Victory for Unions as Supreme Court, Scalia Gone, Ties 4-4


With Scalia gone, Unions squeak out a victory–From the New York Times

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court handed organized labor a major victory on Tuesday, deadlocking 4 to 4 in a case that had threatened to cripple the ability of public-sector unions to collect fees from workers who chose not to join and did not want to pay for the unions’ collective bargaining activities.

It was the starkest illustration yet of how the sudden death of Justice Antonin Scalia last month has blocked the power of the court’s four remaining conservatives to move the law to the right.

A ruling allowing workers to refuse to pay the fees would have been the culmination of a decades-long campaign by a group of prominent conservative foundations aimed at weakening unions that represent teachers and other public employees. Tuesday’s deadlock denied them that victory, but it set no precedent and left the door open for further challenges once the Supreme Court is back at full strength.

Read the rest here.
and here
and here

Flint Public Library Responds to Lead Contamination to the Water Supply

Via the Progressive Librarians Guild:
Letter from Flint Public Library about Lead in Water Crisis to PUBLIB

On Sat, Jan 23, 2016 at 9:05 AM, Kay Schwartz wrote:

Friends in the Library world,

The Flint Public Library is getting many expressions of sympathy from libraries all over the country about the water crisis in Flint – thank you all so much for your concern for our community and our library!

Flint indeed has a long road to travel, because we have to now determine what homes and businesses and what underground water systems were damaged by the corrosive water, and decide how to fix all that. Now that we’re
back on regular Lake Huron water, we still aren’t able to drink it until each and every home and building is tested to make sure that the service lines AND the lines within the home are not leaching lead. It varies building
to building, neighborhood to neighborhood, and house to house. Understand that it was not the river water per se but the failure to add corrosion control to the water, that caused the damage. The water was ok when it left the plant but corroded the pipes on the way to homes and corroded the pipes inside your home or building on the way to your faucets.

Read the full letter here.

An open letter to the Seattle Public Library Board of Trustees about SPL’s “anti-book” agenda

branding-your-business_categoryBig trouble is brewing in Seattle over the very expensive– private funds or not– rebranding of the SPL– the public library every other public library loves to emulate. Whose library?

From the Seattle Review of Books

An open letter to the Seattle Public Library Board of Trustees about SPL’s “anti-book” agenda

President Fujiwara and the Seattle Public Library’s Board of Trustees,

As Laurel Holliday reported for the Seattle Review of Books last week,public response to Seattle Public Library’s proposed rebranding campaign has been overwhelmingly negative. In fact, Holliday reports the response has been so negative that the board appears likely to kill the rebranding plan at or before their public meeting on Wednesday.

This is for the best. The rebranding was ill-considered, and it was presented to the public in an arrogant, unprofessional way. SPL librarians were not warned about the rebranding effort in advance, so they were unprepared when the angry public demanded answers.


Bentley Professors Vote to Unionize


Adjunct professors at Bentley University in Waltham yesterday voted by a more than a 2-to-1 margin to unionize, marking the third such faculty victory in as many weeks at a local university.

The 108-to-42 vote brings to nearly 3,000 the total number of Boston area adjuncts and lecturers who have joined the Service Employees International Union in a growing national movement to improve the lot of the university employees, who often work for poverty-level wages.

“There’s a groundswell of support on campuses here and across the country for unionization as one step toward addressing a crisis in higher education,” said Jason Stephany, a spokesman for SEIU 509.

Read full article here

Harvard Library Workers Resist Top-Down Restructuring and Austerity

February 12, 2013 / James Cersonsky

With an endowment of $32 billion, Harvard is the wealthiest university in the world. Upon rebounding from the recession, the university is remodeling all its dorms, expanding its online course program, and constructing a new science center. Its library workers, meanwhile, have gotten the short end of the stick.

Workers beat back threatened mass layoffs last spring, but are now enduring the consolidation of their work in a new “shared services” model that translates into bigger workloads and fragmented work relationships. Now, along with the rest of Harvard’s clerical and technical employees, library workers are mobilizing for a fair—and long-overdue—contract.

