Posts tagged ‘Union Workers’

House Democrats Propose Increasing Minimum Wage To $10 | ThinkProgress

A group of House Democrats have proposed increasing the minimum wage to $10, which, as Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) pointed out would allow the wage to “catch up” with where it would be had it been allowed to grow with inflation:

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) and 17 House Democrats, including several Congressional Black Caucus members, proposed legislation Wednesday that would increase the minimum wage to $10 an hour.

Jackson said his bill, the Catching Up to 1968 Act, is needed to give low-income workers a way to “catch up” to inflation, which continues to eat away at the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. He also said it would give these workers more income and boost overall demand for the struggling economy.

The minimum wage hit its peak buying power in 1968; to have the same buying power today, the minimum wage would have to be $9.92. If the minimum wage had been indexed to the Consumer Price Index since 1968, it would be approximately $10.40 today.

The current minimum wage is also covering a much smaller percentage of health care and tuition costs than it did just a few decades ago. Already this year, San Francisco has increased its minimum wage to $10, while 1.4 million workers are benefiting from scheduled increases in the minimum wage in eight states. According to the Economic Policy Institute, boosting the minimum wage particularly helps women and minorities, who make up a disproportionate share of minimum wage-earners.


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House Democrats Propose Increasing Minimum Wage To $10 | ThinkProgress


Graduate Assistants Speak Out On Union

Posted on February 10, 2012 by Richard A. Levins

 One of the most annoying things about being a professor is the day you realize that your graduate students are smarter and more articulate than you are. At first, it bothers you terribly. Then, as time goes on, you come to accept it more gracefully. At least that’s how it’s been for me.

Perhaps you’ve noticed a few comments on my last posting on unions for graduate research assistants at the University of Minnesota. Some were in favor, some objected, but all were thoughtful and worthy of our attention.

I sent out a call for help in putting together my response. Sara Nelson, a graduate assistant and doctoral student at the University of Minnesota, offered something that I can’t improve upon.  So, I will simply quote verbatim:

“The bargaining unit is defined in Minnesota law – the only way to have a union is to have a union for all teaching and research assistants and graduate instructors.

“It is true that, as grad assistants, our work across the university varies greatly – but we are all grad assistant employees, and we are all affected by terms and conditions of our employment determined at the level of the upper administration (though the specifics of our employment are – and would continue to be with a union – determined at the department level). A union would give us the opportunity to negotiate on equal footing with the administration over these basic terms and conditions; a contract would be able to establish base pay, benefits, and job protections for all workers, but this does not mean a flattening of wages across the bargaining unit – above these minimums, diversity among departments is maintained and the functions of individual departments in setting competitive compensation is not curtailed. The fundamental point is that all graduate assistants across campus have the opportunity to provide their input on an initial contract and to vote on this contract, and grad assistants will not approve a contract that is not beneficial to them.

“Further, regardless of differences in pay and benefits, the union is able to give all graduate assistants democratic control in setting the terms and conditions of their employment, which are enforceable in a legally-binding contract.  Regardless of whether we feel satisfied with the status quo, the fact is that it can be (and has been) changed at the whim of the administration. My biggest concern, personally, is less increasing my compensation (though a cost of living increase every few years would be nice) than gaining this democratic control.

“Regarding strikes: strikes are extremely rare (more than 98% of contract negotiations are settled without a strike), and involve a sacrifice for any worker – they are a serious decision that no one takes lightly. Those of us in the social sciences and humanities who may not be funded on external research grants are still required to make progress in order to maintain our positions, and take our work as research and teaching assistants seriously enough not to abandon it except under the most dire of circumstances. A strike requires a 2/3 majority vote, in order to make sure that a super majority of members feel that a strike is absolutely necessary. Further, in the extremely rare case that grad assistants decide they need to strike, no one can be forced to participate in a strike or to discontinue work. The 2/3 majority is designed to ensure that a strike would have strong enough support to succeed.”

I thank Ms. Nelson for her help with this posting. More than that, I thank her and all of you graduate students who are working to find ways that a union can give each and every one of you a stronger voice in administrative decisions. You need it now and, believe me, you will need it much more when you take the next step in your careers.


This entry was posted in Economic Policy, Labor Unions and tagged graduate student assistants, graduate student union, Richard Levins, UAW by Richard A. Levins. Bookmark the permalink.

Chase Morgan Bank Exploits Martin Luther King’s Legacy. By Foreclosing On Helen Bailey’s Home Who Fought For The Civil Rights Movement; she’s now 78 years old SHAME ON YOU CHASE

12,500 Signatures Reached! | February 04, 2012
Video: Chase Exploits Legacy of Martin Luther King: Chase vs. Helen Bailey

Chase this week launched a website devoted to Dr. Martin Luther King, saying that like King, like Chase, supported communities.

“The values exhibited by Dr. King and embodied in his lifelong struggle for social change align with those that shape JPMorgan Chase’s approach to giving in the communities in which it operates,” the newly launched Chase website reads.

But King’s legacy is not for Chase to use to cover up their own special brand of callousness.

