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The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

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Bush Suspends Prevailing Wage Laws for Katrina Clean Up

As relief and emergency workers continue to arrive in hurricane stricken areas, President George W. Bush yesterday issued a proclamation suspending a 74-year-old law mandating that companies using federal funds pay workers a prevailing wage.

Concerns Surface over New Andean Free Trade Agreement

Barely a month after Congress bypassed labor and environmentalists concerns to pass a free-trade agreement with several Central American nations, a proposal to expand tariff-free-trade zones among the Americas appears headed for ratification, prompting a new round of criticisms and concerns from a handful of human rights and international labor organizations.

‘Dissident’ Labor Coalition Forms in Minn., Supports Northwest Stri

Three weeks before the scheduled founding convention of the new labor coalition, Change to Win, six Minnesota unions announced last week that they were forming a local chapter. The unions immediately pledged to offer support to mechanics on strike against Northwest Airlines.

Immigrant Worker Deaths on the Rise

Despite assurances otherwise, foreign-born workers are dying at work in ever-increasing numbers, according to a study released by the AFL-CIO yesterday and Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Cheesecake Workers Win $4.5 M Settlement

Young workers in California claimed a win over a fast-growing restaurant chain yesterday, announcing that the Cheesecake Factory agreed to settle lawsuits and a number of labor complaints filed in response to working conditions at several of the company’s stores in the state.

Labor Group Claims Millionth Non-union Member

A labor campaign to bring non-union workers into the fold of organized labor appears to be making headway, the nation’s largest organized labor organization announced yesterday.

Defense Firms Reap Profits as Pay Gap Widens

The earnings gap between workers and their bosses continues to grow, with leaders of defense contractors making the largest gains, according to a report released yesterday by two public interest groups.

‘Blue Flu’ Job Action in San Francisco Schools

Workers with San Francisco’s public school system kicked off the new school year with an old-fashioned job action: they called in sick to protest failing contract negotiations and the district’s refusal to provide pay raises for over three years.

Homeland Security Looks to Upend Workers’ Rights Ruling

Responding to a court decision striking down a number of proposed workplace personnel rule changes, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) last week filed a motion seeking clarification and limits on the judge’s ruling. The move came about a week after DHS officials met with leaders of five federal employee unions to discuss the overhaul.

Justice Dept. May Pursue Criminal Charges in BP Explosion

Groups seeking punishment for the alleged misdeeds of a major oil company may be one step closer following recent revelations that operators at a Texas plant where several accidents have recently occurred apparently neglected to repair known defects.

Cops Challenge ‘Flawed’ Employment Drug Tests

Charging racial bias and unreliability, seven Boston, Massachusetts police officers are challenging their dismissal from the force following positive results of drug tests conducted on hair samples. Their lawsuit is but one of many recent legal attempts to void random drug testing on the grounds that the tests are discriminatory and violate privacy protections.

Unions Split on Local Labor Unity Proposal

A plan put forth to allow individual unions to work together at the state and local levels regardless of their national and international affiliations further highlights the recently-exacerbated divisions within the nation’s organized labor movement. Members of the dissident Change to Win coalition are criticizing the proposal even as a number of AFL-CIO affiliates signed a letter applauding the new rules.

Northwest Mechanics Take to Picket Lines

Following another round of failed negotiations, mechanics employed by Northwest Airlines walked off the job Saturday, the first such strike in over seven years. Workers with the airline refused to accept job slashes and a 25 percent pay cut, the union said.

New Rules Imposed Over Truckers’ Objections

The Bush administration on Friday approved national rules to allow trucking companies to demand drivers stay on the road for 11 hours a day. The decision came despite widespread opposition among drivers and in the face of data showing that lengthier hauls lead to more accidents.

San Francisco Approves Anti-Sweatshop Ordinance

Before ending its session for the summer, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved a measure requiring the city to only use contractors that commit to safe, legal work environments and provide fair wages. In addition, the measure calls for companies doing business with the city to deal fairly with organized labor groups, and it enshrines stronger freedom of association rights for workers.

