Workers Issues in the US

Pennsylvania records first US mine fatalities of 2015

By Clement Daly, 3 March 2015

Last year, 42 workers died in US mines, including 16 in the coal mining industry.

Striking BP oil workers in Indiana speak out

By George Marlowe and Jeff Lussane, 3 March 2015

Workers at BP’s refinery in Whiting, Indiana called for an all-out strike by 30,000 USW oil refinery employees.

Wisconsin unions hold rally against “right-to-work” legislation

By Niles Williamson, 2 March 2015

The union-sanctioned protest was markedly smaller than in 2011, when tens of thousands of workers and students filled the streets of the state capital to oppose right-wing legislation.

USW blocks way forward for striking oil workers

By Jerry White, 27 February 2015

In a “Letter to USW Oil Workers,” USW President Gerard made no attempt to explain the union’s selective strike policy or present a strategy against the intransigence of the oil giants.

US oil strike highlights sacrifice of workers’ safety to corporate profit

By Jerry White, 24 February 2015

As the strike by oil workers enters its fourth week, the energy conglomerates are refusing to budge on demands for improved safety and working conditions.

Auto workers speak out in support of oil strike

By our reporters, 23 February 2015

Ford workers in Chicago and Chrysler workers outside Detroit called for expanding the strike to other industries.

Obama administration forces five-year agreement on West Coast dockworkers

By Dan Conway, 23 February 2015

The main goal of the port operators has been to push for even greater casualization of the labor force, aimed at the reintroduction of the notorious “shape up” system.

Massachusetts public transit crisis drags into fourth week

By John Marion, 23 February 2015

While Governor Baker has appointed a commission that will serve as a delaying tactic, workers are losing wages and prisoners are made to shovel subway tracks.

Oil refinery workers denounce USW treachery, call for national strike

By Gabriel Black, 21 February 2015

On social media, striking oil refinery workers have expressed overwhelming support for a national strike and anger towards the divisive policy of the United Steelworkers union.

A warning to US oil workers: The United Steelworkers’ record of betrayal

By Shannon Jones, 18 February 2015

Over the past three decades, the USW has overseen the betrayal of scores of strikes and the decimation of workers’ jobs, health care and pensions.

Obama administration intervenes against West Coast dock workers

By Jerry White, 16 February 2015

The White House is intervening entirely on behalf of the shipping and terminal owners and, more generally, the corporate and financial elite in the US.

The drive to dismantle pensions in the United States

By Andre Damon, 14 February 2015

The attack on pensions is proceeding with complete disregard for the law, riding roughshod over state constitutional provisions protecting benefits that employees have earned over decades of toil.

Oil workers on strike denounce poor safety and work conditions at US refineries

By our reporters, 14 February 2015

As the strike of US oil workers enters its second week, the WSWS spoke to picketers at the Tesoro Golden Eagle Refinery in Martinez, California.

Thirty-five years since the nationwide US refinery strike

By David Brown and Charles Abelard, 14 February 2015

Thirty-five years ago, US oil refinery workers carried out a nationwide strike, breaking through wage guidelines set by the Carter administration.

As US oil strike nears end of second week

Port owners lock out West Coast dock workers

By Jerry White, 13 February 2015

Coinciding with punitive actions against striking oil workers, the lockout of dock workers is part of an offensive against workers’ demands for improved wages and conditions.

Illinois governor prepares attack on state workers

By Kristina Betinis, 13 February 2015

The new governor has halted payment of agency fees to public employee unions as part of a broader policy of budget cuts and austerity.

Oil workers remain determined as USW resumes talks to sell out strike

By E.P. Bannon, 11 February 2015

The resumption of backroom talks between union executives and the oil giants is aimed at ending the strike and pushing through a sellout agreement for 30,000 oil workers.

