Connect with us

Politics

Justices Revive ex-UPS Worker’s Pregnancy Bias Lawsuit

Published

on

In this Dec. 3, 2014 file photo, Peggy Young, a Virginia woman who lost her UPS job because she became pregnant, speaks to reporters outside the Supreme Court in Washington. The Supreme Court is giving the former UPS driver another chance to prove her claim of discrimination after the company did not offer her lighter duty when she was pregnant. The justices on Wednesday sided with former driver Peggy Young in throwing out lower court rulings that rejected Young’s lawsuit. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

In this Dec. 3, 2014 file photo, Peggy Young, a Virginia woman who lost her UPS job because she became pregnant, speaks to reporters outside the Supreme Court in Washington. The Supreme Court is giving the former UPS driver another chance to prove her claim of discrimination after the company did not offer her lighter duty when she was pregnant. The justices on Wednesday sided with former driver Peggy Young in throwing out lower court rulings that rejected Young’s lawsuit. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court gave a former UPS driver another chance Wednesday to prove her claim of discrimination after the company did not offer her lighter duty when she was pregnant.

The justices on Wednesday sided 6-3 with former driver Peggy Young in throwing out lower court rulings that rejected her lawsuit.

The case concerned employers’ responsibilities under the 37-year-old Pregnancy Discrimination Act. Atlanta-based UPS Inc. maintained that it obeyed the law because it provided light-work duty only in limited situations and did not single out pregnant women.

But in ordering lower courts to look again at Young’s claim, Justice Stephen Breyer said for the court that one consideration should be, “Why, when the employer accommodated so many, could it not accommodate pregnant women as well?”

UPS said it did not provide light-duty work to any employees unless they were injured on the job, had a condition that was covered by the Americans With Disabilities Act or lost their federal certificate to drive a commercial vehicle.

Justice Antonin Scalia said in dissent that the majority waved “the Supreme Wand” to arrive at the outcome it preferred. Scalia said the law “does not prohibit denying pregnant women accommodations, or any other benefit for that matter, on the basis of an evenhanded policy.” Justices Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas joined the dissent.

The outcome reflects a “middle ground” that Justice Elena Kagan suggested during arguments in early December. Courts must now re-examine Young’s case with a more accepting view of the discrimination claim. UPS and other employers facing similar suits still are able to argue their policies were legal because they were based on seniority or some other acceptable reason.

UPS has since changed its policy and now says it will try to accommodate pregnant workers. Nine states also have adopted laws directing employers to do so.

In recent months, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has updated guidance to employers to make clear that they should accommodate people in Young’s situation. Yet the U.S. Postal Service said it has made no change in policy and maintains the practice that UPS has now abandoned.

Pregnant workers in situations similar to Young’s also may have additional protections under 2008 amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act. Young’s pregnancy occurred before Congress changed the disabilities law.

Women’s rights groups and Young’s lawyers praised the decision. “We think it’s a big win for Peggy Young. We think it’s a big win for pregnant workers around the country,” said Samuel Bagenstos, Young’s lawyer at the Supreme Court.

UPS spokeswoman Susan Rosenberg said the court did not embrace Young’s argument that UPS’ policy was discriminatory and instead ordered lower court review under a standard that neither side argued for at the Supreme Court.

“We are confident that those courts will find that UPS did not discriminate against Ms. Young under this newly announced standard,” Rosenberg said.

Young’s dispute with UPS arose after she became pregnant through in-vitro fertilization and gave her supervisor a doctor’s note recommending that she not lift packages heavier than 20 pounds. Young, now 43, said she dealt almost exclusively with overnight letters, but UPS said its drivers must be able to lift packages weighing up to 70 pounds. She returned to work two months after her daughter, Triniti, was born. Young left the company in 2009.

The Virginia woman lost two rounds in lower courts. Triniti is now 7.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Activism

COMMENTARY: The Big Truth: The Big Problem is the Big Lie

Many if not most Republican officials know that Trump’s Big Lie is not true. But they are cynical and corrupt enough to use it to justify new voter suppression laws and other schemes to overturn the will of the voters. Far-right activists have harassed and threatened election officials across the country. And they are trying to get elected to state and local positions that will give them the power to oversee future elections.

