Stop Big Media NOW!

The FCC's Republican Chairman Kevin Martin has effectively handed a sweetheart deal to Big Media, by overturning a 32-year-old rule that prevents a newspaper owner from also owning a radio or television station in the same city. Democratic commissioner Johnathan S. Adelstein called the new rule

"a monumental mistake" and, with Copps, called it a gift to media companies that will enable consolidation and restrict the diversity of voices on the airwaves."

When the idea of more media consolidation was put before Americans - during a series of public hearings and requests for public comment - more than 99 percent said bigger media were bad for them, bad for their communities and bad for our democracy.

Can you remember the last time 99 percent of Americans agreed on anything?

The CWA and AFTRA had called for a 90-day comment period after publication of the proposal in the Federal Register and also ask for an "open process" to address localism and diversity, that was not done and both unions have released statements expressing their disappointment. Media Access Project - which represented Prometheus Radio Project and other groups in the lawsuit that ultimately led to the overturning of the FCC's 2003 media-ownership rules revision -- says it will go to court again. MAP President/CEO Andrew Jay Schwartzman said,
"Today's action is far more radical, and much more outrageous, than what [FCC] Chairman[Kevin] Martin proposed just a few weeks ago. He has caved in to lobbying from the media giants, giving a pass to them so they can retain TV and radio stations they were supposed to have divested months and years ago."
Thanks to the AFL-WeBlog, being on top of things they have pointed out a coalition made up of groups across the country that have banded together to stop a small handful of giant corporations from dominating America's media system. That group is Stop Big Media and I urge you to send this E-Mail to your Senator asking that the ruling be overturned.

Don't let them get away with it, if not for you, do it for your kids.

Act Now!!!!!!!!!

Extra links
Yahoo News
Free Press Action Network


Kids sing against toxic toys

by Mike Hall at AFL-CIO Now Blog 12/17

A chorus of kids on YouTube has a holiday message for the Bush administration, Congress and toy manufacturers.

Set to the tune of the holiday classic “Jingle Bells,” the kids plead:

Toxic toys, toxic toys.

Make them go away.

Please don’t bring us toxic toys

This year on Christmas day-ay.

Toxic toys, toxic toys.

They will make us sick.

Better check the recall list

And notify St. Nick.

Over the past year, we’ve seen headlines about lead-tainted toys and other toxic products hitting our store shelves—usually made in China for U.S. manufacturers seeking the cheapest labor possible. Tens of millions of well-known and popular toys have been recalled.

Full Story

By Joe638NYC
Please read the entire article, as there are some great stories and campaigns to be active in, heres my response to the post at AFL-CIO Blog:

At Union Review I picked up Consumer Union's Not In My Cart campaign and got a lot of signatures via the website and via my MySpace account, the E-Petition got roughly 5,000 signatures a day. When my Congressman (R)Vito J. Fosella responded to me via e-mail, with some very good points including food contamination concerns, we did a follow up story and the E-Petition gained 20,000 votes the very next day. Many of the toxins we are ingesting are a health risk for today and the long term, while the big corporations have continually exported good jobs to the lowest bidding nations, the idea of safety and work conditions has been diminished. I personally feel that the sole responsibility of such unsafe merchandise should lay upon the company who places the merchandise on their shelves. That includes sweatshop abuse as well, it all ties together.

Take a look at Toxic Toys and Sweatshop Abuses are Two Sides of the Same Coin. which is based on reports by the National Labor Committee who also gave me the basis for Merry Wal-Mart Christmas- Kids come forward telling of horrendous work conditions in Chinese ornament sweatshop.

Also to note some sites where people can get safety reports on items which have been independently tested and what other safety risks are out there. Just Green, Healthy Toys and ItsInUs.org are a few good ones which a friend of mine, who's son has autism pointed out. Unfortunately with so many different organizations out there doing the same thing it can get rather confusing, maybe we need to have a parent organization to tie it all together.

Russia: Victory - Ford agrees to 30% raise, strike ends temporarily

I have been following this story for a few weeks now at UnionReview and have participated in Labourstart's ActNow E-mail campaign. The workers fought tremendous odds against a company who used the police as security for strike-breakers and had the authorities ban picketing altogether. The workers after Ford agreed to a 30% increase in wage, have returned, possibly temporarily, and have begun bargaining on their February contract

From: UnionReview 12/10
In the midst of a 3 week strike for wage increase at a ST. Petersburg Ford plant, Russian authorities have banned picketing, after the company hired police to escort strikebreakers, according to a Ford spokesman enough of the 2000+ workers have returned to restart the second of 3 shifts it seems that Ford will not meet it's production of 300 Focus model cars per day. Currently a worker in the Ford plant makes about $880 USD a month. The Ford pickets represent the strongest union action in Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Having the authorities stop their pickets the workers need our help even more.
Big props to Eric Lee and Labourstarts corespondents for keeping us informed, and to the people that got involved and sent e-mails or helped these workers any way they could. We do make a difference.

