Labor Notes #368, November 2009

A feverish anger rose this fall among New York's health care workers, the first in the nation required to take a flu shot. Health care union activists said union leaders were too timid responding to the mandate.

The on-stage evening dress worn by musicians in unionized symphonies may be more frayed than it looks from far away. Musicians are banding together in a recession that's putting orchestras and union contracts under fire.

The Postal Service, in a financial crunch that threatens both jobs and service to the public, is looking to Congress for help. If postal unions want to avoid the auto workers’ fate, they need to find allies and make their case publicly.

U.S. Labor Against the War is preparing for its third national assembly in December as the original motivation for its founding—the Iraq war—is winding down to a more limited but permanent presence.
No worries that the nearly seven-year-old USLAW coalition has outlived its usefulness, though: delegates to the Chicago meeting will debate the Afghanistan war.

UNITE HERE has launched another round of contract battles with hotel giants. After civil disobedience actions workers in Chicago and San Francisco authorized strikes, escalating a nationally coordinated “bargain to organize” campaign.

Seventeen years after security guards at Philadelphia’s Museum of Art lost their union in a Democratic mayor’s privatization spree, they joined students and Jobs with Justice to beat long odds and vote in an independent union.

Claiming “disparate treatment”—imposing harsher punishment on one employee than was imposed on others who committed the same offense—is one of the most effective union defenses against discipline, especially discharges.

Leaders of the besieged Mexican Electrical Workers Union (SME) are calling on other unions throughout Mexico to mount a national strike to force the government to revoke its liquidation of the Light and Power Company. The union called for a strike after walking out of negotiations with the government, talks leaders characterized as a “farce.”

November 20, 1979, Issue #10: Labor Notes Special Report. There were a number of historic firsts in the United Auto Workers-Chrysler agreement ratified this month. For one, Doug Fraser, president of the union, was elevated to the company board of directors.

Management disrespect for workers at Red Cross is spoiling the reputation of one of America’s largest humanitarian organizations, according to a report by Jobs with Justice.

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