From MoveOn.org, Robert Reich connects the dots for the short-attention-span crowd.
Archive for the ‘Labor’ Category
The Metro New York Labor Communications Council is having its annual convention on June 17, and the lineup is excellent. The morning panel on Framing the Public Sector will include PSC/CUNY President Barbara Bowen, AFSCME Public Affairs director Chris Policano, FAIR Program director Janine Jackson, Bill Hohlfeld of Ironworkers Local 46, and Amy Goodman of Democracy NOW! The Distinguished Labor Communicator Award will go to Frances Fox Piven.
At a rally and march in Lower Manhattan, thousands of UFT members on May 12 unleashed their anger at Mayor Bloomberg for threatening to lay off teachers when the city has a $3.2 billion surplus and Wall Street has not been asked to pay its share.
Recently, we received an odd comment to a February 22 post on a rally supporting Wisconsin unions:
I met some wonderful Socialists and Communists at this rally…so good that Teachers can stand shoulder to shoulder with our brothers and sisters in social justice! Cant wait for the next one!
It is unusual to receive comments more than a month after a post was published, and the message was a bit bizarre, so we googled the email of the person who left it. It turns out that firstname.lastname@example.org was one of the emails used in the smear of Shirley Sherrod, the civil rights movement veteran and former USDA official who had her speech to the NAACP edited to misrepresent her as a racist.
Whatever your real name is, Bona1173, your schtick is really old.
At the AFL-CIO Now blog, Martin Luther King III explains why his father would be on the front lines today supporting public employees.
Forty-three years ago my father, Martin Luther King Jr., was assassinated while he was in Memphis, Tenn., supporting a strike of municipal sanitation workers. It was, in his eyes, more than a quest for a few more dollars in a paycheck. He saw the strike as part of the great struggle of his time—a struggle for democracy, for truth, for justice and for human dignity.
These are the same basic reasons that my father would be joining with millions of other Americans today in supporting public employees in Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio and other states, where collective bargaining is now under attack.
Today is the forty-third anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
King was struck down as he provided support to the struggle of Memphis sanitation workers, largely African-American, to unionize. In honor of King’s last civil rights struggle, labor unions across the United States will be engaged in a day of demonstrations and actions. Here in New York City, the UFT is hosting a candle light vigil in Battery Park at 7 PM.
The AFL-CIO has a website, We Are One, which reports on all of the actions across the United States.
International unions are sending messages of solidarity with American workers, as we fight to preserve the right to unionize and organize which King supported. See all of the statements, including the Egyptian and Iraqi labor federations, at the bottom of this page.
The National Archives has documents and materials which can be used to teach about King’s final days in Memphis.
Join us in Battery Park on Monday, April 4, 7 p.m., as the UFT hosts a candlelight vigil honoring the memory of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. It was on April 4, 1968 that Dr. King, who was in Memphis to lead a protest march in support of striking sanitation workers, was assassinated.
This rally is just one part of a national mobilization by organized labor to mark that anniversary with marches, rallies and other activities, as well as to support workers all across the United States who are fighting for jobs and economic justice.
Take the AFT’s “We Are One” pledge, which includes suggestions for ways you can show your solidarity. As AFT President Randi Weingarten has said, our challenge is to take this moment and turn it into a movement.
A matter of months into the terms of office of various far right governors and legislatures supported by the Tea Party crowd, and the beginnings of a new “know nothing” cultural movement has begun to take shape.
Tea Party Governor Paul LePage has had a mural of Maine’s labor history removed from the state’s Department of Labor building, on the grounds that it might make businessman uncomfortable to see the events portrayed. (The full mural, part of which is reproduced here, is now the banner on the web page of the Maine Democratic Party.) Maine businessmen are apparently such a sensitive bunch that LePage also felt the need to erase the names of labor leaders, from Frances Perkins to Cesar Chavez, from meeting rooms in the building. While deeply concerned about the tender feelings of Maine’s fledgling bourgeoisie, LePage refused to attend Martin Luther King Day celebrations, and said of the Maine NAACP, “they can kiss my ass.”