CANADA: The New Workplace Safety Ads are Revolting. That's Why they Work

Originally posted by Charles Lezette at UBC Newsroom - 12/04/2007

The WSIB campaign also features print and outdoor ads with similar themes. And there's a series of radio ads, one of them featuring screeching tires, screams and a theatrical voiceover about how a speeding delivery driver could have prevented the funerals of a mother and child.

Many people find the ads unsettling, distressing and even offensive. Last week, WSIB chairman Stephen Mahoney revealed that 60 per cent of e-mails received since the latest campaign was launched have been critical. Transit authorities in Mississauga, Windsor and Hamilton have rejected WSIB bus-shelter ads because they are too graphic.

WSIB on YouTube

Full Story at www.ubcnewsroom.com


NJ: Victory for Tropicana casino workers

Originally posted by Jonathan Tasini at Working Life

It’s the old tale of companies putting profit before people…and in this case, the people saw some justice. The workers at the Tropicana Casino in Atlantic City had a victory this week when the NJ commission that oversees casino licenses denied the owners a new license.
The workers, represented by Unite Here Local 54, saw over 900 jobs cut when the new owners took over – just unbelievable, really shows how greedy these guys were. A nice victory...

Full Story at WorkingLife.org

Architect in crane accident may never walk

Although I don't think he's a union worker, he is part of what makes us the best, he's one of those guys that designs the almost impossible structures in which we build. On Friday, architect Robert Woos' life changed and on every job around the city we all felt terrible that indeed one of our own had been injured. I hope he will get use of his legs once again and feel for him and his family. Friday was a very sad day for us all.

From the NY Daily News: 12-16-07

Architect Robert Woo, who was hurt in the construction accident near the WTC site, with his kids Adrien, 6 months, at left, and Tristan, 2.

An architect pinned in a construction trailer by 7 tons of falling steel near Ground Zero has a spinal injury and may never walk again, his family said yesterday.

Before Friday's accident, Robert Woo was looking forward to a family trip next month to Disney World, a chance to take his wife and their two young sons for a spin on the rides and a stroll through the Magic Kingdom.

But Saturday, Woo's stunned family was wondering if the 39-year-old would ever regain use of his legs.

"He might not walk again," said his mother, Marcia Woo, who flew in from Toronto to be at his bedside at St. Vincent's Hospital Manhattan.

Full Story

Original Story Daily News 12-14 Revision 2, here is the Revision 1 if you are wondering about my rant over there

Foot Locker and its supplier New Era Cap get a flood of leaflets informing consumers of their practices.

Posted by Richard at UnionReview.com

As Foot Locker is brought up on race and gender discrimination charges and its supplier New Era Cap Company continues to intimidate its workers and also participate in racial discrimination at its Alabama plant, the Teamsters and other groups banded together to begin leafleting at Foot Lockers throughout the United States and abroad.

Interestingly enough ... we probably won't see this news item reported on CNN anytime soon ... why is that?

Read full story

Louisiana school bus drivers union gets banned for study on bus temperatures

From AFT-NCLB Blog - Dec.12th

*Click above for video

When school started this year, bus drivers in one of our local unions in Louisiana, the Caddo Federation of Teachers and Support Personnel, collected data on the temperatures in their buses. They found cases where the thermometer hit more than 110 degrees. The union took this information to the school board in an effort to get some relief, for both the drivers and the children.

The district’s response to the union raising the issue was to ban the conducting of surveys or studies on school grounds without the permission of the administration.

Read Full Story

Merry Wal-Mart Christmas- Kids come forward telling of horrendous work conditions in Chinese ornament sweatshop

Originally posted by Joe638NYC at UnionReview.com

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I really hate to bash such a wonderful company like Wal-Mart, considering how many union members still shop there and how vehemently so-called conservatives choose to claim that trying to unionize their stores is in some way Communistic and Marxist (silly todays catch phrase is terrorist if you want us to disappear), I really wouldn't want to offend anyone. Oh yea, the factory also supplies Target and other retailers, but hey what the heck, I'll go cliche and bash Wal-Mart, hell they deserve it.

Well considering how well they treat workers, um, I mean associates and their lobbying efforts against unions, homeland security, and efforts to reduce their tax burden off the backs of community members, not to mention the hidden taxpayer cost for subsidies and for their employees that need to turn to such social programs such as Medicaid, only really stupid people on either side, or obviously those making fortunes by their practices, would spend one slim dime in any of their locations.

