Top 5 best and worst moments for workers in 2011

It’s been quite a year for workers. From Wisconsin to Washington, D.C., on the football field and the factory floor, we’ve seen unprecedented attacks on workers’ rights from Big Business and corporate-backed politicians. But we’ve also seen the resurgence of a movement to ensure fairness for all Americans and the beginnings of a great political awakening for the 99 percent.

We wanted to take time to reflect on the events of 2011, so we came up with this list of the top five best and worst moments for workers this year. Read more »


IKEA workers begin building a better workplace

In July, we reported that employees at IKEA’s Swedwood plant in Danville, Virginia voted overwhelmingly to become part of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW). Swedwood employees were spurred to organize after facing pay cuts, mandatory overtime, racial discrimination, and dangerous conditions on the job—in extreme contrast(link) to working conditions in IKEA’s plants in Sweden. Upon hearing about the situation at Swedwood, American Rights at Work activists responded by sending IKEA’s CEO more than 22,000 letters asking him to stop intimidating employees and allow them a fair chance to form a union. Read more »


Great Gifts, Good American Jobs: Your Holiday Guide to Union-Made Products & Services

The holidays are approaching fast, and along with them, the hustle and bustle of shopping and decorating, stressful travel, and long to-do lists. Never fear, we’re here to help you survive the mayhem with our handy gift guide of products union-made in the USA. Click on each of the images in the slideshow (or download the PDF) to find quality gifts for your family, friends, and even the most hard-to-please folks on your shopping list. These days, as more and more jobs get shipped overseas, it’s not easy to know what’s made in America, let alone by union members. With our guide, you can rest easy knowing that your holiday shopping will support good, family-supporting jobs here at home. And that’s a gift every American can enjoy. Read more »


On International Human Rights Day, Durham School Services falls short

This past Saturday, we at American Rights at Work celebrated International Human Rights day. The date was chosen to honor the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption and proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on December 10, 1948. The UDHR represents the first global expression of rights to which all human beings are inherently entitled. Read more »


“Take Back the Capitol” ratchets up inTENTsity of D.C. protests

This week the 99 percent took over Washington, DC. With 13.3 million workers in the U.S. still unemployed and income inequality at its highest level since the 1920s, several labor unions and advocacy organizations – including SEIU and USAction – rallied more than 3,000 Americans for their “Take Back the Capitol” action.  From December 5–9, unemployed and underemployed Americans from coast-to coast joined together for lobby visits to Congress, teach-ins, rallies and more. At night, many activists crashed at “The People’s Camp” – a tent city located on the Washington Mall near the Capitol Building. Read more »


Off the Clock with musician Mike McColgan of the Street Dogs

Off the Clock

In this regular interview series, American Rights at Work spends some time off the clock with notable workers’ rights leaders, supporters, experts, and organizers.

Are unions punk rock? We think so, and so does Mike McColgan, the lead singer of the popular punk band the Street Dogs. Mike’s work as a union firefighter and pressman have shaped the riveting working class anthems he’s written and performed in bands like the Dropkick Murphys, and now with the Street Dogs. We’ve been blown away by their music for years and will see them on Monday in concert in D.C. at the Black Cat. You can also catch the Street Dogs live on their Wreck the Halls tour, pick up one of their many recordings, or watch them in action performing in Madison as part of the historic protests against collective bargaining attacks in Wisconsin. Read our interview with Mike to learn more about what inspires his passionate political stances, powerful lyrics, and lifelong fight to champion unions… Read more »


An exciting week for workers’ rights

What an exciting week for workers’ rights!

First off, in New Hampshire, a bipartisan group of legislators rejected the attempts of anti-worker lawmakers to achieve the two-thirds majority required to overturn Gov. John Lynch’s veto of  “right to work.” As we’ve said time and time again, “right-to-work” is a thinly-veiled attempt at limiting the rights of workers, offering no rights and no work. Read more »


NLRB takes steps toward a fairer vote for workers

Yesterday was a big day for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)—and for workers’ rights. First, the Board voted to approve a resolution that includes some but not all of the proposals set forth in its recent rule to ensure a fairer union election process for workers. Several hours later, corporate-backed politicians in the U.S. House of Representatives struck back with a bill that, rather than addressing the problems in the current union election process, mandates a delay. This “Election Prevention Act” stands almost no chance of passing the Senate (whew!) but it certainly shows just how far anti-worker lawmakers are willing to go to pad the pockets of the 1 percent, even when it comes at the expense of their constituents.
Read more »


A Union-Made Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time to break bread with your loved ones and reflect on all that you have to be thankful for. At least that’s how the movies portray it. In my house, Thanksgiving is about watching football and adding inches to your waistline. So instead of going the traditional Hallmark route, today’s blog will talk about how you can line the dining room table with a cornucopia (pun intended) of union-made deliciousness. Read more »


Celebrating American Education Week with Partnerships in Education: Delaware Elementary School

Today we conclude American Education Week by featuring Delaware Elementary School, a school profiled in our Partnerships in Education report, which has worked collaboratively with its teachers’ union to create programs that improve the school’s performance. Read more »