A 2012 ruling from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is yielding victories for transgender workers in discrimination suits. From BuzzFeed:
Transgender workers, backed by the federal government for the first time, are successfully using civil rights laws to challenge government and private employers accused of anti-transgender discrimination, BuzzFeed has learned.
The Department of Justice decided earlier this month in favor of a transgender woman, Mia Macy, who had been refused work at a laboratory of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). After an investigation into her claims, the Justice Department informed Macy July 8 that the bureau “discriminated against [her] based on her transgender status.” Macy celebrated the decision as “validation.”
… The changes coming about now are the result of a crucial legal decision made by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Macy’s case back in 2012. The commission then ruled that anti-transgender discrimination is covered under the ban on sex discrimination found in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Yesterday, in the largest municipal bankruptcy in American history, the city of Detroit declared bankruptcy. Today, a judge ruled that the bankruptcy violates Michigan’s constitution because it robs workers of their pensions; the city is expected to appeal. From Labor Notes:
The bankruptcy will enable an appointed judge to impose further cuts to city expenses and to void union contracts. A prime target for cost-cutting is the pensions owed to 21,000 city retirees and 9,000 active workers. The city estimates its pensions are underfunded by $3.5 billion, and wants to reduce payments to both workers and the bondholders who have lent the city money over the years: equality of sacrifice. …
[AFSCME] Local 207 is planning a demonstration in downtown Detroit July 25.
[Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn] Orr touts the bankruptcy as a way to improve city services — which often, in the world he comes from, is code for privatization. Water, garbage pickup, an island park called Belle Isle, and the Detroit Institute of the Arts have all been mentioned as potential saleable items. “The only thing they’re going to ‘improve’ is somebody’s bottom line,” Mulholland predicted.
General Motors, which is headquartered downtown, said it wouldn’t be affected by the bankruptcy. Apparently, with [Republican Gov. Rick] Snyder — who ran on his record as a businessman — in charge, business is going to be just fine.
Daimler AG workers in Portland are out on strike. From NWLaborpress.org:
No trucks have been produced at the plant since 520 Machinists and 68 painters struck July 1. The Swan Island plant is the only site manufacturing Western Star trucks, which are specialized for use in logging, mining, and other industries.
Members of Machinists Lodge 1005 and Sign Painters and Painter Makers Local 1094 walked out after rejecting a company offer that included raises of $1.30 an hour over three years. They’ve had no raises for four years, during which time productivity increased 25 percent. The company’s proposed raises would have been partially offset by increased health insurance co-pays. The company proposal also would eliminate supplemental health coverage after retirees turn 65.
Josh Eidelson has an interesting piece this week on the funding behind non-union labor groups like Making Change at Walmart. From The Nation:
While alt-labor groups have scored some significant victories, they face many of the same challenges as unions, and a few of their own. That includes the funding question: outside of “Right-to-Work” states, unions with collective bargaining agreements have a secure source of revenue: automatic deduction of union dues (or, for workers who opt out of membership, representation fees) from employees’ paychecks. Alt-labor groups don’t have that option. Some collect voluntary dues from their members, but hardly any are primarily funded by them. Instead, they’re largely funded by foundation grants and by traditional unions.
Leaders of some of the country’s top alt-labor groups say that’s a problem. In an April interview announcing a long-term goal of becoming financially self-sufficient, Working America Executive Director Karen Nussbaum told The Nation, “In the long run, that’s the litmus test, because worker organizations that aren’t self-sustaining can’t be democratic.” Working America, an AFL-CIO affiliate for non-union workers that longtime organizer Nussbaum founded a decade ago, currently receives significant funding from the AFL-CIO and unions.
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