Published

on

By Ben Jealous, President of People For the American Way

It’s been a year since a mob of Trumpists violently attacked the U.S. Capitol. They wanted to stop Congress from affirming President Joe Biden’s victory. Some of them were out for blood. All of them were motivated by the former president’s Big Lie that he won the election but that his victory was stolen from him and his supporters.

That lie has been debunked by journalists and election officials — both Republicans and Democrats. It has been rejected by courts. But it has never been abandoned by Trump or his right-wing allies. And so, one year after it fueled an attack on Congress and the Constitution, the Big Lie is still a big threat to our democracy.

The Big Lie causes big harms in lots of ways by fueling anger and mistrust about our elections among Trump’s base.

Many if not most Republican officials know that Trump’s Big Lie is not true. But they are cynical and corrupt enough to use it to justify new voter suppression laws and other schemes to overturn the will of the voters.

Far-right activists have harassed and threatened election officials across the country. And they are trying to get elected to state and local positions that will give them the power to oversee future elections.

Donald Trump would love to go into the 2024 elections knowing that he has loyal Trumpists in place to reject or “find” as many votes as he needs to declare victory. That’s why Trump has endorsed the effort by Rep. Jody Hice to replace Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

Raffensperger refused to embrace the Big Lie, stood up to Trump’s bullying, and respected the will of the voters. Hice has promoted the Big Lie. That’s the kind of guy Trump wants deciding which votes to count — and not count — in 2024.

Trump has endorsed other secretary of state candidates, and his political henchman Steve Bannon in encouraging Trumpists to try to replace election officials at the local level.

Meanwhile, state legislators are making it easier for partisan Republicans in state legislatures to mess with vote counting by taking control from local officials — and even to simply override the will of the voters.

That is why we urgently need new federal voting rights legislation — and why we need senators and President Biden to work together to overcome “states’ rights” Republicans and their use of filibuster rules to block the Freedom to Vote Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

Both pieces of legislation take on both voter suppression and election subversion. The John Lewis Act would make it illegal for a public official to “willfully fail or refuse to certify” an election victory by the candidate who gets the most votes.

The Freedom to Vote Act only allows local election administrators to be removed by the state if they have a legitimate cause to do so.

As Sen. Raphael Warnock said on Jan. 4, “Our democracy is in peril and time is running out.”

“This is a moral moment,” Sen. Warnock said. Indeed, it is.

There’s also another moral duty facing our elected leaders. And that’s finding out the truth about the Capitol insurrection and those who incited it, planned it, facilitated it, and have since tried to downplay or cover-up that assault on our democracy.

Criminals need to be held accountable for their crimes — and not just those who smashed windows and attacked Capitol police.

Republicans love to talk tough about the rule of law, but now many of them are resisting the rule of law by trying to undermine and obstruct the House committee investigating the insurrection. And they’re trying to rewrite history, downplaying the violence and portraying its perpetrators as patriots.

The problem for them is that the violent reality of that day has been well documented. The same is true for other casualties of the Big Lie, including harassment and threats against election officials.

The Big Lie and all those who have spread it have created a dangerous reality in which millions of Americans falsely believe that President Joe Biden’s election was illegitimate and that Donald Trump should still be our president.

And that makes them more willing to determine the outcome of elections through violence or the raw exercise of power.

In the year ahead, we need to defend democracy by answering the Big Lie with the truth, and by acting to defend our democracy at the ballot box.

Ben Jealous serves as president of People For the American Way and Professor of Practice in the Africana Studies Department at the University of Pennsylvania where he teaches leadership.

Continue Reading

Community

Chicago Students Return to School After Union Dispute Over COVID Safety Protocol

Chicago teachers had taken a work action, electing to temporarily teach remotely from home, due to concerns over lack of PPE, a regular testing and vaccination program for students, and related concerns. Rather than allow students to receive instruction remotely, however, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and CPS administration cancelled school entirely starting last Thursday. Students return to classrooms in-person on Wednesday.

