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September 06, 2004

Labor Day Roundup

Big Think Pieces in the Media

  • Start with Business Week's Can This Man Save Labor about SEIU's Andy Stern and the debate on the future of labor. (Note the big news that the Carpenters Union is rejoining the AFL-CIO, partly so it can support the Stern-led NUP movement).
    The Nation asks Will Labor Come Back?
  • James Lawson of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference talks about Liberation and Labor Day.
  • From a Canadian perspective: Unions Take Aim at Wal-Mart.

    Unions and the 2004 Election

  • 40,000 unionists protest in New York City.
  • And on the night of Bush's acceptance speech, 15,000 unionists across the country were knocking on doors with an alternative pro-labor message. See here and here and here for stories.
  • John Sweeney is spending the long weekend campaigning for and with John Kerry.
  • Mass mobilization of labor in Pennsylvania to support Kerry.
  • Unions announce plans to monitor election for fraud in cities across the battleground states.

    The Economy

  • The Economic Policy Institute releases its annual State of Working America and the results are not pretty. As the BBC summarizes, many working families still feel no benefit from the US economic recovery.
  • Or as the AFL-CIO simply states, ten million US workers are unemployed or have given up looking. Add in the increases in poverty and those lacking health insurance and the numbers look even grimmer.
  • Part of the reason is the disappearance of call centers, as jobs are sent overseas.
  • Mike Davis writes about the death of the textile industry in the South and around the United States.
  • But CEO pay soars at companies that send jobs to low-wage countries.

    Organizing Campaigns

  • Cintas signs labor agreements at Arkansas and Missouri plants, with the assist of the postal unions.
  • The Steelworkers have joined SEIU and the AFL-CIO in setting up an associate membership system for people without a union in the workplace who still want help from the Steelworkers for fighting for their rights.
  • Independent truckers, denied the right to unionize, are fighting with the support of the Teamsters at the Tacoma port to restore pay due to low rates paid by shipping companies.
  • Labor Notes has a series of article on why and how the UAW should be mounting its campaign to organize Toyota workers in the US.
  • The state government recognized a union for 1200 grad student employees at the University of Illinois at Chicago following a majority of students submitting cards under the state card check system; grad students at University of Pennsylvania intend to keep organizing a union, despite the recent NLRB ruling denying them labor rights under the federal NLRA.
  • Decade old pact between hotels and unions in San Francisco threatens to come apart as bargaining heats up.

    Bargaining and Benefits

  • Due to slashed budgets at the state and local level, public employees salaries are dropping as inflation increases faster than pay.
  • Pilots union weigh abandoning traditional pensions for younger workers, replacing them with 401Ks and similar plans.

    Internal Union Politics

  • Morty Bahr, President of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), announces retirement.

    Law and Policy

  • California passes bill to ban outsourcing of taxpayer-funded work to foreign countries.
  • Unions use Presidential campaign to promote the Employee Free Choice Act , which would allow workers to join a union through card checks.

    Unions around the Globe

  • Volkswagen becomes center of German employer fight against the 35-hour work week; street protests are hitting the government for its threat to scale back social welfare spending.
  • Indonesia NGOs and unions are mounting protests against criminal defamation charges brought against a newspaper for attacking a prominent businessman-- a threat to press freedom and union organizing campaigns.
  • Asian Labor News does a roundup of news from China and southeast Asia.

    Posted by Nathan at September 6, 2004 12:45 PM