HomeUncategorized6.24-26 Weekend Open Threads
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wi66

The 64 $$$ question is what will happen in Russia?, Tucker, Moscow Mitch and Cult-45 must be in meltdown mode. Prigozhin makes Putin look like a choir boy.

wi66

As things “appear to be back to “Normal” in Russia, i Figure it will be a year or so and Prizozhin will have an “accident” from a tall building. Putins KGB will get his revenge for this incident.

wi66

Almost have a minuscule thought of pity for McCarthy, Nah not really 🙂

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wi66

This toon reminded me of STOS of the robot Norman in “I Mudd”
NORMAN: We cannot allow any race as greedy and corruptible as yours to have free run of the galaxy.
SPOCK: I’m curious, Norman. Just how do you intend to stop them?
NORMAN: We shall serve them. Their kind will be eager to accept our service. Soon they will become completely dependent upon us.
ALICE 99: Their aggressive and acquisitive instincts will be under our control.
NORMAN: We shall take care of them.
SPOCK: Eminently practical.
KIRK: The whole galaxy controlled by your kind?
NORMAN: Yes, Captain. And we shall serve them and you will be happy, and controlled.

if it isnt this secanerio doesnt work thiers always “Skynet”

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wi66

One more -A take on take your kid to work day

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jcitybone

Benny

RFK supports book bans. Really?

jcitybone

In December last year, a looming freight rail strike was forbidden by the federal government. After months of negotiation, Congress passed and President Biden signed a measure imposing a contract drawn up by a government arbitration panel, which granted substantial raises but no paid sick leave (instead of forcing management to accept the key worker demands, which he could have done).

That paid sick leave had been the central demand of the unions. As we at the Prospect have documented in detail, over the past 40 years the freight rail industry has consolidated and reformed itself along maximum short-term profit lines: drastically cutting back on track mileage, rolling stock, and maintenance; and laying off as many employees as possible while making those who remain work as many hours as possible.

This was seen as a major defeat for labor, and it certainly was in the moment. But since that time, the unions have kept up the pressure, with some assistance from labor-friendly members of Congress, journalists, and the Biden administration, gradually forcing the rail companies to fold one by one. Now, the large majority of rail workers have at least some paid leave.

It demonstrates that even in this notoriously worker-hostile country, unions can still win with determination and outside support.

After the December defeat, the unions kept the pressure up. As Andrea Hsu reports at NPR, after losing in December union workers at CSX immediately brought the subject back up to management, demanding again and again some movement on paid leave, which led to reopened negotiations and media coverage. Sure enough, in early February CSX gave in to two unions, granting some 5,000 workers four days of paid leave, as well as the option to convert up to three personal days into sick days.

Meanwhile in the Senate, Bernie Sanders of Vermont had previously helped put together a bipartisan coalition behind a bill to give rail workers seven days of paid leave that (remarkably) got seven Republican votes, including Josh Hawley of Missouri, Ted Cruz of Texas, and Mike Braun of Indiana, though not enough to overcome a filibuster from the rest of the GOP caucus.

On February 8, immediately after CSX caved, Sanders wrote an open letter to the executives of the other rail companies, urging them to follow suit. At a press conference with Braun, Sanders said, “Guaranteeing 7 paid sick days to rail workers would cost the entire industry just $321 million—less than 1.2 percent of their profits in a single year.” The next day, the White House added some pressure with a series of calls to executives from economic adviser Brian Deese and then-Labor Secretary Marty Walsh.

On March 10, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers reached a similar agreement with Norfolk Southern, then with CSX and Union Pacific on March 22, and then BNSF on April 20. Over the following months, the rest of the Norfolk Southern unions came to similar bargains, with the last one on June 5. The same day, Union Pacific struck a deal with the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, covering 5,600 workers, putting the running total of rail workers at 60 percent.

Now, the freight rail companies’ decision to concede is probably partly due to the fact that it actually is not that hard for the freight rail companies to provide a handful of sick days. Their work schedules are so extreme that they are on the borderline of being self-defeating on their own terms, reaching the limits of physical possibility and causing workers to quit. I suspect that the companies were much more concerned about the principle of not conceding an inch in a high-profile dispute, lest that inspire more demands.

The East Palestine derailment back in March, in which a Norfolk Southern train carrying all manner of toxic and flammable chemicals derailed, causing a large spill and explosion, also undoubtedly played into management’s more recent thinking. The resulting media firestorm gave the industry a gigantic black eye, playing into all of the unions’ arguments about how cost-cutting put workers and the citizenry at risk.

I also shouldn’t overstate the magnitude of the gain here. A week of sick leave is objectively pitiful by international standards. Still, it’s far better than nothing, and it certainly wouldn’t have happened without union pressure, support from Congress and the Biden administration, and substantial media coverage of the dispute.

Workers have a tough time organizing in this country. Our labor law structure is arguably the worst in the rich world. Unions are highly fragmented even within a single company; Norfolk Southern, for instance, has 12 of them. As seen above, that makes organizing for benefits more difficult, because many different agreements have to be negotiated. There are few penalties for scofflaw employers who violate their workers’ rights—and even those have been badly eroded by the Supreme Court over the years.

But though it took time, workers did eventually get every single Norfolk Southern union over the finish line. Victories can be won, with help from allies in the rest of the progressive movement. And if that movement can get a reform of labor law through like the PRO Act, I think it’s a safe bet that we’d see an explosion in new union organizing in this country.

Benny

@LieparDestin

Benny