Now heres the scoop, this past summer some kids in an effort to earn some extra dough decided to work in a factory that make Christmas ornaments, thats great news considering that China has work standards for children, but somehow not in "(one of the)three Christmas ornament producers in mainland China,”with “long term, friendly, collaborative relationships with industry leaders Wal-Mart…,but leave it to the babes to take the actions that the giant Wal-Mart should, and with lawsuits, strikes and camera phones they did, heres a tidbit of the story from www.nlcnet.org

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Read Full Story at www.UnionReview.com

CA: Hoffa leads rally against Bush's insistence to let unsafe Mexican trucks roam freely on US soil


NAFTA ,which was signed under Clinton ,has a part of its body which was to allow trucks from Canada and Mexico unrestricted access to U.S. roads in 1995 ,the opposition of labor and safety groups had delayed that from happening ,that was until 2001 when a NAFTA tribunal ordered the US to open it's roads .In response the Bush administration said it would impliment a pilot program , which was found to violate US law regarding safety standards .

On Sept.8th. after a 1 week hold up in court ,the pilot program began ,it actually was slated to begin on Labor day of 2007 .On Sept.10th. 2 Mexican domiciled trucks had delivered their cargo of steel construction materials ,one in New York and another in South Carolina .On that same day in Mexico a truck carrying explosives exploded killing 37 and injuring 150 .In response the Senate and House voted overwhelmingly to ban funding for the pilot project .The Bush administration has stated it will veto any and all opposition to the funding .That leads us to todays rally .

Who's the Greediest Grinch of 2007?

originally posted by jobswithjustice at UnionReview 12/13/2007

Vote now in the Jobs with Justice online "Grinch of the Year" election to determine the national figure who does the most harm to working families. This year's candidates are: SMITHFIELD Chairman Joseph Luter III, VERIZON BUSINESS VP for Human Resources Bob Toohey, ASSOCIATION OF MOTION PICTURE AND TELEVISION PRODUCERS President J. Nicholas Counter III, BURGER KING CEO John W. Chidsey, AMERICAN AIRLINES President and CEO Gerard Arpey, or you can write in your own candidate. You can vote until December 19th at http://www.jwj.org/grinch.html.

ICE Called in to Break Up Another Organizing Effort

Originally posted by Teamster at UnionReview

The U.S. has a long history of using its forces and laws to put down Labor. In the late 1800s Pinkerton agents, paid by the DOJ, became famous for infiltrating the Molly Maguires. In the early 1900s, state militias and local police were used to break strikes by breaking heads.

The image “http://unionreview.com/sites/unionreview.com/files/images/805rally.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Today, the criminal immigrant isn't an Irish miner; it's a Mexican warehouse worker, meatpacker or hotel maid. And today's Pinkertons are ICE agents working outside their own rules and the rule of law to coddle exploiters and criminalize the exploited.

The latest incident is occurring in Long Island City, Queens, where the Teamsters of Local 805 are working to organize nearly 900 warehouse workers at a FreshDirect warehouse.

Read Full Story

NY: Get a job - Union construction apprenticeship openings

Please visit the updated version of this story: Get a Union job: Construction Laborers, Bricklayer and Asbestos Remover and more job openings in New York

Take a look here NYS DOL - theres a ton of opportunities in the New York building and construction trades right now

For information on opportunities
for women, please visit the Nontraditional Employment for Women web
site at www.new-nyc.org.

For information on opportunities in the building and construction trades
for veterans of the U.S. Armed Services, please visit the Helmets to
Hardhats web site at www.helmetstohardhats.org.

Full story and list of jobs openings at UnionReview

Current List at NYSDOL

CVS : Building with substandard wages and found guilty of youth violations in 6 states at 43 locations

CVS is the big box drug store, who's developer has been using nonunion workers with substandard wages here in New York, has been found violating wage and young worker provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act in 43 stores, out of only 63 investigated in six different northeast states.

The company routinely altered time cards, failed to pay wages for hours worked, allowed 78 minor employees to work in a hazardous environment and let 7 minors work longer hours than the law allows.

CVS, you get none of my hard earned wages.

The stores were in Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Pennsylvania. CVS will pay fines to the US Dept. Of Labor in the ammount of $215,378 for youth employment violations and $11,220 for wage violation. CVS will also pay more than $38,000 in back wages.

Think of how many of those stores just opened, can you imagine their view on working stiffs like the rest of us. CVS is no good to the working person. Shame on them.

Source for Child labor infractions - Mike Hall at AFL-CIO WebBlog


NY Times blows the lid off of Made In India manhole covers in New York

The image “http://unionreview.com/sites/unionreview.com/files/images/26manhole.xlarge1.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Object - To buy a product cheaper, at any expense .

Using our money the DEP in New York gets MOST of it's manhole covers in India. Con Ed gets roughly 1/4 from India . “We can’t maintain the luxury of Europe and the United States, with all the boots and all that,” said Sunil Modi, director of Shakti Industries one of the companies which let the New York Times into their world .

