Labor Notes #399, June 2012

It may come as a surprise to some unionists, but the National Labor Relations Act does not prohibit boycott campaigns against neutral or secondary companies. Although Taft-Hartley is frequently described (even on some union websites) as banning “secondary boycotts,” this term does not appear in the law.

Once a NAFTA critic, the Obama administration has secretly planned a similar pact, the Trans Pacific Partnership, that will harm labor, the environment, and democracy. What can unions do?

Under assault from the misnamed Stand for Children, teachers in Massachusetts are about to give up seniority as a criterion for layoffs, and give principals greatly increased power over personnel issues.

Perseverance paid off for the Farm Labor Organizing Committee in North Carolina as Reynolds finally agreed to meet with the union. FLOC has demanded since 2008 the tobacco giant discuss tobacco pickers' abysmal work conditions.

As Congress dallies, postal workers and community activists are turning to civil disobedience to combat the sweeping cuts planned for the Postal Service.

Restaurant workers organizing with the Restaurant Opportunities Center have trained their sights on their most ambitious target yet—a giant chain that wants to become the Walmart of sit-down dining.

In a Quebec where everything is in motion, where a student uprising is manifesting each day in Montreal, locked-out aluminum workers are adding their outrage. While they're locked out, the government is giving their mining company $14.5 million a month.

The June 5 Wisconsin recall election will be a replay of November 2010—Governor Scott Walker vs. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

Barrett swamped his closest rival, Kathleen Falk, in the May 8 Democratic primary 58 to 34 percent. Falk had the endorsement of all the large public sector unions (and $4 million for TV ads) and the state AFL-CIO. She had some environmental groups and Emily’s List, too.

Governor Scott Walker singled out employees of the University of Wisconsin for special treatment in his budget-cutting and union-busting. Now they're facing unilateral policies that seek a “market-based model” for pay.

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