Tag Archives: Unions

The time for a four-day week has arrived

A new experiment from Iceland confirms what many of us have long suspected: reducing working hours improves wellbeing and productivity

By Jack Kellam.  Published 7-8-2021 by openDemocracy

Photo: Rawpixel Ltd/flickr/CC

Over the past six years, Iceland has been quietly conducting a major economic experiment. More than 2,500 public sector employees – representing over 1% of the country’s entire working population – reduced their working hours from 40 hours per week to 35 or 36 hours, with no loss of pay.

Trials of shorter working weeks are not new: in recent years a number of ‘four-day week’ experiments have taken place around the world – from Microsoft’s trial in Japan to Unilever’s experiment in New Zealand. But Iceland’s two trials, which took place between 2015 and 2021 among employees of the country’s national government and Reykjavík City Council, are unparalleled in terms of scale and scope. Progress was meticulously monitored by Icelandic researchers, which generated an unrivalled amount of evidence on the impact of shorter working hours. This week the key findings were published in a joint report published by Alda (Association for Sustainable Democracy) and Autonomy. Continue reading

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Progressive Groups Mark May Day With Rallies Urging Passage of PRO Act

“The fight for the PRO Act is a fight for a future of dignity for all workers,” said Democratic Rep. Jamaal Bowman of New York.

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-1-2021

Protest at Amazon HQ on Cyber Monday 2019. Photo: War on Want/flickr/CC

A coalition of over 40 progressive organizations on Saturday rallied online and in person to support the PRO Act—legislation that would strengthen workers’ right to organize among other pro-worker provisions.

Groups behind the May Day actions include MoveOn, Indivisible, Democratic Socialists of America, and the Working Families Party.

The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act passed the House in March but has not yet faced a vote in the upper chamber, where it confronts the 60-vote legislative filibuster and no support from three Democrats—Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.), Mark Kelly (Ariz.), and Mark Warner (Va.). Continue reading

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200+ Groups From 67 Nations Demand ‘Transformational Change’ at Corporate-Friendly WTO

“The WTO’s hyperglobalization rules shaped a global economy that is not working for most people, and it’s due time to replace them.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-28-2021

WTO Headquarters. Screenshot: Sky News

More than 200 environmental groups, labor unions, and civil society organizations from 67 nations sent a letter to global heads of state on Wednesday demanding “transformational change” at the World Trade Organization, a relatively new institution that critics say is structurally inadequate and much too corporate-friendly to confront the planet’s most pressing challenges.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed how the WTO model exacerbates insecurity, inequality, and instability,” argues the coalition, which includes Public Services International, Third World Network-Africa, and Public Citizen. “Legitimate global commercial rules should facilitate the improvement of the livelihoods, health, and wellbeing of all people around the world and the long-term survival of the planet. The WTO system has not met these goals: It was never fit for purpose and certainly is not now.” Continue reading

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Democrats Warn DeJoy’s New 10-Year Plan Guarantees ‘Death Spiral’ for US Postal Service

“This so-called plan from Louis DeJoy should itself be a dead letter. This is a blueprint for the Post Office’s continued decay and destruction.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-23-2021

Congressional Democrats gravely warned Tuesday that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s new 10-year strategic plan would ensure that the U.S. Postal Service remains in a “death spiral” by further degrading the agency’s performance, slashing Post Office hours across the country, and raising postage prices for consumers and businesses.

Slamming the sweeping changes as “draconian,” Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) said in a statement Tuesday that “customers and Congress are fed up with DeJoy’s service cuts and record delays.” Continue reading

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New York AG Sues Amazon Over ‘Flagrant Disregard’ for Worker Safety During Pandemic

“We won’t let corporate bullies put hardworking New Yorkers in harm’s way,” said the state attorney general, Letitia James.

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-17-2021

Screenshot: YouTube

New York Attorney General Letitia James on Tuesday sued Amazon, accusing the retail giant of disregarding worker safety during the coronavirus pandemic and retaliating against employees who raised concerns—a move that came just days after she declared that “we won’t be intimidated” in response to the company’s preemptive lawsuit.

