Monday, May 12, 2014
Labor Quiz: Fast Food's Worst
This Week's Quiz: According to the U.S. Department of Labor, which fast food company
<![endif]>has the worst record of wage and hour violations? Subway; McDonald's; Dunkin' Donuts; Burger King. Click here and you could be next week's winner of a labor music CD!
Previous Quiz: Last week Republicans in the U.S. Senate killed efforts to increase the minimum wage. Those same Senators, who currently are paid $174,000 per year, will receive a cost of living increase in January, 2015 that will raise their wages by: $500; $1,200; $2,800; $3,200. Answer: $2,800. Congrats to Tony Kiwak, UAW retiree, Lakeland, Fla., this week's quiz (and labor music CD) winner!
Labor Humor: Super Bowl Tickets
Union-buster Bill has 50 yard line tickets for the Super Bowl. As he sits down, another man comes down from a stadium seat higher up and asks if anyone is sitting in the empty seat
<![endif]>next to him. "No," Bill the buster says, "The seat is empty."
"This is incredible," said the man. "Who in their right mind would have a seat like this for the Super Bowl, the biggest sporting event in the world, and not use it?"
Bill replies, "Well, actually, the seat belongs to me. I was supposed to come with my wife, but she passed away. This is the first Super Bowl we haven't attended together since we got married in 1967."
"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that sad news. But couldn't you find someone else—a friend or relative, or even a neighbor to take the seat?"
The union-buster shakes his head... click here for the punchline.
—Got a labor joke you'd like to share? Email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org; if we use it in the newsletter, you'll get credit and a prize!
Member Tip: What Happens if the Parties Deadlock In a Contract Negotiation?
If a tentative contract is voted down by the members, what next? Sometimes, the two sides will return to the bargaining table and try again to work out an acceptable deal. But
<![endif]>sometimes they won't go back to negotiating, and a deadlock results. When this happens, a variety of mechanisms may kick in to determine the outcome. Sometimes, the parties call in a mediator, who is a neutral labor professional who works with both sides, to try to find areas of acceptable compromise. If common ground can't be found, the union can call a strike in the hope that the employer's loss of production or ability to provide services to customers will force a softening of its bargaining position. On the employer side of the equation, it may seek to turn up the heat by closing the facility and "locking out" the workers, thereby cutting off their paychecks. Historically, disputes that develop this way have been resolved when one side or the other feels pressured enough to make additional compromises in order to reach an agreement.
—Adapted from The Union Member's Complete Guide, by Michael Mauer
<![endif]>Labor Song: Storm About Us, by Healy & Juravich
From the CD Tangled In Our Dreams comes this collaboration by Ottawa-based Teresa Healy and Tom Juravich from Northampton, Mass. This acoustic recording of mostly original duets about work, peace, struggle and love, is above all a vocal album. Healy & Juravich trade melodies and weave tight vocal harmonies on every track. Together, Healy's clear, Irish-influenced alto and Juravich's huskier baritone combine as if they have been singing together their whole lives.
—Many of the songs featured here are available from the Labor Heritage Foundation at http://www.laborheritage.org/. Click here to listen to the song.
Labor Book: Mother Jones—The Most Dangerous Woman in America
Her rallying cry was famous: "Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living." A century ago, Mother Jones was a celebrated organizer and agitator, the very soul of the modern American labor movement. At coal strikes, steel strikes, railroad, textile, and brewery strikes, Mother Jones was always there, stirring the workers to action and enraging the powerful. In this biography, Mother Jones: The Most Dangerous Woman in America, Elliott J. Gorn proves why, in the words of Eugene V. Debs, Mother Jones "has won her way into the hearts of the nation's toilers, and... will be lovingly remembered by their children and their children's children forever."
<![endif]>Cool Labor Site: New Deal Legacy
Pres. Franklin Delano Roosevelt created the New Deal within weeks of his election in 1933 as a way to help Americans make it through The Great Depression, in large part by creating millions of public jobs, many of them in the arts and land conservation. http://newdeallegacy.org/
Labor Video: Maximum Words on the Minimum Wage
An amusingly hyper young man shares his views on the minimum wage. Click here to watch the video.
This Week in Labor History
Laundry & Dry Cleaning Int'l Union granted a charter by the AFL-CIO - 1958
Int'l Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots merges with Longshoremen's Association - 1971
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents raid the Agriprocessors, Inc. slaughterhouse and meat packing plant in Postville, Iowa, arresting nearly 400 immigrant workers. Some 300 are convicted on document fraud charges. The raid was the largest ever until that date. Several employees and lower and mid-level managers were convicted on various charges, but not the owner—although he later was jailed for bank fraud and related crimes - 2008
<![endif]>(Chicken Feathers and Garlic Skin: Diary of a Chinese Garment Factory Girl on Saipan: Many workers around the globe leave all that's familiar in an effort to find employment. Newspaper and magazine reports tell us about how miserable life is for garment workers in Third World sweatshops. But we've read very little in the workers' own words, and that's what this fascinating book offers. In Chicken Feathers and Garlic Skin, 25-year-old Chun Yu Wang tells of her life as a Chinese emigrant to Saipan, searching for a better life 2,000 miles from her home.)
