Another anti-worker editorial board is afflicted with the bizarre idea that that union workers are a “privileged class.” But when did making a decent living become a privilege in America? Oh, that’s right: when unscrupulous corporations drove down wages, exploited weak labor laws to keep workers from forming unions, and drove our economy off a cliff—all while raking in record-setting pay and bonuses.
The answer to an economy out of balance isn’t to let greedy corporate CEOs drag down wages and benefits until no one can afford to pay for health care, a home, or retirement. The answer is more workers forming unions — so they can bargain for fair wages, benefits, and economic security.
Stressed. Exhausted. Exploited. Abandoned. In a new book, Tom Juravich exposes and examines the degradation of work in the United States today. At the Altar of the Bottom Line, based on in-depth interviews with workers, lifts up the experiences of working people from diverse sectors of our economy.
Juravich, a writer, researcher, and professor at the University of Massachusetts Labor Center, spent six years interviewing workers in four different occupations:
Want to hear innovative companies discuss the importance of working with unions to support workers’ rights, sustain the environment, and benefit the company’s bottom line?
Join American Rights at Work at the 2010 Good Jobs, Green Jobs National Conference taking place from May 4-6, in Washington, DC.
We’re proud to join our partners at the Blue Green Alliance as a sponsor and convener of this event, and excited to host a panel highlighting real-life examples of how working in partnership with employees and their unions helps companies weather turbulent times while increasing demand for green products and services.
Our Socially Responsible Business Director, Nikki Daruwala, is moderating the panel and will be joined by Michael Peck of Gamesa USA; Molly Bordanaro, Senior Vice President at Gerding Edlen Development, Inc.; Ron Kenedi, Vice President at Sharp Solar; and William “Butch” Johnson, CEO of Flambeau River Paper.
Please register and join us at the session “Partnerships That Work: Good, Green Employers“ on Tuesday, May 4, 2:30-4:00 p.m. at the Hilton Washington Hotel.
We hope to see you there.
Today is Workers Memorial Day, on which we remember the thousands of men, women, and children who are injured or killed on the job. The April 5, 2010 disaster at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia, in which 29 miners lost their lives, makes this year’s observance especially poignant.
But while that event shocked and galvanized the nation, it was hardly unique. Just days before, an explosion at the Tesoro Refinery in Anacortes killed six workers in Washington. In February, three workers were lost in a gas explosion at the Kleen Energy Plant in Middleton, Connecticut. Every day in the United States, an average of 14 workers die as a result of workplace injuries.
There’s a word we can use to describe the majority of these horrible incidents: Preventable.
Were you ever bullied at school? Ever get your lunch money stolen? I bet you thought that behavior would stop once you grew up.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case when you’re a worker trying to form a union. Here’s a statistic that’ll get your blood boiling: 78 percent of workers are forced to attend closed-door meetings with management during union organizing drives. And how much can employers be fined by the National Labor Relations Board for illegally threatening, intimidating, or firing their workers? A whopping zero dollars and zero cents.
Watch this video from the IBEW (featuring actors from the acclaimed HBO series The Wire), showing exactly how such a closed-door meeting might go:
For those who think that men and women are treated equally in today’s workplace, consider this date: April 20. That’s Equal Pay Day, which marks how far women must work into 2010 to make as much as men made in 2009.
Women who work full time earn an average of 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man. Even more shocking? It’s not getting better: census data shows that this wage gap widened between 2007 and 2008, from 77.8 percent to 77.1 percent. And as the AFL-CIO points out, the wage gap is even worse for women of color.
It was pretty amusing to watch the Wall Street Journal’s Editorial Board attempt to incite panic over the possibility that federal contractors be encouraged treat their workers better. To read the Journal’s editorial, you would think that a living wage, health benefits, pensions, and sick leave were the biggest threat facing America since the financial crisis. American Rights at Work’s Kimberly Freeman Brown takes them to task in a recent letter to the editor:
It’s true: workers in unions earn 14% higher wages and are 28% more likely to have employer-provided health insurance, even when controlling for factors like education, occupation, and experience. And leading American economists, business academics, and civil rights leaders all agree that unions are good for our economy and community. As Kim puts it:
We think so, too.
American Rights at Work has launched www.FixOurJobs.org, a grassroots campaign and website to highlight the inexcusable conditions
We’re giving America’s workers a place to vent, and to press our nation’s leaders for big, bold fixes to our jobs crisis.
In light of the new CBS show, “Undercover Boss,” American Rights at Work is launching a new grassroots campaign and website, to expose what really goes on in America’s workplaces, and to call on Congress to fix our jobs through meaningful labor law reform.