Jane Slaughter

Brazilian Union Assists in Land Takeovers, Showing Power of a Good Example

As the U.S. Social Forum approaches, here in Detroit, we at Labor Notes have been talking a lot about how unions can work with other movements to pursue common goals. In Brazil last week, I was lucky to meet activists who had a terrific example: a metalworkers union that helped organize a movement of poor people to take over vacant land and build houses for themselves.

Solidarity from Below (the Equator)

International union connections are a kick. Within a few hours of my arrival at a union convention in Brazil, I met a copper miner from Chile whose company wants wage cuts, a union doctor from Spain fighting the imposition of co-pays, a Nestle worker from Colombia, and railroad workers from Japan.

Video: Striking Ontario Miners Back Down Police

Striking nickel and copper miners in northern Ontario blocked entrances to company property for five days in May, defying a police order to stand down. In what Steelworkers Local 6500 called a protest and their multinational employer Vale Inco called a blockade, strikers and community supporters in Copper Cliff and Levack mounted 24-hour lines complete with RVs and toilets.

What’s In the Health Insurance Bill, What’s Not

What’s weird about the whole health insurance fracas is that Republicans and some insurance company execs fought just as hard against the crappy bill we have before us as if it were really what they claim it is: a vast government “intrusion” into health care.

Women in the Trades: They've Got Stories

It was a day like today—60s and sunny, decades ago—when I swung from the top of a telephone pole and thought I had the best job in the world. A few months earlier, in the Detroit winter, not so much. I remember phoning a customer from the pole behind her house and hearing her tell me she could see a man working on the pole back there. When I visited another customer’s home, climbing boots and tool belt and all, she called me “operator.”

Health Care Victory—or Pretzel?

Yesterday Rich Trumka announced a deal with the White House: high-cost union health care plans won’t be subject to an excise tax till 2018—five years later than almost everyone else. Trumka made clear that the intent of the changes the unions brokered is to make so many groups exempt from the tax that in practice it will almost never be applied. But why build a pretzel around the right thing?

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