The state’s suit (pdf), filed in the New York Supreme Court, follows an investigation launched last March and claims Amazon violated multiple labor laws as the virus struck. Continue reading

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‘Fire DeJoy Before He Burns Down USPS’: Postmaster General Pushes Plan for Slower Mail, Higher Prices

“Biden should fire the governors of the USPS who appointed DeJoy, install new ones, and have them fire DeJoy. He should not be allowed to continue destroying the Postal Service.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-14-2021

Undeterred by the backlash and widespread delays that followed his disruptive operational changes at the U.S. Postal Service last year, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is reportedly planning to roll out another slate of policies that would significantly hike postage rates and further slow the delivery of certain kinds of mail.

While the plan has yet to be finalized, new details of the proposal—first reported by the Washington Post—intensified pressure on President Joe Biden to take decisive action before DeJoy inflicts any more damage on the most popular government institution in the country. Continue reading

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In ‘Particularly Cruel’ Act, Maine Hospital Vaccinates Out-of-State Union-Busters as Vulnerable Residents Forced to Wait

“It’s concerning that MaineHealth would put their own anti-union agenda, and their own bottom line, ahead of the health and well-being of Maine people.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-11-2021

“MaineHealth is comfortable calling nurses heroes but draws the line at treating them like heroes or respecting their desire to form a union,” said Maine’s Assistant Senate Majority Leader Mattie Daughtry (D-Brunswick). Photo: Medic454/wikimedia commons/CC

Maine’s largest health network is being condemned this week by organized labor leaders, a local editorial board, and elected officials after it vaccinated union-busters who traveled from Florida and New York to the Pine Tree state to undermine a unionization effort at a Portland hospital while the state’s frontline workers and eligible residents in high-risk groups were forced to wait.

“Every out-of-state consultant and lawyer that MaineHealth flew in as part of their intimidation campaign got the vaccine instead of someone’s grandparent or loved one,” Maine Senate President Troy Jackson, a Democrat from Allagash, said in a statement Tuesday. Continue reading

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As DeJoy Readies New Assault on Postal Service, Pressure Grows for Biden to ‘Clean House’

“My solution starts at the top: firing the whole board who presided over Trump and DeJoy’s wrecking of USPS,” said Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr.

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-8-2021

Screenshot: C-SPAN

With Postmaster General Louis DeJoy reportedly preparing to unveil plans for another round of service cuts and operational changes as soon as this week, President Joe Biden is facing growing calls from lawmakers, mail carriers, and others to take urgent steps to protect the U.S. Postal Service from further damage, pave the way for DeJoy’s removal, and shore up the agency’s finances for the near and distant future.

The Washington Post reported over the weekend that DeJoy—a Republican megadonor to former President Donald Trump—soon intends to “outline a new vision for the agency, one that includes more service cuts, higher and region-specific pricing, and lower delivery expectations.” Continue reading

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Warnings of Growing ‘Surveillance Empire’ as AI Van Cameras Give Amazon ‘Roaming Eyes in Every Neighborhood’

“Amazon will have the perfect panopticon in place to sweep up unprecedented amounts of data en masse,” says Fight for the Future.

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-4-2021

An Amaazon Prime van making a delivery in Queens. Photo: Tdorante10/CC

In what one leading digital rights advocate is calling “the largest expansion of corporate surveillance in human history,” Amazon has begun installing artificial intelligence-equipped cameras in some of its partners’ delivery vehicles to monitor drivers while they work, a move that is raising broader concerns about privacy and corporate power.

CNBC reported Wednesday that Amazon’s AI-powered, four-lens cameras—called Driveri—are being tested in a handful of contracted delivery vehicles. The cameras are manufactured by Netradyne, a San Diego-based startup, and record 100% of the time while vans are operating. They watch and record not only the drivers, but also the road and what’s happening around the vehicles. Continue reading

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Biden Urged to Fire Entire Postal Service Board for Complicity in ‘Devastating Arson’ by Trump and DeJoy

“Trump confessed he was wrecking USPS to rig the election. His toady Postmaster General DeJoy carried out that arson. It’s time to clean house.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-25-2021

Democratic Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. of New Jersey on Monday urged President Joe Biden to terminate all six sitting members of the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors for their “silence and complicity” in the face of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and former President Donald Trump’s full-scale assault on the beloved government mail agency.

“Through the devastating arson of the Trump regime, the USPS Board of Governors sat silent,” Pascrell wrote in a letter to Biden. “Their dereliction cannot now be forgotten. Therefore, I urge you to fire the entire Board of Governors and nominate a new slate of leaders to begin the hard work of rebuilding our Postal Service for the next century.” Continue reading

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