Trade Unionist in Turkey, Meryem Özsögüt, jailed for 6 months, get E-Active to help

Got this from Eric Lee over at Labourstart, doing my part, please pass it along.

This message will be very brief and to the point.

The Turkish government has jailed a woman trade unionist, Meryem Özsögüt, and has kept her in detention for nearly six months.
Meryem is a leader of the public sector union SES, and we've been asked by Public Services International (PSI) to launch a big online campaign demanding her release.

For more details and to add your signature, please click here now.

This campaign will not take off, and we will not secure Meryem's release, unless we can mobilize thousands of our members around the world.
Please do what you can to help this campaign go viral -- forward it to your email lists, post information on your union websites, pass out flyers at events, use new tools like Twitter, Facebook and blogs to spread the word.

Meryem needs our help. I know that I can count on all of you.

Eric Lee
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New GI Bill passes, opens paths to educational resources and future employment for our returning veterans

I first brought this campaign to Joe's Union Review in Feburary 08, with the story "E-Activism can help our returning vets to become workers, not homeless. Help fix the insufficient GI Bill."

Thank you everyone who has signed petitions along the way, I felt it was of utmost importance that our returning vets had a good chance towards a career when they come home, together people such as yourselves from many different blogs and sites got active and we were heard. Even when such high ranking people such as Senator John McCain staunchly opposing the measure and a Geroge W. Bush threatened veto against it, the American people have spoken.

With tremendous support and overwhelming passage in both Congress(256-166) and the Senate (75-22 McCain was a no show) and a reversal of the veto threat by the President, our returning vets now have a fighting chance
Dear Joseph,
Today, history was made.

Just this morning, President Bush signed the new GI Bill into law. Since we are only a few days away from celebrating the 4th of July, this milestone is a fitting way to honor our veterans who have bravely served this nation.

IAVA has led the fight for the new GI Bill from the beginning, and your dedication over the past year and a half ensured that our lawmakers kept it a top priority. Over 20,000 of you called your representatives in Congress, spread the word in your communities and signed the petition at www.GIBill2008.org. Thanks to your hard work, we finally achieved our goal.

Generations of veterans to come will benefit from this bill. Your support in this fight has been overwhelming- very few bills in recent history have received such an outpouring of public support. Together, we can be extremely proud of this victory.

In a few days, we'll let you know more about this remarkable bill and how IAVA plans to help veterans take full advantage of these new benefits.

Thank you for standing with IAVA throughout this fight.


Paul Rieckhoff
Iraq Veteran
Executive Director
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America

Job resources for returning Vets at Joe's

Video: Elaine Chao, Bush's Sec. Of Labor get's her nails done for McCain fundraiser, Bill Moyers on OSHA unreported injuries

Elaine Chao’s Labor Department doesn’t see a problem, though. Elaine’s OSHA claims poultry plants are “safer than ever,” pointing to supposedly lower rates of reported injuries. The devil’s in the details, though.- American Rights at Work on Elaine Chao's stance on the poultry industry

2 SUV's and 6 security personal, just a few blocks from her home, wow Elaine must have gotten really gussied up for John McCain and her husband Senator Mitch McConnell.

Kentucky protesters get booted away from across the street of Senator McConnell's, John McCain fund raiser.

According to Shame on Elaine (6/29/08):

Matt Gunterman sums up the problem with this scene:

So, by my rough calculation, it probably cost on the order $450 to get Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao’s nails done.

Workers in Kentucky struggle to fill up their gas tanks because gas is $4/gallon and inflation is rising.

Workers in Kentucky worry that they won’t have a job tomorrow because the second Bush recession promised to be even worse than the first.

Workers in Kentucky wonder if they’ll meet next month’s mortgage, while Wall Street fat cats get bailed out by Washington.

But does any of this worry Elaine Chao, wife of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) and George W. Bush’s Secretary of Labor?

Go read the rest of Matt’s post.
The Bush Legacy Bus - with some great music
"you took our jobs and sent em overseas, now we owe billions to the red Chinese"- Takin My Country Back by The Honky Tonkers For Truth

Elaine Chao

Heres a little about Elaine Chao, from a previous story on Feb.19th. 2008: Carhartt, Red Wing Shoes and more union news you may have missed, ideas, blurbs and dumbed down Americans

Now American Rights at Work has launched a web-based campaign exposing Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao’s dismal record through www.ShameOnElaine.org which according to Talking Union:
Unlike her cohorts in the Bush Administration, Elaine Chao has escaped much-needed public scrutiny of her time on the job. From littering the Labor Department with corporate insiders to dismantling worker safety protections and collaborating with her husband, Sen. Mitch McConnell, on a blatant anti-union political agenda, Elaine has disgraced her role as Secretary of Labor.

