So if anti-gay activists were to picket JC Penny for featuring Ellen DeGeneres in its TV ads, it would be protected speech. But if union members were to picket JC Penny for selling boycotted products, it could be illegal.Why, Eidelson asks, should unions not have the same right to free speech as Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church?
Dorian Warren, meanwhile, argues that America's last hope is a strong labor movement, and sketching out a number of ways the labor movement can focus "not just on workers’ rights, but can also act as a democratizing force advancing social justice and expanding worker, citizen and resident power in the workplace and in their communities." For instance:
While labor law constricts the scope of issues that unions can negotiate at the workplace, it doesn’t prevent worker organizations from bargaining in the political arena for affordable housing, equitable development, local, regional and national economic policy, criminal justice, or the wide range of issues that affect poor and working class people. Stephen Lerner, among others, has outlined what a wider scope of collective bargaining might look like. Imagine, for instance, that the United Auto Workers could negotiate over the environmental standards of the cars they produce instead of just wages and benefits. Such a vision requires a far-reaching campaign to redefine the scope of collective bargaining and workers’ voices at work.Last summer, our own Jake McIntyre similarly took a look at the constrictions of labor law and how unions and their allies can find a way forward.
- There's been another indictment in the 2010 Upper Big Branch mine explosion that killed 29 miners:
Last year charges were brought against two others — the mine’s security chief and a foreman who had not been at the mine on the day of the explosion.
But Mr. May, one of the mine’s two superintendents, is the most senior, and industry observers say the charges against him are an indication that prosecutors are getting closer to the executives who ran the company, Massey Energy, which has since been bought by Alpha Natural Resources.
- Hotel workers are asking Iron Chef Morimoto not to open a new restaurant at the Hyatt Andaz, because of Hyatt's horrible record on workers rights.
Related, faculty and students from more than 150 colleges and universities are calling on Hyatt to rehire the sisters fired from the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara after objecting to having their heads photoshopped onto bikini-clad bodies.
- With locked-out workers from American Crystal Sugar and Cooper Tire on a 1,000-mile road trip for justice, word came that the United Steelworkers and Cooper Tire had reached a tentative settlement. Mike Hall had talked to some of the locked-out workers.
- Karoli explains how the picture of Michelle Rhee and Rick Santorum sugar-daddy Foster Friess isn't just some random picture of people with nothing in common taken at any old party.
Related, while Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy's education reform program targets teachers in counterproductive ways, even he thinks Rhee is too divisive, and backed out of attending a parent group's rally when he learned Rhee would be there.
- Awesome. Tennessee's teacher evaluation process has led to physical education teachers "scrambling to incorporate math and writing into activities, since 50 percent of their evaluations will be based on standardized tests, not basketball victories."