Lessons from Seattle’s Socialist Breakthrough

Is there something in the water in Seattle? The area has seen dramatic actions by and on behalf of workers in the past few months: defeat of concessions at major grocery chains, Boeing workers’ big “no” vote on concessions, a $15 minimum wage voted in for airport workers, and election of a socialist to city council—a candidate who made a city $15 minimum the centerpiece of her campaign. Activi......
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National Paid Family Leave May Finally Be on the Horizon

Any working parent will tell you that raising a family might as well be another full-time job—one that comes with no vacation days or health benefits. But millions of Americans don't get days off from their regular job, either, even for the sake of their health or their family’s. According to the National Partnership for Women and Families (NPWF), just 12 percent of American workers can take pai......
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As One Window Closes in Chicago, Another One Opens

On Dec. 5, 2008, Richard Gillman abruptly closed the Republic Windows and Doors factory on Goose Island in the Chicago River, putting almost 300 workers out of a job during the holiday season in the midst of the economic crisis, denying them their legally due severance pay and cutting off their health insurance. Exactly five years later, Gillman was sentenced to four years in prison and a $100,0......
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Firefighters Distribute Toys and Coats to Local Children

Partnering with private corporations and local businesses, the Fairfax County firefighters and paramedics sponsored the 16th Annual Firefighters Holiday Rescuer's Toy Distribution at Penn Daw Fire and Rescue Station 11, 6624 Hulvey Terrace, Alexandria, Virginia. Department members, Progressive Firefighters of Fairfax County, Inc., and International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Local 2068, ......
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Uncle Sam’s Hiring Practices

A pair of reports released this week show that the federal government routinely ignores worker safety and labor law violations when awarding contracts to private companies—and that American taxpayers are cheated in the process. The first  comes from the staff of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pension (HELP) Committee, which conducted a yearlong investigation of federal contracting reco......
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UIC Faculty Union Flexes Muscles in Showdown Over Adjunct Pay

The teaching force at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC), which unionized in 2011, has been at the bargaining table fighting for changes that include improved compensation for non-tenure-track professors and shared governance in the university decision-making process. And after 15 months without results, they’re starting to get fed up. Faculty voted last week to authorize a strike if contrac......
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Teachers Seek to ‘Reclaim’ Education

Educators in Chicago brave the cold, demanding funding for schools during the 'Day of Action to Reclaim the Promise of Public Education.'   (Chicago Teachers Local Union 1/Flickr/Creative Commons) After years of being backed into a corner, on Monday public-school teachers stood up in defiance against what they see as their chief bully—budget-slashing school reforms that have made school mo......
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Are Young Workers the Future of Labor?

With union membership in a decades-long decline, recruiting a new generation of workers is crucial to keeping labor alive. Yet young workers are (and always have been) less likely to be in a union than their older counterparts: As of 2012, only 9.5 percent of 25-34 year old workers and 4.2 percent of 16-24 year old workers were union members, compared to 11.3 percent of all workers. At the same ......
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Sex Workers in France Resist Attacks on Their Liberty

A demonstrator holds a placard reading, 'Yes to the freedom to prostitute oneself' during a November 29 protest in Paris against a bill that would punish clients of sex workers. (Joel Saget/Getty)   These days, French political culture appears to be retreating from its stereotypical liberalism on one of its best-known "vice" industries: the sex trade. Controversial new legislation in the c......
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Supreme Court Dismisses Mulhall v. Unite Here, Giving Labor a Lucky Escape

In the 'card check' process, one type of neutrality agreement, an employer agrees to recognize a union if a majority of workers sign union cards. (Old Sarge/Flickr/Creative Commons)   Unions dodged a bullet today when the Supreme Court took the unusual step of dismissing the strange and possibly disastrous case of Mulhall v. Unite Here Local 355 as “improvidently granted.” Though the dis......
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Reston Townhouse Fire Caused by Candle in Garage

The Fairfax County Fire Department responded to a fire on Summer House earlier today for a fire that started in the garage of a three-story, middle-unit townhouse. Firefighters encountered heavy smoke and fire coming from the garage and first floor living area of the three-story, middle unit townhouse upon arrival.  The fire was brought under control in approximately 15 minutes.&nb......
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On National Day of Action to Reclaim Public Education, Some Chicago Politicians Get Lumps of Coal

On December 9, 2013 in Chicago, Brandon Johnson of the Chicago Teachers Union holds up a Christmas list for the city schools. (Matthew Blake)   “Those aldermen who support the TIF surplus ordinance: They are on our good list,” Michael Brunson, recording secretary for the Chicago Teachers Union, declared to a few dozen protesters on a freezing Monday afternoon outside Chicago City Hall. “Ho......
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Volkswagen Tied to Another Anti-Union Group

A July flier by the Chattanooga Regional Manufacturing Association offers a training in response to 'the unionization threats of UAW at Volkswagen.'   CHATTANOOGA, TENN.—Volkswagen America recently told Working In These Times that it was not funding efforts to stop the United Auto Worker (UAW) union drive at the VW plant in Chattanooga, and that it supported the right of employees to union......
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Will Power: 16-Day Strike Helps Public Workers Win Wage Increase

On 2:30 a.m. on Wednesday, union leaders and government officials in Will County, Ill., finally hammered out a contract agreement for county public workers after 15 months of negotiations and a three-week strike. Union members ratified the contract on Thursday with 95 percent support, ushering in four years of wage increases, in addition to an income-based sliding scale for worker contributions to......
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‘From Bean to Cup,’ Starbucks Labor Action Heats Up

As part of workers' Week of Action, a protester distributes leaflets outside of a Starbucks in Cambridge, Mass. (Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers)   The Starbucks cup, with its iconic green mermaid logo and smart cardboard sleeve, seems to embody the essence of the urbane yuppie lifestyle. But the carefully constructed cool of the coffee mega-brand belies some serious anger pe......
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