Labor Notes 406, January 2013

New York City transit workers ran a winning campaign when we turned to community organizing in our fight against cuts in service.

Is peer review a step forward for teachers, or a distraction to sell them on an unjust evaluation system that determines their pay? Union leaders call a new contract in Newark "groundbreaking," but some teachers are wary.

Wellness programs are designed to bring down employers’ health insurance costs by preventing illness. Some provide gym memberships or smoking cessation programs. Others require workers to pay more for their insurance if they don’t get certain screenings. The most coercive programs require workers to meet health targets or pay a penalty.

“If employers are really concerned, why don’t they start with something they can control and provide a safe and healthy workplace?” asks Nancy Lessin, a health and safety specialist with the Steelworkers.

The New Year brings promises to ourselves: to join the gym, quit smoking, get back on the diet wagon. In looking for help, watch out for management "wellness" programs: they have a not-so-hidden agenda.

After a slog of an election season, workers braved high unemployment rates to strike their low-wage jobs in 2012.

Mismanagement, not unions, killed the Twinkie. But what can workers do when a private equity firm is driving a company into the ground?

Union protesters at the Michigan Capitol today knocked down a tent erected by the Koch brothers, who helped bring right to work to the state. But despite the crowd’s anger, the governor signed the bills.

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