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Posts Tagged ‘US Labor’

Listen to the two latest ‘Alternative Visions’ radio shows, hosted by Dr. Jack Rasmus, on the Progressive Radio Network. The first show, airing September 18, interviews guests Steve Early and Carl Finamore who attended the recent AFLCIO convention in LA . The show focuses on the topic of Union-Community Alliances and the AFLCIO’s recent discussion on creating new forms of partnerships between unions and community groups. The second show, that airs September 25, interviews immigrant rights and labor activist, Alan Benjamin, on new realignments of immigration rights groups in progress given the collapse of the Immigrant Rights bill in Congress and Obama’s refusal to take executive action on behalf of immigrant rights.

Both shows and interviews are available for download on the progressive radio network, accessible at http://prn.fm/category/archives/alternative-visions/. The shows are also archived and available at alternativevisions.podbean.com.

1. September 18 show: ‘The AFLCIO Convention & New Union-Community Alliances

Show Description: ‘Dr. Jack Rasmus welcomes two long-time union officers, Steve Early of the CWA and Carl Finamore of the Machinists, who attended the recent AFLCIO convention where delegates recently discussed and voted on whether to bring community groups (NAACP, La Raza, Sierra Club, etc.) into the union federation as a new kind of membership. Both Steve and Carl have more than 30 years each of experience in the US labor movement, which they bring to the discussion. Jack introduces the show and discussion with an explanation of the dimensions of the deep decline in union labor in the USA, its failing organizing and bargaining strategies at the company level and the political level with its alliance with the Democratic Party, as well as the consequences of both. Steve and Carl discuss the resolution and scope of the decision at the AFLCIO convention to forge a deeper partnership with community organizations. How can union labor stop and reverse its slide? Jack and guests debate whether some kind of new grass roots organizational structure uniting labor and community organizations must occur if union labor in the US is to survive and grow.

Guest bios: Steve Early is a retired, long time staff representative for the Communications Workers of America and an author of several recent books on the US union movement today, including ‘Embedded With Organized Labor’ and ‘The Civil Wars in US Labor’. Carl Finamore is a former president of Local 1781 of the machinists union representing workers in the airlines industry and a frequent writer to various magazines and blogs on labor and other issues. Check out both their recent articles on the widely read blog, Counterpunch.org, on the recent AFLCIO convention and other labor topics.’

2. September 24/25 show: Immigrants Rights Movement at Historical Juncture

Show Description: Dr. Jack Rasmus invites long-time immigrant rights and union activist, Alan Benjamin, to discuss current and possible realignments in immigrant rights groups’ strategies in the wake of the collapsed Obama legislative proposals in Congress. Benjamin explains in detail the onerous provisions of the recent immigrant rights bill that is now dead on arrival, the new emerging demands of immigrant rights groups’ as 400,000 a year deportations continue under the current administration. Jack and Alan discuss the just formed ‘United Front for Justice & Dignity’ this September 7 of 100 founding members from 40 different groups, and the AFL-CIO convention’s recent internal debates over resolution #4 vs. resolution #23. New directions in grass roots organizing and new demands by immigrant rights groups for Obama to enact immigration reform by executive order are considered. The demands of the recently formed ‘United Front for Justice & Dignity’ above can be viewed at http://www.todopoderalpueblo.org.

Guest bio: Alan Benjamin is a delegate to the San Francisco AFLCIO central labor council, a long time union member, and a leading activist with several groups advocating rights and citizenship for 11 million undocumented workers in the US.

Access both shows for download at:

http://prn.fm/category/archives/alternative-visions/.

or at:

http://www.alternativevisions.podbean.com.

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Will American Unions forge new unity with progressive community groups? Will it welcome community groups into the AFL-CIO as members?

Listen to Jack Rasmus’s September 18 radio show, Alternative Visions, for a discussion with AFL-CIO convention attendees, long-time union officers, Steve Early and Carl Finamore, on this topic.

Dr. Jack Rasmus welcomes Steve Early of the CWA and Carl Finamore of the Machinists, who attended the recent AFLCIO convention where delegates recently discussed and voted on whether to bring community groups (NAACP, La Raza, Sierra Club, etc.) into the union federation as a new kind of membership.

Both Steve and Carl have more than 30 years each of experience in the US labor movement, which they bring to the discussion.

Jack introduces the show and discussion with an explanation of the dimensions of the deep decline in union labor in the USA, its failing organizing and bargaining strategies at the company level and the political level with its alliance with the Democratic Party, as well as the consequences of both. Steve and Carl discuss the resolution and scope of the decision at the AFLCIO convention to forge a deeper partnership with community organizations. How can union labor stop and reverse its slide? Jack and guests debate whether some kind of new grass roots organizational structure uniting labor and community organizations must occur if union labor in the US is to survive and grow.

Url for the radio show is: http://prn.fm/2013/09/alternative-visions-091813/

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On August 8, my radio show, ALTERNATIVE VISIONS, on the Progressive Radio Network, interviewed 3 long-time union officers and activists (Steve Early, Zach Robinson, Jim Moran) in Richmond, CA, Greenville, North Carolina, and Philadelphia respectively, about AFLCIO President, Richard Trumka’s, announcement that the AFLCIO, the major union federation in the US, was in discussions with national community organizations like the NAACP, La Raza, Sierra Club to discuss allowing membership of community organizations directly into the AFL-CIO. As reported in the US press, the decision on including community organizations as federation members is scheduled for consideration at the upcoming September 2013 convention of the AFL-CIO.

According to a recent article in the July 27 Wall St. Journal, the potential organizational change will include granting community groups “decision making power” within the AFLCIO.

Dr. Jack Rasmus and guests discuss the strategic significance of the possible decision and organizational change at the top level of the AFL-CIO, raising the question: Is this a major shift in the AFL-CIO and American Union Movement that portends greater cooperative action between organized Labor in the US and community groups? Or is it just a fascade for cooperating on lobbying and electing Democrats in the 2014 midterm elections?

American unions are in deep trouble today. In 2012-13, nearly 2 million jobs were created—albeit mostly part time and temp jobs at low pay. But union jobs declined at more than 500,000 in 2012. Weekly earnings of American workers continue to decline yearly. Union defined benefit pensions continue to disappear as businesses convert them to phony 401k plans under the cover of fake corporate bankruptcies. The crisis in Detroit shows the practice is now spreading to the public sector. Union negotiated health insurance plans are under direct attack as well, as Obama’s health care law proposes a ‘tax’ of 40% on such covered plans by 2018 and employers have already launched an offensive to ‘cap’ all contributions to negotiated health plans in anticipation of the tax. Right to work anti-union laws are being pushed at state levels. Union labor may well disappear as we know it in another decade.

Jack’s guests will discuss not only the proposed changes in Union-Community cooperation by the ‘top level’ suggested by the possible changes at the coming AFL-CIO convention, but also developments at the local level in labor-community alliances and action in their geographic areas—in California, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.

The interviews and discussion, on Dr. Rasmus’ Alternative Visions radio show, may be heard at: http://alternativevisions.podbean.com now. (And subsequently on the Progressive Radio Network, now undergoing server maintenance).

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