Published

on

Despite a return to in-person instruction, some CPS parents say they will continue to keep their kids home from school during the surge due to COVID fears.
Despite a return to in-person instruction, some CPS parents say they will continue to keep their kids home from school during the surge due to COVID fears.

By Brandon Patterson

Chicago Public School students will return to in-person learning on Wednesday following five days of cancelled classes after the CPS administration and the teachers’ union reached a deal on COVID safety precautions in schools.

Chicago teachers had taken a work action, electing to temporarily teach remotely from home, due to concerns over lack of PPE, a regular testing and vaccination program for students, and related concerns. Rather than allow students to receive instruction remotely, however, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and CPS administration cancelled school entirely starting last Thursday. Students return to classrooms in-person on Wednesday.

The latest work action marked the second since Lightfoot took office in 2019, when the Chicago Teachers’ Union, which has earned a reputation for using its power to bargain for improved conditions for CPS students, went on strike for school improvements, including putting a nurse in every school, more social workers, and reduced class sizes, as well as increased pay.

This time, CTU members were fighting to push the city to address what it considered inadequate COVID safety protocol amid the post-holiday COVID surge.

Among the chief demands, teachers wanted N-95 masks distributed to all students, not just teachers, and an opt-out COVID testing program, rather than a test-in program, as proposed by CPS administration, meaning that all CPS students would be tested for COVID 19 by default unless their parents opted them out of the program, and an in-school contract tracing system.

CTU had wanted schools to be remote for the first two weeks of January while the district set up the protocol, but Lightfoot and CPS administration insisted on an immediate return to in-person, even other cities, including Los Angeles, have gone remote to start the year off.

Chicago teachers cited the greater vulnerability of CPS students and families to COVID-19 as cause for their call. About 90% of CPS students are Black or Latinx – populations that are twice and three times as likely to die from COVID-19 compared to white people – and most are low-income.

Vaccination rates among students at some of the city’s public schools on the South and West sides are also incredibly low. For example, at Manley Career Academy High School on the West Side, just 10% of students are fully vaccinated, compared to 83% of students at Lane Tech High School on the North Side, according to local news outlet Block Club Chicago.

Many CPS students also live in multi-generational households, CTU President Jesse Sharkey noted in an interview on CNN on Monday, and risk taking the virus home to older relatives. And despite a return to in-person instruction, some CPS parents say they will continue to keep their kids home from school during the surge due to COVID fears.

“The fact that the majority of our Black and Latinx students have seen relatives and neighbors die from COVID at two and three times the rates, respectively, of white families is nothing short of a national tragedy,” said Chicago teacher Jackson Potter in an op-ed in the Chicago Sun Times last week. “In order to create the infrastructure and mitigation necessary to curb the spread of COVID in CPS, we need clear and appropriate measures.”

This story was written using reporting from Block Club Chicago and the Chicago Sun Times.

Continue Reading

Activism

COMMENTARY: Schools and streets have been named after Martin Luther King Jr. 

Those who misrepresent King and Critical Race Theory are illogical, and they only reveal their fear of him. There is no need to fear this American Black preacher who preached nonviolence and love. King was a peaceful warrior who was radically obedient to Jesus, who taught us to love even our enemies.

Published

on

Striking members of Memphis Local 1733 hold signs whose slogan symbolized the sanitation workers’ 1968 campaign. (Via Walter P. Reuther Library/Wayne State University)
Striking members of Memphis Local 1733 hold signs whose slogan symbolized the sanitation workers’ 1968 campaign. (Via Walter P. Reuther Library/Wayne State University)

By Dr. J. Alfred Smith Sr. | Baptist News Global

J. Alfred Smith Sr.

J. Alfred Smith Sr.

Churches and libraries are named after him. He is the only African American and the only American clergy honored with a national holiday. In many countries around the world, he is numbered with global heroes like Mother Teresa and Nelson Mandela.

Some discredited him by calling him a communist, a detractor and troublemaker. Sophisticated ideological historians are deconstructing his history in order to distort the powerful truth of his ministry. Those who pass laws against teaching Critical Race Theory are making sure that present and coming generations will not learn as Professor Cornel West said, that King’s universal religious commitments led him to internationalize the American ideals of democracy, freedom and equality.

