Tuesday, June 25, 2013

228 Bakery Workers Settle Labor Dispute for $200,000

Workers are celebrating the end of an 18-month dispute over severance pay owed to them from their former employer. Lincolnwood-based Rolf's Patisserie closed its doors on December 11, 2011 without giving its workforce advance notice, and issued final paychecks that bounced. 

The workers sought the aid of Arise Chicago, a community-based workers' rights organization, and the law firm of Despres, Schwartz & Geoghegan, Ltd. 

After filing suit in January 2012, the workers were able to recover over $150,000 – the full value of their bounced paychecks – the following month. The workers then advocated for their cause, visiting Lincolnwood Village Hall and prominent Chicago-area religious leaders. 

They also continued to pursue their lawsuit under the WARN Act, which entitles workers to 60 days notice or 60 days compensation before a closing. 

Today, the workers announce their $200,000 settlement of those claims and receive their checks.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Eleventh Hour to Prevent Catastrophe in Syria » cpusa

Eleventh Hour to Prevent Catastrophe in Syria » cpusa

The corporate "Playbook" on how to destroy public education

Richard Eskrow from Campaign for America's Future describes how the corporate "playbook" to destroy public education works. Rahm Emanuel is following it to the T:
1. Pretend that “budgets” are the real crisis – but never mention that corporations and the wealthy are paying less in taxes than ever before in modern history.

2. Make scapegoats of innocent people to draw attention away from yourselves. For Social Security they’ve attacked “greedy geezers,” but it’s hard to come up with a catchy equivalent for kids. (“Insatiable imps”? “Avaricious anklebiters”?) So they vilify teachers instead.

3. Sell a fantasy which says that the private sector can do more, with less money, than government can.  (Never, never mention that private insurance provides far less healthcare than public insurance, at much higher cost. And don’t bring up the mess privatization’s made of prisons and other government services.)

4. Find a name that doesn’t use words like “money-making.” How about “charter schools”?

5. Describe yourselves as “reformers” – rather than, say, “demolishers.” That’s why “entitlement reform” is used as a euphemism for cutting Social Security and Medicare. (Michelle Rhee even called her autobiography “Radical.” Apparently “Shameless” was taken.)

6. Employ the political and media elite’s fascination with (and poor understanding of) numbers. Suggest that “standardized” and “data-driven” programs will solve everything – without ever mentioning that the truly ideological decisions are made when you decide what it is you’re measuring.

7. Co-opt the elite media into supporting your artificial description of the problem, as well as your entirely self-serving solution.

8. Use your money to co-opt politicians from both parties so you can present your agenda as “bipartisan” – a word which means you can “buy” a few “partisans” from both sides.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Workers To Protest Hyatt Shareholders Meeting For Longstanding Labor Abuses

Housekeeper Running for Hyatt Board also to attend Meeting Held at McDonalds' Oak Brook Campus
View the petition calling on Hyatt to amend its labor practices and add a worker to the board at

 Chicago, IL-- On Monday June 10, hotel workers will protest the Hyatt Corporation's annual shareholders meeting taking place at McDonalds Corporation's Oak Brook campus. Hyatt workers have been calling on the prominent hotel chain to reform longstanding labor abuses and to add a hotel worker to the board of directors to provide front-line employee leadership and help reform labor practices from the top.

Cathy Youngblood, a housekeeper at the Hyatt Andaz in West Hollywood, has been running to be added to the Hyatt board with the support of the UNITE HERE union through a campaign called "Someone Like Me." She has been crisscrossing the country since 2012, speaking to workers and community leaders about the need for strong worker board representation to help correct years of abuses at Hyatt and to make it a better hotel for the people who work there, the families who stay there, and the shareholders who have seen the formidable chain decline in revenue and value recently. 

"There's a huge movement of, by and for low wage workers across the globe," says Youngblood. "I and thousands of workers are demanding to be included on corporate boards, like Hyatt and Wal-Mart and McDonalds and others that employ millions of Americans in the lowest low-wage work, and understand that we are the ones that keep the guests and customers coming back. Too often, the odds are stacked against anyone who challenges corporate hierarchy, even though these challenges aim to benefit all--to improve the business, the lives of workers, and service to consumers. Far too many workers are suspended or terminated just for suggesting a better, more efficient, and safer way of completing their daily tasks. Many decisions affecting how a business is run are made among corporate boards and their financial managers. Changes affecting the workforce are implemented without asking what their workers think.  This is the precise reason why American workers have begun to fight back; they are determined to change their working conditions and understand real change will only come when their voices are heard in the boardroom as well as in the workplace."

Workers are protesting Hyatt and supporting Cathy's campaign to be added to the board because the chain has singled itself out as the worst employer in the hotel industry by abusing its housekeepers, replacing longtime employees with minimum wage temporary workers, and imposing health-threatening workloads on those who remain. In a first in the hotel industry, the federal government issued a letter to Hyatt last year, warning the company of hazards their housekeepers face. Workers say that adding someone with recent guest experience to the Board could reshape Hyatt's staffing policies and improve Hyatt's image.

To view Cathy Youngblood's video about her campaign to be added to the Hyatt Board: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6FHI37R8AM