In October, American Crystal Sugar Co.—which has locked out its highly trained 1,300 member workforce since August 2011—has been assessed nearly $50,000 in fines by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for widespread, “high gravity” and “serious” safety violations, including accumulation of combustible dust and failure to lock out equipment during maintenance and repair.
While Oregonians exercised power at the polls in the 2012 elections Tuesday, workers in Portland also were gearing up for another election that would give them a powerful voice on the job.
After electoral wins across the state and three successful organizing drives in the past three months, full-time, part-time and extra board paratransit drivers and dispatchers with First Transit Region 3 voted Wednesday to form their own union with the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 757. By an overwhelming margin, 160 employees voted to form the union in the election yesterday, which was conducted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
It certainly does, in a variety of different ways. Health care matters from the perspective of affordability, can each and every American afford health care? Health care matters from the perspective of access, does everyone have adequate access to meet their needs? Health care matters from a quality perspective, does every person receive the same quality of health care throughout their lifetime?
Thursday morning outside Sen. Rob Portman’s (R-Ohio) Cincinnati office (see photo), a young single mother and her son, Vincent, who has severe disabilities, talked about the vital role Medicaid plays in their lives and how devastating any cuts to that health care lifeline would be.
The action was just one of more than 100 last week by working family activists urging Congress not to agree to a so-called “grand bargain” of deficit reduction in the upcoming lame-duck session that includes Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefit cuts.
The conventional wisdom in Washington, D.C., and in much of the media, is that because of the deficit and debt, we need to make cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. A bipartisan commission led by Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles has promoted a plan that would cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and lower corporate taxes for the wealthy. Bowles and Simpson have been promoting their plan heavily and took to endorsing candidates who they believed would support their plan.
While working families are resting after an exhausting election cycle, working people and union members are continuing to mobilize. Before the end of the year, Congress will meet in a "lame-duck" session and tackle numerous issues that could have powerful effects on the lives of middle-class Americans.