Category Archives: Organizing

Executive Paywatch: Your CEO Makes 335 Times More Than You

It takes the average S&P 500 CEO just over a day to make what production and non-supervisory workers earn, on average, in an entire year, according to the AFL-CIO’s newly-released Executive PayWatch.

CEO’s took home, on average, $12.4 million in 2015, according to the AFL-CIO’s analysis. In contrast, the average worker earned only $36,900 in 2015—a CEO-to-worker pay ratio of 335 to 1. [READ MORE]

IAM President Responds to TPP

October 05, 2015


The following is a statement from International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) International President Tom Buffenbarger regarding terms of the secretly negotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership:

“As a labor union whose members build products that are exported all over the world, the IAM has always taken a strong interest in the development and growth of international trade. We know firsthand that trade done right will improve living standards and strengthen our economy to the benefit of all Americans. Unfortunately, the recently concluded Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) represents a new low in corporate dominance of our nation’s trade agenda. Despite the rhetoric, this deal represents a step backward in efforts to achieve effective labor standards and human rights.

Negotiated in secret by and for multinational corporations that have no allegiance to any flag or country, the TPP will facilitate the export of American jobs to countries like Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Mexico which lack fundamental labor rights, some of which even engage in slave labor. Reports of a secret side agreement with Vietnam are especially offensive to anyone who takes internationally recognized labor standards seriously.

Earlier this year, Congress passed Fast Track legislation that laid out an ambitious set of negotiating goals that we, and others, warned were completely unenforceable. Reports indicate that we were correct in our assumption about the congressional negotiating goals; the U.S. Trade Representative simply ignored them. Although the agreement has not been made public yet, these reports indicate that, substandard labor standards remain weak and ineffective, currency manipulation has not been effectively addressed, rules of origin for autos are greatly weakened, access to affordable medicines is reduced, post Great Recession financial regulations were made less effective, and secret non-governmental tribunals will interpret and enforce the agreement.

As job and income growth continue to stagnate, Americans know that the economic system is rigged against them and the TPP is just the latest example. Congress must put the American people first and reject this deeply flawed trade agreement.”

Five Takeaways From #IAMRight15

October 13, 2015


IAM members from varying generations and backgrounds took part in a panel explaining what drove them to become activists. From left: Retiree Mike Edwards, Local 2339O Recording Secretary Monica Pasillas, Local 2323 Vice President Dan Janssen, Retiree Carline Lang-Smith, and Grand Lodge Auditor Porfirio “Josh” Diaz.

We came to change the world. We did.

More than 450 IAM activists – hailing from all corners of the U.S. and Canada and representing a diverse array of industries, viewpoints and demographic groups – came together in San Juan, Puerto Rico for the 2015 IAM Women’s, Young Workers and Human Rights Conference, dubbed #IAMRight15 on social media.

Click here to watch conference videos.

Click here to view the conference photo gallery.

Click here to learn about the #IAMRight15 app, which live streamed video during the week.

Here’s five takeaways from an inspiring gathering of some of the IAM’s best and brightest leaders:

 Your rights affect my rights.

We don’t live in a vacuum. If someone is being mistreated at your workplace – or across the globe – because of their gender, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation, it affects all of us. Check out and join worker constituency groups like the A. Philip Randolph Institute, the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, Pride at Work, the Coalition of Labor Union Women, Council FIRE, the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists and the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement

We’re more diverse than ever. That’s a good thing.

Times are changing – and the IAM is changing with it. Conferences like this, which touched on issues from transgender rights to mass incarceration to immigration reform, simply didn’t happen in the labor movement as recently as 10 years ago. We must continue to expand our movement if the IAM wants to thrive for another 127 years.

This is an international movement. We need to think globally.

Multi-national corporations spread their nets far and wide to exploit and divide the world’s workers. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is living proof. It’s up to us to unite together for a global economic system that works for all of us, not just the richest and most powerful 1 percent.