A photo slideshow of the US oil workers’ strike

11 February 2015

Over 5,000 oil workers are on strike at refineries in California, Texas, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana and Washington state. The following is a collection of photos from the picket lines as well as photos from the 1980 strike.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

10 February 2015

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature

Oil strike shows growing combativeness of US workers

By Jerry White, 9 February 2015

After decades of declining living standards—even as corporate profits and share prices have soared—the oil refinery strike heralds an emerging “wages push” by American workers.

“If we all took a stand together we would be stronger”

Striking US oil refinery workers speak out

By our reporters, 9 February 2015

WSWS reporting teams spoke to refinery workers on strike throughout the United States.

As walkout spreads to Indiana, Ohio BP refineries

White House urges USW to strangle oil workers’ strike

By Jerry White and E.P. Bannon, 7 February 2015

The Obama administration is concerned that the USW could lose control and the struggle could inspire other sections of workers into action against deteriorating wages and working conditions.

USW rejects new offer by Shell as oil strike enters sixth day

By E.P. Bannon and Jerry White, 6 February 2015

With largely symbolic picketing doing little to hurt production, the companies can afford to wait for the union to wear down workers who have lost pay and health care.

The GM-UAW profit-sharing fraud

By Jerry White, 6 February 2015

The profit-sharing checks being passed out by the Detroit automakers are a pittance compared to what auto workers have lost through wage and benefit cuts.

US oil industry strike enters fourth day as companies resist wage and safety demands

By Dan Conway and Jerry White, 4 February 2015

While workers are looking for a serious struggle, the United Steelworkers has limited the job action to largely symbolic picketing at nine out of 65 unionized refineries.

Limited strike called at US oil refineries as national contract expires

By Jeff Lusanne, 2 February 2015

The United Steelworkers union called a selective strike at nine oil refineries after the labor agreement covering 30,000 oil industry workers expired Sunday morning.

University of California doctors hold one-day strike

By our reporters, 30 January 2015

In line with its strategy of subordinating workers to the Democratic Party, AFSCME limited the strike by doctors to one day, focused on claims of unfair labor practices.

Mass layoffs at northwest Indiana steel mills

By Jeff Lusanne, 28 January 2015

In response to plunging oil prices and falling steel demand worldwide, producers ArcelorMittal and US Steel have announced hundreds of layoffs in East Chicago, Indiana.

The political struggle facing Detroit teachers

By Jerry White, 27 January 2015

The following leaflet was distributed to teachers attending Sunday’s union meeting in Detroit.

Mass job losses unfold in global oil industry

By Gabriel Black, 26 January 2015

Several major oil service companies announced that they would cut significant sections of their workforce, leading to tens of thousands of new layoffs.

More than half of US public school students living in poverty

By Andre Damon, 19 January 2015

For the first time in at least fifty years, most public school students in the US are considered low-income.

Striking California mental health workers denounce attacks on health care

By our reporters, 19 January 2015

Some 2,600 mental health care workers in California are in the second week of a strike against Kaiser Permanente.

California mental health care workers strike

By David Brown, 15 January 2015

Without a contract for four years, mental health workers in the National Union of Healthcare Workers at Kaiser Permanente are holding a series of partial strikes across California.

Coal mine closures and layoffs continue throughout US

By Clement Daly, 13 January 2015

The wave of mine closures and layoffs in the US coal industry continued throughout the second half of 2014.

Verizon union gears up for sellout at US telecom

By Maria Kovalenko, 13 January 2015

The labor agreement covering 40,000 Verizon workers in the eastern United States expires in August.

Union shuts down strike, pushes sellout of Maryland sanitation workers

By Todd Mason and Nick Barrickman, 12 January 2015

Nearly 100 Maryland sanitation workers returned to work last Thursday after their union agreed to a federal mediator’s request to end the strike without securing any of the workers’ basic demands.

Headline figures in December jobs report mask worsening conditions for US workers

By Gabriel Black, 10 January 2015

Although the official unemployment rate fell in December, workers’ wages declined and the labor force participation rate fell to the lowest level in 38 years.

