Monday, March 06, 2006

New Issue of Green Anarchy!

Seriously, Read the Bosses News

Hotels Counter False Union Charges -- AH&LA: Hotels Provide Competitive Wages and Generous Benefits, Union Strategy is Designed To Grow Declining Membership Ranks

The American Hotel & Lodging Association today challenged assertions made by the "Change to Win" labor coalition about hotel workers' wages and benefits.

"Contrary to the accusations made by this group yesterday, the hotel industry provides affordable, quality health care, competitive wages that grow year after year, and generous benefits to its hardworking employees," said AH&LA President/CEO Joe McInerney, CHA. "These false claims mask 'Change to Win's' real agenda, which is to use union dues money to grow its declining membership rolls."

According to AH&LA, "Change to Win" has championed an organizing technique called "card check," which would eliminate the traditional secret ballot elections for union representation. The "Change to Win" unions want the company to agree to unionization, instead of letting employees vote on this important issue and decide for themselves. The unions have also demanded that many employers sign a "neutrality agreement," which prevents an employer from communication with employees about the pros and cons of unionization.


P-CRAC Recommends Reading the Bosses News

Hilton Reportedly Target of Nationwide Strike Plan
By Eugene Gilligan, Senior Editor
Comercial Property News

Hilton Hotels Corp. may be targeted for a hotel strike in New York, and the lodging industry nationwide may face tough contract negotiations with their workers this year.

According to a report in today's New York Daily News, Peter Ward, president of the New York Hotel and Motel Trade Council, will insist that his union conduct separate negotiations with hotel owners and with Hilton when the workers' contact expires on July 1. He added that Hilton has violated contracts with the union in the past, so he did not want it to be part of any multi-employer negotiations.

"We're a service business, and we have a long history of treating our team members fairly," a Hilton spokesperson told CPN this afternoon reacting to the report. "It's interesting that we're called a target. After Sept. 11, while other hotel companies had mass layoffs, we kept our people working."


Lock this out mofo's

AK STEEL: Lockout 'corporate greed at its finest' says Butler, Pa., union leader
Pa., union president shares thoughts on lockout, sale rumor

The Middletown Journal

As members of the Armco Employees Independent Federation continued to staff picket lines at most of the gates at AK Steel Corp.’s Middletown Works, the president of another union paid a visit to Middletown late Friday and Saturday to get a first-hand look at what may be on the horizon for his membership.

Jim Gallagher, president of the United Auto Workers Local 3303 that represents AK employees at its Butler, Pa., facility, came down to Middletown to lend his support to the more than 2,600 AEIF employees who were locked-out Tuesday by AK after contract negotiations failed to reach a settlement.

“I just think the whole thing could have been avoided,” Gallagher said. “The company could have kept talking to the union while they kept working.”

Money AK is spending on extra security and hotels for replacement workers could have gone toward an agreement with the AEIF, he said.

“This situation is corporate greed at its finest,” he said.

As to some of the moves made by AK prior to the lockout, Gallagher said the company videotape sent to employees backfired. The video, which Gallagher said he believed was designed to intimidate employees, instead brought the AEIF closer together.

“AK Steel is a great union organizer,” Gallagher said. “(The video) showed they really don’t understand.

“Hopefully they’ll get to a settlement,” he said. “It’s early and pretty calm now. But is weighs a lot on a person to watch scabs go in each day at the plant.

“AK’s MO is to lock them out,” he said.


'Bout time

Public union's 'award' leaves a trail of ill will
S. Renee Mitchell
The Oregonian

Four times in the past four years, Multnomah County's employees union has bestowed a Tar and Feather Award on a county manager who did something union leaders didn't like.

No one complained much about the name of the award. But for many black folks, it stirs painful memories of a not-so-long-ago time in America's history when tarring and feathering complemented lynching like jelly does a child's peanut butter sandwich.

Yet, on July 26, the union gave the Tar and Feather Award to a department led by a black man, Lolenzo Poe, who served on the Portland School Board for four years.

The county has a minuscule number of black managers. And Poe's agency, the Department of School and Community Partnerships, is one of the smallest and most ethnically diverse.

"It offended me and some others," Poe says of the award, "but because it was a union issue, I chose not to say anything. I kind of bit my tongue."

But whatever hurt feelings the award created calcified -- especially since an employee survey in 2004 implied that the county is a hostile workplace for people of color. Of the county's 4,288 employees, only 288 -- 6.7 percent -- are black.

"In its way, it was just unintentional ignorance," says Carolyn Edgett, a senior human resource analyst. "There are a couple of environments that are conducive to this kind of thing."

But life went on. Then, seven months later -- on the afternoon of the first day of Black History Month -- the issue resurfaced. A county employee passed news of the Tar and Feather Award to a manager who gave it to Edgett, who told County Chairwoman Diane Linn, who fired off a strongly written e-mail.

"I have a zero tolerance policy for this kind of behavior in the workplace," Linn writes, "and consider it to be both inappropriate and injurious."

Linn directed a few folks to meet with union leaders. Her chief operating officer, Iris Bell, who is black, acknowledges "things got heated." She adds: "Not everybody in the union was pleased with what we said."

