Note:Picture is from earlier Detroit campaign
Who: UNITE-HERE Local 100 members
Aramark Cafeteria Workers
SEIU 32BJ members
What: RALLY & MARCH
When: Wednesday, March 5th
Where: 80 Broadway, corner of Wall St. and Broadway
**This event is a joint project between SEIU and UNITE-HERE in the Campaign for Quality Services
with all due respect to Not for Nothing at The Pheonix.com for the "Life Imitates Art" headline
Scene from HBO's The Wire click the pic to get more info from IMDb
I have pointed working people towards NY Newsday in the past, as it seems to be the only paper to write about local labor issues. It would seem that the owner, Tribune Co., who 2 weeks ago reduced it's staff by 300 workers at its other publications, have decided to cut the NY Newsday staff by 5%, thats 120 staff members.
Examples of local labor stories in which only NY Newsday wrote about, and which myself and Richard from UnionReview.com have covered are as follows:
HIP replaces 186 Downtown, NY jobs, breaking a massive promise
NY: Waldbaum's and A&P screwing 400 local employees and moving to nonunion facilities
The first of the two stories was rejected by the other 3 big papers in NY, according to my source The NY Times stated that it wasn't worldly enough. The second just wasn't news I guess. Funny, I would think that 400 long term, persons who held the jobs getting screwed, would be noteworthy to the larger publications, but those giants focus on such things as India making manhole covers (NY Times-ex. NY Times blows the lid off of Made In India manhole covers in New York) and the outright bashing of union workers (Rupert Murdoch's NY Post- ex. NY Post spin-doctoring and the IATSE Stagehands). There are so many other issues that Newsday has revealed about labor, but that gets me too far from the point.
Tribune Co., the corporate owner of NY Newsday, has recently been at a war of words with the HBO show The Wire, which this season has highlighted one of its publications, The Baltimore Sun, in taking a long hard look at the troubles and tribulations behind the scenes when the local papers have to answer to the corporate ownership and the price the employees and the readers pay in answering those demands. The Baltimore Sun has downplayed the popularity of the series to the point of taking shots at the show in it's critics corner. The Baltimore Sun's critic sites the low ratings of the show and blames it on the newspaper storyline, but even as the writer points out, the On Demand viewership, which gets a person the ability to watch the show a week earlier, cannot be counted. I myself am one of those viewers and so are many of my co-worker's.
This isn't the kind of 'kid with a dunce cap in the corner journalism' I want to read, but if you must, and I made a comment which I hope will appear there, you can check it out at Ratings for HBO's "The Wire" -- more bad news
A bit of history, the writer of The Wire, David Simon, is a former reporter who worked at The Baltimore Sun. From Newsday (1-06-08):
To Simon, finishing "The Wire" with a riff on journalism was obligatory. "Newspapers, which for the duration of the American experiment have been the primary means of monitoring government and other imposed authority, are being eviscerated," he said. "The people who once held us all to some basic account are being laid off, bought out and 'attrited' from newsrooms. Newspaper managers ... tell us they're going to do more with less. You do less with less. That's why they call it less."Life imitates art
Simon nonetheless persuaded the Baltimore Sun's top editor-managers to let him use the paper's actual name - rather than an alias - as well as the name of its parent, the Tribune Company (which also owns Newsday). He agreed to their condition that he not use the names of actual reporters and editors, but he did cast several former Sun reporters and editors in minor roles.
What "Wire" watchers get as a result is Clark Johnson (of Simon's earlier Baltimore-based police series, the celebrated "Homicide: Life on the Street"), as city editor Augustus "Gus" Haynes, Simon's surrogate voice.
Like Simon, Haynes believes newspaper executives are hastening their papers' demise when they retire seasoned veterans in favor of younger, cheaper personnel - if they replace them at all - and emphasize "user-friendly" topics over serious reporting and risky cage-rattling. Simon's Sun includes an executive editor who favors feel-good fluff over depressing dispatches from Baltimore's underbelly and a young reporter so determined to make a marketable name for himself that he doesn't hesitate to invent quotes or, for that matter, sources.
From ThePheonix.com (1-21-08):
The Los Angeles Times Editor James O'Shea was fired by publisher David D. Hiller for refusing to impose four million U.S. dollars in budget cuts ordered by the publisher, the newspaper confirmed Sunday.Life imitates art Redux
It's the second time in 15 months that a Times editor has been fired for refusing to make budget cuts ordered by the publisher, and comes a month after the closing of an 8.2-billion-dollar buyout of Tribune Co., The Times' parent company, by an employee stock plan and Chicago real estate tycoon Sam Zell.
O'Shea came from the Chicago Tribune in November 2006, a week after Hiller fired Editor Dean Baquet in another dispute over budget cuts, The Times reported.
Hiller, who had been the publisher of the Chicago Tribune, took over as Times publisher in October 2006, succeeding Jeffrey M. Johnson, who had also been fired by executives at Tribune's Chicago headquarters over the same issue of budget cuts, The Times reported.
A little over a month afterwards, life has imitated art once again, our reporters and staff here in New York, at the paper I read most often, the loudest if not the only voice of local labor struggles, is to lose 5% of it's staff, thats 120 workers, thats less coverage, and thats a real shame. From NY Newsday, in excerpted fashion: Newsday is cutting 120 jobs (2-28-08) By Keiko Morris
Newsday publisher Tim Knight Thursday announced that the newspaper will be cutting about 120 jobs throughout the company, citing declining sales and the "soft advertising revenue environment."I hope that the paper can still have enough reporters to continue it's local labor coverage. I actually look forward to reading it every chance I can and I always hand it off to another person who may not read it often, with the expectation that they too can see the variety of real life issues it has within it's pages and become a buyer also. Tim Knight, don't destroy Newsday, I depend on it.