“We’re becoming slaves”

Postal workers speak out against plant closures and speed-up

By Hector Cordon, 10 January 2015

The United States Postal Service began closing 82 mail processing facilities nationwide this week, impacting 15,000 employees.

US Steel to close plant in Lorain, Ohio and lay off 756 workers

By Kevin Martinez, 7 January 2015

The giant steelmaker, which produces pipes for oil drilling at its Cleveland area mill, blamed falling oil prices for the downsizing.

US Post Office to close 82 mail processing centers

By Tom Hall and Hector Cordon, 5 January 2015

The closures, scheduled to begin January 10, will impact 15,000 employees and eliminate overnight delivery for a large share of first class mail.

Maryland sanitation workers’ strike enters fifth day

By Nick Barrickman and Todd Mason, 31 December 2014

Truck operators and helpers in suburban Washington, DC declared their intention to remain on strike until Unity Disposal and Recycling agrees to demands for better wages and benefits.

Trash haulers and truck drivers strike in Maryland

By our reporters, 30 December 2014

Unity Disposal Management has sought to drag out contract negotiations, demanding that trash haulers take a pay cut while drivers receive a minor wage increase.

Christmas for Wall Street: Dow hits record 18,000 points

By Jerry White, 24 December 2014

While tens of millions of Americans face a holiday season of economic insecurity and rising household debt, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stock index hit a record high on Tuesday.

Video: Detroit workers speak on a Christmas of inequality in America

By Zac Corrigan and Jerry White, 24 December 2014

With the stock market setting new records and Wall Street investors getting bumper year-end bonuses, Detroit workers describe the reality facing tens of millions of working people this holiday season.

Navistar closing foundry in Indianapolis, Indiana

By Jerry White, 22 December 2014

The plant closing, which comes after the UAW accepted a 40 percent wage cut, is the latest in the area, long-known as a major automotive and manufacturing center.

Confronting anger over two-tier wages and low pay

US auto union president postures in advance of 2015 contract talks

By Shannon Jones, 18 December 2014

UAW President Doug Williams’ remarks reflect the union's awareness of wide hostility among auto workers to the two-tier wage system

US corporate profits soar as productivity rises and wages stagnate

By Shannon Jones, 4 December 2014

New figures show the extent to which the so-called economic recovery has been fueled by driving down the wages of workers.

More large US companies drop retirees from health plans

By Douglas Lyons, 1 December 2014

Among large employers with 1,000 or more workers, 60 percent have instituted caps on benefits for retirees eligible for Medicare.

US Labor Department Study: 4,405 workers killed on the job in 2013

By Todd Mason, 1 December 2014

The study reveals that 12 workers die each day from on-the-job injuries and illnesses.

Democrats back union-organized Wal-Mart protests

By Kristina Betinis, 29 November 2014

Now in their third year, the minimum wage protests were staged at Wal-Mart locations across the country to promote the unions and the Democratic Party.

Union seeks to smother opposition to unsafe conditions in West Virginia mines

By Clement Daly, 28 November 2014

The United Mine Workers of America is working with Patriot Coal and the courts to suppress the opposition of miners, which erupted in a strike last month over unsafe conditions.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

25 November 2014

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Teamsters sell out strike by port truck drivers in southern California

By Marc Wells, 24 November 2014

Truck drivers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach ended an eight-day strike against unfair practices and wage theft.

Obama’s “reform” and the criminalization of immigrants

By Patrick Martin, 22 November 2014

The executive action issued by the White House treats undocumented immigrants as criminals and maintains their status as super-exploited workers without elementary democratic rights.

US manufacturing wages plummet

By Gabriel Black, 22 November 2014

Six years after Obama’s ascendancy, a report by the National Employment Law Project summarizes the sharp decline in manufacturing wages amidst the supposed “economic recovery.”

