OVERTIME: Labor Stories of the Week (Jan 22, 2016)

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Will the snowstorm keep you hunkered down all weekend? Catch up on some vital labor stories from the week.

Silencing students who speak out for workers. Four Loyola University Chicago students face disciplinary proceedings for demonstrating (new window) in solidarity with Aramark dining staff on their campus who seek fair pay and decent health care. Support these students by signing their petition (new window) calling for the charges to be dropped.

How to combat Friedrichs. Dr. Joseph McCartin makes the case that organized labor can survive attacks on collective bargaining by standing up for the broader common good (new window) and taking on the corporate interests that loot our communities.

Blessed be the adjuncts. America Magazine reports on Jesuit schools’ growing reliance on contingent faculty (new window), the struggle of adjuncts to improve working conditions, and whether Catholic social teaching on labor informs university practices.

Protect female farmworkers. More than anyone, female farmworkers are vulnerable to sexual violence (new window) yet have little recourse or support. There are several steps we can take to protect them.

Captive no more! 106 labor experts, including KI Director Joe McCartin, petitioned the NLRB to drastically reform the rules for captive-audience meetings (new window), which allow management to corner workers into rejecting unionization.

With no one to the rescue, teachers take a stand. Teachers called in sick in mass to protest the crumbling, destitute state of Detroit public school buildings (new window) and the danger they pose to students and teachers alike.

Child labor made your smartphone? Amnesty International finds that children from the Democratic Republic of the Congo that are as young as seven are mining for cobalt in life-threatening conditions.

You can’t outsource your responsibility to workers. The Department of Labor is putting companies who hire temps on notice (new window); under a new guidance, they can be found responsible for labor abuses even when they are not the direct employer.

Wall Street over people? While the budget impasse in Illinois has held up funding for everyone from college students to domestic violence victims, the state continues to pay banks (new window) millions of dollars every month for toxic deals of dubious legality. What that says about our financial system is even more alarming.

Overall, it’s a striking illustration of the brutal efficiency of the big banks at extracting every possible ounce of profit. Through recklessness and fraud, they crashed the economy, costing millions of people their jobs and their homes. For this they were rewarded with a trillion-dollar government bailout. Then, as cities and states struggled with the fallout from the crisis, slashing services to their most needy residents, the banks picked their pockets to pull out an additional few billion, just because they could.
Maybe they can get away with it, but it certainly seems worthwhile putting up a fight to stop them.

Where the Big Short comes short. While the real culprits in the financial meltdown (new window) never paid for their crimes, some groups are fighting to hold Wall Street accountable and empower communities.