Tag Archives: workers’ issues

‘Striketober’ in Full Swing as Nearly 100,000 Workers Authorize Work Stoppages

“You might say workers have declared a national general strike until they get better pay and improved working conditions,” said former Labor Secretary Robert Reich.

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Puplished 10-13-2021

Members and supporters of SEIU Local 49 picketed Aug. 21 at Kaiser Permanente Westside Medical Center in Hillsboro. Two days later Local 49 wrapped up strike balloting: The result was a 98% vote to authorize a strike. (Photo courtesy SEIU Local 49)

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich observed Wednesday that with employees in industries across the spectrum set to strike in the coming days following corporate leaders’ failure to meet their demands for fair pay and working conditions, the U.S. is closer than it has been in decades to experiencing a general strike.

“You might say workers have declared a national general strike until they get better pay and improved working conditions,” wrote Reich in The Guardian. “No one calls it a general strike. But in its own disorganized way it’s related to the organized strikes breaking out across the land—Hollywood TV and film crews, John Deere workers, Alabama coal miners, Nabisco workers, Kellogg workers, nurses in California, healthcare workers in Buffalo.” Continue reading

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Nobel Peace Prize for journalists serves as reminder that freedom of the press is under threat from strongmen and social media

When the reporter becomes the story.
AP Photo/Bullit Marquez

 

Kathy Kiely, University of Missouri-Columbia

Thirty-two years ago next month, I was in Germany reporting on the fall of the Berlin Wall, an event then heralded as a triumph of Western democratic liberalism and even “the end of history.”

But democracy isn’t doing so well across the globe now. Nothing underscores how far we have come from that moment of irrational exuberance than the powerful warning the Nobel Prize Committee felt compelled to issue on Oct. 8, 2021 in awarding its coveted Peace Prize to two reporters. Continue reading

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‘Milestone Moment’ for Labor as 98% of Major TV-Film Union Votes to Strike

“Exactly the kind of mass-movement organizing we need right now,” said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of the move by IATSE members.

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 10=4=2021

Supporters at IATSE solidarity rally in Hollywood  Photo: IATSE Local 700 Organizing Department

Close to 100% of the 60,000-member film and television production employees union voted Monday to approve a strike in the coming days if studios don’t agree to a fair deal for the lowest-paid workers who make movies and television shows possible.

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) announced that with nearly nine in 10 members taking part in the vote, 98.68% of workers approved a strike authorization amid negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which represents hundreds of TV and film production companies. Continue reading

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Nabisco Strike Ends After Union Members Approve New Contract

“Congratulations to these brave workers on their wins,” said one labor writer. “May their determination and grit be an inspiration for workers everywhere.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-19-2021

Nabisco workers on strike (Photo: BCTGM/bctgm.org)

A strike that started last month in Portland, Oregon and spread to other Nabisco bakeries and distribution centers across the United States ended Saturday after unionized workers voted “overwhelmingly” in favor of a new collective bargaining agreement.

Though some Portland employees opposed ratifying the four-year contract, calling for better terms, it ultimately garnered the necessary support from workers there and at facilities in Aurora, Colorado; Richmond, Virginia; Chicago, Illinois; and Norcross, Georgia. Continue reading

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Unemployment Benefit Cut-Off Will Slash Annual Incomes by $144 Billion: Analysis

“By failing to extend unemployment benefits, Congress and the White House will harm working people struggling in the pandemic.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 9-17-2021

People’s Unemployment Line protest in Philadelphia, 2020. Photo: Joe Piette/flickr/CC

The decision by Congress and the Biden administration to let pandemic-related unemployment programs expire earlier this month will slash annual incomes across the U.S. by $144.3 billion and significantly reduce consumer spending, the Economic Policy Institute estimates in an analysis released Friday.

Drawing on recent research (pdf) examining the 26 states that prematurely ended the emergency unemployment insurance (UI) programs, EPI argues that the “best available evidence” indicates the benefit cut-offs thus far have resulted in “all pain and no gain.” Continue reading

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‘Catastrophe’ Feared as 35 Million People Are Set to Lose Jobless Aid in 3 Days

“Millions will suffer as they lose this critical source of income and the loss of spending will suppress job growth.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 9-3-2021

Members of the Georgia State Defense Force from across the state pack supply boxes at Second Harvest of South Georgia food bank in Valdosta, Ga. Photo: Georgia National Guard/Wikimedia/CC

Millions of jobless workers are set to lose critical unemployment benefits in roughly 72 hours—and neither Congress nor the Biden administration seem prepared to do anything about it.

Despite the ongoing threat posed by the highly transmissible Delta variant, the White House and Democratic lawmakers have provided no indication that they plan to prevent several pandemic-related unemployment programs from expiring on September 6, which—in a cruel irony—happens to be Labor Day. Continue reading

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‘Long Overdue’: EPA Bans All Food Uses of Neurotoxic Pesticide Chlorpyrifos

“Finally, our fields are made safer for farmworkers and our fruits and vegetables are safer for our children.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 8-18-2021

Photo: ConsumerNotice

Public health experts and labor rights advocates celebrated Wednesday after the Biden administration announced that it “will stop the use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos on all food to better protect human health, particularly that of children and farmworkers,” following decades of demands for government intervention spurred by safety concerns.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its final rule on chlorpyrifos days before a court-ordered deadline stemming from legal action by advocacy groups that have long sought a ban on the pesticide, which is tied to permanent brain damage in children. Continue reading

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‘Our Moment to Win Citizenship’: Budget Package Provides Hope to Millions of Undocumented People

“We will bring undocumented people out of the shadows and provide them with a pathway to citizenship, including those who courageously kept our economy running in the middle of a deadly pandemic,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders.

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-9-2021

About 3000 people gathered at Powderhorn Park in Minneapolis to stand in solidarity with immigrants and refugees in February 2017. Photo: Fibonacci Blue/flickr/CC

The $3.5 trillion budget resolution introduced Monday by Senate Democrats and Sen. Bernie Sanders includes billions of dollars for Congress to establish a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants, giving progressives a reason to cheer.

“We will bring undocumented people out of the shadows and provide them with a pathway to citizenship, including those who courageously kept our economy running in the middle of a deadly pandemic,” said Sanders (I-Vt.), chair of the Senate Budget Committee and key architect of what he called “the most consequential piece of legislation for working people, the elderly, the children, the sick, and the poor since FDR and the New Deal of the 1930s. Continue reading

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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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‘Shameful Failure’: Biden’s OSHA Excludes Most Workers From Covid Protections

“We’ve learned over decades that employers, especially in low wage industries, rarely choose to prioritize their workers’ safety; we need government to mandate actions that safeguard lives and well-being,” said Oxfam America.

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-10-2021

Screenshot: 12news

Scientists and workers’ rights advocates were among those late Wednesday who denounced the Biden administration’s new workplace safety rules regarding the Covid-19 pandemic, which were unveiled months later than expected and which the Labor Department made enforceable only for healthcare settings—leaving grocery store employees, manufacturing workers, and others vulnerable to the continuing public health crisis, critics said.

At a Wednesday hearing of the House Education and Labor Committee, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh told lawmakers that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) final Covid-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) will apply only to healthcare workplaces, requiring those employers “to provide their workers with a safe and healthful workplace free from recognized hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm.” Continue reading

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