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"When you say fiscal responsibility, it seems to me that you really mean rich people keeping their money." --- Alice Adams

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UnionVoiceSidebar1

PREVIOUS CALLS TO BOYCOTT

Riki Hing asked what the status was on previous calls for boycotts against Whole Foods and Starbucks. So we did a few emails/ a little googling and this is what we have.

STARBUCKS... back in 2005 or so there were some claims that Starbucks was firing people for being pro-union. These seem to have died down and unionization continues to grow. The latest issue in 2007 was about managers taking a cut of worker's tips. This was brought to court and found in favor of the workers. So as far as I can see, we do not have an active boycott of Starbucks...if any knows differently, let us know.

WHOLE FOODS -- the big issue with Whole Foods was with the Chairman of the Board using his influence to try and kill public healthcare in this country. The pressure of the boycott caused him to resign as Chairman but he is still the CEO of Whole Foods. The ancillary issues are that Whole Foods is non-union and is one of the big box stores that comes in with the look of local produce but it's not, undercuts the local grocery stores and pushes them out of business.... lesson is know where the owners of your stores live and then buy local, buy local, buy local.

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We're in the process of completing a look at the Union districts and Steward/District Contact assignments. We're hoping to have a new Stewards page up and running by the beginning of September.

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 "People at Bear Stearns get tens of millions for doing a terrible job at manipulating financial markets. And people get minimum wage for taking care of our grandparents." Barry Blueston

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News Tidbits

Listserve Changes

Some of you may be aware that the Union has two listserves. They are the Voice listserve and the Unitmember listserve. Most of you are most familiar with the Unitmember listserve. It is the one that you subscribe to and can post emails to yourself. TheVoice listserve was originally adopted to send out notifications of the Union Voice, the union electronic newsletter. The Voice listserve has the most complete list of member emails.

We have decided that we will now use the Voice listserve for all formal union communications, i.e. Union announcements, the Union Voice, other formal union communications. This is not a listserve that the membership can post to themselves. If there is an announcement that a member wants to post to the Voice listserve because of its importance and needs a wide readership, they can send the email in question to Donna Johnson for consideration.

The unitmember listserve will continue to run the way it always has with the same guidelines. Members can now decide whether they want to receive these emails or not without worrying that they will not receive important Union communications.

We also want to remind people that they can decide to use their home email addresses for either or both of these listserves.

We hope people will find this change in process to be a beneficial one for all. If you have any questions, please email usa@external.umass.edu.

Donna Johnson
President

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LABOR HEROES

Dan Clawson

Local Labor Hero

Review of Prof. Clawson's 2003 book "The Next Upsurge":

"The U.S. labor movement may be on the verge of massive growth, according to Dan Clawson. He argues that unions don't grow slowly and incrementally, but rather in bursts. Even if the AFL-CIO could organize twice as many members per year as it now does, it would take thirty years to return to the levels of union membership that existed when Ronald Reagan was elected president. In contrast, labor membership more than quadrupled in the years from 1934 to 1945. For there to be a new upsurge, Clawson asserts, labor must fuse with social movements concerned with race, gender, and global justice. The new forms may create a labor movement that breaks down the boundaries between "union" and "community" or between work and family issues. Clawson finds that this is already happening in some parts of the labor movement: labor has endorsed global justice and opposed war in Iraq, student activists combat sweatshops, unions struggle for immigrant rights. Innovative campaigns of this sort, Clawson shows, create new strategies—determined by workers rather than union organizers—that redefine the very meaning of the labor movement. The Next Upsurge presents a range of examples from attempts to replace "macho" unions with more feminist models to campaigns linking labor and community issues and attempts to establish cross-border solidarity and a living wage."

Eugene V. Debs

Eugene V. Debs began working in the railroad shops in his hometown of Terre Haute, Indiana, as a young man. Debs served as a national union officer, an elected city official and an Indiana legislator before 1893 when he launched the American Railway Union, an industrial union of railroad workers. After serving time in prison for his participation in the Pullman Strike of 1894, Debs emerged with two unbendable beliefs: industrial u

nions rather than trade unions gave the workers the power needed to combat America's corporati

ons, and for him, Socialism was the best political choice for workers.

Debs fought tirelessly for then "radical" workers' rights now considered standard, workmen's compensation, pensions and social security, and for social causes including women's suffrage. He helped found the Industrial Workers of the World along with Big Bill Haywood and Mother Mary Harris Jones in 1905, but soon withdrew from that movement. Debs ran five times as a Socialist Party presidential candidate, from 1900-1920. His last campaign was run from a federal prison in Atlanta, where he served 32 months of a 10-year sentence for violating The Espionage Act, by publicly opposing America's involvement in World War I. Even so, Debs received nearly a million votes.

