The AFL-CIO recently released a survey of the attitudes of American workers, entitled “Workers’ Rights in America: What Workers Think About Their Jobs and Employers.”
Some of the findings are not surprising. For example, 98% of American workers agree that it is either essential or very important to protect employees’ rights to a safe and healthy workplace. What is more surprising–and what may lend some insight into why labor unions have been so ineffective in organizing new workers over the last thirty years–is how many U.S. workers think they have rights that simply do not exist.
For example, 80% of workers believe they have a right to be free from retaliation from their employers for expressing their political views. After all, isn’t that what the right to free speech is all about?
Fully two-thirds of Americans believe that their employers are legally prohibited from listening in on their phone calls. Doesn’t the Constitution protect the right to privacy?
Sixty percent of Americans believe their employers are legally required to provide them with paid sick leave.
As those of us in the business of defending workers’ rights know, of course, most of us do not have these rights. While the rights of free speech and privacy are supposed to protect us from governmental intrusion, they do not protect us from our private-sector employers. Anti-eavesdropping laws generally do not protect us from intrusions by our employers on work premises. Finally, employers are generally not required to provide paid leave of any sort, let alone sick leave. The survey also reveals that more than 90% of U.S. workers believe they should have these rights.
Surprised? To get more information, go to the AFL-CIO Steward Activist page and get involved. Your future and the future you make for your children depends on what you do today.
We all voted. We went for the “Hope and Change”, candidate. Of course, silly us, we thought we’d get someone that would represent our interests in the government. What did we find? More of the government as usual, “corporatists”, that support the wants and desires of their major contributors first. We showed the politicians we could support them financially, but our contributions could never match up to the contributions of the major corporations.
When push came to shove, the politicians throw the little guy to the wolves.
We do hold the one and only key that keeps us playing with a little power. It’s called the vote. When corporations are allowed to vote, the end of a free society will be upon us.
Many of you do not realize that the corporations have been elevated to “person” status under the law. They are considered a “person” entity when representing themselves in the United States courts. In other words they are extended the same rights as you, the real person.
These realities have come home to roost in the current batch of legislative attempts. Health care reform has turned into a major boondoggle, benefiting the insurance mega-corps, not the individual. The banking reform has helped the banks, and the bankers, not the individual. Now the sell job is on, to get you and I to buy what they are selling as “good for us”.
So what’s the deal? The fact is that most of our politicians, whether right, or left, are truly owned by corporate money. To be a politician in this country means you have sold your soul to corporate money.
How do we take back our government? Push for election reform. Until the people stand up and insist that election reform happen, it will never happen. The fox is guarding the hen house, and you and I are the losers. Our government will never again be about the people, and the people’s freedoms.
Our media is the mouth of the corporations. Our money value is determined by the corporations. Our job availability is controlled by the corporations. The amount of freedom we have is controlled by the corporations.
In the 80’s we watched as the airlines were gutted for their assets by “big corporate entities”. In the ‘oughts’ we have watched as the corporations are gutting our government for what we considered “our assets”. They are systematically stealing all of the money out of our treasury for their own benefit.
What has been the cost to you and me? No health care. No improvement in social security. No improvement financially. No real improvement in our infrastructure. Working till we die. Dieing young. Keeping us afraid. Killing our families. Destruction of our assets. Destruction of our future.
Write your legislators and demand election reform before it’s too late.
The clock is ticking.
House of Representatives Contact
How difficult will it be to enact labor law reform? The Republicans have dedicated themselves to portraying the Obama presidency as a failure and they oppose everything the Democrats attempt to do. Will it be any different with the Employee Free Choice Act?
Senator DeMint Uses Botched Bombing to Attack Organized Labor
Who’s Running the TSA? No One, Thanks to Sen. Jim DeMint
WASHINGTON — An attempt to blow up a trans-Atlantic flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day would be all-consuming for the administrator of the Transportation Security Administration — if there were one.
The post remains vacant because Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., has held up President Barack Obama’s nominee in opposition to the prospect of TSA workers joining a labor union.
As al Qaida claimed responsibility Monday for the thwarted attack and President Barack Obama made a public statement about it, Democrats urged DeMint to drop his objection and allow quick confirmation of nominee Erroll Southers, a counterterrorism expert, when the Senate reconvenes in three weeks.
Southers, a former FBI special agent, is the Los Angeles World Airports Police Department assistant chief for homeland security and intelligence. He also is the associate director of the University of Southern California’s Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events, and he served as a deputy director of homeland security for California Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Two Senate committees have given Southers their bipartisan blessing. An acting administrator is in place pending his confirmation. Marshall McClain, the president of the Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers Association, said that the Senate should have acted sooner to confirm Southers.
DeMint said in a statement that the attempted attack “is a perfect example of why the Obama administration should not unionize the TSA.” He wants Southers to clarify his stand on unionizing the TSA, a shift that Democrats support.
Without collective bargaining, DeMint said, the TSA has “flexibility to make real-time decisions that allowed it to quickly improve security measures in response to this attempted attack.”
If organized labor got involved, DeMint said, union bosses would have the power “to veto or delay future security improvements at our airports.”
Margaret Talev, McClatchy Newspapers
Fleecing of Illinois
Quinn Gives $24 Million Gift to United Parcel Service (UPS) at Taxpayer Expense Despite State’s Fiscal Crisis
The $58 Billion company, United Parcel Service (UPS), is getting a taxpayer-funded $24 million gift from the State of Illinois to “modernize” a couple distribution facilities.
Would jobs really have been diverted elsewhere? Should a company with billions in profit and revenue be able to pay for their modernization?
OpenlineBlog.comWatch the Video
(The speaker for UPS in this video is former Rocky Mtn. District Manager George Brooks.)
