Workers Issues in the US

Verizon workers rally in New York, authorize strike action

By a WSWS reporting team, 29 July 2015

Workers denounced attacks on benefits and job security at Manhattan demonstration.

Layoffs mount in West Virginia

By Naomi Spencer, 29 July 2015

The state has the highest unemployment and lowest workforce participation rates in the country, figures exacerbated by mass layoffs in coal, rail and other key industries.

UAW keeps sellout plans concealed as talks open with Ford

By Shannon Jones, 24 July 2015

Behind the scenes the parameters are being developed for a betrayal of auto workers

Who’s who on the UAW negotiating team?

By Gabriel Black, 23 July 2015

The top four bargainers for the UAW—Dennis Williams, James Settles, Cindy Estrada and Norwood Jewell—have a long record of imposing the dictates of corporate management.

Contract deadline approaches for Verizon and AT&T workers

By Samuel Davidson and Maria Kovalenko, 22 July 2015

Sixty thousand workers at the two largest telecommunication companies in the US face a fight to defend health care and pensions.

Pew report: US unfunded public pension liabilities hit $1 trillion

By George Gallanis, 20 July 2015

State and local governments have systematically starved public employee pension funds of cash for decades, claiming that there is “no money” to properly fund them.

The battle ahead for US autoworkers

By Jerry White, 16 July 2015

The opening of talks on new contracts covering 140,000 US autoworkers was marked by a grotesque display of UAW-corporate unity on plans to boost company profits and increase exploitation.

Socialist Equality Party launches digital WSWS Autoworker Newsletter

By Jerry White, 15 July 2015

The weekly newsletter will provide coverage of the struggle confronting 139,000 US workers at General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler, whose labor contracts expire September 15.

Workers face 1930s-type exploitation at Chicago Ford plant

By Kristina Betinis, 15 July 2015

A class action suit names both management personnel and UAW officials in connection with sexual harassment, racial discrimination and threats of violence.

Contract talks set to begin for 140,000 US autoworkers

By Jerry White, 13 July 2015

The negotiations do not involve antagonistic parties, as the UAW long ago abandoned any defense of workers’ interests and tied its institutional fate to the profits of the auto companies.

As contract talks set to start

Ford threatens mass layoffs at Michigan truck plant

By Tim Rivers, 13 July 2015

In a surprise announcement July 9, Ford Motor Company said it will shift production of the Focus and C-Max from its Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan to an undisclosed location outside the US The move threatens the jobs of 4,000 workers employed at the plant.

Pittsburgh energy company cuts health care for 4,400 retired workers

By Samuel Davidson, 6 July 2015

Pittsburgh-based coal and natural gas giant Consol Energy is the latest in a series of private companies to cut health benefits for its retired workforce.

Milwaukee transit workers strike

By Christopher Davion, 2 July 2015

After working since April 1 without a contract, Milwaukee bus drivers and mechanics began a 72-hour strike early Wednesday.

Illinois begins fiscal year without budget as austerity package is drawn up

By Alexander Fangmann, 2 July 2015

Republican governor Bruce Rauner and Democratic leaders are crafting a deal that will implement a bevy of anti-worker provisions as part of a bipartisan deal to raise taxes and cut state services.

With appointment of Kenneth Feinberg to oversee cuts

White House steps up assault on pensions

By Andre Damon, 20 June 2015

The White House said Wednesday that it will grant long-time Washington fixer Kenneth Feinberg the power to unilaterally slash the benefits of retirees in multiemployer pension funds.

The New York Times, Scott Walker and the unions

By Jerry White, 17 June 2015

The cover story of Sunday’s New York Times Magazine promotes the myth that the unions waged a determined struggle against Wisconsin Governor, and likely Republican presidential candidate, Scott Walker.

Contract covering 16,500 General Electric workers to expire June 21

By John Marion, 16 June 2015

Negotiations between General Electric and an umbrella group of unions began this month in New York.

AFSCME backs Illinois bill banning strikes

By Alexander Fangmann, 9 June 2015

Senate Bill 1229 would ban strikes by state employees through the duration of Governor Bruce Rauner’s term in office.

