As we get ready for the 2013 AFL-CIO Convention in September, we’re asking people like you what we can do together to make a better future for working people and to build a bigger and stronger labor movement. Daily Kos labor editor Laura Clawson gets the discussion going on the just-launched AFL-CIO 2013 Convention website with this question:
The sustained war on workers from the right has left unions trying to prevent rights from being weakened rather than setting the agenda. Where are the opportunities to play some offense?
At our AFL-CIO Convention in September, the AFL-CIO needs to be ready to make decisions about how the union movement should change and what we can do together to make a better future for working people. We’re taking a hard look inward, at ourselves, and also asking for ideas from everybody who’ll share them—from people inside and outside the labor movement, from progressives, academics, student groups. We want ideas from anyone who cares deeply about building a real movement for working people.
Bucking a trend that has seen private equity firms buy business to bleed then shut down, United Steelworkers (USW) members at three Wisconsin paper mills and KPS Capital Partners have reached a new four-year collective bargaining agreement that workers ratified today.
Las Vegas taxi drivers represented by the Industrial, Technical and Professional Employees Union (ITPEU)/OPEIU Local 4873 won a new contract as a result of their 60-day strike at Yellow Checker Star Transportation. Drivers will receive a share of the metered fares, reinstatement of eligibility for a four-day/12-hours-a-day workweek, increases in annual bonuses and other benefits. The new contract was signed Thursday morning.
The teachers and staff in one of Chicago’s largest charter school networks overwhelmingly voted to join the Chicago Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff (Chicago ACTS), an AFT affiliate. The more than 400 educators work at the 13 schools, with about 6,500 students, that are operated by the United Neighborhood Organization (UNO).
Students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison staged a sit-in in Chancellor David Ward's office Tuesday to demand that the school cut ties with Palermo's Pizza because of an on-going strike at the pizza company based on allegations of attacks on workers' rights. A dozen students participated in the sit-in before voluntarily leaving at police requests. One student, Maxwell Love, refused to leave and was arrested on charges of criminal trespassing and resisting arrest. Hundreds of supporters of the sit-in rallied outside and a number of them blocked a police van when Love was arrested.
It's been a good few years for taxi drivers gaining a voice on the job. Today in Austin, Texas, the National Taxi Workers Alliance (NTWA) granted its first local chapter charter since it joined the AFL-CIO. The NTWA was chartered by the AFL-CIO in 2011, with New York City and Philadelphia locals as the founding members.
The joint effort known as the “Oregon Organizing Project” has helped more than 3,000 Oregon workers win a voice on the job in the past several months. In the most recent campaign, several Oregon unions pitched in and worked together to help more than 300 Head Start workers at Mount Hood Community College who wanted to form a union to address serious workplace concerns.