At the blog of the New York Review of Books, noted author Gary Wills compares the removal of the labor mural to the infamous destruction of a mural painted for New York City’s Rockefeller Center by renowned modernist Diego Rivera, after John D. and Nelson Rockefeller took offense at the inclusion of a cameo portrait of Lenin in the painting.
At the same time, Steve Greenhouse reports in the New York Times that right wing foundations have filed Freedom of Information inquiries into the email accounts of labor friendly academics working at state universities in Wisconsin and Michigan. Greg Scholtz, the director of academic freedom for the American Association of University Professors, told the Times: “We think all this will have a chilling effect on academic freedom. We’ve never seen FOIA requests used like this before.”
Is it any surprise that in state after state, including Maine, these Tea Party partisans are seeking to overturn protections against child labor laws?
On the centennial of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, hear from a Walmart retail worker, a warehouse worker, and a Bangladeshi garment worker. “Sweatshop, Warehouse, Wamart: A Worker Truth Tour” aims to raise awareness about the system created by Walmart that keeps workers in a cycle of low wages, with no voice on the job, and working in dangerous conditions.
Aleya Akter, garment worker in Bangladesh
Kalpona Akter, former child garment worker, Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity
Robert Hines, warehouse worker in Chicago
Cynthia Murray, Walmart associate in Laurel, Maryland
The tour is sponsored by Making Change at Walmart (a campaign of the United Food and Commercial Workers), International Labor Rights Forum, Jobs with Justice, SweatFree Communities, and United Students Against Sweatshops.
For more information, go to SweatFree Communities »
To mark the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist fire, SEIU’s new media team produced an interactive piece illustrating some of the victories around working conditions and building codes that labor fought for over the past century.
Today is the centennial of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. This morning on WNYC, host Brian Lehrer remembered the event with guests:
- Joshua Freeman, professor of history at CUNY who wrote about the fire for The Nation
- Lillian Swanson, managing editor of The Forward, which is publishing a special issue to commemorate the fire.
- Emily Danies, whose grandmother skipped work on the day of the fire
- Tom Lansner, who remembers his great-aunt Fannie Lansner
- Suzanne Pred Bass, whose great-aunt Rosie Weiner died in the Triangle Fire
Listen to the show:
This Friday, March 25, is the centennial of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire that took the lives of 146 workers, mostly young immigrant women. This month, the New York Times’ City Room blog has been posting fascinating stories, photos, videos and archival material related to the fire and its impact.
There are profiles of individuals like Frances Perkins, Alfred E. Smith, and Robert F. Wagner who rose to prominence in the wake of the tragedy; scans of newspapers’ coverage of the fire, along with an analysis of how advancements in photojournalism and printing facilitated the dissemination of images of the tragedy, which helped to galvanize the public on the side of workers and unions; a piece about the NYU science labs that now occupy one of the floors of the building where the Triangle factory was located; and even a look at the factory’s eponymous garment, the American shirtwaist.
Those of you who are excellent teachers and who stand in solidarity with our unions are probably no stranger to the question, “Well, why are you involved with the union if you’re a good teacher?” It’s time for educators to stand up and answer that question loudly and clearly.
EDUSolidarity, a group of progressive educators, encourages you to explain how being a union member supports and enables you to be the kind of teacher that you are. Include personal stories if possible. Focus not only on your rights, but also on what it takes to be a great teacher for students and how unions support that.
Please submit your piece to the UFT at email@example.com and to EDUSolidarity using its online form that will go live at www.edusolidarity.us on March 22. Posts can also be shared on Twitter using the tag #edusolidarity.
Last week, John Darnielle of the California indie rock band the Mountain Goats recorded a message to workers in Wisconsin — a version of the traditional song “There is Power in a Union.”
The video’s caption reads:
Everybody knows I don’t generally do the acoustic guitar guy rocking political jams deal but as a former member of SEIU 660 & the California Association of Psychiatric Technicians & a kid who benefitted from great teachers I wanted to spend tonight saying WE ARE ON YOUR SIDE xo jd