If you need proof that America has a problem with wage theft, look no further than the AMC Loews movie theater in downtown Boston. Several years ago, six janitors contracted to work at the theater hadn’t been paid for their work in months. When they finally spoke up, the contracting company fired them all.
The commonwealth of Massachusetts is joining a national trend to expand voting rights. While some states are moving in the other direction, more states expanded voting rights in 2013 than contracted them; and the trend is likely to continue in 2014. First up, the Massachusetts Senate passed a bill, H. 3788, that significantly expands the voting rights of residents. The bill passed by a 37–1 vote. It is similar to a House bi–ll that passed 141–10 last year. A conference committee will have to mend the differences between the two bills, but with the overwhelming majorities that passed it in each house and strong vocal support from Gov. Deval Patrick (D), the bill seems likely to become law.
Last week's debate in the special Senate election in Massachusetts shows a sharp contrast in the positions of the two candidates hoping to replace new Secretary of State John Kerry. Democrat Edward Markey and Republican Gabriel Gomez differ greatly on the rights of government workers. Markey gave a spirited defense of the collective bargaining rights of first responders and others who work for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Activists rallied in front of the Beacon Street Dunkin' Donuts in Boston to build support for a bill in the state legislature that would require employers to give earned sick leave hours to their employees. The bill is sponsored by state Sen. Dan Wolf and state Rep. Kay Khan and would ensure that workers get one hour of sick time for each 30 hours they work, up to a maximum of at least 40 hours a year, depending on the size of the company (smaller companies have some exemptions).
Frank Callahan, president of the Massachusetts Building Trades Council, sends us this open letter.
I am sure that many of you share my frustration at trying to sift through campaign commercials and talking points to find out where the candidates for president really stand on issues that are important to you. Part of the problem is Mitt Romney’s habit of changing his positions to suit his audience.
One thing he can’t change is his record. I had a front-row seat for Mitt Romney’s term as governor of Massachusetts. His positions and his actions on the issues that have a direct impact on building and construction trades workers were not good for our members.
AFT’s "Your Vote–Your Right–Their Futures” bus tour is rolling through Florida this week building support and getting out the vote for President Obama and other working family candidates. AFT President Randi Weingarten, AFT Secretary-Treasurer Lorretta Johnson, along with local and state AFT officials and members, will meet with union and community election volunteers and activists for rallies, marches and neighborhood walks.
Check out the AFL-CIO's new Innovators website feature, "Not Your Daddy's Labor Movement," here.
Leave behind what you know about Robert's Rules of Order and structured union meetings. A new generation of emerging labor leaders across the country is bringing young workers together in paintball games, music festivals, trivia nights and pub crawls—all with an activist edge.