Full version with Video's at Joe's
The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, how it came about and how you can support Ms. Ledbetter
“Employers will now be held accountable for each discriminatorily reduced paycheck, because every time pay is unfairly lowered, it’s a violation of the law and fundamental fairness.”-Marcia D. Greenberger, Co-President of the National Women’s Law Center.
Video from February 3rd., 2007
On Jan. 29, 2009, President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law. In doing so, the bill reestablishes the law’s incentive for employers to correct discriminatory pay practices. Employers will no longer have a free pass to continue to discriminate against their employees without ever having to worry about being held accountable. At the same time, plaintiffs still can recover back pay only for a period of no more than two years before they challenge the discrimination. From The National Womans Law Center http://www.nwlc.org/fairpay /:
President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law today, reversing the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling in 2007 and restoring the ability of victims of wage discrimination to hold their employers accountable for injustice and challenge the practice in court.
“This is truly a monumental achievement for women – and all workers. The Supreme Court stripped workers of their ability to fight wage discrimination but now a new President and Congress have stepped in and restored their basic legal rights,” said Marcia D. Greenberger, Co-President of the National Women’s Law Center. “Employers will now be held accountable for each discriminatorily reduced paycheck, because every time pay is unfairly lowered, it’s a violation of the law and fundamental fairness.”
The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act restores the law that existed for decades in virtually every region of the country prior to the Supreme Court decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. and makes it clear that each discriminatory paycheck is a new act of discrimination that resets the 180-day limit to file a claim.
The story of Lilly Ledbetter
Video from July 2007 click below
How the Supreme Court created this mess, excerpted from Save The Court:
# Lilly Ledbetter received an anonymous tip late in her career with Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. that she had been consistently paid much less than her male coworkers.
# She sued under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which protects workers against pay discrimination.
# She proved her case. A federal jury awarded her back pay and punitive damages, but Goodyear appealed.
# The case went all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled against her 5-4 in Ledbetter v. Goodyear.
# The Court's ruling, written by right-wing Justice Samuel Alito, said that Lilly should have filed a complaint within 180 days of the time her supervisors gave her discriminatory evaluations that resulted in her being paid less than her male coworkers.
# The Court rejected a longstanding interpretation of the law that gave workers 180 days to file a complaint after receiving any discriminatory paycheck, regardless of when the discrimination began.
Tell Goodyear to pay up - Sign The Petition
Sign the petition urging Goodyear tire to pay Lilly what she was awarded
The Ledbetter law, recently signed by President Obama, overturned the Supreme Court decision denying Lilly the $360,000 of back pay and benefits that the trial court had ruled she was entitled to. But the newly signed law isn't retroactive; it only applies to cases going forward!
Ms. Ledbetter, now in her 70s, worked in a Goodyear Tire factory for almost 20 years to support her family. The success of the Lilly Ledbetter Act is a step forward in gender equality for all women, but as a new widow facing retirement, Lilly Ledbetter deserves to receive the pay she was cheated out of for so long!
Ask Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company - a company that reported profits of $602 million in 2007 - to reimburse the $360,000 of back pay they owe Lilly.
Click image below to sign the petition
The story of the self proclaimed doctor evil and his sons confession
"My father.You might be surprised to know he is famous, for terrible reasons. My father is a despicable man. My father is a sort of human molester."..."He is a union buster."- David Berman on his father, Richard "Rick" Berman
Front Group King Rick Berman Gets Blasted by his Son David Berman
by Anne Landman on Fri, 01/30/2009 - 11:00
Rick BermanWashington, D.C. lobbying scourge Richard B. "Rick" Berman is facing steadily increasing pushback these days, and some of it is coming from a surprising source -- his own son, musician David Berman.
Berman has long been the front man through which corporations have aggressively attacked their opponents without leaving fingerprints. Known to his own friends and enemies alike as "
Pushback against underhanded lobbying tactics
Berman depends on secrecy to cloak his operations, but recently the Congressional watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) unveiled a hard-hitting new Web site, www.BermanExposed.org , which unmasks Berman's front groups, tactics, employees and projects.
Another Blow Hits Closer to Home
CREW's new site was a resounding strike at Berman, but it might have inadvertently catalyzed yet another blow that hits even closer to home.
Rick Berman's son, David Berman, is a 42-year-old singer-songwriter who, since 1989, has been the front singer for a popular New York City indie rock band called the "Silver Jews." Over the years, the Jews have developed a loyal following, but on January 22, 2009 David Berman stunned his fans by posting a note to an online message board announcing that after all these years he was leaving the Silver Jews. The reason? His father, Rick Berman.
In scathing language, David disclosed to his fans who his father is, and how leaving the band related to his father's work. David wrote,
Now that the Joos are over I can tell you my gravest secret. Worse than suicide, worse than crack addiction:
You might be surprised to know he is famous, for terrible reasons. My father is a despicable man. My father is a sort of human molestor.
An exploiter. A scoundrel. A world historical mother******* son of a bitch. (sorry grandma).
You can read about him here:
... A couple of years ago I demanded he stop his work. Close down his company or I would sever our relationship.
He refused. He has just gotten worse. More evil. More powerful. We've been "estranged" for over three years.
Even as a child I disliked him. We were opposites. I wanted to read. He wanted to play games.
He is a union buster.
When I got out of college I joined the Teamsters (the guards were union organized at the Whitney).
I went off to hide in art and academia.
The Silver Jews perform "I'm Getting Back Into Getting Back Into You."
I fled through this art portal for twenty years. In the meantime my Dad started a very very bad company called Berman and Company.
He props up fast food/soda/factory farming/childhood obesity and diabetes/drunk driving/secondhand smoke.
He attacks animal lovers, ecologists, civil action attorneys, scientists, dieticians, doctors, teachers.
