Tag Archives: Unions

In NAFTA Talks, Canada Demands US Drop Anti-Union ‘Right to Work’ Laws

Right to work laws are “a sledgehammer that dilutes worker organization and bargaining, paving the way for lower wages and a host of labor violations”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-4-2017

“A total of 28 states, including three this year, have passed right-to-work legislation,” writes Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project. (Photo: Together We Will SJ‏/Twitter)

Canada has demanded that the United States eliminate anti-union “right-to-work” laws as part of ongoing NAFTA negotiations, the Canadian Globe and Mail reported.

One group of negotiators spent all day Sunday working on the labor file,” The Globe and Mail noted. “One source familiar with the discussions said Canada wants the United States to pass a federal law stopping state governments from enacting right-to-work legislation; the source said the United States has not agreed to such a request.”

In addition, Canadian negotiators are reportedly pressuring both the United States and Mexico “to offer a year of paid family leave, as Canada does.” Continue reading

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US Inequality Crisis Worst in Industrialized World. Trump Will Make It Worse.

If the policies favored by the Trump administration—including massive tax cuts for the rich and reductions in spending on Medicaid and education—go into effect, the U.S. will only fall further in the global rankings

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-17-2017

“Policymaking processes dominated by elites undermine democracy,” Max Lawson and Matthew Martin write. (Photo: Dean Chahim/Flickr/cc)

The United States is already the most unequal industrialized nation in the world, and a new report published on Monday shows that President Donald Trump’s agenda would only make matters worse.

“The Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index,” developed by Oxfam in partnership with Development Finance International (DFI), uses several factors to “measure the commitment of governments to reducing the gap between the rich and the poor.”

Compared to other wealthy nations, the report concludes, the U.S. is doing “very badly” in the fight against income and wealth inequality. Continue reading

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Chicago’s Terrible New Plan to Force High School Kids Into the Military

By Alice Salles. Published 7-7-2017 by The Anti-Media

Kelly High School, Chicago. Photo: Frank Buchalski/flickr/CC

Chicago, Illinois, has a chronic inflated state problem disguised as a schooling problem. In order to eradicate the symptom, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has decided to attack those who suffer from it and not the actual root of the problem — adopting a classic “more of the same” approach.

A plan approved in May is set to take effect soon, forcing high school seniors to either be enlisted in the military, have a job, be enrolled in a gap-year program, or have a college acceptance letter before the Chicago public schooling system will give them their diploma. The obvious consequences of this new policy are problematic. Still, Emanuel doesn’t seem to care. Continue reading

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With Nation’s Attention Elsewhere, Trump Quietly Intensifies War on Workers

Trump has nominated two corporate lawyers to the NLRB as Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch gears up to rule on a key labor case

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-28-2017

If Trump’s nominees are confirmed by the Senate, Republicans will control the NLRB for the first time in nearly a decade. (Photo: AFSCME/Twitter)

In a little-discussed move that could spell disaster for unions and workers in the near future and over the long-term, President Donald Trump on Tuesday night announced the nomination of William Emanuel—a lawyer for a firm that represents large corporations—to fill a vacant seat on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

Emanuel, as Reuters noted, is a member of the Federalist Society, an ultra-right-wing group of lawyers and donors that has been credited with producing the list of possible Supreme Court nominees the Trump administration flaunted during his presidential campaign.

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Conservatives Plot Their Course on the Rising ‘Sea of Red’ in State Capitals

Meeting in private, enthused activists promise that the growing Republican dominance in state government will unleash a wave of laws to cut business taxes, restrict unions and expand school privatization.

By Robert Faturechi, Pro Publica. Published 1-7-2017 by Common Dreams

The Kentucky State Capitol. Photo: Seifler (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Shortly after the November election, with the nation’s political attention focused on the Trump transition, an influential advocacy group met outside Washington to discuss how to leverage the extraordinary shift of power to Republicans in the rest of the country.

The American Legislative Exchange Council — a nonprofit better known as ALEC — briefed its members and allied groups on the bright future for its agenda now that Republicans will effectively control 68 of the nation’s 99 state legislative bodies, as well as 33 governor’s mansions. Among other things, group members said they would push bills to reduce corporate taxes, weaken unions, privatize schooling and influence the ideological debate on college campuses. Continue reading

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McDonald’s Settlement Could Open Door for Worker Wins Nationwide

“The courageous workers who brought this suit forced one of the world’s most powerful companies to take responsibility for the way it treats us.”

