Labor Notes #372, March 2010

According to data filed under the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA), the number of union officials and staff earning high salaries has exploded in recent years.

Poverty conditions for workers in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor are threatening to become routine. That doesn't make them tolerable, said a worker center. They're pursuing living-wage agreements by targeting developers.

As Steelworkers at the Granite City Works outside St. Louis finally got back to work after a long idle, management surprised them with a new drug-test policy that's wreaked havoc.

Under the guise of concern for employees’ safety and health, employers demand the right to conduct drug and alcohol testing. Most use it as just another hammer to hold over workers’ heads. Employers often try to divide the membership on this issue, but we can turn this around and fight. What are the union’s rights? What are the best policies to fight for?

Walkouts, student strikes, and marches shook every level of California’s embattled public education system on March 4. College students and campus workers joined forces with K-12 teachers and students for the day of action.

Sights are set on a March 4 Strike and Day of Action to resist business as usual: layoffs, fee hikes, and program cuts in a call for expanded federal education funding, open admissions, and democratic schools.

As budget-butchering legislators and executives slash away at public services and public workers, they’re reaching for a familiar tactic: privatization. Bus drivers at UC Berkeley have led the push back, scoring a victory against outsourcing in late February.

Reform forces from across Service Employees Local 1021 swept out appointed leaders in the local’s first-ever elections. The reform slate took 26 of 28 positions, including the top seven spots, in an important test of SEIU's "megalocal" model.

Copper miners occupying pits in northern Mexico are bracing for an invasion by federal troops after refusing to give up their two-and-a-half year strike. In Southern California, borate miners are locked out, insisting that the good union jobs don't become “junk jobs.” And in Ontario, nickel miners are in the same fight, holding strong after six months on pickets. Show your solidarity today.

The National Labor Relations Board, crippled for years, will continue its dysfunction as political wrangling in the Senate and President Obama’s failure to make recess appointments leaves three of five board seats unfilled. That means Bush-era anti-union decisions will stay on the books for years.

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