His clients include everyone from the makers of Agent Orange to the Tanning Salon Owners of America.
He helped ensure the minimum wage did not move a penny from 1997-2007!
The worst part for me as a writer is what he does with the English language.
Though vicious he is a doltish thinker, and his spurious editorials rely on doublethink and always with the Lashon Hara.
As I studied Judaism over the years, the shame and the shanda, grew almost too much. My heart was constantly on fire for justice. I could find no relief.
This winter I decided that the SJs
Literally, if you eat food or have a job, he is reaching you.
I've always hid this terrible shame from you, the fan. The SJs have always stood autonomous and clear.
Hopefully it won't contaminate your feelings about the work ... In a way I am the son of a demon come to make good the damage.
Previously I thought, through songs and poems and drawings I could find and build a refuge away from his world.
But there is the matter of Justice.
And I'll tell you it's not just a metaphor. The desire for it actually burns.
There needs to be something more. I'll see what that might be.
David's powerful note provides insight into the tortured feelings David has endured as the son of the Lobbyist from Hell. We well agree that Rick Berman is guilty of shamefully obstructing public health and working to crush those who care about public welfare, clean air, the environment, animal rights and other causes. For any normal father, this public note would be excruciatingly painful. For all we know, it might be for Rick Berman, too. But will the pain of this note be enough to change him?
We hope David's public expression of his feelings about his father's work will make Rick Berman think about what he is doing to society, if not his family. If it isn't, well then David, we are on your side and are willing to help you in any way we can.
You can see a video of the Silver Jews tune "I'm Getting Back Into Getting Back Into You." by clicking the image below
I love David Macaray's articles, this one is 1/6/09:
Inside the Burke Group
Union-Busting is Alive and Well
By DAVID MACARAY
Established in 1982, with headquarters in tony Malibu, California, The Burke Group (after president and CEO David Burke) advertises itself as the world’s largest management consulting firm specializing in “union avoidance and preventative industrial labor relations.” Which is more or less a euphemism for “union busting.”
The Burke Group (TBG, for short) earns its keep by defeating union organizing efforts. Torpedoing membership drives is their self-declared “specialty.” When hired by a company to dissuade employees from joining a labor union, TBG representatives swing into action, utilizing every manner of high-powered, negative propaganda to make sure the referendum fails.
TBG’s anti-union presentations (and, typically, there are several of them, spread over weeks) are conducted on company turf, where employee attendance is mandatory. Those who refuse to attend the presentations can be terminated.
Basically, what TBG does at these captive audience meetings is bombard the well-intentioned but impressionable employees with smears, innuendo, flattery, and scare tactics, using a standard, two-pronged assault: one-part economic and one-part psychological.
The economic part consists of pretending that, contrary to what they’ve heard, workers don’t actually “gain” materially by joining a union. Any wage or benefit increase will, in fact, be eaten up by ever-increasing monthly dues that are used to pay the inflated salaries of greedy union bosses, and by debilitating strikes, where employees are thrown out of work for months at a time, with no say in the matter. That’s their pitch.
Read the rest at Joe's Union review
Originally posted at CounterPunch
This is a response I wrote to the ignorant mob over at the Newsvine on a story entitled "Labor unions get boost from Boeing strike", where in the first sentence the author states that the Boeing strike has:
given a shot in the arm to a weakening organized labor movement in America.I had to remind him about his choice of wording and respond to the anti-union views I read in the comment's, here's what I had to say:
Firstly a note to the author: Last year for the first time since 1984 the union membership has risen in America, hence a strengthening labor movement is more accurate, secondly to all the people who have posted before me, and those who read afterwords:
I believe that the complacent American people have moved jobs overseas, and I'm right.
The day you all decided that the poison pet food from China was OK, the cheap plastic piece of crap toy with the lead paint from Wal-Mart was fine for your kid to put in their mouth, the day you blamed the US auto worker and not the greedy companies that used our tax money to make concept cars that got 80+ MPG over ten years ago and didn't bring it to market, that was when YOU gave our jobs overseas. When you decided to talk to Apu in India, masquerading as "Charlie" for your PC's tech support and didn't demand an American at the other end of the phone, the day you let the undocumented worker mow your lawn, that day you all closed your eyes and bought Nike sneakers that some Vietnamese guy made for a whopping $64 a month over the New Balance that was half the price and made by the head of an American family.
This is cross-posted all over the place
You watched with your head up your behind when such staples of American life as Wrangler Jeans moved to Haiti, where even the workers make less than $2 a day and are forced to eat clay sandwiches with salt to stave off the hunger pains, and to such places as Bangladesh, where even the highest paid of the regular working class must stand in thousand people lines to get government subsidized rice, you still sit there idle and watch Hershey's chocolate move 1,500 jobs to Mexico for $2 an hour wages, and you allow the media to brainwash you with fluff of Paris and Britney's sniffer, you are the reason we are here today. You closed your eyes and gave our industry and our jobs away.
Don't blame the unions for the loss of good American jobs, blame yourself. You blindly point your fingers at the only institutions that try to help the American worker, because that's exactly what they want you to do.
Your ignorance disgusts me, your grandparents would slap you. They fought for what you have blindly gave away, even child labor has made a comeback, as an immigration raid in Pottsville, Iowa, which grabbed almost 400 workers in the Agriprocessors Kosher meatpacking plant, has been found to have over 30 workers who were underage, the youngest was on the KILL floor, she was 13. This year also saw how a 13 year old who was working with his father in Illinois, fell 3 stories from a forklift and watched his father die. That doesn't even mention the pregnant teenager from Mexico who died on a California vineyard because she wasn't allowed to stop for a water break. Yes, you allow that and wonder why the Salmonella has spread into out food supply, and no one in any media outlet comes to the conclusion that maybe they don't get a potty break either. You all get what you deserve, less and less. Until you get rid of your blinders and see exactly how they have sold us out, it's only gonna get worse.