Like most union activists we knew Elaine was a stinker – but until ARAW pulled all the information together at one spot, we had no idea just how bad her record is. We’re sure you’ll share our outrage over what we found out she was up to instead of serving in the interest of workers:
  • Hired a former colleague from the Heritage Foundation who actually wrote a report titled “How to close down the Department of Labor.”
  • Cut over 100 inspectors at the MSHA and, as a result, hundreds of mines weren’t inspected and tragedies such as Sago and Crandall Canyon might have been prevented.
  • Had Chao-themed coins, lanyards, and fleece blankets printed at taxpayers’ expense.
  • Failed to issue a rule requiring employers pay for their workers’ safety gear—contributing to 400,000 workers injured and 50 dead.
  • Had an auditorium named in her honor – thanks to her husband’s $14.2 million earmark to enhance the Mitch McConnell Center at his alma mater, the University of Louisville. Of course, Elaine never attended the university.
Thats just the tip of the iceberg, my buddy Richie at UnionReview.com has been following her views on the American worker for a while and I pointed out in a comment:

Lets not forget

We are angry and smelly workers, according to the US Secretary of Labor
… In her infinite wisdom, Department of Labor Secretary Elaine Chao lectures workers on how we can stop losing our jobs to foreign workers: …
Secretary of Labor on Employee Free Choice Act
… will veto if it gets to his desk. The president and Elaine Chao say that private ballot elections should be preserved because “it is …

At the Shame on Elaine site theres also, among other atrocious misdeeds, an article about the North Carolina poultry industry, which as you may have read about first right here on JoesUnionReview, the newspaper in the local area, the Charlotte Observer has been doing what has become a rarity in todays Main Stream Media, an expose. Shame On Elaine notes:
Elaine Chao’s Labor Department doesn’t see a problem, though. Elaine’s OSHA claims poultry plants are “safer than ever,” pointing to supposedly lower rates of reported injuries. The devil’s in the details, though.

The poultry story has created quite a stir, the AFL-CIO Web Blog is currently engaged in a debate in it's comments section pertaining to a story about the newest employer exploitation here on American soil. Slaves, Sharecroppers, Now Immigrants.

OSHA under the umbrella of Elaine Chao's DOL

BILL MOYERS: Businesses, on the other hand, say the requirements are cumbersome, and have long pressured the agency for weaker standards of regulation.

The pressure's paid off. THE NEW YORK TIMES' Stephen Labaton reported last year that since George W. Bush became president, the agency has left worker safety largely in the hands of industry, and has issued the fewest significant standards in its history.

Video on the production of The Charlotte Observers investigative report "The Cruelest Cuts" and the under reporting of workplace injuries, which has been covered here at Joe's with:U.S. Lawmakers worried about safety after Charlotte Observers expose on the poultry industry

From the narrator in the video:

In North Carolina, the number of OSHA poultry plant inspections fell from 25 in 1997 to nine in 2006. South Carolina poultry plant inspections dropped from 36 in 1999 to 1 in 2006.

Nationwide, OSHA workplace safety inspections at U.S. poultry plants have dropped to their lowest point in 15 years. In fact the government rewards companies that report low injury rates by inspecting them less often. And Washington's regulators rarely check whether companies are reporting accurately.

Please also note that the video features testimony by Bob Whitmore, a long time OSHA employee , who has been placed on Administrative leave to testify in the hearing, Mr.Whitmore was also the 200th. person to sign the petition against OSHA's lack of a standard in combustible dust

"As an OSHA employee, I was ashamed and deeply offended by my Agencies response at Rep Miller's Hearings. Like Rep. Miller said "I again see no sense of urgency from OSHA". The OSHA Watchdog has acted like a Lapdog again." - Bob Whitmore , Maryland

Read More about combustible dust
Read More about MeatPacking industry

OSHA News at Unbossed
Government, Industry Play the Numbers Game on Worker Safety in Meatpacking Plants-Labor Notes

Shirah from Unbossed at DailyKOS
More James Pence Video's at Hillbilly Report

Hillbilly chimed in on the comments with this gem, thanks brother



Graphic Artist: David Dees

Heres a couple of cute images from David Dees

Video: Michael Parenti 2002 speech about capitalism and poverty

"Their fighting against every bit of political Democracy and every bit of Democracy and every bit of economic Democracy that benefits the people"

"if they had their way our kids would still be working 14 hours a day in factories"

"Their goal is a third-worldization of everywhere, their goal is to get us back to 1900"- Michael Parenti on capitalism

Speaking to a packed church house in 2002 at the Terrorism, Globalization and Conspiracy conference. From Google Video:
OCTOBER 9, 2002, VANCOUVER: Dr. Michael Parenti, one of North America's leading radical writers on U.S. imperialism and interventionism, fascism, democracy and the media, spoke to several hunded people at St. Andrews Wesley Church in Vancouver. Dr. Parenti has taught political science at a number of colleges and universities in the United States and other countries. He was written 250 majro magazine articles and 15 books and is frequently heard on public and alternative radio.

