Workers Issues in the US

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

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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

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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 Allan, 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.

United Transportation Union demands historic concessions from train conductors

By Jeff Lusanne, 21 July 2014

The United Transportation Union has agreed to “transformative” changes that would allow one-man operation of many trains, threatening both workers’ jobs and public safety.

New Orleans firefighters’ pension fund lost 41 percent of value in 2013

By Tom Hall, 21 July 2014

Years of corruption within the pension board and underfunding by the city government have led to a catastrophe for the city’s firefighters.

Teamsters shut down truckers strike at southern California ports

By Gabriel Black, 14 July 2014

A largely ceremonial strike by port truck drivers was ended in Los Angeles and Long Beach over the weekend with a deal brokered by local Democratic Party politicians with the Teamsters union.

Truck drivers on strike at two California ports

By Marc Wells, 9 July 2014

Truck drivers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach went on an indefinite strike Monday morning protesting against unfair practices, including lower than minimum wage pay, intimidation and retaliatory firing.

United Airlines to outsource 630 jobs

By Shannon Jones, 9 July 2014

The move by United takes place amidst a wave of cost-cutting by major airlines.

Contract expires for Pacific Coast dockworkers in US and Canada

By Rafael Azul, 2 July 2014

As of July 1, 20,000 West Coast dockworkers have been working without a contract

Maryland governor blocks strike by Johns Hopkins Hospital workers

By Nick Barrickman, 30 June 2014

Union officials welcomed the government intervention.

Union-sponsored bill to fast track the firing of teachers signed by California governor

By Alan Gilman, 28 June 2014

The legislation signed by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown will be used to remove better-paid, more experienced teachers.

Education “reform” group to file lawsuit against teacher tenure in New York State

By Jason Melanovski, 28 June 2014

Following the California court ruling striking down teacher tenure in the state, a corporate-backed education “reform” organization is preparing to file a lawsuit challenging New York state tenure and seniority laws for teachers.

Workers killed on the job at online retailer Amazon

By Nick Barrickman, 17 June 2014

The deaths of two workers employed at warehouses owned by online retailer reveal the harsh working conditions faced by millions across the US.

Detroit retirees denounce plan to raid city workers’ savings accounts

By Jerry White, 17 June 2014

Nearly 5,000 retired Detroit city workers will be forced to pay back tens of thousands of dollars in earnings from their annuity savings accounts.

Obama administration halts Philadelphia railway strike

By Sandy English, 16 June 2014

Obama’s presidential act of strike-breaking came less than one day after the workers walked off the job in a dispute over pay and benefits.

California court ruling signals nationwide attack on teacher tenure, seniority rights

By Gabriel Black, 12 June 2014

The anti-teacher ruling was immediately hailed by the Obama administration as creating a “new framework for the teaching profession” for the entire country.

The UAW vs. the auto workers

By Jerry White, 9 June 2014

In every respect, the auto union convention exhibited the antidemocratic and anti-working class character of the organization.

New York teachers voting on nine-year “reform” contract

By Steve Light and A. Woodson, 19 May 2014

The contract proposal includes a pay package designed to deprive teachers what is owed to them, and new attacks on public education.

Unions stage one-day fast food protests

By Thomas Gaist, 17 May 2014

The protests were the latest in a series of stage-managed affairs aimed at shoring up the dues base of the unions and channeling opposition behind the Democratic Party.

Child labor widespread on American tobacco farms

By Tom Hall, 15 May 2014

A report published Monday by Human Rights Watch showed that exploitative child labor practices are widespread in the American tobacco industry.

Hospital workers rally in downtown Baltimore

By our reporters, 13 May 2014

The rally was called after contract negotiations broke down a little more than a week ago.

Union backs California bill expediting teacher dismissal

By Juan Verala Luz, 5 May 2014

Democratic Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan has proposed AB 215, a measure designed to force out higher-paid teachers on the basis of “unsatisfactory performance.”

New York City mayor and UFT announce nine-year teachers’ contract

By Fred Mazelis, 3 May 2014

The tentative agreement, designed to set a pattern, shows the role of the unions as guarantors of “labor peace.”

Low-wage labor in America

By Andre Damon, 30 April 2014

The destruction of decent-paying jobs and employee benefits has radically changed American society.

Exploitative practices exposed at McDonald’s restaurants

By Danielle DeSaxe, 28 April 2014

McDonald’s workers in Southern California spoke to the WSWS about the conditions they face.

Bay Area Rapid Transit fined in death of two workers

By David Brown, 21 April 2014

BART has been found guilty of three willful and serious safety violations.

Baltimore hospital workers go on three-day strike

By Adam Soroka, 17 April 2014

About 2,000 maintenance workers, janitors, technical workers and kitchen staff staged a three-day strike last week at Johns Hopkins Hospital (JHH) to demand higher wages.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

15 April 2014

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

Mayor De Blasio rebuffs New York school bus workers

By Dan Brennan, 14 April 2014

The city administration refused to attend a hearing on the impact of removing employee protections from school bus contracts.

Teamsters officials agree to pay UPS and accept ten-day suspensions to end revolt against firings

By Philip Guelpa, 14 April 2014

In exchange for taking the 250 workers back, the company has obtained a statement from the union that the walkout was “illegal and unauthorized.”