Katherine Reynolds Lewis, Newhouse News Service | Times-Picayune
Fathers on average are taking on dramatically more child care and household responsibilities. In 1977, they did about 35 percent as much household work and 58 percent as much child care as mothers, compared to 67 percent and 77 percent in 2002, according to the Families and Work Institute, a nonprofit research organization. Now, as more men try to tap family-friendly workplace policies, many discover the arrangements aren't as available to dads as to moms. Just as women have struggled for equal opportunity at work, men are fighting for workplace accommodation of their bigger roles at home. Resistance ranges from snide comments and negative signals to outright discrimination. Read the full story.
Russell Rich started working the cash register at age 13 and put in 21 years with the hamburger giant, eventually becoming a corporate manager. Then, he contends, he was pressured to resign in 1997 because he has AIDS. Rich won a $5 million verdict in his discrimination case against the burger chain in 2001. But the verdict was overturned after an appeals court ruled that McDonald's did not receive a fair trial. A new trial was to start Monday in Cleveland. His AIDS medications, which cost tens of thousands of dollars a year, are being covered by the Ohio AIDS Drug Assistance Program. Rich said he is pursuing the lawsuit because he thinks McDonald's, not taxpayers, should be paying. Read the full story.
When factories close, the workers who are laid off often feel like dinosaurs in a fast-disappearing industrial age. After Carrier moved the last of its Syracuse manufacturing operations to China and Singapore, many of the 1,200 laid-off workers felt as if they had been plunged into a real-life version of "Survivor," although not on a Pacific Island. Now hundreds of these workers are pursuing a survival strategy that seems to be working: concluding that they had to reinvent themselves for post-industrial America, they are training for new careers. But education has not been a cure-all. It does not ensure that the workers will find jobs or, if they do, that the jobs will pay as well as Carrier did. Read the full story.
A group of dissident union leaders last week vowed to reinvigorate the slumping U.S. labor movement by launching a series of big, strategic organizing campaigns. Elements of what they have in mind have already been road-tested in California, a hot spot for union activism for more than a decade. And they seem to be working. The individual unions' innovative campaigns, aimed at some of the state's lowest-paid workers, have brought tens of thousands of new members under the union umbrella in the last decade and raised pay and benefits for most, even as wages have stagnated nationally and organized labor's overall share of the workforce has declined. Read the full story.
Complaints by workers about abusive labor practices lie at the crux of the debate over the Central American Free Trade Agreement, an accord that would sharply reduce and in many cases eliminate trade barriers between the United States, five Central American countries and the Dominican Republic. The pact's critics say it does not sufficiently protect the rights of workers and as a result would provide incentives for companies to migrate to countries with the lowest wages and weakest unions. Its backers counter that by giving Central America assured access to U.S. market[s], workers such would be more likely to have jobs. Read the full story.
As Congressional Republicans struggle to break a partisan impasse over President Bush's plan to reinvent Social Security and shore up its finances, 32 million older Americans are living the realities of the nation's biggest social program. Any changes will not affect people like [Barbara] Amberg, [Shirley] Malone or [Joseph] Cohen, who are already collecting their benefits. But in the details of their daily lives, set out in in-depth interviews, these Grand Rapids residents afford a nuanced working model of Social Security--the bumps it cushions and those it does not, the dreams it fosters or leaves out of reach. For many, it is the bedrock of their existence. Read the full story.
Workplace Fairness helps people understand, protect, and strengthen employee rights. We are a nonprofit organization allied with the National Employment Lawyers Association. Our website is packed with information and resources for anyone concerned with fairness in the workplace.