“During the president’s 35-day partial shutdown of the federal government, the White House quietly dissolved a 2016 regulation requiring certain employers to electronically submit reports of workplace injuries to the Department of Labor,” wrote Fortune. This move is just one of many designed to lighten the administrative and safety requirements of the worst employers. The story broke in Vox, which interviewed AFL-CIO safety and health director Peg Seminario. She said that the move was, “clearly rushed because the Trump administration wanted to relieve employers of having to report their injury data.”
The headline in the New York Daily News said it succinctly: No union, no deal, NYC labor leaders tell Cuomo and de Blasio about Amazon's new HQ. In a letter sent to both New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and NY City Mayor Bill De Blasio, the Teamsters and the retail workers union asked that the $3 billion offered to the company to locate in New York be frozen. “Not a penny of public funds should go to the trillion-dollar online titan until it commits to a fair process for Amazon workers in Queens to unionize,” said labor.
More contract workers than employees lost their pay during Trump’s unconscionable government shutdown. The problem is, according to The Washington Post, “Unlike the 800,000 career public servants who are slated to receive full back pay over the next week or so, the contractors who clean, guard, cook and shoulder other jobs at federal workplaces aren’t legally guaranteed a single penny.” And they’re unlikely to have enough to make up the deficit because, “They’re also among the lowest-paid laborers in the government economy, generally earning between $450 and $650 weekly, union leaders say.”
Sometimes listening to unions is the difference between life and death. A dam owned by Brazilian mining giant Vale SA broke on January 24, flooding the town of Brumadinho with mining waste; a hundred are known dead with 250 or more missing, with little hope of finding them alive. However, a small story in Reuters noted that, “The union representing mining workers in the Brazilian town devastated by a burst tailings dam said on Tuesday it had been asking Vale ‘at least two years’ to move its cafeteria and offices out of the path of a dam break. Had the company responded with more than promises many workers would be alive today.
It took the Canadian website Global News to note a significant cross-border labor action in Washington, DC. In November, Canada’s parliament ordered striking Canada Post employees back to work, leaving issues of wages benefits and job security in limbo. So, on January 15, 50 picketers gathered outside the Canadian Embassy led by American Postal Workers Union President Mark Dimondstein. He said that the back-to-work order was a violation of Canada Post workers’ charter rights. “If collective bargaining is undermined in Canada, and the right to strike is part of their collective bargaining rights, our collective bargaining rights are also under attack in the United States,” he said.