While most attention in the Boston tragedy is rightfully focused on the victims of last Monday's bombings at the Boston Marathon, the damage done by the terrorist attacks didn't end with the explosions or the subsequent shootout that led to additional deaths. Much of the city shut down during the manhunt for the terror suspects; and while most salaried employees could take the day off without losing pay, low-wage workers did not have that luxury. Other workers were forced to work long hours or brave dangerous conditions to get their jobs done.
The Missouri Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that when cities, school boards and other public bodies bargain with workers’ unions, they must do so in good faith with the intention of reaching an agreement. While that may seem like common sense to most of us, two earlier rulings, including one from 1957, said that while such public entities are obligated to recognize the workers’ unions, they did not have to bargain.
Working people up and down the East Coast are pitching in to alert people about the clean up efforts for Hurricane Sandy and provide information for transportation, shelter and other resources. Firefighters, public employees, utility workers, letter carriers, nurses, grocery store employees, hotel workers and others continued to work through the storm to make sure everyone is taken care of. Once again, we’re reminded that work connects us all, and we’re better together. Here are some unions and agencies you can follow on Twitter and Facebook who've been hard at work during the storm:
City leaders in Camden, N.J., who plan to fire all 273 police officers on the city’s force in favor of low-paid, nonunion mercenaries, should “learn a lesson from the NFL referee debacle,” says AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka:
Though replacement refs threatened a game we love, a replacement police force threatens lives and puts our families and communities at risk. The decision by Camden city leaders is irresponsible and unacceptable and should be rescinded immediately.
Unfathomable that Camden city leaders plan to fire entire police force & use replacements - have they not learned the lesson from the NFL?
But it gets even worse: Ryan’s plan, which the U.S. House has approved already, would gut what little is left of state budgets by slashing funding for a range of programs. States and localities would lose $247 billion from 2013 through 2021, in addition to the cuts they would absorb because of caps on national spending, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). (Click on chart at left to expand.)
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka put Mitt Romney's recent statements on public employees into perspective Sunday. Speaking on CBS's "Face the Nation," Trumka said:
Mitt Romney says he wants fewer teachers—that means larger classrooms. He says he wants fewer firefighters—that means less safety. I mean, rich people will probably still have good protection; working-class people won’t. He wants fewer police officers—that means we’re in danger.
Donald Cohen, founder and executive director of In the Public Interest, a national resource center on privatization and responsible contracting, sends us this.
It seems there’s no public service or piece of property that private companies are not eyeing as potential revenue streams. While funding anti-government think tanks like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), companies like Corrections Corporation of America, Waste Management, Maximus, Intuit, Laidlaw, Northrup Grumman, Koch Companies, Macquarie Capital Advisers, Pinnacle West, and UnitedHealthcare are hoping to use government as their candy store.
AFL-CIO Field Communications staffer Cathy Sherwin sends us this report.
Opponents of working people in Michigan are pushing a bill that would gut protections for workers hurt on the job and give employers more power to dictate where injured workers could seek treatment. The bill also would slash benefits by factoring in “imaginary” wages and pensions and deducting from benefits—reducing workers’ compensation by the amount someone might be able to earn, regardless of the availability of an actual job.
Cuts instituted by Congress for the 2011 fiscal year eliminate some 370,000 jobs, while endangering the public and delaying necessary repairs and infrastructure work that will only be more expensive to complete in the future, according to a new report from the Center for American Progress (CAP).
Yesterday, President Obama was in Colorado highlighting his plan to put Americans back to work modernizing the nation’s aging schools and to make sure there are plenty of teachers to fill those schools. The plan involves $30 billion to put hundreds of thousands of Americans to work modernizing at least 35,000 schools across the country, and $35 billion to save the jobs of 280,000 teachers, police, firefighters and other first responders. American Progress puts the Republican opposition to the president’s plan in perspective.