NY: Bloomingdales and RWDSU continue negotiations for 2 more weeks

According to Womans Wear daily (4/30/08):
NEW YORK – The management of Bloomingdale’s and leaders of Local 3 of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union have reached a tentative agreement, the retailer said this morning.

The two sides failed to reach an agreement on one issue – health care – and will continue to negotiate that point for two more weeks.

Stuart Applebaum, president of the RWDSU, this morning confirmed that a tentative settlement has been reached. It is subject to ratification by the union membership on Thursday. The union's previous contract expired on March 1, but talks had been extended through tonight. The union had authorized a strike if an agreement couldn't be reached by 6 p.m. Bloomingdale's said the agreement "eliminates any possibility of a strike being called against the retailer."
Original Story (4/27/08)
Read Full Story

House passes Combustible Dust protections

With work from the labor federations, bloggers and the unfortunate accident at the Imperial Sugar facility, The US House has passed the Worker Protection Against Combustible Dust Explosion and Fire Act, H.R. 5522 by a vote of 247-165. 165 Republicans voted against American workers.

According to The Gavel ( 4/30/08) :

This bill would require the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration to issue rules regulating combustible industrial dusts, like sugar dust, that can build up to hazardous levels and explode. In early February the Imperial Sugar refinery in Port Wentworth, Georgia, exploded, killing 13 workers and severely injuring many more. OSHA and the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, which have launched a major investigation into the Imperial Sugar explosion, have concluded that the explosion was caused by combustible sugar dust. In 2006, following a series of fatal combustible dust explosions, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board conducted a major study of combustible dust hazards. It identified 281 combustible dust incidents between 1980 and 2005 that killed 119 workers, injured 718 others, and extensively damaged industrial facilities. OSHA has known about these dangers for years, but has failed to act. Even after the Chemical Safety Board urged OSHA in 2006 to issue rules controlling dust hazards, OSHA has never offered any indication that it is planning to issue such rules without being required to do so by law.

Learn more in our current legislation section >>

The Education and Labor Committee held a hearing on March 12 with testimony from Tammy Miser, sister of a victim of a 2003 combustible dust explosion in Huntington, IN:


Tammy Miser: “Shawn’s back was towards the furnace when they were picking up their tools and there was a blast. Some say Shawn got up and started walking towards the door and then there was a second, more intense blast. Shawn didn’t die instantly. He laid on building floor while the aluminum dust burnt through his flesh and muscle tissue. The breaths that he took burnt his internal organs, and the blast took his eyesight. Shawn was still conscious and asking for help… And the two things that I can always remember and that never leave are his last words, ‘I’m in a world of hurt,’ and his last breaths.”
Thank you Tammy, for your hard work to memorialize workers who die on the job. I watched with great adoration your courage to speak in front of congress on behalf of workers.

Shawn did not die in vain. Through your persistence you have helped to change the world for the next worker, for that we are all grateful.

Thanks to Jesse Lee for posting this at The Gavel
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To read more about Tammy Miser and her contributions, as well as those of Rep. George Miller, please take a look at the article "Our Memorial Day" by Esther Kaplan published this week at the Nation
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Labor History 101: The History of May 1st., International Workers Day

the holiday began in the 1880s in the USA, linked to the battle for the eight-hour day, and the Chicago anarchists.

From gLabourWriters, The blog that is linked to the ILO International Training Centre course Communicating labour rights. Here is the article entitled "History of May 1st, International workers’ day" (4/30/08)
May 1st, International Workers’ Day, commemorates the historic struggle of working people throughout the world, and is recognized in most countries. The United States of America and Canada are among the exceptions. This despite the fact that the holiday began in the 1880s in the USA, linked to the battle for the eight-hour day, and the Chicago anarchists. Continue reading ‘History of May 1st, International workers’ day’


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NY: Workers Memorial Day construction mass

From 1010 Wins radio (4/28/08)

Construction Workers Hold Mass for Dead Colleagues. Construction workers killed on the job are being remembered at St. Patrick's Cathedral as New York City sharpens its focus on the dangers of their work.
Construction Workers Hold Mass for Dead Colleagues

NEW YORK (AP) -- Holding hard hats high to salute helmets on empty chairs in St. Patrick's Cathedral, thousands of city construction workers Monday paid tribute to their colleagues killed in a growing number of deadly accidents this year.

1010 WINS AUDIO: Al Jones Reports

Construction workers held an unprecedented Mass to remember fallen workers, joined by the families of victims in a March crane collapse and several other high-profile accidents in the city. Many came straight from construction sites in work boots and jeans after several contractors closed down jobs early.

Bells rang as labor officials recited the names of 26 union and nonunion laborers who died in the city in the past year. The dead include six of seven victims of the March 15 crane collapse, a window washer who fell off a Manhattan skyscraper and a man who plunged 40 stories to his death off a Donald Trump tower.

``They didn't die in vain,'' said Father Brian Jordan, who served as a chaplain at ground zero. ``They upheld the dignity of human labor.''

The ceremony was on Workers Memorial Day, which is held annually to commemorate the 1970 Occupational Safety and Health Act. But city construction workers have not held a Mass this large before and many said the crane collapse called greater attention to the high risks of their industry.

``I went to three funerals in a week'' after the collapse, said Ralph DiDonato, a senior superintendent at Bovis Lend Lease. ``Construction workers are the tightest crew when it comes for caring for people.''

The number of deaths cited at the service does not match the city Buildings Department, which also lists non-construction worker deaths and has said fewer people have died: 13 this year, 12 last year.

Organizers couldn't immediately explain the discrepancy, although federal agencies compile different data for construction-related deaths, sometimes using criteria that include a wider range of projects.