San Diego, California renews emergency services contract with low-wage company

By K. Rowe and Toby Reese, 6 June 2015

The Democratic-controlled city council voted unanimously for an agreement that maintains a starting wage of only $10 an hour for new EMTs.

Build rank-and-file committees to prepare the fight for jobs and wages!

By Jerry White, 5 June 2015

With little more than three months before the expiration of the labor agreement with GM, Ford and Fiat-Chrysler, autoworkers need to prepare now for a fight to defend their interests.

Los Angeles labor federation calls for minimum wage exemption for unionized workplaces

By Marc Wells, 1 June 2015

The “Fight for $15” campaign has been used to entice employers to bring in unions, which will in turn enforce sub-minimum wages.

Union imposes another concession deal on West Coast dockworkers

By Hector Cordon, 26 May 2015

The contract signed by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union further undermines jobs and conditions and does nothing to address management’s moves to create a largely casualized, low-paid workforce.

Fire erupts at nuclear power plant outside of New York City

By Daniel de Vries, 12 May 2015

The third major fire in eight years broke out at the nuclear facility, spilling thousands of gallons of oil into the Hudson River.

Illinois Supreme Court strikes down state pension cuts

By Alexander Fangmann, 11 May 2015

Despite the ruling, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel remain committed to slashing public employee pensions.

Re-sentencing leaves Atlanta educators still facing years in prison

By Kranti Kumara and Jerry White, 5 May 2015

From the beginning, the Atlanta case has been a political vendetta aimed at further discrediting public school teachers and accelerating the process of privatizing public education.

BP and Steelworkers union reach sellout deal to end three-month Indiana refinery strike

By Marcus Day, 5 May 2015

Even as it rewards its executives and shareholders, BP has repeatedly claimed that it must cut costs and impose harsh working conditions to remain competitive.

Wayne County, Michigan “Recovery Plan” guts public worker pensions, health benefits

By Johanna Murger, 5 May 2015

Executive Warren Evans says the “strong medicine” in his financial plan is the only way to avoid emergency management in the county that includes Detroit.

Los Angeles teachers face political fight to defend public education

By Dan Conway, 4 May 2015

The agreement signed by the LA teachers' union will escalate the assault on teachers and public education, while rewarding the union apparatus for backing school “reform.”

Strike of California nurses ends

By Marc Wells, 2 May 2015

After a tentative agreement, 6,500 nurses in eight California hospitals returned to work.

“Part 2” of the Detroit bankruptcy

Michigan governor releases plan for assault on public education

By Nancy Hanover, 2 May 2015

The governor’s plan to reorganize Detroit Public Schools is the most ambitious structural overhaul of public education since the all-charter school district was established in New Orleans.

Port truck drivers walk out again in southern California

By Marc Wells, 29 April 2015

Truck drivers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach went on strike Monday over wage theft and to be reclassified as employees, not “independent contractors.”

California and Illinois nurses set to strike

By Marc Wells, 25 April 2015

Nurses at eight California hospitals and one Chicago medical center have announced a strike against understaffing, limited by the unions to a one- or two-day action.

California’s Inland Empire: A model of low-wage “growth”

By Marc Wells, 22 April 2015

California’s Inland Empire, one of the fastest growing economies in the US, is creating low-paying, unsafe jobs despite a considerable boom in the logistics industry.

Striking Houston-area refinery workers reject “last, best” contract offers

By Tom Hall, 20 April 2015

LyondellBasell will begin unilaterally imposing the terms of a contract that includes huge givebacks on overtime pay.

More layoffs as global oil price slump continues

By Niles Williamson, 18 April 2015

The world’s largest oilfield service company, Schlumberger, announced this week that as a result of declining oil production it will cut 11,000 jobs worldwide, bringing the firm’s total layoffs so far this year to 20,000.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

14 April 2015

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

Oil giants and USW seek concessions at last refineries still on strike

By Marcus Day, 13 April 2015

As the oil companies insist there is no money to improve working conditions or wages, last week Shell announced a $70 billion takeover of the natural gas company BG.

Media tributes for Victor Gotbaum, union leader who saved banks in 1975 New York City fiscal crisis

By Fred Mazelis, 13 April 2015

Gotbaum’s precedent-setting surrender of New York City workers’ rights in the 1970s paved the way for the American ruling class’ offensive against workers throughout the US and the record inequality of today.