Western Federation of Miners formed in Butte, Mont. - 1893
The Canadian government establishes the Department of Labour. It took the U.S. another four years - 1909
Some 10,000 IWW dock workers strike in Philadelphia - 1913
UAW President Douglas A. Fraser is named to the Chrysler Corp. board of directors, becoming the first union representative ever to sit on the board of a major U.S. corporation - 1980
Thousands of yellow cab drivers in New York City go on a 1-day strike in protest of proposed new regulations. "City officials were stunned by the (strike's) success," The New York Times reported - 1998
Milwaukee brewery workers begin 10-week strike, demanding contracts comparable to East and West Coast workers. The strike was won because Blatz Brewery accepts their demands, but Blatz was ousted from the Brewers Association for "unethical" business methods - 1953
U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of Samuel Gompers and other union leaders for supporting a boycott at the Buck Stove and Range Co. in St. Louis, where workers were striking for a 9-hour day. A lower court had forbidden the boycott and sentenced the unionists to prison for refusing to obey the judge's anti-boycott injunction - 1906
The Library Employees' Union is founded in New York City, the first union of public library workers in the United States. A major focus of the union was the inferior status of women library workers and their low salaries - 1917
The first labor bank opens in Washington, D.C., launched by officers of the Machinists. The Locomotive Engineers opened a bank in Cleveland later that year - 1920
<![endif]>Death of IWW songwriter T-Bone Slim, New York City - 1942
Wall Street Journal reporter Jonathon Kwitney reports that AFL-CIO President George Meany, Secretary-Treasurer Lane Kirkland and other union officials are among the 60 leading stockholders in the 15,000-acre Punta Cana, Dominican Republic resort. When the partners needed help clearing the land, the Dominican president sent troops to forcibly evict stubborn, impoverished tobacco farmers and fishermen who had lived there for generations, according to Kwitney's expose - 1973
Minneapolis general strike backs Teamsters, who are striking most of the city's trucking companies - 1934
U.S. Supreme Court issues Mackay decision, which permits the permanent replacement of striking workers. The decision had little impact until Ronald Reagan's replacement of striking air traffic controllers (PATCO) in 1981, a move that signaled anti-union private sector employers that it was OK to do likewise - 1938
Black labor leader and peace activist A. Philip Randolph dies. He was president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and first Black on the AFL-CIO executive board, and a principal organizer of the 1963 March on Washington - 1979
First women's anti-slavery conference, Philadelphia - 1838
Supreme Court outlaws segregation in public schools - 1954
<![endif]>Twelve Starbucks baristas in a midtown Manhattan store, declaring they couldn't live on $7.75 an hour, signed cards demanding representation by the Industrial Workers of the World, or Wobblies. Management roadblocks continue to deny the workers their union to this day - 2004
In what may have been baseball's first labor strike, the Detroit Tigers refuse to play after team leader Ty Cobb is suspended: he went into the stands and beat a fan who had been heckling him. Cobb was reinstated and the Tigers went back to work after the team manager's failed attempt to replace the players with a local college team: their pitcher gave up 24 runs - 1912
(Democracy Is Power: This hard-hitting how-to book was written for rank-and-file activists
<![endif]>and local officers who believe unions would perform better if the members were truly involved in making the big decisions. A new introduction and foreword bring the book up to date, with the authors showing how lessons from history make sense out of the debates that roiled the labor movement in 2005.)
Amalgamated Meat Cutters union organizers launch a campaign in the nation's packinghouses, an effort that was to bring representation to 100,000 workers over the following two years - 1917
Big Bill Haywood, a founding member and leader of the Industrial Workers of the World (the Wobblies), dies in exile in the Soviet Union - 1928
Atlanta transit workers, objecting to a new city requirement that they be fingerprinted as part of the employment process, go on strike. They relented and returned to work six months later - 1950
Insurance Agents Int'l Union and Insurance Workers of America merge to become Insurance Workers Int'l Union (later to merge into the UFCW) - 1959
<![endif]>Oklahoma jury finds for the estate of atomic worker Karen Silkwood, orders Kerr-McGee Nuclear Co. to pay $505,000 in actual damages, $10 million in punitive damages for negligence leading to Silkwood's plutonium contamination - 1979
(The Killing of Karen Silkwood: This is an updated edition of the groundbreaking book about the death of union activist Karen Silkwood, an employee of a plutonium processing plant, who was killed in a mysterious car crash on her way to deliver important documents to a newspaper reporter in 1974. Silkwood's death at age 28 was highly suspicious: she had been working on health and safety issues at the plant, and a lot of people stood to benefit by her death.)
—Compiled and edited by David Prosten
Union Communication Services—Cornell ILR
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