The city's buildings commissioner resigned last week, days after disclosing at a hearing that the building under construction before the crane collapse had improperly received construction permits. The city's acting commissioner, who attended Monday's service, ordered a review of high-risk construction practices, including crane and concrete pouring operations.

Several times the workers raised their hats to nine empty chairs, each with a different colored hard hat and roses or daffodils on the seats. Eight referred to the union construction workers who lost their lives in the past year, while the ninth represented the 18 who died in nonunion jobs, Jordan said.

The workers held a moment of silence after OSHA officials Richard Mendelson and Janet Kenny finished reading the names. Edward Malloy, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council, said prayers are always said on sites when they learn a worker has died.

No one will forget the fallen workers, Malloy said, because ``the legacy of all construction workers ... is the skyline of New York.'

Kongsberg to Steelworkers: Kiss Half Your Paycheck Goodbye

By Bendygirl
crossposted on
Uniongal

That's what United Steelworkers were told in Van Wert Ohio nearly 5 weeks ago. Give it up or the company would lock them out.

So, guess what happened?

Yep, they locked them out.

A local Van Wert blogger summed it up last week:

A lot of why American companies can’t compete on a global market is because of lazy incompetent company managers from CEO on down. It’s pretty brainless to simply market your product via production by sweat shop laborers. From a market standpoint people will always prefer quality to quantity. I am using China as an example but there are many more foreign companies buying up top of the line U.S. companies that run them into the ground. Look at the stuff we buy in stores today and compare it to stuff we bought 20-30 years ago. From a quality standpoint its probably 50% less then it was back when we bought from our neighbors. Remember the day? I sure do!


It's a pretty good summary, but try this one on for size :

Peter Spencer, the Group Executive and President of the Kongsberg Driveline Systems, sat inside the offices and calmly discussed the labor situation between United Steel Worker employees and Kongsberg Automotive. In a nutshell, he explained the current situation is a confluence of the global economy and the woes of the automotive industry. United States manufacturers are no longer bidding against other United States manufacturers. They are in competition with suppliers from all over the world.

"We're in a situation here with our driveline section, my intention is to make this business profitable and sustainable," Spencer said. "From the business point of view, we're going to stay on the right side of the ethical line and the legal line. That's our commitment to all of our employees and I think that we take that very seriously.

"However, we are where we are and, as of today, we've got a very large opportunity on the table from a global customer, $30 million as it happens, but I need to quote them and the bottom line is the customer has told me very simply that if you quote this at fifteen bucks an hour, you haven't got it. If you quote this at $9 an hour, you've got a good chance."


Hey, but don't worry, Spencer has all the answers:

"So there is only one outcome to this and that's closure (without the wage concessions)," he said. "You have to ask if you want a factory here for the next 12 months or the next ten years."


Yum, did you catch that? Oh,wait, I hadn't told you yet, this is Kongsberg's history , closing plants. And wait, closing profitable plants, like the Amotfors seat heating system plant in Sweden.

The reorganisation reflects persistent margin pressure in the European automotive industry, Kongsberg Automotive said.

"We are one of the world's leading suppliers of seat heating systems for cars. To maintain this position we must adapt our production costs to a level which yield acceptable earnings also in future," said Olav Volldal, CEO of Kongsberg Automotive.

"The potential closure is not because our employees have not performed. It is due to the significant cost gap between high cost and low cost countries," Volldal added.


Sweet, huh?

So, that had me thinking. They were willing to close a profitable plant on the hopes that they'll be even more profitable when they pay lower wages and move out of high environmental standard Sweden and into low environmental standard Polland. But best of all is probably the line form their Fourth Quarter 2005 annual report where they noted:

The Group is reporting a tax cost percentage of 26 % in 2005. The tax cost is around 28 % for all the countries where Kongsberg Automotive operates, except for Poland where the tax rate is 19 % and the USA where the tax rate is around 33 %. There are no taxes payable for the Norwegian operations due to significant tax loss carryforward related to the Raufoss acquisition.


Do you see the tax base numbers? 33% for the US and 19% when they do business in Poland. So, how long will it be before they move the Van Wert Teleflex operations to Poland?

Sure seems as if this is their kind of business model...acquire patent technologies and then burn the communities where these items are made as they move to less taxing, less environmental standard countries. I really doubt this lock out has anything to do with the workers and everything to do with the way Kongsberg sees the US, as 33% tax. Looks as if they just want to lower the tax rate, costs for doing business and of course labor costs to that of Poland. Come on Poland, what happened to Solidarity?


Nothing more has changed in the lock out since I wrote on it just last week. Well, one thing has changed,

Locked out Kongsberg Automotive workers wait in a hallway at Trinity Friends Church for the opportunity to shop at the church's food pantry. Carolyn Garwood of Trinity Friends reported that the pantry was opened to the workers for three hours Friday morning and that 90 families were helped through the effort.


The thing that's changed is these families are now finding that their community supports them. No one outside of Van Wert Ohio seems to be talking about this Norwegian company and their desire to close plants to "pass the savings on to their customers". I wonder how much Spencer and Volldal are spending on groceries right now. Somehow, I think it's more than what their employees are. Seems like the Van Wert local blogger called it...this is what's wrong with our country and after 8 years of this, it's time we say to hell with this bullshit.

NY: Bloomingdale's flagship store, workers authorize strike


*Update-> NY: Bloomingtons and RWDSU continue negotiations for 2 more weeks (4/30/08)
RWDSU, The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, workers have voted to authorize a strike if the negotiations have not come to an agreeable contract offer by Thursday. Nearly 2,000 workers will walk out at any time after the deadline, the union is still at odds with Bloomingdale's over health care and wage increases.