Michael Parenti at WikiPedia on racism:
Parenti argues that western racism is systemic and historical in nature and should be regarded as more than just an attitudinal problem. He claims western racism has its origins in imperialism and slavery: To justify the colonial plunder of another nation or entire continent (as in the case of Africa) as well as the enslavement of conquered populations, imperialists and/or slave traffickers dehumanize their victims and define them as moral inferiors and subhuman.

Parenti maintains that racism serves several functions for ruling interests in the United States:
  1. It divides the working class against each other.
  2. It creates a "super-exploited" group of people who are forced to work at below scale wages thereby depressing wage levels for the entire workforce.
  3. It distracts the (United States) white population from its own legitimate grievances by providing an irrelevant scapegoat in the form of minority populations
Now we have a new slave class that divides us even more. The undocumented worker.

Big thanks to Common Man News for the heads up to the story

Con-Ed to workers: Take your 0.5%, give us a 2-tier and shut up

UPDATED (7/1/08)->: Midnight strike looms for Con Edison workers, keep up to date with the newsfeed

On June 13th. 9000 members of The Utility Workers local 1-2 (UWUA1-2), when faced with the idea of no raise in their upcoming contract(note: the last expired this morning), voted overwhelmingly to strike if their memberships needs were not addressed by the "Privately owned" Consolidated Edison.

In talks with a high ranking official of Local 1-2, the latest offer by Con Ed included a two-tier system where new workers would see a serious lack of benefits, almost no raise and as expected in todays day and age, raises in co-payments of health care. While the Governor has negotiated a 72 hour "cooling off period" whereby negotiations will continue Tuesday at 9AM, and the workers will remain on the job at least until 11:59 p.m. Tuesday night, there is the great possibility of a strike as of Wednesday.

According to Stephen Greenhouse and Ken Belson's article in Fridays NY Times, "Union Says It and Con Edison Are Far Apart on Contract", (6/27/08):
The union is opposed to company proposals to phase out a defined-benefit pension plan and to deduct workers’ compensation awards from employee pensions.

“If they continue to press the issue, we will walk,” promised Joe Flaherty, a spokesman for the union, which represents Con Edison workers everywhere but on Staten Island. “It seems to us that they want to force us out.”

Mr. Flaherty said his union was asking for wage increases because of rising prices for fuel, food and other basics. He noted that many cable splicers, meter readers, engineers and others must drive to work because they often travel among several locations.

Mr. Flaherty said that unlike previous negotiations, when only a handful of details remained unresolved so close to the contract’s expiration, this time the two sides had yet to agree on a host of significant issues.

“I’ve never seen it at this stage, when there’s absolutely nothing resolved,” he said. “I would say their position is stonewalling.”

A spokesman for Con Edison, Michael S. Clendenin, declined to respond to the union’s claims, saying: “We don’t negotiate in the press.”
That sounds a lot like the 2-tier system that I warned you about, and has made the auto-industry in the United States a working poor job.

If I worked for Con Ed, i would gladly go on strike, but I await the Main Stream Media's response that will ignore the facts and make it a "Unions fuck the people of New York" front page story like the NY Post editorial which attacked the striking Broadway Stagehands back in November 2007. (see "NY Post spin-doctoring and the IATSE Stagehands" (11/20/07) and "Remember if there is a strike, BLAME AMTRAK, not the union workers!" (1/17/08) )

Be prepared reader, Crain's and some other publications are already trying to make it a construction worker Vs. utility worker fight, meanwhile my source has assured me that they have gotten countless calls of support from other union officials, including many in the Building and Construction trades. They see the writing on the wall, and know that the greater fight is for a better future for New York's workers against this private utility monster.

