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Two unrelated things you should read
Posted by Dave on 05/20/09 at 01:54:07 pm
Categories: Sports Ravings, Race Ravings, Quick Links, Labor
Being busy at work and spending my time at home with my beautiful daughter means very little time for blogging. Oh well.
But here are two completely unrelated stories that you should read:
How Not to Join a Union
Posted by Dave on 04/08/09 at 10:51:25 am
Woh... this is really, really big - Unifying Unions:
This could be the best thing that has happened to the labor movement in decades.
Of course, it could also turn into a complete and utter nightmare.
Either way, it is huge news.
Happy Cesar Chavez Day!
Chavez is a man who played a HUGE role in organizing migrant farm workers (mostly in California) in order to have a unified voice against the abusive practices of the farm owners, and served for many years as the President of the United Farm Workers (UFW). Chavez started just like so many others - as a son of farm workers who then became a farm worker himself. He began to get involved in community organizing and quickly saw the need to organize his fellow farm workers.
He also was a man who not only stressed social and economic justice for farm workers, but he also stressed the absolute need for non-violent actions against the bosses rather than using violent means.
Here are some quotes:
Chavez was a man of principle. He was a man who was willing to embrace the struggle of justice, and embrace non-violent means to get to a point of justice.
If Chavez was still living today, I think he would be a bit disappointed. Disappointed that so many of his fellow migrant workers are still in awful conditions. Disappointed that we have yet to get to a point of just immigration policies. Disappointed that while progress was made, that there is still a long, long way to go.
But regardless of the disappointment, Cesar Chavez is a man who made a difference. He made a difference for thousands of farm workers and more generally, thousands, if not millions, of migrant workers around the country.
PBS on JWJ's James Thindwa
You can watch an excerpt below:
Can My Boss Do that?
Posted by Dave on 03/09/09 at 04:39:18 pm
A wonderful site, from Interfaith Worker Justice: Can My Boss Do That?
Strong middle class = strong labor movement
Wow... it sure is different having a President who cares about working people.
Bailout against EFCA?
Good thing we are spending billions so that banks can actively lobby and actively mobilize against pro-union legislation.
Don't get me wrong - I believe that the TARP money was absolutely necessary. But the oversight has been downright awful.
The Employee Free Choice Act is a very important piece of legislation that will make it much easier for thousands, if not millions, or workers around the country to organize and form unions. Corporations are right to fear this legislation, as it will be a very large step in giving working people a voice in the workplace.
But while corporations(and banks) are right to fear this legislation, the government surely should not be paying for campaigns against the legislation.
The Little Unions That Couldn't
Posted by Dave on 01/21/09 at 05:12:40 pm
Or, in other words, why Congress needs to pass the Employee Free Choice Act.
The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr
I must bring attention to today's holiday, the day to celebrate and remember one of my heroes.
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1957
A couple of years I did a little series of statements from Dr. King.
You can read them at the following links:
Shoot the Retailers
Posted by Dave on 11/21/08 at 10:41:43 am
Of course, what this really means, is that Mr. Marcus is scared. He is scared that his workers may actually organize, and may actually have rights, and a voices.
And this is just one more reason that we should all be fighting FOR the Employee Free Choice Act. Those workers at Home Depot need a voice, and need to be given a way to get that voice in the face of intimidation from people like Mr. Marcus.
Wal-Mart at is "best"
Busting unions like only you can.
Happy Labor Day!
Check out the Labor Day message from Barack Obama.
Gene Upshaw and the NFLPA
Gene Upshaw, the President of the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) died last week, bringing to end a 25+ year era.
Dave Zirin (the best sports writer around) has an article taking a look at what Upshaw accomplished.
Upshaw had his critics, most notably from a Mike Ditka led group of former players who did not feel that the Union had done enough to take care of the former players. Zirin finds that complaint without merit when one actually steps back and looks at the situation.
Upshaw oversaw a 25+ year period where the average salaries went from $125,000 to over $2 Million. He led the fight for free agency and an increased salary cap. He enabled these players to be set for life.
There is a lot of criticism of athletes and their high salaries, but let me point this out. The average player in NFL will have a career that lasts just three years.
Let me say that again. Just three years.
Further, these players have their bodies abused - constantly getting crushed by other bodies. They are pushed to play through injuries by their teams, teams that ignore the long-term ramifications of what it means to their bodies or even lives.
Now... don't get me wrong. These players are not poor. But there are many, many players who will make $400-500,000 over a three year career, have their body abused, and then have to retire. Their career will be over.
Are there some players who are overpaid? Absolutely.
But the abuse that these players take, combined with their incredibly short careers, make a strong union not just possible, but necessary.
Gene Upshaw helped make that happen. He was not perfect, but he played a significant role in building union strength against incredibly wealthy team owners who are making millions on the backs of these players.
Gene Upshaw will be missed.
Biden and Labor
Wal-Mart: 8 Unionized Employees
This story is a few days old, but I figured it was worth a mention.
