Hollywood ink could cease to flow if reality tv writers and Hollywood executives can’t pen an agreement. Jesse Russell reports:
At the crux of the argument regarding reality TV shows is how much writing actually goes into the shows. Hollywood executives want to keep up the appearance that the shows arer unscripted. According to AFTRA National Communications Director, John Hindricks, there is actually quite a bit of writing and storytelling involved.
[Hindrikcs]: “The programs are unscripted and at some point a producer or writer, some person, needs to take a look at what they have and write a coherent story.”
By Doug Cunningham
Laborers International Union President, Terry O’Sullivan, is calling on labor to unite behind the push for real comprehensive immigration reform that treats immigrant workers with dignity and respect.
[O'Sullivan]: “There is no retreat, there is no surrender when it comes to the fight for comprehensive immigration reform! We, as one, need to make sure that we get out of the comfort zone and get into the war zone brothers and sisters! I’m mad dog mean, I’m ready to bite and I’m ready to fight!”
By Doug Cunningham
If Teamster workers approve a tentative contract with UPS reached over the weekend, UPS will pull out of the Central States pension fund. Is that a good thing for Teamsters’ UPS workers? Ken Hall, the Teamsters’ Parcel and Small Package Division Director, says that it is.
[Hall]: “Once the employees are no longer covered by Central States, they will be transferred to a newly-established, jointly-trusteed UPS/Teamster plan, where those employees will actually see increases in their pension benefits.”
Hall says this new contract provides about a $1.80 per hour per worker increase in wages and benefits in each year of the new contract. The Central States fund will get $6.1 billion from UPS as the company withdraws from the plan–improving its financial picture, but leaving it still underfunded. Hall says pensions were the number one concern of UPS Teamsters.
Ignoring the mounting evidence that an artificial flavoring used in microwave popcorn and other processed foods causes a deadly lung disease among workers who produce the products, the Bush administration last week turned down a petition for an emergency temporary standard to protect workers.
The next day, on Sept. 26, the U.S. House stepped in and voted, 260–154, for a bill that requires the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue an emergency standard limiting workers’ exposure to the chemical, diacetyl. The butter-flavored additive can cause bronchiolitis obliterans, a severe illness known as “popcorn lung.”
Eileen Toback, AFL-CIO political organizer/Voice@Work campaign, took part in the union movement’s kickoff walks over the weekend in Virginia, where dozens of union members turned out.
Northern Virginia had a great get-out-the-vote kickoff this past Saturday with more than 70 activists knocking on the doors of union members who this November have a chance to elect many working family-friendly candidates to state offices.
Nearly 900 households were greeted by members from AFGE, AFSCME, Communications Workers of America, Electrical Workers, Food and Commercial Workers, Laborers, Iron Workers, Office of Professional Employees, Operating Engineers, Painters and Allied Trades, Plumbers, Seafarers, Sheet Metal Workers and Transport Workers.
Mark Ayers, new AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department (BCTD) president, says he will work aggressively to increase construction union membership and market share and continue efforts to bring all the building trades unions together under one umbrella again.
In a statement, as he takes office today, Ayers says:
I am honored and excited to have been given this important responsibility, especially given that 2008 represents the 100th anniversary of the [BCTD]….We are on the threshold of extraordinary opportunity for our industry…and that is all the more reason for us not to give up on finding solutions that will restore harmony among the trades.
In February 2006, the Laborers, Carpenters and Operating Engineers withdrew from the BCTD and Ayers has expressed his desire to continue negotiations with the three unions.
Ayers takes over the 12-union department from retiring BCTD President from Edward C. Sullivan. Prior to his unanimous selection by the BCTD Governing Board, Ayers was director of the Electrical Workers (IBEW) Construction and Maintenance Division. He also was the business manager of IBEW Local 34 in Peoria, Ill., and secretary-treasurer of the West Central Illinois Building and Construction Trades Council.
Bernard Pollack, AFL-CIO field coordinator, sends us this report on the campaign to elect a working family-friendly governor in Kentucky.
In one of the largest statewide labor walks ever held in Kentucky, 167 union activists walked door to door Saturday to talk with union members about the upcoming election in which Steve Beshear is challenging anti-worker Gov. Ernie Fletcher for office.
Despite Beshear’s 20-point lead in the polls, union members in Kentucky are not sitting back. Fletcher has canceled bargaining rights for state employees, privatized Kentucky’s Medicaid program and pushed to repeal the prevailing wage law and implement anti-union “right to work” for less legislation. Beshear opposes so-called “right to work” legislation and has affirmed his support of safeguards for the prevailing wage, employee bargaining, the need for affordable health care and good jobs.
After our state kickoff walk last week in which more than 400 volunteers went door to door in Jefferson County, we continue to knock on thousands of union doors across the state, with walks this weekend in Lexington, Louisville, Owensboro, Paducah and Pikeville.
Richard Negri, a dedicated unionist who runs the blog Union Review, has a great post we’d like to highlight. Negri rightly applauds the organization Helmets to Hardhats, which connects National Guard, Reserve and transitioning active-duty military members with quality career training and employment opportunities within the construction industry and other trades.
Up in Windsor Locks, Conn., local building trades unions joined up with Helmets to Hardhats to assist a local veteran named Sgt. Barry Albert. The soldier lost a leg as a result of a May 14 attack on four U.S. Army vehicles in Iraq.
The 42-year-old war hero was driving the lead vehicle near the city of Al Hillah when he sustained significant shrapnel injuries to his leg, yet continued to drive his passengers to safety, including a wounded comrade.
When his story was heard, it was clearly identified that Sgt. Albert and his wife, Susan, needed to have their home retrofitted to accommodate his injury. Helmets to Hardhats, along with another group called Heroes to Hometowns and American Legion Post 36 in Windsor Locks, reached out to the building trades unions in the Greater Hartford area to help coordinate the effort.