Friday, May 17, 2013
Low-Wage Work and the Race to the Bottom
Low wage jobs are crushing the middle class and exacerbating income inequality. But workers are increasingly standing up to demand good jobs with living wages. Fast food workers, for example, have gone on strike in five cities so far!
Fast Food Strikes Hitting Fifth City: Milwaukee - The Nation
Talk about income inequality! The average Walmart employee would have to work 785 years to earn Walmart CEO Mike Duke's annual salary. This might not be new news, but it definitely needs to be spread!
Turns out the government is also getting its hands into the low-wage jobs game. "A study released in early May from the public policy group Demos states that through various forms of government funding in the private sector, nearly 2 million people earn $12 an hour or less."
Low-wage job king is actually federal government - USA Today
Monday, May 6, 2013
Why We Need Unions
"News reports tell us that more than 500 people have now died and more than 2,500 were injured in Savar, Bangladesh, while the toll in West, Texas stands at 15 dead and over 200 injured. Behind these two disasters is a common thread of greed -- and a common need for unionized resistance."
"Big garment buyers like Walmart, H&M and Gap have tremendous power to improve conditions in that market." But historically, industries haven't acted to improve working conditions until hard-working people stood in solidarity to demand better improvements. If we want changes the answer is simple: increased unionization leads to improved safety, and increased wages and rights on the job for workers.
Worker Safety in Bangladesh and Beyond - New York Times
"According to the International Labor Organization, 21 million people were victims of forced labor in 2012 alone, and there are currently more than 200 million child laborers across the world. The clothes on our back, the gold and gems around our necks and fingers, the electronic devices in our hands — all are likely the work of one or many forced and/or child laborers."
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
May Day: Our Fight Continues
Here is a look at the origins of May Day; it shows just how far we've come in the struggle for rights and respect on the job. Unfortunately, it seems many are forgetting that many hard-working Americans fought and died for the rights we enjoy today. If we continue to be complacent in the war on workers, we might soon be facing the same conditions are brothers and sisters bled to free us from.
Labor unrest is spreading around the world. Workers are getting tired of facing unsafe working conditions, having their wages stolen, and getting no respect on the job. "Laborers in Indonesia, Cambodia, the Philippines, Turkey and other countries marched and chanted en masse Wednesday. They sounded complaints about being squeezed by big business amid the surging cost of living."
May Day Rally Unites Thousands Of Low-Paid Workers Worldwide - Huffington Post
"The relative obscurity of the annual May 1 International Workers’ Day celebration in the United States is perhaps emblematic of just how marginal working class concerns have become to the country’s political order... For working America, the trend over the last few decades has been towards lower wages, fewer workplace rights, and diminished voice in the public sphere." The only way we will change this is by standing in solidarity with the working class around the glove and demand that action be taken.
Monday, April 29, 2013
Who is responsible for negligence?
The recent collapse of a garment factory in Bangladesh that killed at least 340 workers is a chilling example of how workers around the world are facing shocking abuses from their employers. “I wouldn’t call it an accident,” the government’s information minister, Hasanul Haque Inu, told Bangladeshi journalists. “I would say it’s a murder.”
Bangladeshis Burn Factories to Protest Unsafe Conditions - New York Times
"During the last 30 years, the U.S. has been moving millions of jobs overseas, with no end in sight as long as there is cheap labor elsewhere and American firms bear no legal responsibility for what happens in their offshore suppliers’ factories...Consumers and shareholders should be a part of the answer to this problem. But American consumers have not exercised significant bargaining power with American corporations since the successful California grape and iceberg lettuce boycotts of the 1960s." It's time we stand in solidarity with workers around the world to make changes.
Consumers’ Role in Labor Conditions - New York Times
These tragedies aren't only happening half way across the world. Just look at the Texas fertilizer plant explosion that left so much carnage in its wake. "Over the years, though, the media have not kept up Cronkite’s dogged reporting on workplace safety — or on workers at all. This decline in coverage has created an environment in which companies may feel as if they can get away with massive safety violations because they will face little scrutiny from the media and the public."
Friday, April 26, 2013
Act Now to Reinstate Javier Rodriguez
From our friends at Warehouse Workers United. Please help them and take action now!
Javier Rodriguez worked as a forklift driver inside a critical Walmart-contracted warehouse in Southern California until he was fired yesterday.
Javier and his coworkers labor moving Walmart merchandise for low wages. Most warehouse workers are temporary employees with no benefits, no guaranteed hours and no sick days. They often encounter pollutants, high temperatures, little ventilation and intense retaliation if they complain about the conditions. Serious injuries on the job are common.
Last fall, Javier and his coworkers went on strike to protest retaliation they experienced when speaking up about unsafe working conditions. They launched a 50-mile pilgrimage from the dusty shadows of Southern California’s Inland Empire to Downtown Los Angeles.
After dismissing workers’ claims about unsafe working conditions in the fall, Walmart told the Wall Street Journal it would step up monitoring of its domestic warehouses. Workers have seen no changes and now one of the most outspoken leaders has been fired.
Please take action now. We will deliver this petition to Walmart April 29.