Ex-UAW President Williams set to plead guilty in union embezzlement scheme
DETROIT — Former United Auto Workers President Dennis Williams is scheduled to plead guilty on Sept. 30 and become the second retired union leader convicted of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on personal luxuries.The plea hearing was set Wednesday in federal court, two weeks after Williams became the 15th person charged in a years-long crackdown on corruption within the U.S. auto industry.The embezzlement scheme involving Williams and his successor, former UAW President Gary Jones, has revealed labor leaders and auto executives broke federal labor laws, stole union funds and ...
The Detroit News
Commentary: US food system needs reform
According to the USDA, Americans spend less on food as a percent of their incomes than anyone else in the world.This may seem like a good deal, especially for people who struggle to make ends meet. But, in fact, our cheap food economy is really a crooked one, with family farmers and food system workers underwriting a system that disproportionately benefits corporations.The COVID-19 pandemic has brought this into focus more than ever, by highlighting how the system cheats rural and urban working people out of a decent life.Mario Ramirez, the lead organizer of the Voces de la Frontera Essential ...
Tribune News Service
UAW suddenly adds 1,700 PhD medical researchers, scientists as members
The UAW is aggressively pushing beyond the auto industry, now breaking new ground to include postdoctoral researchers from a top private university — the brightest minds from medicine, climate science, chemistry, engineering and computation.This is not your father’s labor union.The Detroit-based union known for fighting to protect pay and benefits of hourly factory workers employed by Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles just added 1,700 new researchers from Columbia University, most of them working to eradicate cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, diabetes and other diseases.All th...
Detroit Free Press
On Labor Day, supporters optimistic about completing work on Chicago's Pullman National Monument
CHICAGO — A Labor Day celebration was held Monday to commemorate another stop along the journey of the Pullman National Monument to full-fledged attraction.State and local officials, as well as project stakeholders, spoke near the clock tower building and sprawling factory grounds, a fitting location for a holiday spurred by the labor movement.Monday’s small gathering, more than a century after the 1894 strike and landmark unionization and labor victory of the African American Pullman porters, marked the groundbreaking of more site work under the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, which...
Philadelphia is still very much a labor town. Here's how workers are fighting back
PHILADELPHIA — In June, a coalition of labor unions and organizations won a first-of-its-kind whistleblower protection law that made it illegal for Philadelphia employers to fire or otherwise discipline workers for speaking out against unsafe coronavirus conditions.In July, after more than a year of organizing, Free Library of Philadelphia workers ousted the organization’s director, whom they said had failed Black employees.In August, after a spreadsheet listing thousands of salaries forced workers to confront inequity in their industry, workers at the 144-year-old Philadelphia Museum of Art v...
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Commentary: Labor Day 2020: Workers need power
Labor Day 2020 doesn’t have much for us everyday wage earners to celebrate. We’re struggling to pay bills and keep safe as COVID-19 runs its odious course. Our nation has bungled its response to the crisis, and we are paying the price.In July, the U.S. unemployment rate stood just above 10%, down from a more-than-70-year high of 14.7% in April. More than 51 million people have filed for unemployment benefits, over 16 million lost employer-provided health insurance and 26 million are hungry.Lack of federal leadership and scattershot “reopen” plans in states are driving COVID-19 spikes all over ...
Tribune News Service
Are you binge-watching reruns of your old favorite TV shows? You're having a natural response to COVID-19
One weeknight in July, at the end of a particularly exhausting workday spent monitoring pandemic news and conducting interviews that increasingly felt like therapy sessions for all involved, I sat down on my couch with a glass of wine, turned on the first episode of the Netflix reboot of “The Baby-Sitters Club” and felt, for the first time in weeks, instantly soothed.I wasn’t alone. Though we are objectively too old for this, I have since heard from many of my friends and acquaintances, all professional women in their 30s, that nothing took the pain of life inside a communal trauma away quite ...
The Seattle Times
NBA taps Michael Jordan to translate owner-player relationship
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan has a unique role in NBA labor relations — translator and bridge-builder.Since at least 2018, Jordan has served as chairman of the NBA’s labor relations committee. Though the Hornets aren’t part of the playoffs, Jordan was included in the conference call planned Thursday afternoon between players and owners to work out a return to play.The NBA specifically mentioned Jordan’s presence in a press release, saying the league hopes to resume playoff games Friday or Saturday, following a video conference. The league postponed three playoff gam...
The Charlotte Observer
California farming country buckles under COVID-19. Will pandemic make or break the Valley?
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — She was afraid of catching the coronavirus — so fearful, in fact, that she switched jobs to pack tomatoes for an employer who seemed to be taking the right precautions.But Maria Claudia Garcia got sick anyway.A farmworker from Venezuela living in the San Joaquin Valley town of Mendota, she came down with a harsh case of COVID-19. She experienced intense fevers and headaches. She lost her sense of smell and taste. Her husband, also a farmworker, got sick as well.Speaking in Spanish, she summed up the ravages of the coronavirus this way: “It’s like your body isn’t yours anym...
The Sacramento Bee
Judge strikes down Florida's school reopening order as unconstitutional
ORLANDO, Fla. — Florida’s school reopening order is unconstitutional, a judge ruled Monday, striking down the controversial provision requiring “brick and mortar” campuses to open this month for five-day-a-week lessons.The ruling comes from two lawsuits, one from Orange County and another from the statewide teachers union, both challenging Florida’s school reopening order issued by Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran.“The order is unconstitutional to the extent it arbitrarily disregards safety, denies local school boards decision making with respect to opening brick and mortar schools, and...