Category Archives: Workers’ Issues

‘Families’ Needs Over Corporate Greed’: US Childcare Providers, Parents Hold Day of Action

“If our leaders don’t step up and legislate a solution to this crisis, we all will pay the price of an underfunded system,” said organizers.

By Julia Conley. Published 5-13-2024 by Common Dreams

Renee Edwards conducts early literacy outreach at a childcare center in Fairfax County, VA. Photo: Fairfax Library Foundation/flickr/CC

Flanked by her fellow childcare providers from Minnesota’s Iron Range region at a press conference in St. Paul, Shawntel Gruba on Monday explained that the childcare center she runs had shut its doors for the day to “demonstrate how vitally important childcare is to our community.”

“We are the workforce behind the workforce,” said Gruba, CEO of Iron Range Tykes in Mountain Iron. “Without us, no one goes to work.”

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‘Argentina Stopped’: Unions Hold Second General Strike Over Milei Austerity

“It is a day of resistance and demand,” said trade groups that organized the action “in defense of democracy, labor rights, and the living wage.”

By Jessica Corbett. Published 5-10-2024 by Common Dreams

Photo: vijay banga/X

Argentina’s primary trade union federation on Thursday held another nationwide general strike, the second called since President Javier Milei, a far-right economist, took office in December and began pursuing sweeping austerity and deregulation.

The South American nation’s unions organized the strike “in defense of democracy, labor rights, and the living wage,” according to a statement from the General Confederation of Labor (CGT), the Argentine Workers’ Central Union (CTA), and the Autonomous CTA.

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Gaza Journalists Killed by Israel Honored on World Press Freedom Day

“To claim these deaths are accidental is not only incredulous, it is insulting to the memory of professionals who lived their lives in service of truth and accuracy,” said one expert.

By Jessica Corbett. Published 5-3-2024 by Common Dreams

World Press Freedom Day: Gaza journalists remember slain colleagues. Screenshot: YouTube

As the international community marked World Press Freedom Day on Friday, journalists and advocates across the globe mourned and celebrated those killed in Israel’s ongoing assault on the Gaza Strip.

The U.S.-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has publicly identified at least 97 media workers killed since Israel launched its retaliatory war on October 7: 92 Palestinian, three Lebanese, and two Israeli reporters.

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Poor People’s Campaign Plans June 29 Mass Assembly, March in DC

“This is a crisis moment for our democracy,” said one campaigner. “We need for our political leaders to become moral leaders and take seriously the needs and priorities of the millions of people struggling simply to survive.”

By Jessica Corbett. Published 4-29-2024 by Common Dreams

Rev. William J. Barber II at the Democracy Awakening rally at U.S. Capitol in 2018. Photo: Becker1999/flickr/CC

Leaders of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival on Monday announced plans for the Mass Poor People & Low-Wage Workers’ Assembly & Moral March in Washington, D.C. on June 29, just over four months before the U.S. elections.

The aim of the assembly and march is to “mobilize the one-third of the U.S. electorate who are poor and low-wage infrequent voters” as well as to pressure political leaders to embrace a 17-point agenda during the 2024 election cycle and beyond.

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Tennessee GOP Shuts Down Debate, Passes Bill Allowing Handguns for Teachers

“Instead of protecting kids,” said one Democratic lawmaker, “they’ve protected guns again.”

By Julia Conley. Published 4-24-2024 by Common Dreams

Protesters rally for gun reform at Tennessee state capitol in March 2023 Screenshot: MSNBC

A Democratic leader in the Tennessee House on Tuesday warned that a bill pushed through by Republicans to permit teachers to carry concealed handguns was “nothing but a bad disaster and tragedy waiting to happen,” after the GOP cut off a debate and refused to include amendments that aimed to add safety measures to the legislation.

House Bill 1202 passed in a 68-28 vote, and Republican Gov. Bill Lee, who has never vetoed legislation, is expected to sign it, clearing the way for the state to require school districts to allow teachers to carry firearms without notifying students’ parents.

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‘Seismic Win for Workers’: FTC Bans Noncompete Clauses

Advocates praised the FTC “for taking a strong stance against this egregious use of corporate power, thereby empowering workers to switch jobs and launch new ventures, and unlocking billions of dollars in worker earnings.”