The RWDSU is affiliated with the UFCW, United Food and Commercial Workers Union, and has recently had a large membership increase with with workers in the union friendly H&M clothing stores sign up. The H&M labor friendly policy was actually what would be expected if there was a passing of the Employee Free Choice Act. They agreed to respect their workers wishes to form a union by a card check, From RWDSU press release (11/20/07) :
Under the terms of an agreement negotiated earlier this year, H & M agreed to a process called “card check recognition” which required the company to respect the decision of employees to have representation once a majority signed cards affirming their support for the union. The company also pledged not to interfere with the workers’ efforts to organize.

“By respecting the right of employees to join our union, H & M is setting an example other retailers should follow,” said RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum, adding that he expects the National Labor Relations to certify the union as the workers’ collective bargaining agent.

Bloomingdale's

From NY1 (4/26/08) :
Bloomingdale's Workers May Go On Strike
April 26, 2008

Workers may hit the picket lines at Bloomingdale’s flagship store on the Upper East Side as early as next weekend.

The famous department store’s employees said they will strike if a contract agreement is not reached by the time their current deal expires on Thursday.

Negotiations between the company's Executive Board and the local chapter of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union have been lasting for more than two months.

A union spokesperson said that negotiations will continue, but nearly 2,000 workers at the store have authorized a walkout. The union said the date for the strike has not been set.

The group is fighting for a general wage increase and to protect the employees' current health coverage.

This would be the first time the store has been shut down by a strike in 43 years.

MA: Firefighters call for unity rally prior to Memorial ceremony and lobby day


At last year's Lobby Day President McCarthy read the names of our members who died during 2006 of occupationally related illness and injury.

With recent concerns of the under-staffing and the recent attack on their profession in the media, the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts is calling on all non-working members in the area to attend their 3rd annual "PFFM Lobby Day, Unity Rally & Workers Memorial April 29th". Heres the story from the PFFM web site:
April 29th at 10AM will be the PFFM's 3rd Annual Lobby Day, Unity Rally and Worker's Memorial at the State House on Beacon Hill.

To: PFFM Locals and membership

From: Bob McCarthy, President & The PFFM Executive Board

Subj: Unity rally prior to Workers Memorial and PFFM Lobby Day. 04/29/08

All off duty firefighters are requested to attend a "UNITY RALLY' on Tuesday morning April 29, 2008 on the Boston Common in front of the State House. Formation at the corner of Charles St. and Beacon St. at 10:00am. Uniform of the day is Red Shirt and fire helmet. The Clinton Fire Local 3189 clothing van will be at the Unity Rally at 9:00AM at Charles and Beacon Streets meeting place. They will have the Red Shirts on hand available to purchase. Call 508-380-9606 and ask for Paul if anyone wants to pre-order some Red Shirts so that they can have their size on hand at the Rally.

This rally will be a display of solidarity. The print and news media have attacked our profession unmercifully over the past six months and it has become quite clear that they are attacking our benefits. This unity rally will demonstrate that we will not sit still for their vilification and the malice towards us, our profession and our benefits.

We will respond as proud union members who will fight as "ONE" against any and all attacks on our profession. We will stand proud in support of our local union officers our statewide union officers and our International union officers.

Let us pass the word and make this the best attended rally in our 63
year history.

After the rally we will join our Union Brothers and Sisters at a memorial for all the departed union members who have passed away from an on duty accident, injury or occupational disease at a "Workers Memorial Day Ceremony". We will then visit our respective State Senators and State Representatives to lobby for our legislative agenda.

click here for a copy of the PFFM Do's & Don'ts of Lobbying
I hope some of our firefighter friends in the area will get us some pictures, good luck

Hilary Clinton letter to Dick Dauch in support of American Axle workers from 4/2/08

Maybe she read the story here by Bendygirl, or maybe she has an actual concern for New York workers, many labor leaders I have spoken to believe so. Heres a Senator letter from Mrs.Clinton in regard to the American Axle strike, a big thanks to Bendygirl, who also runs Women, Unions and Our Stories, for the heads up in finding this.


**Click on image to enlarge in a new tab or window**

Heres the most recent headlines on the strike from Google



Also check out the AAM Vs. UAW resource

Union made snacks, cars and food

From the United Food and Commercial Workers buy union guide

links will bring you to the UFCW site

Select a Category

Union-Made Treats

Here is a brief list of candy products made by members of the Bakery Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM); snack foods by members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW); or fruit and nuts from members of the United Farm Workers of America (UFW).

  • Hershey Products*
  • Jolly Rancher Candies
  • Pot of Gold chocolates
  • Ovation mint sticks
  • Fifth Avenue
  • Zagnut
  • York Peppermint Patties
  • Nestle Treasures
  • Laffy Taffy
  • Flips Pretzels
  • Baby Ruth
  • Butterfinger
  • BB's and Pearson's Nips
  • Jelly Bellies
  • Chocolate Dutch Mints
  • Chocolate Temptations
  • Dimples
  • Sweet Temptations
  • Malted Milk Balls--Herman Goelitz
  • Licorice--Herman Goelitz
  • NECCO Wafers
  • Mary Jane Peanut Butter Chews
  • Sky Bar
  • Thin Mints
  • Bolster Bar
  • Masterpieces and Clark Bar
  • See's Famous Old Time Candies
  • Frito-Lay chips and snacks
  • Orville Redenbacher popcorn
  • Kraft snack products
  • Godiva chocolates
  • Coastal Berry Co. fruit and nuts
  • Montpelier Almonds
  • Sunkist citrus fruit
  • Sunworld citrus fruit
  • Airdrome citrus fruit
  • Big Jim citrus fruit
*Joe's note some items will be made in Mexico now
Heres the UAW list of cars made Union in the USA and Canada

