A More Democratic Foxconn? No One Told the Workers


News of Foxconn's much-trumpeted workplace democracy reforms, announced in February, has yet to reach workers. (kofai/ Flickr /Creative Commons)   With a workforce of more than one million, the electronics giant Foxconn has enough workers in its Chinese factories to fill a small country. So it's fitting that the company has vowed to make its manufacturing kingdom a bit more democratic by encouragi...
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Meet One of the Victims in the Right-Wing War Against the NLRB


In January, an appeals court effectively voided all rulings issued since 2012 by the National Labor Relations Board, which is headquartered in D.C.   DCtim1, Flickr , Creative Commons The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee hearing tomorrow morning about appointments to the National Labor Relations Board may sound like an arcane, inside-the-Beltway event. But it will have very r...
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Sharecropping on Wheels

The port of Savannah, Georgia generates some $14.9 billion in income each year. The goods that flow through it are distributed throughout the South—including to a massive Wal-Mart distribution center in the nearby city of Statesboro. Savannah is now the country's fourth largest container port, and the fastest growing. Traffic at the port went up 11 percent between 2008 and 2012 even as the rest of...
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Senator Calls Out White House for Logjam in Workplace Safety Rulemaking


A 2010 candlelight vigil for those killed in an explosion at the Upper Big Branch coal mine in West Virginia. (Flickr)   As workplace safety and health advocates figure out how to fix workplace safety regulations in the wake of the West, Texas explosion, they agree that one focus should be speeding the passage of new rules. Though the notoriously slow rulemaking process wasn’t a factor in the West...
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Two Wins for Bangladesh Garment Workers, But The Fight Isn’t Over

With a death toll of 1,127, the April 24 collapse of the Rana Plaza factory building in Bangladesh has earned the shameful distinction of being the sixth-worst worst industrial disaster in history . There’s plenty of shame to go around—and not just for the building owner and factory operators who ignored clear warnings of danger. High on the dishonor roll are the multinational apparel companies wh...
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Gov’t Will Pick Up Tab For West, Texas Damage; Amazon, Bikeshare in Hot Seat for Wage Theft


The blaze that followed the April 17, 2013 explosion at the West Texas Fertilizer Company. (Wikimedia Commons)   It appears that the government will be picking up the tab for the damage done by the West Texas Chemical and Fertilizer fire, since Texas does not require insurance for plants of that size. From the Dallas Morning News :  But despite the lack of any legal requirement, experts say, most ...
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As Death Toll in Bangladesh Collapse Climbs Past 1,000, Another Factory Fire Claims 8 Lives


On May 10, 2013, garment worker Reshma was rescued from the rubble, 17 days after the collapse of a Bangladeshi factory. But more than 1,000 workers were not so lucky. (STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images)   Bodies continue to pile up at Rana Plaza, once a powerhouse of Bangladesh’s garment industry, where more than 1,000 corpses have been unearthed since a factory collapse two weeks ago (and today, another s...
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In Wake of West, Texas Explosion, Safety Advocates Recommend Harsher Fines


On average, 13 U.S. workers die a day in workplace accidents, as in this OSHA illustration of grain entrapment. (Wikimedia Commons)   “My happiness was taken away in a matter of seconds,” says Adrianna Martinez of the death of her husband, Orestes Martinez, in a workplace safety accident four years ago. “My family and I are broken.  Losing my husband, my best friend, my love has left an empty spac...
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Columbia College Chicago’s Adjunct Faculty Poised to Strike


Members of Columbia College Chicago's Part-time Faculty Association and their supporters rallied in December 2012, calling for a fair contract. (Photo via P-fac )   Unionized adjunct faculty at Columbia College Chicago appear poised to go on strike for the first time, with union president Diana Vallera telling In These Times that “the College has left only one path for part time faculty and that i...
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In Another Blow to NLRB, Court Says Bosses Don’t Have To Notify Workers of Rights

Yesterday, a conservative panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision that sharply undermines the power of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and, more broadly, of the government as a whole to regulate business. The ruling marks the second time this year that the court has radically undercut the NLRB. In January, the court held that Obama’s 2012 recess appointments to the b...
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New CPS Board Member Vows Not To Rubber Stamp School Closings


Carlos Azcoitia, the Board of Education's newest member, is insisting on a case-by-case review of 54 schools slated for closure. (Chicago Board of Ed)   Since at least 1995, the mayor-appointed Chicago Board of Education has signed off on every proposal placed before it by the mayor's office, often with no discussion or dissent. A new board member, however, is calling for a more deliberative proce...
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Obama Aims Budget Torpedo at Merchant Mariner Unions


A merchant mariner aboard a replenishment oiler prepares to attach a cargo net to a helicopter. Unions believe the Obama administration's proposed changes to a U.S. humanitarian food aid program could mean a loss of jobs for upward of 1,200 Merchant Marine personnel .   (U.S. Navy / Flickr / Creative Commons) Washington mostly yawned last month when President Barack Obama presented his official bu...
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That Unemployment Form Might Violate Your Civil Rights


Florida's online unemployment claim form takes 30 minutes to an hour to complete, and begins with pages of warning messages.   If you think being jobless is tough, try applying for unemployment benefits. In Florida, simply filling out the form requires considerable talent and endurance. According to a recent ruling by the federal Department of Labor, the state’s new online application process is s...
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A Swank Sushi Joint Gets a May Day Scolding From Angry Workers


Striking restaurant workers protest.   ROCNY On May 1, International Worker’s Day, a half circle of Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC) members and supporters surrounded the entrance to Fat Salmon, a high-end sushi restaurant in Philadelphia. They watched as Diana A. (she asked her last name not be used) walked into the restaurant to deliver a prepared statement denouncing, among other things, w...
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How Caterpillar Ruined a Union Manufacturing Success Story

Good news has been rare in the Rust Belt since the 2008 economic collapse. But in Milwaukee, the rise of Bucyrus International Inc. provided a sorely needed model of how a company with a unionized workforce can lasso in global profits. Now, the company’s new owner, Caterpillar, is threatening those gains, announcing major layoffs and failing to reach a new contract with its workers. In 2009, Bucyr...
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