Verizon Bosses walk away from table: Unions unite with Occupy Wall Street

Posted on October 14th, 2011

It’s October, the apples are ripe on the trees and the time is ripe to throw wood on the fire of class struggle.  The country’s ablaze with working people who are scorching mad about the corporate class’ s burning desire to squeeze every last dime out of our pockets.  OccupyWallStreet has, with the support of union people, defended its ground against Lil’ Mike Bloomberg’s attempt to “clean” them out of Liberty Square.

Every revolutions needs union nurses

The greedy scumbags who run Verizon continue to insist that union workers at Verizon accept slave conditions forced upon other employees at the company.  They call it reasonable.  We call it bullshit! The telecom behemoth has raked in billion$ in profits and paid no federal taxes last year. We won’t go back!

Unions on the move

After union leaders ridiculed the company’s counter proposal at the bargaining table on Thursday October 13, the company has walked away from the table.  Union leaders from CWA and IBEW are calling for a week of mobilization and unrest next week that will culminate with a joint protest with the #OccupyWallStreet folks next Friday.

The unions blew their chance for a general strike by supporting recall petitions for Wisconsin politicians.  That strategy failed.  Now we have another chance. We can shut down the whole damn country and bring Verizon and the 1% to their knees.

Do the union leaders have the courage?  Do the workers have the heart?  Because we sure as hell have the opportunity.  Which side are you on?

Mike Bloomberg, half pint piece of shit!

Posted on October 13th, 2011

I always knew that Mike Bloomberg was a half pint piece of shit, but his promise to throw #ocupywallstreet out of Liberty Square so the park can be “cleaned” is the epitome  of ruling class gall.  The place is probably cleaner than Lil’ Mike’s skivvies.  Here’s a picture of Mike at the Bloodsucking Bosses Ball.

"It's all good," says Mike

I AM NOT MOVING – Short Film – Occupy Wall Street

Posted on October 13th, 2011

Politicians are unscrupulous.  Watch this video to see just how bad Obama and Hillary Clinton are.

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Next Low-Wage Haven: USA

Posted on October 8th, 2011

Good things come to those who wait.  You’ve heard that saying right?  Well since so many of us working folks have been asleep for so many years  while our wages have been sinking and benefits have been stolen away by bosses, Wall Street, health insurance bandits soon all those jobs that have disappeared may find their way back.  If wages keep going down in the US the workers here will be competing with workers in China.  Check out this Labor Notes article by Jane Slaughter

Jokes about the U.S. becoming “Europe’s Mexico” are commonplace, but now high-priced consultants are pushing the notion in all seriousness.

They’re predicting that within five years certain Southern U.S. states will be among the cheapest manufacturing locations in the developed world—and competitive with China.

For years advisers like the Boston Consulting Group got paid big bucks to tell their clients to produce in China. Now, they say, rising wages there, fueled by worker unrest, and low wages in Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina mean that soon it won’t be worth the hassle of locating overseas.  Read the rest

Union Workers occupy VZW store Roosevelt, Minn.

Posted on October 3rd, 2011

Fists in the air and voices raised union rebels from the AFL-CIO Nextup11 Young Workers Summit occupied a Verizon Wireless store in Roosevelt, Minn on Saturday.   The militant action which lasted about 45 minutes shocked the store manager.

The workers demanded that Verizon bosses settle the current contract dispute and share the company’s enormous wealth with the working folks from CWA and IBEW who make these profits possible.  Chanting “Hey, hey, ho,ho, Union busting has got to go,” as they marched around the store, the Young Turks remained undaunted as they spoke to the VZW workers explaining to them that they should demand union representation in the wireless portion of the company.

Before leaving, they put the telecom giant on notice chanting, “Hey Verizon you can’t hide. We can see your greedy side.”

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Troy Davis and The Legacy of Slavery

Posted on September 21st, 2011

I hear a lot of people — mostly white folks, but not exclusively — say that “Hey slavery ended 150 years ago.  It’s time to move on.”  While there is a little truth in this statement, there is also a profound misconception.  The racist legacy of slavery lives on in Georgia and all over this country.

Innocent people are executed all the time, (Wow did I just write that so casually) but the level of disregard for reasonable doubt that has been proven in Troy Davis’ case is unconscionable. This could only happen in a former slave state like Georgia.  Racism is at the foundation of the “American” justice system.  This is crystal clear to me when I work in one of the prisons.  There are almost 7 times more black men locked up than white men in the US. This is part of the economics of racism, which is of course the legacy of slavery.

If we pull back to a wider view of society we can see another legacy of slavery that profoundly affects the economy of all working people. The eight states — Georgia is one — with the lowest union density –less than 4.9% — are former slave states.  These states drag down the wages and conditions of all workers because they allow the bosses to move production and jobs to them to break unions or fend off the threat of unionization, and thereby help to create the economic conditions that cause the incarceration of so many black men

To put it simply, racism and the legacy of slavery makes conditions for all workers in the US worse.  So rather than forget slavery we need to remember it, and whether they murder Troy Davis tonight or not, we need to wake up tomorrow ready to fight the economics of racism.  We need to fight for Troy and anyone else who has been wrongly convicted by a justice system that dishes out unequal treatment because of class or race.