2008 VEHICLES BUILT BY UNION MEMBERS
IN THE UNITED STATES & CANADA

UAW CARS
Buick Lucerne
Cadillac CTS
Cadillac DTS
Cadillac STS
Cadillac XLR
Chevrolet Cobalt
Chevrolet Corvette
Chevrolet Malibu/Malibu Hybrid
Chrysler Sebring
Dodge Avenger
Dodge Caliber
Dodge Viper
Ford Focus
Ford Mustang
Ford Taurus
Lincoln MKS
Mazda 6
Mercury Sable
Mitsubishi Eclipse
Mitsubishi Galant
Pontiac G5
Pontiac G6
Pontiac Solstice
Pontiac Vibe
Saturn Aura/Aura Hybrid
Saturn Sky
Toyota Corolla*
UAW PICKUPS
Chevrolet Colorado
Dodge Dakota
Dodge Ram Pickup*
Ford Explorer Sport Trac
Ford F-Series*
Ford Ranger
GMC Canyon
Isuzu i-Series
Lincoln Mark LT
Mazda B-series
Mitsubishi Raider
Toyota Tacoma*
UAW SUVs/CUVs
Buick Enclave
Cadillac Escalade
Cadillac Escalade ESV
Cadillac SRX
Chevrolet Suburban*
Chevrolet Tahoe/
Tahoe Hybrid
Chrysler Aspen
Dodge Durango
Dodge Nitro
Ford Escape/Escape Hybrid
Ford Expedition
Ford Explorer
Ford Taurus X
GMC Acadia
GMC Yukon/Yukon Hybrid
GMC Yukon Denali
Hummer H1
Hummer H2
Hummer H3
Jeep Commander
Jeep Compass
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Jeep Liberty
Jeep Patriot
Jeep Wrangler
Lincoln Navigator
Mazda Tribute/Tribute Hybrid
Mercury Mariner/Mariner Hybrid
Mercury Mountaineer
Mitsubishi Endeavor
Saturn Outlook
UAW VANS
Ford E-series
Chevrolet Express
Chevrolet Uplander
GMC Savana
CAW CARS
Buick Lacrosse
Chevrolet Impala
Chrysler 300
Dodge Challenger
Dodge Charger
Ford Crown Victoria
Lincoln Town Car
Mercury Grand Marquis
Pontiac Grand Prix
CAW SUVs/CUVs
Chevrolet Equinox
Chrysler Pacifica
Dodge Magnum
Ford Edge
Lincoln MKX
Pontiac Torrent
Suzuki XL7
UAW/CAW PICKUPS
Chevrolet Silverado* GMC Sierra*
UAW/CAW Vans
Chrysler Town & Country Dodge Caravan
IUE SUVs/CUVs
Chevrolet TrailBlazer
GMC Envoy
GMC Envoy Denali
Isuzu Ascender
Saab 9-7X
Support union jobs in the U.S. and Canada

This guide is prepared by the UAW to provide information for consumers who want to purchase vehicles produced by workers who enjoy the benefits and protections of a union contract.

All these vehicles are made in the United States or Canada by members of the United Auto Workers (UAW), Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) or International Union of Electrical Workers-Communications Workers of America (IUE).

Because of the integration of U.S. and Canadian vehicle production, all these vehicles include significant UAW-made content and support the jobs of UAW members.

However, those marked with an asterisk (*) are sourced from the United States and another country.

When purchasing one of these models, check the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

A VIN beginning with "1", "4" or "5" identifies a U.S.-made vehicle; "'2:' identifies a Canadian-made vehicle.

Not all vehicles made in the United States or Canada are built by union-represented workers. The Toyota Corolla, for example, is made in the United States by UAW members, but the Canadian model is made in a nonunion plant and other models are imported from a third country.

*Vehicles marked with an asterisk are produced in more than one country, but all models made in the United States are assembled by UAW members.

Previous Years Union Car Guide

2007
2006
2005
2004
2003

More than 40 North American labor unions file charges against North Carolina's anti-union policies

I have been following this story for a while at UnionReview, heres the original "North Carolina Violates NAFTA ?? - Right to Freely Associate/Organize/Bargain Collectively" from 11/08

North Carolina is guilty of breaking a NAFTA side agreement which covers labor rights. One of those rights is freedom to form a union. North Carolina has not been in compliance. Now 40+ labor groups in the continent have filed suit against the US and North Carolina.

The complaint charges that the state of North Carolina and the United States are violating the NAFTA, by denying 650,000 public employees the right to engage in collective bargaining.

From Canada's NUPGE - National Union of Public and General Employees (4/22/08):

Labour groups charge U.S. with violating NAFTA labour standards

NUPGE one of 40 Canadian, U.S., and Mexican labour bodies filing formal charge under side agreement to international trade deal

Ottawa (22 April 2008) – The 340,000-member National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE), along with more than 40 other labour organizations in Canada, the United States and Mexico, will file a charge Wednesday against the U.S. under the North American Agreement for Labour Cooperation (NAALC), the labour side agreement to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The complaint will be lodged formally in Ottawa on Wednesday on behalf of the labour groups by members of the Canadian Association of Labour Lawyers /Association canadienne des avocats du mouvement syndical (CALL/ACAMS). (Participating organizations are listed below.)

James Clancy

The complaint charges that the state of North Carolina and the United States are violating the NAALC by denying 650,000 public employees the right to engage in collective bargaining.

The agreement requires the United States, Mexico and Canada to provide for “high labour standards” in their laws, and lists freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining among its core principles.

