The AFL-CIO, the largest federation of unions in the United States, moved to counteract the shrinking union strength and the ever growing corporate power via legislation, the Employee Free Choice Act. Andy Levin and Stewart Acuff, two veteran union organizers, spearheaded the effort. In the summer of 2003, Acuff and Levin agreed on what the act would entail.
Since gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Armenia has spent almost two decades as a quasi-authoritarian state with the ruling Republican Party controlling most of its political, economic, and social institutions. Serzh Sargsyan became President in 2008 and under his rule, Armenia endured slow economic growth, high unemployment rates, and corruption.
PT Kizone, an apparel factory in Tangerang, Indonesia, held major contracts with Nike and Adidas. In September of 2010, the factory started to withhold its workers’ severance pay. In January 2011, the factory failed to pay its workers their monthly compensation. At the end of the month, the owner of PT Kizone, Jin Woo Kim, fled to his home country of South Korea. The factory declared bankruptcy and closed on 1 April 2011. PT Kizone fired all its workers, to whom the factory owed $3.4 million in severance compensation.
Nigeria, the most populous African country, is filled with oil reserves, particularly in the Niger River Delta. Oil was the main national export, comprising 98% of Nigeria’s export earnings and 83% of government revenue in 2002. Starting in the mid-1980s, the Nigerian government subsidized fuel, letting Nigerians buy oil and gasoline at prices significantly below market levels.
On 11 September 1973, Chilean dictator Augusto Pinoche came to power and during the 1970s, he privatized Chile’s education system. The central government gave money to some private schools, while the public schools remained grossly underfunded. This commercialization of education began a legacy of educational attainment disparity along socioeconomic class lines—the poor received poor quality education, received jobs that paid meager wages, and remained poor, while the wealthy received high quality education, went on to university, and obtained well-paying jobs that increased their wealth.
On 6 June 2013, developers Carlos Beruff and Larry Lieberman asked
Florida’s Manatee County Commission for environmental exceptions and
zoning changes to Long Bar Pointe, a 523-acre area of land along
Sarasota Bay. In 2012, Lieberman, the land’s owner, as well as the
president and founder of Sarasota’s Barrington Group, partnered with
Beruff of Medallion Homes to complete the development project. Beruff
and Lieberman aimed to build a 300-room hotel, two retail centers, a
convention center, 1,086 single-family homes, 1,587 low-rise multi
On 1 January 2012, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan abruptly removed
the fuel subsidy provided to citizens by the government. Finance
Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala championed the decision and the country’s
citizens received no prior warning. The government argued that the
removal of the heavy subsidy would free up funds for other public
services, including health and infrastructure projects, and that the
liberalization of the fuel industry would benefit the economy. They
also argued that the primary beneficiaries of the subsidy were the
In the early 2000s, as technological advancements expanded media
sources, media writers faced challenges receiving compensation for their
work that producers redistributed online and through television reruns.
The Writers Guild of America (WGA), comprised of the Writers Guild of
America, West (WGAW) and the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE)
represented the interests of over 12,000 “writers in the motion picture,
broadcast, cable, and new media industries in both entertainment and
news.” On 18 May 2007, the WGA released a “Pattern of Demands” to the
The World Economic Forum (WEF) coordinated cooperation and activities for the largest and most influential corporations in the world and governments. According to one self-definition, it “engages political, business, academic and other leaders of society in collaborative efforts to shape global, regional and industry agendas.” Each year, WEF held regional meetings of 1000+ attendees. These leaders dominated the setting of economic and social policy around the world and promoted free trade and deregulation, often referred to as a “neo-liberal” agenda.
The French General Strikes in 2009 came during the first quarter of the country’s recession and was the first general strike in an industrialized nation since the global financial crisis in 2007 and 2008. Economic forecasts predicted that the economy would contract by 2 percent in 2009 and that unemployment would reach 10 percent by 2010. In response to these poor economic predictions, French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced a $34 billion stimulus plan in December, which included capital infusions to banks of more than $11 billion.
South Korean campaigners prevent government intention to weaken unions and facilitate lay-offs, 1997
President Kim Young Sam started his first attempt at changing labour laws in April, 1996. The government formed the Labour-Management Relations Reform committee composed of labour group leaders, management community, academics, and civic groups. It was the first attempt by the South Korean government to reform the country’s authoritarian labour relations, and labour unions were hopeful of structural changes that would guarantee their long-delayed rights.
