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Today in Labor History
July 25, 1937:  Fifteen “living dead women” testify before the Illinois Industrial Commission. They were “Radium Girls,” women who died prematurely after working at clock and watch factories, where they were told to wet small paintbrushes in their mouths so they could dip them in radium to paint dials. A Geiger counter passed over graves in a cemetery near Ottawa, Illinois still registers the presence of radium.
July 26, 2014
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Local and National Union News

Labor lessons from Mississippi Freedom Summer
July 25, 2014
| (Click image to view.) It's the 50th anniversary of Mississippi Freedom Summer: the 1964 campaign, led by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, to register large numbers of African Americans to vote. Not only hundreds of Black and white college students and other out-of-state volunteers but also thousands of Mississippians bravely joined the effort. Many endured arrests, beatings, bombings. Some were murdered. But in the process, they embarrassed the U.S. on the world stage and moved the country to end Jim Crow. While that summer's campaign focused on political rights, the organizing holds plenty of lessons for unionists. Some, like Larry Rubin, carried those lessons into the labor movement themselves. Read his story here. (Pictured: Freedom Summer activists before leaving training sessions at Western College for Women in Oxford, Ohio, for Mississippi in June 1964. Photo courtesy NPR)

Workers limited to 6 minutes in the bathroom, Teamsters head to NLRB
July 23, 2014
| In Chicago, a showdown over bathroom breaks between WaterSaver Faucet Company workers and management has made it to the National Labor Relations Board. New regulations from the company allots six minutes per day for each employee to use the bathroom and violators are being forced to discuss their bathroom activities and face discipline including suspension and termination. Teamsters Local 743 argues that this is an invasion of privacy. Continue reading here. Now, the company is refusing to negotiate a new contract until the workers keep quiet about the discriminatory policy.

Tell Congress to bring the jobs home
July 21, 2014
| Did you know that U.S. companies can currently receive a tax deduction for certain relocation costs when they move jobs overseas? At a time when the nation's unemployment rate is still too high, why are we rewarding companies for shipping our jobs out of the country? It doesn't make any sense! Senators John Walsh of Montana and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan are trying to right this wrong by introducing the Bring the Jobs Home Act. If passed, U.S. companies that move jobs or business operations to America from other countries would receive a tax break, not the other way around. The tax loophole for companies that ship jobs overseas would be closed. A vote on the Bring Jobs Home Act is expected in the Senate this week. Please email your Senators now and ask that they "Bring Jobs Home" by supporting this legislation.

News Corp rumored to be putting together a new bid for Tribune papers
July 10, 2014
| Rumor has it that News. Corp – with a $2.5 billion kitty for acquisitions – may be mounting a new bid for the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, [The Baltimore Sun and 5 other Tribune newspapers]…I would not typically report a publishing rumor. This one could prove dead wrong. But a confidential tip that started this inquiry was more substantive than gossip on the street…Full story here.

Local 355 mourns Sister Jacqueline Cephas
July 9, 2014
| Sister Jacqueline "Jackie" Cephas, 53, of Seaford, Delaware, died tragically in car accident on Wednesday, June 25, 2014, just minutes after she finished her shift at Kraft Global in Federalsburg, Delaware, when a car rammed into hers while she was stopped at a work zone. Described as an "outstandingly good person," Jackie had worked at Kraft for only a year. "She was the type of person that when you first met her, she made you immediately feel like you were her friend," said Local 355 Vice President Erwin Williams. Jackie leaves Laverne, her wife of one year. Services were held July 5, 2014, at the United Deliverance Bible Center in Laurel, Delaware.

CA port truckers strike 'indefinitely' over misclassification, right to organize
July 7, 2014
| MSNBC reports that California truck drivers for three major transportation companies went on strike Monday morning to protest labor law violations. Over 120 drivers are taking action at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, two of the West Coast's largest supply points which handle roughly 40 percent of the nation's imports…Rampant misclassification in the trucking industry is at the heart of the matter. The unscrupulous corporate behavior denies drivers benefits while leaving them on the hook for astronomical maintenance costs. Full story here. Related: This is the fourth strike initiated by the drivers with the backing of the Teamsters union

2014 Local 355 scholarship winners heading to Eastern Shore colleges
July 2, 2014
| Dillon Stanley, right, and Javier (Jay) Cook, left, are the 2014 winners of the Teamsters Local Union 355 40th Annual Scholarships Awards. Dillon, son of UPS package driver Chris Stanley, graduated from Bennett High School in Salisbury, Md., and plans to attend Salisbury University in the fall while Jay, son of Donovan Clark, also a UPS package driver, graduated Easton High School, Easton, Md., and plans to attend Chesapeake College. The students' names were selected in a drawing of scholarship applications during the May 18, 2014, general membership meeting at the Baltimore union hall. Dillon and Jay will each receive $4,000, paid out at the rate of $1,000 per academic year. Read more at 355 News...

Older news items are posted at 355 News...

Elsewhere in the News
In Case You Missed It

  • Hoffa: Sufficient rest key to truck safety.
  • Here's an idea: How about a Bad Boss Tax?
  • Defending trade unions while the justices are away.
  • The biggest lie ever perpetrated on the American people.
  • 1934 Teamsters strike remembered on 80th anniversary.
  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Bless this union for the athletes' sake.
  • The boss can't automatically fire someone just because they said a cuss word.
  • 11 ways the 'Schedules that Work" Act would make working families' lives better.
  • Please support striking port drivers during their "cooling off" period.

5 Things that Have Changed Since Minimum Wage Was Last Increased
July 25, 2014 | ECONOMY | The federal minimum wage was last increased on July 24, 2009, and since then, a lot has changed (don't forget tipped workers haven't seen a raise since 1991). There have been so many attacks on working families since that time that it would be difficult to catalog them all. But workers and their allied haven't taken the attacks sitting down, and many are finding new ways to organize and stand up for their rights. Here are five things that have changed since the last time the federal minimum wage was increased...
Why Do Other Rich Nations Spend So Much Less on Healthcare?
July 24, 2014 | HEALTH CARE | Despite the news last week that America's healthcare spending will not be rising at the sky-high rate that was once predicted, the fact remains the the U.S. far outspends its peer nations when it comes to healthcare costs per capita…The burden to the average household through lost wages, insurance premiums, taxes, out-of-pocket care, and other costs will be more than $8,000. Why does the United States spend so much more? The biggest reason is that U.S. healthcare delivers a more expansive mix of services. Learn more here.
What Ifs? The Sad Tale of Darlington Mills
July 23, 2014 | NLRA | What if your employer threatened to close down your workplace unless the employees voted for the candidates your employer supported? Most people would say that the right to vote is our most precious right and threatening to take away that right must violate the law. But what if the "candidate" your employer opposed were a union, and what if your employer threatened to shut down the company if the employees voted for a union? And what if the employees screwed up their courage, despite the threat, and voted to unionize even though the employer was the largest employer in a small town? The 15th article in the Judicial Amendment Project series on the history of the National Labor Relations Act continues here.
Is the Employment Situation Really Improving?
July 22, 2014 | LABOR | Over the past several years, Americans have been told that the labor situation in the U.S. is improving. The evidence used to back this up is the unemployment rate published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which has been declining. It has gotten to the point where we are seeing headlines that indicate that the job losses relating to the economic crisis of 2007-2009 are behind us, and the economy is nearly back to full employment. But despite these headlines, a look at the specifics regarding unemployment and labor reveals a far more daunting picture: fewer people are working, and if it weren't for the BLS playing statistical games, the unemployment rate would be rising, not falling. Here's why.
 
 
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