The reduction in Newsday's workforce -- about 5 percent -- comes as many news organizations nationwide have been cutting jobs to survive an already tough and competitive marketplace made more difficult by a slowing economy. Two weeks ago, several other news organizations owned by Newsday's parent company Tribune Co. -- Los Angeles Times, The Baltimore Sun, The Hartford Courant and the Chicago Tribune Media Group -- announced staff reductions affecting about 300 employees.
The company did not disclose how many management jobs will be eliminated. Of the union positions, at least 25 of those reductions will take place in the newsroom on top of 13 vacant positions that have gone unfilled. The pressroom will be reduced by at least 24 union positions and the transportation bargaining unit will be reduced by at least five drivers, according to Zachary Dowdy, vice president of the Editorial Unit of Local 406.
The company will reduce the number of union positions through voluntary buyout offers and, if necessary, involuntary layoffs.
Dennis Grabhorn, president Local 406 of the Graphic Communications Conference/International Brotherhood of Teamsters, said he did not agree with the constant cuts, noting that it has been only a year and a half since the last contract was signed and a substantial job reduction made. "Really all of this paper is doing now is getting rid of more Indians and keeping the chiefs," Grabhorn said.
"I just don't understand how a newspaper being the only daily newspaper on an island with more than 3 million people can have a circulation of less than 400,000 readers," Grabhorn later added. "I find that hard to accept. I don't understand why Newsday cannot sell on this island and that just tells me that Newsday is not putting effort into growing circulation." (continued at site)
Stand up and sign the E-Active campaign and let the Secretary of Agriculture know that this isn't acceptable.
This campaign is brought to you by the non-profit group Consumers Union, the people who independently publish Consumer Reports, just click the link below to get started
More than 50,000 of our military service personnel and veterans are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with serious wounds and permanent disabilities. Yet the federal government is not providing sufficient, timely, and predictable funding to treat their visible and invisible wounds of war. Our veterans stood up for us. Now it's time we stand up for them. Ask Congress to keep our national commitment to providing our veterans with the mental and physical health care they need.
Stand Up For Veterans is an initiative of the Disabled American Veterans, an organization of 1.3 million disabled veterans who are focused on building better lives for disabled veterans and their families. The initiative seeks to find public policy solutions for all veterans, particularly those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, who have incurred devastating injuries and disabilities, including traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder and other psychological wounds of war.
With all the money being spent on this war, why is it that the government seems to ignore the returning Veterans. I've written before that we need people who are capable of making a living in todays world and that they get the care they desperately need. We do not need more homeless people in our country. The government needs to take the steps to get these men and women the care they need. Without our voice, without the story being told that unfortunately will never happen.
Take a look at the money spent so far
click here to learn more
Almost $500 Trillion! And these men and woman are having a hard time getting screened for PTSD. If you click that link you can see what that money could have bought. I'm sure a fraction of it could go towards making the homecoming of the returning vets a bit better. Then these private organizations, IAVA, WWP,VFW, etc., that are just scratching the surface of helping, just by the mass of personal that is out there needing help, could do so much more.
the uncounted death toll of the War on Terror
Without getting too deep into this subject, as I have already explained I have things to do, here's an excerpt of one veterans story as told by Boston.com:
Johnathan is not alone, there are countless thousands of vets out there needing help, who are either told to wait. Boston.com takes a critical look into this epidemic affecting our returning vets, with an entire section of their site which, unlike the Main Stream Media who tries to hide the fact that we are even in a war, reports of the struggles of our returning vets. They have a section on their site: A Promise To Keep- Veterans Care
James Schulze walked to the grave of his son, Jonathan, an Iraq war veteran. (Bill Greene/Globe Staff)
Family and friends had convinced him at last that the devastating mental wounds he brought home from war, wounds that triggered severe depression, violent outbursts, and eventually an uncontrollable desire to kill himself, could not be drowned in alcohol or treated with the array of antianxiety drugs he'd been prescribed.
And so, with his father and stepmother at his side, he confessed to an intake counselor that he was suicidal. He wanted to be admitted to a psychiatric ward.
But, instead, he was told that the clinician who prescreened cases like his was unavailable. Go home and wait for a phone call tomorrow, the counselor said, as Marianne Schulze, his stepmother, describes it.
When a clinical social worker called the next day, Jonathan, 25, told again of his suicidal thoughts and other symptoms. And then, with his stepmother listening in, he learned that he was 26th on the waiting list for one of the 12 beds in the center's ward for post-traumatic stress disorder sufferers.
Four days later, on Jan. 16, he wrapped a household extension cord around his neck, tied it to a beam in the basement, and hanged himself.
In life, Jonathan Schulze didn't get nearly what he needed. But in death, this tough and troubled Marine may help get something critical done.
The apparent failure of the Department of Veterans Affairs to offer him timely and necessary care has electrified the debate on the blogs and websites that connect an increasingly networked and angry veterans community. It has triggered an internal investigation by the VA into how a serviceman with such obvious symptoms faced a wait for hospital care.
Heres a video hosted there
SavetheInternet.com caught cable giant stacking a FCC hearing with paid (and apparently sleepy) seat fillers.
The hearing was set up to investigate Comcast's recent blocking of the Internet. But the cable giant filled the room with paid sitters so that the public couldn't get in to voice their support for a free-flowing Internet.