The next day, Becky Steward, who has been union president for a little over a year, apologized. She also changed the name of the award to "Rotten Eggs," and she pulled the offensive phrase from past newsletters posted on

Steward also agreed to offer voluntary diversity training to her union leaders and general employees, especially since most of them didn't realize the term could be offensive.

Before management complained, Steward says, "I hadn't heard anyone sharing with me how insensitive and thoughtless we were about that."


Sunday, March 05, 2006

Micks with Bricks

Dublin Riots: What Happened and Why
A political analysis of the Dublin riots and why nobody saw them coming
by Joe - WSM - personal capacity

I, like almost everybody I know, didn't predict the events of Saturday. In fact the only person I know who did predict a major riot was a friend of mine who happens to hail from the wee North - in retrospect I should have realised that he had his finger on the pulse, for not only does he have much more experience of sectarian marches, but through his job he knows many of the people who were involved and has an unusual insight and sympathy for those people who most Dubliners write off as 'scumbags' and 'knackers'. This article is an analysis of what happened and why almost everybody got it so wrong. This article is a companion piece to the photo essay which I published yesterday.

I have a lot of experience of protesting and policing, having attended many of the most hyped and heavily policed events that Dublin has seen in the last decade as well as some of the biggest and most volatile international protests that have occurred around the world, both as a participant and a cameraman. From this it is obvious to me that the police were similarly completely surprised by the events of Saturday February 25th in central Dublin.

I also know that the Gardai are more than capable of policing contentious and potentially volatile protests in what would be regarded as a way that is in line with international policing norms. I was there on the Navan road when 3,000 anti-capitalist protestors made the march to Farmleigh on Mayday 2004. On that day there were thousands of police deployed and although the protestors managed to get much closer to the location of the summit than the police would have liked, the state was never in any danger of losing control of the situation. They had deployed thousands of police in riot gear, backed up by water cannon and a massive deployment of surveillance technology and they successfully contained the protestors much as their international colleagues routinely do. Therefore, I do not think that it is conceivable that the complete under-preparedness of the gardai could possibly be a result of incompetence in terms of their ability to police events - they have proved very successful at containing much bigger protests in the past....

There have been some suggestions that our power-crazed minister for justice or other sinister forces within the 26 country state may have deliberately failed to prepare adequately to police this event in order to further some security or anti-republican agenda. While I'm sure the minister for justice would love to have the power to do this, I'm also certain that he doesn't and that this theory is entirely implausible. Gardai are generally not happy to be sent out under prepared to face rioters and if there had been any inkling that a riot was likely to ensue, the guards would have been extremely unwilling - to say the least - to be used as target practice in such a scheme, pawns in the minister's power game. As it is the gardai on the ground were extremely angry and remain so that they were sent out to police a situation without anything like the resources that they would have needed to contain the situation. Furthermore, I talked to the Superintendent who appeared to be in charge of operations on the day and several ordinary gardai and they all expressed the same opinion - that they had anticipated some 'trouble' but nothing like the rioting that happened and while it is a foolish person who believes anything just because the Gardai say it is so (I remember the stream of lies and smears that the Garda press office came out with in the run up to Mayday 2004) - these reactions seemed genuine and unscripted.

Therefore, I think it is clear that the guards were genuinely taken completely by surprise by the events of the day and I think that the reasons for them being surprised were exactly the same as the reasons that I and almost all of the other political activists whom I know were similarly taken by surprise.


Best of luck losers

AFL-CIO alters negotiation strategy
Union to hold talks with one unit in each of four industries

Trying to reinvent itself, the AFL-CIO is taking a lesson out of the playbook of one of its member unions, the United Auto Workers, that targets one of the Big Three automakers for contract negotiations to set industry standards for pay and benefits.

AFL-CIO officials attending their federation's winter meeting said Tuesday that they are realigning the way they do business by starting four "industry coordinating committees" covering the entertainment and media industry, nurses, telecommunications and public employees.

One of them, the Arts Entertainment Media Industry Coordinating Committee, is likely to target one of the nation's broadcast networks next year for contract negotiations involving union members ranging from actors and TV newscasters to stage technicians and office workers.

Similarly, unions representing public employees have formed a coalition that is considering trying to target one or more states where they have recently lost or never had collective bargaining power. In the past year, Republican governors in Indiana, Missouri and Kentucky have abolished bargaining rights for public employees.

"We have to reinvigorate ourselves with the sense that we can protect ourselves," said Ed McElroy, president of the American Federation of Teachers.


Nothing but hawks left

Forward Association Mourns Passing of Harold Ostroff

Harold Ostroff, the longtime general manager of America's best-known Jewish newspaper and a giant in the worlds of affordable housing and Yiddish culture, died Thursday March 2 at the age of 82.

Ostroff became general manager of the Forward Association, owner of the Jewish Daily Forward and its radio station WEVD, in 1976. At the time the two Yiddish cultural institutions were struggling to survive in the face of a steep decline in the Yiddish-speaking population, largely a legacy of the Holocaust. Over the next two decades, Mr. Ostroff revamped the newspaper and launched prestigious new publications in English and Russian, restoring the institution to financial stability and reestablishing it as a premier source of news and information on Jewish affairs. He retired as general manager in 1997.

"Harold loved newspapers," Samuel Norich, his successor as publisher of the Forward, said. "He valued them as an instrument of community, and of social justice. He loved to read them, and he loved to have a hand in making them."