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Labor

Labor Logo

Recognizing the immense contributions of America's unions

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  • Whatever else they achieve, unions remind us of the dignity of all who toil, whatever their social position, color or educational attainments
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  • Unions were important co-authors of a social contract that made our country fairer, richer and more productive.
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E.J. Dionne Jr., Syndicated columnist, Seattle Times | WA

Watching the great civil-rights march on television in August 1963, I couldn't help but notice that hundreds carried signs with a strange legend at the top: "UAW Says." UAW was saying "Segregation Disunites the United States," and many other things insisting on equality.

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This "UAW" was a very odd word to my 11-year-old self and I asked my dad who or what "U-awe," as I pronounced it, was. The letters, he explained, stood for the United Auto Workers union.

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It was some years later when I learned about the heroic battles of the UAW, not only on behalf of those who worked in the great car plants but also for social and racial justice across our society. Walter Reuther, the gallant and resolutely practical egalitarian who led the union for many years, was one of Martin Luther King Jr.'s close allies.

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Remembering that moment is bittersweet on a Labor Day when so many Americans are unemployed, when wages are stagnant or dropping, and when the labor movement itself is in stark decline.

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Special Report | Labor Day 2010

Help wanted signs would turn Labor Day into a celebration for jobs-starved Americans.

David Culver,
ed., Evergreene Digest

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Mike Thompson

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FDR’s Labor Day Plea Resonates Today, Sarah Anderson, Common Dreams
Seventy-four years ago, Roosevelt ended his Labor Day address by declaring that the needs of all American workers “are one in building an orderly economic democracy in which all can profit and in which all can be secure from the kind of faulty economic direction which brought us to the brink of common ruin.”

Working twice as hard to get half as far: Race-based employment gap in Minnesota, Mary Turck, TC Daily Planet | MN

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  • The Twin Cities metro area has the biggest disparity in black-white unemployment rates of any major metropolitan area in the country.
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  • What is going on here?
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  • Racism in Minnesota (and Beyond)
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For many, a new job comes at a cost: lower wages, Michael Luo, New York Times | NY

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  • Even as a tentative economic recovery wheezes along, data show a disproportionate growth in low-paying jobs.
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  • U.S. Experiencing Worst Episode of Prolonged Unemployment Since Great Depression
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  • Jobless? Your leaders are at ease with that.
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Oil spill cleanup workers at risk! Manny Herrmann, American Rights at Work
BP's record on worker safety is beyond pathetic.
Sign our petition: Any worker who wants safety equipment – like respirators – should get it, and BP should pick up the tab.

Signs Your Boss Is Lying to You, Seth Fiegerman, Mainstreet
If your boss says something is fantastic, chances are, it’s probably not.

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Signs Your Boss Is Lying to You

If your boss says something is fantastic, chances are, it’s probably not.

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Seth Fiegerman, Mainstreet

If your boss says something is fantastic, chances are, it’s probably not.
A recent study found that deceptive CEOs tend to express “more extreme positive emotions” when trying to cover up something and forego language that makes them seem hesitant or uncertain.

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Two researchers at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business have scoured through transcripts of 30,000 conference calls involving CEOs and CFOs of businesses around the country between 2003 and 2007. The researchers then compared what these executives were saying about their business’s finances to what was actually the case. The goal was to figure out how their choice of words change while lying.

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For many, a new job comes at a cost: lower wages

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  • Even as a tentative economic recovery wheezes along, data show a disproportionate growth in low-paying jobs.
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  • U.S. Experiencing Worst Episode of Prolonged Unemployment Since Great Depression
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  • Jobless? Your leaders are at ease with that.
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Michael Luo, New York Times | NY

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Donna Ings took a lower-paying job as a home health aide after being out of work for over a year. Michele McDonald for the New York Times

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After being out of work for more than a year, Donna Ings, 47, finally landed a job in February as a home health aide with a company in Lexington, Mass., earning about $10 an hour.

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Chelsea Nelson, 21, started two weeks ago as a waitress at a truck stop in Mountainburg, Ark., making around $7 or $8 an hour, depending on tips, ending a lengthy job search that took her young family to California and back.