Labour ministers meeting

The complaint is being filed on the eve of a high-level political meeting in Ottawa between the labour ministers for the three countries. Members of the CALL/ACAMS will deliver the message personally to the ministers when they gather in Ottawa on Thursday April 24 for a luncheon to discuss the NAALC.

Susan Philpott, an executive board member of CALL/ACAMS, says all three NAFTA countries must take the complaint seriously.

“It is deeply troubling that the U.S. is willfully violating NAFTA labour standards,” says Philpott. “The Canadian government must seek to ensure its fellow NAFTA members honour their commitments and the rule of law, otherwise the integrity of NAFTA and the NAALC will be seriously compromised.”

NUPGE national president James Clancy is calling on Canada’s Labour Minister to step in personally and to forcefully remind his U.S. counterpart of their obligations under NAFTA.

“The government of North Carolina is trampling on NAFTA labour standards which Canada, the U.S and Mexico are obliged to respect and uphold,” says Clancy. “The Canadian government can’t turn a blind eye to such flagrant abuses. Canada must respond vigorously and at the highest levels.”

The North Carolina public employees are represented by the North Carolina Public Service Workers Union. The union, Local 150 of the United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America (UE), represents state and municipal employees across North Carolina. It has been pressuring the North Carolina government to respect workers’ human rights and allow public employees to bargain collectively.

'International disgrace'

Local 150 President Angaza Laughinghouse has expressed his union’s gratitude for the showing of international support.

“We are very pleased with the solidarity being extended to North Carolina public employees by unions from across the three NAFTA countries and around the globe. This shows that North Carolina’s continued denial of basic worker rights is an international disgrace. It’s an injustice and an embarrassment to this state that our elected officials must correct,” he said.

The NAALC complaint is being filed with the National Administrative Office (NAO) within Canada’s federal ministry of labour. Under NAFTA’s terms, the U.S., Canada and Mexico each established an NAO to act on complaints of violations of the NAALC.

The petitioners are asking the Canadian NAO to investigate North Carolina’s labour rights violations, and issue a report and recommendations for action. The actions requested by the labour organizations include North Carolina immediately repealing General Statute 95-98, replacing it with legislation that will guarantee public sector workers the right to organize, bargain collectively, and full freedom of association.

A similar complaint regarding the North Carolina bargaining ban was filed in October 2006 by a Mexican union, the Frente Auténtico del Trabajo (Authentic Labour Front or FAT) along with 53 other labour organizations, mostly from Mexico, the U.S. and Canada.

In October 2007 Mexico’s NAO accepted the complaint and launched an investigation. Mexico and Canada are North Carolina’s largest international trading partners. North Carolina’s combined annual exports to Canada and Mexico total $6.5 billion. NUPGE

Check out the NUPGE site to read more, and view a list of organizations involved in the suit

Please sign the Combustible Dust Petition


From the pages of USMWF.ORG - United Support & Memorial For Workplace Fatalities, a petition now being sponsored by the Change to Win Federation, please sign it, end the massacre that is the lackadaisical OSHA voluntary standard. Enough is enough, please sign the petition.











H.R.
5522
:

Combustible Dust Explosion

and
Fire Prevention Act of 2008>>>




You can view the entire hearing here: Click here to watch archived hearing webcast » It is long about
a little over 2 hours but if your really interested in how the system works, what some of our congress men think about OSHA as of lately or combustible dust it is a must see. You can also see individual parts here


<<<Give
Us Combustible Dust Standards


Between 1980 and 2005, 119 workers were killed and more than 700 injured in combustible dust explosions.



These explosions were preventable -- but even though the U.S. Chemical Safety Board recommended in 2006 that regulations needed to be put in place to protect workers from death or injury from combustible dust accidents, OSHA chose instead to maintain its
program of voluntary corporate compliance. But as Former CSB Chairman Carolyn W. Merritt put it, "the problem with voluntary standards is not everyone volunteers."



This petition calls on OSHA and the Department of Labor to stop relying on voluntary compliance and issue a general industry standard for preventing combustible dust accidents in the workplace. Tell
me more










To read more about the plight to change the way OSHA deals with industries that explosive dust is a factor, and the multi-tiered campaigning by labor and social advocacy groups who would like to see this changed, please check out Imperial Sugar explosion death toll rises to 13, OSHA backs lack of standard before Congress, Ga. creates own standard, and we need more signatures from 3/16/08

American Axle strikers face a cruel police force, WTF is going on in Detroit?

I had to grab this article from fellow writer Bendygirls diaries at Daily Kos on 4/25/08
UPDATE: What the F&*K is Going On In Detroit

Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 06:15:46 PM PDT

Yesterday, families and strikers mounted a rally in Detroit to highlight American Axle's desire to screw their workers while continuing to reap huge profits and dishing out million dollar bonuses to CEO and other executives.

And despite more than 37,000 workers off their jobs, 3650 American Axle Workers on strike, more than 30 plants shut AND 3 different countries affected, we still have nothing From Obama, Clinton and Mr. No-Right-To-Work-tax-your-benefits-anti-EFCA-McSame.

Not a F U C K I N G Word. Not one!

So, the union and other allies, families and friends, put together a rally. And then things went horribly bad.

So, I got this e-mail this morning (really early) and I needed to share and vent at the same time.

I went to another American Axle rally for Rich today. It was a great success through most of it. I was astounded and appauled by this site right before us.

This woman, an AAM employee, asked to "jay walk" along with other women. As she did a Detroit officer put her in a "chokehold" and litterally dragged her backwards to his cop car and arrested her. I was completely amazed. This woman is an older lady - I am told she is 65 with a heart condition - and she didn't do ANYTHING!