So enjoy your crap from Wal-mart, your now made in China air conditioner that 1 in 10 don't work, your poison food and your self-created rat race to compete with workers that have little or no rights in foreign lands and within our own borders.
When the labor movement dies, when we must all fend for ourselves, when you must have at least 3 sources of income to survive and work 12 hours a day with no hope for a dignified retirement, don't come crying to me. Just keep your mind occupied with all the crap they throw your way and make sure your kid's can pass a test and are discouraged from critical thinking so the manager's at McDonald's and the military recruiter's can be well stocked with another group of clean slates to work with.
Bah, I just get so sick of the bullsh!t these people choose to believe. If you like what I wrote over there, hit the little up arrow below my post.
See also "Why unions are bad"
and check out the latest from Lobotero, the first commentor on this post and his latest "Open Letter To The American Voter"
Posted by Joesunionreview in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Fri Oct 03rd 2008, 03:47 AM
I have been in and out of the top 10 on google for "John McCain health plan" for a few months, now since the awareness is being spread, and a lot of money is being spent by the McCain camp to drive us down, my article's telling the truth behind this "hidden" tax are getting muddled, so in honor of Joe Biden bringing this up during the debates, i have created a poster that I hope will take over as the top hit for 'google's images" for John McCain Health Care, it is a huge issue, I know I will be paying more taxes if his plan goes through.
I have tried to explain this in words and it just seems that a lot of us need pictures, so feel free to print and spread the word.
Here's the image
Cross posted at DailyKos
Recently John McCain ad's have been appearing on my site, I have also a lot of anti-union, union avoidance and replacement worker ad's on my site via Google Ads. So I started a block list, here's what I got so far:
I have added the URL's into the competitive ad filter, so within a few days I will have blocked a lot of em, but I need help, it's a bitch because I cannot click my own ad's and the google ad preview does not work, so is there anyone else out there who see's any bad ad's, and can post the url, I would be most appreciative,
To use the Google Blocklist I have posted above, just enter your AdSense, navigate to the "AdSense Setup", and copy whats above and paste into the "competitive ad filter" screen, save and a few hours later the ad's will be blocked
Joe's Note: full story with all the formatting in link below, sorry need sleep
“We’ll fix it. We’ll fix it.” But nothing ever happens. They’re pushing to get stuff done. They’re more interested in the money, than keeping the job safe.-Fred Medina, a member of Plasterers and Cement Masons Local 797
I was in the middle of writing this up last night, I got a ton of information from Gangbox: Construction Workers News Service, after 11 construction deaths in 18 months, and failure to negotiate a positive safety plan between the unions and Perini, the General Contractor, the Nevada Building and Construction Trades membership walked off the job late Monday night, a general strike, today I noticed at the AFL-CIO Blog that the workers have ended the strike, details below.
Heres a few links from Gangbox, in reverse order, oldest to newest.
* LAS VEGAS CONSTRUCTION WORKERS STRIKE OVER SAFETY… MGM Mirage CityCenter job shut down
Shortly after midnight Monday, construction workers picket MGM Mirage’s CityCenter to protest safety conditions at the project after talks between leaders from local building trades unions and the site’s general contractor, Perini Building Co., broke off earlier that night.
* Las Vegas construction safety strike spreads - from MGM Mirage CityCenter to the Cosmopolitan
* Las Vegas construction unions end safety strike at MGM Mirage Citycenter and Cosmopolitan
And todays news from the AFL-CIO Web Blog (6/4/08):
Las Vegas Construction Workers Win Safety Demands
Some 6,000 construction workers are back on the job today at MGM Mirage’s CityCenter in Las Vegas, after the project’s general contractor agreed to the workers’ demands to improve safety on a job site where six workers have been killed in the past 18 months.
The workers, members of the unions of the Southern Nevada Building and Construction Trades Council (SNBCTC), walked off the construction site for a $9.2 billion hotel, casino, condominium, retail and entertainment complex Monday night, when talks with Perini Building Co. to improve safety broke down.
Steve Ross, the building council’s executive secretary-treasurer says the agreement is
…quite significant, not only for union construction workers but for construction workers in general. We want them all to be safe….We want this to resonate up and down Las Vegas Boulevard. The important thing is for these men and women to come to work in the morning and regardless of what shift they’re working, go home and be with their families.
Perini agreed to a three-point job safety outline that includes:
*An immediate worksite safety assessment by the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department’s (BCTD’s) Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR).
*Conducting and paying for on-site safety training for all workers administered by the center.
*Full job site access to union and safety officials.
The latest death occurred Saturday when Dustin Tarter, 39, a crane oiler, was killed when he was crushed between the crane’s counterweight system and the crane track. Five other workers have been killed at the CityCenter. Overall, 11 construction workers have been killed on Las Vegas Strip job sites in the past 18 months.
In March, a Las Vegas Sun investigative series reported a pattern of dangerous safety problems on city construction sites, including inadequate training, faulty equipment, job speed-ups, worker fatigue from excessive overtime and more.
Yesterday, Fred Medina, a member of Plasterers and Cement Masons (OP&CMIA) Local 797 told the paper:
We’re trying to make a statement that life is important. When you make a complaint about safety to safety managers, they keep saying, “We’ll fix it. We’ll fix it.” But nothing ever happens. They’re pushing to get stuff done. They’re more interested in the money, than keeping the job safe.
Ross said the agreement was a good first step in addressing the job safety problems in the estimated $32 billion building boom in the city.
I want to make this very clear, this isn’t the solution to the entire problem.