Eight employees at a Wal-Mart in Quebec now have a union contract, becoming the only eight Wal-Mart employees in North America to do so.
This is great news, and, unsurprisingly, Wal-Mart is not happy:
Paying decent wages and giving decent benefits are "incompatible" with the way you do business? Thanks for reminding me why I have not shopped at Wal-Mart in years.
The Collision of Catholicism and Capitalism
Posted by Dave on 08/18/08 at 12:56:02 pm
The Catholic church has long been supportive of a worker's right to organize. Bishops, Priests, Nuns, and other Clergy have long been at the front lines along side workers and union organizers, standing up against unfair labor practices, against intimidation of employees, and for the recognition of a union in the workplace.
But what happens when the Catholic Church also owns hospital chains that have workers who want to organize?
We are seeing what happens in California, as St. Joseph’s Health System (SJHS) continues to fight the organizing efforts of its workers.
What makes this even more disturbing is that Mothers of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange, which SJHS falls under, is the same order that strongly supported Caesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers. They did not just support UFW in word, but they also supported them in action, even having several nuns be arrested in support of Chavez along housing union activists in the 70's.
Now the NLRB has ruled that at there have been at least 35 different labor law violations by SJHS.
SJHS claims that they have no problem with workers organize, while at the same time running an anti-union campaign:
SJHS claims they just want a private ballot election, and they support a worker's right to organize. Yet they continue to run an anti-union campaign. They continue to refuse neutrality (meaning that they would not run a negative campaign).
I guess we see where Catholic social teaching and capitalism collide.
Chipotle and the Immokalee Workers
Posted by Dave on 07/29/08 at 01:10:40 pm
This makes me sad.
I like Chipotle. A lot. They have an excellent vegetarian fajita burrito, and they use fresh ingredients and get their meat from ethically treated animals.
Yet it seems that their "food with integrity" motto is more public relations spin than actual reality:
Why is it that Chipotle places an emphasis on "integrity" with the food that they purchase but not with the workers that pick the food?
I have a guess... "ethical" food is trendy. Treating workers ethically and with integrity? Not so trendy. And in turn, it does not help the bottom line.
Take a look at the Coalition of Immokalee Workers website to see what you can do to let Chipotle that do not just care about where the food came from, but that you also care about the workers responsible for getting the food.
Minimum Wage Hike
Today is a good day for many working people around the country as the minimum wage hike kicks in:
From Working Life:
And OurFuture points out that, contrary to many conservative theories, there are numerous studies that show that minimum wage increases are not harmful to the economy:
But while this is good news, it is far from enough. In a time where the rich are continually getting a larger and larger share of the pie, $6.55 per hour is hardly enough to live on, and even further from enough to have any semblance of an equitable society.
Think about it... as food prices continue to soar, gas prices are outrageous, housing is becoming simply unaffordable, even at higher levels of income, the vast majority of the people in this country are struggling every day to get by. They are worrying where their food is going to come from tomorrow. They are being forced to make impossible decisions such as whether to buy their necessary medication or to buy food. They are struggling to even afford the gas that is requisite for them to even get to the job that they make just enough money to pay for more gas. Child care has become unaffordable for the average working American. Energy prices are soaring, making it nearly impossible to keep your house warm, keep your oven on, or even keep lights on. Without health insurance they put off necessary medical procedures, and without being able to afford any medicine, the problems are just exacerbated. And then they become too sick to work, but they cannot afford ways to get healthy and their financial situation continues to spiral down.
We have a problem in this country. We have millions and millions of workers who have struggle with these nearly impossible situations every single day while the top 1% revel in the comfort of their wealth.
A minimum wage increase is nice. And it is needed. And it will help many people.
But we need more. And we need it soon.
Workers, Labor, and Unions, Oh My!
Lottsa' Quick Links
Posted by Dave on 06/13/08 at 02:59:13 pm
Categories: Capital Punishment, Religion and Politics, Crime and Justice, LGBTQ, Quick Links, Immigration, Labor, Barack Obama, Campaign 2008
Here is what I am reading... what are you reading?
A Union Renaissance?
Posted by Dave on 06/10/08 at 08:29:25 am
Posted by Dave on 06/03/08 at 04:12:18 pm
Categories: Sports Ravings, Quick Links, Labor, Campaign 2008
Posted by Dave on 05/23/08 at 09:08:41 am
Categories: Random Ravings, Sports Ravings, Theological Ravings, Capital Punishment, Non-violence, Chicago/Illinois, Labor, Barack Obama, Campaign 2008, McCain - More of the Same
Hmm... looks like I have not blogged much lately, eh?
Life happens, I guess.
A few things I have been meaning to write about:
Anything else exciting going on?
Posted by Dave on 05/01/08 at 12:04:23 pm
Today is May Day, or the International Workers' Rights Day.
And while many will be out marching today, I will be sitting in an office fighting for workers' rights. Or at least their health insurance.
Feministing has a good collection of links to read:
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