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I Really Love My University, Which Is Why I'm Going on Strike

For the first time in its 39-year history, the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation of the University of Oregon is on strike, and here's why . [more inside]
posted by bassooner on Dec 5, 2014 - 32 comments

The best "unlikely allies" story you've probably never heard.

"Pride", a critically-acclaimed new film given a limited release in the US today, tells the true story of how a small group of LGBT activists became the biggest fundraiser for the year-long British coal miner's strike of 1984-85. The miners faced a pre-meditated, organized, thuggish, dishonest, deceptive, and illegal surveillance and smear campaign by the Thatcher government, which froze all mining union funds, cancelled their unemployment, and denied food and housing welfare to their wives and children, in an attempt to starve them out. For the first time, the British government trained Britain's police into a paramilitary force, bused in at great expense and in great numbers to overwhelm the protesters, using violent, repressive, and corrupt tactics against non-violent protesters, with prolonged police detentions and the indiscriminate arrest of over 11,000 British citizens. The government was supported by the rightwing tabloid media, who used sensationalist, crude headlines to shape public opinion. LGBT activists reclaimed one such headline as the name of their most successful benefit. Although the miner's strike was broken by the Thatcher government, the miners kept their promise to support the LGBT community, by marching alongside them at the front of London's 1985's Pride parade.. Later that year at the Labour Party conference, a motion was tabled that supported adding equal rights for gays and lesbians as part of the Party's platform. This motion was opposed by Labour's executive committee, but the motion went to a vote – and passed, thanks to the votes of the National Union of Mineworkers and their allies.
posted by markkraft on Sep 27, 2014 - 33 comments

No Fruit From Labor

When Restaurant Workers Can't Afford To Eat
posted by The Whelk on Sep 1, 2014 - 65 comments

“They paid the ultimate price for standing up for the working class”

One Generation’s Time: The Legacy of Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes (YouTube, 1 hour). The story of two activists who fought to improve the lives of Filipino workers in Alaskan canneries, their murders by members of a street gang, and the eight-year investigation that ultimately found Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos responsible for their deaths. [more inside]
posted by Banknote of the year on Aug 22, 2014 - 5 comments

What Happens When Low Wage Workers Suddenly Get a Living Wage?

The other night I was on the train coming home and there was this young girl with three young children, and she had a container of milk, and I heard the middle child of the three ask, "Mom, can I have some milk?" and the mother said, "No, you know we need it for the baby." And I remembered feeling like that.
posted by the young rope-rider on Jun 6, 2014 - 215 comments

So, you want to break the strike?

Frank and inspiring words from a twenty-five year old RMT activist, Lorna Tooley.
posted by Mistress on May 4, 2014 - 18 comments

"I hate celebrity culture"

Given to the Oxford Union, I submit a lecture on the nature of celebrity by one Jack Gleeson, best known as "Little Boy" in Batman Begins, but also for his role in HBO's "Game of Thrones".
posted by TheNewWazoo on Apr 11, 2014 - 37 comments

The Pity-Charity Complex

"I say “you” deliberately here, because much of the writing about low-wage workers tends to obscure just that fact — that these stories could well be about you. Too much writing on the left and the right has tended to treat the people in some of the nation’s most common jobs as if they are some exotic Other rather than our neighbors, our family members and ourselves. " --Sarah Jaffe on the media's strange ways of talking about low-wage workers.
posted by The Whelk on Mar 20, 2014 - 40 comments

"We want to work in partnership with companies to succeed."

On Friday, the results of an unionisation vote in Volkswagen's Chattanooga, Tennessee plant were announced. The United Auto Workers had worked with German union, IG Metall, to encourage the creation of a works council, common in Germany, in the plant. [more inside]
posted by frimble on Feb 17, 2014 - 124 comments

Promoting free speech and the art of debating.

The Cambridge Union Society on YouTube: Brian Blessed, Bill Bryson, Dame Judi Dench, Lisa Kudrow, Sir Patrick Stewart [more inside]
posted by Lanark on Nov 16, 2013 - 5 comments

Low-wage workers fight to make bad jobs better.

A growing number of Americans is realizing that “good jobs” aren’t coming back, and that for things to get better, they’re going to have to fight to turn their McJobs into something better. (Via Jacobin) [more inside]
posted by klue on Oct 5, 2013 - 103 comments

Death of an adjunct

"Duquesne has claimed that the unionization of adjuncts like Margaret Mary would somehow interfere with its mission to inculcate Catholic values among its students." - Daniel Kovalik
posted by jeffburdges on Sep 18, 2013 - 114 comments

"We are not toys. We are not going down without a fight."

