Posts Tagged ‘workers rights’

Ask IKEA: What’s Swedish for unionbusting?

IKEA logoI’m a big fan of IKEA. They sell cool, affordable furniture and teach me a few Swedish words whenever I go to their stores. They’ve also made it their mission to be a responsible, innovative company that takes care of its workers. In Sweden, where almost all of IKEA’s workers are in unions, we’ve seen that mission fulfilled. The workers there earn about $19 an hour minimum and get five weeks of paid vacation.

So it’s incredibly disappointing to find out that those high standards aren’t true for their U.S. employees too.

At an IKEA subsidiary factory in Danville, Virginia, workers report they are facing pay cuts, mandatory overtime, racial discrimination, and dangerous conditions on the job.
The workers want to organize as a union in order to gain a voice on the job and stop the mistreatment. But instead of respecting its workers’ right to form a union like IKEA does in Sweden, IKEA’s subsidiary in Virginia hired unionbusting consultants and discouraged union membership in mandatory employee meetings. And, worst of all, workers who support forming a union have now been fired!

It’s completely outrageous — and it needs to stop. Fortunately there is something you can do today. Write a letter to IKEA’s CEO and tell him to stop the intimidation and to let the U.S. workers have a fair shot to join a union! While we appreciate Ikea’s mission of corporate social responsibility, IKEA’s actions in its U.S. factory speak louder than words.

 

Will workers win or lose when Walmart moves in?

Guest Post by author and MacArthur Foundation Chair in History at UC Santa Barbara, Nelson Lichtenstein.

As our consumer-driven economy struggles to regain lost ground, Walmart—the big-box retailer notorious for driving down wages and labor standards wherever it goes—is moving forward with plans to open stores in urban centers nationwide. What could the company’s expanded presence mean for workers and our communities?

Currently, Walmart uses its position in the economy to push low-road work that offers its associates no hope of a career. With such low pay and meager benefits, many Walmart employees who enjoy their job simply can’t afford to stay at the company. Career advancement is limited because only a few managerial positions exist at each store. Read more »

 

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 »

 

Walker Lets His Unionbusting Flag Fly

Yesterday, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee for a hearing on the state and local budget battles playing out across the country. Not that there was much lingering doubt, but Walker’s visit to DC confirmed that his controversial bill stripping public employees of their collective bargaining rights in fact did nothing to address the state’s fiscal woes.

Shocker, I know.
Read more »

 

Equal Pay Day: Walmart didn’t get the memo

Tuesday was Equal Pay Day, and if the ongoing Supreme Court case is any indication, Walmart still has a long way to go on this issue.

Late last month, over one million female employees from more than 3,000 Walmart branches  presented their class-action lawsuit against  America’s largest private employer to the nation’s highest court. The women allege rampant and widespread sex discrimination by the retail giant, including unequal pay. Read more »

 

Equal Pay Day- women working hard(er) for the money

Today, April 12 , is Equal Pay Day in the United States. Strategically chosen, the date marks how long it takes women to make up for the disparity in pay between genders. Just think, 102 days passed this year before women finally earned the same salary as men in comparable jobs during the past year.
Read more »

 

The Right To Join A Union: From Eleanor Roosevelt to John Kasich

Guest Post by Author and Labor Scholar Brigid O’Farrell.

When my phone rang in Moss Beach, California, I was surprised to find a young girl calling from a small town in Ohio, not far from Columbus. She and her friends in eighth grade were writing a play about Eleanor Roosevelt for a school project. She saw my book on the internet, She Was One of Us: Eleanor Roosevelt and the American Worker. They wanted their drama to address the workers in Ohio and Wisconsin. “Eleanor Roosevelt went into a coal mine, didn’t she?” the girl asked. “Do you think she would be supporting the workers today?” Read more »

 

Wisconsin’s only one piece of the puzzle

The recent string of attacks on middle class workers has made it easier than ever to point the finger at the politicians spearheading anti-worker legislation across the country— legislators like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
But the fights currently playing out in these states may only represent the tip of the iceberg in a long-standing national movement that, until now, has gone largely unnoticed.
Read more »

 

Airline industry trying to put workers’ rights on standby

As if the anti-union attacks in the states aren’t enough, the airline industry is ramping up efforts to make the process of forming a union a bumpy ride for aviation and rail workers.

The aviation industry is pushing Congress to pass the FAA Reauthorization Bill —with an amendment that would count non-voters as a “no” vote in union elections for both rail and air workers.

Read more »

 

NFL Lockout means big losses for players—and their families

At the start of this year, we let you know that a lockout of NFL players would hurt more than just the athletes. We underscored that it would also threaten the jobs and livelihoods of countless workers and business owners who rely on the industry to support their families. Read more »