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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

"This is about finally giving college athletes a seat at the table."

Northwestern Football Players Are Trying To Unionize. More coverage from Deadspin, ThinkProgress, and Bleacher Report. The NCAA's predictable response.
posted by tonycpsu on Jan 28, 2014 - 56 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

"We asked for nothing. They offered us less" - Ontario's teachers

Years of labour peace between the government of Ontario and teachers came to an end this year. Like their colleagues in British Columbia, Ontario teachers and support staff are complaining of unfair, unnecessary, and unconstitutional legislation -- the Putting Students First Act, 2012 -- that gives the Education Minister, Laura Broten, unchallenged power to ban strikes, job actions, set compensation and benefits, and to take over local school boards who are non-compliant. Ontario school boards are unanimously opposed to the Act, which reduces their power, and so are teachers and support staff, who feel the government is manufacturing a crisis. Most see this as a cynical ploy to capture public support for two by-elections this week that could nudge the Liberal government into majority status. ETFO and OSSTF, two of the teacher unions involved, have repeatedly pointed out that "the school year is not in jeopardy", that they had already accepted a wage freeze, and that local bargaining is proceeding well. As legislation looms aheads, teachers, support staff, and labour activists are wondering: is this the end of collective bargaining for the public sector? [more inside]
posted by The Hyacinth Girl on Aug 31, 2012 - 49 comments

Back to Washington for Boeing

Boeing's new Dreamliner plant in South Carolina was found to be retaliation for union strikes by the National Labor Relations Board, an independent agency (On Point radio show). That's prompted Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) to launch an all-out war on the NRLB according to Dahlia Lithwick. (Previously.)
posted by klangklangston on Aug 19, 2011 - 78 comments

Wisconsin recall efforts fall short amid corruption fears

After weeks of fake primaries, fraudulent mailers, special interest moneybombs, and last-minute attempts at voter suppression, Wisconsinites went to the polls yesterday in an unprecedented round of six recall elections targeted mainly at Republican state senators for their support of Governor Scott Walker's controversial union-busting agenda. Five of the six races were called by Tuesday evening, with Democrats taking two of the three they'd need to regain control of the state senate. The lone holdout? A dead heat between incumbent Alberta Darling and challenger Sandy Pasch in District 8 -- the very same district that saw suspicious vote-counting by conservative Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus unexpectedly tip the balance towards Walker ally David Prosser late in the crucial state supreme court race this past April. The protracted count and late-night shift toward Darling coupled with Nickolaus's questionable history soon prompted Democratic officials to make accusations of fraud (later retracted). Control of the senate now lies in the defense of two Democratic seats up for recall next week and the possible wooing of GOP Senator Dale Schultz, the only Republican to vote against Walker's bill. Walker himself will be eligible for recall next spring. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Aug 10, 2011 - 136 comments

Being able to write is like being the pretty girl at the party

David Mamet discusses free-market economists, studying Kaballah, Aristotle's conception of drama, Tennessee William's expensive habit, and his love for Sarah Palin. Oh, and his HBO movie about Phil Spector (whom he believes is innocent). Previously, previously, and previously.
posted by -->NMN.80.418 on Jun 12, 2011 - 80 comments

HuffPoUnionAction

The Newspaper Guild is calling on unpaid writers of the Huffington Post to withhold their work in support of a strike launched by Visual Art Source in response to the company’s practice of using unpaid labor. In addition, we are asking that our members and all supporters of fair and equitable compensation for journalists join us in shining a light on the unprofessional and unethical practices of this company. [more inside]
posted by hippybear on Mar 21, 2011 - 52 comments

Trade Union Poster Design: A Very Mini History

Trade Union Poster Design: A Very Mini History
posted by Fiasco da Gama on Jan 27, 2011 - 3 comments

The German Model & Works Councils

Wondering at the route US vs. German unemployment has taken, I found some clues here and there, but the overriding factor seems to be the German model[1] and works councils.[2] [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Dec 27, 2010 - 34 comments

Doing the Reactionary

"Don't go Left/But be polite/Move to the Right/Doing the Reactionary…" [more inside]
posted by overeducated_alligator on Aug 8, 2010 - 27 comments

Mondragon and the Steelworkers

Last month the United Steelworkers entered into an agreement with the successful Spanish cooperative Mondragon to work toward establishing worker-owned manufacturing coops in the US. [more inside]
posted by enn on Nov 16, 2009 - 29 comments

“…If you stand up straight, people can’t ride your back. And that’s what we did. We stood up straight.”

When Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated April 4, 1968, he was helping sanitation workers in Memphis form a union. In 1967, SCLC initiated the Poor People's Campaign to unify the African-American civil rights movement with working people's movements more generally. In MLK's words, "It must not be just black people, it must be all poor people. We must include American Indians, Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, and even poor whites." [more inside]
posted by univac on Apr 4, 2009 - 20 comments

The Coming Collapse of the Middle Class

"The Coming Collapse of the Middle Class" [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 1, 2008 - 98 comments

Announcing: The International I.T. Workers Union

Today is May 1st, also known as International Workers Day. International Workers Day began when 340,000 in Chicago, Milwaukee and other cities struck for the eight-hour day in 1886. Flash forward to today where for many workers in the I.T. industry, years of 60-hour weeks and taking classes on your own dime to keep up with technology leave you in the unemployment line, after being laid off with no notice. For years, people have been calling for the I.T. Workers of the world to unite and form a unified labor union. I.T. workers should form a union for the same reason that workers have always formed unions: together we have more power to improve the terms and conditions of our employment than we do as individuals. This is an announcement and a call to action to the world-wide IT worker community to become involved in the development of a new resource — The International I.T. Workers Union that will represent the interests of I.T. Workers around the world.
posted by Babylonian on May 1, 2007 - 73 comments

Is Tyra A Workplace Tyrant?

America's Next Top Picket Line Writers from America's Next Top Model have gone on strike after the Writers Guild of America West began a campaign to unionize reality TV. How many strikes do you know have their own MySpace page, Television without Pity interview, and a model "working it" on the picket line? Ironically, a previous 1988 writers' strike encouraged the current boom in reality TV, as this article argues.
posted by jonp72 on Sep 12, 2006 - 19 comments

French

In Defense of French Dirigisme.
posted by semmi on Apr 10, 2006 - 60 comments

Why do you have to be a strike-breaker, is it a lesson that I never knew?

NYU President John Sexton warns striking grad students that they must resume teaching or lose their benefits. After weeks of marching outside Bobst library and refusing to teach classes, NYU grad students have been sent a letter from President John Sexton, warning them that any TA who does not return to work next week will lose their stipends and eligibility to teach next semester. Until recently, NYU was the only private school that allowed graduate teaching assistants to unionize, following a 2000 NLRB decision, which was subsequently reversed. NYU claims that it has negotiated in good faith and that the union's demands would limit decision making that should remain in the hands of academics, while the grad students argue that they cannot trust NYU's admistration to take care of them without unionization (and representation by the UAW). Meanwhile, many undergrads paying tuition upwards of 50K/year will have to retake classes or opt for pass/fail. Do you sympathize with highly educated American grad students who receive free tuition, health insurance, and stipends in exchange for modest teaching duties (when many other students depend on student loans), especially compared the with 19th century coal miners, third-world factory workers, and modern-day wage slaves we normally associate with unions and strikes?
posted by banishedimmortal on Nov 30, 2005 - 98 comments

The Union Makes Us Strong

The Union Makes Us Strong. Articles on British trade union history.
posted by plep on Aug 5, 2005 - 3 comments

Center for the Study of Political Graphics

The Center for the Study of Political Graphics has some very cool virtual exhibits, including Graphics of the International Labor Movement and Earth, Wind and Solar - International Ecology Posters.
posted by Ufez Jones on Jan 4, 2005 - 2 comments

Rev. Jackson rallies West Coast dock workers.

Rev. Jackson rallies West Coast dock workers. I'm proud of Jesse for this action. The workers are only averaging $80K per annum and foreman are averaging only $167K per. I'm surprised he didn't try to do the same for the MLBPA.
posted by flatlander on Sep 3, 2002 - 19 comments

Labor Day in the U.S. -- at least these folks care.

Labor Day in the U.S. -- at least these folks care. Who could forget the joys of child labor? Or the beatings utilized by Ford and other companies to keep workers in line? Or the 11 children killed during the Ludlow Massacre? If you could use a refresher course on the General Textile Strike of 1934, the Pullman Strike of 1894 or the explosive Haymarket Affair, here's a good place to start. People strike in other countries, too, you know. It's always good to remember how you earned Your Rights As Workers. [Feel free to post more labor history links inside]
posted by mediareport on Sep 2, 2002 - 40 comments

House likely to approve homeland security bill that erodes labor protections

House likely to approve homeland security bill that erodes labor protections "But the Senate, which likely takes up the matter next week, so far has pursued a much different course. On Thursday, the Democratic-led Senate Governmental Affairs Committee crafted legislation that would protect all current civil service protections and make it more difficult for the president to move workers out of unions. Bush and other Republicans said the measure would give the president less authority than he has now."

The House seems to be so much more conservative and extremist than the Senate. Heck they're still working on trying to ban selected types of abortion procedures even when there's a strong chance it won't pass constitutional muster and the Senate isn't likely to support them.

Is it your perception that the House is more conservative? If so, why do you think that's true?
posted by Red58 on Jul 26, 2002 - 19 comments

Teachers jailed for, well, NOT teaching...

Teachers jailed for, well, NOT teaching... (NYT link) I live in Middletown, but I think this is interesting for the general crowd. Aren't teachers allowed to strike? Should they be forced to return to work without a contract? Should they be thrown in jail because the school board won't work with them on a contract?
posted by rich on Dec 4, 2001 - 39 comments

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