unionized labor

What worker unions gave America
  • The 40 hour work week
  • Holiday pay
    • Every work holiday other than July 4th and Christmas
  • Overtime pay
  • Hazard Pay
  • Sick days
  • Holiday time
  • Disability insurance
  • Mandatory fire escapes on the job 
    • on top of other basic-shit like requiring handrails, notices for dangerous chemicals, safety equipment, asbestos abatement, and more
  • Mandatory lunch breaks
  • Well-paying blue-collar work
  • The breaking of Robber Barons of the and early 20th Century
  • Decreased income inequality
  • The Minimum Wage
  • Medicare
  • Social Security
  • Pensions
  • The 401k
  • Increased standards of living
  • The Civil Rights Act and the EEOC


Don’t wait until Labor Day to thank the men and women who literally fought and died to give you the benefits of the society you’re living in today.

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A brief tweetstorm about my dad’s Union job and how it benefited me through the years.

Transcript:

I have my dad’s 25-year Union ring. UAW 699 out of Saginaw, MI. So proud to have grown up in a union family. 1/

When my little sister was born, she was premature and sick as a result. My dad’s Union won health benefits helped keep her alive and safe 2/

When we were both young, we got sealants on our teeth & regular Dental checkups. We wouldn’t have been able to afford it w/out insurance 3/

When I was in elementary school I was depressed and miserable. My parents were able to afford to get me mental health care, thank you UAW 4/

At Xmas, we went to a show where all the kids got toys at the end. Some kids, it was the best toy they got that year. guess who did that? 5/

My mom only ever had to work part-time at a job she liked, and my dad came home at a reasonable hour every night. Thank you unions! 6/

In his 40s, my Dad decided he wanted to change careers. He went to school, he’s now an electrician & happy & still in the Union 7/

My life is measurably better because unions got my dad a living wage, great benefits, career mobility, and more. 8/

We lived in a nice place, went to good schools, my sister’s getting her PhD & I have a JD. And big picture, it’s because my dad is Union 9/

Don’t get me wrong, I know unions aren’t perfect. But they are sure as fuck better than the alternative. Solidarity&Brotherhood y'all 10/10

vox.com
Why Hollywood’s writers are on the verge of a strike — and what it could mean for the industry
By Alissa Wilkinson

In a nutshell:

– Writers get paid by the episode and most TV shows have gone from 22 episodes a year to 10.

– Production companies/studios want writers to work exclusively on one series for the duration of the series, meaning a writer on hiatus from 10-episode Series A isn’t allowed to write for 10-episode Series B.

– Writers could once count on residuals from syndicated broadcast re-runs of episodes they wrote to supplement their income, but ratings for syndicated broadcast shows are down. Meanwhile, residuals from streamed views of episodes are substantially smaller than those from broadcast TV.

– The WGA’s health plan is running a huge deficit and is about to implode. Since the Big Six studios (Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Universal Pictures, Walt Disney Pictures, and Warner Bros. Pictures) have seen record profits over the last 10 years, the WGA wants them (and the other 344 production companies and studios that make up the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers) to pay more into the plan.

The strike is slated to start May 2nd if an agreement can’t be reached. It will not only delay the Fall 2017 TV season but affect Saturday Night Live and all late night TV shows immediately, as well as sideline production crews.

It is genuinely concerning how many popular media outlets will characterize left-wing protests as inherently bad because they pose a threat to the ruling class, and therefore us.

People believe that stuff. They see authority as always in the right, whether or not they want to admit it: Police attacking protesters is completely expected, but protesters fighting back is violence.

Yet history shows us that disrupting order is the most effective method of pushing change.

Child labor didn’t end in the US because factory owners thought, “hey, this is actually bad”. They were met with backlash from unions and labor movements. Same with food contamination and dangerous working conditions.

We credit the ruling class for positive change when they’ve been holding it back for self benefit all along.

You are not supporting freedom for defending their position, and of course reactionary movements are the first to say resistance should be stopped by government forces.

At 87, Dolores Huerta is a living civil rights icon. She has spent most of her life as a political activist, fighting for better working conditions for farmworkers and the rights of the downtrodden, a firm believer in the power of political organizing to effect change.

And yet, her role in the farmworkers movement has long been overshadowed by that of Cesar Chavez, her longtime collaborator and co-founder of what became the United Farm Workers of America union. That’s true even when it comes to credit for coining the movement’s famous slogan, Sí se puede — Spanish for “Yes, we can” — which inspired President Obama’s own campaign battle cry and has often wrongly been attributed to Chavez. (Obama acknowledged Huerta as the source of that phrase when he awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012. She talks about its origins below.)

Dolores, a new documentary from director Peter Bratt, aims to finally set the record straight.