Those who misrepresent King and Critical Race Theory are illogical, and they only reveal their fear of him. There is no need to fear this American Black preacher who preached nonviolence and love. King was a peaceful warrior who was radically obedient to Jesus, who taught us to love even our enemies.

“There is no need to fear this American Black preacher who preached non-violence and love.”

Forgive us, Lord, for our ignorance

Forgive us, Lord, for reducing Martin Luther King to being only a civil rights leader. Forgive us, Lord, for our ignorance. All many people know about him is that he had a dream. He was more than a dreamer. Forgive us for ignoring your calling of Martin Luther King as a minister with good news for a bad news world.

In keeping with Luke 4:18-19, King — like Jesus — had a deep commitment to the poor, pushed down, left out, disrespected Black sanitation workers of Memphis. He addressed, to the displeasure of the white power structure, the basic constitutionally guaranteed rights of the Black population — equitable education, decent housing, jobs that paid living wages, and equal justice in the courts. The sanitation workers had lost their lives working long hours for dirt-poor pay with unsafe trucks that had taken the lives of several workers.

The workers had a strike with the support of many in the community. They carried signs that said, “I AM A MAN!” Some critics of King did not understand his identification with the cause of sanitation workers.

On March 28, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. and Ralph Abernathy, right, lead a march on behalf of striking Memphis sanitation workers. (AP Photo/The Commercial Appeal, Sam Melhorn)

On March 28, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. and Ralph Abernathy, right, lead a march on behalf of striking Memphis sanitation workers. (AP Photo/The Commercial Appeal, Sam Melhorn)

Professor Luther D. Ivory states in Toward a Theology of Radical Involvement that King used the teaching of Imago Dei to counter the notion of Black inferiority. Everyone irrespective of race, gender, education or economic status is to be valued and treated with respect and dignity. Blacks needed this message to overcome feelings of shame, inferiority and self-hatred caused by the absurdities of racism.

With this understanding, the foundation is built for Blacks and whites to live together in the beloved community. Living in the beloved community calls for Blacks and whites to work together to transform existing injustices in institutions and public life.

Forgive us, Lord, for our distorted gospel

Martin Luther King speaks to an overflow crowd at a mass meeting at Holt Street Baptist Church in Memphis. (AP Photo/Gene Herrick)

Martin Luther King speaks to an overflow crowd at a mass meeting at Holt Street Baptist Church in Memphis. (AP Photo/Gene Herrick)

Lord, forgive American Christians — Black and white — for their middle-class captivity with a distorted view of the gospel. This understanding of the gospel was concerned about life after death and not life after birth, addressing only the sweet by and by while ignoring the nasty now and now. This gospel condemns the personal sins of the individuals while ignoring corporate and institutional evils. This gospel refused to oppose chemical and nuclear waste dumps that are built on the edge of communities where the poor and politically powerless live.

In his book Stride Toward Freedom, King corrects the distorted view of the gospel saying: “The gospel deals with the whole man, not only his soul, but his body; not only his spiritual well-being, but his material well-being. … Any religion which professes to be concerned about the souls of men and is not concerned about the conditions that scar the soul is a spiritually moribund religion only waiting for the day to be buried.”

Forgive us, Lord, for our white nationalism

Forgive America, Lord, for her ethnocentrism and white nationalism that justifies her behavior whether it is right or wrong. American arrogance has been promoted by persons who have held the highest leadership positions in the nation. America has promoted herself as being No. 1 among the wealthy nations of the world.

In “A Lament for Humanity” on Humans Rights Day 2021, pastor, author and judge Wendell Griffen wrote, “The world’s richest 1% have more than twice as much wealth as 6.9 billion people. Nearly half the world’s population of 3.4 billion people lives on less than $5.50 per day. Every year, 100 million people are pushed into poverty because they must pay out-of-pocket for health care. Currently 258 million children (one out of five) will not be allowed to attend school.”

Pastor Griffen adds: “And it came to pass that humanity appears to have cursed itself and the world by that greed, lust for power, inequality and bigotry that make community seem like a global fantasy instead of a human imperative.”

