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Information is power. Our mission at Portside is to seek out and to provide information that empowers you -- that empowers the left. Every day we search hundreds of sources to connect you with the most interesting, striking and useful material. Just once a year we appeal to you to contribute to make it possible to continue this work. Please help.



For posts before June 2012, please follow these links to our archives.

Striking Dubai Workers Face Mass Deportation

Chris Arsenault ALJAZEERA
Backed by security forces, bosses at Arabtec - a massive construction firm with interests across the oil-rich Gulf states - ended a strike on Monday, but the fallout continues as more workers are receiving deportation orders. The strike ended after management refused to accept demands for increased wages from people earning about $200 a month to complete mega-projects in 40 degree Celsius heat.

Interview with Michael Lebowitz & Readers Comment

We talked with Michael about the contemporary crisis and the possibilities of overcoming it, about the experiences and contradictions that characterized the societies of “real socialism” in the 20th century, and also about the possibilities of building a socialist alternative that would not be limited within the boundaries set by similar attempts in the last century.

World Climate Crisis and Organized Labor

Joe Uehlein and Jeremy Brecher, Rebecca Burns
With atmospheric carbon dioxide levels having reached the 400 ppm point - way above the 350 ppm considered to be the upper limit for avoiding environmental catastrophe - organized labor is struggling with the tension between the immediate need for jobs in a crisis-ridden economy and the perils to humanity's future of avoiding the sacrifices required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The following two articles discuss those tensions from different angles.

U.S. Taxpayers Fund More Low-wage Jobs than McDonalds and Wal-Mart

Gregory N. Heires The New Crossroads
The public policy think tank Demos has issued a report documenting how the federal government is using taxpayer money to subsidize low paid wage workers. This has allowed corporations to pay low wages to the detriment of the workforce.

University of California Hospital Workers Strike Today, Demand Safer Staffing, Pensions

Samantha Winslow Labor Notes
The UC health-care system boasts nearly $7 billion in operating revenue, but management wants to create a two-tier pension system for workers, while executives get yearly pension payouts of as much as $300,000. The union is demanding stronger protection against subcontracting. Workers also want more of a voice in staffing and patient care matters.

Bangladesh Garment Workers: Two Updates

AFP, Omar Rivero
Bangladeshi police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at thousands of garment workers Monday as they demanded a wage hike at a protest in a manufacturing hub outside the capital Dhaka. Several European retailers have agreed to compensate victims' families, and sign onto the Fire and Building Safety Agreement, but U.S. retailers refuse. See the list of 14 North American retailers who refuse to sign on.

Fiery Chicago Teachers Union President Reelected

Valerie Strauss The Washington Post
Lewis won about 80 percent of the votes, soundly defeating a candidate representing a coalition of groups that used to run the union until Lewis took office three years.

The State of the NLRB-Two Articles

WASHINGTON -- With the Senate about to consider President Obama's nominees to the National Labor Relations Board, Democrats and labor groups are growing concerned that Republicans will block the administration's left-leaning nominations, rendering the board inoperable once a current member's term expires in August.

Labor Wrestles With Its Future

Harold Meyerson Washington Post
Unions face an existential problem: If they can’t represent more than a sliver of American workers on the job, what is their mission? Are there other ways they can advance workers’ interests even if those workers aren’t their members? A new labor movement might resemble a latter-day version of the Knights of Labor, the workers’ organization of the 1880s that was a cross between a union federation, a working-class political vehicle, and a fraternal lodge.

Holding the Line For Chicago Teachers Union

Lee Sustar
President Karen Lewis and the Caucus of Rank and file Educators (CORE successfully defeated Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his corporate allies. They deserve support in the current union election