By Lauren McCauley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-31-2016

McDonald's workers strike for fair wages. (Photo: Steve Rhodes/cc/flickr)

McDonald’s workers strike for fair wages. (Photo: Steve Rhodes/cc/flickr)

Burger behemoth McDonald’s has reportedly reached a settlement with hundreds of franchise employees in California, which campaigners and attorneys are saying could be a precedent-setting development in the fight for fair wages.

In the settlement, revealed in a Friday filing in a U.S. district court in San Francisco, McDonald’s agreed to pay a total of $3.75 million in back pay and legal fees to roughly 800 employees of five restaurants owned by a single franchisee, Smith Family LP. Continue reading

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How the Decline in Union Membership Is Hurting All of Us: Report

‘Rebuilding our system of collective bargaining is an important tool available for fueling wage growth and ending the era of persistent wage stagnation’

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-30-2016

At a Verizon strike earlier this year. (Photo: Thomas Altfather Good/flickr/cc)

At a Verizon strike earlier this year. (Photo: Thomas Altfather Good/flickr/cc)

The decline of organized labor in the United States has contributed significantly to wage stagnation and rising inequality, according to a new report released Tuesday by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).

The analysis finds that as the share of private-sector workers in a union has fallen precipitously—from one in three in the 1950s to about one in 20 today—wage inequality has risen as a result. In particular, EPI states that the labor movement’s decline has contributed to wage losses among workers who don’t even belong to a union, which “translates into
millions of lost dollars to American workers.” Continue reading

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World’s Largest Strike? Tens of Millions in India Rise Up Against Right-Wing Economic Policies

Public sector workers across India went on strike to protest Prime Minister Modi’s push for privatization and demand higher wages

By Nika Knight, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-2-2016

Strikers in , India. Photo: Twitter

Strikers in Jadavpur, India. Photo: @RitabrataBanerj/Twitter

Tens of millions of public sector workers in India went on strike Friday to protest Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s push for privatization and other right-wing economic policies.

“This strike is against the central government, this strike is for the cause of the working people,” said Ramen Pandey, of the Indian National Trade Union Congress, to Al Jazeera.  Continue reading

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TTIP Has ‘De Facto Failed,’ Says German Economic Minister

‘Negotiations with the U.S. have de facto failed, because of course as Europeans we couldn’t allow ourselves to submit to American demands’

By Nika Knight, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-28-2016

"Everything has stalled," German Vice Chancellor and Economic Minister Sigmar Gabriel said. (Photo: Garry Knight/flickr/cc)

“Everything has stalled,” German Vice Chancellor and Economic Minister Sigmar Gabriel said. (Photo: Garry Knight/flickr/cc)

Germany’s Vice Chancellor and Economic Minister said that the controversial Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) has “de facto failed,” admitting that negotiations between the U.S. and E.U. have completely stalled.

“Negotiations with the U.S. have de facto failed, because of course as Europeans we couldn’t allow ourselves to submit to American demands,” Sigmar Gabriel told the German news station ZDF in an interview that will air at 7pm German time Sunday, according to Der Spiegel. Continue reading

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Demanding ‘What We Need to Survive,’ Workers to Descend on McDonald’s Shareholders Meeting

Fast food giant also faces renewed calls to ditch controversial ‘McTeacher’s Nights’

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-25-2016

Fight for $15 protesters outside a Chicago McDonald's in 2013. (Photo: Steve Rhodes/flickr/cc)

Fight for $15 protesters outside a Chicago McDonald’s in 2013. (Photo: Steve Rhodes/flickr/cc)

As McDonald’s prepares to hold its annual meting on Thursday, low wage workers—buoyed by successes from the “unstoppable” Fight for $15 movement—are gearing up to confront the burger giant and again demand a decent wage and union rights.

On Wednesday, in addition to a mid-day strike at the flagship Rock N Roll McDonald’s in Chicago, organizers say thousands of underpaid workers will stage a protest at the company’s headquarters just outside the city, in Oak Brook, Illinois. Continue reading

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