were heavier than I was and sometimes we would work 14 to 16 hours a day.

In 2001, I came to the United States and began to work in the fields here in Santa Paula, California. I had a lot of fear and didn’t want to come here, because before I arrived, I had heard that this is the land of the slaves.

Today, I don’t work in the fields anymore, and I am studying English. I’m united with the organization Lideres Campesinas to help other women so they don’t have to live the life I had to live. Working in the fields, there’s a lot of abuse. The bosses, foremen and supervisors are the most abusive to the workers. I think most field workers would share their stories but because of the fear, nobody speaks up. The laborers think they are going to be deported, so they would rather keep silent and hold back the pain from all the chemicals they use.

via The Farmworker Story Behind Your Cheap Food | Earthjustice.

Anti-right to work moment has passed in Michigan?

“They have the issues on their side, in right to work and other attacks on union rights. If they can’t motivate their members now, they never will.”

What political observers are watching for but haven’t seen yet is evidence that labor is constructing coordinated absentee ballot and get out the vote drives.

If it’s happening, it’s not as visible as it has been in past elections, although there’s certainly time for such efforts to emerge between now and Nov. 4.

To remain politically relevant, labor must not only sway the race for governor, but also the legislative campaigns. It was Republican lawmakers, after all, who passed right to work. If big labor can’t use its muscle to punish anti-union legislators in Michigan, of all places, why would lawmakers anywhere be afraid to take up similar measures?

It’s an overstatement to call this labor’s last stand. But unions did promise to hang right to work around GOP necks in 2014, and so far they haven’t delivered.

via Anti-right to work moment has passed.

I support union but this is totally irresponsible! LAS VEGAS: Nurses stage Ebola ‘die-in’ on Las Vegas Strip | Health & Science | NewsObserver.com

U.S. hospitals aren’t ready for an Ebola outbreak, according to nurses who staged a “die-in” Wednesday outside a Las Vegas Strip resort where they were holding a union convention.

Many protesters in the crowd of about 1,000 who attended the Planet Nurse convention wore bright red T-shirts and suits resembling hazardous-materials gear as they streamed through the Planet Hollywood casino floor before crossing Las Vegas Boulevard to the Bellagio resort.

via LAS VEGAS: Nurses stage Ebola ‘die-in’ on Las Vegas Strip | Health & Science | NewsObserver.com.

Why Labor Organizing Should Be a Civil Right : Workers & Economic Inequality : Our Work

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) recently announced plans to introduce legislation that would make labor organizing and union activity a legally protected civil right. Inspired by the work of TCF fellows Moshe Marvit and Richard Kahlenberg (who detail just such a proposal in their book Why Labor Organizing Should Be A Civil Right), Rep. Ellison has taken up their mantle and seeks to codify this needed change into Federal law.

via Why Labor Organizing Should Be a Civil Right : Workers & Economic Inequality : Our Work.

Facebook Organizing: Legal Do’s and Don’ts | Labor Notes

Workers are using Facebook to talk to each other about what happens on the job and in the union, and some are even using it to organize for change.

Walmart workers trade advice and stories on the “Organization United for Respect” page, which has 47,000 “likes.” Boeing Machinists opposed to a proposed contract linked up through “Rosie’s Machinists 751.” And many union reformers set up Facebook pages when they are running for office.

Those are the success stories. But if you read the tabloids, you’ve probably seen some horror stories, too: teachers fired for Facebook posts that criticize their students, restaurant workers fired for posts that insult low-tipping customers.

Here we’ll examine the do’s and don’ts by looking at two cases where posts were legally protected—and one where they weren’t.

via Facebook Organizing: Legal Do’s and Don’ts | Labor Notes.

To Fix VA Waits, Hire More Staff | Labor Notes

“I love the VA and would never work in the private system again,” said one provider. “I used to spend an hour or two a day on the phone with private insurance companies or writing letters to them… [At the VA] it’s not about making a buck.” (The agency tries to rein in press contact, so some providers asked us not to use their names.)

