One of the hardest hit job sectors in 2009 was manufacturing with production supervisors and assembly line workers losing 16 percent of jobs by the third quarter of the year. The recession only rubbed salt into an already gaping wound brought on by U.S. manufacturing jobs fleeing overseas during the last decade – and the future isn’t looking any brighter. While job losses are predicted to slow assembly jobs are projected to decline by 2 percent over the next eight years.
Workers for South Africa’s Amalgamated Beverage Industries, which produces Coca-Cola in the country, have extended a strike and rejected an 8.3 percent wage increase offer. The workers are seeking an increase of 9.5 percent. The workers are employed in the company’s soft drink division, but have begun discussions with the beer division in hopes to get those workers to join them on the strike line. ABI is a unit of SABMiller.
By Doug Cunningham
The Teamsters are trying to salvage as many car-hauling jobs as possible after a disastrous year for automakers. GM has agreed to protect existing jobs and talk about future ones. But there’s no agreement yet between the Teamsters and Chrysler, which is moving to use non-union car-haulers. Toyotas U.S. operations also threatening to replace Teamsters with non-union haulers.
By Doug Cunningham
The Supreme Court in Pennsylvania has ruled in favor of workers. Jesse Russell reports:
In a recent edition of GRITtv, host Laura Flanders brings together three panelists for a talk about the economy, the labor movement and political organizing.
In one of the highlights of this episode, Thomas Frank, author of The Wrecking Crew, does a great job of explaining our broken labor laws and how they’re preventing millions of workers from exercising their basic freedom to form a union:
You’ve got to remember that one of the reasons it’s so hard to organize in the workplace is that there’s a whole industry out there that has developed to stop people from organizing. There are polls all the time asking, “Would you like to join a union,” “Would you be interested in bargaining with your boss,” that sort of thing, and mostly, people think that’s a good idea—but that doesn’t mean you get to have a union just because you want one. There’s a whole bunch of structural impediments in your way.
For one thing, it’s very easy for management to bring consultants in to try and figure out how to keep it from happening. They have compulsory meetings with staff, they do one-on-one meetings with employees, they do all these things leading up to a union election to make sure a union doesn’t win.
All very true, and it’s why we need to pass the Employee Free Choice Act—to reform our broken labor laws and give everyone the chance to bargain for a better life.
You can watch the whole conversation here.