By Doug Cunningham
Hundreds of workers led by the AFL-CIO rallied in Washington at the National Labor Relations Board Thursday protesting the board’s recent anti-worker decisions. Fred Azcarate, Director of Voice At Work, was one of the protesters.
[Azcarate]: “A bunch of decisions that make it harder for workers to organize through majority sign-up, decisions that take away the workers right who are illegally fired for back pay – that make our bad labor laws even worse.”
Day 12 of the Hollywood writer’s strike continues to impact television programs. And as a result new media is playing a major role in getting the message out from writers. Jesse Russell reports:
From blogs to YouTube, striking television writers are showing the power of new media in a big way. It shouldn’t be a surprise as new media is at the core of the negotiation breakdown with Hollywood producers – the writers want compensation for when their material appears on the internet or other new technologies. The Writers Guild of America has been posting daily videos that detail the issues, capture life on the strike lines, and even feature cameos from the actors who are dependent on scripts for their shows. One video captures members of the screen actors guild joining a picket at Universal Studios.
By Doug Cunningham
Helene Bonneau of the French labor federation CGT says the French transport strike is a defense not only of pensions but the overall social contract French workers have won through decades of struggle. Bonneau says the right-wing Sarkozy government is not unlike Ronald Reagan in its attack on workers and their unions.
[Bonneau]: “Government wanted a clash in order to get rid of the trade union movement. So we have to avoid a clash that would be destructive for the trade union movement. And At the same time, we want to achieve something in terms of pensions for all the workers concerned.”
By Jesse Russell
You may be paying even more at the pump than you previously thought. According to CNN the U.S. military uses 340,000 barrels of oil per day. And that means every time a barrel jumps by ten dollars, the pain is felt by taxpayers, who will pay an additional $1.3 billion a year. The Pentagon deals out nearly $20 billion for that oil, with the Air Force the biggest user at $8 billion per year. CNN reports 14 million less barrels were used than in 2005, but they paid $3 billion more.
Workers across the country fought back today against the ongoing assault on their rights by the Bush-appointed National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). In Washington, D.C., and more than 20 other cities, working men and women marched to and rallied at NLRB offices, saying until a pro-worker labor board is appointed, the agency should be “closed for renovations.”
The Bush NLRB has a history of anti-worker rulings, but the board topped itself in September with a sweeping series of decisions that cut to the core of workers’ freedom to form unions and bargain collectively.
In Washington, D.C., more than 1,000 workers rallied at the AFL-CIO headquarters and then marched to the national NLRB office.
Millions of workers across the world are being forced to work in conditions akin to slavery by unscrupulous employers, labor recruiting agencies and governments, according to a new report from the AFL-CIO Solidarity Center. And the global crisis in trafficking affects all workers, as it contributes to depressed wages and an undereducated and undertrained generation of workers.
The International Labor Organization estimates that at any given time, 12 million men, women and children worldwide are deceived or coerced into forced and bonded labor, involuntary servitude and sexual slavery. Studies have shown that human trafficking generates more than $9.5 billion annually for international organized crime, second only to trafficking in weapons.
The drive to stop the proposed sale of Verizon’s New England landlines to FairPoint Communications is mushrooming. This week, a group of elected officials, first responders, seniors, small business owners and telephone workers delivered more than 2,600 postcards in a wheelbarrow to Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas (R), urging him to oppose the sale.
Verizon wants to sell its northern New England landlines to FairPoint for $2.7 billion. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the states of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine must approve the sale. If they do, Verizon will be allowed to abandon its so-called low-value residential customers in the three states—primarily rural customers—while keeping its more profitable customers, including Big Business and wireless users.
Under the deal, Verizon would qualify for a $600 million tax break and would control 60 percent of FairPoint. FairPoint is a small, highly leveraged North Carolina-based firm that can provide only dial-up Internet access or, at best, DSL service, a technology widely regarded as already outdated and inadequate for rural economic development.
After nine years, a lawsuit and some 400,000 workplace injuries, the Bush administration is issuing a rule requiring employers to pay for workers’ personal protective safety equipment (PPE)—a measure expected to prevent tens of thousands of workplace injuries every year.
The rule, requiring employers to pay for such safety items as hard hats, lifelines, face shields, gloves and other equipment used by an estimated 20 million workers, was first proposed in 1999, but it was pulled back when the Bush administration came to power. Nearly a year ago, the AFL-CIO and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) filed a lawsuit over the Bush’ administration’s refusal to issue the rule. The lawsuit and congressional appropriations legislation both set a deadline of Nov. 30 for final action by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)—which itself estimates that some 400,000 workers have been injured and another 50 killed because the rule has not been in place.