American Airlines flight attendants and the global airline industry

By Shannon Jones, 20 November 2014

All the major airlines are seeking to drive down wages and slash costs under conditions of continuing global economic slump.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

18 November 2014

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Toxic gas leak at Texas Dupont plant kills four

By James Brewer, 17 November 2014

The deadly chemical methyl mercaptan is regulated by a host of federal and state agencies.

Volkswagen opens backdoor entry for UAW at Tennessee plant

By Tom Eley, 15 November 2014

Assured that the organization will do its bidding, VW is preparing to defy a vote by workers and install the UAW at its Chattanooga plant.

Port truck drivers strike in southern California

By Marc Wells, 15 November 2014

Truck drivers went on strike last Thursday at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach over poverty pay and wage theft.

After flight attendants reject contract, American Airlines makes offer to pilots

By Shannon Jones, 14 November 2014

Initial reports indicate pilots are overwhelmingly opposed to the proposal, which removes profit-sharing.

Ford uses automated phone messages to fire Chicago workers

By George Marlowe, 11 November 2014

Fearing angry opposition to layoffs, Ford sent out recorded robocalls to 100 temporary workers informing them that their services were no longer needed.

American Airlines flight attendants reject contract

By Shannon Jones, 11 November 2014

The rejection of the union-recommended deal comes after more than a decade in which airline workers have suffered one round of wage, benefit and pension cuts after another.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

11 November 2014

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature

Workers Struggles: The Americas

4 November 2014

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Philadelphia unions use teachers’ rally to promote Democrats

By Nick Barrickman and Jerry White, 20 October 2014

Some 3,000 teachers, parents, students and other city workers participated in a rally to oppose the revoking of the labor agreement covering 15,000 teachers.

Los Angeles City Council proposes minor increase in minimum wage

By Kevin Martinez, 20 October 2014

The proposal, presented as a way of alleviating social inequality in one the poorest cities in the US, is aimed at bolstering the Democratic Party.

San Ysidro, California teachers sold out after three-day strike

By Toby Reese and Shane Reynaldo, 16 October 2014

The union rammed through the deal at a hastily called meeting at which teachers were not allowed to ask questions.

Sharp rise in US contract workers killed on the job

By Steve Filips, 15 October 2014

The number of contract workers killed on the job has increased by 35 percent since 2011.

Reports point to worsening conditions for Pennsylvania workers

By Douglas Lyons, 15 October 2014

Newly released figures show declining or stagnating wages and widening social inequality

Atlantic City, New Jersey casino workers arrested at protest over slashed benefits

By Sandy English, 10 October 2014

Workers blocked traffic to oppose draconian cuts to their health and pension benefits.

Atlanta Symphony lockout enters third week

By Fred Mazelis, 25 September 2014

The Atlanta Symphony’s music director has come out in support of the orchestra musicians.

UAW creates new class of low-paid workers in deal at Indiana Lear plant

By Alexander Fangmann, 25 September 2014

Although UAW leaders said the deal would end the hated two-tier wage system, 40 percent of the workforce will be reclassified as “subassembly” workers making poverty-level wages.

Explosion kills worker at US Steel mill in Alabama

By Jerry White, 23 September 2014

A 53-year-old worker was killed and two others injured Sunday in the latest fatal accident in the US steel industry.

Teachers strike in Reynoldsburg, Ohio

By Clement Daly and Naomi Spencer, 23 September 2014

Last Friday, teachers in the Columbus, Ohio suburb of Reynoldsburg voted overwhelmingly to take strike action, rejecting a binding arbitration offer by the Reynoldsburg City School Board.

Brain damage affects 3 in 10 former National Football League players

By Alan Gilman, 18 September 2014

In a lawsuit brought by former players, the National Football League has admitted that nearly a third of retired players will suffer from dementia, Alzheimer’s and other long-term cognitive diseases.

UAW holds one-day strike at Indiana auto parts plant

By Kristina Betinis, 16 September 2014

Nearly 800 auto workers struck to demand an end to low wages, which they compare to the pay in the fast-food industry.

