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The Australian Green Bans: When Construction Workers Went on Strike for the Environment

July 28, 2020 / Steve MorseImagine a building trades union that broke new ground in the 1970s in its support for environmentalism, community preservation, and women, and in its opposition to racism, even as it fought hard for all its members. Imagine a union that determined what got built, based on community interests rather than profit and greed.

Relief—that’s what Niki Gurgen, a personal support worker (PSW) at the Hillcrest Reactivation Centre rehabilitation hospital in Toronto felt when she heard about the $4 per hour “pandemic premium” the Ontario government was providing to health care and other essential workers.
A former electrical engineer who emigrated to Canada from the country of Georgia in 2005, Gurgen is also president of the new local of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) at her workplace—so new, there isn’t even a collective agreement yet—and she knows her co-workers could use the increase.

The battle for union democracy is uphill but crucial to reviving a fighting labor movement. No person did more to advance it than Herman Benson (1915-2020), founder of the Association for Union Democracy.
Benson was instrumental to securing passage of the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, and in the decades that followed, his ceaseless advocacy pushed forward the interpretation of that law.

When your hospital’s business plan is built around making workers less safe from COVID, the path to striking during a pandemic becomes much clearer.
Workers at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital in Sonoma County, California, are wrapping up a five-day strike today. It’s the largest health care worker strike during COVID and, as insane as it might sound, we’re fighting major takeaways.

Maine Shipbuilders Bring the Hammer Down to Reject Concessions

July 23, 2020 / Andy O'BrienMore than 4,300 shipbuilders at the Bath Iron Works shipyard in Bath, Maine, are entering the sixth week of the largest private sector strike in the U.S. this year.
It wasn’t assured that the members would vote to strike in such a difficult economic climate. In previous years, BIW management had pressured workers to accept concessionary contracts that froze wages and eroded job quality, ostensibly to stay competitive on bids for lucrative Navy and Coast Guard contracts.

Lessons from the Amazon Tax Victory in Seattle

July 23, 2020 / Jonathan RosenblumPressed by a relentless working class movement, the Seattle City Council on July 6 adopted a first-time-ever tax on Amazon and other big businesses that will bring in at least $214 million a year to fund affordable housing, Green New Deal projects, and union jobs.

When the work calls for heavy-duty cable cutting, there’s no better tool than the Klein Tools High-Leverage Compact Cable Cutter.  The forged steel and the hot riveted joint ensure clean cuts.  This is a compact, durable, and powerful tool that will get the job done.
The post IBEW Hour Power: Watts New – High-Leverage Compact Cable Cutter appeared first on IBEW Hour Power.

Full Steam Ahead on Reopening Schools? No Way, Say Teachers

July 21, 2020 / Monique Dols and Peter LamphereDonald Trump has launched an all-out war to reopen schools across the country this fall. Educators are standing up to resist plans that would put our students, their families, or our co-workers in danger.

I felt a jolt when I heard the news of the Supreme Court’s ruling: the 1964 Civil Rights Act (which outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin in hiring, promoting, and firing) also protects LGBTQ workers.
As a queer worker, I greeted this ruling with a sigh of relief: up until June 15 fewer than half the states had explicit protections for LGBTQ workers.

Detroit-area teachers mounted a five-stop car caravan today, determined to tell administrators “Safe School or No School!”
“The numbers need to be down,” said Andrea Thompson, a college advisor for Detroit public schools. “Right now it's a spike.” New daily coronavirus cases in Michigan were at 74 on June 15 but by July 15 had surged to 891.