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A fair day's wage

  • The Department of Labor is suing after a company allegedly fired a worker for refusing to work in a 15 foot deep trench with walls that were caving in.
  • Edging ever-closer to the cancellation of an entire season, the National Hockey League has announced it's cancelling games through Jan. 14 as the owners and league management are keeping the players locked out.
    NHL owners and players are stalemated on their negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement, and players are voting to decide whether to have the NHL Players' Association announce that it no longer will represent the players. That would allow players to pursue antitrust litigation to have the lockout declared illegal.

    Players are expected to approve that measure, but the voting will not be completed until Friday.

  • The IBEW will be airing this ad during football games this Sunday:
  • It's always interesting to see the diverse groups of workers who join unions, recently including American Sign Language interpreters, nurses, custodial workers, carwasheros.
  • The Kravis Center in West Palm Beach, Florida, and its stagehands union have reached an agreement after a 12-year labor dispute that had workers striking this week.
  • Food service, housekeeping, and other workers at Indiana's Marian University voted 54 to 1 to unionize, joining UNITE HERE.
  • Unions in states where workers can get the benefits of the work unions do without bearing any responsibility to the union or their coworkers face added challenges. But it's a body blow, not a death blow, as this Georgia union blogger explains:
    Every day some portion is spent contemplating how to maintain membership levels in my union. We represent several large groups of low-wage members both newly organized and as components of larger groups of better paid members. These groups of members have an extremely high turnover rate, so engaging with them immediately upon being hired is always a priority. The right to meet and do a union presentation is always a priority of every contract that we negotiate. Freeloaders are subjected to varying degrees of 100% legal social pressure from their coworkers of varying degrees depending on the level of union organization at that worksite. This additional burden of maintaining our membership is a constant financial drain on our union valuable hours of staff time are consumed daily by this area of activity.

    Where turnover is lower the level of membership is always higher. Our local union's worksites as well as other unions that are more stable provide the core of our states union membership. Not coincidentally these industries usually represent those area of the private sector where unions used to hold sway nationally. It also reflects the fact that members in these types of bargaining units have a greater understanding of how their membership levels reflect their relative strength to their employer and how that correlates with contract gains.

  • Activists protested at the Port of Newark as a boat carrying Walmart goods manufactured in Bangladesh arrived. The hope was that longshore workers would not cross the protest's picket line and unload the boat, but police moved the protesters away quickly.
  • Graduate students at New York University are trying to get the university to recognize their union.
  • H-1B visa exploitation:
    A federal court jury late Monday ordered Universal Placement International of Los Angeles and its owner and president, Lourdes Navarro, to pay $4.5 million to the 350 Filipino teachers they lured to teach in Louisiana public schools following Hurricane Katrina and forced into exploitive contracts after arriving in the United States through the federal guest worker program.

Miscellaneous

State and local legislation

  • Feeling like the anti-union laws on the books in his state aren't enough in this age of states passing anti-union laws, an Alabama Republican state senator is proposing to double down on one of the existing ones by putting it in the state constitution:
    “It is redundant to a degree, but the redundancy sends a message: We are serious about jobs and Alabama is open for business,” Dial said.
    Uh, yeah. Sure. Re-passing a law that's already on the books and that doesn't actually add jobs, just pushes down their pay, shows that you're serious about something, but it's not jobs.
  • In November, Idaho voters rejected a law stripping teachers of collective bargaining rights. But the state's school boards association is trying to get legislators to pass some of the same provisions anyway.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 10:55 AM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and Daily Kos.

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