Coming right up - hope you DC, MD, VA folks will celebrate Labor Day with me at this wonderful venue, listening to these fabulously talented musicians! Buy your tickets or donate now at http://annefeeney.com
You can buy or download my CDs by calling CDBaby - 1-800-BUY-MY-CD (1-800-289-6923) or clicking here: http://cdbaby.com/all/unionmaid You'll have your CDs in time for Labor Day if you order now... I've got a lot of CDs in inventory, and since I'm not working, it's really a help if you order CDs. Thanks to Amy Goodman and Democracy Now! for featuring War on the Workers on today's show!
Labor Day 2011 - I've packed this month's newsletter with lots and lots of labor news... I hope you enjoy it...
When will we quit glorifying greed? Somewhere along the line some deep thinker in the GOP said ... "So why is it we don't take candy from babies? It would be so easy..." and a new spiral of the most disgusting rapacious avarice began... suddenly anything that might make a buck is fair game in the world of capital. But instead of shocking the conscience of the nation, this greed is enshrined in the pop culture, glorified by the corporate media ... making the bottom line an all-powerful mantra for our nation. All sorts of despicable behaviors are accepted in the service of the bottom line. Just disgusting. Thanks to a rash of free trade agreements and the under-the-table machinations of the IMF and world bank a global restructuring begins. Social programs, education, health care are disassembled globally. Millions of people are forced into migration. Capital moves freely across borders while immigrants are interned, punished, deported. Unions are declared irrelevant, and the race to the bottom is in full swing.
But these truths remain:
An injury to one is an injury to all.
The union makes us strong.
How much money do you think Verizon would have to make in order to offer better benefits to its loyal CWA workers? How could their they force workers out on strike during a year of record-breaking profits?
This is a great article to read this Labor Day
And my old nemesis Conn Selmer is up to new evil... this time at its musical instrument factory in Eastlake, OH. This company was the focus of my labor day message in 2009...
My friends in the Pacific Northwest will want to support this struggle at Fred Meyer..
I'm headed to North Dakota next month to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of the ND AFL-CIO. Wouldn't you know one of the largest regional employers has locked out 1300 workers! SHAME!
And take a look at these feisty guest-worker students! Give 'em hell!
Jen Wallis, the plaintiff in this wonderful whistle-blower case, is a great pal. I couldn't be happier about this result!
BNSF Harassment cost over $300,000.00 in whistle blower case
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 16, 2011
BNSF Fined $150,000 Punitive Damages, $125,000 Compensatory
Damages, $22,917 Attorney’s Fees and 30 day’s back pay for Harassing
an Employee who filed an Accident Report under Federal Whistleblower Law.
The $150,000 punitive damages award is the largest thus far awarded
nationally under the new Whistleblower law.
On November 16, 2008, Jen Wallis, a BNSF Hostler employed in
Seattle, WA, sustained an on the job injury in which she injured her
knee. BNSF officials followed her to the hospital, attempted to go into
the room with doctors and staff but were not allowed to do so after Ms.
Wallis complained. Ms. Wallis filed a personal injury report with
Eight days later BNSF served a notice of investigation upon Ms. Wallis
requiring her to attend an “investigative hearing” after which employees
can be disciplined or even fired. Ms. Wallis retained William
Jungbauer to represent her in her claim for injuries under the Federal Employer’s Liability Act
Jungbauer filed her case in Federal Court in Seattle, and moved for a
protective order from the Court to protect Ms. Wallis from being
subjected to questioning and/or discipline in the “investigative hearing”
that BNSF had scheduled.
The Federal Court granted Jungbauer’s motion and BNSF was unable to
force Ms. Wallis to attend the “investigative hearing”. BNSF later
decided to hold the hearing anyway, even in Ms. Wallis’ absence.
BNSF assessed discipline of 30 days, deferred on Ms. Wallis and further
put 40 “Points” on her disciplinary record. BNSF calls such points
“Risk Identifier Points” and CLAIMS that such points are not used for
any harassment or intimidation purpose.
Congress had previously held hearings before the House Transportation
and Infrastructure Committee in October of 2007 during which the BNSF
“points system” was discussed by Jungbauer, who testified on behalf of
injured workers and by a BNSF vice president. Historic Whistleblower
protections were passed by both Houses of Congress and signed by the
President in 2007 and 2008.
Jungbauer then filed a Whistleblower claim against BNSF on behalf of
Ms. Wallis in Seattle, WA. OSHA investigated the BNSF system of
“points” and whether or not injured BNSF employees such as Ms. Wallis
were harassed or intimidated by such BNSF programs. Under the BNSF
program, workers who file injury reports that are “reportable to the FRA”
get 40 demerit points; workers who file reports that are not reportable to
the FRA get only 5 demerit points.
