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Signs at a rally. Solidarity in foreground, stop the war on workers in background.
A bright spot in Philadelphia: 2,500 security guards have joined a union and ratified their first contract. Under the new contract, wages will rise from current levels between $8 and $11 to between $10.45 and $13, and full-time security guards will have health care starting in 2014.

Nobody's getting rich or even solidly middle-class—$13 an hour is $27,040 for a year of full-time work—but it's enough to change people's lives.

"It means a lot to me," said Pamela Legg, 44, of West Philadelphia, a security guard at Temple University Hospital.

"It means I'm going to get a raise. I'm going to have medical," she said.

The security guards work at major Philadelphia institutions like Temple and the convention center, but are employed by four major national and international security contractors.

And more:

  • Walmart workers will rally in 10 countries tomorrow. The biggest U.S. protest will be in Miami.
  • Workers at Sunny Day car wash in the Bronx voted to unionize, though some of the votes are in contention before the National Labor Relations Board. If the vote holds up, that's the fifth New York City car wash to unionize.
  • More on the federal injunction supporting striking HealthBridge nursing home workers in Connecticut. According to the NLRB:
    A federal judge has ordered a Connecticut nursing home chain to offer reinstatement to approximately 600-700 workers, to rescind changes made to employee wages and benefits, and to bargain in good faith with the union that has long represented its employees. [...[

    The petition seeking the injunction alleged that after 19 months of bargaining, in June 2012, the company unilaterally implemented contract proposals affecting wages, hours,  benefit eligibility, and retirement and health benefits without first bargaining to a good faith impasse. Employees went on an unfair labor practice strike in protest. In mid-July, the employees through their union offered to return to work under the terms of the contract that existed prior to the unilateral implementation,  but the employer refused to bring them back.

    In his order, Judge Chatigny found reasonable cause to believe the employer has refused to bargain in good faith, and that there was a “pressing need to restore the status quo” that existed before the unilateral changes were made. Under the order, Healthbridge must make the offers of reinstatement by Dec. 17. The injunction will remain in effect while the NLRB resolves the underlying Healthbridge cases.

  • Federal workers are unhappy, or at least, their happiness dropped more than in any year since 2003 when a survey started keeping track. Which, surprise! If you freeze people's pay for years and have powerful people on television every day suggesting firing them en masse, and cut the budgets to where they can't always effectively do their jobs, they aren't that happy. The survey also identifies best and worst places to work in government.
  • Contracts for cleaners, bathroom attendants, and other service workers in 32 Broadway theaters are expiring and the workers, who are members of SEIU 32BJ, have voted to authorize a strike if there's no deal by December 30.

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