Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Monday, December 11

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr

The Mechanics
« Greg Hinz: Huberman Is Pretty Good WITH TRANSIT Teachers, Parents, Students Out in Force »

Labor & Worker Rights Wed Jan 28 2009

EFCA In Chicago

NPR's Chip Mitchell looks at the potential impact of the Employee Free Choice Act, a bill that would finally protect American workers' right to organize -- a right defined as protected by the United Nations, but which is practically lacking in this country.

Ask a union organizer named Dave Webster what he thinks of the Employee Free Choice Act, and he'll take you here to Chicago's South Side.

WEBSTER: Right now we're standing in front of the Comcast location in the historic Pullman district. We're at the East Gate, where the majority of the workers pull out in the morning after coming in to get their trucks and tools and stuff.

Webster works for Local 21 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Last year the union targeted the building's 200 technicians, warehouse workers and payment agents.

WEBSTER: We spent many hours here, handing out leaflets, talking to workers...

...and convincing many of them to sign cards saying they wanted the union to negotiate their wages, benefits and work conditions.

Comcast didn't recognize the union. That led the National Labor Relations Board to hold an election to see what the workers wanted. The balloting didn't happen for almost six weeks. Webster says the company took advantage of that lag.

WEBSTER: Comcast would plant supervisors to stand out here and watch which workers were taking the flyers, which workers were talking to organizers and basically scare them with their job so that they wouldn't talk to union organizers.

The union lost the election by 20 votes. Comcast declined to speak with WBEZ about the union's accusations.

The Chicago Federation of Labor and the Illinois AFL-CIO are hosting a rally in support of this basic human right.

GB store
GB store


Parents Still Steaming, but About More Than Just Boilers

By Phil Huckelberry / 2 Comments

It's now been 11 days since the carbon monoxide leak which sent over 80 Prussing Elementary School students and staff to the hospital. While officials from Chicago Public Schools have partially answered some questions, and CPS CEO Forrest Claypool has informed that he will be visiting the school to field more questions on Nov. 16, many parents remain irate at the CPS response to date. More...


Substance, Not Style, the Source of Rahm's Woes

By Ramsin Canon / 2 Comments

It's not surprising that some of Mayor Emanuel's sympathizers and supporters are confusing people's substantive disputes with the mayor as the effect of poor marketing on his part. It's exactly this insular worldview that has gotten the mayor in hot... More...

Special Series

Classroom Mechanics Oral History Project
GB store

About Mechanics

Mechanics is the politics section of Gapers Block, reflecting the diversity of viewpoints and beliefs of Chicagoans and Illinoisans. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Mike Ewing,
Mechanics staff inbox:



 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15