“This system punishes workers who file accident reports that are required
by law to be reported to the FRA. It is clearly an effort to discourage
employees from filing accident reports that are passed on to the FRA”
Ms. Wallis settled her personal injury FELA case with BNSF over a year
ago for an amount that cannot be disclosed as part of the settlement.
Late yesterday the Secretary of Labor, acting through the Regional
Administrator of OSHA in Seattle issued the Secretary’s Findings and
Preliminary Order in Ms. Wallis’ case:
1. BNSF must pay back wages to Ms. Wallis of $21.00 per hour for 30
2. BNSF must pay Ms. Wallis $125,000 for mental pain and suffering;
3. BNSF must pay Ms. Wallis $150,000 for punitive damages based
on BNSF’s “recklous and callous indifference” to Ms. Wallis’
legally protected rights under the Federal Whistleblower Laws;
4. BNSF must expunge from Ms. Wallis’ personnel records any
adverse references relating to BNSF’s suspension of Ms. Wallis for
future requests for employment recommendations.
5. BNSF must remove and destroy the suspension from Ms. Wallis’
record and must remove the 40 “points” and any other “points”
BNSF assessed against Ms. Wallis for reporting her injury;
6. BNSF must pay Ms. Wallis’ attorney $22,917.50 in attorneys fees;
7. BNSF must post Whistleblower Protection Information Documents
at all locations where employees are given information from BNSF;
8. BNSF must post a notice to employees signed by Matt Rose,
President of BNSF informing employees of their rights and that
BNSF will not use the “point system” again against employees who
report personal injuries.
“This is the most significant Whistleblower Decision in the History of the
Law” stated Jungbauer. “BNSF was directly scolded by Chairman
Oberstar of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in
2007 about the harassment effects of the “points system” . Perhaps
BNSF will now comply with the Federal Law rather than pay damages
and punitive damages to injured employees across the country. BNSF
needs to know that this is only the first of many cases that are already
filed or about to be filed across the country in which the “Point System”
and other programs and policies that harass or intimidate injured workers
will be at issue.”
And this is a wonderful article on labor forwarded to me by my friend Bill Barry:
8 Union Victories Progressives Should Be Watching -- and Learning From ...
By Eric Loomis
If Rick Perry isn't scaring you to death yet, read this...
AUGUST 24-28 IN MADISON, WI
Join me at the Democracy Convention in Madison. A glance at this webpage should convince you to clear your calendar!
Dan, Monique and Sebastian off to Zimbabwe!
My son and his family started their Zimbabwe adventure yesterday. They apparently don't have email or phone service yet. It's small consolation to be able to keep the remote control and phone on the coffee table when it means that there's no Sebastian show starting here at 8AM daily... Our months together here were so precious.
|The family at Kennywood Park|
|Monique and Sebastian getting ready to cut into his 1st birthday cake!|
I don't know how I'll make it until December, when I hope to see them again in Harare, Zimbabwe - I miss them all so much already.
Amy Berlin turns 30!
My beautiful Amy turns 30 on September 1st. She's having a big birthday bash at the Kerrville Wine and Music Festival. I'm twice as old as my daughter this year!
Big family wedding coming up!
Cousin Christina Mumphrey to marry Michael Schafer November 19th in New Orleans... Should be a wonderful celebration!
Radiation - 13 down, 2 to go..
|The mask goes on...|
|The laser lines up the spot|
Cousins cruise - I've got 8 cousins on the inland passage cruise to Alaska from August 25th- September 2nd... I'm pea-green with envy! What a great trip that will be. Still haven't seen Alaska or Hawaii...
Christina Mumphrey, Sep 3rd - Mary Grefenstette, Sep 11th - Kris Deelane, Sep 12th, Danny Donnelly and Faith Petric (96!), Sep 13th - Tod Faller, Sep 14th - Mardy Weber McCahill, Sep 21st - Kay McCahill Mumphrey, Sep 25th - Charlie Warren, Sep 27th
Thanks for reading another episode of the Fellow Travelers' Advisory ... Your letters, emails, cards and support mean more to me than I'll ever be able to adequately express. This mandatory slowdown has given me an opportunity to spend more time with my family and friends - a great gift at this time in my life... Thank you for making it possible for me with your generosity and kindness. Hoping to see some of you in DC on Labor Day, and all of you someday soon...