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Deirdre Fulton – How the Decline in Union Membership Is Hurting All of Us: Report

The decline of organized labor in the United States has contributed significantly to wage stagnation and rising inequality, according to a new report released Tuesday by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). “Rebuilding our system of collective bargaining is an important tool available for fueling wage growth for both low- and middle-wage workers and ending the era of persistent wage stagnation.” …

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Deirdre Fulton – In Major Ruling, Grad Students Win Right to Unionize at Private Universities

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) said Tuesday that graduate students who work as teaching and research assistants at private colleges are employees—a ruling with “big implications” for both higher education and organized labor in the United States. Inside Higher Ed explains: The NLRB said that a previous ruling by the board—that these workers were not entitled to collective bargaining because they are …

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Alternative Visions – French Workers Protests Rising. Will There Be A General Strike? – 05.20.16

Jack Rasmus interviews Alan Benjamin, eyewitness to developing events in France, where workers and students are protesting and striking against government attempts to impose by edict changes in France’s labor code that will allow corporations to fire and lay off workers more easily, undermine unions and collective bargaining, and privatize broad sectors of the French economy. Traveling to France on numerous occasions in recent months, and just returning from a week ago, Benjamin describes the growing opposition in France to the so-called ‘labor market reforms’ imposed by Presidential edict by the Hollande government there. Growing one day, rolling strikes, and spreading student-worker protests across the country are resulting in growing government violence against the protestors. Discussions are intensifying within France’s labor union federations to consider a general strike to get the government to back off of its proposed labor ‘reforms’. A recent country-wide poll in France shows 78% opposed to the reforms, as the government declares it will not back down. Jack explains how ‘labor market reform’ in France and Europe today is a reflection of similar changes in jobs occurring globally—including shift to part time, temp, contract work, offshoring and relocation of full time employment to emerging markets, shift to low pay/no benefits service work, and emerging trends like ‘gig’ economy, no pay internships, and privatization of social benefits.

Alan Benjamin is a delegate of the San Francisco Labor Council and member of the OPEIU, who works in Europe and the US. He is also a member of the US ‘Labor Fightback Network’ of unionists in the US. More information on events in France is available at www.laborfightbacknetwork.org and at www.socialistorganizer.org.

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Russell Mokhiber – The Corporate Case for Single Payer

Mingling among the doctors, nurses and activists at the single payer conferences in Chicago this weekend was one Richard Master. Master is the owner and CEO of MCS Industries Inc., the nation’s leading supplier of wall and poster frames — a $200 million a year company based in Easton, Pennsylvania. Master has just produced a movie — Fix It: Healthcare …

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Alternative Visions – Chrysler Auto Workers Fight To Resurrect Union Bargaining and Their Union – 10.16.15

Jack Rasmus welcomes long time UAW auto worker rank and file activist, Gregg Shotwell, to discuss the current negotiations between UAW and Chrysler Fiat. Gregg explains why the first proposed contract was rejected 2 to 1 by auto workers, and the issues remaining with the pending re-vote on a second proposal. Gregg explains the importance of the fight to end two tier second class worker citizenship in Auto, where 45% of the workers at Chrysler today are temp and receive half pay without retirement or health benefits. Key issues are discussed, including ending two tier, getting a raise after 10 years without any, demands for overtime pay after 8 hrs work, ending alternative work scheduling, preventing management from passing costs for the health care tax (Obamacare) onto workers, and other issues in the first rejected contract recommended by UAE ‘concession caucus’ leaders. Gregg explains how Chrysler was bought by Fiat without paying anything, and how managers, salaried workers and stockholders have gotten big payoffs the past decade while workers have been frozen in pay and benefits, despite Chrysler sitting on a $4 billion cash hoard and Chrysler workers have taken a 24% pay cut since 2007. The second contract proposal about to come up for another vote is discussed by Gregg. Both Jack and Gregg discuss the potential significance of the Chrysler contract for reversing trends that have devastated auto and other workers in the US and decimated US unions and collective bargaining. As Shotwell explains succinctly: US workers everywhere have been “working longer, harder and for less money”, not just in auto. Can Chrysler workers begin a ‘march back’ for US workers? Listen to the discussion by long time rank and filer, Shotwell, with decades and deep roots in the UAW.

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Fraud, Waste, and Lies: Charter Schools Cheating Communities Out of Millions of Dollars – Sarah Lazare

Accepting and soliciting bribes. Diverting public funds for personal profit. Lying about the number of students. These are just a few examples of the fraud and malfeasance committed by charter school officials—cheating communities out of millions dollars that were supposed to go to education, a new report finds. The Tip of the Iceberg: Charter School Vulnerabilities to Waste, Fraud, and …

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Strikes Grow in China as Grassroots Labor Movement Takes Shape

As the economic landscape in China continues to shift, an awakening working class is demanding fair treatment and higher wages—and the movement is picking up steam. The Associated Press on Monday highlighted the emerging resistance to workplace exploitation and authoritarian government policies that has steadily grown over the past four years, with numbers of strikers doubling annually since 2011 until they reached more than …