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While the loss in Wisconsin is a big one for unions and workers more generally, the week wasn't without some small victories in fights across the country.

American Airlines has been trying to block a union representation election for 10,000 passenger agents by arguing to the National Mediation Board, which governs airline unions, that the Communications Workers of America did not have enough worker petitions for a union vote under the heightened requirements Republicans inserted into the FAA reauthorization. But the NMB has set a date for the election.

It's still an extremely uphill climb for American's passenger agents, who face a tough intimidation campaign from the airline in the upcoming weeks leading up to and during the vote. But at least they got their vote despite strong management opposition.

In a more final win, the Hilton Hotel near LAX settled a class-action lawsuit by agreeing to pay workers $2.5 million. According to the lawsuit, about 1,200 workers didn't get overtime or meal or rest breaks they were due and had wages withheld. Getting businesses to obey wage and hour laws is a really minimal step, but given that so many businesses do not pay their workers for all the hours they work, or allow them to take breaks they're legally entitled to, a settlement in a lawsuit like this is actually a real win.

It's also worth talking about the ongoing small victories for workers in an Occupational Safety and Health Administration that, under President Obama, is making the most of its limited resources to protect workers from dangerous conditions on the job. Or, as Republicans would call it, over-regulation.

OSHA cited roofing contractor Woodridge Enterprises for multiple violations, including two repeat violations for lack of fall protection. DD Stucco and Renovation LLC was also cited for fall hazards, including two willful violations. Willful violations are ones "committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health." Contractors at Kimball Union Academy in New Hampshire were also cited for a mindbending array of hazards, including fall, crushing and cave-in hazards. When three different contractors on one worksite have such serious issues, you have to look askance at the entity that hired them and ultimately controls the worksite. So it's of note that in this case it's a school.

A further glance through OSHA's releases for the week finds multiple repeat violations at a Walmart, including an electrical hazard, and an order for reinstatement of a whistleblower who was fired from an Alaska residential youth facility after expressing concerns about the safety of drinking water at the facility.

Isn't it just terrible how all that over-regulation is crushing job creators?

(Continued below the fold.)

  • Workers at the San Jose Doubletree hotel, meanwhile, are still fighting. They held a four-day strike this week over hotel management's insistence that they accept a contract with long-term wage freezes and increased health care costs. San Jose Doubletree workers make an average of about $12.80 an hour and face high cost of living in Silicon Valley. Meanwhile, area hotel revenues have been increasing substantially.
  • Also still fighting: Workers at Palermo's Pizza in Milwaukee are organizing a union. So management is using workers' immigration status to intimidate them.
  • If you took the "millionaires vs. billionaires, both sides are being greedy" view of last year's lockout of NFL players, consider this: The NFL has now locked out its referees.
  • Obviously we know how Tuesday's election in Wisconsin turned out, but if you're curious about how conversations with voters in the final days of the campaign went, check out Josh Eidelson's report on his time with canvassers for four different anti-Walker groups in Milwaukee.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Sat Jun 09, 2012 at 05:55 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Lockheed Fort Worth Strike enters 7th week (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, Dave925, yaque, ER Doc
    Union leaders say their members remain resolute in opposing Lockheed's plan to eliminate traditional pension plans for new employees and force workers to shoulder more of their healthcare benefit costs. They overwhelmingly rejected the company's last three-year contract offer, which included annual 3 percent wage increases, a $3,000 signing bonus and an annual $800 cost-of-living payment.

    On both the pension and healthcare, the union members are bucking national trends as major corporations scale back benefits. Still, at three meetings last week, about 1,000 members reaffirmed their commitment to the strike, said Paul Black, president of District Lodge 776 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

    Read more here:

  •  Walmart's thinks its won its war on workers (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    winkk, TomP, fabucat, Dave925, yaque, ER Doc
    Some Walmart workers want better wages, affordable benefits

    By Hadley Malcolm and Jayne O'Donnell, USA TODAY

    The 52-year-old makes $11.60 an hour as a front-of-the-store manager at a Louisiana Walmart and says she struggles to pay for basic necessities, let alone her $600-a-month rent.

