Category Archives: Unions and Organized Labor

Appeals Court Delivers ‘Tremendous Blow to Federal Workers’ With Decision to Uphold Trump’s Anti-Union Executive Orders

“There must be a check on the president’s power to destroy federal employees’ union rights.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-16-2019

AFGE members protested President Donald Trump’s anti-union executive orders last year as their union filed a lawsuit against the president. (Photo: @AFGENational)

Unions representing hundreds of thousands of federal employees on Tuesday vowed to fight a federal appeals court ruling in which a three-judge panel unanimously upheld President Donald Trump’s executive orders attacking workers’ rights.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in the D.C. Circuit said that it lacked jurisdiction to block Trump’s orders, which made it easier to fire federal employees, limited the amount of time workers can spend on union business, and compelled federal agencies to devise unfavorable contracts with unions. Continue reading

Share

Call to Action by Journalists, Academics Urges Americans to Use ‘All Nonviolent Means Necessary’ to Shut Down Trump Detention Camps

“From abolitionism to Standing Rock, Americans have come together time and again to defy horrific injustice. Now, as the government tries to normalize concentration camps, it is time like never before to target those responsible.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-9-2019

“Inspired by the civil rights movement, ACT-UP, and early labor struggles, we must employ every nonviolent tactic at our disposal to oppose this institutionalized criminality,” states the call to action. (Image: NoMoreConcentrationCamps.org)

A group of nearly two dozen prominent journalists, academics, and activists Tuesday called on Americans across the nation to use “any nonviolent means necessary” to force the closure of President Donald Trump’s immigrant detention facilities.

“We are calling on all people of conscience to shut down the concentration camps on the U.S.-Mexico border,” reads the call to action, which was backed by renowned linguist and dissident Noam Chomsky, environmentalist and author Naomi Klein, Intercept co-founder Jeremy Scahill, and others. Continue reading

Share

‘Absolutely Disgusting’: West Virginia Senate Passes Bill That Would Ban Teacher Strikes

The Republican measure was condemned as “pure retribution” for the mass teacher strikes that swept the state last year

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-3-2019

Teachers, school service workers, and their supporters, including all the labor unions in West Virginia, rally at the capital on behalf of better wages for state workers, and demanding a fix for the state’s underfunded and broken PEIA health insurance programs in 2018. Photo: Rich McGervey/flickr

In a move that was widely viewed as an attempt to exact revenge for last year’s mass walkouts, the West Virginia state Senate on Monday passed a sweeping education bill containing a Republican amendment that would ban teacher strikes.

Fred Albert, president of the West Virginia chapter of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), called the GOP provision “pure retribution, retaliation.” Continue reading

Share

Venezuelan Government Denounces US Seizure of Embassy, Arrest of Peace Activists as Violation of Vienna Convention

“We do not authorize any of the coup leaders to enter our embassy in Washington D.C.,” said deputy foreign minister on behalf of Maduro government

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-16-2019

Peace activists lived at the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, D.C. for more than a month in hopes of blocking the Trump administration from turning it over to supporters of an effort to oust the country’s elected president. (Photo: Jeremy Bigwood)

Venezuelan Deputy Foreign Minister Carlos Ron on Thursday urged the Trump administration not to hand over the country’s embassy in Washington, D.C. to leaders of an attempted coup after U.S. law enforcement forcibly removed peace activists who have lived there since last month as guests of President Nicolás Maduro’s government.

“We denounce these arrests, as the people inside were there with our permission, and we consider it a violation of the Vienna Conventions,” Ron said in a statement. Continue reading

Share

‘We Teach, We Vote!’: 10,000 Teachers Rise Up Against Republican Legislature in Deep Red South Carolina

“For too long we have allowed our schools to go underfunded while taking the blame for the host of issues that come with that.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-1-2019

About 10,000 teachers gathered on the steps of the South Carolina state Capitol in Columbia on Wednesday to demand more school funding, smaller class sizes, and fair pay. (Photo: @ninaturner/Twitter)

Demanding an end to austerity measures that have kept classrooms overcrowded and educators underpaid, about 10,000 teachers, students, and supporters staged one of the largest protests in recent years at the South Carolina Statehouse in Columbia on Wednesday.

