ICYMI

According to the website Quartz, the US has more than 56 million freelance workers—more than half the number of salaried employees nationwide. The article quotes Fiverr, an online marketplace, which “found that most freelancers think the government should raise the minimum wage, support portable benefits that aren’t linked to full-time employment, and create more access to continued education resources.”

 

United Steelworkers reached a tentative four-year contract with ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest iron mining and steel producer. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported that the contract would affect15,000 workers in 13 locals. USW officials said, “The proposed four-year agreement mirrors the industry standard on wages, lump-sum payments and pensions and maintains or improves our existing health insurance benefits... ”

 

As Voice of America reported recently, modern-day human slavery cannot be stopped by legal action, but rather by worker organizing. VOA quoted Martina Vandenberg, president of the Washington-based Human Trafficking Legal Center, who said, “Forced labor cases are expensive, lengthy and demand a lot of political will... We need to move to something revolutionary ... not more law but more organizing, workers’ rights and power to the people.”

 

Labor Notes is reporting that the Republican dominated National Labor Relations Board is making it easier for unions to be punished if they err over an outstanding grievance. Citing an internal NLRB memo, “A union can now be found guilty of violating the duty of fair representation (DFR) for losing track of a grievance or failing to promptly return a member’s phone calls about it.” The financial penalty can be devastating, said Labor Notes.

 

IndustriAll, the 50 million member global union federation, is reporting that 15 Iranian factory workers have been handed brutal sentences for striking. A local court sentenced 15 workers at the Heavy Equipment Production Company “to between a year to two and a half years in prison and 74 lashes for ‘disrupting public order’ and ‘instigating workers via the internet to demonstrate and riot’ after strike action against unpaid wages in May this year.”


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