The former chief executive of Republic Windows and Doors, the company that abruptly closed here last winter without paying its workers severance and vacation pay, has been arrested and charged as part of a major financial crimes investigation.
As union members get ready for the 2009 AFL-CIO Convention, Pride At Work (PAW), an AFL-CIO constituency group, is among several union-related organizations meeting in Pittsburgh to plan for the future.
President Barack Obama’s dramatic re-framing of the national debate on health care this week has electrified labor leaders, progressive activists, union journalists and others pouring into the Steel City this week in advance of the AFL-CIO convention that opens here Sept. 10 and a meeting of leaders of the G-20 nations that will convene a week later.
PITTSBURGH- Delegates, alternates and others at the 26th AFL-CIO convention who are from states with Senators who serve on the Senate’s Finance Committee began calling those lawmakers Tuesday afternoon from the convention floor telling them that the bill they have drafted is unacceptable and that it must be fixed.
“This picket line is really speaking for all the people of Illinois who need decent health care,” Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn told striking workers at SK Hand Tools Corporation. “Health care is not a privilege. It’s a fundamental right as a human being.”
I’ve been walking in the Labor Day parade here in St. Louis since I can remember. I come from a union family and as a union member and activist, I’ve always felt compelled to spend this holiday with fellow workers; with operating engineers, with mechanics, plumbers, pipefitters, sheet metal workers, communications workers, electrical workers, teamsters, service employees, government employees. In fact, with all types of workers, brown, black and white, male and female, young and old.
Even in the face of the most severe economic crisis since the Great Depression, "labor solidarity does indeed work." So declared Gail Warner before a festive Sept. 7 Labor Day event at the Pullman State Historic Monument, site of the famous 1894 strike.
Warner is one of 50 mental health workers represented by AFSCME who fought four years to negotiate their first contract with Heartland Human Services in Effingham, Illinois. Warner announced the workers had finally won and returned to work September 2 after being on strike for a year, then returning to work and being locked out for a year. "We are proud of our victory. It shows if you organize and fight you can win," she said.
I got my all time favorite t-shirt from the AFL-CIO online store. It's black with red lettering and reads, "Kicking Ass for the Working Class."
The "Kicking Ass" part appeals to my Southern roots, experiences like going to the Pittston Miners strike in the rural mountains of southwest Virginia in 1989.
The fight for workers’ freedom to form unions comes to Washington, D.C., tomorrow night, as advocates, activists and concerned citizens travel here to visit their senators and demand passage of the Employee Free Choice Act.
Kent Wong, director of the UCLA Center for Labor Research and Education, says this Labor Day provides an opportunity for progressives to join together to rebuild the economy and reinvigorate the fight for social and economic justice.
Labor Day is a time to celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of working people throughout the generations. American workers are among the most productive in the world. Labor unions have been a positive social force that helped to build the American middle class, to improve wages and working conditions, to provide for health care and retirement benefits, and to ensure that the wealth generated by working people is fairly distributed.