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Which Side Are You On? Inequality and the Case for Unions

Tim Koechlin The Huffington Post
The Right insists that working class Americans are falling behind because of overly-generous "entitlements" and overpaid public sector employees. In reality, the lost income of workers -- union and non-union, black and white, male and female, public sector and private sector -- can be found in the pockets of the 1 percent. With the decline of unions over the past several decades, wages have stagnated and the "American Dream" has drifted out of reach for millions.

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An Historic Victory for Target Janitors

Lucas Franco Talking Union
This is a precedent setting agreement for the Twin City region, Minnesota and even the nation. Many of the workers affected by this new deal with Target represent a segment of the work force that has often been considered “unorganizable.” Language barriers and use of immigration status to threaten workers have all been contributing factors in explaining the difficulty in organizing vast segments of low-wage workers in the United States.

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Who Is Behind the National Right to Work Committee and its Anti-Union Crusade?

Jay Riestenberg and Mary Bottari The Progressive
If the U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of a lawsuit filed by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, every state in the country would essentially turn into an anti-union "right to work" state, which would be a significant blow to public sector unions' collective bargaining efforts and also complicate thousands of existing contracts between organized workers and municipalities, cities, counties, and states across the country.

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Labor Takes Historic Stride Forward as Walmart Joins Fair Food Program

Barry Estabrook Civil Eats
The Fair Food Program is unique in that it creates a legal framework linking laborers, tomato farm owners, and final purchasers of tomatoes. The purchasers have agreed to pay an additional penny per pound for the tomatoes they buy. In turn, the producers pass that penny directly along to the workers. A penny-a-pound might sound like a pittance, but it represents a 50 percent raise, the difference between making $50 and $80 a day.

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Two Roads Forward: The AFL-CIO's New Agenda

Nelson Lichtenstein Dissent Magazine (Winter 2014)
The AFL–CIO is a multifaceted institution composed of scores of autonomous unions, so President Richard Trumka’s leadership can hardly turn around this cumbersome vessel all that quickly. But the new emphasis is clear: the unions should ally with progressive partners and devote more energy to make the kind of changes in social policy that can benefit millions of poorly paid and insecure workers.

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Strikes, Alliances, and Survival

Harold Meyerson The American Prospect
Out of sheer existential necessity, then, unions have entered a period of experimentation. The fast-food campaigns that SEIU is backing won’t plausibly conclude with a contract with McDonald’s and Wendy’s. The more likely scenario is that those protesting will try to win minimum-wage increases for workers—either generally or in particular industries—at the city level, either through the vote of city councils or of voters at the polls.

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America's Class War: A Dispatch From the Front

Lee A. Saunders The Huffington Post (Huff Post Politics, The Blog)
No corporate CEO will ever negotiate on behalf of his or her company's employees, keeping their interests as the top priority. So who will? It would be nice to think that the public officials we elect protect the interests of America's working women and men. But too many politicians from both major parties are failing to stand up for the American worker. Who's left? Unions.

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NLRB Poster Rule Likely Dead After Second Federal Court of Appeals Ruling

Amanda Becker Reuters
The decision on Friday by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a 2011 rule that required employers to post, physically or electronically, a notice describing workers' rights under the National Labor Relations Act. It was the second time in as many months that a federal appeals court has rejected the rule, after the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals said last month the poster rule violated employers' free speech rights.

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NYC Fast-Food Workers Fight Back Against Super-Sized Corporations

Peter Rugh The Indypendent
The ongoing organizing effort of fast-food workers has highlighted the highly exploitative conditions faced by those at the deep fryers and cash registers of America’s most profitable fast food outlets, which include Burger King, McDonald’s, Dominos, Pizza Hut and KFC. The actions and considerable media attention has also begun to chip away at the conventional image of a fast-food worker as someone who bears her servitude with a youthful grin.
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