Despite Setback, Some Federal Labor Changes to Move Forward

Last week’s federal court ruling blocking the implementation of new personnel rules within the Department of Homeland Security will have little or no effect on plans to implement similar changes within the Pentagon and throughout the federal bureaucracy, officials indicated this week.

International Union Federation to Meet in Chicago

The world’s largest grouping of organized labor unions is set to meet next week in the Windy City to discuss the future of trade unionism throughout the world.

Newspaper Union Calls on Paper to Quit Pentagon Propaganda Event

The union representing workers with the Washington Post is asking the paper to withdraw its sponsorship of a Pentagon-crafted rally taking place this September 11.

Court Strikes Down Homeland Security Personnel Changes

In a win for unions challenging proposed changes to the way federal employees are hired, promoted, deployed and paid, a federal judge Friday found that rules cutting off collective bargaining run counter to the law establishing the Department of Homeland Security and would amount to removing due process protections from workers facing disciplinary action. The decision prevented the rules from going into effect yesterday.

Ford Firing Salaried Staff

In a move to stem increasing monetary losses, the Ford Motor Company began dismissing salaried staff last week, a rare action for the company and a possible harbinger of harder times for workers throughout its North American operations.

Judge Intervenes Again to Stop California Nurses from Striking

For the second time in two months, a California judge issued a last-minute order barring nurses in California from striking.

Small Win at Whirlpool for Minority Workers

Whirlpool Corporation, an appliance manufacturing giant based in Michigan, has agreed to settle a Department of Labor discrimination complaint. According to a DOL statement released Friday, the company agreed to pay $850,000 in back wages and committed to hire at least 48 of 800 qualified African-American job applicants who were denied positions in 1997 and ’98.

Labor, Progressive Coalition Confront ‘CAFTA 15’ Democrats

Organized labor and progressive groups are taking the battle against free trade to fifteen Democratic lawmakers who voted in favor of the recently-passed Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA).

Wal-Mart’s New Workforce Plans Cut Pay, Benefits

The world’s largest retailer has instituted a new computerized plan for matching customer traffic with employee schedules, forcing many workers to lose pay and benefits as their hours fall below the full time level. The move appears to be spurring workers to leave the company, the South Florida Herald Tribune reported yesterday.

Joint Labor Effort Wins Healthcare for Food Workers

Two unions reached an agreement to enter into binding arbitration with the world’s largest airline catering company Friday, bringing over a year of contract negotiations one step closer to an end.

Referendum on Minimum Wage Set in Albuquerque

Living wage advocates came one step closer to victory in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Friday when the City Clerk certified a petition seeking to put the issue before voters this fall. If passed, the city’s minimum wage would jump to $7.50.

Dissident Unions Working Together to Organize Janitors

In a sign that a newly-formed coalition of organized labor groups may be ready to co-ordinate efforts to bring more workers into the labor movement, five unions announced that they would do "whatever it takes" to support another union’s efforts to organize janitors employed by the nation’s largest cleaning company.

Arizona Taxpayers Subsidize Wal-Mart Employee Healthcare

Joining a growing number of states that are subsidizing Wal-Mart workers at an above-average rate, Arizona released figures last Friday showing that nearly ten percent of the company’s statewide workforce is receiving taxpayer-funded assistance. The information was provided to Capitol Media Services, which reported it Saturday.

Ohio Workers Comp Cuts Could Limit Treatment Options

With the state under fire for overpaying hospitals for medical care given to injured workers, hospitals in Ohio warned they could limit such workers’ access to health care services yesterday, reported the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The statement came in reaction to an announcement that the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, which provides workers comp insurance, intends to cut the reimbursements it pays to care providers.

Citing Size of Suit, Wal-Mart Requests Dismissal

Just weeks after documents emerged revealing Wal-Mart knew it was discriminating against women on its workforce but did nothing to address the problem, the world’s largest retailer is seeking to end a pending class-action suit over alleged gender discrimination, complaining that the size of the plaintiff pool is too large.

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The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.