Now, ya all know me. I am not one to keep quiet and I told Officer McGain this (the officer who did this to her). I am writing papers, tv stations and any parties connected with the Detroit Police force.

But don't take my word for it, take a look at the pictures

AAM CHOKEHOLD2

AAM CHOKEHOLD

This isn't the time of Pinkertons killing strikers and locked out workers.

AAM CHOKEHOLD 3

This is the 2nd incident with Detroit Police; police represented by a union as well. The first incident happened earlier in the strike.

Traditional media barely works. They haven't been covering this, at all. But that means that WE have an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of American Axle workers. Our neighbors, friends, countrymen. Isn't it time to make a difference?

Correction: Top labor leader in Honduras killed, yeah just the place for more Free trade

Some say it was a robbery attempt gone astray, while some believe it was premeditated. From Reuters (4/42/08) :
EGUCIGALPA, April 24 (Reuters) - Masked gunmen killed the leader of Honduras' largest union group in an attack authorities said was a robbery attempt, but fellow unionists said she was targeted because of her job.

Rosa Fuentes, the head of the country's largest labor federation, was shot late on Wednesday after a carful of six armed men wearing ski-masks smashed into the back of her car, police spokesman Hector Mejia told Reuters.

Fuentes and the driver of the car died at the scene and another union leader died en route to the hospital.

Police said the attack was an attempted robbery by gang members. The attackers fled when another car pulled up, leaving without some $4,000 Fuentes had with her.

But fellow union members said Fuentes, whose CTH federation groups manufacturing unions with banana workers and civil servants, was killed because of her work.

"This was done by enemies of the labor movement, by hired killers," said Rigoberto Duron, No. 2 at the CTH.

Honduras is part of a regional free trade deal with the United States that has been criticized for its lax labor controls in Central American countries.

In neighboring Guatemala, five labor leaders were murdered last year. That case prompted the AFL-CIO labor federation to file a complaint with the U.S. labor department saying the government had failed to seriously investigate, violating provisions of the trade pact.

The Bush administration has been pushing Congress in recent days to approve a free trade agreement with Colombia. U.S. labor groups oppose the pact, saying Bogota has done too little to curb violence against trade union members. (Reporting by Gustavo Palencia; Writing by Mica Rosenberg, editing by Patricia Zengerle)
Big thanks to Omaha Steve at Democratic Underground for the story and Jimbo638 for the correction.
Democratic Underground

Wasn't I talking about rice shortages 2 weeks ago?

Seems like it has finally hit home, Wal-Mart's Sam's Club, Costco and BJ's are limiting the amount of rice people can buy in the United States. Enjoy the new world we live in.

Links from The Man Common

4/24/08:
4/23/08

Stop union buster Rupert Murdoch from owning more NY media!

Every time I see a union person with the NY Post under their arm I wish they had a fucking clue.

In December, the FCC, against 99% of the American publics wishes, overturned a longstanding rule of media, which stopped over-consolidation of media in any one area. That means, there was a rule which made sure that there was a reasonable chance that you might get more than one view on any given story.

Since then Rupert Murdoch, the owner of Fox Five, News corporation, MySpace (who banned the largest atheist group from its site), etc., the union-busting media tycoon has been on a buying spree, first came the Wall Street Journal and now NY Newsday is on the wish list. If you ever read the way the NY Post, another Murdoch holding, berates union workers you would understand why his ever increasing movement towards monopoly is a dangerous situation. Thats not the only thing, when he chaired News International, a UK organization which encompassed massive amounts of UK tabloids, he pitted unions against one another and forever changed the UK Labour Movement. From Wikipedia, on the 1986 Wapping dispute:
News internationals strategy in Wapping had strong government support, and enjoyed almost full production and distribution capabilities and a complement of leading journalists. The company was therefore content to allow the dispute to run its course. With thousands of workers having gone for over a year without jobs or pay, the strike eventually collapsed on 5 February 1987.
Heres my post in regard to the 12/18/07 FCC allowance of more media consolidation, Originally published on FreePress Action Network (12/19/07):

Now Big Media can hurt workers better

Hello, my name is Joe, I am a rank and file union member and on staff at the independent labor movement website UnionReview.

While we are primarily a labor news site, we also monitors news items that tie directly to the communication of the modern labor movement, such as Network Neutrality, the squelching of free speech and the spin doctoring of main stream media.

This ruling is a tremendous blow to the American working citizen. Information is power, the gathering of ideas based on different points of view is critical. When so very little can brainwash so many, what hope do we have.

Stand up people. Stand up for places such as Workers Independent News and Brain Labor Report, who continuously report on the airwaves about the struggles of the common working man and social injustices that never make it to the main stream.

Labor hardly got any attention in the main stream media before this was passed, and any if broadcast or published almost always portrays union workers as lazy, greedy and enemies of the public. A good case in point is an article I entitled NY Post spin-doctoring and the IATSE Stagehands, in which I retort the Rupert Murdoch News Corp.owned NY Post's so-called editorial about those greedy stagehands that closed down Broadway Thanksgiving week.

Does News Corp., Viacom, Disney, etc. have a stake in portraying unions as bad to the public? Absolutely, they have to negotiate with them at every step of their business, they are the employer, directly and indirectly of writers, screen writers, engineers, truckers, service employees, construction workers, screen actors, communication workers, stagehands, make-up artists and a host of other labor groups. It suits them well that there is a growing majority of ignorant people in this country that believe that unions are bad for them personally. They have the power to repeat in every media form their message and use the theory that if you continuously lie over and over the masses will believe it to be truth.

