News

WGBH COMMENTARY
Boston Calling: Crime? Or Politics As Usual?

By Harvey Silverglate

On September 25th - 27th, 2019, over 200 delegates and guests will gather for the Biennial Constitutional Convention of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO.

A year after a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling that threatened to cripple public sector unions, they seem to be holding their own.

Government employees, it turns out, see value in belonging to unions. Membership in Illinois government unions actually has increased a year after the June 27, 2018, ruling in Janus vs. AFSCME, as Sun-Times Washington Bureau Chief Lynn Sweet reported in a recent column.

Raise a glass to the longest economic expansion in modern American history.

A full decade has passed since the end of the last recession, in June 2009, and the economy continues to grow. As of Monday, the current expansion surpassed the previous record for uninterrupted growth, set between 1991 and 2001.

But this time around, no one is accusing Americans of irrational exuberance: These good times don’t feel particularly good. Economic growth over the past decade has been slow and fragile, and most of the benefits have been claimed by a small minority of  the population.

On the morning of September 10, 2012, the bells rang to open Chicago’s public schools, but there were no teachers in the classrooms.

The night before, negotiations with Chicago’s reform-minded mayor, Rahm Emanuel, had gone south, and the new activist leaders of the city’s 25,000-member teachers union, clad all in red, walked out. Surrounded by a throng of cameras, they declared that their members would go on strike for the first time in 25 years.

Mick Mulvaney, a millionaire who is President Trump’s acting chief of staff and director of the Office of Management and Budget, awarded himself another job last week: spokesman for labor.

The North American Free Trade Agreement has been a disaster for working Pennsylvanians. But, the way it came about was no accident.

Those in power decided that greed, not justice or fairness, would be the rule of our economy. Corporations were handed free rein to suppress the rights of workers in Mexico, slash wages across North America and destroy livelihoods here at home — anything to fatten their already burgeoning profit margins.

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"Every child deserves a fair common ground to start from and if everyone pays their #FairShare, this will become a reality." -- Amber Roderick, MTA member
When AFSCME member Deborah Van Horn was unable to work due to health issues, she turned to Union Plus for financial help. As a Union Plus Credit Cardholder, she was eligible to apply for the Union Plus Disability Grant.

As Pride Month is recognized around the world this year, the rainbow-hued celebration will be colored by hope, fear for the future, and reverence for the queer liberation movement’s radical past.