Friday, March 12, 2010


Remember when I posted about my fondness for the town of Boron, out in the High Desert above Los Angeles? Boron is in the news because the folks at the Borax mine have been locked out. Management refuses to bargain with the union unless they will concede seniority and almost every workplace practice. No surprise, the union couldn't negotiate on those terms so management locked them out.

America is being turned into a nation of rats and punks. People are so thoroughly narcotized by television that their highest ambition is to someday be allowed to kiss a billionaire's ass. I'm glad somebody is willing to stand for some kind of principle rather than blaming the immigrants or the poor people or unwed mothers or whoever they think needs kicking. If things go on this way soon we'll be a nation of Walmart employees who can't afford to shop at Walmart.

The normally unreadable Mike Davis wrote a pretty good piece on the lockout- Here

Update- The miners are represented by The International Longshore and Warehouse Union. I'd love to know the history of how the longshoremen ended up organizing so far from the water, but I can say that the ILWU is everything a union should be. Over the years I've had quite a few friends and a couple of family members who were ILWU and it is a real stand up, rank and file, solidarity based union. You can read about the lockout at the union's website HERE.

This is a nice little slide show on LA Labor's support for the locked out miners.

1 comment:

Jon said...

Here's what Rio Tinto is demanding- Taken from the ILWU's website:

The power to convert full-time jobs, whenever management wants, into part-time positions with little or no benefits.
Authority to reduce employee pay, any time the company wants, regardless of the contract wage rates and without any right of workers to file a grievance.

The ability to outsource all jobs, any time it wants, to contractors and temp agencies that pay low wages and provide little or no benefits, without any right to file a worker grievance.

If Rio Tinto violates any state or federal labor laws, which it has already done, workers would be required to pay for the company's legal penalties, fines, damages and even attorney fees.

The unlawful discrimination against military personnel by denying them seniority credit for military service if they've served in the Armed Forces for less than one year or for more than four years, which constitutes a violation of federal law (USERRA). Also among the company’s demands is the elimination of the Veteran’s Day holiday starting in 2011.

The removal of scores of workers from the union contract and power to declare entire sections of the plant to be “non-union” areas where employees could be fired at any time, for any reason, or for no reason at all.

The ability at any time to change shifts, hours and work assignments, and impose mandatory overtime, with no scheduled days-off or regular shifts, making life impossible for families.
Require workers to give up their Constitutional and legal right as Americans to go to court if the foreign-owned company discriminates based on race, sex, age, disability, military status or religion, or if it violates any other state or federal laws, including the U.S. Civil Rights Act, FMLA, ADA, ERISA, FLSA.

Under the Rio Tinto lockout contract, all legal rights would be transferred from American courts to a private arbitrator, which the company gets to pick in at least half the cases.

Authority to eliminate long term disability coverage for any new employee, which protects workers -- and provides economic security to families -- when an employee is injured and can’t work.
The drastic reduction of retirement benefits for current employees, and the total elimination of pension benefits for new employees who would only get a small 401(k) contribution.

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