Privatization Vs. American Workers, what GHI and HIP workers should expect
"One can only hope that the Utility Workers Union is serious about its strike threat. Pulling the workforce off the job for a protracted amount of time may help New Yorkers see that vital city functions such as the operation of utilities cannot be run privately." -Counterhegemonic at Independent Media Center

Talk about avoidance of a real news story, I have been following the misdeeds of HIP for quite some time, since I learned how the company fleeced our tax money to build downtown after 9/11 and promised to keep good paying jobs in the city and then moved those jobs out of the area, in fact 1 1/2 hours away by train to Long Island, in the article "HIP replaces 186 Downtown, NY jobs, breaking a massive promise", and how the privatization of both HIP and GHI will devastate New Yorker's who rely on their medical coverage in the article by "Building Bridges"

Heres a great article I found at NYC Independent Media Center entitled "Con Edison Workers and the Real Face of Privatization" (6/28/08):
Administrative workers at the currently non-profit health insurance companies GHI & HIP face the very real prospect of having their employer become a for-profit company. The exact meaning of this may seem murky. Nearly every study of privatization, particularly privatization in the healthcare industry, has demonstrated that spending on administration increases. Bad news for subscribers who need healthcare but seemingly great news for workers in search of fat paychecks, right?

The image “http://nyc.indymedia.org/images/2008/06/98371.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Well, the more than 9,000 workers currently employed by Con Edison would beg to differ. Contract talks between their now privately held employer and the Utility Workers Union of America Local 1-2 have reached an impasse. The utility's stingy management has offered a 0.5% per -year wage increase and the union has threatened to walk off the job. As usual, the employer has appealed for mediation and "productive discussion" despite the fact that their wage offer is nearly 3% below the annual rate of inflation.

Con Ed supplies and maintains most of New York City's electric, gas and steam service. Since the company was de-regulated in 1998 there have been a series of high profile disasters. In 2005, stray voltage killed a woman who was walking her dog after she stepped on an electrified plate. 2007's disaster was even larger as an 83 year-old steam pipe burst in Midtown resulting in the death of one person and 40 injuries. Finally, the company is largely blamed for a massive blackout in Queens in 2006 for which they offered "inconvenienced" customers a $100 rebate check and a "brief apology."

Con Ed is the largest for-profit utility company in the country. Most urban utilities are either run by state-owned companies or tightly regulated non-profits. Con Ed has also spun out an energy subsidiary called Con Ed Energy which nationally markets electricity produced in NYC plants. This practice is held to be a root cause of a persistent wave of blackouts nation-wide.

So, in NYC a massive for-profit company is charged with servicing an infrastructure which is essentially crumbling under the weight of its own age. There has been no substantial effort post-1970s fiscal crisis to upgrade the urban infrastructure. This is perfectly fine with Con Ed executives as it ensures a steady line of funding for patchwork projects.

Now, however, even this is not enough. Now the company intends to squeeze every last penny out of both NYC citizens and its own workers paychecks. One can only hope that the Utility Workers Union is serious about its strike threat. Pulling the workforce off the job for a protracted amount of time may help New Yorkers see that vital city functions such as the operation of utilities cannot be run privately. The only motivation is profit - whether it come from soaring customer bills, work contracts from our city budget or from the wallets of workers.

Mark this as a little lesson for GHI & HIP workers and other folks facing possible privatization. The promised returns to you are just thinly veiled mirages. Lurking behind the seduction is a grim future where management is preparing to grind every last penny out of your pocket. The less protection you have the easier this will be.
By Counterhegemonic http://counterhegemonic.blogspot.com/
This is the third and last in my tirade against the Main Stream, you can view some of my favorites below:
The Employee Free Choice Act

Oh, just so I don't forget, those powers that control the media also don't want you to sign the petition that will be delivered to the next president of the United States with 1,000,000 American signatures on it, since I got your attention, give a minute of you time and sign the petition for the Employee free Choice Act. It's getting blatantly obvious that the corporations and the law firms that profit on our misery are terrified of the labor movement and will do everything in their power to curb this legislation. I recently wrote about how with guns and threats towards their employees, and the corporate controlled NLRB, who's last chairman, Robert Battista has joined up with America's largest union-avoidance law firm, how the current system does not work.

Click the image on the left to sign your name to the petition, do it for the 58 million American's who desperately want to be union, but are terrified of the bosses reprisals in the wait between signing the cards and the election.


NY nonunion construction: With guns, threats and empty promises this modern day gangster keeps his workers from joining a union

Capoccia rose as a housing developer as he donated thousands of dollars to the campaigns of Mayor Giuliani, Governor Pataki, and President Bush. He recently told the newsletter The Real Deal that he launched his career by using a truck full of day laborers hired from a street corner.

