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Update : Rhode Island

Providence Teachers Contract Signed Amid Controversy, Compromise,  and Politics

Beth I. Gandelman, UWS Correspondent

PROVIDENCE — On Aug. 9, the Providence Teachers Unions voted 868 to 79 in favor of an agreement that calls for $53 million in spending cuts over three years, to help close an estimated $110-million budget shortfall. They also voted to approve a three-year contract that guarantees that every fired teacher will be returned to the district in exchange for certain concessions. Nine R.I. school systems remain without contracts.

The vote culminates the end of long and controversial contractual wrangling that occurs in the wider national context of ongoing struggles over not only teachers and public worker contracts and pensions, but the very basis for collective-bargaining in the United States as a whole.

According to the Providence Teachers Union site
, the ratification of the agreement now means that a previously filed lawsuit over the dismissals will be dropped.

Texas: Brothers and Sisters to the Rescue

  • Texas IBEW Office Destroyed by Hurricane Ike Scheduled for New Building

  • Eschewing Government Loans, IBEW 527 Emerges With A New Facility

By Beth I. Gandelman
Union Web Services

Galveston, TX –The office of IBEW 527 ,destroyed completely by Hurricane Ike in September 2008, is scheduled for rebuilding in 2010 by 100 percent union labor. According to Business Manager Sam Marullo, both buildings and the contents were “wiped out” and the union lost everything, including the computers, copiers, telephone system, furniture and most everything in the office.

With Support for Afghan War Falling, Obama Speaks at AFL-CIO Conference


-USLAW Delegation includes Iraqi Unionists in Attendance, Will Propose Tough Resolutions

-Administration May Face Hard Choices

By Beth I. Gandelman, Union Web Services (UWS) Correspondent

As representatives of American Labor convene this week at the annual AFL-CIO conference in Pittsburgh, PA, a ground-breaking US Labor delegation will offer resolutions in support of Iraqi unions and confront the Obama administration on its plans for Iraq and Afghanistan. The delegation will be accompanied by invited leaders of Iraq's oil sector unions. Obama spoke to the conference Tuesday, in a speech largely devoted to healthcare.

The Obama campaign leveraged wide-spread opposition to the Bush Administration's war in Iraq en route to the Presidency. However, the latest polls show the nation and Obama's own party especially defecting in heavy numbers from support for the Afghan war with an all-time high of 57% of Americans opposed. Voters in the President's own party are said to oppose the war by  75%. Opposition from Independent voters, who arguably pushed Obama to the presidency,  increased by  10% since the last numbers taken in April.

In this context, organized labor, which formed the political bedrock of Obama's support in critical, union-heavy contested states during the 2008 election, meets this week to “decide the union movement’s next steps and long-term strategies”

Non-Profit Labor Group Goes Live

America in Solidarity has just gone live with a Union Web Services next generation new web site that will drive its organization's growth and fundraising in 2006 and beyond.

The foundation of the new site is an integrated web content management system (CMS) and CiviCRM open source database that allows AIS to quickly promote news about campaigns and events held around the country to a centralized web site used by it geographically separated members. The integration allows AIS to keep in touch with members who are receiving regular updates from their site, and mobilize them in their respective geographical areas.

America in Solidarity is a non-profit organization founded by ILWU Longshoreman Todd Iverson and Gail Ross, both form Tacoma, Washington. The goal of the organization, according to Iverson, is to "encourage politicans to take a stand for the working people of America." To accomplish this, Iverson's organization encourages legislators nation-wide to sign the America in Solidarity "pledge."
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