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Firefighters, teachers face smaller retirement safety net

Melanie Hicken CNNMoney
Many new state workers — ranging from teachers to police officers to street cleaners — will retire with fewer retirement benefits than their current counterparts. Since 2009, faced with ballooning bills and strained budgets, 45 states have either cut pension benefits or increased mandatory employee retirement plan contributions, or both.

Occupied Greek Factory Begins Production Under Workers Control

Thessaloniki Solidarity Initiative et al. Infoshop News
Tuesday, February 12, 2013 is the official first day of production under workers control in the factory of Viomichaniki Metalleutiki (Vio.Me) in Thessaloniki, Greece. This means production organized without bosses and hierarchy, and instead planned with directly democratic assemblies of the workers. The workers assemblies have declared an end to unequal division of resources, and will have equal and fair remuneration, decided collectively.

Shrinking US Labor Unions See Relief in Marijuana Industry

Reuters CNBC
The medical marijuana shop next to a tattoo parlor on a busy street in Los Angeles looks much like hundreds of other pot dispensaries that dot the city. Except for one thing: On the glass door - under a green cross signaling that cannabis can be bought there for medical purposes - is a sticker for the United Food and Commercial Workers union (UFCW), the nation's largest retail union.

A Novel Idea: Fiction for Labor Activists

Laura McClure Labor Notes
Many activists rely on fiction for inspiration, new perspectives, and, of course, entertainment. For some of us, novels even helped start us down our paths of activism. But—which novels? A survey of a handful of labor activists and educators revealed their favorite class-conscious novels.

Labor Board and Union Reach a Deal for a 60 Day Moratorium on Walmart Pickets

Josh Eidelson The Nation
As The Nation has reported, in a charge filed one week before November’s Black Friday strike, Walmart had accused the United Food & Commercial Workers union of organizing illegal pickets for the purpose of winning union recognition (the protests were spearheaded by the UFCW-backed group OUR Walmart).

Union Dues Collecting is examined by Missouri, Kansas lawmakers

John Hancock & Brad Cooper The Kansas City Star
Republicans say it’s a simple change, opting out to opting in. But by making it more difficult for public employee unions to collect dues, GOP lawmakers in Kansas and Missouri could weaken a chief political nemesis. If organized labor is dealt that blow this year, the stage could be set in subsequent years in Missouri to push for a right-to-work law — the most contentious of disputes between management and unions played out in state legislatures across the nation.