The image “http://media.villagevoice.com/2279156.64.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Word is that there are about 52 hotels in the works that will be built completely Nonunion in New York, when they are complete there will be no Hotel workers union either, heres a kinda/sorta follow up to NYC: Four Points by Sheraton Paying Poverty Wages / Using Taxpayers For Workers Healthcare

How does New Yorks biggest Non-Union contractor stop his employees from being union?

With guns and threats, this isn't a new thing, but in todays main stream media, it's hard to come by. We have focused on the contractors in the past and the illegalities in the nature of their business, these are the scum bags that are building high rise towers for the likes of Sheraton all over the city. They have immense Bush/Neo-Con/corp ties, and hire an almost entire undocumented workforce. Not only that, when the business opens up they treat their employees like shit too. I know, on previous I have been on the picket lines and when there was a union vote about a month after the employees signed cards to become union, I was there in support of these workers getting the rights to collective bargaining they deserve. Think about it, these workers who work in fear and have absolutely no voice signed the majority of the cards needed to be in a union and a month and a half later, from the amazingly accurate "High-Cost Condos, Low-Cost Labor—and Threats of Violence to Union Organizers"- Village Voice (6/24/08):
Workers there tried to vote in the carpenters union last year. In an affidavit to federal labor officials, a former supervisor at the hotel project described the response from Auringer's project manager after he asked the boss about the union: "He said he had about six guns on the job, and he had people there who would do whatever needed to be done. He said that he could dig a hole and put me in it and make the records showing I worked for the company disappear."

Other workers at the project told the National Labor Relations Board that managers promised them a $5-an-hour raise to vote against the union. Last November, the NLRB ordered Auringer to post a notice promising not to make such threats. A new vote was canceled after Auringer fired 10 pro-union employees on the election's eve. An NLRB official said the matter is under investigation.

The article fails to mention, the private meetings that the employees had to sit through.

This is a good reason that America needs the Employee Free Choice Act. They sign the cards, they get into a union. No guns, no threats, no bullshit propaganda.

Today the corporate backed, immigration enforcement ignored, slave owners of multi national corporations get everything on a silver platter, while the working class people and those that actually want to embrace them and get them representation are almost totally ignored in the anti-union main stream media. Thank goodness for people like Tom Robbins, from the Village Voice and Steven Greenhouse at the Times for actually writing facts about workers here in New York.

Response to Bernie Carr at New York State Association for Affordable Housing

This mans comment to the story in the Voice must be responded to, if indeed he wrote them he is an utter asshole. When a poster wrote:
robbins said: crane accidents=union, corruption=union, middle class=union, ...get the facts straight....nyc was built on the minortiy working class.. we have a right to work in this city too cause you white people in the unions will not let us in..please tell the union not too burn anymore vehicles and physically beat us up in the streets of nyc.. your nazi regime is not going to work in the costruction industry anymore...
Which is amazingly stupid to say in it's own right, considering that in much of this article the unions are trying to actually get these workers into their ranks, please read the entire Voice story and see how these nonunion thugs operate, not to mention how many times union workers are attacked on the street on front of these jobsites when they are peacefully protesting, again I have been there to witness it. We then have this asshole agreeing with the above comment, thats all fine and dandy, because we expect ignorance written in comments on the internet, but after being in quite a few Central Trades and Labor(NYCCLC) meetings when building projects are spoken of and affordable housing and middle income housing is always mentioned as something worth fighting for the next comment threw me for a loop. It seems from the nickname he chose that he is none other than Executive Director of the obviously corporate backed(see picture and logos on the sign behind Mr.Carr) NYS Association For Affordable Housing:
bernie@nysafah.org: The last comment was absolutely right! NYC construction jobs should go to NYC residents, especially minority residents, not a bunch of corrupt union guys from the suburbs. No one spends more on lobbyists and campaign contributions than unions, that's why they're so powerful even though they haven't represented the little guy for decades.
Wow, mysteriously the NYS division for housing and urban renewal has taken the original pictures and changed the URL's so they can not be displayed here, silly criminals, I'm a little smarter than you thinkThis makes me wonder, who owns this guy? He agrees with the obviously racist post of the guy before him, then goes on to attack union workers even more so, doesn't he have a clue, did he read the story? the entire body of which is how the unions are trying to get these non-union workers into their ranks. How the non-union developer has even gone as far as having a thug follow Omar Lopez, the organizer for the Ironworkers Local 361, to his home while he was with his daughter and threaten him at his door.

