Workers’ rights sacrificed “At the Altar of the Bottom Line”

Posted on May 11th, 2010 by the Fix Our Jobs crew

Cross-posted from Blog at Work:

At the Altar of the Bottom Line book cover imageStressed. Exhausted. Exploited. Abandoned. In a new book, Tom Juravich exposes and examines the degradation of work in the United States today. At the Altar of the Bottom Line, based on in-depth interviews with workers, lifts up the experiences of working people from diverse sectors of our economy.

Juravich, a writer, researcher, and professor at the University of Massachusetts Labor Center, spent six years interviewing workers in four different occupations:

Read the rest of this entry »

Join us at the Good Jobs, Green Jobs National Conference

Posted on May 3rd, 2010 by the Fix Our Jobs crew

Cross-posted from Blog at Work:

Want to hear innovative companies discuss the importance of working with unions to support workers’ rights, sustain the environment, and benefit the company’s bottom line?

Join American Rights at Work at the 2010 Good Jobs, Green Jobs National Conference taking place from May 4-6, in Washington, DC.

We’re proud to join our partners at the Blue Green Alliance as a sponsor and convener of this event, and excited to host a panel highlighting real-life examples of how working in partnership with employees and their unions helps companies weather turbulent times while increasing demand for green products and services.

Our Socially Responsible Business Director, Nikki Daruwala, is moderating the panel and will be joined by Michael Peck of Gamesa USA; Molly Bordanaro, Senior Vice President at Gerding Edlen Development, Inc.; Ron Kenedi, Vice President at Sharp Solar; and William “Butch” Johnson, CEO of Flambeau River Paper.

Please register and join us at the session “Partnerships That Work: Good, Green Employers” on Tuesday, May 4, 2:30-4:00 p.m. at the Hilton Washington Hotel.

We hope to see you there.

Mourn the dead; fight for the living

Posted on April 28th, 2010 by the Fix Our Jobs crew

Today is Workers Memorial Day, on which we remember the thousands of men, women, and children who are injured or killed on the job. The April 5, 2010 disaster at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia, in which 29 miners lost their lives, makes this year’s observance especially poignant.

But while that event shocked and galvanized the nation, it was hardly unique. Just days before, an explosion at the Tesoro Refinery in Anacortes killed six workers in Washington. In February, three workers were lost in a gas explosion at the Kleen Energy Plant in Middleton, Connecticut. Every day in the United States, an average of 14 workers die as a result of workplace injuries.

There’s a word we can use to describe the majority of these horrible incidents: Preventable. Read the rest of this entry »

Video: What really goes on in union organizing campaigns

Posted on April 26th, 2010 by the Fix Our Jobs crew

Were you ever bullied at school? Ever get your lunch money stolen? I bet you thought that behavior would stop once you grew up.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case when you’re a worker trying to form a union. Here’s a statistic that’ll get your blood boiling: 78 percent of workers are forced to attend closed-door meetings with management during union organizing drives. And how much can employers be fined by the National Labor Relations Board for illegally threatening, intimidating, or firing their workers? A whopping zero dollars and zero cents.

Watch this video from the IBEW (featuring actors from the acclaimed HBO series The Wire), showing exactly how such a closed-door meeting might go: Read the rest of this entry »

Equal pay for equal work? Not yet.

Posted on April 21st, 2010 by the Fix Our Jobs crew

For those who think that men and women are treated equally in today’s workplace, consider this date: April 20. That’s Equal Pay Day, which marks how far women must work into 2010 to make as much as men made in 2009.

Women who work full time earn an average of 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man. Even more shocking? It’s not getting better: census data shows that this wage gap widened between 2007 and 2008, from 77.8 percent to 77.1 percent. And as the AFL-CIO points out, the wage gap is even worse for women of color. Read the rest of this entry »

Undercover Advertising

Posted on April 20th, 2010 by the Fix Our Jobs crew

While it may be entertaining to watch CEOs clean gutters and serve burgers, “Undercover Boss” is hardly empowering for workers.  As Kimberly Freeman Brown and Gabriel Thompson argue today in the Huffington Post, the show is actually “undercover” advertising for corporations and corporate power.  To make matters worse, the show glosses over labor issues at its featured companies and minimizes workers’ own role in making change in their workplaces. Read the rest of this entry »

Reality vs. Fantasy

Posted on April 13th, 2010 by the Fix Our Jobs crew

CBS’ “Undercover Boss” has done remarkably well, writes the New York Times’ chief TV critic Alessandra Stanley. After one season, it is one of the most watched and talked-about reality shows on TV.

But it’s not a reality show if you avoid reality. As Stanley writes, “Undercover Boss” is less a reality program and more of a fantasy: Read the rest of this entry »

Undercover at 1-800-FLOWERS: What about flower workers abroad?

Posted on April 12th, 2010 by the Fix Our Jobs crew

Our friends at the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) have issued an invitation to 1-800-FLOWERS CEO Jim McCann: Visit the flower workers who make your business possible. While 1-800-FLOWERS was featured on the season finale of “Undercover Boss,” the show didn’t mention the people who actually produce the flowers the company sells, much less the egregious conditions that characterize flower plantations. Vanessa León of ILRF has the details: Read the rest of this entry »

Fight like hell for the living

Posted on April 7th, 2010 by the Fix Our Jobs crew

As our friends at Interfaith Worker Justice point out, “Mother Jones is often quoted as saying, ‘Pray for the Dead, Fight like hell for the Living.’”  While all of us continue to hold the victims of the Upper Big Branch mining disaster in our thoughts and prayers, we are also renewing our commitment to stand up for workers’ rights. Read the rest of this entry »

Do your job? No thanks.

Posted on April 1st, 2010 by the Fix Our Jobs crew

So much for feel-good TV. This week’s, Roto-Rooter president and COO Rick Arquilla went “undercover” and didn’t lose anytime letting us know what he really thinks about the work his employees do: it sucks. Arquilla talked up his experience pumping a grease trap in today’s New York Post:

“But I emptied the trap and didn’t yak, so I deserve some kind of an award,” he jokes.

Ha! Right. He definitely deserves an award. I mean, it’s not like any Roto-Rooter employees have ever before had to pump a grease trap or clean a drain without complaining. Certainly, none of them do it daily, for their actual job. Oh, wait: that’s exactly what they do! Read the rest of this entry »