That suits Big Media and their corporations fine, by leveling the public against workers, by speaking generally without a fact basis, they perpetrate half-truths and outright lies that get embeded into the heart and mind of the public. By instilling hopelessness and fear they divide us into more and more fractions of smaller groups, pitting each against one another, dividing and conquering, making working people feel as if they are lucky to have a job, and that they must accept the final offer by employer.

This is not acceptable for my country, I thank the work of all those who contribute here, I regret that I have found this late, after seeing this at the AFL-CIO WebBlog, I couldn't help but get involved, firstly by writing a story on my new site Joe's Union Review the Anti-Union BlogSpot (theres reasons for the name), porting the story to UnionReview and MySpace, and by posting the links to our site and the AFL-CIO's story globally onto Labourstart, the global newfeed which reaches thousands of labor sites worldwide.

If we do not stop consolidation of the corporate main stream media and we give those same corporations complete control of the internet, our sources for free independent and diversified news and information will dry up.

Sites, such as freepress and UnionReview, that exercise our freedom of speech, that communicate important social matters and move people to take action may no longer be viewable or in the worst case scenario, have nothing to write about.

Thank you for putting this together, please contact me if anything I write at the site is erroneous, or if theres any other way I can help.

I leave you with this

"Such a small percentage try to make the world a better place, leaving the work to a scarce few. If those that did next to nothing did just a tiny bit, the world could be a better place for all." - me 7/7/07"

How dangerous can consolidation be, heres a snip from a report on Murdoch's adventures in China, which explains the European media holdings, From The Guardian.co.uk
But I am sure it is true that anticipatory compliance is Murdoch's most powerful weapon. I doubt he needed to tell all 247 of his editors to support the invasion of Iraq, but they did. He might not even have had to lean on Tony Blair to ensure - as Blair's former spin doctor Lance Price reveals - that no British minister said "anything positive about the euro". Power is sustained not by force but by fear, as everyone seeks to interpret the wishes of his master and to meet them even before he asks.
The Senate Commerce Committee has taken the first step in Vetoing the Dec.18th. FCC ruling. From the Freepress Action Network Blog post "Senate Commerce Committee Did the Right Thing" by jtorres (4/24/08)
The Senate Commerce Committee did the right thing today by unanimously voting out of committee a "resolution of disapproval" sponsored by Sen. Bryon Dorgan (D.N.D.) that would overturn the FCC’s Dec. 18 decision to relax the longstanding limits on how much media one company can own in your town.

Stop Big Media

It’s the first step toward an official Congressional “veto” of the FCC’s new rule, which permits one company to own both a major daily newspaper and a broadcast outlet in the same market.

Dorgan, as well as Democratic and Republican leaders, had warned FCC Chairman Kevin Martin last December not to lift the 30-year ban that forbids "newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership."

But the Murdoch empire still has NY Newsday (as well as Yahoo) on its to buy list, you can help fight the sale of Newsday by donating to FreePress, from the E-Mail:

Free Press Action Fund

Dear Joseph,

Chip in to Stop Murdoch
and Big Media

Before Time Runs Out!

This morning, the Senate Commerce Committee unanimously approved the "resolution of disapproval" we've been fighting for.

It's the first step toward an official congressional "veto" of the Federal Communications Commission's new rules that gut media ownership limits.

This vote couldn't have come at a more important moment. Just this week, Rupert Murdoch announced plans to buy his third New York newspaper — Newsday. (Murdoch already owns the New York Post, the Wall Street Journal and two television stations in this one media market!)

We can stop this runaway media consolidation by passing the resolution of disapproval in the full House and Senate. To do that, we need your help right now.

Donate to Stop Rupert Murdoch and Big Media.

Time is of the essence. Senate rules require a floor vote on the veto within the next few weeks. So your immediate contribution is critical.

With your support today, the Free Press Action Fund will:

  • Line up more senators to support the resolution. We’ve already secured 25 co-sponsors, and we need to exert serious pressure to get the rest. (Murdoch’s greedy grab for Newsday will help, but you can be sure he’ll be fighting us every step of the way.)
  • Counteract Big Media’s misinformation campaign. Huge newspaper conglomerates like Murdoch’s News Corp. and Tribune Co. are spending heavily to convince Congress that the FCC rules don't go far enough. They want to swallow up even more local media.
  • Setting the record straight. If we can raise enough funding today, part of your contribution will pay for ads to get the attention of Washington decision-makers.
  • Reach out to our hundreds of thousands of media reform activists -- and allied groups throughout the country to make sure they flood the Senate with letters, phone calls and e-mails.

Help get this job done -- donate now!

Since the FCC plan was announced in December, more than 250,000 activists have called on Congress to block it. Today's vote is the result — proof that when we pull together behind a clear strategic goal, we get results, even though industry lobbyists outspend us in Washington more than 200-to-1.

The time to stop Murdoch and Big Media is now. I urge you to make your contribution right away.

Gratefully,

Alexandra Russell
Program Director
Free Press Action Fund
www.freepress.net

P.S. The clock is ticking. We must win full Senate approval of the FCC veto within the next few weeks. That means we must start right now. Please chip in today to win this essential victory for media reform!

Big thanks to the fine people at laborcommunicators Google group for bringing a lot of this to my attention

NY: Workers Memorial Day, construction unions and construction managment to stand together in Construction Workers Memorial Mass at St. Pats

From The planning Committee for the Construction Workers’ Memorial Day Mass:

Dear friends of the BCTC and the BTEA,
Greetings, April 28 is Workers’ Memorial Day and in light of the terrible tragedy of March 15 in the East Side of Manhattan, members both from construction worker unions and construction company management have come together to sponsor a special Construction Workers’ Memorial Mass on that same day. The Mass will begin sharply at 2 p.m. on Monday, April 28th in St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue between 50th and 51st.

