Bruce Rauner: of, by and for Illinois’ Richest 1%

It’s an election year and we are quickly approaching the time when working families will have the opportunity to go to the polls and vote against a whole host of extreme candidates who support policies that limit rights, make it even harder to afford a middle-class life and pad the pockets of their corporate buddies. Candidates like Bruce Rauner in Illinois.

Bruce Rauner has made it clear he wants to be governor for the richest 1% of people in Illinois. Rauner has made millions outsourcing America’s jobs and firing workers. He denied workers’ benefits while profiting off pensions. Here are the details.

  1. Outsourced American Jobs: Rauner co-founded a company that outsources America’s jobs and assists corporations with dismantling operations in the United States [Polymer Group, S-4A, 9/3/97, SEC filing 424B4, 5/10/96; Chicago magazine, 6/3/11; VeneFone Holdings, SEC 424B4, 9/20/05; H-Cube press releases, 4/4/06; AP, 6/6/14]
  2. Supports Stripping Collective Bargaining: Rauner believes union contracts are “corrupt” and wants to end collective bargaining for public employees. [Chicago Tribune, 11/1/12]
  3. Cutting Pensions and Jobs: Rauner wants to shut down the state government to cause massive layoffs of public employees. He is also on the record saying recent cuts to pensions for teachers and public employees didn’t “go far enough.” [International Business Times, 8/14/14; WJBC, 12/6/13.

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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Voter Registration, Just a Click Away

Today is National Voter Registration Day and while volunteers around the country will be on street corners, outside of groceries stores, at bus and subway stops and elsewhere to help people register, you can get started right now, right here with just one click.

If we’re going to beat back the attack on working families by the likes of Mitch McConnell, Scott Walker, the Koch brothers and other extremists, all of us—you and your family and friends—must be registered to vote.

The AFL-CIO has teamed up with TurboVote to make voting easy for you and for your friends and family. Not only can you register or update your registration, but TurboVote will help you with absentee ballots, vote-by-mail information, finding your polling place and even sending reminders by email and text so you won’t forget to vote.

In the past few years, 22 states have passed new laws restricting the right to vote and changing voter registration rules. So even if you’re already registered, you should double check that you and the people most important to you are prepared to vote this year. Have you moved since last Election Day? Make sure you’re registered to vote at your new address. Maybe your friends have moved recently and need to update their voting information.

It’s easy. Click here to get started.

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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At First, These Images Look Like A Bunch Of Lazy Workers. But Then, You See They’re Actually Heroes

The 1936 sit down strike at GM’s Flint, Mich., plant was a pivotal event in the establishment of workers’ rights and power in the United States and the growth of theUAWThis installment of Upworthy’s mini-series on labor history examines the strike that it calls a turning point and game changer for workers and their unions. Read it here.

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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N.Y. Bike Share Workers Join Transport Workers

TWU photo

Next to food trucks, one of the fastest growing trends in cities across the country is bike sharing, with racks of bicycles for rent by the hour or longer positioned around town for easy pick up and drop off. But it takes dozens and sometimes hundreds of workers to make bike-sharing operations run smoothly. On Tuesday, the more than 200 workers in New York City’s Citi Bike program chose the Transport Workers (TWU) to help make their jobs run more smoothly, too.

The bicycle mechanics, dispatchers, call center operators and technicians began their organizing drive for better wages, regular schedules and a voice on the job with TWU Local 100. The support throughout the workforce was so strong, Citi Bike voluntarily recognized their choice of Local 100 as the workers’ representative.

The union represents bus and subway workers in the city, and Local 100 President John Samuelsen said:

We view bike sharing as another important mode of public transit. We fully intend to throw our energy and political support behind expanding these bike-sharing systems and ensuring they are designed in a way to support existing transportation networks.

He also said that contract bargaining will focus on “advancing the livelihoods of bike share workers” and added that bike share workers in several other cities are seeking union representation.

The New York victory, said Citi Bike worker Dolly Winter, “feels great, very empowering.”

In related news, last week the 550 call takers and reservation agents at Global Contact Services in Queens, N.Y., who schedule paratransit services for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, voted to join Local 100. Read more here.

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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Study Takes Down T-Mobile’s ‘Facade of Good Behavior’ Toward Workers

If you looked at the list of awards T-Mobile has received over the past few years as a “Top Workplace,” “Best Place to Work,” “Best Employer,” etc., you might be knocking on the door to apply for a job—despite the history of National Labor Relations Board complaints against T-Mobile for its alleged mistreatment of workers.

University of Massachusetts sociology professor Tom Juravich and graduate student Essie Ablavsky decided to take a closer look at the accolades T-Mobile touts as proof it is a top-flight employer and found that the awards are as phony as T-Mobile’s claims.