Sara Stafford, a Saugus construction business owner shared her personal experience of being underbid by a contractor using misclassified workers and illegals.
Pictured from left: Francis Callahan, Jr. of the MA Building Trades Council, Mark Erlich of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters, George Noel of the state Dept. of Labor and Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Stark.
Submitted by Charles Lezette on May 30, 2008 - 11:22am.
On Mon., April 28, George Noel, Director of the Massachusetts Department of Labor
"Cheaters and unscrupulous employers have created an underground economy as big as $1 trillion. Worse, workers right here in Massachusetts are being taken advantage of and not getting the benefits and protections they deserve," said Kerry.
Participating in the hearing with Kerry was US Congressman John Tierney (D-Salem), co-author of the Taxpayer Responsibility, Accountability and Consistency (TRAC) Act, which seeks to discourage employers from misclassifying workers by allowing the IRS to collect the unpaid taxes from the employer. In addition, the bill would increase fines for misclassifications. Frank Callahan, President of the Massachusetts Building Trades Council
"This is a problem that is severe and is getting worse," said Mark Erlich, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the UBC's New England Regional Council
Business owners also attended the hearing. Sara Stafford, a Saugus construction business owner shared her personal experience of being underbid by a contractor using misclassified workers and illegals. Scott Morrisey of Red Line Wall Systems, Inc. gave this overview
Ask your US Representative to support H.R. 5804, the Taxpayer Responsibility, Accountability, and Consistency Act.
Charles Lazette is a contributer/Administrator of Union Review and a politically active member of UBC local 370 in upstate New York, he also runs his website UBCNewsroom, go check it out and keep up to date with the latest misclassification headlines in the US and other news that affects workers in the area.
"You can be safe, you can do everything you can do, but construction is a very complex and dangerous business."- Donald trump
My heart goes out to the families affected
This accident is completely different from the accident on March 15th., this crane was not being 'jumped', it was fully inspected and in service. There was no load on the crane, nothing fell and hit the crane. It just toppled at the "turn table" from the weight of the crane, boom and counterweights. This should not happen, ever.
Commenting to a reporter from the New York Times on Friday Louis J. Coletti, who is president of the Building Trades Employers' Association, said "you've seen some new regulation put into place by the City, but today we're talking about an incident where every regulation has been followed."
Bloomberg (5/31/08) follows with:
Acting Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri said he ordered the suspensions even though the city hasn't found any similarities between the cause of yesterday's accident and a March 15 collapse that killed seven.
In addition, the city plans to spend $4 million to hire about 20 ``highly specialized engineers'' who will have the authority to change practices on ``high-risk'' jobs involving cranes, concrete pouring and excavation, LiMandri said.
``They will make recommendations as they see fit,'' LiMandri told reporters a block from the Upper East Side site where a crane collapsed, killing two construction workers and seriously injuring a third. ``Once that goes into effect, we will not wait for a report.''
The engineers are part of a $9.3 million program budgeted for the department that will pay for 63 new engineers and inspectors. The plan was adopted after the March 15 accident, at 303 East 51st St., the site of numerous prior complaints from neighbors.
In the past eight years, New York City has experienced an unprecedented construction boom, with $29 billion of building forecast for 2009, an 83 percent increase from $16.4 billion in 2000, according to the New York Building Congress, an association of developers, architects and vendors.
Donald Trump chimes in at ABC News for '20/20' interview (5/30/08) :
"I'm one of the biggest builders in the world, and I tell you I hate to walk under construction sites," Trump said. "You can be safe, you can do everything you can do, but construction is a very complex and dangerous business."
New York's trendy SoHo district is the home of one of Trump's current hotel construction sites, which received one of New York City's 128 crane safety violations this year. "We built a series of many, many buildings from 72nd Street all the way down the Hudson River, and we never had a problem, and yet we did have one problem in SoHo," Trump said. "I've got a great track record, one of the best, but it's a dangerous business."
"I'm doing buildings elsewhere, and many cranes are being shipped over to other parts of the world," Trump said, noting that he is also working on a new building in Dubai. "So I'm not sure if New York City is getting the best cranes, but to have a crane topple the way it did in New York City is an amazing thing."
"They are big, they are strong, they are powerful, they can lift tremendous payloads, and they are dangerous," said Trump. "If a crane is an inch off, it gets dangerous. And you know you're talking about a crane that can go up 60 stories."
This time the crane maintenance is being questioned, according to speculation by Gordon Gibb at Lawyers and Settlements:
The crane, one of dozens in New York City that have been pressed into service during the current building boom in the bustling metropolis, was erected April 20th and 21st. It has been reported that city inspectors shut the crane down on two separate occasions for safety reasons, however those problems were believed to have been unrelated to the accident yesterday.
Rather, the focus is turning to a metal plate that resides at the base of the turntable underneath the cab. On May 16th 2007—just over a year prior to the fateful accident yesterday—a worker discovered a crack in the metal plate of that same crane, which at the time was being used to put up a building at 46th Street in New York. Work was promptly halted until the turntable could be replaced.
Investigators are now trying to determine just what became of that broken turntable from last year. Could it have been repaired, and put back into service? That's the million-dollar question being asked right now.
I had to wait until today to get this story out, I was a few blocks away when this happened, many of my co-workers went over to the site and the story was constantly changing, even when I got home. It gives you such a terrible feeling when you hear this type of news at work. You know it could be a good friend or a casual acquaintance. You know it could be you. I just couldn't write about this yesterday.
Inspectors from DC, Hawaii and Boston have noticed and pledged reinspections of tower cranes. according to KGMB9, Hawaii:
"One of the things we decided when we got in this morning after we heard the news is let’s send our inspectors out and let's inspect all the tower cranes," said James Hardway, Hawaii Department of Labor.
