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Worker Rights

The National Education Association Just Locked Out Its Own Staffers

The largest labor union in the United States is not the Teamsters, the United Auto Workers or the Steelworkers — it’s the National Education Association (NEA), which represents 3 million educators, retired educators and soon-to-be-educators across the country. Led by President Becky Pringle, the union is used to squaring off against powerful school administrators and government officials to defend its members’ interests. However, this past week, the union’s leadership shocked observers across the labor movement by taking drastic action against its own staffers. The conflict between NEA leadership and the National Education Association Staff Organization (NEASO) has been escalating for months.

A Just Transition Guaranteed By International Law Is Within Reach

In 2021, we argued that the core elements of any conceptualisation of a just transition is already well-rooted in international human rights law. We contended that a just transition should not be considered merely as an abstract public policy concept but rather as a human right. Since that time, there have been major legal and policy developments forging momentum towards a standalone human right to a just transition. On 31 December 2021, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights issued Resolution No. 3/2021 Climate Emergency: Scope of Inter-American Human Rights Obligations.

Union Jobs, At Your Fingertips

Union workers make more than non-union workers, on average by more than 10%. For women, that differences is more than 20%. That’s a crucial pay bump for many working people, not to mention the job security, workplace protections, and earned respect that come with a union contract. These differences can be life changing. Wanting a union job is one thing — but finding a union job is another. Enter the Virtual Union Hiring Hall, a collaborative project between the Presidents’ Organizing Initiative (POI) housed at the Martin Luther King Jr. County Labor Council (MLK Labor) and Partner in Employment (PIE).

How Workers Are Winning Fans, Air Conditioning, And Even Heat Pay

If you’re dreading summer on the job this year, you’re not alone. Every month last summer was the most scorching on world record. Trapped under heat domes, dozens of metro areas busted their longest streaks ever of highs over 100 degrees. Phoenix afternoons were over 110 for a month straight. On asphalt yards nearly hot enough to melt, bonus-hungry managers forced workers to keep up the usual pace. The results were lethal. In 2022, the latest year for which we have data, 43 U.S. workers lost their lives to heat on the job. That’s up from 36 in 2021, and we can expect this cruel number to keep climbing.

Inmates Challenge Motion To Dismiss In Alabama Forced Labor Federal Lawsuit

Incarcerated individuals in Alabama have filed a 214-page response  opposing a motion to dismiss their lawsuit accusing state prisons of using slave labor. The case involves multiple claims against state officials, private employers and local governments  alleging Alabama’s prison labor program system is a form of modern-day slavery. Each defendant filed motions to dismiss the lawsuit, claiming that counsel for plaintiffs did not state a legal claim in the lawsuit. “Despite Defendants’ strenuous efforts to dispute Plaintiffs’ well-founded allegations—a strategy that cannot justify dismissal of Plaintiffs’ claims at this juncture...

A Historic Ruling: NCAA Ordered To Pay Student Athletes

A historic working-class victory was achieved on May 23, when the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) bosses agreed to settle three federal antitrust cases that were filed by three student athletes. The agreement will allow schools to directly pay student players for the first time in history. In what is known as the “amateurism model,” college athletes have traditionally been excluded from receiving any compensation for their athletic talent, name recognition and labor. The recent settlement is expected to change that super-exploitative practice. The NCAA Board of Governors, as well as the parasitic leaders of its five “power conferences” — the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), Big Ten, Big 12, Southeastern Conference (SEC) and Pac-12 — agreed to pay more than $2.8 billion in back pay and damages over the next 10 years to both past and current athletes.

NYC’s Independent Recyclers Emerged From Pandemic Stronger Than Ever

New York’s canners and lateros have acquired property, created a redemption facility and community hub – and begun to organize. Josefa Marin and her partner Pedro Galicia arrive at 6:30 a.m. most mornings outside the Sure We Can Redemption Center in Brooklyn’s trendy Bushwick neighborhood. The facility itself won’t open for another hour, but in the meantime they get a head start on sorting through the cans and bottles they’ve collected the previous night from apartment buildings, restaurants, bars, clubs or events where organizers have tabbed the couple to help out with recycling.

Daimler Truck Workers Use Strike Threat To Win Big

North Carolina heavy truck and school bus manufacturing workers won 25 percent pay increases and ended wage tiers after an energetic contract campaign and strike threat against Daimler Truck. The United Auto Workers unionized these plants in the 1990s and early 2000s—but since then, wages had stagnated. Starting pay was low, and the plants were stuck on different wage scales. At Thomas Built Buses, the largest school bus manufacturing site in the U.S., assembly workers topped out at $24, $5 less than their counterparts at Daimler’s Mount Holly truck plant. The new contract establishes a common wage grid across all 7,400 workers at the four North Carolina plants, as well as parts distribution centers in Atlanta and Memphis.