The study, “The Corporate Rating Sham: The Case of T-Mobile,” found that the majority of corporate recognition contests are based on self-nomination and self-reported data with little independent verification. The programs often lack transparency in terms of the criteria used for evaluation, resulting in the inclusion of questionable employers, and many of the firms conducting national evaluations also provide consulting services to the same companies they are supposed to be rating. According to the report:

Rather than evaluating actual company performance, the ratings are a better indicator of a company’s allocations of resources to win awards and its work to create a facade of good behavior.

Juravich and Ablavsky say that at the same time T-Mobile was named one of the “World’s Most Ethical Companies” by one corporate ratings organization, a highly respected independent analyst gave T-Mobile a CCC rating, the lowest score possible.

As the National Consumers League (NCL) points out, T-Mobile has drawn the attention of concerned observers—members of Congress, investors, progressive organizations—for its treatment of workers, “ranging from overbearing and disrespectful management styles, to suppression of workers’ rights.” Says NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg:

T-Mobile is a good demonstration of what is wrong with corporate recognition awards. The company’s well-known problematic labor practices put these ‘best of’ awards in doubt. A company’s treatment of workers must be a key factor in any ratings process, and awards for quality must not be allowed to mask abusive workplace policies.

T-Mobile workers at call centers and retail stores across the country have been fighting for a voice on the job and respect at work for several years. They say they have faced an extensive anti-union campaign by the company that in 2012 closed seven call centers in the United States and shipped more than 3,300 jobs overseas.

The Communications Workers of America (CWA) and ver.di, which represents workers at T-Mobile’s parent company Deutsche Telekom, are working to help T-Mobile workers get the union representation they want. Find out more at TMobileWorkersUnited.

Click here to hear from workers about what it’s really like to work at T-Mobile.

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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New Website Keeps You on Top of Southern California Carwash Workers’ Fight for Justice

New Website Keeps You on Top of Southern California Carwash Workers' Fight for Justice

We’ve been reporting on the fight for justice for Southern California carwash workers—and their CLEAN Carwash campaign’s many victories—since the carwasheros launched their campaign. Now with a new website, you can keep up with the latest developments in the workers’ campaign.

Here are some of the new features:

  • There’s the “A Better Carwash” map of union carwashes, which is constantly updated as we have more victories for workers. This way, you’ll always know where the latest carwashes are that have fair wages and working conditions throughout California.
  • There’s also an Action Center that gives people more ways to help carwash workers beyond “Like” us on Facebook (which is cool, too, but sometimes we want to do more, right?).
  • The campaign’s blog features regular and personalized blog posts from a worker’s perspective about important issues, struggles and developments in the campaign that you’ll want to know about.
  • A new Worker Center page that not only lays out the work of this important service to “carwasheros” but creates ways to contribute to it in different forms as well.

Check it all out, bookmark the site and use it as a resource for knowing all about the campaign, its progress and changes in the industry. You also can follow the CLEAN Carwash Campaign on Facebook and Twitter.

For news on New York City carwash workers, visit the WASH New York campaign and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union website.

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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Sunday At Last, Sunday Football! And It Comes with a Union Label

Photo by Craig Hawkins via Flickr/Creative Commons

The first Sunday of the NFL season is here—the world champion Seattle Seahawks kicked off the action Thursday with a 36–16 win over the Green Bay Packers. But while we are settling into our recliners and couches or at our favorite sports bar, thousands of union members, on and off the field, are making sure the games run as smoothly as Peyton Manning’s two-minute drill.

From Soldier Field in Chicago to “Jerry World” in Dallas and at stadiums around the country, nearly 1,700 members (active and practice squad players) of the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) are seeing their first action of the 2014 season. The other folks on the field—the men in the striped shirts—are members of the NFL Referees Association.

The announcers, camera operators, technicians, field workers and other hardworking folks bringing the game to your flat-screened football cave or favorite bar include members of SAG-AFTRA, National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians-CWA (NABET-CWA), Electrical Workers (IBEW) and Laborers (LIUNA).

For the fans who head for the concessions in many stadiums, their hot dogs will be served and their beer will be drawn by union members, including the 25,000 UNITE HERE members who work at some 58 NFL and other major league stadiums and arenas.

If you didn’t get a chance earlier this year, check out how one Seahawk fan and IBEW Local 191 member transformed himself into the large, green and angry SeaHulk—far more frightening than the Seattle secondary. Our friend David Groves at the Washington State Labor Council’s (WSCL’s) The Stand reported in February the story of how the local area contractors and others came together and raised the funds to make sure the SeaHulk (aka Tim Froemke) and his crew of body painters made it to the Super Bowl. Groves also pointed out that the Seahawks players are affiliates of the WSCL.

Check out this handy list of union-made products below so you can plan NFL Sunday watch parties that are all union, all the way:

football2014_email

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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Jobless Rate Drops to 6.1%, but Just 142,000 Jobs Added in August

The economy added 142,000 jobs in August, down from July’s increase of 209,000 new jobs, but the unemployment rate dipped slightly to 6.1% compared to July’s 6.2%, according to figures released this morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Over the past year, the unemployment rate has dropped by 1.1 percentage points and the number of jobless workers has decreased by 1.7 million.

