Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Laborers lend a hand in rebuilding Joplin

We’re excited to share yet another story of union members giving back to their fellow community members. On May 22, a devastating tornado in Joplin, MO claimed the lives of over 100 residents and flattened large sections of the city. With construction workers sorely needed to rebuild they city, Laborers’ Local 319 is providing free job training to help get the city and its residents back on their feet. Read more »


ESPN’s Rick Reilly Shoots Wide of Target With Ill-Informed Anti-Union Column

Yesterday ESPN columnist Rick Reilly published one of the most inaccurate attacks on unions that we’ve seen this year, which, if you follow workers’ rights, you know is saying something. Reilly clumsily sets forth the following argument: Golfers don’t have guaranteed income, which Reilly assumes means their pay is tied to sporting performance, which he likes. Professional golfers also don’t have a union, so in Reilly’s view this means that players unions in other sports are bad. In this case, Reilly’s claims about the PGA are erroneous, and his attack on players unions is flawed. Read more »


News of the World’s Decline Tied to (Gasp!) Unionbusting

The United Kingdom has been rocked in the last week with news of a major phone-hacking scandal involving Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World. The newspaper allegedly attempted to hack the phones of members of the British public, politicians, members of the Royal family, and 9/11 victims.  Read more »


Wisconsin Protesters Stage a Watery Walkerville

The protest movement defending workers’ rights against the extreme agenda of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has gone amphibian. In response to Walker’s attempts to rollback the rights of public employees, the last year has been marked by massive protests, the creation of Walkerville at the state capital, and now protest by boat. Over the holiday weekend, as the governor’s wife hosted a party at Madison’s lakeside Governor’s Mansion,  a group of Wisconsinites took to the waters of Lake Mendota to once again remind Walker that the working people of Wisconsin are not going away. Read more »


Regis No Longer Able to Clip Away at Workers’ Rights

Workers received good news last week, as Regis Corp., a national hair salon chain, settled with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), agreeing to change a number of illegal corporate policies. Regis, which employs 57,000 workers at 6,500 outlets such as Supercuts, Cost Cutters, and Mastercuts, was found to have engaged in a number of actions in violation of the National Labor Relations Act, legislation on the books since 1935 designed to protect workers’ rights. Read more »


1.3 million people: Ohio’s record-setting effort to repeal SB 5

Ohio’s working families had some paperwork to drop off with the state yesterday. Just an afternoon’s errand, a small procedural matter, you might say. Well, it may have been merely paperwork, but when the semi-trucks arrived, it was clear that the people of Ohio had something important to say to Gov. John Kasich.

In all, nearly 1.3 million signatures were delivered to the Ohio Secretary of State (1,298,301 to be precise) demanding the repeal of Senate Bill 5, which scales back public employees’ rights and safety measures. There were so many signatures collected that it took a team of retired police officers and firefighters four hours to unload the 1,502 boxes carrying the petitions. Read more »


America’s Workers Need a Voice to Avoid Being Left Behind

It is increasingly apparent that, when left to their own devices, CEOs will leave workers behind. Last week, The Washington Post ran a special report on the growing economic inequality in the United States. Executive pay has skyrocketed since the 1970s, while the incomes of most Americans have stagnated. According to the Post, “A mounting body of economic research indicates that the rise in pay for company executives is a critical feature in the widening income gap.”

As Jon Talton noted in The Seattle Times over the weekend, in 1980 the average CEO was paid 42 times what the average worker earned. In 2010, CEO pay was 343 times that of the average worker. Not surprisingly, many companies would like to keep this information quiet, and are resisting pressure to disclose their pay ratios. These accelerating income disparities and pay differences aren’t  just mathematical curiosities; they’re a real problem that strikes at the heart of the endangered middle class. Read more »


Factory Worker Bo McCurry Reminds Us What’s At Stake

Earlier this week we mentioned how inspiring it was to hear from workers at our annual American Rights at Work Awards Celebration. Inspiration, however, isn’t just a positive, jumping up and down, kind of feeling. It can also take the shape of resolution and dedication. Although we cheered many successes, like the good work done by United Streetcar, we were also reminded of the difficulties shouldered by America’s workers.

One of the most heart-rending moments of our Awards Celebration came when Bo McCurry, a factory worker and union representative at the Philips Lighting plant in Sparta, TN, took the stage. McCurry told the story of a well-performing plant that had received numerous awards from the company over the years. He told the story of a workforce that had continually adapted to management demands—a close-knit group that formed the very backbone of the small town of Sparta. In the end, the loyalty they had shown to the company, and the innovations they delivered, meant little. Read more »


Actor James Cromwell, United Streetcar, and American Workers Inspire Us at Our Awards Celebration

The passion and purpose of the workers’ rights movement was on display last night at the 7th Annual American Rights at Work Awards Celebration, held at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. With speeches that ranged from soulful to cerebral, one message was repeated: as Kimberly Freeman Brown, executive director of American Rights at Work put it, “Our aim is to show the Wisconsin teacher and the Washington machinist that they are not alone.”

SOULcial Justice kicked off the celebration, which honors the recipients of the Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Awards. The troupe had the audience of over 400 on their feet, setting the tone for the rest of the night. Read more »


Attorneys’ choice to organize underscores universal need for workplace protection

From the crowded aisles of a 747 to the rows of a tomato farm, unions have a role in every workplace. All of America’s workers deserve fair pay and respect, whether they are an autoworker or an attorney. Did I say attorney? Yes, even lawyers, who know the law and their workplace rights better than most, can benefit from having a voice through their union. Just ask those working in the New Jersey Attorney General’s office.

Tired of scant benefits, stagnant pay, and, most importantly, not having any power to change things in their workplace, these men and women decided to form a union with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). Like a growing number of professional workers, the attorneys understood that they would be better protected if they had a say in their workplace. Read more »