We Are Troy Davis!

Racism’s Tentacles run Deep: Save Troy Davis

Posted on September 20th, 2011

The clock is ticking, and I sit here gifted with the time for reflection. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be Troy Anthony Davis whose time may be running out. Tomorrow at this hour he may be dead — executed by the state of Georgia, a black man convicted of killing a white cop in a former slave state.

Racism’s tentacles run deep.

I don’t know Troy — never met him. I’ve seen his picture, heard his sister eloquently plead his case. Seven out of nine witnesses have recanted their story. One of the two remaining witnesses is possibly the real killer, Redd Coles — sounds like a character from an old gangster flick. But I’ve been following the case for years, sending out email blasts, texts and recently Tweets. I know what it like to be wrongly convicted on flimsy evidence from an eye witness. Lucky for me no one died. Lucky for me that I’m a white boy. Now it ain’t just black folks that get railroaded by prosecutors who care more about conviction statistics than justice, but in this country being black — in the eyes of some people — makes you a criminal.

Racism’s tentacles run deep.

A long time ago John Donne, a 16th Century preacher and poet, wrote, “[A]ny man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind.” It ain’t right that Officer Mark MacPhail was murdered that night in 1989, and it ain’t right that Troy Davis might be executed when there’s a good chance he didn’t do it. It ain’t right that black folks convicted of murder get the death penalty way more often than whites in the same situation.

Racism’s tentacles run deep.

I’ve signed all the petitions for Troy over the years, including a bunch in the last few days (sign here). I wish I had done more. Maybe I will if he gets a last minute stay of execution.  But the injustice in the world is so damn overwhelming.  Empathy can feel like a curse.   I  don’t know if Troy will be killed tomorrow, but if he is I will be diminished.  We all will be diminished.  John Donne’s writing continues to say, “and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

Racism tentacles run deep.

GM and UAW Reach Tentative Deal

Posted on September 17th, 2011

This is from the Wall Street Journal

GM Reaches Deal With UAW


General Motors late Friday night reached a tentative agreement with the United Auto Workers for a new, four-year labor contract, setting the stage for the union’s continuing negotiations with Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC.

The new agreement will bring GM workers back to work from layoff status, create new jobs at the company and bring back jobs from overseas to car factories in the U.S., according to UAW President Bob King. The union claimed credit in the agreement for fighting back company effort to weaken workers’ health-care and retirement plans, as well as “improved profit sharing with far greater transparency than in the past,” the union said in a statement.

The GM-UAW accord was the first major labor pact for the U.S. auto industry since the government bailout of its two of its biggest companies. The new deal marks a milestone for both GM and the UAW after skeptics predicted Detroit’s auto industry wouldn’t—and critics said it shouldn’t—survive the historic downturn in U.S. vehicle sales in 2008 and GM’s bankruptcy filing in 2009.

“In these uncertain economic times for American workers and faced with the globalization of the economy, the UAW approached these negotiations with new strategies,” Mr. King said in a statement released just after 11 p.m. Friday.

In a statement that quickly followed, Cathy Clegg, GM’s vice president for labor relations, said, “We worked hard for a contract that recognizes the realities of today’s marketplace, enabling GM to continue to invest in U.S. manufacturing and provide good jobs to thousands of Americans.”

Since August 2009, GM has announced investments of over $5.1 billion and created or retained almost 13,000 jobs in its U.S. manufacturing plants, according to the company.

No specific details about the tentative agreement were released immediately.

The union’s local leaders and about 48,500 members at GM must still vote to ratify the contract crafted by their bargaining committee before it can take effect.

As the original, four-year contract was set to run out this month, the Detroit Three auto makers started formal UAW talks in late July, hoping to negotiate reduced health-care costs and to keep a lid on wages. They put forward an offer for profit-sharing programs that reward workers when the companies are profitable and allow them to reduce labor costs during lean times. The union sought wage and benefit increases as well as commitments from the auto makers to produce more models in their U.S. plants, which would secure and add union jobs.

“I think the union is trying to balance two tough issues. Members want job security and jobs for the future. They also want to share in the success of the company,” Harley Shaiken, a professor at the University of California Berkeley, said in an interview Friday

Separate negotiations continue between the union and Ford and Chrysler, who earlier agreed to extend their current contract during the talks.

The four-year tentative contract at GM will ripple far beyond the more than 112,000 hourly unionized workers at three auto makers, influencing contracts at U.S. auto-parts makers, which combined employ a larger work force. Gains and givebacks for workers on wages and benefits in the new contract will also be benchmarked by companies employing thousands more non-unionized workers at other U.S. auto plants.

