Today the NFL Players Association is taking to Twitter and Facebook to raise awareness about the owners’ threat to lockout the players and cancel the next season of football. Billed as #LetUsPlay Day, the event’s signature phrase reflects the players’ bargaining position – they’re just asking to continue under the terms of the previous contract, nothing more. It’s the owners who, despite major profits, want the players to take an 18 percent pay cut while playing more games each season.
Despite efforts by some to paint these negotiations as a dispute between millionaires and billionaires, the reality is that an NFL lockout will affect over 100 thousand everyday workers in cities across the country. Read more »
His name is Dick Bengen, and at Ruby Ridge Dairy in Washington State, workers say he imposes some of the most unspeakable working conditions we’ve ever encountered. He carries a rifle in his truck and threatens pro-union employees with it. He shouts abusive language and racial slurs at his workers. He refuses to grant lunch breaks. And his employees have to drink from the same water barrels as his cows.
If you’re trying to outfit your home on a budget, IKEA is pretty much the holy grail of interior decorating. The cafeteria food isn’t half bad either. But at Swedwood, an IKEA furniture subsidiary in Danville, VA, employees say they’re subjected to a whole slew of unsafe, unfair, and generally unpleasant working conditions—including unlawful intimidation and firing of union supporters during their ongoing attempt to join the Machinists (IAM).
That’s way too high a price to pay for any product, no matter how trendy. Read more »
I vividly recall my third grade teacher telling the class, “There are no ‘what if’ questions.” We shouldn’t ask, for instance, “What if school closes for a month-long snow delay?” when fretting about an upcoming math test. (You can tell I didn’t grow up in Washington, DC, where we now know school can close for a month-long snow delay.) My teacher, Ms. Muldown, was simply instilling in students the discipline to be realistic when assessing any given situation.
Math tests may be a thing of the past, but one situation most of us face on a daily basis is work. For Wichita bus drivers, the circumstances of their lives at work weren’t good. Despite carrying the incredible responsibility of safely transporting their community’s children to and from school each day, the bus drivers earned little beyond what First Student, their employer, paid them—and only two paid holidays a year. That meant no vacation time, no sick leave, no retirement options, and no health insurance. Read more »
Here’s a quick math problem for you:
The employees of United Steelworkers Local 7-669, who work in the nation’s only uranium plant, have been locked out of the facility since early June. Honeywell, the defense contractor in charge of the uranium plant in Metropolis, IL, barred the employees from entering the facility after they objected to the company’s plan to stop offering retiree healthcare and pensions for new hires, as well as increase their healthcare contributions to $8,500 a year.
It would cost Honeywell $20 million over three years to keep the workers’ health and retiree benefits at their current levels, a price they deemed to be too high. But USW officials estimate that the corporation has already spent or lost at least $48.8 million to keep the workers out of the plant.
If Honeywell is so bent on trying to cut costs and save money, why is it spending millions without cause? Read more »
Metropolis, IL, isn’t just Superman’s hometown. The city is also home to America’s only uranium conversion plant. The uranium plant may not be as sensational as Superman, but this week it caught the attention of The New York Times.
Why? Because 68 workers from the plant are known to have come down with cancer—and 42 of those 68 have died. Worse still is that, despite those numbers, the plant isn’t taking action to care for its employees. In fact, the plant’s operator wants to slash pensions for newly hired workers and reduce health benefits for retirees. Read more »
As if more evidence was needed that unregulated corporate behavior hurts working families and destroys our environment, now comes news that BP compared its workers to the ‘Three Little Pigs’ in calculating the dollar value of their lives.
For BP to value their workers like farm animals is the clearest illustration yet that only the force of law can protect working people. BP executives had a chance to change after the Texas City explosion that killed 15 workers five years ago. Yet 11 more BP workers died last month in the Deepwater Horizon explosion – now spewing countless gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico – all for want of proper safety equipment and strong oversight by the federal government.
We’re not making it up, people: mineworkers who belong to unions have more freedom to raise safety concerns without fearing retaliation. That’s according to workers who testified at this week’s congressional hearing on the Upper Big Branch disaster. As one worker put it, “As a union person we have the right to refuse to do work we think is unsafe,” whereas at a non-union mine like Upper Big Branch, “if you refuse, they tell you to get your bucket and go home.” And if workers quit because of safety concerns? They’d be barred from working within a 90-mile radius of a Massey mine.