(Note: the Debs portrait photo was taken outside of the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary.)www.anchoreducationfoundation.org/images/Heroes.pdf

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Cesar Chavez, 1927-1993

United Farm Workers

"It's ironic that those who till the soil, cultivate and harvest the fruits, vegetables and other foods that fill your tables with abundance have nothing left for themselves."

 

Born in 1927 to Mexican immigrant parents in Yuma, Arizona, Cesar Chavez began toiling in the fields as a young boy. In 1939, his family moved to California and like migrant workers throughout the country, followed the harvests up and down the state. In 1952, Cesar Chavez began working for the Community Service Organization, conducting voter registration drives and battling racial and economic discrimination against Chicanos. However, his passion and commitment belonged to those working in the fields, and in 1962, Chavez founded the National Farm Workers Association, which became the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee (UFW) within the AFL-CIO in 1965.

Building upon his Catholic upbringing and his adherence to the teachings of Gandhi and the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Chavez successfully brought together religious organizations, labor unions, students, minority organizations, and consumers in a fiveyear grape boycott. His efforts turned the nation's attention to the dismal working conditions of the farm workers. In 1975, California Governor Jerry Brown signed the Agricultural Labor Relations Act, a collective bargaining law for farm workers. By the early 1980s, tens of thousands of farm workers were under UFW contracts, and realized higher pay, family health coverage, pension benefits, and other protections.

www.anchoreducationfoundation.org/images/Heroes.pdf



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Friday
Jul302010

SERV Update

Donna has gotten confirmation that the new understanding of what is a non-profit organization for which state employees can volunteer and get release time will be honored by UMASS Amherst. So go to the SERV page on this site to get more information and a link to a list of accepted non-profit organizations and the rules and procedures you must follow to get your participation approved.

If you should be told that only volunteering for schools is allowed, please contact Donna so we can straighten things out so you will be able to take advantage of this great opportunity.

Aggie Mitchkoski

Friday
Jul162010

Get Your Groove On Brothers and Sisters!

Election years seem to creep up on us just as soon as the last one ends but we have a big one coming up, the gubernatorial race here in Massachusetts and there is much at stake this year, even more than previous years. While the Governor's seat is always important, coming off some of the hardest economic times we've encountered since the Depression, a missed step now could prove disasterous. Beyond many of the visible effects on the state the Governor has, there are some far-reaching effects that we often forget. Click here to get a list of the boards and agencies that the Governor appoints people to. These boards and agencies are crucial to our well-being in public higher ed. It's one of the reason why getting involved in this race is important for us.

MTA, Massachusetts Teachers Association, our parent union has come out in support of Deval Patrick for Governor. For sure we have not gotten everything we wanted from Patrick but he has done much that is good and has helped this state. Click here to get a listing of some of the major items.

One of the other reasons MTA came out for Patrick is that the alternative is pretty grim. Click here to see a recent blog of Charlie Baker's 13 ways to save taxpayers money.... look close to see the number of people he's hoping to put out of work... one of those jobs could likely be yours.

We're running out of time. It's time to show up or be shut out.. what are WE going to do?

Aggie Mitchkoski - Eboard Member USA

 

Thursday
Jul152010

Workers Writing...

A couple of years ago I attended a conference in New York City with people from Labor Management Workplace Education about the Labor Management Workplace movement. One of the big achievements I learned about there was Workers Writing Project. This began back in 2000 with a series of creative writing workshops for steelworkers. This project has continued and grown and has resulted in Kindred Voices 1 in 2006 and Kindred Voices II published this year.

The Kindred Voices project has now moved to UMASS and is being managed by LMWEP. They are hoping to make it an ongoing project where new works are added as they are written.  Keep your eyes open for news on this.

I had the priviledge to hear a few workers who were published in the first volume read their work at that workshop in NY. It was wonderful to hear such great stories from such a varied group of workers. It demonstrated that we all have stories to tell, we just need the opportunity, tools and encouragement to tell them.

We can get that help and encoragement by taking part in the writing workshops offered by LMWEP. My experience is that they are low pressure, positive experiences...even for really novice writers. Take a chance, tell a story or two... read some of the great pieces in this edition and get inspired!

 

To see the current edition of Kindred Voices click here. And if you look closely, you might see a contribution or two from me.

Aggie Mitchkoski

Friday
Jun112010

Update on WEP/GPO

Tuesday
May182010

Political Change with Pen and Paper

From Ted.com

The importance of writing with paper and pen were discussed at the Annual Meeting today.. this is a good video about it.