Union news 3/29/2009

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The Bullshit of Big Business

Home Depot founder Bernie Marcus: "This is the demise of civilization," he exploded. "This is how a civilization disappears. I'm watching this happen and I don't believe it!"...hour-long conference call with various other corporate executives and their political operatives. The purpose was to collect industry funds for a campaign to kill a piece of legislation called the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA).
Hightower: Time for real workplace democracy-- not the phony company version
In the past the corporate and financial elite have been very careful to work in the shadows…………..but their opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act has forced them into the light of day. The best they can do is blatantly lie about it

Workers are being robbed, over and over again
Hilda Solis on Government Accountability Office investigation regarding Wage and hours division
Source: oshaunderground.blogspot.com
In a report scheduled to be released Wednesday, the Government Accountability Office found that the agency, the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division, had mishandled 9 of the 10 cases brought by a team of undercover agents posing as aggrieved workers
Research and Development Shifted to low-Cost Countries, Hidden in Corporate Research Budgets. We just don't make anything here anymore

In the latter half of the 20th Century and thus far into the 21st Century, America has witnessed millions of blue and white-collar jobs outsourced to low-wage Third World Countries. As jobs are outsourced ...

Next generation fighting for jobs
Labor Film Festival, Worker Support Key WSU Student Labor Week of Action « Talking UnionWichita YDS President Axel Chacon at an Renegotiate NAFTA rally.
The Young Democratic Socialists chapter at Wichita State University is planning an array of exciting events for the 2009 Student Labor Week of Action. In 2008, WSU students participated in the national campaign organized by Jobs with Justice for the first time. This year, Campus Progress and other campus groups are joining the YDS in a greatly expanded week of action.

All they want is a union
US Food Service Worker Talks to us about the Employee Free Choice Act and the harassment he received organizing
A US Food Service Worker who was harassed and intimidated from his employer just for trying to organize a union.

The US Chamber of Commerce is the fist of Corporate greed, while local chapters are very helpful and filled with mom and pop businesses, the mother group wouldn't care if we were left eating dirt sandwiches. “We are disappointed with President Obama’s executive order, the purpose of which is to interfere with an employer’s ability to communicate with its employees about whether they should be represented by a union,”
Mid-Atlantic States Labor » President Obama signs several pro-labor Executive Orders
LEHIGH VALLEY, March 15th- President Obama signed several Executive Orders benefiting organized labor that will have an immediate impact on private businesses that provide goods and services to the federal government. ...
Notice the "Business" propaganda "Union demands threaten", Meanwhile the PLA in the NYC school construction has saved a ton of money for tax payers, while using SKILLED CRAFTSMAN who are LEGALLY ABLE to work in this country. Without a PLA you get MISCLASSIFICATION schemes, unpaid workers, no overtime pay, unsafe conditions and the taxpayers get to pay for the employers responsibilities. Education+Communication=Power
Construction: GlobalFoundries: Union demands for ‘PLA’ could threaten $4.2B fab - The Business Review
GlobalFoundries Inc. is warning that demands by construction unions for a so-called Project Labor Agreement could put the $4.2 billion chip fab project in Malta at risk.

“We have a narrow window of time in which to complete this complex project in order to successfully bring products to market,” spokesman Travis Bullard said. “It is critical that we complete this project on schedule and within budget.”
Pharmaceuticals in our fish! "The average person hopefully will see this type of a study and see the importance of us thinking about water that we use every day, where does it come from, where does it go to? We need to understand this is a limited resource and we need to learn a lot more about our impacts on it,"
Study: Range of Pharmaceuticals in Fish Across US | CommonDreams.org
http://www.commondreams.org/files/article_images/fish_pharmaceuticals.jpgFish caught near wastewater treatment plants serving five major U.S. cities had residues of pharmaceuticals in them, including medicines used to treat high cholesterol, allergies, high blood pressure, bipolar disorder and depression, researchers reported Wednesday.

Findings from this first nationwide study of human drugs in fish tissue have prompted the Environmental Protection Agency to significantly expand similar ongoing research to more than 150 different locations.
Main Steam Media blaming the entire mess on Barack Obama: "The sad thing is that most of the Mainstream Media just don't seem to get it. They continue to act as if this is Barack Obama's recession, a problem that he could be, and should be, fixing...and that he hasn't is indicative of some sort of personal failure. The almost complete inability of the media to recognize this recession for what it is- the bastard child of the past eight years of the Reign of Error "
It's easy to sound concerned from the warmth and safety of your ivory tower - What Would Jack Do?http://whatwouldjackdo.net/assets_c/2008/11/miracles-thumb-275x206.jpg