Evolving Expectations

With more than 55 miles of bookshelves, Harvard boasts the largest academic library system in the world. Its range of archives and specialized resources are a major draw for scholars and the backbone of the university’s academic culture.

Nonetheless, university leaders concluded last spring that the Library was lagging behind the “evolving expectations of the 21st century scholar.” Their restructuring initiative, launched with hype more typical of a social media IPO than of a library, has been a blow to workers and patrons alike.
Full Article HERE

The world's wealthiest university is squeezing workers with a new "shared services" model. Staff rallied in Harvard Yard in November. Photo: HUCTW

A Novel Idea: Fiction for Labor Activists

Laura McClure for Labor Notes

Raise your (class) consciousness! This from our friends at Labor Notes, by way of our friends at ALA’s Social Responsibility Round Table (SRRT)

A Novel Idea: Fiction for Labor Activists
January 31, 2013 / Laura McClure

Cartoon by Bill Yund.

When we’re not reading Labor Notes, many activists rely on fiction for inspiration, new perspectives, and, of course, entertainment. For some of us, novels even helped start us down our paths of activism.

But—which novels? A survey of a handful of labor activists and educators revealed their favorite class-conscious


Since fiction is built on conflict, it makes sense that some powerful novels center on strikes.

Longtime CWA organizer Steve Early recommends The Ink Truck, by ex-journalist William Kennedy, a “comic novel about a flailing and failing newspaper strike. It’s a must-read for any strike organizers sitting around fantasizing about what might rescue them from impending defeat.”

Full Article HERE

Atwood Backs Toronto’s Striking Library Workers

“I don’t think people understand what exactly is in play. People support libraries, but sometimes don’t understand that it takes people to make them run. Just as it takes writers to write new books,” author Margaret Atwood told the Toronto Globe and Mail in an e-mail defending the city’s striking library workers.
Maureen O’Reilly, president of the Toronto Public Library Workers’ Union, expressed appreciation for Atwood’s support: “Obviously, to have somebody of her profile and the respect that she has in our community speaking out on our behalf, it’s certainly very supporting to the bargaining team and to the library workers. She has such a large following that she can get our message out to even more people.”
On Sunday, the Writers’ Union of Canada held a “rally and read-in” to support the strikers. The primary issue is “job security for TPL’s 2,300 library workers. With a significant proportion of staff made up of part-timers, O’Reilly said any deal that doesn’t protect workers from library closures, layoffs and privatization would leave 70% of TPL employees vulnerable,” Quillblog wrote.

Margaret Atwood: '“People support libraries, but sometimes don’t understand that it takes people to make them run. Just as it takes writers to write new books.' Mark Blinch/Reuters

Toronto public library workers forced to strike over job security

This from the good folks at Union Library Workers


LJ story

The Toronto Public Library (TPL)’s workers are on strike, after four negotiation deadline extensions on March 18 failed to produce agreement. The union, TPLWU Local 4948, represents 2,300 workers, about half of whom are full time employees. “There are approximately 1800 FTEs,” Maureen O’Reilly, president of Local 4948, the Toronto Library Workers Union, told LJ. The library staff has been working without a contract since the first of the year, according to CTV.

Verizon Strike Solidarity

45,000 Verizon workers, members of IBEW 222 and CWA are on strike. In what 
has been called an attack on the middle class, Verizon is demanding huge givebacks from its employees–at the same time the corporation is making huge profits and getting a free ride on its taxes–taxes that fund public education, public schools and public libraries.

And so while Verizon makes more money than God they are demanding their employees give over 100 concessions including:
——Freeze current pensions and eliminate pensions for future employees
——Allow contracting out and off-shoring of jobs
——Slash sick leave
——Gut health care plans for current and retired workers
——Eliminate disability payments for injured workers
——Eliminate paid federal holidays like MLK Day and Veteran’s Day

BPL PSA supports the Verizon workers in their struggle against corporate greed. In the last week both the EBOARD and individual members have walked the picket line and handed out informational flyers in solidarity with the unions. We urge all of our members to do the same.

PSA has adopted a store– the Verizon Wireless Store, 745 Boylston Street , across from Copley. Come join us every Tuesday from 5-7 pm.

For more info see here , and here


AWSOM Powered