Posts Tagged ‘labor-management partnerships’

Union-Made Old Glory

American FlagMany iconic American products have been union-made: John Deere tractors, Campbell’s Soup, Tootsie Rolls, the Harley Davidson motorcycle, and classic cars such as the Ford Mustang and the Chevy Camaro. We can add to that list the most iconic item of them all, the American Flag itself.

Annin Flag Company of Roseland, New Jersey, produces thousands of union-made American flags each year. Workers at Annin Flags are represented by the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW), and their labor-management partnership has helped make the company one of the most prominent flag manufacturers in the country.

Established in 1847, the company prides itself on being the oldest and largest manufacturer of flags in the United States. Their flags have been in used in the inauguration ceremonies of U.S. presidents since Zachary Taylor was sworn in to office back in 1849. An Annin flag was draped across President Lincoln’s coffin, raised on Iwo Jima in 1945, and used in the Apollo space program.

Unfortunately, many American flags are not even made in the United States. However, in 2010 the House of Representatives unanimously passed the All-American Flag Act, which mandates that all flags used for government purchases be made domestically.

Union members have helped to build this country, and the value of their contributions is reflected each day by the union members at Annin Flag Company.


Labor-management partnerships: The seeds of success in the green economy

Abigail Paris serves as Program Assistant for the Socially Responsible Business Program.

Flambeau River PapersToday is Earth Day—a day to reflect on the importance and value of the natural environment.  Started more than 40 years ago in the United States, Earth Day is now celebrated in over 175 countries. It also serves as a time to take note of year-round environmental stewardship. In the 2010 edition of our annual Labor Day List: Partnerships that Work, we did just that.

The eight businesses featured in the report are leaders in the green industry, in terms of both environmental sustainability and labor-management partnerships. Litecontrol manufactured the first architectural lighting systems to be Cradle to Cradle™ certified. Gerding Edlen Development led the first LEED-Platinum certified renovation of a building on the National Register of Historic Places. McGough Construction built the first office building in Minnesota to be certified LEED Platinum. Flambeau River Papers will be the first pulp and paper mill in North America to go fossil fuel free by using a biofuel plant that turns wood byproducts into green diesel fuel to power the mills.

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Livable wage at Walmart would have huge impact on associates, while leaving low prices intact

Guest Post by Chair of UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education, Ken Jacobs.

Walmart is well known for both its low prices and its low wages, and the drive to keep prices down is offered as a ready rationale for the company’s substandard wages and benefits. New findings show that Walmart can still keep those prices low and pay its workers a living wage.

In a recent study I completed with my colleagues Dave Graham-Squire and Stephanie Luce, we found that Walmart could raise its starting wage to $12, a significant improvement for many Walmart workers, with only the slightest impact on customers. Read more »


Here’s a bright idea: Keep profit-making jobs in America

The union workers who make Philips lighting fixtures in Sparta, Tennessee, have been doing things right for over 40 years. In fact, their plant was named one of North America’s 10 best by Industry Week Magazine in 2009—and even won Philips’ own “lean” manufacturing award last fall.

But now Philips Global CEO Gerard Kleisterlee wants to send those good, American jobs to Mexico—leaving 275 workers jobless and an entire community devastated. Read more »


Labor-management partnerships help Europe weather the economic storm

Abigail Paris serves as Program Assistant for the Socially Responsible Business Program.

In 2008, a financial meltdown triggered a deep recession, arguably the deepest recession to face the European Union (EU). Unlike in many other places in the world, the EU—through the collaboration of its employers, unions and governments—was able to avoid sky rocketing unemployment and emerge from the recession relatively unscathed. On March 3, 2010, the European Commission released a report, entitled Industrial Relations in Europe 2010, which highlighted how labor-management partnerships helped the EU adapt to the post-recession world.

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Today only: Buy a book, help a worker!

Powell's BooksHere in the American Rights at Work office, three things get us going: coffee, helping workers, and a great book. While you’ll have to find your own caffeine fix, we’ve found a way to buy books at an affordable price and help workers out at the same time!
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Working conditions for DC restaurant employees not what they ordered

On Monday, the Restaurant Opportunity Council of DC (ROC) held an event to discuss their most recent report, Behind the Kitchen Door: Inequality and Opportunity in Washington, DC’s Thriving Restaurant Industry. And the findings were less than appetizing for the area’s food service workers.

The report took a detailed look at a wide range of topics, including racial discrimination, workplace safety, low wages, and public health. Restaurant employees reported facing tip theft by managers and owners, as well as wage theft—owners requiring workers to clock out before finishing work in order to avoid earning overtime. Similarly, the report found that many wait staff, busboys, and dishwashers are not given paid sick leave from work, exposing their coworkers and customers to illness.
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Time for business schools to get down to business on workers’ rights

Kara Kahley is American Rights at Work’s Socially Responsible Business Intern.

It has been said that “Doing well by doing good” is the new M.O. of the business world.  Companies are realizing that there’s more to business than profit, and management education is beginning to reflect that perspective.

Traditionally, management education has focused primarily on creating shareholder value, but this too is changing. Social responsibility was once a trendy offering only at certain schools, but it is now becoming mainstream.  The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the premiere accrediting body for management education, has begun to push for more emphasis on ethics and sustainability in its schools’ programs.  Additionally, the presence of Net Impact, a student organization for corporate social responsibility, is rapidly expanding. Read more »


2010: A year-end roundup

The American Rights at Work blog team is about to close up shop for the holidays. But before we do, here’s a roundup of some of our favorite posts from 2010, from most to least recent. Happy Holidays! Read more »


A new chapter in workers’ rights: CIW and Pacific Tomato Growers agree on social responsibility

The news about tomatoes in America just keeps getting sweeter and sweeter.

Last week, we all said thanks to Eurofresh for providing consumers with delicious, environment and worker-friendly produce. And just yesterday, Pacific Tomato Growers, one of the nation’s largest tomato growers, and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) came together to sign a ground-breaking agreement to create new standards for social responsibility and accountability in Florida’s tomato industry.

For decades, CIW has been fighting for labor reforms in Florida’s tomato industry. With their Campaign for Fair Food, the organization has reached out to farm owners to bring an end to worker abuses such as lack of fair pay, health benefits, and safety training. Read more »