DeJoy Agrees To Pause Consolidations At Dozens Of USPS Facilities

The U.S. Postal Service is pausing some of the most controversial reforms to its mailing network as its leadership has agreed to the demands of a growing, bipartisan chorus in Congress. The mailing agency has halted its plans to consolidate dozens of processing facilities until at least Jan. 1, 2025, ensuring the network overhaul is paused until after the upcoming presidential election in which millions of Americans will be voting by mail. A large swath of lawmakers across the ideological spectrum have called on Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to delay or cease the changes, some of which would shift the bulk of mail processing across state lines.

Reformers Win Rerun Election In Rail Machinists

Reformers in the Machinists rail union have ousted incumbents in a Department of Labor-supervised election. According to the results posted on the union’s website, challenger Reece Murtagh won the presidential election in District 19 of the IAM, 820 to 748, while his slate-mate Marty Rosato won 787 to 774 for secretary-treasurer. Both Murtagh and Rosato are full-time railroad workers. Murtagh is a roadway mechanic for CSX and the president of his local lodge in Richmond, Virginia; Rosato works at CSX in Selkirk, New York. They will take office June 3. Murtagh received the news while he was finishing up his shift at work. In his shop, his co-workers celebrated victory by playing the “Rocky” theme from their phones.

High-Profile UAW Campaign At Mercedes-Benz In Alabama Falls Short

Workers at the Mercedes-Benz U.S. International plant in Vance, Alabama came up short in their first union election on Friday, May 17, with 2,045 votes to join the United Auto Workers and 2,642 against.  A brief but high-energy campaign that saw real improvements won at the plant and a worker-led effort to organize failed to create a wave after the high-profile Volkswagen workers’ win in April in Chattanooga, Tennessee. “These courageous workers reached out to us because they wanted justice. They led us. They led this fight. And what happens next is up to them,” UAW President Shawn Fain told reporters shortly after the vote count.

University Of California Workers Vote To Authorize A Strike

On May 15, United Auto Workers Local 4811, which represents 48,000 student workers across the University of California campuses, voted to authorize a strike following police and administrative repression of pro-Palestine students staging Gaza Solidarity Encampments.  Strike authorization votes took place from May 13 to May 15. Workers voted in favor of striking by a landslide of 79%. There is currently no fixed date for a strike, but the vote empowers the union’s executive board to call a strike at any time.  Were Local 4811 to strike, it would be the first strike in history to be called for Palestinian liberation.

Locked-Out Firefighters Picket Boeing

The aerospace giant Boeing locked out 125 firefighters across multiple facilities in Washington state May 4 after contract negotiations broke down. “We want to be out there working and protecting the community of Boeing employees,” said firefighter Jon Riggsby, vice-president-elect of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Local I-66. “But the company won’t allow us.” Boeing firefighters are on hand for fueling, takeoffs, and landings. They also respond to any medical emergencies at company facilities in Seattle, Everett, Renton, Auburn, and Moses Lake. They’re the first line of defense to prevent the spread of flame and toxic emissions from the combination of materials used to build aircraft such as the Boeing 737, Triple Seven, and others as part of military contracts.

More Than 400 Lab Professionals At LabCorp Win A Union

Portland, OR - The lab professionals employed by the medical lab services company, LabCorp of America, held a union election from March 1-3 where 434 workers voted to join together in a union with the Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals (OFNHP), a local affiliate of the 1.7 million-member AFT. These healthcare professionals work at labs within seven Legacy Health facilities in Oregon and Washington, including Emanuel and Good Samaritan in Portland, and Salmon Creek (WA). “I am excited that lab professionals at LabCorp have finally won a union and can now advocate for better wages, benefits, and working conditions,” says Meagan Hollis.

Report: Death On The Job; The Toll Of Neglect

This 2024 edition of “Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect” marks the 33rd year the AFL-CIO has produced a report on the state of safety and health protections for America’s workers. The Occupational Safety and Health Act, promising every worker the right to a safe job, has been in effect for more than 50 years, and nearly 690,000 workers now can say their lives have been saved since the passage of the OSH Act.  Over the last 50 years, there has been significant progress toward improving working conditions and protecting workers from job injuries, illnesses and deaths.
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