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SpaceX Sued for Laying Off 400 Workers Without Proper Notice or Wages

By Natasha Tiku - Valley Wag, August 8th, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

On Monday former employees of SpaceX, Elon Musk's own private NASA, filed a proposed class action lawsuit. The complaint alleges that SpaceX "ordered the mass layoffs of between 200 and 400 workers" in late July without properly notifying them or paying the wages they were owed.

Law360 reports:

"Plaintiffs and other similarly situated employees also seek recovery of waiting time penalties as a result of defendants' failure to pay employees all wages due and owing at the time of their termination," the complaint says.

The plaintiffs allege that SpaceX's decision was "willful," according to the legal news site:

Among the fired workers were plaintiffs Bobby R. Lee and Bron Gatling, who worked as structural technicians in the company's Hawthorne facility. They claimed SpaceX's failure to pay the fired employees all wages earned before termination in accordance with the California Labor Code was willful.

SpaceX is based in Hawthorne, California, where those named plaintiffs worked. The company was recently offered $15 million in incentives to build a new launch facility in Texas. I have reached out to SpaceX and will update the post if I hear back.

Update: Here is a copy of the complaint.

Complaint Against SpaceX for Lost Wages after Mass Layoffs

Capital Blight - Aristocracy Forever

By x344543 - June 12, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

When the union leaders' payoffs by the bosses has begun,
There will be no labor trouble anywhere beneath the sun,
For the AFL trade unions and the management are one,
The union keeps us down.

Chorus
Aristocracy forever,
Aristocracy forever,
Aristocracy forever,

--lyrics excerpted from Aristocracy Forever, by Judi Bari

It happens far too often. Big corporate industrial polluters rape and pillage the Earth, whether by tar sands mining, fracking, mountaintop coal mining, offshore oil drilling, clearcut logging, and more. What's more, much of what they extract they export elsewhere, choosing to remove even the economic benefits of local production from the affected community. These corporations claim to be "good neighbors", but they suck up all the wealth (in the form of profits), and they outsource the costs to the community. And the workers who actually do the labor to produce all of this wealth? Not only are they not paid the full value of their labor, they're often the first to bear the brunt of the toxic pollution and chemical poisoning these companies create in their wake.

It's no wonder that time and time again we witness communities organizing and mobilizing opposition to this state of affairs, often assisted by environmental organizations of various types. What's curious, however, is how often the unions (if the workers in these facilities are fortunate enough to have union representation) defend the companies and even promote the companies' messages--even though it's ultimately not in the workers' interest to do so.

Who Is Behind the National Right to Work Committee and Its Anti-Union Crusade?

By Jay Riestenberg and Mary Bottari - PR Watch, June 3, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

As the U.S. Supreme Court's 2014 session comes to a close, one of the major cases left for a decision is Harris vs. Quinn,which could effect millions of public sector workers in the United States.

The case originates in Illinois, where home health care workers have been successfully organized by public sector unions. Now, a small group of these workers, represented by lawyers from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, have sued and their lawyers contend that the agency fees, or the fair share dues that even non-union members of a bargaining unit are required to pay to unions that bargain for higher wages on their behalf, violate the First Amendment. Agency fees are barred in so-called "right to work" states, which have much less unionization and lower wages and benefits.

Joel Rogers, a professor of law and sociology at the University of Wisconsin, calls it "the most important labor law case the court has considered in decades." This is because when the Supreme Court decided to take on the case, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation dramatically expanded the scope of the case beyond the home health care workers to include all public sector workers, from teachers and firefighters to sanitation workers to librarians. If the court follows National Right to Work's lead, every state in the country would essentially turn into an anti-union "right to work" state, which would be a significant blow to public sector unions' collective bargaining efforts and also complicate thousands of existing contracts between organized workers and municipalities, cities, counties, and states across the country.

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation (NRTWLDF) is the 501(c)(3) arm of the National Right to Work Committee (NRTWC), a 501(c)(4) organization. Additionally, the National Institute for Labor Relations Research is an affiliated anti-union research shop. Founded nearly 60 years ago, the NRTWC has been a national leader in the effort to destroy public and private sector unions. The groups have increased their funding and staffing in recent years. In 2012, the three groups combined reported over $25 million in revenue, making them a powerful instrument of the corporate and ideological interests that want to keep wages low and silence the voice of organized labor in the political arena.

The Kochs and Clean Energy Jobs

By staff - International Forum on Globalization, October 2012

This IFG Special Report, “The Kochs and Clean Energy Jobs,” documents spending by the world’s two biggest billionaires intent on dealing a deathblow to green energy jobs and a low-carbon future.

IFG’s report reveals that the Kochs are today’s single largest funder of anti-environment and anti-worker activities, including:At least $643M in spending to block or rollback legal protections for the clean air, clean energy, clean water, and other environmental issues through sketchy scientific research, lobbying lawmakers, contributing to electoral candidates’ campaigns, media manipulation etc.At least $12M in spending to weaken the labor movement’s power through attacking collective bargaining rights, weakening worker protections, and stopping the financing for labor unions’ political activities.

Read the report (PDF).

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