At the press conference Tuesday night, NBC's Chuck Todd asked Obama why he hadn't asked the American people for specific sacrifices. And, Todd wanted something specific. I thought it was an odd question considering how many jobs and homes have been lost across the country. Almost everyone who has a 401-k has watched it tank. Things just aren't good. But, Todd wants more. Obama basically told him the American people are suffering enough. That seemed lost on Todd. That exchange revealed just how deep the chasm is between reality and the DC elite.
I'm (thankfully) not old enough to have first-hand experience of the Great Depression. Therefore, I'm not going to blithely toss around bon mots about how our current situation is this generation's "Great Depression". I don't know that to be the case, and while the symbolism might be apt, it does nothing to help further the understanding of why we are where we are...never mind how we got here or what we need to do to pull ourselves out of this hole.
Image from What Would Jack Do?

Why regulate when the banks are doing so good?
Bank Of America's Lewis Against Reinstating Glass-Steagall Act | Crooks and Liars
No, of course not. Because so far, that little arrangement has been working rather well for them - they got obscenely rich, and we got the tab:
What the Right Wing want's you to believe
Union Maine: Web Wandering on the Left Wing and Advice from the Right
Hi, I am from the Right wing and I am here to help you.I preach fiscal control and morals. I will tell you how to live your life. I am going to give away our whole history and our strategy for 2010. It won't matter because you are all too dumb to remember.

I might chase congressional pages.....but it won't hurt the party. As long as we can stand self-righteously against the abortion and gay marriage the base won't care. We could arrest all of the black population for smoking a joint and no one will care. We fixed the courts to get Rush Limbaugh a pass for buying $8000.00 a week in Oxys. I stand here before you and say to my brain-dead constituency that I know you will keep my political career going. Without me, Wall Street will be regulated and we would lose our biggest backers, but we won't let that happen. Sure some of us were sent packing in the last election and maybe we will lay low for awhile, then reappear and issue a budget with no numbers.

Strauss says screw the workers
R&S Strauss wants to give out nearly $700,000 in bonuses while their workers are left hanging

Strauss Auto Workers Protest for Fair Contract, Against Corporate Greed
Activists rally outside of a Strauss Autobacs service center in New Jersey. The company is demanding outrageous sacrifices from its workers while rewarding executives with $600,000 in bonuses.

French workers take to BossNapping, I guess this is why we should hate the French? They are taking unscrupulous bosses hostage and I can't even punch a super anymore.
Sacked French workers take to 'bossnapping'
Bosses across the world are having to break bad news to employees as companies go under. But that can be a risky business in France, where some furious workers have taken to holding their managers hostage to demand better pay-offs.

In the latest outbreak of "bossnapping", workers at a pharmaceutical factory were Wednesday holding their boss in his office for a second day to force him to improve their redundancy packages.
Unemployment up everywhere except Nebraska
Unemployment up everywhere except Nebraska
About 800 fewer people were unemployed in Nebraska last month than in January, enough to drop the jobless rate one-tenth of a percentage point and set the state apart from the rest of the country.

Dr. Martin Luther King standing up for workers in the days leading to his execution

Dr. King and the 1968 AFSCME Memphis Sanitation Strike

On April 3, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. traveled to Memphis to support AFSCME sanitation workers. That evening, he delivered his famous “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech to a packed room of supporters. The next day, he was assassinated.

Read the full “Mountaintop” speech.

AFSCME Pres. McEntee on King Anniversary

Taking over the worlds food supply

The world plagued by Monsanto

So I read on Common Dreams that Monsanto is trying to “fight back” using Web 2.0.
One example of a company that effectively did that is PC maker Dell Corp. Dell-bashing escalated a few years ago, giving rise to the term "Dell Hell." When the company finally started its own blog, it became the forum of choice for critics.

Monsanto similarly appears to be trying to steer discussion about critical issues to its blog so it’s easier to influence the debate, Barnes said.

"Now they’re controlling the posts, they’re answering the questions, they’re directing them to different places within Monsanto and maybe another site," she said. "They’ve taken control of the situation."
Why even bother to comment on their blog? That allows them to control the debate which cannot be allowed. It’s one thing to monitor their online activities but totally another thing to engage them on their own battlefield. For example I follow the dirty coal industry’s @americaspower on Twitter. I responded to them a few times but no more. There’s no point. Now I just monitor what they’re saying. It’s about building power against them not engaging them.
Joe the wanna-be plumber-douche fighting against the Employee Free Choice Act and more up to date info'
After Specter Flip-Flop: Unions' Grass-Roots Campaign vs. Joe the Plumber, Shill

Washington pundits and even some anxious progressives pronounced the Employee Free Choice Act virtually dead because of Sen. Arlen Specter's flip-flop on the bill. But the union movement is ramping up its largest grass-roots campaign ever, and quite willing to flex its political muscle on behalf of workers' rights.

