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Labor Notes

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1. Old-school manipulation of workers by Murray Energy. Mitt Romney gave a speech at their mine in Beallsville, Ohio earlier this month. Murray closed the mine for the day, docked the workers the day’s pay, and then forced them to attend the rally. Asked about this, Murray’s COO Robert Moore went full Orwell: “Attendance was mandatory but no one was forced to attend the event.”

Ah.

Murray is the same company that owned a mine in Utah that collapsed in 2007, killing 6 miners and the company has a notoriously bad safety record.

The workers are angry about all of this but fearful of losing their jobs.

I guess the coal industry’s ability to rule Appalachia like a medieval fiefdom hasn’t declined since the 1920s by as much as I thought.

2. As one might expect, the Republican platform declares total war on unions, ranging from a nationwide right to work a person to death law to barring public unions from political participation (no doubt only to apply to Democratic participation of course–exception for the cops to be expected!) to ending paycheck deduction for public sector unions. I fully expect Republicans to embrace to make labor unions illegal within a decade.

3. Looks like Boeing is going to try and bust the union of its engineers and technical workers, having rejects the union’s offer to simply extend the current contract. Who can blame them, it’s not like Boeing receives billions of dollars in government contracts or anything.

4. The sooner the rare corrupt union official is sent to prison, the better. Let’s hope these UFCW workers get real leadership now.

5. A glimpse into the future–where we are all temporary and contingent labor living in poverty. Just like the Gilded Age!

6. I’m the last person to say that political conventions really matter, but the fact that there is no Labor Caucus at this year’s DNC is telling. Labor’s only missions within the Democratic Party are to serve as a GOTV mechanism and to give money to candidates.

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