Third-grader Asean Johnson schools Rahm Emmanuel on the mayor's plan for Chicago's public schools. (YT) [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on May 25, 2013 - 37 comments

'workers who are "flexible"—that is, dispensable'

"Everyone Only Wants Temps" - My stint doing "on demand" grunt work for one of America's hottest growth industries
It's not a pretty formula, but it works. With 600 offices and a workforce of 400,000—more employees than Target or Home Depot—Labor Ready is the undisputed king of the blue-collar temp industry. Specializing in "tough-to-fill, high-turnover positions," the company dispatches people to dig ditches, demolish buildings, remove debris, stock giant fulfillment warehouses—jobs that take their toll on a body.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on May 20, 2013 - 120 comments

The FBI vs. Marvin Miller

How America Commie-Baited A Baseball Hero [more inside]
posted by Elementary Penguin on May 15, 2013 - 9 comments

The Fight For Fifteen

In what could be the largest strike of its kind, hundreds of fast food workers in Detroit walked off their jobs on Friday, echoing the rallying cry heard (or not?) across the country that the currently underpaid workers deserve $15 an hour and the right to form a union without retaliation. Friday's strike in Detroit comes on the heels of similar actions in other cities—Wednesday and Thursday in St. Louis, and in Chicago and New York City last month.
posted by SkylitDrawl on May 12, 2013 - 110 comments

Put Up the Factory...and Own the Job

May 9 was the grand opening of Chicago's New Era Windows Cooperative, a unionized, 100% worker owned and operated window manufacturer with an interesting history. "In 2008, the boss decided to close our windows factory on Goose Island and fire everyone. In 2012, we decided to buy the factory for ourselves and fire the boss. We now own the plant together and run it democratically. This is our story."
posted by deliciae on May 11, 2013 - 45 comments

The Paterson Silk Strike

For May Day: The Story of the Paterson Silk Strike Pageant of 1913.
posted by homunculus on May 1, 2013 - 8 comments

'Cause the Union Makes Us Strong

On May 16, 1934, the Teamsters local 574 of Minneapolis, Minnesota called for a strike to stop all truck deliveries in the city not run by union workers. This 1981 documentary tells the story in the workers' own words. Part 1, part 2.
posted by cthuljew on Apr 17, 2013 - 6 comments

Incommensurable values

Economists and the theory of politics - "why unions were often well worth any deadweight cost" [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 25, 2013 - 27 comments

"Scholars, however, have long known a very different story"

The Real Cuban Missile Crisis: Everything you think you know about those 13 days is wrong.
posted by andoatnp on Feb 8, 2013 - 49 comments

Collective bargaining in Michigan?

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has signed into law two bills that will "will among other things, bar both public and private sector workers from being required to pay fees as a condition of their employment." [SLNYT] [more inside]
posted by dd42 on Dec 11, 2012 - 235 comments

The Times They Are a-Changin'

In 1962, fifty years ago this month, striking union printers shut down four New York City newspapers in resistance to computerized, automated technologies that were being introduced in newsrooms across the country. Five other area papers shut down voluntarily. The strike lasted 114 days and sounded the death knell for four newspapers. For a brief period, New York was a laboratory that demonstrated what can happen when newspapers vanish. Today, new technology is again shaking American newspapers as the Internet drains away more and more advertising revenue. Is this The Long Good Bye? [more inside]
posted by zarq on Nov 30, 2012 - 25 comments

"The company at this point isn’t just a key purveyor of lower labor standards and a globalized and concentrated supply chain, it is a key tell for policymakers."

Wal-Mart legal troubles mount as Black Friday walkout looms [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Nov 4, 2012 - 98 comments

Rubber Rooms Are Still Open, Just Different

Thought the "rubber rooms" where New York City teachers were sent to wait for disciplinary hearings were closed? Not so much. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Oct 16, 2012 - 32 comments

American Airlines Pilots Stage Alleged "Sickout"

American Airlines has been forced to cancel 300 flights this week as pilots, upset over a discouraging deal with their union (including pay and benefits cuts), have begun calling in sick in high numbers.
posted by Tenacious.Me.Tokyo on Sep 20, 2012 - 105 comments

Chicago Teachers Strike

For the first time since 1987, Chicago public school teachers will strike. Last year, the city council in Chicago passed a law mandating that 75% of Chicago Teachers Union members would need to vote to authorize a strike. In June, CTU announced that they had met that threshold, and that they would strike if negotiations with Chicago Public Schools over job security, evaluations, and a longer school day with no extra pay for teachers, failed. They did, and tonight Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union, announced that as of midnight tonight, public school teachers in Chicago are on strike.
posted by deliciae on Sep 9, 2012 - 184 comments

What are the forces that prevent you from doing so?