By Jessica Corbett. Published 4-23-2024 by Common Dreams

FTC Chair Lina Khan. Photo: New America/flickr/CC

U.S. workers’ rights advocates and groups celebrated on Tuesday after the Federal Trade Commission voted 3-2 along party lines to approve a ban on most noncompete clauses, which Democratic FTC Chair Lina Khan said “keep wages low, suppress new ideas, and rob the American economy of dynamism.”

“The FTC’s final rule to ban noncompetes will ensure Americans have the freedom to pursue a new job, start a new business, or bring a new idea to market,” Khan added, pointing to the commission’s estimates that the policy could mean another $524 for the average worker, over 8,500 new startups, and 17,000 to 29,000 more patents each year.

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Starbucks seeks Supreme Court protection from being ordered to rehire baristas who say they were fired for union-promoting activities

By Michael Z. Green, Texas A&M University Published 4-11-2024 by The Conversation

Starbucks workers rally and march in Seattle. Photo: Elliot Stoller/flickr/CC

What factors must a court consider when the National Labor Relations Board requests an order requiring an employer to rehire terminated workers before the completion of unfair labor practice proceedings?

That’s the central question that the Supreme Court will consider on April 23, 2024, during oral arguments in the Starbucks Corp. v. McKinney case. The global coffee shop chain is challenging the NLRB, the federal agency responsible for enforcing U.S. workers’ rights to organize, saying that the agency used the more labor-friendly of two available standards when it asked a federal court to order the company to reinstate workers at a Memphis, Tennessee, store who lost their jobs in 2022 amid a nationwide unionizing campaign.

The Conversation U.S. asked Texas A&M law professor Michael Z. Green to explain what’s behind this case and how the court’s eventual decision, expected by the end of June, could affect the right to organize unions in the United States.

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‘Absolutely Absurd’: Tennessee GOP Advances Concealed Guns for Teachers

“We should not be afraid to send our kids to school, but extremist lawmakers are hellbent on expanding the gun lobby’s guns everywhere agenda and putting our kids at risk,” said one state campaigner.

By Jessica Corbett. Published 4-10-2024 by Common Dreams

Moms Demand Action members protest a Tennessee bill to arm teachers on April 9, 2024. (Photo: Moms Demand Action Tennessee/Facebook)

Gun control advocates, including families of mass shooting survivors, condemned Tennessee Senate Republicans for a 26-5 vote along party lines on Tuesday to advance legislation allowing teachers and staff to carry concealed firearms in public schools.

“Since the devastating shooting at the Covenant School in Nashville last year, the [Tennessee] Legislature has had the opportunity to take meaningful action on gun safety,” said Moms Demand Action executive director Angela Ferrell-Zabala. “Instead, they have chosen to ‘debate the safety of their communities’ behind closed doors in a process that has often excluded their constituents and their own colleagues.”

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Low-Paid Immigrant Farmworkers Most at Risk From Toxic Weedkiller US Refuses to Ban

Farmworkers “should not be subjected to additional health risks due to the negligent actions of pesticide manufacturers, farm owners, and state regulatory agencies,” said one analyst.

By Julia Conley. Published 3-29-2024 by Common Dreams

Photo: rawpixel/Public domain

Concerns about the safety of paraquat, a highly toxic herbicide, pushed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2021 to ban its use on golf courses—but the weedkiller is still permitted for agricultural use, and a new first-of-its-kind analysis shows how the EPA’s continued approval of the substance has put low-income Latino communities at disproportionate risk for health impacts.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) found in a study released Wednesday that 5.3 million pounds of paraquat were sprayed over a five-year period in California, the only state with readily available figures on the herbicide.

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Over Apple’s Objections, Oregon Governor Signs Nation’s Strongest Right to Repair Law

“Oregon becomes the first state to ban ‘parts pairing,’ which let companies like Apple decide when and how you replace parts.”

By Julia Conley. Published 3-27-2024 by Common Dreams

Genius bar. Photo: Christian Rasmussen/flickr/CC

In a move that advocates said will save Oregon residents money while supporting small businesses and reducing waste of electronic devices, Democratic Gov. Tina Kotek on Wednesday signed the Right to Repair Act, a law that passed earlier this month despite Apple’s lobbying efforts.

The Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), applauded the signing of the bill, which requires manufacturers to provide Oregonians and small repair businesses with access to the parts, tools, and information needed to fix personal electronics and household appliances.

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