The UAW’s loyal opposition

By Jerry White, 11 April 2015

At last month’s UAW bargaining convention, a group of self-styled “dissidents” worked to bolster illusions that the UAW is a viable organization that can be reformed through pressure from below.

Indiana “solidarity” rally promotes Democrats, covers up USW betrayal of oil workers’ strike

By George Marlowe and Jerry White, 1 April 2015

The March 27 event sponsored by the United Steelworkers and AFL-CIO was billed as a “solidarity” rally for 1,100 workers on strike at the BP Whiting, Indiana refinery for nearly two months.

UAW president open to discuss new lower pay scale for auto workers

By Jerry White, 30 March 2015

In a March 25 press conference following the United Auto Workers bargaining convention in Detroit, UAW President Dennis Williams said he was willing to consider the creation of a new, third tier of workers.

At bargaining convention in Detroit

UAW president insists auto workers must “face the facts” of global competition

By Jerry White, 26 March 2015

Facing demands from workers for a significant improvement of wages, the UAW reasserted its commitment to maintaining the competitiveness and profitability of the US automakers.

BP workers in Indiana denounce USW isolation of oil workers strike

By George Marlowe, 26 March 2015

Workers at BP’s Whiting, Indiana plant and a handful of other refineries remain on strike, as the USW works to quickly end the walkout at Shell, Tesoro and other companies.

United Auto Workers union meets in Detroit to prepare 2015 contract betrayal

By Jerry White, 25 March 2015

The first day of the UAW bargaining convention underscored the organization’s role as a tool of the auto companies and the Obama administration.

Stockton, California teachers endorse possible strike action

By David Brown, 25 March 2015

The Stockton Teachers Association and School District have exchanged allegations of illegal labor practices in the wake of a recent strike authorization vote.

As United Auto Workers bargaining convention opens

Media worries whether UAW can contain auto workers’ expectations

By Shannon Jones, 24 March 2015

With GM, Ford and Chrysler raking in an estimated $76 billion since 2009, auto workers are determined to win improvements in the upcoming auto contract talks.

USW isolates remaining oil worker strikes

By Jerry White, 18 March 2015

Oil workers continue to walk the picket lines at refineries across the US despite the efforts of the United Steelworkers to shut down the month-and-a-half long strike.

Steelworkers union pushes local contracts following national deal to end US oil strike

By our reporters, 14 March 2015

Picketing by oil workers will continue until agreements are passed at each separate refinery, with workers who do not accept the terms left completely isolated.

USW reaches sellout deal, moves to shut down oil workers’ strike

By Jerry White, 13 March 2015

Any deal reached on the basis of blocking the full mobilization of oil workers against the intransigence of the energy giants can be nothing but a miserable betrayal.

Obama’s criticism of right-to-work law: A defense of the corporatist bureaucracy

By Shannon Jones, 13 March 2015

Obama’s criticism of the recently enacted right-to-work law in Wisconsin reflects divisions in the ruling establishment over the best way to pursue attacks on the working class.

Los Angeles school district approves hundreds of education layoffs

By Dan Conway, 12 March 2015

The Los Angeles Unified School District Board voted on Tuesday to deliver “reduction in force” notices to 609 elementary school teachers and education workers.

USW union sabotages support for striking US oil workers

By Jerry White, 11 March 2015

The USW has concentrated its energy not on defending workers against the energy conglomerates, but on threatening and harassing reporters from the World Socialist Web Site.

Report shows massive reductions in US workers’ compensation pay

By Nick Barrickman, 10 March 2015

Over the past 15 there has been a concerted, bipartisan drive to slash employer assistance to workers injured on the job.

Oil workers express growing discontent at limited strike

By David Brown, 9 March 2015

The USW has constrained the extent of the oil workers’ strike as the companies are preparing to bring in full-time strikebreakers.

The United Steelworkers’ intimate ties to Wall Street

By Shannon Jones, 6 March 2015

The USW boasts of close relations with the Carlyle Group, a private equity firm that profits off the restructuring and downsizing of distressed companies.

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.