Check out this video for more of the story:
Hear are some other great sources that you can check:
- Comcast Blocking: First the Internet -- now the Public? by jstearns
- FCC "Public" Hearing in Boston--Not So Public After All! by Willy T
- Grassroots Support? Or Astroturf at Portfolio.com
NY: UFT ad attacks standardized testing, after $160 million is wasted in test prep and data processing.
From: The New York Daily News
Teacher union ad attacks testing planMy comment:
by Erin Einhorn Daily News Staff Write 2/25/08
A Brown-eyed blond girl gazes at a seed she has planted in a large glass jar and beams as a teacher helps her set it on a classroom shelf.
It's hardly the stuff of political attack.
But the 30-second ad - which will start airing today during morning and prime-time TV - is paid for by the city teachers union and targets the standardized exams that teachers say devour too much of the school day.
"A child's mind is a precious thing that's growing every day," a soothing female voice intones during the ad. "Standardized school tests can measure her progress in certain subjects, but New York City teachers believe it takes a well-rounded curriculum - including science, civics, language, arts and sports - to help young imaginations thrive."
Teachers union President Randi Weingarten has assailed Schools Chancellor Joel Klein for recent investments in an $80 million test prep program and an $80 million computer system to crunch testing data. She was furious when Klein revealed a plan to measure teachers by children's scores.
The ads appear to be her answer. They'll air in the city during news programs and such shows as "60 Minutes" and "Law & Order." The union estimates they'll be seen at least 10 times by 11.6million people.
"While testing is an important part of measuring student progress, it should not be done at the expense of educating the whole child," Weingarten said in a statement. Weingarten's spokesman refused to say how much the ads would cost beyond saying it's "clearly a significant buy."
Klein spokeswoman Debra Wexler said the union was "promoting a false choice" with its ad.
"We need to provide students with a rich, well-rounded education and we also need to assess," Wexler said in a statement. "If we don't assess, we don't know whether our students have learned or our teachers taught."
Standardized tests do not teach, as a matter of fact the entire idea of No Child Left behind does exactly the opposite of what one would think. It leaves children behind. While the Bush administration wholeheartedly pushed this legislation, it left it up to the states to pay for it. Some states have actually had to sue to get federal aid to pay for this standardized testing. How silly we are to think that we must focus on a mere test instead of actually teaching our students. It wastes our money and lets those children who can remember answers get pushed through the system knowing how to pass a test. Well, why not? With an impending draft on the horizon, think of it in terms of when you had your driving test and they didn't want you to have bad habits, the new version of a bad habit is free thought, and intelligence. Try to tell the drill instructor or a McDonalds manager that you have free thought.Randi Weingarten, will soon replace Ed McElroy, who is retiring as president of the American Federation of Teachers, the second largest teachers union in America. This may be the beginning of a larger movement to battle the No Child Left Behind rule, which according to The Elementary Educator from a 6/07 story entitled "The NCLB Effect: Mediocrity Is More Important Than Excellence":
NCLB is doing exactly what money corporations want it to. Keep the youth ignorant, dumb and easily pliable for their future careers in the military, the service industry and the security industry. While ignoring the professional fields where workers are needed such as nursing staff. Did you know that we are now importing from the Caribbean and India most of our nursing staff due to lack of qualified American workers? What about technical schools? Talk about underfunded.
Once a country of inventors, the US is now lagging behind about 20 nations in Science. As with anything in this world, you get what you pay for. I tend to believe that they do not want a smart class of workers in our USA. Why create a well educated society who the politicians and the corporations would have to answer to. Go Randi, tell the chancellor to stuff the PC's up his proverbial asset. We want our $160 million back.
There are a lot of disconcerting things about No Child Left Behind, but here’s one that I find particularly troubling. We spend a ton of time measuring many subgroups of students to make sure that they are making adequate yearly progress: special ed. students, students of all different races, low-income students, and so on.What about gifted students? Who is making sure that they are maximizing their potential?Mark Pullen, a 3rd. grade teacher from Michigan and the author of the above blog has some real insight on teaching, one of his other posts, "Teaching without telling", points out:
Let’s be honest. Which group of people is likely to have more of a positive impact on the world for generations to come (for example, by designing new inventions, finding cures for diseases, or coming up with innovative entrepreneurial ideas that alter the way we do business): the top 1% of students or the bottom 1%?
Lately, I’ve come to the conclusion that throughout my teaching career, my definition of “teaching” has been a whole lot closer to “telling” than “causing learning to occur.”Which further strengthens the argument against the standardized testing methods that have sucked the life from actual teaching. Also pointed out is a great blog post by Jenny, an Elementary school teacher from Virginia, entitled "Super Bowl - Quite a Test"
We’ve known for a long time that students learn best when they are doing things through multiple modalities, particularly when they are speaking and actively doing the task to be learned. One source asserts that “students retain 10 percent of what they read, 26 percent of what they hear, 30 percent of what they see, 50 percent of what they hear and see, 70 percent of what they say, and 90 percent of what they say and do.” I’m not looking to squabble over those exact percentages, because other sources come up with somewhat different numbers, but the key point remains: students need to be speaking and doing more than listening and watching.
The New England Patriots lost their first game all season last night. I know, that's not news to anyone. But it's got me thinking. After an almost perfect season, losing one game has meant that people have called the Patriots' performance disappointing or a failure. This one game, just a few hours, has changed many people's impressions of the team. Is that reasonable?Now thats in a language we can all understand. But nothing says it better than when from the mouths of babes
We seem to do the same thing to our students with standardized tests. One bad day, a few hours of sub-par performance, and a child can be labeled negatively for some time. Their scores on a test often are viewed as more accurate, exact, and important than anything their teachers might know about them. All the anecdotal notes, classroom tests, and other assessments carry less weight.