The IAM has young workers ready to lead.

Young workers took center stage, literally, at #IAMRight15. From a young worker leading the charge for a $15 minimum wage at Toronto’s Pearson Airport to young organizers helping to run some of the IAM’s largest and most important campaigns, the future is now for the next generation of IAM activists.

We can change the world. Really.

We already have. Our mere presence represents a new wave of activism ready to fight for a more fair and just world. Let’s continue making history.


TPP = NAFTA on steroids

Republicans in Congress want to work with the Obama administration to fast-track the passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The TPP is the largest—and worst—trade deal you’ve never heard of, having been devised in secret by representatives of some of the world’s largest corporations.

It’s so big and has the potential to do so much damage, it’s been likened to “NAFTA on steroids.”


When Bad Gripes Happen to Good Stewards

January 02, 2015 / Ellen David Friedman

This article is excerpted from The Steward’s Toolbox, available here.

Excerpted from The Steward’s Toolbox: Skills and Strategies for Winning at Work.

Healthy unions should welcome workplace discontent. Stewards can turn discontent into campaigns that build workplace power.

Sometimes, though, too much unproductive discontent is floating around. Maybe there’s a culture that supports bitching but no action; maybe there are tensions among co-workers that prevent cooperation. [Continue Reading]

California Governor Signs Bill to Protect Temp Workers

Employers will be legally responsible if their temp agencies and subcontractors put workers at risk or withhold wages.

California Gov. Jerry Brown on Sunday signed into law a bill holding the state’s employers legally responsible for wage and safety violations committed by their subcontractors and temp agencies.

With the new law, California will have some of the country’s farthest-reaching protections for temporary workers, among the fastest growing and most vulnerable segments of the workforce.

The legislation was introduced this year after a series of stories by ProPublica documented abuses and dangers faced by legions of blue-collar temp workers, California labor officials said. It was overwhelmingly supported by lawmakers.

The growing reliance on temp work in recent years has led to complaints from workers nationwide who say they’ve been cheated on wages or ordered to work in unsafe situations. But their complaints had little impact as temp agencies blamed the companies that hired them and those companies, in turn, faulted the agencies [Continue Reading]

A Bill to Get the Labor Movement Back on Offense

Support New Rules to Help Make Union Elections Fair

Newly-proposed NLRB regulations would go a long way towards ensuring fair union elections for workers across the U.S. [ Article originally published by IMail ]

Thu. February 06, 2014

Classic UNION photo

The unfair, tedious and costly process for workers to exercise their right to organize could be getting some reprieve if recently-proposed labor regulations take effect.The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has put forth new rules that would allow unions to hold quicker elections by simplifying procedures and disallowing tactics that have permitted retailers like Wal-Mart and Target to postpone union elections and bully workers.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka called the rules “an important step in the right direction.”

“The current NLRB election process is riddled with delay and provides too many opportunities for employers to manipulate and drag out the process through costly and unnecessary litigation and deny workers a vote,” Trumka said.
The board approved similar rules two years ago, but corporate lawyers stymied the new regulations before they could help working Americans.The NLRB is accepting comments on the proposed rule changes until April 7, 2014.

Click here to tell the NLRB that you support new rules that help even the playing field with Corporate America and promote free, fair and open union elections.

Cal/OSHA Cites Henkel over $200,000 Following Death of Temporary Worker

N E W S   R E L E A S E
Date: September 10, 2013
Cal/OSHA cited Henkel Corporation $200,825 for multiple serious and willful violations following the April death of a 26 year old temporary worker who became entangled with the exposed rotating shaft of a mixer while mixing industrial adhesive. Cal/OSHA sanctioned the company for failing to identify and safeguard against the hazards of working near the mixer.
“This tragedy was completely preventable, and underscores what can go wrong when
employers do not take the necessary measures to correct workplace safety hazards,”
said Christine Baker, director of the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR). Cal/OSHA
is a division within DIR.