Why Port Truckers Are Striking: 12-Hour Shifts, Noxious Fumes and $12.90 Paychecks

“We are on strike today to have respect and dignity at work,” says Walter Melendez, one of approximately 40 Los Angeles port truck drivers who walked off the job at 5a.m. morning in protest of alleged unfair labor practices. The strikes featured the rolling “ambulatory pickets” that the truckers have excelled at—chasing down trucks as they leave the port and setting up picket lines in front of the......
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As ‘Black Friday’ Looms, Wal-Mart Under the Gun for Alleged Retaliation

"We’ve got a lot of associates to make good solid, middle-class income,” said Wal-Mart Corporate CEO and President Bill Simon in a September 11 presentation at the Goldman Sachs Annual Global Retail Conference. Simon buttressed his argument with a slide from his presentation showing that in 2012, 475,000 associates earned more than $25,000. But critics were quick to point out the flip side of Si......
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From U.S. to Philippines, Nurses Mobilize in Typhoon Haiyan’s Wake

The Registered Nurse Response Network sends its first team to the Philippines on November 14 from San Francisco International Airport. (NNU / Flickr / Creative Commons)   When Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in the Philippines a week ago, the destruction was swift, total and unsparing—showing the disproportionate impact of disasters on poverty-stricken communities of the Global South. The int......
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Ditching Child Labor Laws; Honeywell Looking to Escape Liability; Machinists Reject Boeing Contract

A young child farm worker hard at work in a cotton field. (Louise Boyle / Flickr / Creative Commons)   Last year, the Obama administration ditched a proposal for new workplace safety rules that would have protected children from doing some of the most hazardous agricultural jobs. In an article for The Nation, Mariya Strauss reports on the child farmworkers who have died since that rule was......
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Volkswagen Gave Money to Anti-Union Group That Used Pro-Confederate Rhetoric (Updated)

A photo of Matt Patterson from the Competitive Enterprise Institute website. Volkswagen donated to the right-wing group's gala in June. (Photo from Competitive Enterprise Institute)   Earlier this week, Working In These Times reported on a negative media blitz by anti-union consultant Matt Patterson aimed at countering a United Auto Workers (UAW) organizing drive at Volkswagen’s Chattanoog......
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Instructors Often Pressured to Censor Themselves, Says Professor Scolded for ‘Tea Party’ Email

Rachel Slocum was, until recently, not the kind of high-profile academic who typically turns up in news articles. As an assistant professor of geography at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, her solid career path of teaching and research on urban food systems had a progressive bent that did not stand out too much in the relatively liberal climate of the University of Wisconsin system. And then......
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Blogger Joe Bertoni Honored in 2013 IAFF Media Awards

Blogger Joe Bertoni, a retired Fairfax County firefighter and member of the Fairfax County Professional Firefighters & Paramedics was honored by the International Association of Fire Fighters 2013 Media Awards. His blog post "Six Ways to Keep Active Retired Members Engaged" was awarded in the Best Blog Post category. Joe is a contributor to the IAFF Frontline Blog. The blog post provided grea......
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Pink Heals Tour Makes Athlete's Village Appearance

Fairfax County Firefighters were on hand to support women battling cancer. The event was held at the proposed Athlete's Village for the 2015 World Police & Fire Games - the Reston Town Center.   Both firefighters and law enforcement officers joined the national Guardians of the Ribbon, Pink Heals Tour and the local chapter right here in Virginia. The Pink Heals is a national nonprofit wi......
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A Free-Speech Victory at the ‘University of Nike’

The University of Oregon's 'Football Performance Center,' which was paid for by Nike founder (and U of O alum) Phil Knight. (Photo by Wolfram Burner via Flickr)   The “University of Nike” sounds like an institution straight out of a dystopian novel. But that moniker has actually been embraced by the University of Oregon, where Nike founder and chairman Phil Knight is one of the school’s m......
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New York City Immigrants Test a New Economic “Bridge”

Lady Liberty welcomes immigrants to New York City, but in reality it's hard for skilled workers to get their foot in the door. (Sgt. Randall. A. Clinton / Flickr   For all the supposed potential of the "American Dream," immigrants in New York City often have a terrible time redeeming its promise. Many arrive in the United States with no financial grounding or burdened by a heap of debt; ot......
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Off the Rails: How a Lack of Oversight Doomed Lac-Megantic

When a runaway train slammed into the small Quebec town of Lac-Megantic in July, incinerating the city’s core and killing 47 people, it may have marked the end of the line for the perilous, profit-maximizing model of railroading that has enthralled corporate and government officials across North America and the globe. The principal proponent of this laissez-faire template for railroading—raising......
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Treasury Rejects Labor’s Top Obamacare Demand

Unions initially applauded the signing of the ACA in 2010, pictured here, but implementation of the new law has been a more complicated matter. (Pete Souza / Wikimedia Commons)   On Friday afternoon, following a major labor convention at which many union leaders forcefully advocated revisions in the Obama administration’s interpretations of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Treasury Depar......
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A New Blue-Green Coalition?

It may be difficult to imagine unions and environmentalists burying the hatchet. The high-profile divide over the Keystone XL pipeline is only the latest example of bruising blue and green conflict, fueled by a jobs-vs.-environment push-and-pull. But last week’s AFL-CIO convention, where labor formally embraced new partnerships with the Sierra Club, as well as worker centers and other progressive ......
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D.C. City Council Defeats Living Wage Bill

On September 17, supporters of LRAA gather to urge the city council to overturn the mayor's veto.   (Respect DC / Facebook) On Tuesday, the D.C. City Council failed to overturn Mayor Vincent Gray’s veto of the Large Retailer Accountability Act (LRAA)—a bill that would have raised the minimum wage at large retail stores in the district from $8.25 to $12.50. The seven votes in favor (with si......
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A 98-Year-Old Labor Reporter Who Loved Avant-Garde Music

This week, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka ran unopposed for the presidency of the AFL-CIO—but only because his opponent, labor activist Harry Kelber, died before the election. While foul play is not suspected (he died from natural causes in late March), the death of 98-year-old union dissident Harry Kelber still came as a shock to me. Harry had gotten so good at living, and at finding beauty a......
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