State of the Union by Tom Szymanski

January 15, 2006

State of the Union

Let's compare the numbers. The FCC proposed a $5.38 million fine on the company two years ago for sending out unsolicited "junk faxes," a $550,000 fine on CBS for the 9/16-second broadcast of Janet Jackson's breast at the Super Bowl, and a fine of $27,500 per incident that totaled $495,000 on Infinity radio talent Howard Stern for broadcasting indecent material.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), a branch of the Department of Labor, filed over 200 citations in the past year on the Sago mine, in Tallmansville, W. Va., now owned by the International Coal Group. The Sago mine had been cited for violations that included mining roofs collapsing, inadequate tunnel supports, and unacceptable levels of coal dust.

The company was forced to close the operations 16 times during 2005 because of safety violations. The average number of lost working days because of accidents was almost double that of the industry average.

So was it worth 12 lives to keep the operations running at any cost?

December 31, 2005

For any employee, the statement "right to work" sure sounds like an innocent enough phrase. You either want to work or you don't, and nothing should stop you from pursuing your choice.

The right to work where we want, for whom we want, and when we want is a freedom we all enjoy and cherish. The right to work gives us opportunities and the flexibility to achieve goals, interests, and even the "American dream."

So what could be wrong with the phrase "right to work"?

Everything when those three words are used and misconstrued by anti-labor politicians, corporate interests, and business associations to spew the virtues of "right to work" legislation.

December 4, 2005

State of the Union

When you think of rights, civil rights, the right to a fair trial, and the right to vote usually come to mind first. But what about the rights of workers?

Across the globe, workers today face job loss, income reductions, lost benefits, and uncertainties about the future. Why have attacks on workers become the solution for reducing the ill-wills of corporate, economic, and public policy?

Workers have families, interests, and reasons to live besides work. Workers produce and keep the economy alive.

Workers' rights are human rights!

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