Mark Daly, director of communications for the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, said via e-mail to the Times that state law requires the city to buy the lowest-priced products available that fit its specifications.

Manhole covers can be 20-60% cheaper than those forged by Steelworkers in the United States . Indian workers make just a few dollars a day, work with only one safety stipulation (as far as we the reader can tell), that they wear safety goggles .

According to ConEd , who buys roughly 2,750 of it's manhole covers from India, "We were disturbed by the photo's" and "we take worker safety very seriously" and state that in newly rewritten international contracts there will be added the inclusion of safety requirements to “take appropriate actions to provide a safe and healthy workplace,”.

New York is not the only place that off shores it's manhole manufacturing , and India is not the only place that makes the covers. In searching for manhole images for this story, I came across quite a few made in China and Mexico, from here to LA .

This follows recent news, according to representatives of Sheetmetal workers Local 137, that the NYC MTA (Mass Transit Authority) in NY is building bus shelters, to the tune of $50,000,000 contract, with parts manufactured in China . Who's to say the conditions are any better there ? At least the Indian manhole covers proudly display "Made In India". When I was younger India was a quality manufacturer of dress shirts , in recently browsing in a local store I noticed that all the same brands from back then (Koman, etc) were now made in China. In asking the store owner about it he stated "India is more expensive, they all moved their factories to China"

I would like more info on where money we invest into our municipalities goes . Do they invest in the US anymore? When my mom worked for the Board Of Ed here in NY, they had a policy of reinvestment into our nation, the pencils were "Made In USA". Swingline Staple company was all they used. If you don't know, Swingline Staple Company , which was located in Long Island City jettisoned to Mexico directly after NAFTA was signed . They were Teamsters . They lost their jobs. When are we going to stand up and say "enough is enough", lets keep just a tiny scrap of industry here in the United States ? Why do we continuously lower our standards ? When will there actually be any kind of fair trade ? I have to admit that this is a story I had a problem writing. I feel that the Times story, while fascinating, only focuses on one tiny microcosm of our downward spiral to have the cheapest, crappiest products made in countries with the worst conditions at the cost of the entire American industry.

The original story in The Times can be found Here


NYC: Four Points by Sheraton Paying Poverty Wages / Using Taxpayers For Workers Healthcare

The Four Points By Sheraton on W.25 street which was built with oppressed undocumented workers and gained notoriety when fighting in the streets broke out during the construction stage , is back in the news again . the director of Chelsea Grand Hung Luk and John Lam (chairman Chelsea Grand and notorious nonunion developer) are out to screw the taxpayers again , by not giving their workers health insurance .

The workers at the Sheraton Four Points Chelsea are out with the rat , protesting managment's violations of the law which include threats , harassment , intimidation , surveillance and termination of union supporters .


John Lam is getting great attention lately in his bringing to the streets of New York an oppression of workers rights seen in most third world countries . While his developments continue to use unsafe contractors , undocumented , uninsured and unskilled workers , taxpayer monies , undermining labor laws and creating safety hazzards for their workers and the public a new schemes for profiting on taxpayers and the workers has come to my attention .

While the Sheraton Four Points Chelsea charges an average of $409 a night , they pay their workers poverty wages . Many of the workers who clean the rooms depend on Medicaid and Healthy Families First for themselves and their families .

Most NYC hotels provide free healthcare to their workers and families . The workers are out in the streets protesting management's violations of the law which include threats , harassment , intimidation , surveillance and termination of union supporters .

You too can show your support for the workers by calling Hung Luk , Executive Director of Chelsea Grand at 917-653-6688 and John Lam , Chairman of Chelsea Grand at 212-627-1888 and tell them to stop shifting their healthcare costs onto the taxpayers and to stop breaking the law .


Workers protesting outside of Four Points


Workers Handout

Alternative places to stay in the Downtown and Westside NYC area

(from back of handout)

Hotel Pennsylvania 7th. and w.32rd. st

Radisson Martinique 5th. and 32nd. st

Red Roof Inn 6 W 32nd. st

Comfort Inn 42 W 35th. st

Wolcot 4 W 31st. st

The New Yorker 8th. Ave and W 34th. st

Hotel Stanford 43 W 32nd. st

La Quints Manhattan 17 W 32nd. st

Affina Manhattan 7th. and W 30th. st

The Herrald Square Hotel 19 W 31st. st

Wingate Inn 233 W 35th. st

Bridgestreet Herald Towers - 50 W 34th. st - 1-800-696-8284 (no web page)

The Hotel Chelsea - W 23rd Street and 7th Ave

Holiday Inn Soho - 138 Lafayette St. and Canal St.

Washington Square Hotel 6th. ave and Macdougal St.

Info from previous stories and leaflet handed out by The New York Hotel And Motel trades Council , AFL-CIO - 707 8th. Ave., New York , NY 10036 - (212) 245-8100