A United Parcel Service truck tipped over shortly after 9:30 a.m. Thursday, shutting down eastbound Bear Valley Road at Seventh Avenue in Hesperia, .
No one was injured in the accident, according to initial reports, and the driver was able to pull himself out of the vehicle.
The driver was making a left turn from Seventh Avenue onto Bear Valley Road heading east when he clipped the center median and flipped his vehicle onto its side, according to reports from San Bernardino County Sheriff’s officials at the scene.
These are just some tips I’ve come to know from years of driving in the mountains in heavy snow conditions. They pretty much apply when weather conditions have deteriorated during snowstorms. They are a little different from the regular safe driving techniques the company teaches, but they work. I have lived by them for over 30 years.
When you pull in, back out in the same tracks. You didn’t get stuck on the ride in, so you will not be likely to get stuck if you back out staying in the same tracks.
Do not try to turn around. While the company teaches you to back first under normal conditions, you are way more likely to get stuck when you get out of your tracks trying to turn around. Carefully back out following your tracks you made going in.
Don’t be afraid to walk a package in, you’ve all ready wasted the time getting to the stop. Take the extra minutes to walk the package in instead of trying to drive it there. You are much less likely to get stuck parking on the road, than parking in the driveway.
Use your emergency brake on downhill runs. If you set your e-brake halfway you will not lock up your steering wheels causing you to lose control. Practice using the e-brake in slippery conditions to get a better feel for how your brakes respond. You always need to steer. Using the e-brake slows you down without losing your ability to steer.
When in doubt, chain up! Chaining up is not the last resort it is the first. If you think you might need chains, put them on. It’s much easier to chain up when you pick the time and place than to try to chain up after you are stuck. I put chains on early even if conditions are just marginal. They prevent you from having that surprise slide away that not only raises your blood pressure, but can cost you years of safe driving. Again, when in doubt, chain up!
If it’s really bad, give up. My suggestion here is not to recommend you quit early just because you want to, but if conditions are severe, and deteriorating I suggest you contact your center, and tell them you are at grave risk of getting stuck, or having an accident. The company came up with, “emergency conditions”, just for this situation. Don’t be a fool and wreck the truck, or worse yet spend the night in it, just because you think you can be a hero. You can be a hero tomorrow when conditions allow it. Use your judgment wisely.
Remember that they are not out there. You are. Tell them what you need to do, don’t ask. You are the professional out there in the field, not them.
One time I overheard a manager talking about why UPS drivers get injured at such a high rate, higher than the national average for this type of work. He was saying that one problem was our misuse of our two-wheelers. He said we didn’t secure them in the back of the car properly and then we tried to work around them, sometimes over them and eventually we collided with them and got hurt. He said they roll around the back of the car when we drive and they can be in a different, sometimes surprising, location when we open the doors.
He blamed us for not securing them with bungee cords right behind the driver’s seat inside the package compartment. He went on to describe in great detail how we struggle getting the wheelers in and out of the car, how we don’t load them properly, and how we don’t keep the tires inflated.
He then blamed us for working too fast. He then explained why that is our fault too. He said drivers allow themselves to get behind by not using the methods or talking too much or succumbing to other distractions. Drivers put themselves in the position of having to hurry to catch up. Then they work unsafely and get hurt. If you fall behind and have too much work to do and not enough time to do it, it’s your own fault. And running to catch up is the source of injuries.
When he launched into his belief that most drivers may not be in as good of shape as they think they are (and may be over-confident of their abilities), I stifled a scream. He said that most drivers quit exercising when they become UPS drivers because they think they get enough exercise on the job. He whined that some drivers don’t eat right and don’t hydrate themselves properly,
I think the company needs to take responsibility for its own part in the injury picture. They still deny that every day they send every driver out with too much work on the car. Overloaded, overworked, overstressed drivers get hurt. That’s where the injuries come from, It’s that simple.
RANDOLPH, N.J. — A UPS driver’s unscheduled delivery in New Jersey has made one retailer very grateful.
John Piontkowski spotted a bank bag in the middle of the road while he was making deliveries in Randolph. Inside, he found $5,200 and a Bank of America deposit slip showing the money came from Stuyvesant Liquors in Jersey City.
The driver took the money to the bank. He tells the Daily Record of Morristown that he never considered keeping the cash.
Store owner Don Knaus says he and his wife were busy running errands Wednesday and lost track of the money, which somehow landed in the road near their home. As they searched, their bank called to say the money had been found.
The driver says the store owner gave him “a very nice reward.”
My old center got another new manager last month and again, this one was from Atlanta and his head barely fit through the door. Every new manager who comes out West brags that he’s an expert horseman. Fortunately, they had the opportunity to put this one to the test. I wasn’t there, but this is how the story was told to me….
Arrogantly, the manager mounted the big beast unassisted. As he adjusted himself in the saddle, the horse sprang into action. As it galloped along at a steady, rhythmic pace, the Atlanta Wonder began to slip from the saddle. In terror, he grabbed for the horse’s mane, but couldn’t seem to get a firm grip. He tried to throw his arms around the horse’s neck, but to no avail. As he slid towards catrastophe, the horse continued to gallop along, seemingly unaware of its slipping rider.
Finally, giving up his frail grip, the new boss attempted to push away from the horse and throw himself to safety. Unfortunately, his foot became entangled in the stirrup, and he was now at the mercy of the horse’s pounding hooves as his head was struck against the ground over and over.
Bystanders watched in horror as Mister Bigshot began to lose consciousness. Just as disaster seemed unavoidable, a quick thinking grocery clerk reached over and pulled the cord on the wild stallion.