California Governor Brown signs sick leave bill

By Henry Allen, 15 September 2014

AB 1522, with its three paid sick days, is a political maneuver on the part of California Democrats, Governor Brown, and the unions in the lead-up to the elections in November.

Railroad workers in US reject concessions contract

By Jeff Lusanne, 12 September 2014

The proposed contract centered on a reduction in crew size that threatened the safety of both employees and passengers, and was rejected by members despite the unions efforts to pass it.

Hundreds arrested at union-organized fast-food protests across the US

By Fred Mazelis, 6 September 2014

The unions are seeking to latch onto the legitimate grievances of workers to bolster the Democratic Party, which has presided over a wholesale assault on the working class.

Contractor electrocuted at Detroit area auto parts facility

By Shannon Jones, 4 September 2014

The worker died when the boom of the truck he was driving brushed an overhead power line

New York mayor reneges on pledge to school bus drivers

By Daniel de Vries, 4 September 2014

Mayor de Blasio last week signed into law a school bus workers bill that failed to restore job protections.

The Obama administration and American labor

By Andre Damon, 3 September 2014

The chasm between working people and the political establishment was exemplified by the Labor Day speeches of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden.

GM moving production from Mexico to Tennessee

By Shannon Jones, 2 September 2014

The move is part of a deal based on huge concessions imposed on American auto workers

The human toll of slump and part-time employment

New Jersey woman dies while napping between jobs

By Fred Mazelis, 2 September 2014

Maria Fernandes worked part-time at three separate Dunkin’ Donuts.

Union seeks to ram through grocery worker contract in Southern California

By Jake Dean, 2 September 2014

The UFCW is keeping secret all details of the new tentative contract.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

2 September 2014

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature

Labor Day report details huge decline in wages for Michigan workers

By Thomas Gaist, 1 September 2014

Wages for low-wage male workers have fallen more than 31 percent since 1979.

US west coast dockers union forces through another concessions contract

By Hector Cordon, 30 August 2014

After nearly two years of negotiations, longshoremen will return to work on the basis of a contract nearly identical to the one they rejected in December of 2012.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

26 August 2014

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature

Lockout deadline at New York’s Metropolitan Opera extended

By Fred Mazelis, 14 August 2014

The third delay in the lockout threat points to the danger that concession agreements will be reached with the Met unions.

Atlanta school cheating trial scapegoats teachers

By Fred Mazelis, 14 August 2014

Twelve educators are on trial, accused of falsely inflating test scores to meet the requirements of the No Child Left Behind law.

UFCW in Southern California continues talks with Food 4 Less in wake of strike vote

By Marko Leone and Clodomiro Puentes, 14 August 2014

The contract for 6,500 workers at 95 franchises expired June 8.

The political issues facing Los Angeles teachers

By Dan Conway and Jerry White, 12 August 2014

Like its predecessors, the new leadership of the United Teachers of Los Angeles is aligned with the Democratic Party, which is leading the assault against public education.

Wisconsin high court rules public workers have no constitutional right to organize

By Jerry White, 1 August 2014

In a reactionary ruling with far-ranging implications for democratic rights, the state supreme court upheld Republican Governor Scott Walker’s 2011 anti-worker law.

No to privatization, job cuts and concessions!

For a political struggle by Detroit workers against Orr’s bankruptcy plan

By Jerry White, 29 July 2014

The following statement is being distributed to Detroit Water and Sewerage Department workers who are voting on the city’s contract proposal today.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

29 July 2014

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

CEO says Boeing plans to keep its workers “cowering”

By Hector Cordon, 28 July 2014

In a discussion with Wall Street analysts on Boeing’s second quarter showing, CEO McNerney bragged that “employees will still be cowering” if he stays on a few more years as chief executive.

Seeking to regain credibility, US teachers unions criticize Obama’s education secretary

By Phyllis Scherrer, 22 July 2014

The National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) passed resolutions at recent national conventions distancing themselves from Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, with whom they have long collaborated.