Labor Notes #376, July 2010

Wall Street breathed a sigh of relief when the International Monetary Fund and European governments agreed to “bail out”—that is, lend money to—the government of Greece last month. Investors were worried that panic in banking circles would spread across southern Europe, reviving the worldwide economic crisis.

Just days after the Caucus of Rank and File Educators (CORE) won the June 11 election to lead the Chicago Teachers Union, the reformers were out in front of the Board of Education for an emergency picket against the district’s plan to boost class sizes to 35 and lay off thousands of teachers.

One of a negotiating committee’s biggest challenges is holding on to affordable health insurance. The latest attempt to chisel our coverage is “lower-cost” high-deductible plans and Health Savings Accounts—which make us pay huge up-front deductibles.

Long after the fanfare of the World Cup soccer tournament dies down, harsh working conditions for the soccer-ball stitchers who make the competition possible will remain. Atrocious work is still pervasive across the industry—which pledged to reform following the “Atlanta Agreement” made 13 years ago. That supposedly bound major firms including Adidas and Nike to end child labor in soccer-ball factories.

Postal workers are asking for your help to save the vital services they provide, along with their jobs and unions. Postal Service management is planning to close more than 100 local post offices, consolidate others, and end Saturday delivery.

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