Stewart Acuff, the special assistant to the president of the AFL-CIO, points out the scope of the grass-roots campaign -- and also sends out hints that centrist and Blue Dog Democrats can't count on labor support anymore if they don't back this bill as they did in the previous Congress. Not only has the AFL-CIO alone helped generate 55,000 hand-written letters to legislators in Washington since January, but Acuff has observed:

Strauss Protest in New Jersey
Strauss Discount Auto Workers Rally For Fair Contract, Protest Executive Greed (3/26/09)
NEWARK, NJ, Thursday, March 26, 2009 – Leaders and members of RWDSU Local 108 representing workers from the Strauss Discount Auto stores rallied with leading labor leaders and elected officials in Newark today to urge the giant retailer to do what is necessary to negotiate a fair, equitable and responsible labor contract. The current contract expired in October 2008, and Strauss Discount Auto’s executives have refused to offer a contract that provides economic relief or fairness for its loyal and dedicated workforce. Leading analysts believe the impact of the current financial crisis on the auto parts industry is minimal.
Bridge Painters Injured on Whitestone Bridge
TWO BRIDGE PAINTERS INJURED IN BOOM TRUCK ACCIDENT ON THE WHITESTONE BRIDGE « GANGBOX: CONSTRUCTION http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2009/03/27/nyregion/highwayaccident-480.jpg
An M.T.A. construction truck struck an overhead road sign on the Queens-bound plaza of the Whitestone Bridge at 1:10 p.m. on Friday, causing the steel sign structure to come crashing down on all six lanes and injuring two people who were on the truck, according to M.T.A. ...
Unions are good for the American economy
Unions Are Good for the American Economy

State fact sheets: Alaska | Arkansas | California | Delaware| Louisiana | Maine | Montana | Nebraska | New Hampshire | North Carolina | North Dakota | Pennsylvania | Virginia | Wisconsin

U.S. fact sheet (pdf)

Interactive map: Unions Are Good for Workers and the Economy in Every State

Press call: Robert Reich, Beth Shulman, and Karla Walter

The essence of what labor unions do—give workers a stronger voice so that they can http://www.americanprogressaction.org/issues/2009/02/img/efca_chart.jpgget a fair share of the economic growth they help create—is and has always been important to making the economy work for all Americans. And unions only become more important as the economy worsens.

One of the primarily reasons why our current recession endures is that workers do not have the purchasing power they need to drive our economy. Even when times were relatively good, workers were getting squeezed. Income for the median working age household fell by about $2,000 between 2000 and 2007, and it could fall even further as the economy continues to decline. Consumer activity accounts for roughly 70 percent of our nation’s economy, and for a while workers were able to use debt to sustain their consumption. Yet debt-driven consumption is not sustainable, as we are plainly seeing.

Poultry industry: It's bad enough that they hire undocumented with 0 labor rights in most states, but in Iowa, they go a step further, abusing mentally retarded workers from Texas, working from 4:30 till dark, giving them a rat infested hovel to live and sucking the teet of the social security for $400+ in rent.
State closes bunkhouse that housed mentally retarded workers

Federal police, state health inspectors and county prosecutors descended on this eastern Iowa town over the weekend, launching a major investigation into the care and treatment of a group of mentally retarded men and ordering an emergency evacuation of the men's living quarters.

The investigation focuses on Henry's Turkey Service, a Texas-based company that for 34 years has employed dozens of mentally retarded men who work at the West Liberty Foods meat-processing plant in Muscatine County.

Late Saturday, the state fire marshal shut down the deteriorating building — known locally as "the bunkhouse" — that for decades has served as housing for Henry's workers. State social workers moved the 21 occupants of the bunkhouse to a hotel where they were expected to spend the night.

Officials from the U.S. Department of Justice, which investigates allegations of civil rights violations against the disabled, were on the scene Saturday night, as were agents of the FBI.
Great interview with Jack Ahern, president of the NYC Central Labor Council in this week's Irish Echo about worker struggles in a tough economy, the dignity of work when joining a union, and growing up in an Irish working-class home in Brooklyn with his Carpenter Local 608 Father and Firefighter Grandfather.
Ahern leads NYC workers in tough times

"I enjoy going to work every day. I couldn't envision a day when I would get up and not go in to work. At times the work is very, very challenging, at times it's depressing, quite frankly. You don't win every battle," he said. "There are employers who despite our best efforts still take advantage of people. There's a lot of heartache out there, unfortunately. But even on those toughest days, I wouldn't trade my job for anybody's else in the world."

