Watching another politician visit a local diner on the campaign trail, I couldn’t help but notice the irony of politicians—who, research shows, have become exponentially wealthier than the average American family—claiming to understand the daily challenges facing the middle class. Outside of the campaign trail, do our elected officials know what it’s like to have to clock in and out, or live paycheck to paycheck? Read more »
Today, voters will head to the polls in Ohio and determine the political fate of Senate Bill 5, a bill that would severely limit collective bargaining for the state’s public workers. The referendum on the controversial bill comes just a few months after similar legislation passed in Wisconsin, which was greeted with massive public outcry and protests, culminating in efforts to recall both Democratic and Republican state legislators.
Meanwhile, in California, an initiative has been proposed that would re-introduce so-called ‘paycheck protection,’ which would limit unions’ ability to represent their members’ interests in the political realm. All of these bills are supported almost exclusively by Republicans, who argue that stripping away rights for public servants will somehow generate private sector growth while simultaneously erasing government debt.
There’s an often overlooked motivation for this anti-union legislation: Each bill would significantly limit the workers’ ability, through their unions, to effectively participate in the political process. This is particularly important when one considers that unions represent one of the only counterweights to corporate influence in politics, and offer one of the few avenues through which the 99 percent are given an opportunity to shape the policy choices of our country. Read more »
Weeks of protests across Wisconsin let unionbusting legislators know that workers won’t stand for ideologically motivated attacks on their rights. And this week’s Supreme Court race took that message from Madison to the polls. Read more »
Guest Post by Author and Labor Scholar Brigid O’Farrell.
When my phone rang in Moss Beach, California, I was surprised to find a young girl calling from a small town in Ohio, not far from Columbus. She and her friends in eighth grade were writing a play about Eleanor Roosevelt for a school project. She saw my book on the internet, She Was One of Us: Eleanor Roosevelt and the American Worker. They wanted their drama to address the workers in Ohio and Wisconsin. “Eleanor Roosevelt went into a coal mine, didn’t she?” the girl asked. “Do you think she would be supporting the workers today?” Read more »
As if the anti-union attacks in the states aren’t enough, the airline industry is ramping up efforts to make the process of forming a union a bumpy ride for aviation and rail workers.
The aviation industry is pushing Congress to pass the FAA Reauthorization Bill —with an amendment that would count non-voters as a “no” vote in union elections for both rail and air workers.
The 2010 midterms were not the only election this week. At Delta and Piedmont Airlines, flight attendants took a vote on union representation in their workplaces.
First, the bad news. By a very slim margin, flight attendants at Delta voted against forming a union. Wednesday’s outcome affects 21,000 employees total and, due to the recent Delta-Northwest merger, means that already-unionized Northwest flight attendants will lose the collective bargaining agreement they’ve maintained for over six decades.
As usual, it looks like the loss can be chalked up to a vicious anti-union campaign waged by the company in the lead up to the election. The Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) claims that Delta spent millions to influence its employees, and is poised to file charges with the National Mediation Board.
Now for the good news. Read more »
There’s no way around it: We’re about to see a major shift in the political landscape. Far-right Republicans helped the GOP gain a majority in the House of Representatives, and there were losses for Democrats in the Senate as well.
And in Arizona, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Utah, the so-called secret ballot measures we blogged about last week all passed. It’s a chilling indication of how far corporate interests will go to maintain a status quo that protects exploitative employers, even if it means continued setbacks for workers and the economy. Read more »
Next Tuesday, voters in four states—Arizona, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Utah—will be facing anti-worker initiatives that would amend each state’s constitution to require so-called secret ballots in union elections. At first glance, these measures appear to be about worker protection. But underneath the friendly exterior, it’s clear the far-right organizations funding these measures are not looking out for workers’ best interests.
The 2010 midterm elections are right around the corner, and the assault on workers and their unions has never been louder—or better funded. The anti-union network is pumping unprecedented funds into races around the country to oppose pro-worker candidates and policies. These are the same big money extremists that fought hard against the Employee Free Choice Act, raising the minimum wage, and even equal pay for women.
It’s time to stop them—and their undisclosed donors—before they do any more damage. So we’ve put together a report that provides background info on the most nefarious of these groups: American Crossroads, Americans for Job Security, Americans for Prosperity, The Club for Growth, Freedom Works, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Read more »