Is there a man (or woman) among us with pluck enough to wear Big Bill Haywood's workingman's pants? [more inside]
posted by notyou on Sep 3, 2012 - 23 comments

Canadian? Have The Day Off? Thank Some Toronto Typographers.

What Is Labor Day Anyway? (Single Link Comic Post)
posted by The Whelk on Sep 3, 2012 - 30 comments

Municipal Bankruptcy in the United States

Over the last few months, a few cities around the United States have experienced their own, unique, fiscal crisis: bankruptcy. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Aug 5, 2012 - 74 comments

Kicking Labor While You're Up

Caterpillar, after record profits, squeezes its union for a six-year wage and pension freeze and increased insurance contributions - not because it has to, but because it can. As the machinists' union enters its fourth month on strike, the company says it's getting along just fine with temps and union workers who have crossed the picket line. Private-sector union membership is now at an all-time low of 6.9%. Even as calls to remedy America's income inequality grow from Occupy and other movements, nobody in power is helping. The Democratic Party's ship has long since sailed. (previously)
posted by moammargaret on Jul 23, 2012 - 292 comments

$20 million ... 'sold to the public as charity work in the service of human rights.'

Mark Ames (of the eXile): The Left’s Big Sellout – How the ACLU and Human Rights Groups Quietly Exterminated Labor Rights (via naked capitalism) [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jul 1, 2012 - 129 comments

"Whereas the left is always in danger of talking itself into the ground."

What's also obvious is that this phase of Occupy, with talk of credit unions and occupying the SEC, while eminently worthy, is also kind of boring, especially when compared to the thrill of Occupy's park phase. Some, though, are ready to move on. "It's easy to go back to the park occupation and fetishize it, in a way," says Occupy Chicago's Brian Bean. "I prefer not to run a mini-society – I want to run society." - The Battle For The Soul Of Occupy Wall Street - Rolling Stone - Mark Binelli.
posted by The Whelk on Jun 30, 2012 - 193 comments

Strike At The Strand

The workers at Manhattan's famous Strand Bookstore are currently in conflict with management over a severe new contract that radically reduces benefits. Bookstore employee and cartoonist Greg Farrell has decided to explain the conflicts and background of the problem via comic book.
posted by The Whelk on Apr 11, 2012 - 63 comments

Spring Awakening

Mother Jones: The 10 'Occupy' candidates vying for seats in the US House Of Representatives and Senate and their prospects.
posted by The Whelk on Mar 14, 2012 - 27 comments

"Such laws would require gyms and health clubs to admit everybody, whether or not he or she pays a cent."

One Minnesota union's tongue-in-cheek response to a proposal to make Minnesota a so-called "Right to Work" State. [more inside]
posted by univac on Feb 16, 2012 - 73 comments

Playing for the other Team(sters): Project 59

Today on Rewind a remarkable historical piece that features two American icons who clashed over issues of corruption and misappropriation of funds in the 1950s and 60s. They are Robert Kennedy- former Attorney General of the United States, but at the time Chief Investigator of the Rackets Committee for the United States Senate, and James Hoffa- head of the Teamsters Union. (MP3) [more inside]
posted by infinite intimation on Jan 20, 2012 - 1 comment

"You can’t regret your fate, although I do regret my mother didn’t marry a carpenter."

Growing up, she was a beloved celebrity in her home country. Thousands of girls were named after her. So was a bestselling perfume. But Josef Stalin's "Little Sparrow," his only daughter, (born Svetlana Stalina) defected to the United States in 1967. Upon arriving in New York, she promptly held a press conference that surprised the world, denouncing her father's regime. Svetlana became a naturalized US citizen, moved to Taliesin West, married an American, changed her name to Lana Peters, then returned to the Soviet Union in 1984, declaring that she had not been free "for one single day" in the U.S., only to once again return to America in 1986. She lived out her remaining days in a small town in Wisconsin. Mrs. Peters passed away from colon cancer on November 22nd, at the age of 85. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Nov 28, 2011 - 39 comments

