Category Archives: Unions and Organized Labor

Trump Labor Dept Slammed for ‘Wholly Inadequate’ Overtime Pay Rule That ‘Leaves Behind Millions of Workers’

“Once again, President Trump has sided with the interests of corporate executives over those of working people.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-24-2019

President Donald Trump speaks at the Shell Pennsylvania Petrochemicals Complex in Monaca, Pennsylvania on Aug. 13, 2019.. Screenshot: YouTube

Labor rights advocates and progressive economists slammed the Trump administration after the Department of Labor announced Tuesday a final rule on overtime pay to replace a bolder Obama-era proposal blocked by a federal court in Texas.

“While the administration may be trumpeting this rule as a good thing for workers, that is a ruse,” said Heidi Shierholz, director of policy at the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). “In reality, the rule leaves behind millions of workers who would have received overtime protections under the much stronger rule, published in 2016, that Trump administration abandoned.” Continue reading

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‘Students Have Led and We Must Follow’: Thousands of Scientists From 40 Nations Join Global Climate Strike

“Students have led and we must follow—in defense of the scientific truths our colleagues have discovered over the decades, and of the planet we love.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-19-2019

March for Science – Earth Day 2017 in Washington DC. Photo: Amaury Laporte/flickr

More than 2,000 scientists on Thursday pledged to take part in the Global Climate Strike and week of action beginning Friday, joining the labor movement, Amazon workers, and teachers in refusing to allow children to carry the burden of securing the planet’s future by demanding climate action.

The scientists, who conduct their research in more than 40 countries, wrote in an open letter that “solid, incontrovertible evidence” supports climate campaigners’ grave concerns about the effect of uncontrolled carbon emissions on the planet. Continue reading

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Have we forgotten the true meaning of Labor Day?

The first Labor Day was hardly a national holiday. Workers had to strike to celebrate it. Frank Leslie’s Weekly Illustrated Newspaper’s September 16, 1882

Jay L. Zagorsky, Boston University   Published 8-29-2017

Labor Day is a U.S. national holiday held the first Monday every September. Unlike most U.S. holidays, it is a strange celebration without rituals, except for shopping and barbecuing. For most people it simply marks the last weekend of summer and the start of the school year.

The holiday’s founders in the late 1800s envisioned something very different from what the day has become. The founders were looking for two things: a means of unifying union workers and a reduction in work time. Continue reading

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Despite ‘Relentless’ Assault by Corporate America, Gallup Poll Shows Support for Unions at Near 50-Year High

“The labor movement has a powerful wind at its back. And we will carry this momentum into new organizing campaigns and our work in the 2020 elections.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-29-2019

Union workers at a locomotive plant in Erie, Pennsylvania launched strike on Feb. 26, 2019. (Photo: United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America/Facebook)

Just ahead of the 125th anniversary of the creation of Labor Day as a national holiday, a Gallup poll published Wednesday showed support for unions among the American public is at a near 50-year high despite the best efforts of corporations and right-wing politicians.

The Gallup survey found that 64 percent of Americans approve of unions, up 16 percent from 2009. Continue reading

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‘No Pay, We Stay’: 23 Days Into Train Blockade Protest, Kentucky Coal Miners Demand Stolen Wages With Support of Progressives Nationwide

“I see us blocking the trains until we get paid.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-21-2019

Coal miners from Blackjewel coal company have been blocking a train in Cumberland, Kentucky since July 29, to prevent a shipment from their former employer until Blackjewel pats them their lost wages. The miners were suddenly put out of work when the company declared bankruptcy in July. Photo: BlackJewel Miners Blockade/Twitter

As of Wednesday, coal miners in Cumberland, Kentucky are now 23 days into a train blockade that they say will go on until their former company pays them.

The miners suddenly lost their jobs in the middle of a shift on July 1 when their company, Blackjewel, announced it had gone bankrupt. The company wrote two weeks’ worth of bad checks for a total of 1,700 coal miners, including 350 people in Harlan County, Kentucky. The company owes a total of $5 million to its former employees—about $3,000 per person. Continue reading

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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

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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

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‘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

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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

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‘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

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