"Hawaii is one of a handful of states that requires an extensive certification of operators," said Hardway.
Construction cranes in Hawaii are usually rented from one company and set up by another. There are fewer than a dozen companies in the country that are capable of the job. The main company used in Hawaii is Northwest Tower Crane Service.
"There is an inherent risk. It's listed as one of the riskiest jobs in the United States," said Tammy Hardy, Northwest Tower Crane Service Inc.
As for what caused the New York crane to fall, there is plenty of speculation.
"Probably shoddy oversight by the government regulators," said Hardway.
Which Hawaii is working hard to never let happen here.
While they scramble, they neglect the need for more drastic changes
Whatever the case, there definitely needs to be some drastic overhauls, I call 311 reporting sites with major violations, I have seen stuff being raised over pedestrians heads on some sites, smaller sites, nonunion sites, without basic safety necessities, and have offered to send the pictures from my phone to the DOB and they do not have the technology? That is unacceptable!
Only through acts of God have more people not been killed in New York recently. I was watching a (safety shed) scaffold being erected in midtown New York with steel I-Beams being lifted directly over pedestrians and called and waited and no one showed within the hour I waited. Imminent death to the public and it continues every single day in New York. The entire reregulating of the DOB only adds buildings over 10 stories to their scope of hard lined oversight. Meanwhile you have undocumented workers throwing asbestos into the streets of NYC in full public view and nothing is done.
Michelle Malkin puts construction safety in a nutshell, from here story "Another deadly crane collapse"
Top story right now on all the cable news stations: another deadly crane collapse in NYC that reportedly has claimed two lives. (Update: 1 dead, two seriously injured.) The NYPost has extensive coverage. NY’s Fox 5 is livestreaming. The accident is the second in 2 1/2 months in NY and comes on the heels of crane regulation revisions by the city just this week. Miami-Dade County is in the middle of heated debate and litigation over post-accident rules. Maryland, Washington, and Indiana are also drafting tighter regs.
It would be helpful for journalists to report what the background rates on crane-related deaths and injuries are. Also, the coverage should distinguish between types of accidents (human error, mechanical failure, etc.). Here’s one report on offshore crane safety that covers 1995-98. Here’s an ABC report with a little more info on stats and causes, among which they mention illegal alien labor and corporate short cuts:
Competing with unregulated, bad contractors, using poorly crafted equipment
The constant pressures of competing with contractors who use undocumented workers is devastating the conditions on all construction sites, everyone is in a frenzy to get the lowest bid against these unscrupulous contractors and to keep themselves employed. Be it cutting corners or rushing to complete a job, the atmosphere is there. There also should be a push to use USA and other highly qualified countries materials and tools on the job sites. Shit, if the dog food ingredients and toys from China contain poison, why is it acceptable to use rigging equipment and steel from that region? A lot of Chinese equipment such as 'shackles' and wire slings do not even have a company name on them. It's up to the rigger to refuse to use them. Thats a terrible burden to put on the worker, who will then be "labeled" a trouble maker and risk losing his job. It should be against the law to use them. Many times we have had "Jet" equipment, such as furniture dollies fail with under weighted loads. The rigging equipment needs to be stringently regulated, especially if it is being used overhead. The 'sweatshop construction' practice needs to be eliminated all together. According to a piece featured here at Joe's Union Review from Al Jazeera news:
According to New York Construction Workers United, about 64 per cent of the city's 250,000 construction workers are immigrants who do the vast majority of non-union work.
Basic security equipment like harnesses and – in Juan's case - hard hats are often lacking from job sites.
Those who do receive safety equipment are often forced to pay for it themselves. Many are afraid to complain because they do not want to be blacklisted or risk being deported if they are illegal.
End the 'sweatshop construction' and the city and the United States will be a much safer place.
Currently we have a large percentage of contractors (aprox. 1/4 of all current construction in NY has employees that work off the books or are misclassified as independent contractors) here who pay their undocumented employees below the minimum wage and misclassifying them as independent contractors. Entitling them to let the "employee' bear the burden of making sure his taxes are being payed, workers comp insurance is in place, supply their own safety equipment and working conditions.
Currently our Building and Construction Unions, local politicians from a bipartisan background and a host of other agencies, like the Brennan center for Justice and the Fiscal Policy Institute have been bringing to light the reckless behavior of these unscrupulous contractors, their safety violations, their shotty and dangerous work, their unskilled workers, the slave wages (according to the Brennan report some are forced to work 12 hours a day, 6 days a week for $6-$12 an hour), the public safety concern, the nonpayment by employer of taxes for said employees(in fact 2 construction companies are facing jail time(NY Newsday reported one for $220,000 and another $394,788 in evading employee taxes), The Governor himself has declared an Executive order to end this misclassification of workers, this doesn't even mention the tax burden these contractors push off onto the general public and those contractors who(according to Fiscal Policy Institute) cost workers lost wages and benefits and local, state and federal governments nearly $500 million in 2005.
When one of these 50,000+ workers gets sick and winds up in the hospital who do you think winds up paying for that? We do.Who winds up paying for their kids schooling, the upkeep of our infrastructure, our public employees wages? the list goes on. What is the cost to us for the lowest bid?
So I say if the Department Of Buildings, Bloomberg and any Governmental entity really wants to make anything better and safer here in New York they should not wait until the next crane travesty, they should not focus on the 'giant accidents', they should work from the bottom up. Remember these contractors who go into business never do it to get smaller. These are the huge contractors of the future and they seem to get a free pass on everything.
There is one reason to be working, to go home in one piece at the end of the day.
