By Dave Zirin - February 29, 2012
If you were part of the 99 percent in the United Kingdom, you’d be forgiven for being somewhat befuddled at the moment. Deep spending cuts, austerity and privatization plans are the political agenda in Parliament, yet the country also is preparing full-blast for a little trifle called the Olympic Games...In addition, there will be at least 13,500 British troops in the UK for the Olympics, more than are stationed in Afghanistan...Welcome to “conservative” governance in the twenty-first century: a militarized, budget busting, carnival of neo-liberalism disguised as sport.
By Jack Random - February 23rd, 2012
Adopted in twenty-three states, right-to-work laws effectively ban labor unions by prohibiting workers from gaining union representation by a majority vote. The Right to Work is the right of a worker to refuse to pay union dues. Because unions gain power by representing workers as a united front in negotiations with management, right-to-work laws negate that power.
By Kaley Kennedy - February 27, 2012
Criticism of cheap prison labour is something often aimed at privately owned U.S. super jails, but here in Canada, thousands of imprisoned people form a labour pool where wages dip below a dollar an hour...Prison wages have not increased in about 25 years; however...the cost of the average basket of canteen goods inmates require has increased from $8.49 to over $60.
By Christoph Dreier - WSWS
The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) has called a so-called “European Day of Action for Employment and Social Justice” on February 29. This toothless protest is the trade union bureaucracy’s response to the growing radicalization of European workers and mounting popular hostility to the austerity measures being imposed at the behest of the European Union...Such actions cannot hide the fact that in every European country the unions are helping to impose the dictates of the banks and the EU over the opposition of the people.
By Eileen Rose - 21 February 2012
Thousands of businesses are to receive a letter...inviting them to sign up to the Youth Contract. Starting in April, the scheme will pay employers £2.75 for every 18- to 20-year-old taken on from the Work Programme introduced in November 2011. The youth themselves will not be paid...Many large firms have taken on “participants” to save wages and receive the bonus of payments. They are mostly supermarkets and fast-food chains...
February 13 2012 - Libcom
On February 10, the government of Mariano Rajoy passed a series of reforms that will...make it easier and cheaper to fire workers, slash severance pay, introduce longer trial periods at work and force the unemployed to do public work...It is an insult to the intelligence to pretend that...making it cheaper and easier to fire people can create jobs...or that the best bet for job quality and modernization of collective bargaining is going back to the model of labor relations in the nineteenth century.
By Tyler Shipley - February 10, 2012
Monday's crash, which occurred as the Peruvian workers were returning home in a 15-passenger van from work on an Ontario chicken farm, killed 11 passengers and left the remaining three in critical condition. These kinds of vans are cheap and usually carry more workers than would a more expensive truck or SUV. They have also been described as "death traps" and have been investigated and banned in several states and provinces for failing to meet safety standards.
By Carl Bronski - WSWS
This past Sunday negotiators for 6,000 outside Toronto municipal workers accepted the “framework” for a concessions-laden contract that guts job security protections won over several decades of struggle...The leadership of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) was anxious to isolate and suppress any struggle...So anxious that National President Paul Moist flew into Toronto on the weekend to press for a quick sell-out agreement...[T]he deal has yet to be released to the membership for a contract vote.
By Robert Stevens - 8 February 2012
Talks held Tuesday night between the three parties making up the Greek government of Prime Minister Lucas Papademos failed to finalize the cuts demanded of it in return for a €130 billion rescue package...The talks between the social democratic PASOK party, the conservative New Democracy and the neo-fascist LAOS broke up after the three parties reached agreement on a new round of savage attacks on social services, jobs and wages, but failed to adopt the full range of cuts demanded by the so-called “troika”...
By Bruce Livesey - rabble.ca
I predict unions will increasingly become irrelevant as long as they retain the old form of union structure and mentality. A return to a more militant, action-oriented and community-based form of unionism will be the only long-term remedy to the labour movement's survival. Otherwise, what happened to the Electro-Motive and City of Toronto workers will become the norm and unions will become even more anachronistic than they already are.
By Dave Zirin - February 6, 2012
Seeing the arrogant and the entitled get knocked down a peg is always welcome. But in the real world it doesn’t mean a damn just because one arrogant and entitled owner’s box cheers, while another weeps. It happens because people around the country are standing up and saying, "Enough is enough." In Indianapolis, it happened because people heroically dared to be heard on a day when everyone told them to just shut up and watch the game.
By Dave Zirin - February 3, 2012
This Sunday, the greatest multitude in the history of the United States will be tuning into the same television show at the same time...Popularity plus polarization will mean epic ratings. It also means a pox of sponsors branding Indianapolis’s Lucas Oil Field within an inch of its life. But while the high rollers will party down and Fortune 500 companies will have an unparalleled audience, the city of Indianapolis will reel under the weight of our national party.
By Keith Jones - 4 February 2012
Caterpillar subsidiary Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD) has announced that it is transforming the lockout at its London, Ontario diesel-locomotive manufacturing facility into a plant closure...Six weeks ago, Caterpillar locked out the 465 production workers at its London plant after they overwhelmingly rejected the company's demands for a 55 percent wage cut, the elimination of their pension plan, and other sweeping concessions.
By Dave Zirin - January 31, 2012
The protests...promise to shed light on the reality of life for working families in the city of Indianapolis. Unemployment is at 13.3 percent, with unemployment for African-American families at 21 percent. Two of every five African-American families with a child under 5 live below the anemic poverty line. Such pain amidst the gloss of the Super Bowl and the prospect of right-to-work legislation is, for many, a catalyst to just do something.
By Jane Slaughter - January 30, 2012
On a scale never before seen in Canada, the mayor of Toronto seeks to privatize city services and is taking on the largest public sector locals in Canada to do so. Counting down to a lockout February 5, city workers’ unions are scrambling to make their case to city residents...Mayor Rob Ford’s double-pronged attack on services and workers is seen as “extremely drastic” and “will set a precedent across the board nationally if Ford is able to gut our collective agreements.”