The inequality is not accidental; it is deliberative, calculated and purposeful.

Forgive us, Lord, for we were warned by King in his last book, Where Do We Go from Here? He wrote, “We have inherited a large house, a great world house in which we have to learn to live together, Black and white, Easterner and Westerner, Gentile and Jew, Catholic and Protestant, Muslim and Hindu. A family unduly separated in ideas, culture and interest, who because we can never live apart, must somehow learn to live with each other in peace.”

Forgive us, Lord, for our violence

Martin Luther King delivers a sermon on May 13, 1956, in Montgomery, Ala. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Martin Luther King delivers a sermon on May 13, 1956, in Montgomery, Ala. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Forgive us, Lord, for our worship of guns. There are more guns in America than people. Our money says “In God We Trust” but there are 121 firearms for every 100 residents. And 75% of homicides are related to guns. America leads all other nations in gun deaths. Our children have fears of being killed in school by a student. Black Christians in churches and Jews in synagogues have been killed while worshipping. Our shopping centers have had mass killings.

On Jan. 6, 2021, the U.S. Capitol was invaded by persons with guns attempting to stop the counting of the Electoral College votes. The reports say the lives of the vice president and the Speaker of the House were marked for death.

Guns are used to settle differences. The United States is the No. 1 seller of arms to the countries of the world. Forgive us, Lord, for giving deaf ears to the apostle of nonviolence. He preached against what he called the triplets of evil: war, poverty and racism. It was he who said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

A prayer for hope

May those of us who have become discouraged because racism seems to be on the increase find hope. May those of us who have become discouraged because white supremacy and white nationalism are boldly obtaining a stronger foothold in state and national governments find hope. May those of us who have become discouraged because voting rights for which people shed their blood so we could vote are now being stolen, placing democracy in jeopardy find hope.

Forgive us, Lord, if we forget how Martin Luther King told us in his very last speech that we would face difficult days. Those days are here.

Two months before his assassination on April 4, 1968, he spoke powerful words of hope. We must not forget them. He said, “We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope.”

Yes, the immediate future may not look promising. Negative news about climate change may haunt us. Young college graduates are uncertain about career opportunities. The COVID-19 virus and its mutations trouble us. These finite disappointments multiply geometrically, but we must not lose infinite hope.

I am not speaking of blind hope but an infinite hope that presses forward believing that if we do our part, our way-maker God, who brought us through the Middle Passage, the horror of runaway slaves chased by bloodhounds and beaten with many stripes if caught, the sexual abuse of the slave woman bearing a mulatto child for the slave owner, and the way-maker God of liberation who helped us survive the terrorism of the Ku Klux Klan and inspired our preachers to preach on after their churches were burned and to rebuild them back bigger — that this God will inspire us and create in us the power to keep the dream alive.

Not the God of the slave master’s preacher who told us not to steal the master’s chickens when our babies were crying from hunger, but the God of infinite hope, the God who creates ex nihilo, who makes a way out of no way. The way-maker God inspires us and creates in us the power to keep the dream of Martin Luther King alive.

Dante Stewart reminds us how Pastor James Bevel spoke about infinite hope: “There is a false rumor around our leader’s death. Martin Luther King is not our leader. Our leader is the man who led Moses out of Egypt. Our leader is the one who went with Daniel in the lion’s den. Our leader is the man who walked out of the grave on Easter morning. Our leader never sleeps nor slumbers. He cannot be put in jail. Our leader is still on the case. Our leader is not dead. One of the prophets died. We will not stop because of that.”

Alfred Smith served four decades as pastor of Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland, Calif. Now pastor emeritus, he is a member of the American Baptist Churches in the USA and dually aligned with the Progressive National Baptist Convention, where he served as the organization’s 12th president.

Continue Reading

CHECK OUT THE LATEST ISSUE OF THE OAKLAND POST

ADVERTISEMENT

WORK FROM HOME

Home-based business with potential monthly income of $10K+ per month. A proven training system and website provided to maximize business effectiveness. Perfect job to earn side and primary income. Contact Lynne for more details: Lynne4npusa@gmail.com 800-334-0540

Facebook

Trending