#fail #whale #tale

Australia's Qantas Airlines has been left red-faced after an ill-timed public relations campaign and Twitter competition backfired, drawing thousands of angry responses. The contest ran a day after talks with unions broke down, and after Qantas grounded its entire fleet in October. Thousands of passengers were stranded worldwide after the firm halted flights in an attempt to end months of strike action by workers angered by the firm's restructuring plans. The "Qantas Luxury" promotion, launched on 22 November, quickly tapped into customers' ire. ~ BBC
posted by infini on Nov 23, 2011 - 20 comments

“Today we have a new group of satirists who, at the same time that they bite the bourgeoisie, use only their lips, but not their teeth”

While he was contributing to the New Yorker as Syd Hoff, he was also contributing to the Daily Worker and New Masses as A. Redfield — the pseudonym he adopted for his radical work, The Ruling Clawss (Daily Worker, 1935) a collection of surprisingly relevant cartoons.
posted by The Whelk on Oct 29, 2011 - 21 comments

Bullseye

A while back, Gawker broke the story of a former manager suing Target as part of a series about life at the notoriously anti-union store. Since then many more employees have come forward with stories about "The sketchiest place I've ever worked." (Target Previously)
posted by The Whelk on Oct 23, 2011 - 141 comments

Every child had a pretty good shot To get at least as far as their old man got.

"I never felt like passing out in a warehouse and I never felt treated like a piece of crap in any other warehouse but this one," Goris said. "They can do that because there aren't any jobs in the area."
The Allentown newspaper The Morning Call investigates life inside of one of Amazon's newest warehouses. [more inside]
posted by Toekneesan on Sep 20, 2011 - 271 comments

Give me that old time religion - or not.

In 2002 a Mrs. Soile Tuulikki Lautsi, a Finnish/Italian woman and member of the Italian Union of Atheists, Agnostics and Rationalists objected to the crucifixes on the wall of her child’s public school. [more inside]
posted by IndigoJones on Jun 27, 2011 - 52 comments

Literal Wisconsin Supreme Court battle

Two weeks ago, the Wisconsin Supreme Court voted 4-3 [video] to reinstate the controversial anti-union Budget Repair Bill, which a district judge had declared void due to a law requiring 24 hours' public notice of meetings. The Supreme Court's deliberations were heated. The liberal Justice Ann Walsh Bradley now says that after she asked conservative Justice David Prosser to leave her office, he put his hands around her neck in a choke-hold. Justice Prosser denies the allegation. [more inside]
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Jun 26, 2011 - 160 comments

Officially a filibuster

While outside Parliament it is 2:00 AM EST, Friday June 24, inside it will remain the "Thursday June 23 Chamberverse" until the Canadian House of Commons rises. Canada's new Official Opposition, the New Democratic party is currently filibustering the Conservative majority government over Bill C-6 - An act to provide for the Resumption and Continuation of Postal Services brought forward to force postal workers at Canada Post, an arms-length Crown Corporation back to work. [more inside]
posted by HLD on Jun 23, 2011 - 85 comments

The Failure of American Schools

Joel Klein wrote an essay in the Atlantic about the reasons for the current problems in the primary educational system.
posted by reenum on Jun 15, 2011 - 79 comments

Support Telepath Local 153

The Washington Post asks: Can Mutants And Humans Really Co-Exist? Metafilter's own Mightygodking responds.
posted by The Whelk on Jun 10, 2011 - 80 comments

French Riot Police revolt over beer and wine ban

"I don't think the chief of police drinks water when he's having a meal." Members of the Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité, the French riot police, are up in arms about a new regulation forbidding them to drink alcohol during the workday. The ban is said to be a reaction to widely publicized photos of riot police drinking beer while policing a high-school student demonstration in Perreux-sur-Marne.
posted by escabeche on Apr 26, 2011 - 107 comments

"It's ironic that Ikea looks on the U.S. and Danville the way that most people in the U.S. look at Mexico."

Ikea's U.S. factory churns out unhappy workers. A union-organizing battle hangs over the Ikea plant in Virginia. Workers complain of eliminated raises, a frenzied pace, mandatory overtime and racial discrimination.
posted by hippybear on Apr 10, 2011 - 106 comments

Constitutional Crisis in Curdistan

There is a constitutional crisis in Cheeseland. If you haven't been paying attention, WI governor Scott Walker and the Republican controlled Senate and Assembly passed a controversial bill and signed it. [more inside]
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt on Mar 30, 2011 - 377 comments

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