While Chase tries to tie itself to the incredible legacy of Martin Luther King, who really did believe in communities, Chase tries to throw a grandmother who marched for civil rights out onto the street.
More at
OccupyNashville HousingProtection Posted By OccupyNashville HousingProtection Occupy Nashville Housing Protection
January 22, 2012
Promotional Video: Helen Bailey

Helen Bailey marched for civil rights. Now it’s time we march for her.
More at
OccupyNashville HousingProtection Posted By OccupyNashville HousingProtection Occupy Nashville Housing Protection
January 19, 2012
250 Signatures Reached! | January 11, 2012
More Information About Ms. Bailey and the Campaign

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OccupyNashville HousingProtection Posted By OccupyNashville HousingProtection Occupy Nashville Housing Protection
January 10, 2012
Occupy Nashville Helps Senior Citizen Fight Foreclosure

NewsChannel 5’s coverage helped Ms. Bailey gain exposure and enabled her to speak in her own words about how much living in her own house in her elderly years means to her.
More at
OccupyNashville HousingProtection Posted By OccupyNashville HousingProtection Occupy Nashville Housing Protection
January 10, 2012
100 Signatures Reached! | January 09, 2012

The GOP war on organized labor: Jan Brewer’s bid to be the Scott Walker of the


The GOP war on organized labor: Jan Brewer‘s bid to be the Scott Walker of the West begins Wednesday

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Heads up people! This is the bid by Jan Brewer to be the Scott Walker of the West that I have been warning you about for months. Jan Brewer seeks to go well beyond the assault on collective bargaining rights that led to the pending recall election of Scott Walker in Wisconsin. She wants to do away with more than 100 years of civil service merit selection system protection to return to the spoils system of political patronage and the days of Tamanny Hall.

And once again, it the evil bastards at the Goldwater Institute, a partner of ALEC, that has drafted the model legislation. You can bet that their media arm at the anti-union Arizona Republic will be all for this.

Brahm Resnik from Channel 12 news reports Brahm Resnik blog – Sweeping bills attack public employee unions:

Arizona’s Republican Legislature could virtually wipe out public employee unions in a sweeping new package of legislation far broader than the collective-bargaining bills that shut down Wisconsin’s Capitol last spring.

The bills would:

Make it illegal for government bodies to collectively bargain with employee groups. Public safety unions would be included in the ban.

End the practice of automatic payroll deductions for union dues.

Ban compensation of public employees for union work.

Wisconsin’s collective bargaining law enacted last year made unions effectively irrelevant by limiting issues that could be bargained by a government and an employee group. Arizona’s bills would do away with collective bargaining entirely and also go beyond Wisconsin law by including public safety unions.

Coupled with Gov. Jan Brewer’s plan to do away with civil-service protections  for state employees, the new legislation could make Arizona ground zero for union protests during this election year.

The Goldwater Institute  worked with state lawmakers to draw up the bills. The libertarian think tank has churned out research and reports over the past few years highlighting what it views as excesses in public-sector employment.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was the guest of honor at Goldwater’s annual dinner last November. Walker had some advice for Arizona legislators when I interviewed him on “Sunday Square Off.”

The package of bills is scheduled for a hearing at 9 a.m. Wednesday before the Senate Government Reform Committee.

Watch for more on this story on 12 News at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

I don’t know what the Occupy movement has been doing of late, but this is your call to action. The Madison Revolution in Wisconsin needs to be brought to bear on the Capitol in Phoenix. This assault on the working people of the American middle-class cannot be allowed to stand. It’s time to take a stand against the radical extremists of the right. They want Arizona to be ground zero? Bring it! Everyone to the Capitol on Wednesday.

Action Alert from the Arizona AFL-CIO below the fold.

Well, here we go again.  The Republicans in the Legislature have decided to go after Union workers again.  Instead of focusing on the creation of jobs and improving education for our children, they have decided you have no right to a collective voice. At this time we do not have the court’s decision on the last round of anti-worker bills they attempted to put into law last session, but the Goldwater Institute has called on their “friends” at the Legislature to try and make sure your freedom to belong to a Union is tied up in endless regulations and restrictions. Why does the Goldwater Institute want your rights compromised?

SB 1484
  Paycheck Deductions

SB 1485  Unions; Public Employees; Prohibitions

SB 1486  Public Employees; Activities; Unions; Compensation

SB 1487  Government Employees; Union Dues; Withholding

These bills are on the agenda for the Senate Government Reform Committee Wednesday, 2/1/12 at 9am, in Senate Room 3.  Please e-mail and call the following committee members to let them know you want a NO vote on these bills.  Ask them to focus on the agenda of the voters of Arizona.  Tell them we need jobs in Arizona and not restrictions on workers.

Government Reform Committee:

Chairman Rick Murphy: (602) 926-4444  

Vice Chairman:  Lori Klein: (602) 926-5284


Frank Antenori:  (602) 926-5683

Judy Burges: (602) 926-5861

Steve Smith: (602) 926- 5685


Steve Gallardo:  (602) 926-5830

David Lujan: (602)926- 5829

In Solidarity.

Rebekah Friend

Executive Director

UPDATE: Here is Brahm Resnik’s report from Tuesday on Channel 12.

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GOP Rep: Gov’t. workers need to ‘find a real job’ | Raw Replay

Did you know that teachers, firemen, police, office workers, IT professionals and mail carriers aren’t actually doing a “real” job?That’s according to Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA), who told a conservative radio host recently that he’s opposing a national debt limit increase because he believes it wouldn’t affect anyone with a “real job.”Although Republicans raised the debt limit repeatedly and with little debate under President George W. Bush, Republicans under President Barack Obama are digging in their heels and threatening to harm the global economy by forcing the U.S. to default on its debts or make significant cuts to the government’s day-to-day operations.Some of those day-to-day operations include workers who may be deemed “no

GOP Rep: Gov’t. workers need to ‘find a real job’ | Raw Replay

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