Led by the grassroots group SC for Ed, teachers from across the traditionally deep red state took personal days to stage the walkout. The protest is aimed at forcing the Republican-controlled legislature to fund higher wages and more hiring in order to reduce class sizes and staff schools with support staff. Continue reading

Share

‘Finally!’: Court Orders EPA to Stop Stalling Potential Ban on Pesticide Tied to Brain Damage in Kids

“We hope Trump’s EPA finally decides to protect the future of countless children and the health of millions of farmworkers.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-19-2019

American farmers use chlorpyrifos, a pesticide tied to brain and nervous system issues, on crops such as apples, broccoli, corn, and strawberries. (Photo: Stephanie Chapman/Flickr/cc)

In a ruling welcomed by public health advocates, a federal court on Friday ordered the Trump administration to stop stalling a potential ban on a pesticide linked to brain damage in children, giving regulators until mid-July to make a final decision.

Citing unacceptable health risks for children, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ended household use of chlorpyrifos in 2000. However, farmers can still use the pesticide—which is also tied to nervous system problems in people and animals—on crops such as apples, broccoli, corn, and strawberries. Continue reading

Share

“Keep It, It’s Yours.” Postal Workers’ Message to Public Denounces Trump Privatization Plan

 “Don’t sell this national treasure to private interests that will charge more for less service,” union says ahead of Tax Day events

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-14-2019

The Tax Day message from the American Postal Workers Union. (Image: APWU with frame)

U.S. Postal Service workers will hold a day of action Monday to reject a Trump White House proposal to privatize the service.

“Our message to the public is quite simple. ‘The United States Postal Service—Keep it. It’s yours!'” said Mark Dimondstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), in a statement. “Don’t sell this national treasure to private interests that will charge more for less service.” Continue reading

Share

‘People Shouldn’t Be Going Bankrupt and Dying’: Nationwide Week of Action Aims to Build Mass Movement Behind Medicare for All

“As nurses, we understand the need for guaranteed healthcare for everyone. That’s why we are fighting to win Medicare for All and joining thousands at barnstorms across the country.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-10-2019

“Folks are gathering to talk about the plan to win guaranteed healthcare.Next steps involve knocking on doors, phone banks—various ways of engaging our communities to get involved,” said National Nurses United executive director Bonnie Castillo. (Photo: National Nurses United/Flickr)

With Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) expected to introduce the Medicare for All Act of 2019 in the coming days, nurses, progressive activists, and ordinary people who have felt firsthand the crushing weight of America’s for-profit healthcare system took part in nationwide “barnstorms” this weekend to build grassroots support for transformative change.

From Texas to Kansas to California—around 150 total locations across the country—Medicare for All supporters gathered to discuss the necessity of a single-payer system that leaves no one behind, at a time when over 30 million Americans are uninsured and two-thirds of personal bankruptcies are caused by medical bills. Continue reading

Share

To Galvanize Local Organizing for Medicare for All, Nurses Union to Kick Off Nationwide ‘Barnstorms’ This Weekend

“I know people with diabetes literally dying because they cannot afford their insulin.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-8-2019

Volunteers across the country, coordinated by National Nurses United (NNU), are hosting Medicare for All barnstorms Feb. 9 to Feb. 13. (Graphic: NNU/Twitter)

Building on rising public support for scrapping the nation’s for-profit healthcare system and replacing it with Medicare for All, the nation’s largest nurses union—along with progressive allies—on Saturday will kick off a week of barnstorms in cities and communities across the United States.

Volunteers nationwide, coordinated by National Nurses United (NNU), are planning more than 150 events from Feb. 9 to Feb. 13. Continue reading

Share

States are on the front lines of fighting inequality

 

File 20190115 152977 1whj03z.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

Rally in support of raising the minimum wage in University City, Mo. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

Christopher Witko, Pennsylvania State University

When Democrats regained control of the U.S. House of Representatives, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., almost immediately took aim at America’s growing income inequality by recommending a 70 percent tax rate on income over US$10 million.

Income inequality refers to the unequal distribution of income between the rich and poor.

Inequality in the U.S. has dramatically increased since the 1970s, under both liberal and conservative administrations in Washington. And the kind of policy Ocasio-Cortez is proposing will be impossible to pass with the polarized politics in Washington D.C. Continue reading

Share