    "I'm giving it all I got, I like what I do, and yet I'm struggling so bad. This is not what it was when I started," says Sparks, who began working for America's No. 1 employer and discount store seven years ago.

    Sparks belongs to a loosely knit association of Walmart employees called the Organization United for Respect at Walmart — OUR Walmart, for short. They are prodding the giant retailer to provide better wages, affordable benefits and reasonably reliable schedules for store employees nationwide. Their campaign comes not only at a time when many low-wage workers in the U.S. are struggling to make ends meet, but also as Walmart is rededicating itself to attracting price-conscious consumers like them — by holding down its expenses and guaranteeing the lowest prices.

    "We don't need someone who can think. We need someone with enough digits to hold a pen." ~ Grover Norquist

    by Lefty Coaster on Sat Jun 09, 2012 at 06:15:27 PM PDT

  •  Great post! These may not be huge (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, ER Doc

    wins, but losing these skirmishes would have been devastating, signaling the One Percenter bastids that it's just fine to continue moving the overton window ~er Club for Growth window in the direction of squashing workers rights.
    "Oh, you mean we have to pay our slacker workers for performing work off the clock?!"
    You do now, mofo's!

    (side note: just back from NN12, but wish I could have gone to the Daily Kos bash)!

  •  WI Was a Partial Win. With the Senate Flipped (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, fabucat

    the tea party ability to legislate is considerably reduced.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Jun 09, 2012 at 06:28:48 PM PDT

  •  Wisconsin not a loss for workers and not a loss (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    for unions.

    It was a loss for political consultants and operatives who thought they could use recalls for political purposes.

    It was also a loss for all the people who poured millions of dollars into Scott Walker's campaign to achieve -- pretty much what polls of voters' attitudes toward recall elections said would happen anyway.

    On the other hand, it was a big win for all the folks receiving that money.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Sat Jun 09, 2012 at 06:29:00 PM PDT

    •  Gee (0+ / 0-)

      I don't recall anyone whining about recalls being used for "political" purposes or the impropriety of using them in the absence of criminal conduct when Enron, Schwarznegger and Darrel Issa went after Gray Davis in California. What a frenzy was whipped up by a supportive corpirate media back then in what was essentially an effort to kill the lawsuits against Enron that Davis had initiated in 2001.

      See Schwarznegger Ken Lay secret meeting Santa Monica, 2001.

      Nope no talk of such things back then. I wonder why that would be?

      "Our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy, rotten system." - Dorothy Day

      by Dave925 on Sat Jun 09, 2012 at 07:38:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  California is its own place, but... (0+ / 0-)

        that was the second of exactly two successful gubernatorial recalls ever held in the United States.

        Polls of Wisconsin voters showed a significant aversion to recall elections.

        If you can arrange a Wisconsin election using California voters you might have a point.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Sat Jun 09, 2012 at 07:45:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I Imagine (0+ / 0-)

          Millions of dollars wort of ads making the "propriety" claim in one state and not another may have had something to do with it but then that's just me. Obviously Wisconsin voters are a malleable lot or maybe it's just a line of BS to explain results that were contrary to the exit polls.

          "Our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy, rotten system." - Dorothy Day

          by Dave925 on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 08:19:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Glad you do this, Laura. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sable, ER Doc

    I'm from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner Wing of the Democratic Party!

    by TomP on Sat Jun 09, 2012 at 06:55:03 PM PDT

  •  Union Rags won the Belmont.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ER Doc

    ....:)  They should unionize those horses!

  •  I worked at the LAX Hilton... (0+ / 0-)

    over 20 years ago.  One of the worst experiences of my life.  Not really the hotel's fault, but I kind of shudder when I see it going to the airport.

  •  Also this week: 4,000 steelworkers face layoffs... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ER Doc

    RG Steel began layoffs this week at three steel mills it owns in Maryland, West Virginia and Ohio.

    RG Steel filed for bankruptcy late last month and says it wants to sell off the mills as soon as possible. It is unclear whether there are any serious buyers out there, or whether the mills will be closed permanently.


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