Labor Roundup | November 2018

This month’s mid-term election “really is all about power,” said former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, and unionists must use the vote – and convince others to cast ballots – to yank power back from the corporate elite. “The nation is at a turning point,” warned Reich, who served the Clinton administration. “We just can’t go on with almost all of the economic gains going to a handful at the top and most workers getting very little. Our economy can’t survive this. Our politics can’t survive it. Our society and our ideals of freedom and equal opportunity can’t survive this, which is why unions are critical for the future.”

The federal government must fully fund its promised money for schools that teach the nation’s poorest kids, demanded presidents of the nation’s two big teachers’ unions, Lily Eskelsen-Garcia of the National Education Association and Randi Weingarten of the American Federation of Teachers. That includes making up a $580 billion shortfall in such funding, accumulated since the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Act was enacted as part of the War on Poverty, says a new report, released at the Congressional Black Caucus foundation’s annual conference in September. “It’s institutional racism that decided who will get school funds and who will not,” said Eskelsen-Garcia.

Missouri’s unions are following a big statewide win against one GOP/business/Right-wing/anti-worker scheme (the so-called “Right To Work” law), by taking on another: “paycheck deception.” But this time they’re doing it in court, where they say a new law violates the state constitution. “Paycheck deception” (called “Paycheck Protection” by the legislature) would require recertification votes for most public-sector unions to continue representing workers, limit bargaining topics, and require annual worker-by-worker approval to deduct union dues or other fees from paychecks to bargain or enforce contracts, etc.Missouri is only one of four states that expressly protects the right of collective bargaining in its state constitution. The lawsuit asserts that the law, enacted June 1, violates that right.

Service Employees International Union leaders have blasted a Trump administration plan to ban benefits to LEGAL immigrants who, Trump says, should be thrown out of the country if they become so-called “public charges.” Trump in late September proposed rules that said if an immigrant or his/her family used certain public subsidies, such as housing vouchers, Medicaid, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, their right to stay in the U.S. could be yanked and they could be deported.

News briefs courtesy of The Labor Paper

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