Workers Issues in the US

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

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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

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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

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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 Amazon.com 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.”

Minnesota Orchestra president resigns in aftermath of bitter musicians’ lockout

By Fred Mazelis, 3 April 2014

The issues raised by the 16-month musicians’ struggle have not disappeared.

Amtrak CEO tells employees to expect pay cuts

By Jeff Lusanne, 3 April 2014

In a letter to employees, Amtrak’s CEO singled out employee wages as the source of losses, ignoring low funding from Congress and massive delays from private freight railroads.

AFSCME cancels University of California strike

By Evelyn Rios, 27 March 2014

The union accepted a tentative agreement and called off a planned five-day strike.

New York mayor offers empty words to besieged school bus workers

By Dan Brennan, 20 March 2014

The difference between de Blasio and former Mayor Bloomberg is one of style and tactics, not substance.

New York school bus workers defiant in face of attacks

By a WSWS reporter, 20 March 2014

Workers at Reliant Bus Company in New York City spoke to the WSWS about the conditions they face.

Novelis workers reject steelworkers union in upstate New York

By Steve Filips and Samuel Davidson, 19 March 2014

Six hundred workers at an aluminum processing plant near Syracuse, New York voted not to join the United Steelworkers of America in elections held last month.

Minnesota: Worker denied restroom break sues Electrolux

By Mike Stapleton, 17 March 2014

A woman was forced to urinate without leaving the assembly line after being denied a bathroom break.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

11 March 2014

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

Boeing to freeze US salaried workers’ pensions

By Hector Cordon, 10 March 2014

Nearly 70,000 Boeing salaried workers will have their defined-benefit pensions frozen as of January 1, 2016, to be replaced with a defined-contribution plan.

Tesoro refinery barred inspectors from site of accident in California

By Eric Abu Kweder, 10 March 2014

Last month, two workers at the Golden Eagle plant owned by Tesoro Corporation in Martinez, California suffered severe facial burns after a pipe containing sulfuric acid burst.

Defend public education

Vote “no” on St. Paul Federation of Teachers sellout contract!

By Mike Stapleton, 4 March 2014

The St. Paul Federation of Teachers contract proposal does not in the slightest manner defend the right to public education.

California board votes to increase pension contributions as benefits face attack

By Kevin Martinez, 26 February 2014

The move by the pension board will translate into increased payments from workers, with some employees faced with an immediate rise equivalent to 0.75 percent of their salaries.

Machinists union imposes deep concessions at St. Louis Boeing plant

By Shannon Jones, 25 February 2014

Management, the IAM and big business politicians, threatening job losses, have forced a seven-and-a-half-year concessions contract onto Boeing workers in St. Louis.

Truck delays at Port of New York and New Jersey spark outrage and protest

By Dan Brennan, 25 February 2014

Severe congestion at the port is devastating the livelihoods of thousands of port truckers.

Defend the social right to public education: Oppose St. Paul Federation of Teachers’ sellout contract!

By Eric London, 24 February 2014

This statement by the Socialist Equality Party is being distributed to teachers in St. Paul, Minnesota attending an informational meeting today about the tentative contract reached by union and district officials.

Portland teachers to vote on tentative contract deal

By Hector Cordon, 24 February 2014

Teachers in Portland, Oregon will be voting this week on whether to accept or reject a tentative agreement.

Striking University of Illinois at Chicago faculty and students speak out

By Kristina Betinis, 20 February 2014

The World Socialist Web Site spoke with striking faculty members and student supporters on the picket lines at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

University of Illinois faculty members strike in Chicago

By our reporters, 19 February 2014

On Tuesday, more than one thousand faculty members of the University of Illinois at Chicago went on strike for the first time in the school’s history.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

18 February 2014

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Portland school officials intransigent as deadline for teachers strike looms

By Hector Cordon, 12 February 2014

Negotiations between the Portland school district and the teachers’ union broke down with a February 20 deadline looming for possible strike.

Build rank-and-file committees to defend VW workers

Reject UAW-Volkswagen company union

Statement of the Socialist Equality Party (US)

11 February 2014

Workers have no interest in voting for recognition of the UAW, which functions as a pro-company police force in the auto plants.

Unite the working class behind University of California workers!

Statement of the Socialist Equality Party (US)

11 February 2014

UC workers throughout California will be casting ballots in a strike vote beginning today.

Workers Struggles: the Americas

11 February 2014

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

Detroit water department workers angry at layoff plans

By our reporters, 5 February 2014

Workers at the wastewater treatment facility in southwest Detroit spoke to the WSWS about conditions at the plant.

AFSCME members to hold strike vote at University of California campuses

By Norisa Diaz, 5 February 2014

The union representing over 21,000 workers at the University of California (UC) has decided to negotiate separately the contracts for its patient care and service workers.

Portland teachers to vote on strike

By Katie Hughes and Hector Cordon, 5 February 2014

After ten months of negotiations, 2,900 teachers in Portland, Oregon will be taking a strike authorization vote against the Portland Public School District today.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

4 February 2014

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US union membership remains near historic low

By Shannon Jones, 3 February 2014

The overall unionization rate is at its lowest level since 1916.

Supreme Court denies back pay to 800 US Steel workers

By Tom Carter, 30 January 2014

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that the unions had bargained away steel workers' right to receive overtime pay for time spent putting on personal protective equipment.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

28 January 2014

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Socialist Alternative councilwoman backs Democrats’ minimum wage maneuver

By Jerry White, 21 January 2014

Socialist Alternative conceives of an “independent” party as a political mechanism for applying pressure on the Democratic Party.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

21 January 2014

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

Chicago Teachers Union launches “independent” political organization

By Kristina Betinis, 20 January 2014

With the collaboration of other unions and pseudo-left organizations, the CTU has formed a new organization aimed at preventing a break with the big business political establishment.

Detroit retirees denounce pension, health care cuts

By WSWS reporters, 16 January 2014

Facing the loss of their pensions and health benefits, thousands of retired Detroit city workers attended an event January 14 called by the union-affiliated Detroit Retired City Employees Association.

The International Socialist Organization and the betrayal of the Boeing workers

By Jerry White, 10 January 2014

In the aftermath of the defeat of the Boeing workers at the hands of International Association of Machinists, the International Socialist Organization has published a commentary that whitewashes the role of the IAM and seeks to prevent workers from drawing any political lessons from this latest betrayal by the unions.

Boeing workers denounce union for ramming through sellout deal

By Hector Cordon, 7 January 2014

Workers angrily demanded a recount after the contract, with terms nearly identical to those rejected by workers in November, was approved by a slim margin.

Fiat’s $4.35 billion payoff to UAW, Inc.

By Jerry White, 4 January 2014

The payoff to the UAW is being financed out of the sweat and blood of Chrysler workers, who have been subjected to savage wage cuts and speedup over the last four years.

Machinists’ union rams through sellout deal at Boeing

By Shannon Jones, 4 January 2014

The International Association of Machinists (IAM) forced a new vote on essentially the same deal workers rejected by a two-to-one margin in November.

North Dakota train explosion raises questions about oil transport safety

By Jeff Lusanne, 4 January 2014

The second large explosion of crude oil being shipped by rail from the North Dakota oilfields shows that significant risks continue to go unaddressed by the industry or regulators.