- Wal-Mart Opposes Workers Comp Disability For Shot And Beaten Police Officer
- Chrysler Toledo Plant Called “A Living Hell” Due To Sexual Harassment
- Striking Indian Diamond Workers Riot And Attack Company Owners’ Homes
- Trader Joe’s Asked To Help Pressure Wine Vendor
- Economic Report: Lovin’ The Pay In An Elevator
Who are the highest paid blue collar workers in the United States? According to a new study released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics it is “elevator installers and repairers.” On average workers in the field of elevator installation earn an hourly wage of $32.69. And in that field the highest paid elevator installers are in Nevada.
Grocery chain Trader Joe’s is being asked help put pressure on wine vendors. Jesse Russell reports:
Trader Joe’s has a record of providing employees with reasonable wages and a health benefits package, keeping it out of the line of fire of union organizers. However, a recent incident on a vineyard could soon put pressure on the health conscious retailer. On May 16 a grape pruner died from exhaustion at a vineyard owned by the Franzia family, the same family that produces Trader Joe’s Charles Shaw wines, a.k.a. Two Buck Chuck. The United Farm Workers are asking Trader Joe’s to apply pressure on the vendor to enact worker friendly policies. In a statement, trader Joe’s said the company already has a strict vetting process for vendors and the incident is unrelated to the chain.
The diamond industry was shocked Sunday when workers throughout western India rioted at diamond factories and attacked the homes of factory owners. 200,000 diamond cutters and polishers began a strike on Saturday demanding an increase in wages. The workers currently earn the equivalent of $2 to $4 US dollars per day and are demanding a 20 percent pay increase. Ninety percent of all diamonds are cut in India.
By Doug Cunningham
Some workers at Chrysler’s Toledo North Assembly plant say it’s a “living hell” there because Chrysler and the UAW are not stopping repeated sexual harassment of workers. Press reports that a federal judge and investigators have “affirmed” allegations from some workers that company and UAW officials turned a blind eye to the harassment and have failed to protect workers. The paper says neither Chrysler nor the UAW responded when asked for comment. Nine federal lawsuits have been filed against Chrysler for alleged sexual harassment at the plant and there have been 45 civil rights complaints about it in the past 18 months.
By Doug Cunningham
Wal-Mart is opposing a former Arkansas police officer Jimmy Singleton’s efforts to win permanent disability workers comp payments after he was beaten and shot on duty. Ken Harper is Singleton’s attorney.
[Harper]: “I think it’s a terrible case for them to try to get involved in. Here we have an officer who was just doing his duty, actually putting his life on the line. He’s beaten, shot and left for dead on the side of the road. And the treatment that officer Singleton has received from the Arkansas Worker’s Compensation Commission I don’t think has been a whole lot better than the treatment he got that night, to be honest with you.”
Workers across the country know the Employee Free Choice Act would level the playing field and allow workers to make a fair and free decision on whether they wanted to join a union. But as we approach the 2008 elections, it also wouldn’t hurt to heed the words of the late comedian George Carlin.
Writing in his “Community Voices” column in the Anchorage Daily News, Alaska AFL-CIO President Vince Beltrami says that although he can’t repeat Carlin’s famous “seven dirty words you can’t say on television,” he can substitute seven of his own that working people should remember when we vote in November―greed, corruption, indictments, convictions, apathy, short memories and injustice.
Click here to read the entire column.
Don Manning, Labor 2008 state director for New Mexico, reports on the presidential race.
Over the past weekend, the New Mexico Federation of Labor held its annual Committee on Political Education (COPE) convention. At the top of the priority list: getting New Mexico union members energized and mobilized to elect Sen. Barack Obama as president.
Union activists in this key state are excited to rally behind Obama and to educate fellow members about his record on health care and the economy. Obama has earned a 98 percent AFL-CIO lifetime voting record on working family issues in the U.S. Senate.
Sue Ledbetter, Labor 2008 state director for Wisconsin, reports on a labor council meeting in Milwaukee.
This month, the Milwaukee Area Labor Council‘s monthly delegate meeting featured a special economic forum panel discussion introduced by council Secretary-Treasurer Sheila Cochran: “Wrong Directions for the Economy.”
This meeting is part of the AFL-CIO’s nationwide economic education and political mobilization efforts. With disappearing jobs and rising energy prices, working families are feeling the squeeze, and the economy is sure to figure prominently in this fall’s election. Union members are attending local meetings to get the facts they need for effective political outreach and carrying out union voter mobilization and education efforts through door-to-door walks around the country.
Workers at Foxwoods Resort Casino called for bargaining for a first contract to begin immediately, following the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB’s) unanimous decision to certify the UAW as the elected representative for casino dealers.
UAW Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth Bunn, who directs the union’s Technical, Office and Professional Organizing Department, says:
Workers have spoken, the labor board has ruled, and it’s time for Foxwoods to obey the law and bargain a contract.