The 2013 National Conference of the Working Class Studies Association is a gathering of working people, community and labor activists, students and educators focused on building a revitalized movement in support of labor and the working class. This year the conference is taking place at the Madison College Downtown Education Center from June 12-15.
Missouri is the latest front in the attack on organized labor with so-called "paycheck protection" bills moving through the legislature, with backing from the usual array of corporate interests. But according to the Washington D.C.-based Economic Policy Institute, the bills primarily disadvantage workers while preserving privileges for corporations.
Do you know how much the average CEO in the United States makes in comparison to the average worker? Do they make 40 times what workers make? Not even close, the ratio hasn't been that low since 1982. 200 times as much? Not since 1992.
Since the Center for Media and Democracy's launch of ALEC Exposed in July 2011, CMD has known that the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and its corporate funders are accelerating the race to the bottom in wages and working conditions for America's working families. ALEC has a raft of "model bills" to lower wages and slash benefits for workers, even one to repeal state minimum wage laws.
by Dave Saldana
In Ontario, 465 union workers used to make locomotive engines. Then Indiana passed ALEC's anti-union legislation, and Caterpillar moved the works to Muncie. And that's bad for everybody.
- by Ronnie Cummins of the Organic Consumers Association and Dave Murphy of Food Democracy Now!
The union is like having herpes. It doesn't kill you, but it's unpleasant and inconvenient, and it stops a lot of people from becoming your lover. --John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market
The Tea Party-affiliated group FreedomWorks -- the right-wing organization that helps connect "Tea Party" groups with talking points, rallies, and more -- is gearing up to direct its sizeable war chest towards advancing anti-union initiatives in the states, supporting an agenda set by groups like David Koch's Americans for Prosperity and the Koch-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). This strongly suggests that the battle for the future of private and public sector unions in America is beginning a new phase of combat.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who became nationally known for severely limiting the union rights of teachers and other public employees, has indicated support for arming those same school officials who apparently cannot be trusted to collectively bargain.
Amidst massive pro-labor protests, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has signed sweeping legislation attacking private and public sector unions, just hours after passing the lame-duck legislature. The operative language in the bills is nearly identical to the American Legislative Exchange Council's "model" Right to Work Act.