Posts Tagged ‘union’

UK Coal miners strike 1984-85. Lessons for today.


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1984 -85 Miners’ strike, Britain

09/04/2004

An Epic Struggle

Ciaran Mulholland

Twenty years ago this month the great miners’ strike began. For a year 140,000 members of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) were engaged in a titanic battle with Margaret Thatcher’s Tory government and the full force of the state.

Ultimately, they went down to defeat but it was an honourable defeat. It was a dispute that would have been won were it not for the betrayal of the right wing trade union and labour leadership.

The miners’ strike was deliberately engineered by the Tory government. They saw the NUM as the backbone of the labour movement, and rightly so. The NUM had inflicted defeats on Tory governments in 1972 and 1974, effectively bringing down Edward Heath in the latter case. For a decade, the ruling class made their plans, determined that they would not be defeated for a third time. Indeed in 1981 they backed away from a possible confrontation, judging that the time was not yet right.

In 1979, the Thatcher government began to plan for the ultimate privatisation of the coal industry. The Coal Industry Act (1980) replaced production targets with financial targets. The financial targets were set so high that they could only be met by closing ’uneconomic’ collieries. The Act was intended to make the industry more attractive to private investors. [more]

Triangle Shirtwaist Fire #union #safety #rights #TheRevolution


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Do Public Employees Have The Right Not To Piss In Public? #union


When you consider the information that should be public for public employees, you need to ask a few reasonable questions.
What is it that can legally be made public?
And what information must be protected?
Those should be the first two questions.   The answers will vary from place to place, but how you answer them may determine the solvency of our government itself. Clearly we don’t want released any personal information on these non-elected employees that is not related to their public function.
So the next question is what is personal information?
I will leave it to you to decide, but consider the consequences of your answer. Can you imagine what danger we put the public employee in by releasing personal information if we are asking public employees to deal with potentially dangerous individuals and demanding they deny them services?  The class action suit by such a release could cripple the country, especially if some irate individuals start going after public employees they have a grudge against. The necessary information can be obtained by filing a freedom of information act (FOIA) request, but does that mean that information can be freely be published on the internet in total?  It is being so released in many areas, particularly areas with Republican administrations.  This information is being published unchallenged in many cases.
What does someone’s full name, gender, race, town of residence and zip code have to do with their function as a public employee? How about how much sick time they use or their personal 401k contribution?
A sociopathic parolee denied services somewhere like the board of elections, the department of motor vehicles, or social services are just as likely to find those employees on the internet and go after them as their arresting officer, the judge, the parole officer or the district attorney. My understanding is that some district attorney’s offices can and have blocked their information from being published.  How are they a protected class and how are they any more in danger than any other public employee?
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On top of all that, I have found less information on many elected officials (whose information is supposed to be the less private) than their employees across the country.
This cannot go unchallenged.  It is the Republicans (with the exception of Ron Paul, a libertarian)  that so strongly object to the Anonymous or Wikileaks release of private information (although the Democrats have condemned the release of what they consider state secrets).  But these same Republican representatives do not appear to be so concerned about the same information being released on their employees. The fact that a public employee’s salary is public already and can be found at any public library (or over the phone) without a FOIA request is telling.
This pertinent fact suggests we are dealing with harassment, not transparent disclosure.
The fact that you can look up and see how much  earned sick time and vacation time each public employee has used in some areas is not related to their public function.  You can see how much time they are allowed from the same public library (or on the internet) along with their current and historical salary.  To publish 25% of the population’s information on the internet is clearly harassment and not furthering any specific state interest.
It is part of a union busting process and, as such, must be stopped.
Public employees do not give up their constitutional rights at the door.  They do not work for you personally.  To think they do is to abrogate the whole of the progressive civil service movement whose legislative intent a hundred years ago was to keep politics out of non-elected public service, and it is a matter of established law.  For Republicans to tout the rule of law is a myth in this area as it is in most others.
Many public employees are paid out of local general funds and you do not have any reason or standing to see any information on the county clerk’s secretary in Bakersfield unless you happen live in Kern county.  The idea that I can look it up and see an employee’s personal 401k information that they pay for themselves is unconscionable. What right do I have to know that the program coordinator of the HR department of University of Arizona has not gotten a raise in three years and is grossly underpaid? The publication of this information on the internet is an arbitrary and capricious  release of information to people that have no business knowing it. That we have so many lawyers in this country and so few have successfully brought a challenge to these unconstitutional practices is mind boggling to me.
You may might think that this must have passed the muster of the local government attorneys that reviewed it, but those attorneys are not civil service attorneys, they are appointed by the local elected administration and their jobs depend on their decisions.  This is the very reason for civil service itself and is being worked around. I challenge all of you to start looking for the personal information released on public employees around the country and write, email and call your local legislatures telling them what you think about the release of such personal information. How is that release any different than let us say, all corporate employee information for corporations that receive any government funds? That will be next. In many areas that may involve more taxpayer dollars than the government employees. Also consider the pension information that is released.  These people are no longer public employees, and most of them, around the country, contributed from their paychecks for that pension.  What right does the general public have to that information?  What state interest is served by its release?
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If you are still not moved by my arguments, then consider it the next time you call the police or fire department, get a call from the school, want your road plowed, ask for an increase in your child support, have to call child welfare, need to apply for some public benefit or just want to live in a civil society.  I assure you, your decision to allow the disclosure of private information could influence all public employees’ decisions.   Every public employee in the nation will have to consider whether his life is put in jeopardy by the decision that he should make,  even though it is his job to not consider it, by law.  That is what you risk changing by insisting on such disclosure.
In sum, every public emplyee is required by law to give every citizen the right of due process and equitable treatment.  The very thing you are denying to that employee.
I continue to look:
To continue the argument consider that NJ releases information to the press to maintain a public database on USPS workers salary and positions, yet taxpayers have not funded the USPS since the 1980s. What public interest is being served by this release of private information? Even when you feel as a taxpayer it is your right to know the salary and benefits of those public employees in your area, does everyone everywhere have a right to know it? For example, school boards and budgets are locally voted on and debated in a public venue.  What public interest does publication of individual information outside of the that school district serve?  Clearly this is done to incite rather than inform.

Bloody Harlan


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Labor History Part III


 Labor History Part III

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Labor History Part II


Labor History Part II 

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Labor History


 Labor History Part I

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Labor History Part II 

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 Labor History Part III

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  The Homestead Strike

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Samuel Gompers – What does the working man want? 

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 Seattle General Strike 1919

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