Spring 1999

Spring 1999

Fried

Michael opened his front door and stepped into the pre-dawn light, not to check the weather or get the papers but merely to express his stupefaction at standing upright at this hour of the day. It was 4:30 a.m. He’d had four hours of bad sleep featuring a dream of global Network collapse, but that(...)

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Labor Unions and Labor Law

Massachusetts is more heavily unionized than the national average, with 15.9 percent of those employed belonging to a union. Yet despite the state’s pro-labor reputation, it ranks behind 17 other states–including New York, Rhode Island, and Connecticut–in union membership. In every state, there are more employees represented by unions – 17.4 percent in Massachusetts–than there(...)

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Doing More Than the Minimum

This year, Democrats and Republicans in the Massachusetts Legislature and in the governor’s office have united around a plan to increase the state minimum wage above the current level of $5.25 an hour. State leaders are considering whether businesses in Massachusetts will have to pay a minimum of $6.15 an hour (the governor’s proposal), or(...)

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The Numbers Game

For years the Massachusetts AFL-CIO has boasted 400,000 union members in its ranks. Today there are 404,000, to be exact, according to AFL-CIO officials. But thousands of those workers–including the 55,000 police officers and other public employees who belong to the National Association of Government Employees (NAGE)–claim not to belong to the state AFL-CIO. Confused?(...)

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Illegal Strikes

Nothing defuses labor militancy like a few years of prosperity. The state’s coffers flush with tax revenue, public employee unions are winning raises they didn’t see in the recession of the early ’90s. So it’s been a while since Massachusetts has seen one of those peculiarities of organized labor: the illegal strike. But for much(...)

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Expanding Family Leave

When Kathleen Casavant was growing up in the 1950s and ’60s, her mother stayed home to raise her and her three brothers. There was never any worry about getting time off from work. No matter what came up – an illness, a doctor’s appointment, another baby–her mother was free to take care of it. Most(...)

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A Rising Tide of Unionism

Union forces have been gaining strength in Massachusetts, if their membership rolls are any guide. An estimated 30,000 workers joined unions in 1998, bringing the state’s total organized labor force to about 453,000 people, according to federal statistics. And there is other good news for local labor leaders: Organized labor’s share of the total work(...)

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Which Side Are They On

Labor was showing its muscle and the television news cameras were rolling. Inside stately Faneuil Hall in Boston, the two candidates for governor, just eight days away from last fall’s election, were preparing for their final debate. Outside in the October night, thousands of placard-waving union supporters – most for Democratic candidate Scott Harshbarger, a(...)

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When Unions Rule the Schools

In Medford they derailed a community service program for high school students. In Concord they watered down a rigorous training program for new teachers. And in countless other districts across the state, they have blocked innovative ideas at the proposal stage, forced administrators to fill vacancies with unqualified staff, and refused to allow the extension(...)

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