All construction workers, union members and construction management personnel are most welcome to attend. Not only will we solemnly remember the six construction workers who were called home to God on March 15 but also the other Workers who died on the worksite since last year’s April Workers’ Memorial Day.


We respectfully request that all construction workers who are attending the Mass as a Sign of solidarity among construction workers in New York City, be by St Patrick’s Cathedral by no later than 1:30 p.m. We will have the New York Police Department coordinate a procession route on 5th Avenue and adjoining streets in which participating construction workers WEARING HARDHATS will process into St. Patrick’s Cathedral where you will be seated by the ushers.


Please bring your hardhats for this procession. You will take them off after the opening prayer! Management is encouraged to join in the procession wearing hardhats as well. Those not wearing hardhats should not process but just enter through the side doors of the church.

HARDHATS ARE MANDATORY!

All family members of our deceased brethren will be up in the front of the church previously seated. All family members should be in the Cathedral by no later than 1:45 p.m. Please identify yourselves to both the ushers and the union representatives who will greet you and escort you to the front of the church of your assigned seating.

The Memorial Mass will include appropriate music performed by the St. Patrick’s Cathedral Music Ministry, readings and the general intercessions to be read by family members. There will be a special ritual of remembrance in which family members, select union officials and management officials will participate to honor our loved ones. Along with the homily, there will be some brief reflections about the solemnity of Workers’ Memorial Day. The Memorial Mass should conclude between 3:15 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Besides the deceased, we will also remember those injured on the worksite this past year.

This Memorial Mass will also serves as a spiritual sign of solidarity among construction workers in our city. This noble profession of construction work poses greater risks than the NYPD or FDNY. Construction workers are more liable to death and injury than most other professions in this great city, THEREFORE, WE RESPECTFULLY REQUEST THAT ALL UNION CONSTRUCTION WORKERS MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO BE PRESENT AND PRAY FOR OUR CO-WORKERS AND SHOW SOLIDARITY!

Thank you ---The planning Committee for the Construction Workers’ Memorial Day Mass.
The committee has also made preparations for St. Pats' to waiver the no hat ruling in the church, through dispensation, I have been trying to get this e-mail forwarded to me, I finally found it on Local 157 Blogspot, thanks John

Some quick links from Democratic Underground to keep you in the know

While I'm busy take a look and get involved over at Democratic Underground

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Michigan State, 1,400 grad student TAs reach deal to avoid walkout Click here to hide this thread Omaha Steve Wed Apr-23-08 08:09 PM0018
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A Chinese labor activist who won’t lie down Click here to hide this thread Omaha Steve Wed Apr-23-08 07:24 PM0015
Equal Pay – Not Yet Click here to hide this thread Omaha Steve Wed Apr-23-08 07:00 PM0120
School Custodians Say ‘No’ to Aramark Click here to hide this thread Omaha Steve Wed Apr-23-08 06:58 PM0053
Episode 44 USW POWERcast! Click here to hide this thread Omaha Steve Wed Apr-23-08 06:51 PM0010
The Hill: Doomed labor bill becomes fodder for campaign attacks Click here to hide this thread Omaha Steve Wed Apr-23-08 06:38 PM0029
Unions helping close equal pay gap Click here to hide this thread Omaha Steve Wed Apr-23-08 06:35 PM0017
Aloha pilots seek restraining order Click here to hide this thread Omaha Steve Wed Apr-23-08 06:34 PM1048
Injunction lifted in nurses' dispute with SEIU Click here to hide this thread Omaha Steve Wed Apr-23-08 06:30 PM0018
Ohio Union Members Ask McCain for Real Solutions (+ video) Click here to hide this thread Omaha Steve Wed Apr-23-08 06:24 PM0224
Strong Union Turnout in Pennsylvania Primary (31 percent) Click here to hide this thread Omaha Steve Wed Apr-23-08 06:17 PM0031
AT&T call center workers opt for union Click here to hide this thread Omaha Steve Wed Apr-23-08 02:30 PM7177
La-Z-Boy, Whirlpool Moving Hundreds Of Jobs To Mexico Click here to hide this thread Omaha Steve Wed Apr-23-08 02:28 PM60144
MGM Mirage To Lay Off Up To 400 Workers Click here to hide this thread Omaha Steve Tue Apr-22-08 10:51 PM106
Gas Workers in New Mexico, Firefighters in Alabama and More Join AFL-CIO Unions Click here to hide this thread Omaha Steve Tue Apr-22-08 08:47 PM003
More Layoffs, Fewer Hours on the Job and Teachers Forced to Take Second Jobs Click here to hide this thread Omaha Steve Tue Apr-22-08 08:44 PM016
Why so stubborn? (Right-to-work proponents risk more than they might gain) Click here to hide this thread Omaha Steve Tue Apr-22-08 05:54 PM1052
Eric Lee: Dramatic struggle by Russian miners - appeal for help Click here to hide this thread Omaha Steve Tue Apr-22-08 11:36 AM0120
Today in labor history April 19 (bomb destroys the Oklahoma City federal building) Click here to hide this thread Omaha Steve Tue Apr-22-08 10:53 AM5053
Are you making At Least $20 An Hour? Click here to hide this thread Omaha Steve Tue Apr-22-08 09:26 AM44182
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I'll only have a few posts between now and Thursday afternoon Click here to hide this thread Omaha Steve Mon Apr-21-08 08:37 PM2051
Workers Memorial Day Materials Include McCain’s Voting Record on Job Safety Click here to hide this thread Omaha Steve Mon Apr-21-08 08:35 PM0024
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