Dolores Huerta: The Civil Rights Icon Who Showed Farmworkers ‘Sí Se Puede’

Photo: George Ballis//George Ballis/Take Stock/The Image Work

These kids don’t have a little brother working in the coal mine, they don’t have a little sister coughing her lungs out in the looms of the big mill towns of the Northeast. Why? Because we organized; we broke the back of the sweatshops in this country; we have child labor laws. Those were not benevolent gifts from enlightened management. They were fought for, they were bled for, they were died for by working people, by people like us. Kids ought to know that.
—  Utah Phillips
vimeo

Happy Labor Day!

“There is power in a factory, there is power in a land
There is power in the hand of the worker
But it all amounts to nothing if together we don’t stand
There is power in a union

Now the lessons of the past were all learned with worker’s blood
The mistakes of the bosses we must pay for
From the cities to the farmlands to the factories full of mud
War has always been the bosses’ way, sir!

The union forever, defending our rights
Down with the blackleg, all workers unite
With our brothers and our sisters from many far-off lands
Oh, there is power in a union

Now I long for the morning when they realize
Brutality and unjust laws cannot defeat us
But who’ll defend the worker who cannot organize
When the bosses send their lackeys out to cheat us

Money speaks for money, the devil for his own
Who’ll come to speak for the skin and the bone?
What a comfort to the widow, and a light to the child
Oh, there is power in a union

The union forever, defending our rights
Down with the blackleg, all workers unite
With our brothers and our sisters, together we all stand
Oh, there is power in a union”

– John Darnielle covering Billy Bragg covering Joe Hill

3

May 11 2017 - Workers at a car component factory in central France have occupied the plant and are threatening to blow it up in a radical protest against their bosses as the site risks closure.

The workers at the GM&S auto-suppliers plant in the Creuse region, north of Limoges, have told Renault and Peugeot they are ready to blow up the factory if their demands are not met.

Some 280 jobs at the site are under threat after the plant went into receivership back in December, and workers accuse the two car giants of blocking negotiations for a takeover of the factory and of making too few orders.

The protesters have already started destroying machinery at the site. Photos released on social media on Thursday, show them cutting a machine in half with a blowtorch. CGT trade union representatives say the workers will destroy a machine each day unless their demands are met. [video]/[video]

3

The Battle of Blair Mountain

 Around the turn of the century in West Virginia, the coal companies controlled everything. They owned the towns, had their own private militias, and even paid local law enforcement officers and politicians.  However, the coal companies control over the state began to wane when the miners started to unionize. One of the last counties to unionize was Logan Country, located in the southwest of the state. In 1920, agents of the Baldwin Felts Detective Agency arrived in the independent town of Matewan to evict several miners families and arrest the local police chief, Sid Hatfield.  Hired by the coal companies, the men were essentially there to strong arm the town, which was staunchly pro-union. Days before, the coal companies had tried to bribe the local mayor into placing 5 machine guns on the roofs of the town buildings "in order to maintain order" among the coal miners.  The agents threw out several families from their homes at gunpoint.  They were met by Chief Hatfield and his deputies, who told them to get out of town.  A gunfight ensued, resulting in the deaths of ten men, 7 of which were Baldwin Felts agents, including two of the brothers of the company’s founder, Albert and Lee Felts. The town mayor, Cabell Testerman, was also killed.

Police Chief Sid Hatfield

Sid Hatfield was cleared of murder charges, which was seen as a great victory against the coal companies.  Bolstered by the victory, Sid Hatfield and a union organizer named Bill Blizzard organized the miners of Logan County into a union, which quickly went on strike.  The coal companies responded by hiring scabs and strike breakers.  On August 1st, 1921 Sid Hatfield was called to McDowell County to stand trial for sabotaging a mine. While walking up the courthouse steps with his friend Ed Chambers and their wives,  a group of Baldwin Felts agents opened fire, killing Hatfield and Chambers.  Chambers, who was only wounded, was executed by one of the agents with a gunshot to the back of the head.

 Enraged, the miners took up arms and organized to forcefully break the power of the coal companies. They were joined by thousands of miners from other counties who were sympathetic to their cause.  Altogether, the miners formed an army consisting of around 10,000 men.  Its is no exaggeration that they were an army, many of the miners were World War I veterans who had seen combat in Europe.  Armed with hunting rifles and shotguns, they organized battalions and regiments, assigned commanders, set up command posts, set up hospitals and mess tents, dug trenches, and did everything that a well organized army would do. Their opposition, a eclectic group of coal company militias, guards, state and local police, and Baldwin Felts agents, only numbered around 3,500, however they were well armed with machine guns and other military weapons.

On August 25th, the two sides met, and a battle raged in the West Virginia mountains for almost a week.  In the ensuing battle, 50-100 miners were killed, around 30 men on the side of the coal companies were killed.  Hundreds more were wounded on both sides.  The battle ended when Federal troops arrived on September 2nd.  985 miners were indicted for treason and murder, but in the end none were charged.  Overall the battle was a victory for the coal companies in the short term, who clamped down even harder on the miners.  In the long term, the battle was a victory for the miners, as the battle rose awareness of the coal miners plight.