Across America, working families are dedicated to the economic advancement to promote fairness in the workplace and establish policies that help men and women meet the dual demands of work and family. Yet all too often, workers who attempt to join unions, assert other rights in the workplace, or file complaints with protection or civil rights agencies face employer threats, retaliation and discrimination.
Other issues affecting the well-being of working Americans include tax cuts, bankruptcy reform, and the minimum wage.
April 17, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) is gaining support across the country as well as on Capitol Hill, with more than 150 grassroots organizations joining President Obama, Vice President Biden, and congressional leaders in support of the bill.
EFCA will give workers the option to choose how to form a union, either by ballot or by getting a majority of employees to sign a union-authorization card.
But the Employee Free Choice Act has engaged more than just the labor community. The right to organize affects all Americans, especially in these difficult economic times. A recent poll shows that 73 percent of Americans favor passing legislation that makes it easier for workers to organize.
As part our "Calling for Justice" series, LCCREF held a national conference call last week to discuss the potential impact of EFCA and to rally national, state, and local leaders around the bill.
"The passage of the Employee Free Choice Act is critically important to all of us; it's critically important to the economy of our country; it's critically important to rebuilding the strength of the middle class," said Wade Henderson, president & CEO of LCCR.
A coalition of civil and human rights organizations, religious organizations, and local activists have come together in support of the bill, including American Rights at Work, whose new ad campaign, Faces of the Employee Free Choice Act, tells the stories of workers who are fighting for their right to organize.
April 3, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
The Employee Free Choice Act, which is currently under consideration by Congress, is a bill that would make it easier for all workers to join unions by giving them the option to choose how to form a union, either by ballot or by getting a majority of employees to sign a union-authorization card.
If passed, the bill would be particularly good for African Americans, who join unions because union jobs provide better wages and health care benefits than non-union jobs. Black workers who are in unions earn 28 percent more than non-unionized Black workers and are approximately 16 percent more likely to have health insurance benefits than non-unionized Black workers.
In addition, unions have historically played a critical role in the upward mobility of African Americans and they still help to provide African Americans with better wages and healthcare benefits than they would get with non-union jobs.
March 31, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
César Chávez and Duncan West of the Teamsters speaking at a Delano grape strike rally.
Photo Credit: Joel Levine
Today is the birthday anniversary of labor leader and civil rights activist César Chávez (1927-1993).
Chávez worked tirelessly throughout his career to get higher wages and better working conditions for underpaid farm workers. Chavez started out as a community organizer at the Community Service Organization (CSO), a Latino civil rights organization, and eventually became the organization's national director. In 1962, he left the CSO to co-found the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) with Dolores Huerta, so he could organize farm workers full time.
Chávez' first big success with the NFWA came in 1965. That year, NFWA joined the Delano Grape Strike, a strike of California grape pickers initiated by the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee, and turned the strike into a major campaign that attracted national attention.
During the strike, the two unions merged to form the United Farm Workers (UFW). The strike lasted five years and, in the end, more than 10,000 grape pickers were able to sign UFW union contracts that got them higher wages.
Chávez continued to work for farm workers' rights until his death in 1993.
Chávez' birthday is a holiday in eight states and people celebrate him by promoting service to the community. This year, in honor of Chávez, UFW is holding a series of marches and rallies around the country throughout March and April.
March 25, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
Demonstration of protest and mourning for victims of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of March 25, 1911.
On March 25, 1911, a fire broke out at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City, an event that galvanized the city and sparked a movement that led to legislation that improved factory safety and workers' protections.
Nearly 150 workers died in the fire, unable to escape from the building due to locked exits and a broken fire escape. It was the most tragic industrial disaster in the history of New York City, and was the worst workplace disaster in the city until the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
The Triangle Shirtwaist Company manufactured women's blouses, which were called "shirtwaists" or simply "waists" at the time. Most of the company's 600 workers were female immigrants from Eastern Europe, Italy and Germany, some as young as 12, who were paid a mere six or seven dollars a week.
The origins of the fire are unknown, but the fire sparked efforts to improve safety laws and workers' compensation laws.
The International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU), which grew in size and political power in the wake of the fire, organized a large rally and the Women’s Trade Union League campaigned to investigate working conditions for laborers and collected testimonies.
The governor of New York set up a Factory Investigating Commission, which conducted hearings across the state for five years. As a result, vital factory safety legislation was passed and new workers' compensation laws were pased.
The building that housed the Triangle Shirtwaist Company, now called the Brown Building, is a national historic landmark. The UNITE HERE union, which includes ILGWU, honors workers' contributions to American soceity every year on the fire's anniversary.
March 11, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
Wade Henderson, president and CEO of LCCR, speaking at a June 2007 Employee Free Choice Act rally in Washington, D.C.
Credit: American Rights at Work
As the nation faces a severe recession, workers will need more protection than ever.
The Employee Free Choice Act, which is pending in Congress, will make it easier for workers to form a union by giving them a choice in how they want to form one, either by ballot or by getting a majority of employees to sign a union-authorization card.
"Unions provide a buffer in difficult economic times. They help preserve economic benefits and maintain job security. Moreover, unions do so in a manner that is sensitive to the needs of business," said Wade Henderson, president and CEO of the LCCR, in testimony before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions yesterday.
Union members on average receive a higher wage than non-union employees, are far more likely to have health care benefits, and have a greater share of health care benefits paid for by their employers.
February 27, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
Charlotte E. Ray graduated from Howard Law School on February 27, 1872, becoming not only the first female African-American lawyer in the United States but also the first practicing female lawyer in Washington, D.C.
February 23, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
If you are a victim of employment discrimination, your case is more likely to be dismissed compared with other types of cases, and your chances of winning in court are slim, according to recent studies.
February 18, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
President Obama aims to create or save 3.5 million jobs over the next two years by spending some of the money in the recently-enacted stimulus plan on modernizing the nation's roads and bridges, investing in public transportation, and making federal office buildings more energy-efficient.
February 10, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
UAW workers guarding a window entrance of the GM plant during the 1937 Flint Sit-Down Strike.
Tomorrow, February 11, is White Shirt Day, a day to honor workers who participated in a 1937 strike that led to the unionization of the entire U.S. auto industry.
In 1948, Bert Christenson, a member of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union, started the tradition of wearing white shirts every February 11 as a way to commemorate the end of the Flint Sit-Down Strike. White shirts are worn to show that "blue-collar" workers deserve the same respect and recognition as their "white-collar," management counterparts.
February 5, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
Today is the 16th anniversary of the signing of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA).
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