Indiana’s C&M Conveyor (& Occupy Austin) Against Blue Sage

By: Thursday June 14, 2012 6:30 pm

Last week we heard from the United Steelworkers on behalf of C&M Conveyor, a firm in Mitchell, Indiana. They unionized with United Steel a year ago but have struggled with the company’s owners, vulture capitalists Blue Sage Capital who have refused to give them a contract while cutting their hours, wages, health care and retirement benefits. Though health insurance is theoretically provided, the insurance deductible to cover a family is $10,000, leaving some workers literally bankrupt after medical emergencies. Many workers are so broke that they qualify for food stamps.

Today we protested at Blue Sage’s downtown Austin offices.

 

America’s Failed Mole-by-Mole Trade Policy

By: Wednesday February 8, 2012 7:08 pm

Last week several groups, including the United Steelworkers, petitioned the federal government to whack the latest trade mole – illegally traded auto parts from China.

With President Obama announcing creation of a new trade enforcement unit in his State of the Union Address, the feds probably will investigate. But even if they whack down the auto parts mole, experience has shown a new mole will pop up.

Retirees Occupy Century Aluminum

By: Wednesday February 1, 2012 12:26 pm

On Dec. 18, a dozen retirees, men and women in their 60s, 70s, even 80s, began occupying a median strip along Route 33 in front of the closed Century Aluminum smelter in Ravenswood, W.Va. In tents and under tarps, a small group stays overnight, despite hypertension, arthritis and other old age ailments. They’re protesting Century Aluminum evicting them from the health insurance coverage they earned as workers.

Don’t Tread on U.S. Workers

By: Thursday September 24, 2009 1:30 pm

Photo credit: otherthings

It’s been a couple of weeks since President Obama agreed to enforce U.S. trade laws in a case involving tire imports from China—and you’d think by the reaction in some anti-worker quarters he was creating the equivalent of death panels.

In 2008 alone, China’s tire makers sold more than 46 million low-cost tires to this country for stores like Wal-Mart. More than 5,100 domestic consumer tire production jobs were lost between 2004 and 2008 by the flood of Chinese tire imports that undersold producers in the United States. Domestic tire companies have announced they will close more plants and eliminate another 3,000 jobs by the end of this year. (Check out a fact sheet on the tire decision here.)

In July, the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) ruled in favor of a United Steelworkers’ (USW‘s) petition filed under Section 421 of the Trade Act of 1974 as amended. The USITC found that tariff relief was needed to urgently reduce those tire imports. The USW, which represents most U.S. tire workers, demanded the Obama administration act forcefully to counter this import surge. And on Sept. 11, the Obama administration agreed to provide tariff relief by increasing the duty on tires from China for three years.

Findlay, Ohio, Chamber of Commerce Kills Parade Because Unions Backed It

By: Thursday July 23, 2009 1:30 pm

The Chamber of Commerce—that’s the U.S. Chamber of Commerce—proved once again how anti-American it is when it comes to supporting U.S. industry.

In Findlay, Ohio, unions had been organizing a parade and all-day event for this Saturday to highlight American-made products and the need for U.S. trade and economic policies that reward job growth in this country.

Auto Retirees were Promised Health Care; GM Deal Breaks the Promise

By: Thursday July 16, 2009 1:30 pm

Workers and retirees have suspected for years that companies often use bankruptcy as an excuse to cheat retirees out of their promised benefits. Now, three unions say that’s exactly what the U.S. Treasury Department is doing to tens of thousands of General Motors (GM) retirees.

RNC Dirty Tricks: Steele-ing a Union’s ID

By: Thursday June 18, 2009 1:30 pm

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele has been called a lot of names. Here’s another one for him: cheater.

It’s not surprising Steele and the Republicans are embarrassed about their party. But Steele has hit a new low (insert Munch’s “Scream” here): He’s set up an RNC fundraising page on Facebook made to look like it’s the United Steelworkers union.

Take the Pledge: Buy America

By: Thursday May 21, 2009 1:30 pm

So, the world isn’t flat after all. Not that those of us around the Lake ever bought into Thomas Friedman-speak. But many in this country did, especially those running the political show, and now we have a chance to shape a progressive future on the ashes of such failied visions.

And that progressive future needs a widespread recognition of the acceptance of the need to Buy America. A good first step is taking the American Auto Revivial Pledge.

Can’t Ship Out Those Green Jobs

By: Thursday April 23, 2009 1:30 pm

We’re giving up Styrofoam cups here at our building in Washington, D.C. Also doing an energy audit and taking a few other steps as a start toward making our building a green one—just some of the actions the AFL-CIO announced this week, in time for Earth Day.

Back in 1999, there was surprise over the “Teamsters and Turtles” alliance during protests against the World Trade Organization meetings in Seattle.

Labor: Wow, What a Week!

By: Thursday March 5, 2009 1:30 pm

There’s too much going on this week to focus on one topic. So here’s a rundown from the world of working people and their unions.

-Hilda Solis made her first public appearance as labor secretary during the AFL-CIO Executive Council meeting in Miami, where she toured an Electrical Workers (IBEW) union training facility and held a meeting in the inner city with 700 community members.

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