The Belgian workers strike of 1960-61, often referred to as “Winter Strike” or “The Strike of the Century”, was considered to be one of the most important Belgian strikes of the 20th century. Strike history in Belgium had always been slightly unconventional compared to Northern European, North American, and French and Italian strikes. Differences existed in the frequency of strikes, the size of the strikes, as well as the duration. Belgium had frequent strikes pre World War II, and this history of striking contributed to the success of the Winter Strike.
Jacques Chirac became president of France with a majority 53 to 47 vote in a close May 1995 presidential election. Chirac had little time to celebrate, however. Chirac faced the daunting tasks of fixing France’s waning economy and addressing widening social inequality. At the time, France’s economy was limping along with unemployment at 12.3% - higher than any other leading industrialised nation.
On 30 June 1998, the contract between Service Employees International Union Local 200A (SEIU) and Syracuse University (SU) expired. Preceded by two months of negotiation, SU made a final offer for a new contract before the 30 June deadline.
Students, faculty, and staff at the University of Virginia began the first of a series of campaigns to improve the wages and working conditions of the University’s lowest paid employees in 1997. In 2006, students and faculty who identified themselves as members of the Living Wage Campaign conducted a year-long nonviolent struggle to raise the wages of the lowest paid University workers, which culminated with 17 students staging a sit-in in the President of the University’s office for four days before being arrested.
Phulbari is a region in the northwest region of Bangladesh. It is an important agricultural region that is also home to low quality coal deposit. Several companies have proposed to use the open pit technique for mining the coal, which would displace thousands of people, many of them indigenous people. The proposed mining projects would destroy farmland, homes, and divert water sources to be used in the mining process.
In the 1960’s, San Francisco was a center of the youth counterculture that was spreading across the United States. The civil rights movement, the Black Power movement, the Red Power movement, the Feminist movement, and LGBQT movement had all been challenging the dominance of the governing political elite.
Students and staff at the College of William and Mary campaign for higher wages for housekeepers 2010-2011
Beginning in 1999 and lasting into 2001, students at William and Mary and members of the Tidewater Labor Support Committee (TSLC) carried out what they called a "Living Wage Campaign," during which they protested and petitioned the school’s administration to raise the salary for housekeepers employed by the college. The campaigners declared victory after the administration conceded to raising wages of the housekeepers to $8.29 per hour, which was far from their original goal, and ceased their campaign in 2001.
In 1919, the United Textile Workers and Central Labor Union, in
a rush of union activity, managed to shorten the work week from 54 hours to 48
hours. The unions negotiated this reform by making a concession of an overall
cut in wages, which were already below the cost of living. Immigrant workers at
textile mills in Lawrence, Massachusetts welcomed the change in hours, but
could not afford a decrease in wages. Aware of a successful strike involving
immigrant workers in Lawrence back in 1912, the mill workers decided to use the
same tactic to combat the wage decrease.
From the mid-1990s into the early 2000s a wave of economic justice activism swept through college campuses in the United States, spurred in large part by the global justice movement’s spotlighting of corporate malfeasance in the United States and especially in the global South. Seeking to fight in solidarity with underpaid and unprotected laborers, a number of college campuses launched campaigns demanding their universities end the purchasing of apparel produced in sweatshops. Between 1999 and 2000, 18 campus campaigns used sit-ins and building occupations in pursuit of this goal.
In 20th century Australia indigenous workers were treated completely differently from the Caucasian settlers on the continent. Until the 1920s, for example, Aboriginals employed at pastoral stations in Australia received rations of clothing and food instead of cash wages.
The economic crisis which began in 2008 hit Spain harder than any other country in the European Union. They set eurozone records in 2011 with 21.3% unemployment and 43.5% youth unemployment. In an attempt to put a stop to the rapid collapse of the Spanish economy, the government passed sweeping employment changes in 2010. These changes made it easier for employers to hire and fire workers and increased the retirement age from 65 to 67.
In early 2011, the Greek state developed a plan of austerity measures to meet its debt repayments. Due to major financial problems, it had just failed to meet the budget targets established in 2010 when it received a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Eurozone. The new proposal to be voted on in June 2011, called “The Medium Term Economic Program,” included the privatization of a number of industries and utilities including but not limited to power and water companies, ports, banks, and the train operator.
Margaret Thatcher was reelected for her third term in 1987. One of the changes she promised to implement was to levy a flat tax that she called a “Community Charge,” although it became popularly known as the poll tax. A flat tax means that everybody, regardless of wealth, has to pay the same amount. The tax was to be set in the 1989-1990 financial year in Scotland, and in the 1990-1991 financial year in England. However, it was unpopular from the moment she proposed it, and she met resistance from both the people and her party.