MESSAGE FROM SECRETARY-TREASURER
Steven P. Vairma
Steve Vairma's Column:
Labor must go offensive in the war on workers
Critics of organized labor take pleasure on proclaiming that labor unions have done their job and are no longer needed in the United States. American workers, they say, are in good hands, being treated fairly by their employers and the state and federal lawmakers who toady to the corporate bosses.
That, of course is hogwash. Unions are needed today more than ever. If organized labor cannot win the war on workers, a struggle that has been waged by corporate America for three decades, then the labor movement and nation's workforce could end up mortally wounded.
Workers today are suffering. With the exception of union members, American working men and women haven't had a decent wage increase in decades. Statistics show their wages have been virtually stagnant for 30 years. Today, raises are less frequent and percentages smaller than they were in 1980.
Simultaneous with this era of wage stagnation, union density in the workplace has fallen to about 10 percent, which is about half of what it was 30 years ago. In fact, the number of union workers today has dropped below six million for the first time since way back in the 1940's.
While there is no question that the stock market and the richest one percent of the U.S. population are doing well--quite well, in fact--American workers are suffering, a problem that is obviously tid to the fact that organized labor is also hurting.
Because unions set wage and benefit standards for all workers--union and non-union--in the 50 states, organized labor's strength has a dramatic effect on workers who are not union members. Their standard of living depends significantly on the collective bargaining agreements negotiated by the unions in their states.
Unfortunately for non-union workers, organized labor has experienced a dramatic loss of membership in the past 30 years. During that time corporate America has developed an effective, albeit possibly illegal and/or unethical, army of defenses against union organizing campaigns.
Although the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) of 1935 gave unions the right to organize workers, it didn't provide legal guidelines on how organizing campaigns should be conducted. Over the years it has never been amended to lower barriers to unionism.
Most of the problems facing the American workforce can be resolved best through political action, changing the makeup of Congress and many state legislatures.
There is, however, a ray of sunlight piercing the dark clouds. According to a study by the National Opinion Reserach Corporation, American workers have not given up on unions. Results obtained from nearly 4,000 respondents show that 48 percent-nearly half of non-union workers--would join a union if given the opportunity to do so. We must give them that opportunity.
So it's time to get to work. If unions can show real solidarity on the political front, we might eventually achieve passage, piece by piece, of pro-workers legislation such as "First Day Fairness, an agenda to build worker power and secure job quality" published on page 6 and 7 of ths Rocky Mountain Teamster.
In the meantime, be sure to go the polls and vote for candidates who will truly support better wages, hours and working conditions for real working men and women.
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We Are eXPOsing XPO’s Global Greed
XPO Logistics is a top ten global logistics and transportation company with annual revenue of $15 billion and 89,000 employees, another 10,000 workers classified as independent contractors, and thousands more working for firms that subcontract with XPO. We are the REAL workers at XPO Logistics worldwide exposing the truth about the company’s global greed, illegal wage theft, unsafe conditions, and abhorrent and vicious anti-worker, anti-union tactics.
This greed includes mistreating former Con-way Freight workers in the United States who are being kept in the dark about terminal closures and layoffs, and the company’s illegal refusal to bargain contracts and denying their workers’ federally protected right to organize. It also includes port, rail and last-mile drivers around the country and in Southern California fighting wage theft in excess of $200 million because they are misclassified as independent contractors and denied the right to form their union. This greed has caused numerous lawsuits and strikes. Greed also means an unsafe workplace and mistreating its warehouse employees.
XPO’s greed extends to Europe beginning with breaking its promise to not layoff any workers for at least 18 months. French workers and the unions have been fighting back against XPO’s disrespect, lies and attempts to slash jobs. Similar struggles are taking place in Great Britain, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, and across Europe.
Join the worldwide struggle now! Get involved with this campaign by joining the Facebook group “XPO Exposed.”
Together, we can eXPOse the company’s global greed and win fairness, respect and dignity for tens of thousands of XPO employees around the world!
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This web page provides information on the ongoing effort to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Since 1994, NAFTA has devastated working families, putting corporate profits ahead of people. What’s worse is that NAFTA has become the blueprint for all other trade agreements, from the way that it was negotiated in secret, to the bad provisions that have made their way into every agreement that has been signed since then. Now, NAFTA is being renegotiated and we demand that it be reframed to work for workers instead of corporate interests.
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