Did he read that the threatened union ironworker is a native of El Salvador and a current Queens resident? From the same article as above:

The ironworkers decided to blow up a photo of Capoccia and mount it on a truck. They wrote beneath it: "Shame on Donald Capoccia—Don't profit off immigrant worker poverty." It also carried the developers' office and cell-phone numbers. Then they drove the truck around the work site, City Hall, and Capoccia's bank.

On Saturday evening, June 14, Lopez was in front of his Elmhurst home about to take his nine-year-old daughter to buy some ice cream when a menacing figure appeared. "The guy was about five-foot-nine; he's carrying this big green umbrella and glaring at us. I had a bad feeling. I told my daughter we had to go back. She knew something was wrong. She ran right upstairs and told my wife to call 911, that Daddy was in trouble."

Lopez ducked inside and peered through the window. The lurker walked past his door and disappeared. When he opened the door to look down the street, the man was standing on an adjacent stoop, staring. "I said, 'Are you looking for me?' He cupped his ear like he didn't hear me. I said, 'Are you fucking looking for me?' Then he ran at me with the umbrella and reached under his jacket. I closed the door. He hit the door a bunch of times with the handle of the umbrella. He was shouting, 'I find you and I got you now!' He did that a few times and then went away.' "

Mr.Carr, you attack union workers who live in this city and you attack our entire organizations from a glass house, you speak of lobbyist, just one look at that picture above and it all seems clear, all the banks who helped lend out mortgages that people now cannot afford.

You and your group have done nothing to help keep mid-range wage earners stay in this city, wheres my affordable housing?

Every time an apprentice recruitment is released for the union trades I try my best to post it on this site, there is no discrimination in the hiring practices, any New York City resident can apply.

I have often spoken of how people of all race who get what is known as a "good union job" choose to leave the city as the sentiment of a better life for your family is often thought of as not achievable in this city. Everyone I talk to about where to find an affordable place to live with my girl and her 2 children talks of upstate New York and New Jersey, most recently my Laborer friend, who is a native from the Bronx and a Puerto Rican(since you all like to talk shit about race) found a nice home Upstate. Oh, and 3 out of the 4 last work partners I had were not white, only 1 chose to remain in Brooklyn, only for the fact that his grandparents bought his house many years ago.

So a big fuck you Mr.Carr, for talking shit and rubbing shoulder of the enablers of mistreatment of immigrants, citizens and financial enslavers of the working class. You yourself are a lobbyist for the people and companies that help deny my fellow New Yorkers a fair days wages for a hard days work, just another stuffed white shirt sucking up corporate money disguised as a fighter for the people, say hello to that other divisional profiteer for hire, Al Sharpton for me.

Oh, I'm sorry, looks like you only hang with white people.

WOW, the pictures were removed by the New York States Division Of Affordable Housing?? They seem to have read this article and don't want the dirty little 'secret's' about our friendly Mr.Carr let out to the public.

Mr.Carr, since you agree with all the bullshit that robbins posted, why not in your high and mighty position take a stand against New Yorks sweatshop construction practices?

Till then, thanks for nothing!

A HUGE thanks to Michael, the UFT writer who pointed this article out.


Building Bridges Radio: The Toyota you don't know, oil prices, Atlantic City Casino workers want to be dealt a fair hand

*Click above to listen to story

"The Toyota You Don't Know"
with Charlie Charles Kernaghan and Barbara Briggs, National Labor Committee

Toyota, may be known for environmentally friendly cars, but that "sensitivity" hardy extends to its treatment of its workers in Japan, U.S. , Burma and the Philippines. Building Bridges previews a new expose, "The Toyota You Don't Know" a study in abuse.

What's Driving the Price of Oil?
With James Paul, Ex. Dir., Global Policy Forum

Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said Sunday, at a high-level oil summit that Saudi Arabia is willing to pump more oil if customers need it - will this stem the skyrocketing price of oil at the pump? Is the price of oil driven by speculators, the high fuel taxes in consuming countries and increased oil consumption in developing economies? Is the price of oil driven by the record profits of the oil companies and lack of conservation especially in the U.S?
Atlantic City Casino Workers Want to be Dealt a Fair Hand
With Ed Little, dealer at Trump Plaza and Sharon Masino, dealer at Caesar's Palace
Casino dealers, slot technicians, keno and simulcast workers won six U.A.W. union representation elections at four major Atlantic City casinos. While the owners make huge profits, casino workers wages, health care benefits and working conditions have deteriorated. And, despite the overwhelming pro-union majorities in the elections, casino operators are playing Russian Roulette with workers seeking a contract.

