31 Aug 2017 Ferado

New Report Shows How Unions Still Matter for American Workers

In advance of Labour Day in the United States, there’s good news for the American union movement. Despite decades of attacks by corporate interests and their political allies, there is a resurgence of interest in collective bargaining, especially among young people. And U.S. unions are more diverse than ever.

These are key findings from a comprehensive new report by the Economic Policy Institute, How today’s unions help working people. EPI researchers detail how collective bargaining plays an essential role in today’s labour market, by raising workers’ wages in the United States, and supporting a fair and prosperous economy as well as a vibrant democracy.

According to the report, U.S. labor unions are diverse like America itself: members include dental hygienists, graduate students, and digital journalists, as well as manufacturing workers and public-sector employees. About two-thirds of union workers age 18 to 64 are women or people of color. 14.5 percent of black workers age 18 to 64 are covered by a collective bargaining agreement, compared with 12.5 percent of white workers and 10.1 percent of Hispanic workers.

Working people in unions use their collective power to secure a fairer share of the income they create. On average, a U.S. worker covered by a union contract earns 13.2 percent more in wages than a peer with similar education, occupation, and experience in a nonunionized workplace in the same sector. But importantly, collective bargaining also raises wages for nonunion workers—as an economic sector becomes more unionized, nonunion employers pay more to retain qualified workers, and norms of higher pay and better conditions become standard.

However, there is an ongoing attack on workers’ freedom to unite and bargain with their employer. Three-quarters or more of private employers facing organizing drives hire union avoidance consultants to quash the campaign, and a growing number of American states have adopted so-called “Right-to-Work” laws, which seek to defund private sector unions. Additionally, more companies are misclassifying workers to avoid responsibility for the conditions of their employment.

In the face of this, unions have faced an upsurge in popularity—with a favorability of 60 percent in one survey—and given growing inequality and stagnate wages for workers, it is easy to understand why.

“Unions raise workers’ wages and strengthen their rights at work, but they also give working people a voice in our democracy,” said EPI President Lawrence Mishel. “We will never again see consistent robust middle-class wage growth or a healthy democracy without first rebuilding collective bargaining.”

31 Aug 2017 Ferado

Japanese youth bring timely message of peace and nuclear disarmament

JAPAN: This week, the Nagasaki-Hiroshima Peace Messengers visited UNI head office en route to UN, where they presented petition calling for a global ban on nuclear weapons.

The Nagasaki-Hiroshima Peace Messengers visited UNI Global Union head office in Nyon, Switzerland on their way to bringing a petition to the United Nations in Geneva calling for a world free of nuclear weapons. The youngsters from Japan supported by first, second and third generation survivors of the nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, have collected almost 2 million signatures on their petition.

Their harrowing presentations painted a vivid picture of the horrors of nuclear war. The peace messengers are working to ensure that Nagasaki is the last ever city subjected to the atomic bomb. They are the last generation who will hear first-hand the voices of the survivors.

The peace messengers have been visiting UNI head office annually for the past 13 years.

Welcoming the delegation to UNI, Deputy General Secretary Christy Hoffman said, “We fully support your timely message of peace and nuclear disarmament. With the current political situation between the US and North Korea, fears of a nuclear war have increased.”

“In these times, your message of peace offers hope that world leaders can see sense. Commitment and engagement from young people is essential if we are to achieve social justice, and we are honoured to host such passionate young activists at UNI Global Union.”

Tadako Kawazue, leading the delegation from Japan also noted the successes of the UN Treaty abolishing nuclear weapons. said, “The signing of the UN Treaty shows that we are turning a new page in history on nuclear abolition. Finally, the world is determined to move towards a world without nuclear arms.”

UNI staff also heard the moving testimony of Koyo Misumi, whose mother survived the atomic bomb whilst she was pregnant with him, only later to die from the effects of the radiation along with other members of his close family.

UNI is a member of ICAN, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons and the IPB, the International Peace Bureau.

31 Aug 2017 Ferado

Govt. employees demand old pension scheme

Telangana Gazetted Officers’ Association organised a protest rally demanding abolition of Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) here on Wednesday.

In response to the call given by Employees Joint Action Committee, employees staged a dharna at the Gruha Kalpa Complex in Nampally and took out a rally from there to the Office of Excise Commissioner. Similar rallies were conducted at different places in the State, including Sangareddy and Karimnagar.

The TGPs leaders resolved that employees, gazetted officers and teachers wage a united fight and conduct a ‘Chalo Delhi’ programme and continue their agitation till old pension scheme was restored. The employees would fight for their basic right the way they fought for a separate State, they said.

Financial security

Government jobs were most coveted because of the financial security they offered but with the decision of the government to replace old pension scheme with CPS, the future of about 1.25 lakh employees who entered service from September 1, 2005 and their families became uncertain, association representatives said.

TGOs chairman and Mahbubnagar MLA V.Srinivas Goud criticised that Central and State governments did injustice to the employees by snatching away pension, which was their basic right. Some 1,000 employees had retired so far and not even one of them got pension under the CPS and the families of deceased employees were in distress, he said.

TGOs president and Employees JAC secretary general V. Mamatha said that because of CPS, employees lost their economic and social security. Later hundreds of employees took out a motorbike rally led by Mr. Srinivas Goud and other leaders from Gruha Kalpa Complex to Hyderabad Collectorate.

