By Vicki Needham for the Hill. The Obama administration’s won’t pursue passage of its signature Pacific Rim trade deal, dealing a major blow to President Obama’s legacy. Any hope of passing the sweeping 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) quickly faded after Donald Trump’s surprise victory on Tuesday and pronouncements by congressional leaders that the pact would not be considered during the lame-duck session. Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton each opposed the agreement during their campaigns, endangering the already slim chances that Congress would cobble together enough support to pass the historic agreement before the end of Obama’s presidency. The long-shot trade agreement faced widespread Democratic opposition on Capitol Hill and the environment for passing the deal only grew more toxic during the presidential campaigns.
By Whatcom-Skagit General Membership Branch, IWW. Four Years Struggle Three Years Boycott, Sakuma Finally Ready to Negotiate- FUJ Response to Sakuma Press Statement on MOU Burlington, WA – We at Familias Unidas Por la Justica (FUJ) are certainly encouraged that Sakuma Berry Farms has relented to the pressure of the #BoycottDriscolls campaign and the workers voices in the fields to finally agree to begin negotiations. We want to make three things very clear: 1. Sakuma Brothers Farms approached us at FUJ indirectly to begin the process. 2. We have agreed to meet on a date proposed by them. 3. They asked for confidentiality about this prior to our meeting with them.
By Angelique Chrisafis for the Guardian. Nuit debout, which loosely means “rise up at night”, the protest movement is increasingly being likened to the Occupy initiative that mobilised hundreds of thousands of people in 2011 or Spain’s Indignados. Cherifa, a French student at Paris’ Louis-le-Grand high school, who is taking part in the night-time protests. Cherifa, a French student at Paris’ Louis-le-Grand high school, who is taking part in the night-time protests. Photograph: Elliott Verdier/AFP/Getty Images Despite France’s long history of youth protest movements – from May 1968 to vast rallies against pension changes – Nuit debout, which has spread to cities such as Toulouse, Lyon and Nantes and even over the border to Brussels, is seen as a new phenomenon. It began on 31 March with a night-time sit-in in Paris after the latest street demonstrations by students and unions critical of President François Hollande’s proposed changes to labour laws. But the movement and its radical nocturnal action had been dreamed up months earlier at a Paris meeting of leftwing activists.
By Associated Press. A tie vote from the Supreme Court on Tuesday handed a win to labor unions in a high-profile dispute over their ability to collect fees. The justices divided 4-4 in a case that considered whether public employees represented by a union can be required to pay “fair share” fees covering collective bargaining costs even if they are not members. The split vote leaves in place an appeals court ruling that upheld the practice. The one-sentence opinion does not set a national precedent and does not identify how each justice voted. It simply upholds a decision from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that applies to California and eight other Western states.
By Michael Hiltzik for the Los Angeles Times. Washington, DC – Explanations abound for the consistent decline of organized labor in the United States, especially in the private sector. But one important factor is the ability of employers to engage in union-busting almost without restriction. Limitations on employers’ activities exist, theoretically, but they’ve been enforced only spottily and are rife with loopholes. The Dept. of Labor finally has moved to close one loophole, created way back in 1959. This is the ability to hire anti-union consultants, familiarly known as “persuaders,” without reporting the arrangements. The Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, otherwise known as the Landrum-Griffin Act, required these deals to be reported only if the consultants were speaking directly with employees, but not if their influence reached the workplace floor indirectly, via intermediaries.
By Michelle Strater Gunderson for Living in Dialogue. Chicago, IL – I sat in the House of Delegates of the Chicago Teachers Union on Wednesday night waiting to be counted as a yes vote for our April first strike. I was number 39 out of 486. It is not common to be called out individually to vote at our union. Most of our motions are passed through open outcry – we are usually that united. But this night was different. A division of the house was called and voting members of the union were asked to go to opposite ends of the hall in order to physically represent their vote. At the beginning of our debate on whether or not to strike on April 1, I was the first to speak. I called for the strike to be approved by a two-thirds vote – not the usual 50% plus 1 per our union rules. It was imperative that the CTU walk out of the meeting with a super majority yes vote. There is no way to build a successful strike with a divided house.
By Chris Weller for Tech Insider. Finland and The Netherlands have already shown their interest in giving people a regular monthly allowance regardless of working status, and now Ontario, Canada, is onboard. Ontario’s government announced in February that a pilot program will be coming to the Canadian province sometime later this year. The premise: Send people monthly checks to cover living expenses such as food, transportation, clothing, and utilities — no questions asked. It’s a radical idea, and one that has been around since the 1960s. It’s called “basic income.” In the decades since it was first proposed, various researchers and government officials have given basic income experiments a try, with mixed results.
By Giovanna Frank-Vitale. March 3, 2016 – Today a federal prosecutor in Brazil opened a criminal investigation (attached) into alleged “fiscal and economic crimes” by McDonald’s. The prosecutor’s office said it will look into suspected tax evasion and violations of Brazil’s franchise and competition laws. He issued an indictment against McDonald’s, which will require the company to appear before the federal prosecutor for a deposition and to turn over all documents related to the case. This just broke in Brazil. It’s a criminal investigation into how McDonald’s does business and it could have major implications for how the company conducts its operations around the globe and could prompt similar investigations worldwide. It’s a huge development—the equivalent here in the States would be the Justice Department opening an investigation.
By Brian Van Slyke for TruthOut. United States – The year 2008 was when the big banks were bailed out, but it was also the year that catalyzed one group of window makers into democratically running their own factory. On the former industrial hub of Goose Island in Chicago, the employees of Republic Windows and Doors made headlines after they were locked out of their jobs just before Christmas without the back pay or severance they were owed. Organized by the United Electrical Workers Union, these displaced workers did exactly what the ownership hoped they wouldn’t do. They refused to quietly accept the layoffs. Instead, the workers engaged in a sitdown strike at their factory, garnering local and national media attention. Eventually, the employees won the occupation, forcing Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase (Republic’s primary creditors) to create a fund to give the workers their back pay, benefits, and health insurance.
By the Global Climate Convergence. Earth Day to May Day begins in two months For the third consecutive year, the Global Climate Convergence is bringing together Earth Day and May Day events everywhere for a united movement for people, peace, and planet. If you are organizing Earth Day and/or May Day events (April 22-May 1), please list them here. Due to the tenacity, planning and creative actions of the Global Climate Convergence network during 2014, we were able to support over 200 grassroots events in over 50 cities during 10 days of Earth Day to May Day actions. This “10 Days to Change Course” was a first step in grassroots movement building, linking the environmental movement of Earth Day to the workers movement of May Day. Connecting these two days of global significance with a wave of grassroots action and education was symbolic of the growing unity among movements for social, economic and ecological democracy and justice.
By Llowell Williams for Care2. On paper, federal law in the United States requires all employers to ensure their employees are paid the minimum wage — $7.25 an hour, as guaranteed by the Fair Labor Standards Act. Service workers are legally supposed to earn this amount, whether via direct wages (the federal tipped minimum wage is $2.13 an hour) or a combination of wages and tips. Simple enough, right? In practice, however, this system is ripe for employee exploitation, as a recent U.S. Department of Labor probe in Michigan shows. The owners of Sophia’s Pancake House, a diner with locations in Kalamazoo and Benton Harbor, Mich., were discovered to have actually required waitstaff to pay $2 per hour from their tips merely to remain employed.