Labor

Fri
15
Jan

 This Is What $15 an Hour Looks Like



On a crisp November morning in Oakland, 50 people dressed in red T-shirts burst into a McDonald’s, bringing breakfast orders to a halt. From behind the counter, several cashiers gaped at the scene, where an orderly line of customers had been replaced by a rowdy crew that bounced and shouted, calling for the restaurant to raise its wages to $15 an hour. A supervisor whipped out her cell phone and began filming. The chant, directed at the workers, grew louder: “Come on out—we’ve got your back!” After giving it some thought, three female employees walked past their supervisor, clocked out, and joined the protesters. The crowd erupted in cheers.

Tue
12
Jan

NYC Set to Triple Number of Worker Cooperatives

By Oscar Perry Abello
Next City
January 11, 2016

Worker cooperatives can sometimes sound too good to be true: a business owned and controlled by its workers, who each usually get an equal share of the profits. Compensation for some has gone from $6.25 an hour to $25 an hour. Flexible schedules. Worker majorities on the boards of directors interviewing CEO candidates. Dignity at work and wealth at home for some of the most marginalized — a group of Filipina women, many of them survivors of human trafficking, launched a cleaning worker cooperative in New York City last September.

Sat
12
Dec

Tyson Foods’ Secret Recipe for Carving Up Workers’ Comp

by Michael Grabell
ProPublica, Dec. 11, 2015

About five years ago, one of the nation’s largest corporations, Tyson Foods, drew a bullseye on the official who oversaw Iowa’s system for compensating injured workers.

As workers’ compensation commissioner, Chris Godfrey acted as chief judge of the courts that decided workplace injury disputes. He had annoyed Tyson with a string of rulings that, in the company’s view, expanded what employers had to cover, putting a dent in its bottom line.

So when Republican Terry Branstad ran for governor in 2010, vowing to make Iowa more business-friendly, Tyson hosted an event for him at its headquarters and arranged another meeting for him to hear from large companies who were frustrated with the workers’ comp commission.

Mon
16
Nov

Sex workers of Rhode Island, unite!

By Andrew Stewart
RIFuture.org, November 3, 2015

It is called the oldest line of work in the world and yet it is consistently denied legitimacy. But here in Rhode Island, where prostitution was legal from 1980 until 2009, some local sex workers are re-asserting their agency by organizing a labor union.

“You see women get raped, you see women get murdered,” said Madeira Darling, an organizer, whose name has been changed in this story to protect her identity. “Criminalization itself is violence. It means women can’t seek protection either from the law or from one another. Occasionally you will get guys who think they are in love with you stalking you. And police will often blame sex workers for violence even if they aren’t in criminalized industries.”

Mon
28
Sep

NLRB Rules Union Canvasser Fired Illegally By Sisters’ Camelot,Orders Back Pay, Reinstatement

This past Friday, September 25, the National Labor Relations Board issued a new ruling regarding the struggle between the IWW Sisters’ Camelot Canvass Union and their former bosses at Sisters’ Camelot.

This new ruling reverses the 2013 ruling by an administrative law judge which stated the workers at Sisters’ Camelot were not protected under the National labor Relations Act because they were independent contractors. With this decision being reversed, Sisters’ Camelot is ruled to have violated labor law when they fired Canvass Union member shugE Mississippi while on strike in 2013 as part of their union-busting campaign.

This new ruling also uses the same argument to clarify that Sisters’ Camelot violated labor law when they refused to negotiate with their worker’s union, and again when they offered concessions to workers if they were to abandon bargaining collectively as a union.

Fri
14
Aug

I Am Tired of Healthcare

By Luz Sierra
Miami IWW
August 5, 2015

Five years had passed since I first began working as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). A CNA is a health care provider that assists Registered Nurses (RN’s). They are the ones considered to do the “dirty work” in healthcare: changing, bathing, feeding, and providing any form of assistance to patients that RN’s do not have the time or opportunity to provide in today’s fast-paced and multi-tasking health care environment. Through providing care to patients, I have seen many of the atrocities of today’s society, especially with mental health.

Fri
14
Aug

It Took Direct Action to Make This Boss Pay Seattle’s New Minimum Wage

By Chelsea Harris
Labor Notes
July 23, 2015

“I don’t know who you people are!” barked Joe Walker, the owner of Pandora’s Adult Cabaret, a Seattle-area strip club, to the workers gathered in his office. “Why don’t you all go flip burgers!”

But despite this confrontational language—typical of how he often spoke to employees—within hours Walker would give in to their demand for the back pay he owed them.

As a boss, Walker is abhorrent, showing no respect for or concern for the safety of his club’s servers or dancers. Employees had horror stories of working around bodily fluids and other filth with no safety procedures, frequent illness with no health benefits or sick leave, and dancers being stalked and sexually assaulted at the club.

Add to this abusive language and shady bookkeeping. Managers had told bartenders and servers not to report tips. Instead, managers were reporting employee tips as $5 a week.

Fri
14
Aug

Brazilian GM Workers Appeal for Solidarity in Strike Against Layoffs

by Dan DiMaggio
August 14, 2015
Labor Notes

Four thousand workers at a General Motors plant in Brazil started an indefinite strike August 10, after the corporation announced hundreds of layoffs. It’s the latest volley in an ongoing battle to preserve jobs in Brazil’s auto industry, especially its most militant plants.

The São José dos Campos plant, 80 miles outside São Paulo, makes motors, transmissions, and light trucks such as the Chevy S-10 pickup.

Workers at the same plant struck for six days in March—and turned 800 permanent layoffs into 650 temporary layoffs with pay:

By the end, the strike was creating parts shortages at the plants of São Caetano do Sul and Gravataí—threatening production there too.

Workers launched the strike after GM said it would lay off 800 workers immediately and make the layoff permanent in two months. Already since 2012 the plant has lost 2,000 workers, out of its former workforce of 7,500.

Sat
30
May

Paulo Freire Social Justice Charter School workers organize into the IWW

From the PFSJC IWW
The following was read by several workers at the Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, 05/11, as a means of publicly informing the board and administration of our forming a union:
Whereas, we come to you today as an intergenerational community that has chosen to collectively act upon its longstanding concern about the disconnect between the principles of Paulo Freire and the practices of the social justice charter school we have come to love that bears his name. And as such, we appreciate this opportunity to be heard, because as Freire said, “Any situation in which some men prevent others from engaging in the process of inquiry is one of violence;… to alienate humans from their own decision making is to change them into objects.”

Thu
21
May

Wobblies Reclaim May Day in Chicago

Image Credit:  Ianthe M. Belisle Dempsey

by the Chicago IWW GMB May Day Committee

Friday, May 1 - Chicago - Over 400 people took to the streets in Chicago for the IWW-headed Radical Coalition’s March, Rally, and Noise Demonstration this May Day. The event was the largest distinctly anti-capitalist local showing in recent memory.

Called by the Chicago GMB in late 2014, the Chicago May Day Radical Coalition brought together 10 organizations in an effort to facilitate collective decision making and revitalize the historical working class spirit of International Workers’ Day in the holiday’s birthplace. The Coalition members, consisting of unions, leftist organizations, and affinity groups, agreed to a set of principles, including refraining from sectarianism, appealing to reformist legislative solutions, and agreeing to to the promotion of direct action.

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