To Download this 61 minute program:

Directly from the new Building Bridges Web Blog


Justice Department breaks law in it's hiring practices

Applications that contained what were seen as “leftist commentary” or “buzz words” like environmental and social justice were often grounds for rejecting applicants, according to e-mails reviewed by the inspector general’s office.

Wow, all the way at the top, discriminatory practices at the US Justice Department come to light in a NY Times report that shows that, while under the authority of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, higher qualified candidates for jobs were rejected for "political and idealogical" reasons. Which of course is against the law.

Heres a small clip from the story entitled "Report Sees Illegal Hiring Practices at Justice Dept." by Eric Licthblau (3/25/08):
Justice Department officials over the last six years illegally used “political or ideological” factors to hire new lawyers into an elite recruitment program, tapping law school graduates with conservative credentials over those with liberal-sounding resumes, a new report found Tuesday.

The blistering report, prepared by the Justice Department’s inspector general, is the first in what will be a series of investigations growing out of last year’s scandal over the firings of nine United States attorneys. It appeared to confirm for the first time in an official examination many of the allegations from critics who charged that the Justice Department had become overly politicized during the Bush administration.

“Many qualified candidates” were rejected for the department’s honors program because of what was perceived as a liberal bias, the report found. Those practices, the report concluded, “constituted misconduct and also violated the department’s policies and civil service law that prohibit discrimination in hiring based on political or ideological affiliations.”
And you thought all those rulings that weaken the labor movement and are directly made with the intent of screwing the working people was a coincidence, think again.

heres some cool stuff I copied and pasted here, just to see how it would turnout


Back Story With Eric Lichtblau (mp3)
Text of the Report (pdf)
Times Topics: U.S. Attorney
Got a great video from Xipe Totec at Democratic Underground, from 4/07:

Big thanks to Common Man News for the heads up to the story


Tell the next president, we want the right to be in a union without employer coercion

Lets give either Mr.Obama or Mr.McCain a message when they get into office, American families want the right to become union without anti-union coercion from employers, corporations and union avoidance law firms. Let's make sure that when the people who do vote to be collective bodies get recognized as negotiators of a contract, too many times employers use legalese to abstain from negotiations even after NLRB confirmed votes that win unions.

Dear Joseph,

It’s all about
strength in numbers:

A million voices for the
Employee Free
Choice Act...
and millions more union workers raising living standards
for all of us.

Sign the petition!

Who’s losing out in this sputtering economy?

Not corporate CEOs. Too many of them have made sure to secure a golden parachute for themselves, while workers face soaring health care costs, foreclosures and an uncertain future.

The Employee Free Choice Act would help level the playing field and get our economy back on track. That’s why we’ve launched a huge campaign to get 1 million people to support this bill and tell Congress it’s time for change!

Sign the petition—we’re already at 29,349 signatures! We need you to be one of them.

The Employee Free Choice Act would give more workers the chance to negotiate for better benefits, wages and working conditions by forming unions.

And that will help all of us. There’s strength in numbers, and as we build our collective muscle, we can raise living standards, improve health care and stop corporate America’s race to the bottom.

But some CEOs try to stop unions, preventing their workers from negotiating a contract. In fact, 30 percent of corporations illegally fire pro-union workers during union organizing drives. Of course, no CEO would agree to work without a contract. So why can’t their workers have the same rights?

It’s time to bring back some fairness. That’s why we need 1 million voices supporting the Employee Free Choice Act. But a million people is a LOT of people. We won’t reach our goal without YOUR friends and family.

Do you support this bill? Take one minute to sign our petition. Upload a photo while you’re at it!

Anti-union groups are mounting a campaign to fight this bill. We can’t match our opponents dollar for dollar, but we can prevail if enough people rally to this important cause.

The economy should work for all of us, not just the privileged few. We can get there with your help.

In solidarity,

Working Families Network, AFL-CIO

P.S. To learn more about the Employee Free Choice Act, click here.

NYC Comptroller Thompson, supports new construction laws and audits DOB

http://comptroller.nyc.gov/photos/portrait/WCT-portrait-10-19-07-low.jpg“Workers on public projects deserve and are lawfully entitled to the same wages as those who labor in the private sector,” Thompson said. “Our prevailing wage laws are important to taxpayers who want high-quality construction work done safely and at a reasonable price. These laws are critical to workers who want to make a decent living and work in safe conditions, and important to honest contractors who want to compete fairly for jobs.”

Whether it be speaking against Housing Authority budget cuts that screw 500,000 New Yorkers, speaking in front of a packed union hall full of construction workers of how he will defend prevailing wage and punish those that choose to break those laws, or speaking in front of City Hall urging Mayor Bloomberg and the state to "Keep the Promises" on education funding, one thing is clear, that this son of a judge and a public school teacher and native Brooklyn resident, New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr., is continuing to fight tooth and nail for working class families and all who work in this city.

