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Anti-union thugs threaten pro-union NYU student protesters.
Last month, a rally by New York University students supporting workers at nursing homes owned by NYU Law School trustee and major donor Daniel Straus was met by an aggressive counter-protest of people obviously paid to be there (they claimed to be nursing home workers but didn't know where they worked, among other things) who threatened students and yelled homophobic slurs while holding signs saying things like "Daniel Straus cares."

It was reasonable to assume that Straus had hired these goons, but it seemed unlikely it could be proven. Except that it has been, and a Straus spokesperson has admitted that CareOne and HealthBridge, Straus's nursing homes, did hire "security."

Hiring thugs to insult, intimidate, and threaten college students rallying outside an event at their own school is about what you'd expect of Straus, whose nursing home chains have been hit with repeated National Labor Relations Board charges due to a pattern of illegal behavior against workers. But you'd think NYU might care that its students were being threatened by people hired by one of its law school's trustees. Not really, though.

An N.Y.U. spokesperson declined to answer this reporter’s question of whether the university will investigate the students’ claims regarding Straus’s involvement in the matter.

“The university is not a party to this labor dispute, [and] has no input into how either side is managing its PR campaigns to convey its views,” the spokesperson wrote in an e-mailed statement, while stressing that the principle of peaceful and lawful protest is “crucially important” at N.Y.U.

“And we caution all parties to take the steps necessary to ensure that [that principle] is upheld and to avoid any actions that might be seen to undermine it,” the statement added.

Got that? Threatening protesters = "managing a PR campaign." And any caution that's going to go out goes to everyone equally. In other words, NYU cares more about Daniel Straus's millions than about its students' ability to protest Daniel Straus's many violations of the law without being threatened for it.

A fair day's wage

  • The National Hockey League lockout is continuing, with games canceled through Nov. 1. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is apparently furious that the players aren't capitulating fast enough to the league and owners' money grab. According to the Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby, when the players presented three proposed deals, the response from the owners was that: "It's not even given a day to think about or crunch numbers. It's shutdown within minutes. That doesn't seem like a group that's willing to negotiate. I mean that's pretty clearly take it or leave it."
  • Yes, your boss can fire you for political expression and can tell you who to vote for. Also:
    As of 2010, four states ban firing workers based on their lawful off-duty activities, including politics (in contrast, 29 ban firing workers based on their off-duty smoking).
    Yeah, it's like that.
  • Your tax dollars at work, especially if you live in Wisconsin:
    Palermo’s Pizza, where workers have been on strike since June 1 protesting unfair labor practices, has received some $26 million in local, state and federal funds since 2005. The majority of funds were earmarked for job creation and economic development. But a new report from the AFL-CIO Center for Strategic Research finds little evidence Palermo's has kept its word. [...]

    The WEDC requires that employers pay at least $10.88 an hour to qualify for job creation tax credits. [...]

    While the WEDC report didn’t provide the information to verify Palermo’s wage claims, an examination of pay stubs from 55 recent employees shows an average wage of just $10.55 an hour, with half earning less than $10 an hour.

  • Looks like public attention works on Walmart in at least one way: The retail giant issued a memo telling store managers to obey the law when it comes to retaliating against workers who went on strike recently.
  • Another study shows that a shortage of skilled workers isn't to blame for high unemployment.
  • Last spring, after a tough campaign that saw one worker fired for taking an emergency bathroom break, Los Angeles-based truck drivers at Toll Group won an election and got union representation. Fantastic, right? Except that the company, which is heavily unionized in its home country of Australia, is refusing to bargain a decent contract with the workers.

    The workers are responding with practice pickets, Josh Eidelson reports.

    Sadly, this kind of foot-dragging is very common from companies where workers have recently unionized. In 2009, Cornell labor scholar Kate Bronfenbrenner found that:

    Fifty-two percent of workers who form a union are still without a contract a year after they win an election, I found, and 37 percent remain without a contract two years after the election.
    It's been six months for the drivers at Toll Group, and they're basically being forced to mount another organizing drive even though they won their union representation election.
  • Jared Bernstein on why unemployment doesn't just hurt the unemployed.

State and local legislation


  • Las Vegas unions have been fighting Sheldon Adelson for a long time. Now they're fighting his millions in the presidential election.
  • Romney Off the Rails is a look at the effect Mitt Romney would have on rail service and jobs, courtesy of transportation unions.
  • If you're not following @dklabor and @lauraclawson, please do, for more of what you get here at Daily Kos Labor and more. And check out @blogwood for probably the most comprehensive labor twitter feed out there.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Sat Oct 20, 2012 at 10:55 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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