Unfortunately, 2 construction workers here in New York will not have that opportunity. From the crane operator who was going to get married in 2 weeks, to the immigrant from Kosovo who was working on the sewer lines in the street, to the carpenter who was working in the stairs who is still in serious condition, to the fourth victim who I haven't read anything about, it is a terrible day indeed.
Follow up on the post-Katrina abuses of H2B Visa guest workers in Mississippi and Texas.
* Slavery in the news: Indian 'guest workers' to hold hunger strike in DC (3/12/08)
* Indian slave pipefitters long march to Washington, and a book about modern U.S. slavery (3/19/08)
* Slavery: Alive and well in USA Pt.2, Indian pipefitters abused in H2B Visa scam, main stream media picks up story full year after facts are released (3/13/08)
Indian Ambassador refuses to visit with "slave" hunger strikers
From DC Labor Council Newsletter (5/29/08):
Hunger strikers – too weak to make the trip to the Indian Embassy – were refused a visit by Indian Ambassador to the US, Ronen Sen, on Tuesday. Sen – who has met with workers in the past and promised his support (Indian Workers March on Embassy 3/28/08 UC) – stunned the strikers on Tuesday when he told them that he had not received their list of demands and he would not visit hunger strikers because he “couldn’t get involved with politics.” "Since when is showing sympathy for brutally exploited Indians in America called 'politics’”asked Sabulal Vijayan, an organizer with the Alliance of Guestworkers for Dignity. Indian workers have been pressuring Indian government officials to demand the US government allow the workers to stay in the US to participate in the human trafficking investigation against their employer, Signal International.
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Who would have thought that those good guys at American Axle would wind up winning their labor dispute with the UAW here in the states, getting as much as wages of $10 less an hour and gearing up to shed 3 US factories and a little less than 2,000 US workers in the process. You would think that they have gotten a sweet deal. Figuring that the US worker is the absolutely highest production worker in the world. Theres gotta be some reasoning and considering all the new business it has recently gotten, its a cause for alarm, according to Automotive News:
American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc. said today that it has a $1.4 billion backlog in new business beginning next year through 2013 — almost all of which will be sourced outside the United States, Automotive News reported.
You would think they would be opening factories on every block, but that simply isn't the case. For some reason, be it governmental labor regulations or environmental standards, American Axle is pledging to do more business outside of the US, according to Crains Detroit (5/28/08):
Despite those gains, American Axle said about 85 percent of its new business will be made in non-U.S. operations, increasing its business in Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Poland and Thailand. That means more than 50 percent of the supplier's production will be done outside the United States, Dauch said. About 65 to 70 percent of that production will be shipped back to the United States.
About half of American Axle's new business will be for rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive products for cars and crossovers. But the company said it is also looking to begin offering electronics products, including transmission differentials and transfer cases.
"Record-high fuel prices, rapidly shifting consumer preferences and fast growth in the emerging markets are quickly changing the product development requirements of the global automotive industry," Dauch said in a statement.
"American Axle's success in growing its new business backlog demonstrates that our long-term strategic goals of expanding and diversifying American Axle's product portfolio, customer base, served markets and global manufacturing footprint are on track and in balance with the needs of our customers."
How on Earth is all that product going to wind up in the United States?
Is the Starship Enterprise gonna beam it here? What about the exceedingly low environmental standards of these countries that are getting the AAM business? how much more fossil fuels are going to be burned to import back the product? Brazil is destroying its wetlands, for biofuel crops and blatant deforestation, China is burning coal like its the 1900's and cares enough about the environment to still be mining coal with its prisoners. That doesn't even tip the iceberg of China's infractions and most of us are aware of India, but what about Poland and Thailand? heres a clip from Nations Encyclopedia(note some of it is a bit dated)
The labor code prohibits employment for children under the age of 15. There are strict rules governing the work standards for those between 15 and 18 years old, however these are not regularly enforced. The minimum wage in state-owned enterprises was $180 per month in 2002, although large number of workers earn less than the minimum wage. The legal standard workweek is 42 hours with one 24-hour rest period. The labor code defines occupational safety and health standards but they are not consistently enforced.
The main domestic energy sources are coal, lignite, and peat; rivers remain a largely untapped source of power. In 2001, the net installed capacity was 30,559,000 kW. Production in 2000 was 135.2 billion kWh, of which 98.1% was from fossil fuels, 1.5% from hydropower, and less than 1% from other renewable sources.
...Minimum daily wage rates in 2002 ranged from $3.01 to $3.71 depending on the cost of living in different provinces. Legislation regulating hours and conditions of labor, workers' compensation, and welfare also exists, however, these laws are weakly enforced.
While forced labor is prohibited by the Thai constitution, there are reports that workers are physically prevented from leaving some sweatshops, especially ones which employ illegal immigrants from Laos, Cambodia, and Burma. These same sweatshops have also been accused of using physical coercion to meet production goals.
American Axles, is not only fucking the US workers, by exiting our country for places with little or no enforced labor standards. This multi national corp is now helping destroy the entire planet while we are so caught up in the "Green" movement here in the states, AAM and other wonderful corporations are skirting laws and regulations by just moving away. I only wonder where the outrage is? Where's the environmental tariff? Why do I have to sort shit in green and blue bags so some corporation makes money off of my labor? Now I have to put leaves in a separate bag and American Axle is getting away with burning coal to make it's products. What a sham. We all work harder and get less and they convince us its for our own good. I'm not going to disagree, but how is this country going to allow this? A big fuck you to AAM, Dick Dauch and all the bullshit rules and regulations that are selectively sentenced upon our people.