With the UAW’s large stake in the company through its independent trust for retiree health care and part ownership by the U.S. government, GM was seen early on as the best choice for the union to establish a baseline contract to use in negotiations with the remaining Detroit auto makers. But union officials indicated that the requirements imposed as part of the government-led restructuring at GM also complicated the discussions between the union and car company.

Before the talks, many workers lost one of their most powerful bargaining weapons: the strike. As a condition of bankruptcy, UAW members pledged not to walk out at either GM or Chrysler through 2015.

Experts said that there was little intense pressure at the end to finish quickly because the parties agreed to an indefinite extension of talks. “There is no danger of a strike” at GM, said Art Schwartz, a retired labor-relations director for GM who serves the president of Labor and Economics Associates, a Detroit area consultants group.

Still, the UAW and GM faced tricky negotiations because the U.S. government holds a 26.5% stake and an independent trust set up to provide health care for retired auto workers owns 12.8% of the auto maker. As at Chrysler, GM and union are also mindful that auto makers were bailed out by U.S. taxpayers who may expect a quickly reached agreement with terms on par with nonunionized competitors.

Ford didn’t seek a bailout or bankruptcy protection. And its workers still have the right to strike the company.

GM is hardly the same auto maker that inked a comprehensive deal with the UAW four years ago. The company since then has shed thousands of auto workers and the union agreed to major concessions, including a no-strike clause, ending automatic pay raises and changing the funding system for retiree health care.

Rather than posting losses, GM has been reporting billions in profits from all corners of the world thanks to stronger prices for new cars and trucks, a cleaned up balance sheet and lower costs. In 2008, GM employed 62,000 UAW members. Today, 48,500 UAW members remain. The auto maker also has 15 fewer plants.

Progress at GM now rivals Ford’s robust turnaround. GM earned $4.7 billion in 2010, its first annual profit since 2004 and its best yearly performance since 1999. In the first half of this year, the auto maker made $5.7 billion. Chrysler’s finances have also improved but not with the same speed.

Despite the transformation, GM as well as other auto makers expect to be buffeted by the still-slugging global auto market. In 2007, auto makers sold 16 million cars and trucks in the U.S. This year, the car companies are on an annualized pace to sell about 12 million vehicles.

Attention will now turn to Ford and Chrysler. But no quick deal is expected at Chrysler where talks broke down late Wednesday. In an unusual move, Chrysler Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne expressed disappointment in a critical, two-page letter to the UAW’s Mr. King, calling for a weeklong extension in the negotiations. The union agreed to the extension.

Mr. Marchionne wrote that he would be going out of town on business, indicating that a deal would not be possible in the coming days without his participation. The union declined to comment on the letter this week.

One of the issues at Chrysler that has stalled talks is the union’s desire to raise entry-level wages, two people familiar with the discussions said Friday. The company would agree to such a move but only if the union agrees to offset the increase by paying more in health care costs, according to these people.

The dispute between the Auburn Hills, Mich.-based company and union comes as Mr. Marchionne focuses on melding Fiat SpA and Chrysler into one company that can compete globally rather than get mired in a union spat. But Mr. Marchionne must also wrestle with a union whose independent trust for retired auto workers’ health care still owns a 41% stake in Chrysler.

News was quieter at Ford, which on Tuesday extended its negotiations with the union. Those talks are expected to take longer because of workers’ expectations about Ford’s sizable profits since 2010 and the union’s ability to strike the company if an agreement cannot be sealed.

—Jeff Bennett contributed to this article.

Write to Matthew Dolan at and Jeff Bennett at

Don’t Believe the hype. The Dems are not the Answer

Posted on September 6th, 2011

Like my man FlavaFlav says so well, “Don’t believe the Hy-y-y-ya-ipe.”  VP Joe Biden gave a rousing speech Labor Day trying to trick us poor working people into believing one more time that the Democrats are going to help unions fight the terrorist tactics of the bosses and their courts and their lackey politicians.  Biden may indeed be a little more pro worker, maybe even more than a little, than the new breed of corporatist Dems,  but when it comes to staring down the big bosses who finance his and Obama’s campaign he/they will blink.   They have to because that’s their job.  Democrats pretend to be an alternative to the Rethuglicans, but voting for the lesser of two evils is not the answer.  They should change the Democrat symbol from a donkey to a coyote.  They have truly become the party of the trickster.

The Trickster

“We’ve been through a lot of fights, but this is a different kind of fight,” explained Biden. “This is a fight for the heart and soul of the labor movement. This is a fight literally for our right to exist. Don’t misunderstand what this is…. You are the only folks keeping the barbarians from the gates.”

Sounds good, but that’s the way the trickster plays his hand.  He speaks the truth but ……… Don’t believe the hype.

My Man -- in the day!

Here’s a couple songs for Labor Day

Posted on September 5th, 2011

Here’s a couple songs for labor day:

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