Our students, at their young ages, aren't ready for a Super Bowl of standardized tests.
This post is dedicated to the teachers, the ones who actually are trying to teach in a ever changing field of play, where all efforts are pushed into attendance and minimal passing grades at all costs, regardless of student progress. I got a lot of 90's in classes i never attended.
The NCLB law is not working and leaving so many kids behind as a nation whether learning disabled, gifted or anywhere in between! As a direct result of this law and it's funding, the states are just using standardized practice test taking curriculum targeted at the minimum grade level standards rather than empowering children with knowledge to apply in novel situations in their future endeavors. The minds of our future leaders are at risk! HELP! (from YouTube)
This post is also dedicated to Mr.Heffner, Mr. DiGiacomo, Mr.Guadagno, Mrs.Krieslamen, Dr.Hayes, Mr.Katz and my friend Dianne who has to deal with all the bullshit from both sides, being a mother and an educator.
I have this song on my kids mp3 players , every so often i will hear them singing it, i just have to sit back and smile.
heres couple more i found on youtube
this is billy bragg
(Solidarity Forever sung by Pete Seeger & The Weavers)
(Tom Morello shows his support for the WGA strike in front of Fox Studios, 11-09-07)
and of course Dropkick Murphy
H1B Visa Abuse
Do as we say or get deported
From the green building in which I recently left, where the entire environmental controls will be monitored from the desk of another country, to the tech support jobs that Dell led the way into the Indian nation, the brighter of our countrymen, the Techie geeks, are under attack. Not just from the threat of offshoring, but by the threat of misuse of H1B Visa's by unscrupulous employers on our own shores. It is called the PERM process and the following video made by Immigration attorneys from Cohen & Grigsby explains just how to disqualify qualified US Workers in favor of foreign workers, who by the way must keep their job at all costs or be deported. Sounds like a new form of slavery.
From : networkworld.comImmigration attorneys from Cohen & Grigsby explains how they assist employers in running classified ads with the goal of NOT finding any qualified applicants, and the steps they go through to disqualify even the most qualified Americans in order to secure green cards for H-1b workers. See what Bush and Congress really mean by a "shortage of skilled U.S. workers." Microsoft, Oracle, Hewlett-Packard, and thousands of other companies are running fake ads in Sunday newspapers across the country each week.
Cisco caught in maelstrom over fake job ads to hire H-1B visa holdersThis isn't just an isolated incident, most if not all of the major companies are doing this and lobbying to get more H1B visa allowances pushed through Legislature. In fact a recent bill which was supposedly for border enforcement contained wording to increase the allowed H1B Visa's annual cap to increase from from 65,000 to between 130,000 and 195,000(*See Below). The companies keep saying the same old bullshit to allow this, but according to Information Week story entitled No, The Tech Skills Shortage Doesn't Exist:
Submitted by Brad Reese on Fri, 06/29/2007 - 2:04pm.
Patrick Thibodeau reported in Computerworld, that Cisco may have advertised for a U.S. job position that really wasn't open to American citizens.
June 28, 2007 (Computerworld) -- Cisco Systems Inc. placed a help wanted ad for a network consulting engineer in the Chicago Tribune on Sunday, June 3, and David Huber, a networking professional who lives in Chicago, was interested in the job.
The ad copy read, "No phone calls please." But Huber, a University of Chicago graduate whose prior work included being the lead LAN/WAN network engineer for NASA's aborted X-33 rocket plane project, called Cisco and asked for the person named in the ad.
"Before I send my resume into a black hole, I always like to talk to the recruiter first," he said this week. A Cisco telephone operator gave Huber the phone number of an immigration law firm in Santa Clara, Calif. "Why would I be talking with somebody at an immigration law firm about this?" he wondered.
Huber said his question was answered a couple of weeks later when he saw the controversial YouTube video that shows an attorney from a Pittsburgh law firm providing advice to employers on how to deal with government requirements for seeking U.S. workers to fill jobs before hiring foreign workers.
"It seems obvious to me after that video what's going on," Huber said.
none of the indicators demonstrates a systemic shortage. While exceptional talent or skills in emerging technologies will always, by definition, be in short supply, the most relevant market indicators--wages and employee risk--clearly show there's no broad-based scarcity of U.S. IT workers. In their zeal to enlist government help to expand the supply of tech workers through foreign guest worker programs, employers are misrepresenting IT labor market conditions.BusinessWeek points out how many foreign companies are accused of underpaying foreigners on work visas and hurting US wages in the process in the article: Are H1B workers getting bilked?
But this was no dream job come true. Goel's base salary was $23,310, about half the $44,000 that Patni had said it would pay on the visa application, according to a lawsuit he has filed against the company. When Goel complained, one official said that Patni would brand him a "troublemaker" and that his parents in India would be harassed unless he stopped, the suit alleges.How do the candidates feel about the subject? Heres a CNN story with Hillary from 6/2/07, none of the other front runners seem to have an opinion.
Cheaper workers, do you see the savings? I think not!