A huge thanks to UnionGal for pointing this out
Mobile agreement between New Era and Teamsters paves way for overwhelming union vote in Jackson faci
"The Teamsters reached an agreement with New Era Cap earlier this year with its Mobile, Alabama workers that helped lead to today's victory." - Jimmy Hoffa Jr., President International Brotherhood of Teamsters
Crossposted at Joe's Union Review
In Feburary 2008, the Teamster, New Era Cap and the NAACP jointly announced a tentative 3 year agreement in the Mobile, Alabama facility. Part of that agreement was that the company and the union would remain neutrality, whereby they would stand clear of coercion in the organizing of other New Era Cap facilities.
Friday, the workers in the Jackson, Alabama facility, which employees 326, voted overwhelmingly, 209-77, to become union members in the Teamsters Local 991.
"We are pleased to welcome the New Era Cap workers to the Teamsters and we will work hard to represent them," said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa. "The Teamsters reached an agreement with New Era Cap earlier this year with its Mobile, Alabama workers that helped lead to today's victory."
"I was not surprised at the size of the victory because all the workers know we need a change in how we are treated and I tip my hat to the Teamsters for coming in here and helping us," said Nancy Phelon, a three-year worker who works in Stitching. "I know the Teamsters will be behind us from now on."
Read more in the Press Release at PR Newswire
There is a tentative agreement between AAM and UAW, not many details as of yet. Buffalo Cheektowaga facility to stay open, Tonawanda Forge to close, don't know much more yet, details will be released Sunday morning. WSBT DTV reports "A spokesperson who was briefed on the agreement says the auto part supplier has boosted its wage offer and increased payments it will give workers to take a wage cut."
From AFL-CIO Blog (5/17/08):
The UAW and American Axle Manufacturing have reached a tentative agreement to end a strike by 3,600 UAW members at American Axle plants in Michigan and New York. The workers have been on strike since Feb. 26. The tentative pact was announced late yesterday.
Says UAW President Gettelfinger:
"Our members at American Axle have displayed extraordinary solidarity during this strike. the bargaining committee worked extremely hard to achieve this tentative agreement and they have voted to recommend it to the membership.
Details of the tentative agreement will be presented to UAW members who work in the two Detroit area plants at a meeting tomorrow morning. Meetings for workers at the other three American Axle facilities are being scheduled."
Buffalo's News 4 reports:
About 116 people work at the Cheektowaga plant.
The agreement does call for closing the Tonawanda Forge, which employs around 400.
State Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak, who was Town Supervisor when American Axle moved into Cheektowaga, has mixed feelings.
Gabryszak said, "For them to be able to go back to work knowing they'll have jobs for at least the next four years that's the good thing. Of course the downside is losing those jobs in Tonawanda plant."
Klostermann said, "There's a lot of skepticism, sure there's probably a general uplifting feeling but for the most part until we see what's going to be offered you really can't let your guard down."
The workers have been on strike for eleven and-a-half weeks.
More headlines can be found at the bottom of this article on Joe's Union Review
Sorry cant get that HTML to work here
The U.S. Senate has passed a version of the Foreclosure Prevention Act, the majority of which goes t
The U.S. Senate has passed a version of the Foreclosure Prevention Act, the majority of which goes to pay for taxpayer handouts to corporate home builders, not to help struggling homeowners - LIUNA Newswire
I say, if you make a decision that will effect you for 30 years of your life, you should think it through, if you bought a house you couldn't afford, get an apartment, nobody twisted your ARM.
That being stated, I continue that, if you make a bad business decision, and you lose solvency, you should go out of business, case closed.
While it was introduced as a well meaning plan to help people keep their houses, it seems that the Senate version of the Foreclosure Prevention Act is tainted with it's fair share of pork, here's the scoop:
I stayed at the Capitol Hilton in DC this weekend to help give a seminar on E-Activism and Blogging, little did I know that just a few days before there were a group of lobbyists staying at the exact same place. Their mission was to seduce members of Congress into passing the "Foreclosure Prevention Act", which in it's little known areas will give up to 32 BILLION US DOLLARS in tax breaks, to the corporations who helped get us into this mess in the first place.
How? By letting these corporate homebuilders claim MILLIONS in tax refunds by charging their current losses against the huge profits they made 3 or 4 years ago.
They didn't mind building out of control when people were sucking up ARM mortgages like grapes. Now that the bubble has burst, they want to slide on their tax burden. According to LIUNA "The U.S. Senate has passed a version of the Foreclosure Prevention Act, the majority of which goes to pay for taxpayer handouts to corporate home builders, not to help struggling homeowners." Unfuckingreal, I'm pissed!
I wonder what would happen if you and I tried to claim this years losses against the gains we had in the last 4 years.
According to the *Metro Washington Council News, AFL-CIO (5/1/08):
"PIGGY" HOMEBUILDERS TARGETED IN FORECLOSURE BAILOUT PROTEST:Big pink chanting pigs rallied outside the Washington Hilton Hotel early Wednesday morning to protest billions in handouts to corporate homebuilders. Serenaded with chants of "corporate welfare on the rise, a bunch of pigs in disguise" and "off to the trough," representatives of the homebuilders industry boarded shuttle buses outside the Hilton to lobby Congress for passage of the Foreclosure Prevention Act. The Act - currently before the House - would provide billions in bailout to the homebuilder industry while giving little relief to homeowners, according to the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA), which coordinated the demonstration. "This bailout failed to pass the worker smell test," said Laborers President Terrence O’Sullivan. "We are stepping up our efforts to make sure Congress knows this bailout is unacceptable."
NY Times (4/16/08):Big Tax Breaks for Businesses in Housing Bill :
The tax provisions of the Foreclosure Prevention Act, which consumer groups and labor leaders say amount to government handouts to big business, show how the credit crisis, while rattling the housing and financial markets, has created beneficiaries in the power corridors of Washington.
It also shows how legislation with a populist imperative offers a chance for lobbyists to press their clients’ interests.
