Dick Meister

Dick Meister: Combating workplace violence

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Organized labor and its allies are rightly alarmed over the high incidence of on-the-job accidents that have killed or maimed many thousands of workers. But they haven’t forgotten – nor should we forget – the on-the-job violence that also afflicts many thousands.

Consider this: Every year, almost two million American men and women are the victims of violent crime at their workplaces. That often forces the victims to stay off work for a week or more and costs their employers more than $60 billion a year in lost productivity.

The crimes are the tenth leading cause of all workplace injuries. They range from murder to verbal or written abuse and threatening behavior and harassment, including bullying by employers and supervisors.

Women have been particularly victimized. At least 30,000 a year are raped or otherwise sexually assaulted while on the job. The actual total is undoubtedly much higher, since it’s estimated that only about one-fourth of such crimes are reported to the police.

Estimates are that more than 900,000 of all on-the-job crimes go unreported yearly, including a large percentage of what’s thought to be some 13,000 cases annually that involve boyfriends or husbands attacking women at their workplaces.

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Know Your Class

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(Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor, politics and other matters for a half-century.)

When Jack Hall died, flags were flown at half-staff throughout Hawaii, longshoremen closed the ports of San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego for 24 hours, and thousands of other workers in Hawaii and all along the west coasts of the United States and Canada also stopped work to show their respect.Read more »

Meister: Union rights for airport screeners

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Airport screeners and other vital employees of the
Transportation Safety Agency should finally have the basic rights and protections they have so long needed and deserved

(Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor, politics and other matters for a half-century.)

The underpaid, overworked and otherwise poorly treated airport screeners who are essential to air passenger safety may finally be winning their long struggle for the badly needed union rights guaranteed other federal employees.Read more »

Meister: A lesson too long unlearned

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Wisconsin has enacted a law that makes the teaching of labor history and collective bargaining part of the state's model standards for social studies classes in the state's public schools

(Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor, politics and other matters for half-century)

Despite the importance of unions in our lives, our schools pay only
slight attention to their importance – or even to their existence.Read more »

Dick Meister: Too damn old!

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The right to protection from age discrimination will remain a second class civil right

(Dick Meister, formerly labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor, politics and other matters for a half-century.)

Racism and sexism we know plenty about. But what of ageism?

Ageism can strike anyone once they reach a certain age – sometimes as early as 40 – and it can make the victim feel unwanted, unneeded and oppressed by all in this work and youth oriented society.Read more »

No peace, no work

The ILWU hopes the dramatic act of shutting down West Coast ports will inspire Americans everywhere to oppose the war
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OPINION Organized labor is set to mark May Day — International Workers' Day — with what could be the loudest and most forceful demand yet for rapid withdrawal of US forces from Iraq.

Members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) will lead the way by refusing to work their eight-hour morning shifts at ports in California, Oregon, and Washington. Read more »

The business of censoring labor

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Most people, of course, work for a living. They spend at least half their lives working and, in fact, define themselves by their jobs. They obviously would be interested in ­ and obviously need ­ expert information on a regular basis about that most important aspect of their lives.

But the news media in effect censor that vital information. Their primary attention is not focused on those who do society¹s work. Read more »

An Unhappy Anniversary for Labor

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It was 25 years ago this month that Ronald Reagan struck the blow that sent the American labor movement tumbling into a decline it’s still struggling mightily to reverse.
Reagan, one of the most antilabor presidents in history, set the decline in motion by firing 11,500 of the overworked and underpaid air traffic controllers whose work was essential to the operation of the world’s most complex aviation system.
Reagan fired them because they dared respond to his administration’s refusal to bargain fairly on a new contract by striking in violation of the law prohibiting strikes by federal employ Read more »

It's criminal what Congress has done to the working poor

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OPINION Congress's Republican leaders belong in prison. They have openly violated one of our most basic laws, the 68-year-old Fair Labor Standards Act. It requires Congress to set the minimum wage high enough to guarantee a standard of living necessary for health, efficiency, and general well-being.
The current rate of $5.15 an hour comes nowhere near to doing that. Even those who manage to work full-time make only $10,700 a year - $206 a week or about $900 a month, minus taxes and other deductions. Read more »