Heres a partial list of the job impact of off shoring by the people at TechsUnite.org who state:
Offshore Events Display
most recent event: 02/01/2007
last updated: 09/22/2005
The offshore tracker is based upon news accounts and employees. It tracks instances of offshoring beginning in January 2001 and using a list of companies derived from media sources. The tracker is not scientific in determining the precise number of jobs lost, since media reports are not always accurate, we do not have access to all media reports, and many instances of offshoring go unreported. However, this tracker is the only source that accounts for and aggregates the number of jobs lost due to offshoring. In fact, we know the current totals are low. For that reason. we need your help to let us know which employers - companies and state agencies - are offshoring jobs. We will be updating the tracker regularly by encouraging individuals to submit new event information and by continuing to monitor the media
Top 10 Offshoring companies
Company------Most Recent---Jobs Offshored--Est. jobs lost
Siemens AG----03/02/2004-----15000-------data unavailable
The complete list of Offshoring can be found here, I don't know what to tell anyone to do about it other than what I always do when confronted with a guy named "Sam" on the phone who obviously doesn't speak English very well, I tell him I would like to speak to someone who is English speaking as a first language, Most companies have a remaining call center in the states for obtuse people like myself. I stopped buying Dell and dropped Verizon DSL because of this exact problem of sending our jobs out of the country. Did it make a difference, probably not, but I refuse to knowingly give my hard earned money to a corporation who doesn't reinvest in our country. If there were more people like myself we wouldn't be in this predicament.
The fight for the tech workers is the same fight for the rest of us here in America, Joe's Union Review stands with you in your plight. Please feel free to give me any news to spread to the masses.
Resources for Tech workers:
- Alliance At IBM- CWA Local 1701
- *The Programmers Guild, who is asking that people send a Fax to Congress to remove the H1B visa increases, which for some strange reason are attached into the text of H.R. 4065: Border Enforcement, Employment Verification, and Illegal Immigration Control Act, you can grab the letter to fax here (PDF file)
- WashTech - Washington Alliance For Technology Workers - CWA Local 37083
- Earleir story I wrote at UnionReview: Corp Objective: Disqualify qualified American workers, get H-1b Visa's for non-citizens
Viacom owns CBS and 39 television stations, 184 radio stations, The Movie Channel, BET, Nickelodeon, TV Land, MTV, VH1, Simon & Schuster publishing, Scribner, and Paramount Pictures.
General Electric owns NBC, 13 television stations, CNBC, MSNBC, and Bravo.
Disney owns ABC and 9 television stations, 50 radio stations, ESPN, A&E, the History Channel, Discover magazine, Hyperion publishing, Touchstone Pictures, and Miramax Film Corp.
News Corporation owns Fox Broadcasting Company, 26 television stations, FX, Fox News Channel, TV Guide, the Weekly Standard, New York Post, DirecTV, the publisher HarperCollins, film production company Twentieth Century Fox, and the social networking website MySpace.
Since 1995, the number of companies owning commercial TV stations declined by 40 percent...
Currently, six major companies control most of the media in our country. The FCC could decide to relax media ownership rules, which would allow further consolidation and put decisions about what kinds of programming and news Americans receive in even fewer hands.
Since 1995, the number of companies owning commercial TV stations declined by 40 percent.
If the FCC votes to relax media ownership limits, it could further erode diversity of ownership at the local level and increase the influence of large media conglomerates. In 2003, the regulations restricting a broadcast company from owning stations that reach beyond 35% of American households were loosened to 39%.
Three media giants own all of the cable news networks. Comcast and AOL Time Warner serve 40 percent of cable households.
Many proponents of deregulation site the expanded numbers of cable stations to argue that media sources are more diverse than they once were. The reality is that -- while there may be more stations -- they are still controlled by a small number of media companies.
Cable TV rates have jumped 40 percent since the Telecom Act of 1996.
The Telecommunications Act of 1996 was, in part, meant to increase competition in the cable industry. The Act was heavily influenced by industry lobbyists and has had the opposite effect.
The Telecommunications Act of 1996 lifted ownership limits for radio stations, leading to incredible consolidation of radio station ownership.
One company alone, Clear Channel Inc., now owns nearly 1,200 radio stations across the country. Before the change, a company could not own more than 40 stations nationwide.
One company alone, Clear Channel Inc., now owns nearly 1,200 radio stations across the country...
Several large stations owned by Clear Channel briefly banned the music of the Dixie Chicks because of their critical comments about President George W. Bush. Stations owned by Infinity have also banned certain musicians based on their political views.
FACT:EFFECT on DEMOCRACY
Major corporations, including AOL Time Warner, the New York Times, CNN, ABC News and USA Today dominate the top Internet news sites.
FACT:Found via Broadcast Union News reposting an article from IBEW Local 1212 website
The public owns the airwaves and the FCC grants licenses to broadcasters with the understanding they will serve the public interest.
To their corporate owners, media outlets do not exist to promote the public interest; they exist to make profits. But media companies don't manufacture widgets; they provide information. And information from diverse, competitive, and independent sources is vitally important to the health of a democracy.
The nation’s largest broadcast companies that will benefit from looser ownership standards have given more than $13.3 million in political contributions to federal candidates and national parties since 1995. These same media giants have spent more than $68 million lobbying Washington since 1999.
With their political clout, media giants have the ability to make their case heard at the FCC, the White House and Capitol Hill. The concerns of average citizens do not get the same attention from key policymakers.
The FCC is in the process of making important decisions that will have a significant impact on our democracy. This appointed body is doing so without distributing the proposed regulations for public review and without allowing for adequate public review and comment.
"It is the purpose of the First Amendment to preserve an uninhibited marketplace of ideas in which truth will ultimately prevail, rather than to countenance monopolization of that market, whether it be by the Government itself or a private licensee. It is the right of the public to receive suitable access to social, political, aesthetic, moral, and other ideas and experiences which is crucial here. That right may not constitutionally be abridged either by Congress or by the FCC." --U.S. Supreme Court in the landmark 1969 case of Red Lion v. FCC
Wow, just took a look over at 1212, their web site is great, full of labor facts and even has a blog attached to it. Attention union leaders, take a look. You too can have a good looking and informative site like IBEW Local 1212.