While the improved jobs numbers over the past several months show the economy is beginning to recover, job growth is still not robust enough to provide jobs for the millions who remain out of work or to boost wages for most Americans.

AFL-CIO Policy Director and Special Counsel Damon Silvers said,

Despite some real improvements lately, labor market conditions are still consistent with a recession, especially when it comes to wages where there has been no trend whatsoever that shows any significant move to higher wages.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was 3 million, compared to 3.2 million in July. But even with that drop, long-term joblessness continues to plague the economy. Yet House Republicans have, since the end of last year, refused to allow a vote on the extension of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits program that was approved by a bipartisan Senate majority. They are unlikely to change course when they return to work next week following their five-week summer vacation—something long-term unemployed workers certainly didn’t take.

Last month’s biggest job gains were in professional and business services (47,000), health care (34,000), leisure and hospitality (22,000) and construction (20,000).

Employment in other major industries, including manufacturing, retail trade, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities and government, showed little change in July.

Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) President Scott Paul said:

This jobs report is a big disappointment for factory workers. While we can never read too much into just a month’s worth of data, a goose egg for manufacturing doesn’t look like progress to me. And it will be hard to consistently move the manufacturing jobs number up unless our goods trade deficit with China comes down.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates in August showed little or no change for adult men (5.7%), adult women (5.7%), teenagers (19.6%), whites (5.3%), blacks (11.4%) and Latinos (7.5%).

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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Biden Praises Shipyard Workers as ‘Best in the World,’ Cites Apprenticeships, Training

Via Vice President Joe Biden's Twitter account

Vice President Joe Biden called the nearly 5,000 workers at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard—most of whom are members of unions in the AFL-CIO Metal Trades Department—“the best in the world,” during a visit to the Kittery, Maine, facility Wednesday.

I’ve traveled a million miles around the world as vice president and I traveled a million miles before that and the fact of the matter is you’re the best in the world. It’s true.

Biden also highlighted the emphasis by union and management on the training and apprenticeships that equip the workers with the skills needed to overhaul, repair and modernize the Navy’s Los Angeles class nuclear submarine fleet. Biden said apprenticeship and training programs at the facility are a model for private enterprises and for America’s path to revitalizing the middle class.

You’ve kept the most highly skilled workforce here in Maine and in New Hampshire. The rest of the world, the rest of the nation, private enterprise can learn a lot from your example.

Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), one of several Maine and New Hampshire lawmakers who accompanied Biden on the shipyard tour, said:

This is world-class work that you do, and everyone knows it.

Biden also told the workers that, along with the need to invest in workforce training and make higher education more accessible, workers must be able to share in the profits their productivity produces for corporations.

If you are responsible for the profit your corporation made, you as workers should have the opportunity to share in the benefits, share in the profits. That’s how we did business until relatively recently. That’s how we built the middle class.

Biden is leading a White House initiative on workforce development and job training that is working with employers, industry associations and labor unions in designing education and job training programs. A major goal of the program, said President Barack Obama earlier this year, is to:

Train Americans with the skills employers need and match them to good jobs that need to be filled right now. That means more on-the-job training and more apprenticeships that set a young worker on an upward trajectory for life.

Biden released his “Ready to Work” report on the same day Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which encourages the formation of joint labor-management skill training partnerships. More information on the WIOA is available from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Learn more at the White House’s Ready to Work website.

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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San Francisco Taxi Workers Vote to Unionize

Photo by Lynn Friedman/Flckr Creative Commons

San Francisco taxi drivers last week voted to form the San Francisco Taxi Workers Alliance (SFTWA) and affiliate with the National Taxi Workers Alliance (NTWA). They are the second group of taxi workers in recent weeks to join with NTWA following the Montgomery County (Md.) Professional Drivers Union’s affiliation.

Beth Powder, a driver for DeSoto Cab. Co., told the San Francisco Examiner:

Cabdrivers are very independent people, and that’s one of the beauties of this industry—that you have a diverse group of people who bring all these different elements to the table. Unfortunately, what it translates to for everybody else is that we can’t get together and find consensus. But we’ve done just that.

NTWA President Bhairavi Desai said:

San Francisco used to have progressive working conditions, in that every driver could earn a medallion and it was a very progressive model. But in the last 10 years, San Francisco has been faced with very bitter attacks, with [rideshares] being the latest of the attacks.

The 150 drivers who voted unanimously to form the SFTWA also pledged to mobilize to bring more drivers into the union.

San Francisco taxi workers were unionized before World War II, but by the late 1970s unions had faded. Mark Gruberg, 72, a taxi driver for 30 years who is still driving, told the Examiner:

There’s a new breath of life in unionism. And we in San Francisco are going to be part and parcel of that.

In a post on NTWA’s Facebook page about the San Francisco action, Javaid Tariq comments, “Taxi drivers are united all over the USA.”

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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