New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr. joined the Keep the Promises Coalition at a City Hall rally on June 16, 2008 to protest proposed budget cuts to New York City public schools. Photo credit: Marla S. Maritzer

Thompson has had 2 press releases in the past 24 hours that show how he is fighting for construction workers, and fighting for us is not a new event. In fact since 2002, Comptroller Thompson has debarred 28 contractors from doing business with the City and State and assessed $5,832,416 in back wages and benefits and $833,282 in penalties.

Yesterday, Donna from Teamsters Local 237 pointed out a press release by Mr. Thompson which shows his strong support for 3 recent Bill's, such as NYS Assembly #11676, which according to the press release, would close loopholes in the labor laws that allow contractors and subcontractors who fail to comply with prevailing wage settlements and final orders to continue to bid on, and be awarded, public contracts. Similarly, the bill would allow the State Commissioner of Labor or the New York City Comptroller to seek to debar contractors who willfully obstruct a labor law investigation.

Check out the press release entitled "THOMPSON PUSHES FOR STRONGER LABOR LAWS (6/23/08)"

The second which I just stumbled upon today, is the comptrollers audit of the NY Dept. Of Buildings, in which Thompson states "“It is simply unacceptable that DOB has permitted buildings with multiple open hazardous violations to go un-inspected for years, even by DOB’s own admission these are the worst cases, yet it has stood by and let the violations go unchecked and put New Yorkers at risk.”

Check out the press release entitled "THOMPSON AUDIT: BUILDINGS DEPARTMENT FAILING TO ENSURE HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS CORRECTED ACROSS THE CITY (6/23/08)" and the Letter to Mayor Bloomberg (PDF)

He's a guy I have met at my own union meetings and along with Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota, I was proud to say thank you and was glad I had a chance to shake their hand.

I leave you with his statements from March 20th. of this year at a UNITE HERE ceremony commemorating the 1911 fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory that killed 146 garment workers
"As we commemorate the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, we need to keep in mind that while much has been accomplished in the ninety-seven years since, more can and needs to be done to defend the rights and safety of our laborers.

As the guardian our City’s pension funds, I am inspired by organizations like UNITE HERE to work towards ensuring that the companies we invest in abide by fair labor practices.

I extend my deepest sympathies to the families of those brave victims. Your relatives did not die in vain. The tragedy that took place here led to increased fire safety awareness and new standards in building codes that to this day have saved tens of thousands of lives over the years."


Solidarity shown for Atlantic City casino dealers to get a fair contract, a year after winning representation

Another reason for the Employee Free Choice Act, if enacted, when workers vote to join a union, and they win representation, the company must negotiate a contract with the union, not stonewall for over a year, or 11 years, like the workers in the Goya Foods factory, who finally got a contract this year.

Pictures and story directly from The Union Of Rutgers Administrators, AFT (6/21/08):
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URA-AFT Supports A Fair Deal

Dealers in Atlantic City casinos organized last year with the United Automobile Workers. While the casinos are bringing in massive profits, dealers are being left behind and lack adequate benefits without a contract. Union members and concerned community members boarded the buses and headed to Atlantic City to show support for the workers.

Rally attendees heard from workers, union leaders and politicians about the situation and marched down Atlantic, stopping at the casinos along the way to demand a contract.

UAW President Ron Gettelfinger (center, light blue shirt)
NJAFLCIO President Charlie Wowkanech (yellow)
Rally stage across from Showboat
AFT: Union of Rutgers Administrators, HPAE, AAUP/AFT
A dealer calls on the casinos to negotiate fairly
March down Atlantic
Poppy from Temple University
United Food and Commercial Workers sports AFT shirt

Anthony from Rutgers and Ray Stevers from NJ Industrial Union Council

Communications Workers of America
Holly from AFT
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers LU#3 from NYC
Laborers International Union of North America
Philadelphia Central Labor Council (Liz McElroy center)
Mauro Camporeale (left) Bergen County CLC
National Writer's Union
(photo credit: J. Sagi)
Scott from Rutgers AAUP/AFT
URA-AFT (from left): Darlene, Theresa, Lucye and Joyce
Theresa and Nat (photo credit: J. Sagi)
Transport Workers Union
UAW members from PA
United Food and Commercial Workers banner
UFCW for Obama
Transport Workers Union bus

Huge thanks to Nat Bender for pointing these out