Will McDonald: Author Archive

Unions 101: Your Introductory Course in Workers’ Rights

If you’ve never been in a union, chances are the concept sounds pretty foreign. I know that was my experience. I didn’t start to learn about unions until I was in graduate school, where my fellow teaching assistants, graders, and researchers were organized. Unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions and myths about unions out there, many spread by the same anti-union network attacking workers’ rights in states across the country and on Capitol Hill.

The good news is that American Rights at Work has launched Unions 101, a handy guide to what unions do and why they matter in today’s economy. Arranged in an easy to follow FAQ format, Unions 101 is a great resource for answering the questions your friends and family might have when talking about the labor movement. Read more »


As King Memorial is dedicated on National Mall, fight for workers’ rights goes on

Forty years after the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, a full slate of commemorations are scheduled for this weekend to mark the dedication of his long-awaited memorial statue on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Given the disturbing news that the average white household is an astounding twenty times wealthier than the average black household, it’s good news that the country will be revisiting King’s vision this weekend. Clearly, the fight for equality in America is far from over. Read more »


Tell Walmart CEO Mike Duke: Do right by women at Walmart

Walmart is the largest private employer in this country and nearly 60 percent of its hourly employees are women. Unfortunately, according to many of its associates, Walmart is not truly a place of opportunity for women. Although Walmart’s female employees keep stores running and help the company generate profits, they aren’t always treated with respect. That’s why we need your help.

Tell Walmart CEO Mike Duke: I want change for women at Walmart Read more »


New Travel Channel series highlights products made in America

Every day we hear from corporate-backed pundits and politicians that the only way companies can compete is to ship jobs overseas and engage in bottom of the battle practices at home. Don’t believe the hype. The truth is that many of our most iconic brands are still made here in America, by employees who are treated with respect. From Corvettes to Louisville Sluggers, union-made products – products that support good-paying middle-class jobs – are all around us. Read more »


Winning poster reminds us why fight for workers’ rights must continue

With a powerful image that conveys both the historical legacy of the labor movement and the ongoing fight for workers’ rights, Estelle Carol has won the Union Communication Services’ (UCS) poster contest. UCS invited entries in their “Unions Now More Than Ever” contest this summer. Carol, an illustrator from Chicago, will receive $500 dollars for her winning poster.

As UCS publisher David Prosten told the AFL-CIO blog, “Estelle’s striking graphic does a wonderful job of reminding people why unions are still needed and relevant in the 21st century.” Read more »


New UAW contract with General Motors shows that unions work for America

Workers represented by the United Auto Workers (UAW) have finalized a new contract with General Motors. An agreement was first reached on September 16, and was ratified in an employee vote by a two to one margin on Wednesday. By creating thousands of stable, good-paying positions at an American company, the agreement between the UAW and GM shows that the presence of unions makes our economy stronger—a big win for GM employees and positive news for America’s middle class.   Read more »


Roddick: Union will give professional tennis players a needed voice

Andy Roddick believes that the professional tennis players who thrill fans around the globe need a voice on and off the court. Roddick, the winner of the 2003 U.S. Open and one of the biggest names in tennis, is frustrated by the players’ inability to address workplace concerns. So after this year’s notoriously ill-managed U.S. Open, Roddick called for the tennis players to form a union. Read more »


Clinton praises AFL-CIO and AFT program to get America working

This week, more than 50 heads of state and 1,200 guests, including President Barack Obama, attended the seventh annual Clinton Global Initiative. Founded in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative brings policymakers, CEOs, leading thinkers, and philanthropists together to solve problems . With the focus of this year’s meeting on creating jobs, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten joined the conference, offering innovative solutions to get America back to work.

Clinton praised a pledge by the AFL-CIO and a coalition chaired by the AFT to invest $10 billion dollars in energy-efficient infrastructure and green job training: “This is a huge deal. This could be done not just in the United States but in every European country, in every wealthy Asian country. This system will work and you get guaranteed savings.” Read more »


Tell Amazon that America’s workers aren’t disposable

Amazon’s shopping cart for workers in Breinigsville, Pennsylvania: extreme heat, threats, intimidation, temporary employment only, and no benefits. But don’t worry, they keep a paramedic waiting outside, ready to cart off workers who can’t handle working in a sweatshop. The 100-degree heat at the Breinigsville warehouse illustrates Amazon’s attitude toward workers’ rights. Rather than turn up the air conditioning and have a safe working environment, Amazon would prefer to just have an ambulance waiting.

Amazon’s Pennsylvania workers drive the company’s phenomenal profit margins. Workers in Breinigsville turn your online order into the package that shows up at your door. Hundreds of thousands of orders are processed around the clock each day. These employees make Amazon work, but in the company’s eyes they are nameless, faceless, temps. Technically, they aren’t even Amazon employees. Read more »


Urgent: Let Washington know that workers matter

Update: Sen. Graham’s measure was defeated last evening. Thanks to all of you for your support of workers’ rights!

America’s workers need your help.

In Congress’s latest attempt to bully the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and threaten workers’ rights, Sen. Lindsey Graham is planning on adding language to a funding bill that would prevent the NLRB from holding companies accountable when they unlawfully cut and run. Currently, the NLRB is looking into whether the Boeing’s shift of operations from Washington to South Carolina was done in retaliation against workers’ exercising their rights, which is illegal under the National Labor Relations Act.

Read more »