Eight state attorney generals sent a joint letter to Federal Express on Thursday expressing concern that the shipping company isn’t providing appropriate protection for workers in an attempt to lower payroll taxes. The company is classifying drivers as independent contractors and by doing so the company can avoid workers compensation insurance, wage protection, unemployment insurance and civil rights protections. Attorney Generals from Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Vermont all signed the letter. FedEx has been the target of multiple lawsuits across the country for misclassifying pickup and delivery drivers.
Workers at two nursing homes and a hospital in Hollister, California have voted to stay in the Service Employees International union and not join the break-off organization the National Union of Healthcare Workers. The victory in Hollister follows a vote last week the SEIU won a narrow victory against the NUHW to represent workers in Fresno, California. The NUHW said it plans to contest both votes on legal grounds. Meanwhile, the SEIU has accused the NUHW of unfair labor practices. The SEIU has asked federal officials to halt voting throughout the states.
Workers at Smithfield’s Tar Heel, North Carolina hog processing plant will be voting on their first union contract tomorrow and Wednesday. The workers represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers reached a tentative agreement Friday. The struggle to form a union at that Smithfield plant took many years as the workers overcame an intense, aggressive and often illegal anti-union campaign by Smithfield.
Lede: The battle to pass the Employee Free Choice Act and take employer intimidation out of union organizing could be decided within a couple of months. Doug Cunningham reports.
By Doug Cunningham
As big business continues to pour tens of millions of dollars into a forceful campaign to deny workers a meaningful right to organize unions, labor is battling to pass the Employee Free Choice Act.
AFSCME Legislative Director Chuck Loveless says that while the issue is in a state of play in the Senate he still believes the Employee Free Choice Act will be passed by the fall.
[Loveless]: “There are some very delicate negotiations that are going on right now in the United States Senate. I’m hopeful we
Today, Mine Workers (UMWA) leaders, union activists, lawmakers and historians will dedicate the site of the 1914 Ludlow Massacre—one of the bloodiest chapters in the nation’s labor history—as a National Historic Landmark.
On April 20, 1914, in Ludlow, Colo., thugs hired by several coal companies and the Colorado militia attacked a peaceful encampment of striking miners and their families. By the end of the day, 20 were shot or burned to death, including 14 women and children.
More than 90 years ago, UMWA erected a monument there. But since 1918, despite the efforts of family survivors, historians and labor activists, there was no state or national commemoration of the site.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of the Interior designated Ludlow a National Historic Landmark. UMWA President Cecil Roberts says the designation will “preserve the memory of this brutal attack on workers and their families.”
The tragic lessons from Ludlow still echo through our nation, and they must never be forgotten by Americans who truly care about workplace fairness and equality. With this designation, the story of what happened at Ludlow will remain part of our nation’s history. That is as it should be.
In 1913, southern Colorado miners and their families walked out of the mines and mining camps striking for adequate wages, enforcement of state mining laws and union recognition. For more than a year, they lived in tent colonies near the mines. According to a UMWA history of the Ludlow Massacre:
Upon striking, the miners and their families had been evicted from their company-owned houses and had set up a tent colony on public property. The massacre occurred in a carefully planned attack on the tent colony by Colorado militiamen, coal company guards, and thugs hired as private detectives and strike breakers.
They shot and burned to death 20 people, including a dozen women and small children. Later investigations revealed that kerosene had intentionally been poured on the tents to set them ablaze. The miners had dug foxholes in the tents so the women and children could avoid the bullets that randomly were shot through the tent colony by company thugs. The women and children were found huddled together at the bottoms of their tents.
Since erecting the monument, the union has maintained the site, including installing interpretive markers and displays, as well as building a shelter where the annual Ludlow Memorial is held.