Call center solidarity

The Communications Workers, Jobs with Justice and several union coalitions in India are joining together to study the impact of off-shoring of U.S. call center jobs to the South Asian nation, Press Associates Inc. reports.

In a soon-to-be released report, CWA said they will look at the impact of the shift of call center jobs not only on U.S. workers, but on the conditions of Indian workers as well. CWA aims to build ties with Indian unions to expand workers’ rights in both nations.

What next?

Speaking of off-shoring, the Steelworkers Union is denouncing what it calls a shocking new approach being taken by employers to minimize health care costs — sending employees to India or other lower-cost countries for expensive medical procedures.

Blue Ridge Paper Products, Inc., of Canton, N.C., proposed sending one of its employees, a USW member, to India for surgery — a move that would have saved the self-insured company tens of thousands of dollars.

After the USW intervened, the company withdrew the proposal.

“The right to safe, secure and dependable health care in one’s own country should not be surrendered for any reason — certainly not to fatten the profit margins of corporate investors,” said USW President Leo Gerard.

“This situation leaves no doubt that the U.S. health system is in immediate need of massive reform,” Gerard added.

AFL-CIO online en español

The AFL-CIO is now online in Spanish, the federation announced. A Spanish-language site can be linked to directly from the AFL-CIO site,, by clicking En Español.

It is critical that unions begin to speak in Spanish to Latino workers, says Alexandra Acosta of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement. The new site shows that the union movement cares about all workers, she adds. Spanish-speaking workers can learn about health and safety on the job, their rights at work, immigration and political action.

Operating engineers do heavy lifting on health care

Labor endorsements for HR 676, the national single-payer health care legislation introduced by Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), keep rolling in.

Philip Schloop, business manager of 6,000-member Local 547 of the Operating Engineers, explained his group’s support: “HR 676 is past due. Our elected leaders need to get on board. Our current system is unsustainable.”

By a unanimous vote on Sept. 8, the Mercer County Central Labor Council in Trenton, N.J., became the 40th central labor council to endorse the bill.

For a complete list of union endorsers, or a sample endorsement resolution, contact: Kay Tillow, All Unions Committee For Single Payer Health Care-HR 676,

This Week in Labor is compiled by Roberta Wood (