By the end of 2008 the number of Americans using food stamps is expected to reach 28 million, the highest level ever achieved. In order to qualify for the food stamps program a family must have near-poverty incomes. The Congressional Budget Office projects the number of recipients to reach 28 million in October, up from 26.5 million in 2007. Michigan claims the most with one in eight receiving the benefits.
A request to stop work on May 1 by the International Longshore and Warehouse Workers union to the Pacific Maritime Association will be denied. The Union is attempting to shut down West Coast ports for eight hours in order to protest the Iraq War. The PMA says the ILWU used the proper channels, but employers don’t want the ports closed during the busy daytime shift.
Starbucks plans to appeal a ruling that ordered the company to pay California baristas for tips they shared with shift managers. Jesse Russell reports:
In a voicemail to employees last Wednesday Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said the company believed the ruling by San Diego Superior Court to be unfair and that it would “take away the rights of shift supervisors to receive tips they earn for providing superior customer service.” The court ruled two weeks ago that Starbucks should pay baristas more than $100 million dollars in back tips that were shared with managers and supervisors. California law prevents supervisors from sharing money placed in tip jars. Starbucks contends that shift supervisors are not managerial staff and therefore do not fall under the law. Starbucks also said it would not comply with a court order to stop sharing future tips with shift supervisors. The company also plans to fight similar suits filed in Minnesota and Massachusetts.
By Doug Cunningham
The National Nurses Organizing Committee/California Nurses Association has made an organizing breakthrough in Texas. Cypress Fairbanks Medical center in Houston has become the first hospital in Texas to have collective bargaining for nurses. David Monkawa is with NNOC-Texas.
[Monkawa]: “The anti-union atmosphere in the state and in that region is particularly, I would think, very high. So there was a hostile climate there in general.”
MonKawa says organizing Texas and other anti-union states throughout the south, despite the anti-union climate, is an important mission for the labor movement.
By Doug Cunningham
American Axle is trying to get strikers to cross the picket lines and advertising for replacement workers. GM temporarily stopped production at a car plant in Detroit Monday – the first auto plant stopped by the strike. UAW workers have been on strike since February 26th.
Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated 40 years ago this week in the midst of a campaign to support striking Memphis sanitation workers who were trying to gain better pay and working conditions by joining a union.
Now, a new report by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) shows that four decades after King’s death, union membership is still the best route to a better life for African American workers. Unions and Upward Mobility for African-American Workers found that black union workers earned, on average, 38 percent more than their nonunion peers. Click here to read the entire report.
With passage of the federal Employee Free Choice Act a major issue for working people in the 2008 elections, lawmakers in Hawaii last week passed their own version of the bill. Union members were key to passage of H.B. 2974, which levels the playing field for workers considering a union. The legislation, which applies only to agricultural workers in the state, passed in both chambers by veto-proof margins with Republicans casting all the “No” votes.
If the bill become law, employees could join a union by signing a card saying they were in favor of the union. If a majority of the employees sign up, the union would be authorized to bargain with management.
For the third time in three years, nurses at a hospital owned by Allina Hospitals & Clinics gained a voice on the job by voting to join the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA), an affiliate of the United American Nurses (UAN). The 140 registered nurses at Buffalo Hospital in Buffalo, Minn., overwhelmingly supported the union at the end of last month.
Noting that this was the fourth time Buffalo nurses had tried to vote for a union, Gale Syverson, a 22-year RN at the hospital, says:
This was the right time.
Tomorrow night, Telemundo‘s hit telenovela “Pecados Ajenos” will spotlight construction worker safety. The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) worked with the show’s writers and producers to help develop a storyline that has real life impact on the Latino community.
CPWR’s latest edition of the Construction Chart Book (available online beginning tomorrow, see more information below) reports Hispanic construction workers are killed on the job more frequently than non-Hispanic workers and when injured, they receive far less in workers’ compensation.
The show’s safety theme is timely, just weeks before Workers Memorial Day, an annual commemoration that honors those killed and injured on the job (click here for Workers Memorial Day materials and more information).