Workers Issues in the US

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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

UPTE union facilitates attack on University of California pensions

By Norisa Diaz, 4 January 2014

A tentative contract proposed by UPTE and the University of California increases by 1 percent the amount workers must pay towards their pensions.

New York’s Mayor Bloomberg calls for assault on public worker pensions

By Philip Guelpa, 31 December 2013

Following the recent stripping of constitutional protection for public pensions in Detroit, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg calls for an all-out attack on public worker benefits.

Young worker and father of two killed at Detroit area steel mill

By Tracy Montry, 27 December 2013

A 31-year-old steelworker was killed in a December 15 explosion at US Steel’s mill in Ecorse, Michigan.

Barack Obama’s Christmas gift to workers

Washington, DC workers speak out on federal budget cuts

By Nick Barrickman, Danielle DeSaxe and Leon Gutierrez, 24 December 2013

The budget agreement will end federal extended unemployment benefits, cutting off 1.3 million from assistance days after Christmas.

Machinists union forces re-vote on Boeing concessions contract

By Hector Cordon and Jerry White, 24 December 2013

Repudiating the decision by workers last month to reject a concessions-laden contract demanded by Boeing, the machinists' union announced Saturday that it will hold of another ballot.

As campaign builds for workers inquiry

More Detroit workers speak on pensions, jobs and the DIA

By Tim Rivers, 24 December 2013

Many workers and young people at Chrysler’s Warren Truck plant and Detroit’s Eastern Market spoke out about the issues being investigated by the Workers Inquiry into the Attack on the DIA and the Bankruptcy of Detroit.

Union moves to block Portland teachers strike, impose concessions

By Katie Hughes, 24 December 2013

With a December 27 deadline fast approaching, the Portland Association of Teachers is working feverishly to prevent the first strike by educators in the district’s history.

Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra threatened with closure

By Niles Williamson, 23 December 2013

The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra is threatened with closure if it fails to raise $5 million in the next two months to cover its operating costs.

Florida residents speak on poverty, unemployment benefit cuts

By Matthew MacEgan, 20 December 2013

Workers in Florida explain that poverty conditions will be exacerbated by mounting attacks on unemployment benefits.

Washington, DC Council passes living wage bill

By Adam Soroka, 20 December 2013

City officials are using the “living wage” debate to posture as supporters of the working class.

Obamacare a model for employer-sponsored health plans

By Kate Randall, 17 December 2013

A new poll finds shows growing opposition to Obamacare, which is serving as a model for a further gutting of the health care system.

Union, politicians press Boeing workers for revote on rejected contract extension

By Hector Cordon, 16 December 2013

Discussions between Boeing and the IAM collapsed after company executives demanded the same concessions workers overwhelmingly rejected last month.

Thousands more New York City school bus workers face layoffs

By Philip Guelpa, 12 December 2013

With the opening of another 4,100 school bus routes for rebids and the closure of the largest school bus company, thousands more face layoffs, or wage and benefit cuts.

Union-organized fast food worker action promotes Democratic Party

By Philip Guelpa, 7 December 2013

On Thursday, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and affiliated groups organized over 100 protests and demonstrations in cities across the United States.

New offensive being prepared against Boeing machinists

By Hector Cordon, 5 December 2013

In the wake of Boeing’s failed attempt to wrest deep concessions from its workers, the unions are ramping up a campaign to convince the manufacturer to keep production of its new airplane in Washington State.

On-the-job accident kills Ohio coal miner

By Naomi Spencer, 5 December 2013

The death of Ohio miner Ryan Lashley brings to 20 the number of US coal miners killed on the job this year.

Dormitory fire kills seven migrant textile workers in Italy

By Stefan Steinberg, 3 December 2013

Immigrant workers who died in a dormitory fire in Italy on Sunday were victims of the exploitative practices of major Western companies.

Union-organized Walmart protests seek to pressure Democratic Party

By Kristina Betinis, 3 December 2013

While the issue of the extreme exploitation of Walmart and other service workers is very real, the campaign organized by the unions is aimed at bolstering a party that is overseeing a coordinated attack on the working class.

The unions and the Detroit bankruptcy

By Joseph Kishore, 2 December 2013

In precise legal language, a motion filed in bankruptcy court to demand the sale of DIA art exposes the unions as full participants in the bankers’ conspiracy against the working class.

Detroit union joins legal action to force sell-off of DIA art

By Jerry White, 28 November 2013

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees has joined a legal action to demand that Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr sell the cultural treasures of the Detroit Institute of Arts to pay off the city’s creditors.

Teamsters push through cuts in pensions for workers at New York supermarket chain

By Jason Melanovski, 25 November 2013

Teamsters officials used multiple contract votes to push through a concessions contract in upstate New York.

US aircraft manufacturer renews job threats

By Hector Cordon and Andre Damon, 22 November 2013

Following the rejection of a concessions contract by Boeing machinists, the company renewed its threat to move production to other manufacturing facilities.

University of California health care workers hold statewide strike

By Norisa Diaz, 22 November 2013

On November 20, health care service and technical workers held a one-day strike throughout California’s UC system.

Directors threaten to reject California transit workers’ contract

By David Brown, 21 November 2013

Members of the Bay Area Rapid Transit Board of Directors claim that one provision of the concessions contract signed by the unions was made in error.

“It’s capitalism, not democracy”

Detroit sanitation workers denounce privatization

By Thomas Gaist, 20 November 2013

Sanitation workers face layoffs and benefit cuts as Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr moves ahead with privatization plans.

Two dead, 20 injured in Colorado mining accident

By Nick Barrickman, 19 November 2013

The event marks the worst mine-related accident in the state since 1981, when an explosion claimed the lives of 15 workers.

Reject blackmail by the IAM, Boeing and Democrats!

For a new political strategy to defend the working class

By the Socialist Equality Party, 13 November 2013

The following statement is being distributed to Boeing workers in Washington state and Portland, Oregon who are voting today on the eight-year contract extension being pushed by the International Association of Machinists on behalf of the giant airline manufacturer.

Portland school board threatens to break looming teachers strike

By Hector Cordon, 13 November 2013

The Portland, Oregon school district is demanding deep-going concessions from teachers.

US Boeing workers rebel against Machinist union’s sellout contract

By Jerry White, 12 November 2013

Boeing workers in the state of Washington are defying blackmail by the company, the union and state and local politicians, who are demanding a contract extension that will gut pensions and wages and ban strikes.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

12 November 2013

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Coal miner killed in southern Illinois

By Naomi Spencer, 9 November 2013

A coal miner was crushed in a wall collapse Monday, bringing to 19 the number of US miners killed on the job this year.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

7 November 2013

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