By Doug Cunningham (2/26/08)
At least 48 million working Americans lack high enough incomes to realize the American Dream of solid middle class lives. That’s according to a new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research. The report says one in five U.S. workers earn wages below a minimum middle class standard.
To get into the middle class, you have to have a good job – defined by the Center for Economic and Policy Research as those paying at least $17 per hour with employer sponsored health benefits and employer-sponsored retirement plans. Just under one-fourth of all U.S. jobs meet this definition of good jobs.
The report calls for a new social contract in America to lift workers into the middle class. It includes reforming and enforcing wage and hour standards, making sure workers can exercise their collective bargaining union rights.
The report also calls for developing new labor standards that include guaranteed paid sick days, paid vacation and paid family and medical leave in the US. as well as providing true universal health care.
Also check out related links at UnionReview which highlight the ineffectiveness of the FAA, the second one makes me sick.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is telling air traffic controllers who speak out about safety conditions to get another job.
Last week, Don Chapman from the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) told reporters that newly implemented changes in air space rules around the Philadelphia area had controllers concerned about safety and the added pressure on already overworked air traffic controllers. Chapman, NATCA’s Philadelphia facility representative, also noted the changes had been made without any input from the controllers.
When Delaware County Daily Times asked the FAA for a comment, agency spokesman Jim Peters told the paper:
If any controller at the Philadelphia Airport believes that these procedures are unsafe, they should look for work elsewhere.…If they don’t like working for FAA, they should reconsider their line of work.
This arrogant and outrageous comment is from the same agency that is driving a record number of air traffic controllers into early retirement or out of the field because of the working conditions created by the FAA’s unilaterally imposition of new work rules. Those rules, issued in 2006 after the FAA refused to return to the bargaining table with NATCA for a new contract, exacerbated an already serious staffing shortage in the towers and on the radar scopes.
Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.), says the comments are an “outrage” and:
demonstrate once again that the FAA is a rogue agency. The idea that professionals who have concerns about safety should “find another line of work” is an outrage. Everywhere in our society—from the military to hospitals to mines to food processing facilities—responsible organizations emphasize safety first and reward professional employees who identify safety deficiencies.
Several years ago, when the FAA began to eliminate controller involvement in agency projects, NATCA President Patrick Forrey was tossed off the airspace redesign committee. He says the FAA’s comments are:the height of arrogance from an out-of-control agency that is now trying to stifle whistleblowers, intimidate union members and discredit controllers’ commitment to safety.We will not be silenced. We will not stand by and do nothing while the agency pushes safe, sensible and time-tested implementation procedures to the side in favor of an authoritarian, “my way or the highway” style. We will not allow our union leaders and members to be threatened or disciplined because they dared to speak up about legitimate and troubling safety concerns that the public needs to be aware of.
NY: Sen. Schumer on JFK jumbo jet near miss calls for new technology and more control tower staffing (12/11/07)
FAA breaks law, schedules a worker for his seventh day in a row, charges the Air Traffic Controller with an Operational Error (11/16/07)
From Reuters/ By Louis Charbonneau and Timothy GardnerFull Story
UNITED NATIONS, Feb 11 (Reuters) - A new U.S. energy law will cause an increase in global food prices and lead to starvation deaths worldwide because it continues to promote corn ethanol, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Monday.
"People literally will starve to death in parts of the world, it always happens when food prices go up," Bloomberg told reporters after addressing a U.N. General Assembly debate on climate change.
The new U.S. law, which came into force late last year, increased fivefold the required amount of blending of biofuels like corn ethanol -- creating higher demand for the grain that will push up corn prices.
By 2022 some 15 billion gallons of the required 36 billion could come from corn ethanol, with the rest mandated to come from lower-carbon sources such as crop waste and switchgrass.
Union members and community supporters stand in solidarity outside Verizon, who disgraced veteran Terry Skiest US flag
Verizon terrified of union organizing fliers, takes down US vet's flag as "offensive and propaganda"
It seems that the solidarity shown across the country by Verizon workers is everywhere, even when you see someone with a flag on his outfit working in the streets of NYC, theres a good chance he/she is doing it for Terry. I also have gotten an update from Rand Wilson, communications coordinator in the Center for Strategic Research, AFL-CIO Organizing Department.
About 20 Verizon workers from across Massachusetts braved a snow storm and traveled to Terry’s office in Acton, MA on Friday, Feb. 22 to show their support for his right to display the American and Massachusetts flags outside his cubicle at work.I've done my best to bring some of Picassaweb's goodness here to Joe's Union Review:
Pictures from the Feb. 22 rally and of other people showing their support for Terry are at: Picasaweb
Also on Feb. 22, thousands of Verizon workers across the country wore American flag stickers and decorated their cubicles and vehicles with flags to show their solidarity and outrage about VZB’s policy.
Rally to support Terry SkiestAnother recent story of interest, showing what a good corporate neighbor Verizon is can be found at: Claiming ignorance, Verizon tolerated illegal alien work force through a subcontractor
31 Nagog Park, Acton, MA 01720
Photos: 39 - 9 MB
Feb 22, 2008
Verizon union members along with several community supporters rallied with a 30 foot flag at a small Verizon Business facility to support Terry Skiest who has been trying to get management to return his flags to the outside of his cubicle in Acton, MA. Don’t miss the 3-minute video where Terry tells the story about management’s disrespect for his flags at: www.putuptheflag.orgMagnified view, click on image and drag to move.