The real solutions to the agency’s problems may sound familiar. The VA needs to hire more frontline staff, fewer managers. It needs to update an antiquated computerized scheduling system, expand facilities where need is growing, and reduce missed appointments by offering rides.

It needs to use data such as wait time statistics as tools for improvement, not bludgeons. And it needs to act on feedback from concerned workers, instead of squelching it.

via To Fix VA Waits, Hire More Staff | Labor Notes.

Erdogan’s visit riles German government – Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East

{Why did Caliph-wannabe visit Germany? Votes!}

Turks outside of Turkey will for the first time be allowed to vote in these elections. This makes the nearly 1.5 million votes in Germany crucial for Erdogan. German politicians are also aware of this and reflected it in their remarks prior to Erdogan’s Cologne appearance.

Thomas Strobl, the deputy chairman of Merkel’s conservative parliamentary bloc, for example, said, “It would have been better if Mr. Erdogan had recognized ahead of time that at the moment there are tasks in Turkey that are more important than a campaign appearance in Cologne.”

The same view was repeated by left-wing German politicians. Martin Schulz, the Socialists’ candidate for European Commission president, said, “I’d prefer it if Prime Minister Erdogan concerned himself with Turkey’s problems instead of waging election campaigns abroad in Cologne. But, we are a tolerant and democratic country in which of course a foreign leader can speak.”

The German media was, however, less diplomatic. “Erdogan, you’re not welcome here! We do not want politicians like you,” the mass circulation Bild newspaper declaimed in its headline in both Turkish and German, highlighting in its open letter to Erdogan his increasingly authoritarian policies.

via Erdogan’s visit riles German government – Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East.

Gary Walkowicz for UAW President 2014 – Statement

At the UAW Convention in June 2014, I Will Run for President

Gary Walkowicz:
Bargaining Committeeman and Convention Delegate
Dearborn Truck Plant, Local 600

When I ran for delegate to the UAW Convention, I said that I believe the top leadership of the UAW has been taking the union in the wrong direction. I said that, if elected, I would speak out against their policies.

At the UAW Constitutional Convention in June, I intend to run for UAW President because I believe it is the best way to draw attention to the issues that people in the Dearborn Truck Plant, and other UAW members, are concerned with. I will run for President because it is the best way to speak for a different policy.

When the recent concessions began in 2005, the UAW leadership said that giving up concessions would save jobs. But in 2005, we had 598,000 UAW members. Today, we have 370,000. We gave up concessions and LOST over 200,000 jobs. And the answer of the leadership to this loss of jobs is to increase our union dues!

When the concessions began, the UAW leadership said that autoworkers should sacrifice until the corporations were more profitable and then we would get everything back. But when the auto companies got back their high profits, what did the autoworkers get?

  • Seniority workers have not had a raise in 9 years and had one raise in the last 12 years.
  • Entry-level workers, working for 2nd tier wages and 2nd tier benefits, face a worse-off future than their parents. Despite promises, not a single entry-level worker has been brought up to 1st tier wages. And UAW workers doing outsourced work get paid 3rd tier wages.
  • With alternative work schedules, reduced break time and increased workloads, our bodies and our health are paying the price.
  • Retirees face an increasingly worse off future, having to pay more and more out of pocket for their health care, due to an under-funded VEBA.

These concessions are a result of the “partnership” our top leadership forged with the corporations. We shouldn’t be “partners” with corporations who keep taking from us.
It is going to take a fight to get back the concessions we have lost!

I don’t know how things will be at the Convention. I don’t know how many delegates will be willing to speak up and say what they really think. I don’t how many votes I will get from the delegates. But I am going to run for President in order to speak for all the UAW members whose voices are usually not heard. I am going to run for President to say that what the UAW has been doing is not working and that the UAW needs to make a fight.

Gary Walkowicz
Bargaining Committeeman and Convention Delegate
Dearborn Truck Plant, Local 600

Gwalk32@att.net (313) 737-3166

May 12, 2014 labor donated