Spring 1999

Spring 1999

Labor Stories

When it comes to work, everyone’s got a story. Or, more likely, many stories. If you want to hear a tale, all you have to do is ask, “What was the first job you ever had?” “What was the worst job you ever had?” “How do you like your job now?” Usually, the worst experiences(...)

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Remembering Wessagussett

WEYMOUTH — The land isn’t much to look at, as even Jodi Purdy-Quinlan, the most ardent champion of these overgrown woodsy acres, will admit. “All this brush would have to come out,” she says with a sweep of her hand, as we slowly drive down Sea Street in her metallic-green Ford pickup truck. Surrounded by(...)

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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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