From: ILCA- The International Labor communications Association
FEDERAL WORKERS UNIONS VS. BUSH: ‘WE WON. THEY LOST. GAME OVER.’Full Story
By Mark Gruenberg PAI Staff Writer
Washington- Federal worker unions racked up two big wins against anti-worker GOP President George W.Bush after his regime, on Feb. 18, gave up its long-running attempt to impose new anti-worker personnel rules on the 135,000 employees at the Department of Homeland Security--and when Congress earlier dumped his similar scheme for 700,000 Defense Department workers.
The wins put paid to what AFGE General Counsel Mark Roth called “the Heritage Foundation agenda” to denigrate federal workers and to destroy worker protections. Of Bush’s plan, adopted from the Right Wing think tank’s treatises, Roth said: “We won. They lost. Game over.”
The federal worker union wins are important for all workers because AFGE President John Gage previously said that if Bush won at the two big federal agencies, he would try to extend the anti-worker personnel rules to other federal agencies, then state and local government workers and then to the private sector. In both DOD and the Homeland Security Department, theBush rules stripped workers of union rights, whistleblower protections, pay based on objective standards, and appeal rights, among other things. Pay and promotions would have been decided by presidential political appointees, and appeals of discipline rulings against DOD workers would have gone to a stacked board appointed by the Defense Secretary.
Labor's Agenda Fighting Corporate Greed
interview with Richard Trumpka, Secretary Treasurer of the AFL-CIO and William Scheuerman, Pres. National Labor College
*Click to listen to 27:54 minute program
In a free wheeling discussion on the agenda for the labor movement, Trumpka and Scheuerman analyze the challenges workers face in an economy controlled by corporate interests who have rigged the system to their benefit at the expense of the living standards of workers. They point to the need for education & political mobilization of the working class to change the system, pointing to some hopeful signs such as new attitudes of workers towards unions, political mobilization of workers outside of unions, the increase in membership in unions and an expanded role of the National Labor College in education of workers and developing clarity on key issues of crucial concern to the movement.You can view the original story with more information about Building Bridges Radio at UnionReview.com
From the Associated Press:
Toll From Sugar Plant Blast Climbs to 11
14 hours ago
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Another burn patient has died of injuries suffered in an explosion and fire at a sugar refinery, bringing the death toll to 11, officials said Sunday.
Two weeks after the blast at the Imperial Sugar plant in Port Wentworth, 12 other patients remain in critical condition at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital in Augusta. Two are in serious condition.
A 15th patient, whose name was not released, died Saturday evening, said Beth Frits of the Burn Center.
A memorial had been held earlier in the day for the other victims, the 10th of whom died Friday.
The explosion was fueled by airborne sugar dust at the refinery, near Savannah, investigators have said. They have not yet determined what ignited it.
(This version CORRECTS that 12 patients are in critical condition, not 14.)
Douglas A. Fraser 1916-2008
By DAVID RUNK - Sunday, February 24, 2008 5:45 PM ESTDETROIT - Douglas A. Fraser, who led the United Auto Workers union through dark hours in the U.S. auto industry in the 1970s and '80s, has died. He was 91.
Fraser died late Saturday at Providence Hospital in Southfield, his wife, Winnie, said Sunday. She said he had emphysema and went into the hospital with breathing problems, but a cause of death wasn't determined.
With his mischievous smile and gregarious, easygoing manner, Fraser was popular with the union's rank-and-file, who appreciated his candor and accessibility. Everyone called him Doug. "Everybody thought he was wonderful," Winnie Fraser said. "He was a good guy, and he really was (wonderful)." He also was a shrewd and pragmatic negotiator who won the respect of Big Three executives. In the 1960s and '70s, he helped win such benefits as comprehensive health care and improved working conditions. But he faced challenges as UAW president from 1977 to 1983, a period of severe financial hardship for the industry that forced the union to make unprecedented concessions.
"Doug was a friend, a mentor and a counselor to so many within the UAW and the larger labor movement," UAW President Ron Gettelfinger said in a statement. "His integrity and his enduring commitment to protecting the rights of workers will continue to inspire us." Fraser considered his finest achievement the UAW's campaign to obtain $1.5 billion in federal loan guarantees for Chrysler Corp. in 1979, which saved the automaker from bankruptcy. "At the time, he was probably the most respected labor leader in America and he had great political charm, as well as substantive commitment," said former Michigan Gov. James Blanchard, who knew Fraser for more than 30 years and as a U.S. House member worked with Fraser on the efforts to guarantee Chrysler's loans.
"He was really key in everything that happened to save Chrysler."
Fraser's decisions to give contract concessions to Chrysler in 1979 and to Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp. in 1982 were opposed by many UAW members but contributed to the U.S. auto industry's recovery.
As part of the agreement for concessions, Chrysler gave Fraser a seat on its board, making him the first major union chief on the board of a large corporation. He donated his board salary to Wayne State University in Detroit.
A lifelong Democrat, Fraser proudly called himself a liberal. He marched with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in the civil rights struggle of the 1960s. He supported school busing to achieve racial integration, a position strongly opposed by many of his fellow UAW members. He pushed an often reluctant UAW and the Big Three to recruit more minorities and women. And he fought for national health insurance.
From: PilotOnline.com (11-31-07)
Officials with both Smith and Verizon said in May that they knew nothing of B&B’s hiring of illegal immigrants and said they would be investigating.Yes they had the illegal aliens, which only one of whom spoke a word of English, living in a house provided by the employers, Verizon, of course had no knowledge of what was going on. Thats just great.