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Jobless? Your leaders are at ease with that, Paul Krugman, New York Times
None of them want to fix it -- so high unemployment might become a habit.
Punishing the Jobless

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Updated: U.S. Experiencing Worst Episode of Prolonged Unemployment Since Great Depression, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR)<>

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  • Adjusting for demographic factors, current labor market downturn steeper than '82-'83 recession.
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  • The Horror Show
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  • The jobs emergency
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Oil spill cleanup workers at risk!

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BP's record on worker safety is beyond pathetic.
Sign our petition: Any worker who wants safety equipment – like respirators – should get it, and BP should pick up the tab.

Manny Herrmann, American Rights at Work

Did you know that over 27,000 men and women are working to clean up BP's toxic mix of oil and chemicals without any breathing protection? Every day they go without respirators, their lungs – and ultimately, their lives – are put at risk.

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Just how dangerous is it to be exposed to oil and dispersants without proper breathing protection? Well, cleanup workers have already reported nausea, vomiting, nosebleeds, headaches, and chest pain.(1)

Sign our petition for BP to pay for proper safety equipment and respirators for cleanup workers.

Despite clear evidence that folks are getting sick from its toxic mix of oil and chemicals, BP won't provide respirators to the people cleaning up the Gulf Coast. In fact, there are even reports of BP threatening to fire workers who tried to use their own respirators. Why? For starters, BP is afraid that news footage of people wearing this critical safety equipment will show the public just how bad the spill is. The company is putting PR above workers' lives.(2,3)

Fortunately, we know that BP responds to public pressure. So we're joining with our friends at the leading progressive blog and advocacy group Firedoglake to launch a petition to BP. We're also delivering copies to the government agencies responsible for worker safety in the Gulf Coast, and Admiral Thad Allen, who is overseeing the government's cleanup efforts.

Our request is simple: Any worker who wants safety equipment – including a respirator – should get it, and BP should pick up the tab.

Demand respirators and other safety equipment for the workers who are cleaning up BP's toxic disaster in the Gulf Coast. Sign our petition now!

BP's oil disaster isn't the first time in recent history that workers responding to a hazardous emergency have had their lungs – and lives – put at risk. In the aftermath of 9/11, police, firefighters, and cleanup workers spent months in the wreckage of the World Trade Center, and many inhaled toxic ash. Over time, that ash has caused major health problems for tens of thousands of people, and even caused some people to lose their lives.(4)

The longer Gulf Coast cleanup workers go without respirators, the greater the danger. Don't let history repeat itself: Sign our petition to protect the men and women who are working to clean up BP's toxic disaster!

Eleven BP workers died when the Deepwater Horizon rig blew up. And so far, over 100 people in the Gulf are reportedly sick. But that's only scratching the surface. Because right now, 27,000 men and women are working with their lungs totally unprotected. And many aren't speaking out because they're afraid they'll befired.(5,6)

Sign our petition to BP: speak out for the workers who are afraid to speak out for themselves!

Thanks for all you do to protect working men and women across America.

P.S. OSHA – the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, which is responsible for overseeing worker safety – has been working non-stop to figure out which kinds of respirators are most effective against the specific toxins in the Gulf Coast. Because not just any generic respirator will protect workers well, this is critical work that needs to continue. But as the government figures out these important details, we can't lose sight of the big picture: oil cleanup workers must not be asked to work with their lungs totally unprotected. It's common sense! Sign our petition now!

1 http://www.propublica.org/documents/item/oil-spill-surveillance-summary-report
2 http://www.georgewashington2.blogspot.com/2010/06/bp-tells-cleanup-workers-theyll-be.html
3 http://www.racewire.org/archives/2010/06/bp_threatens_to_fire_cleanup_workers_who_use_their_own_safety_gear.html
4 http://workinprogress.firedoglake.com/2010/06/09/rep-maloney-address-health-of-gulf-cleanup-workers-now-before-they-lose-it/
5 http://rawstory.com/rs/2010/0611/rfk-center-bp-discouraged-crews-respirators/
6 http://workinprogress.firedoglake.com/2010/06/18/bp-failing-to-report-workers-sick-from-pollutants/

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