CPI(M) support

CPI(M) Telangana State Committee has demanded the restoration of old pension scheme for government employees and expressed its solidarity to the mass casual leave protest by the employees and teachers on September 1.

State secretary Thammineni Veerabhadram said the then NDA government introduced New Pension Scheme from January 1, 2004 and later the successive UPA government despite opposition from employees, teachers and workers and the MPs of Left Parties in Parliament passed a legislation in September, 2013 with the support of the BJP.

States’ choice

The Centre however gave freedom to the States to decide about the new pension scheme for its employees.

Tripura and West Bengal governments were implementing the Old Pension Scheme even now while Tamil Nadu and Kerala constituted committees for restoring the Old Pension Scheme.

In the United Andhra Pradesh, the then State Government was the first to implement the CPS from September 1, 2004. After the formation of Telangana State, government signed agreement to continue the implementation of national pension scheme.

In Sangareddy the Telangana Employees JAC held a rally from Collectorate to IB. TNGOs general secretary M. Rajender has alleged that CPS has turned into no pension scheme for the retired employees.

31 Aug 2017 Ferado

Health centers to be set up near factories

Prime Minister Hun Sen has ordered officials to set up health centres next to factories and areas where workers live to improve treatment for staff who fall sick.

Addressing more than 10,000 garment workers at Vattanac Industrial Park II in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district yesterday, he said the government would push to have more health centres and referral hospitals next to factories and industrial areas to better serve workers.

“I have already ordered officials to set up facilities in areas where workers stay and also at factories. Employers must also improve medical treatment for workers who are sick,” he said.

Mr Hun Sen said health services near factories would need extra capacity to care for workers.

“I want to appeal to doctors to provide good care to factory workers. More than one million workers are eligible for treatment free of charge,” he said.

The National Social Security Fund has signed an agreement with more than 1,200 local health centres across the country to offer workers free 24-hour health care.

Pav Sina, president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, said the government announcement was good news for workers.

“When they have accidents relating to work, they can go to hospitals or health centres near their workplace, without having to travel a long distance,” he said.

Mr Sina said unions were pleased with the move because workers were too often sent to care facilities far from their factories following mass fainting incidents and other health issues.

“If there is a health centre or hospital next to their factory, it is easier to get treatment fast,” Mr Sina said.

Last week, Land Management Minister Chea Sophara wrote to provincial and town officials asking them to inspect all factories and suggest the companies build on-site health clinics to make it easy for injured workers to get treatment.

Meanwhile, more than 70 garment workers fainted yesterday morning at Berry Apparel factory in Phnom Penh’s Por Senchey district.

Chom Chao commune deputy police chief Sao Sarith said the workers had low blood sugar, but factory and local authorities sent them to hospital and health centres for prompt treatment.

He added that workers who did not faint were allowed to go home.

31 Aug 2017 Ferado

DOL holds an awareness camp on ESI scheme in Jammu

Jammu: An awareness programme on the ESI (Employees’ State Insurance) Scheme with officers from ESI Corporation, Labour Department of J&K was held on Monday for the officers of Labour Department, Government of J&K.

The programme was held in presence of Dr. Abdul Rashid, Labour Commissioner, Government of J&K, M K Arya, Regional Director, ESIC. Dr. Bharat Bhushan, State Medical Commissioner, ESIC, Ms. Ankur Mahajan, Dy. Labour Commissioner, Govt. of J&K, Sh. Parveen Moudgil, Dy. Director, ESIC, Assistant Labour Commissioners, Labour Inspectors, Officers of EPF and Labour Inspectors from Jammu Division of the Labour Department also participated in this awareness programme.

A PowerPoint presentation on ESI Scheme was given by Parveen Moudgil, Dy. Director, ESIC. It was followed by an open session where participants raised queries about various provisions of the ESI Scheme. Their queries were suitably answered. Dr. Bharat Bhushan, State Medical Commissioner briefed the participants about the medical facilities available in the state.

The main focus of the awareness programme was to make the officers of the Labour Department aware about various provisions of the ESI Act for consolidated efforts with the officers of the Labour Department for effective implementation of the ESI Scheme in the state.

M K Arya, Regional Director, ESI Corporation, J&K briefed the participants about extension of the ESI Scheme in all the 22 districts of the state. He informed that though the scheme has been implemented in all the districts of the state the actual coverage of industrial units and employees has not been on the expected line. He desired that since the labour department has its presence in every nook and corner of the state, with its active cooperation and support benefits of the scheme could reach the beneficiaries of the scheme.

He also requested the officers from the Welfare Board of Building and Other Construction Labour Act in the state to share the data of the construction units registered with them with the ESI Department so that the ESI Act could be applied to the workers on these units and their workers may be benefited from ESI Scheme.

Dr. Abdul Rashid, Labour Commissioner assured that his department would be extending all support to the ESI Corporation in achieving maximum coverage of units and employees. He directed all the Assistant Labour Commissioners, Labour Inspectors of Jammu division to extend all possible support to the ESI Corporation officers in achieving their targets. Dr. Abdul Rashid informed that similar session would be organized at Srinagar soon. He also asked the Dy. Labour Commissioner to plan a programme for holding such awareness programmes in every districts of the state.