The court records say that Smith and Verizon employees were frequently on the work sites when the undocumented immigrants were on the job. Some of the workers told authorities that B&B, Ivy Smith and Verizon never asked them for green cards, identifications, social security numbers or any proof that they were legally in the country. Only one of the 14 spoke English.
An Ivy Smith official did not respond to inquiries from The Virginian-Pilot this afternoon.
A spokesman for Verizon said policy changes were made in an attempt to ensure that illegal immigrants are not employed by contractors or subcontractors. Independent audits are done of employee records of any firm hired by Verizon or its contractors, said the spokesman, Harry Mitchell.
“We have zero tolerance for this,” Mitchell said. “We’ve taken steps that we hope will mitigate this issue greatly.”
ICE agents said in court papers that the Butterys have been employing illegal immigrants since at least 2003 and that even after Robert Buttery Sr. was arrested, he tried to get one of the workers out of jail and back on the job. The company reported sales in 2006 of $120,000.
Assistant U.S. Attorney James Metcalfe said in court that authorities have been having trouble locating the Butterys. They apparently do not have a permanent office and work out of their vehicles, he said. The pair was arrested at a local hotel.
The Midland address is the home of Robert Buttery Sr.’s sister, Betty Jean Buttery, who is listed in the court records as part of a conspiracy and a B&B Cable corporate officer. All the company vehicles, including the one that was stopped in May, are registered in her name.
U.S. Magistrate James E. Bradberry had strong words for the Butterys at today's court appearance.
“Now look, the two of you listen to me carefully,” the judge scolded. “You are in deep doo-doo.”
The Butterys said they did not understand the charges against them and asked for lawyers to be appointed. They said they could not afford to hire their own.
From PilotOnline.com (12-08-07)
A Virginia couple entered guilty pleas in U.S. District Court today on charges they recruited and housed undocumented immigrants to work for their company, B&B Cable Co.
While there is no further information regarding this case, we can only hope they got a prison term that meets the maximum extent of law. Also to note, Verizon has changed it's subcontractor policy, according to Workplace Immigration report (11-19-07)
The plea agreement was reached between federal prosecutors and Robert Ray Buttery Sr., 52, and his wife, Betty Jean Buttery, 55, who both live in Midland in Fauquier County. They and a third family member, Robert Raymond Buttery Jr., 22, were arrested this fall after a lengthy investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents stemming from a State Police traffic stop on Interstate 264 in Virginia Beach this past spring.
Troopers stopped a white, 1997 Ford box truck, owned by B&B, on May 7 because its registration was expired and there was no inspection sticker displayed.
They found it was carrying 14 illegal immigrants from Mexico, El Salvador and Guatemala. It was being driven by one of them, an El Salvadorian who did not have a driver’s license. Troopers called in ICE agents. The day after the workers were detained, Robert Buttery Jr., contacted State Police to locate the 14 illegal alien employees, “whom he described as ‘my boys,’” according to the plea agreement.
B&B was hired by Ivy H. Smith Inc., a Greensboro, N.C.-based company which was a subcontractor for Fiber Technology Construction Inc., of Canton, Ga., that held a contract with Verizon Communications.
Officials with both Smith and Verizon said in May that they knew nothing of B&B’s hiring of illegal immigrants.
Neither company has been charged with any wrong doing.
A federal grand jury indicted the Butterys last month on charges of employing, recruiting and housing undocumented immigrants who they allegedly housed in hotels, motels and rental homes while driving them back and forth to work sites.
ICE agents said in court papers that the Butterys had been employing illegal immigrants since at least 2003 and that even after Robert Buttery Sr. was arrested, he tried to get one of the workers out of jail and back on the job.
According to the plea agreement, the illegal aliens generally spoke no English, “so the defendants provided them with written instruction cards in Spanish for laying cables and in English to hand to homeowners when questions arose on site.”
The cards were provided by Ivy H. Smith Inc., according to the plea agreement. The employees also received “damage prevention” training, given in Spanish, from Ivy H. Smith Inc.
Also in the plea agreement, the pair agreed that between 2000 and 2007 they did not file any tax returns or other information required to be filed for employees, individuals, or businesses on behalf of B&B Cable or any of its employees with the Internal revenue service. The company reported sales of $120,000 in 2006.
Robert Ray Buttery Sr. faces sentencing March 7; Betty Jean Buttery is scheduled to be sentenced March 10. They face a possible prison sentence and the government is seeking $1.5 million in alleged proceeds from their business. Prosecutors said Friday that Robert Buttery Jr. is scheduled to plead guilty on Monday.
Verizon Reinforces Requirements for ContractorsWow, now maybe they will even have to pay an area standard wage.
"We will not condone or tolerate the use of illegal labor, and those who violate the law won't work on our fiber project," Harry J. Mitchell, Verizon director of media relations for the Mid-Atlantic region, told BNA Nov. 13.
"When a situation like this arises, as it did this spring in Virginia Beach, we act decisively," Mitchell said. "In this case, our prime contractor Ivy H. Smith investigated the incident and terminated the subcontractor," he said.
Verizon's contracts with prime contractors require the contractors--and their employees and subcontractors--to abide by all federal, state and local labor and construction laws, including immigration laws, Mitchell said.
Verizon already had in place a rigorous competitive bidding and evaluation process for prime contractors, Mitchell said. After this incident, Verizon implemented a plan to reinforce the requirements, he said.
The plan requires prime contractors to file valid paperwork for all employees assigned to a Verizon project and hire an independent auditor to audit employment records annually and certify to Verizon throughout the year that new employees assigned to Verizon projects have valid paperwork, Mitchell said. Prime contractors must also certify to Verizon that all of their subcontractors meet the same requirements, he said.