This has proved especially true on the housing legislation, which many lawmakers and lobbyists view as one of the last opportunities before Congress grinds to a halt amid election-year politics.
In the Senate bill, the nation’s biggest home builders, some now on the verge of bankruptcy, won a provision that would let them claim millions in tax refunds by charging their current losses against the huge profits they made three or four years ago. Other struggling industries would benefit from this provision.
“This is our biggest legislative effort since the Tax Reform Act of 1986,” said Jerry M. Howard, chief executive of the National Association of Home Builders. Hundreds of the association’s members flooded the district offices of representatives and senators while they were home for the spring recess last month.
LIUNA Newswire (4/29/08) :
Through their subprime and high-risk mortgage lending subsidiaries, corporate home builders helped create the current crisis which has contributed to the loss of 359,000 construction jobs since 2007. The actions of corporate homebuilders have also contributed to as many as 3 million Americans facing foreclosure and the loss of nearly $1 trillion in investment value, weakening workers' retirement security.
The U.S. Senate has passed a version of the Foreclosure Prevention Act, the majority of which goes to pay for taxpayer handouts to corporate home builders, not to help struggling homeowners. The House of Representatives will soon take up the legislation. In print and online ads launching Wednesday, LIUNA appeals to the House to make the Foreclosure Prevention Act live up to its name. The NAHB, which had threatened to cut off political contributions if it does not get the legislation, is expected to lobby the House Wednesday for the tax breaks. LIUNA and others will demonstrate with 'pigs at the trough,' as the union has done in several cities to protest the proposed corporate homebuilder handout.
LIUNA is fighting for a solution to the crisis which helps to restore jobs, stabilize the housing market, return shareholder value to home builders and work with home builders to create a sustainable model for a healthy industry.
*You can sign up for the newsletter here-> DCLabor
Who would have thunk it? Former Bush NLRB appointee now working for anti-union law firm.
For quite some time the NLRB has been favoring employers, now former Chairman Robert Battista can help exploit American workers, using laws he helped create.
According to American Rights at Work (5/5/08):
Breaking: Battista Now Busting Unions For Profit
Written by Erin Johansson
For years I've been writing that Robert Battista, former chair of the National Labor Relations Board, has been doing the bidding of anti-union employers by dismantling protections for workers under the law. Apparently, he's now going to be doing the bidding of anti-union employers and making a lot more money at notorious unionbusting firm Littler Mendelson (see a sample of their unionbusting strategies: Littler Mendelson’s Dos & Don’ts).
Battista asked Bush to withdraw his nomination as Labor Board chair, which was going nowhere, and joined the firm that John Logan of the London School of Economics called one of the "nation’s first law firms to conduct aggressive union avoidance campaigns."
Now Battista can make money telling employers how to exploit the law he helped to weaken in order to prevent their workers from organizing.
Heres some links on the NLRB in the Bush years
"Today, fewer workers have fewer rights and weaker remedies under the National Labor Relations Act," said Liebman, who was appointed to the board by President Clinton. "Virtually every recent policy choice by the board impedes collective bargaining, creates obstacles to union representation or favors employer interests." Unions have protested what they call anti-union decisions from the current National Labor Relations Board. They particularly point to 61 decisions the board made in September they say hurt unionized workers.
"Since its installation in 2002, the Bush administration's labor board has embarked on a systematic and insidious effort to radically overhaul our federal labor law and its regulation of labor relations in the private sector," AFL-CIO lawyer Jonathan Hiatt said.
If anti-union employees can get 30 percent of eligible employees to sign a petition within 45 days, an NLRB secret-ballot election will take place, the decision said.
"This is an encouraging step forward for employee freedom," said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation.
National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation lawyers challenged the card-check system for workers at two auto parts suppliers, Dana Corp., an Ohio auto parts maker and Metaldyne Corp.,of Plymouth, Mich., who were organized by the United Auto Workers.
The NLRB, however, said its decision would only apply to future card check campaigns, leaving the Dana Corp. and Metaldyne Corp. employees as members of the UAW.
The board's decision will make it less likely that a company will voluntarily agree to a card-check campaign, said NLRB members Dennis P. Walsh and Wilma B. Liebman.
"An employer has little incentive to recognize a union voluntarily if it knows that its decision is subject to second-guessing through a decertification petition," the two wrote.
As Ted Kennedy said:
WASHINGTON, DC—Today, the White House announced the President’s intent to nominate Robert Battista and Gerald Morales to the National Labor Relations Board.
Senator Edward M. Kennedy said, “It’s unbelievable that President Bush would renominate Mr. Battista to the Board, after he led the most anti-worker, anti-labor, anti-union Board in its history. America’s hard-working men and women deserve a Board that will uphold their rights, not undermine them. With these nominations, the Administration has again demonstrated its hostility to fairness and justice in the workplace.”
"This is not the NLRB. This is George Bush's board. This is Dick Cheney's board. This is the Chamber of Commerce's board. This is the National Association of Manufacturers' board. And it sure as hell ain't the Labor Board!” declared Mine Workers President Cecil Roberts.
The marchers protested 61 NLRB decisions, virtually all by party-line 3-2 votes, starting in late September and continuing, that stripped away many workers' rights. They included rulings making it easier to oust unions through what are called "decertification petitions” -- rulings making it harder for workers illegally fired for pro-union work to get back pay, and rulings making it easier for firms to break labor law.
Human Rights Watch wishes to express our deepest concern that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decision in the so-called Kentucky River Trilogy violates United States obligations under international human rights law and international labor law. The decision announces an expanded definition of “supervisor” under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), the main U.S. law governing workers’ right to organize. Under the new definition, employers can classify as “supervisors” those employees with incidental oversight over coworkers, even when such oversight is far short of genuine managerial or supervisory authority.
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