"We arise through difficulties" is the Ahern family motto, he noted. "It sums up a lot of what Irish immigrants felt. Obama paraphrased it in his [economic] speech [in February]," he said. "But it's very much true of the labor movement -- we don't always win, we don't always get what we want, but we're there representing our members. We're fighting to get what's best for our members and for all working people.
Helmets To Hardhats: Over 1,700 returning veterans have entered careers as skilled union tradesman in 2008 thanks to Helmets to Hardhats
Helmets to Hardhats Increases Veterans Placements in 2008

The Helmets to Hardhats program is placing veterans in careers and apprenticeship training programs at an increasing rate. In 2008 alone, 1,701 veterans were placed; representing a 10 percent increase over 2007. Of the 1,701 placements, 79 were entered into the recently conceived “Wounded Warriors” program. The Wounded Warrior program recognizes the supreme sacrifice that our Veterans have made for this country. Its supports disabled Veterans by providing the tools, information and community support that will help Veterans gain prosperous and sustainable careers within the building and construction industry.
Union Construction Workers Always Help: Union construction workers are a very giving bunch, at Bank Of America tower in NYC, we collected over $1000 in one hour for "Walk Now For Autism", and in one lunch session, retired Steamfitter, Gene Jackson, sold over 400 shirts whose proceeds went directly to "Wounded Warriors" which helps our severely injured returning veterans. We always help.
Construction Workers Turn ‘Tip’ Into Cash for Sick Kids

...by the end of the day, a nickel and dime were taped http://blog.aflcio.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/elevator_wp.jpgto the wall next to the penny. “It went from nickels and dimes to quarters and dollar bills,” Bullock said. Pretty soon, Bullock had more than $10 on the wall.

“I didn’t want to keep the money,” he told the NW Labor Press. So he posted a sign saying: “Children’s Cancer Society.”

Word spread that Bullock was giving the money to the cancer center at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. In less than a week more than $200 was tacked to the elevator walls.
Worldwide recession has 29 of the largest construction projects stopped dead
Global recession stalls skyscraper construction

There is a gaping hole where one of the world's tallest buildings is supposed to go up.

The planned 150-story Chicago Spire would be 2,000 feet tall (610 m) if it gets built atop its completed foundation, ranking the tower the tallest in the Western Hemisphere and the sixth-tallest among the world's planned skyscrapers.

The Spire was supposed to be finished by 2012 and the Irish developer staged a global marketing campaign. Buyers snapped up a third of its 1,194 luxury condominiums priced between $750,000 and $40 million. Ty Warner, creator of the Beanie Baby toys, opted for the top-priced penthouse.

But after digging a 76-foot-deep (23 m) hole and sinking caissons, construction on the twisting Spire -- inspired, its famed architect Santiago Calatrava said, by swirling smoke from a Native American campfire -- was stalled in January by the credit crisis that is stifling construction worldwide.
Amazon.com CEO actually does what all CEO's should do; He's out there working in the fields with the rest of the employees. As another reader pointed out "Another stunt by a union-busting overpaid executive. Don't buy this milarky. I remember a few years back when he and his hired guns crushed an effort by his distribution center workers to choose union representation and win a living wage. It was shameful"
Jeff Bezos Works In Kentucky Distribution Center For A Week

He apparently wants to see what it's like to be a rank-and-file Amazon employee. More CEOs should try that once in a while.
UPS drops advertising on O'Reilly

UPS Dumps Bill O'Reilly Sponsorship: They're Just Not Into Stalkers

In response to our Stop Supporting The O’Reilly Harassment Machine campaign, UPS told us yesterday that it was investigating whether to continue supporting O’Reilly’s show. “We are sensitive to the type of television programming where our messages and presence are associated and continually review choices to affect future decisions,” spokeswoman Susan Rosenberg told us.

Today UPS announced it will stop advertising on O’Reilly’s show. Here is the statement UPS emailed out just moments ago:

Thank you for sending an e-mail expressing concern about UPS advertising during the Bill O’Reilly show on FOX News. We do consider such comments as we review ad placement decisions which involve a variety of news, entertainment and sports programming. At this time, we have no plans to continue advertising during this show.

"Screw the big banks. I learned my lesson. The only question is:
Will you remember this lesson when times are good again?"

Citi tried to kill our small business - Local bank might save us

We bailed them out. We bailed them out to help them start lending.

As a small business owner with 15 employees I have been struggling to keep us above water for the past 3 months. We're living payroll to payroll. All three partners stopped taking salary so as not to lay off any people. We've been teetering on the edge but somehow we've postponed the drop month by month. Last week we saw our first glimmer of hope with a few extra sales - light at the end of the tunnel.

Yesterday Citi pulled our Line of Credit.
That's just 2 days of links at the Facebook site

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