Monday, September 9, 2013
Biggest Wal-Mart Protest Since Black Friday
Last week, Wal-Mart workers intensified actions nationwide by protesting in 15 cities after Wal-Mart failed to reinstate illegally fired Wal-Mart Strikers and publicly commit to a living wage by Labor Day. A protester and resident of Northeast D.C., Antoinette Norwood said, “As much money as Wal-Mart makes, it can afford to pay more,” said the retired security worker. “Living on $8.50 in the District is hard living; two people making $8.50 can’t even pay rent.”
With Wal-Mart workers barely scraping by at an average of $8.80 an hour while top executives are making millions, you have to ask yourself, why would a company let their workers struggle to pay for basic needs? Last week, the nationwide protests demanded Wal-Mart to pay their employees at least $12.50 an hour or $25,000 a year. During the New York City protests, "at least three current or former Wal-Mart employees were arrested for disorderly conduct as they attempted to deliver a petition to the office of Wal-Mart director Chris Williams," a CEO board member of New York-based investment bank Williams Capital Management Trust.
Friday, September 6, 2013
What Should You Be Earning?
From the Economic Policy Institute Blog
By Elise Gould
In honor of Labor Day, we made a little tool—based on our project inequality.is—that shows how much you would be making if wages had kept pace with productivity, a key indicator of an economy working for all.
Economic inequality is a real and growing problem in America. Since the 1979, workers are working more, making more goods, and not reaping the rewards of their increased productivity. Instead, CEOs and executives—the top 1% of earners—now take home 20% of the nation’s income.
But it doesn’t have to be like this. Growing inequality isn’t an inevitability—it was created. It’s the result of intentional policy decisions on taxes, trade, labor, and financial regulation. But that’s the good news: if inequality is not inevitable, then it can be fixed.
Take a look, and share with your friends. And remember that American workers should be earning more than we are. To do something about it, visit inequality.is.
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Labor Then, and Labor Now
A half-century ago, when workers were calling on Congress to raise the minimum wage, civil rights leader Bayard Rustin said “so that men may live in dignity." President Obama has recognized the growing wage gap. His proposal to increase minimum wage to a measly $9 an hour by 2016 and assertions that economic growth will solve the low-wage problem have left workers with uncertainty.
Labor, Then and Now - New York Times
The new labor movement is getting stronger, evidenced by the fast-food worker protests and other low wage worker activities. A new National Employment Law Project (NELP) report suggests using “federal contracts, concessions and subsidies as leverage toward a higher-wage economy. The labor movement has largely been to utilize and change laws for better wages and working conditions. "This Labor Day could be remembered as the moment when that idea rose again."
A comeback for labor - Washington Post
"We strongly support the courageous fast food workers who held strikes last week in cities across the United States to demand wages that can support their families," Bob King, President of the United Automobile Workers said."Wages are stagnant even though worker productivity has risen by 23 percent since 2000."
All low-wage workers need a big pay raise (EDITORIAL) - Detroit News
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Dr. King's Unfulfilled Dream
Today, on the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, we reflect on the fact that leaders like Dr. King, A. Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin considered good jobss and the right to join a union as essential elements to realizing racial justice. After all, "It was commonly asked at the time, 'what good would it do to integrate the lunch counter, if we don't have the money to buy a hamburger?'" Labor rights SHOULD be a civil right.
Why Labor Rights Should Be a Civil Right - USA Today
"The state of economic opportunity today is a far cry from Dr. King's vision. Increasingly, American workers are struggling to make ends meet. Each day they are forced to make impossible choices between feeding their families and keeping the lights on, paying for gas or buying a coat." We can start making Dr. King's dream a reality by making sure the nearly two million federally-contracted workers in the U.S. receive a living wage!
Will President Obama address economic inequality in his speech today? There isn't a more pressing matter for the long-term well being of our country and our people. It's time to act Mr. President.
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Joint Statement by Richard L. Trumka (AFL-CIO) and Joe Hansen (ChangetoWin) on the Walmart and GAP Bangladesh Safety Alliance: Weak and Worthless
July 10, 2013
The so-called Global Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, announced today by Walmart, Gap and the Bipartisan Policy Center, was developed without consultation with workers or their representatives and is yet another “voluntary” scheme with no meaningful enforcement mechanisms. Companies that sign onto the alliance but fail to meet a commitment face no adverse consequences beyond expulsion from the scheme. Instead, workers will continue to pay.
In stark contrast, more than 75 corporations from 15 countries, including the United States, have signed the binding Accord on Fire and Building Safety negotiated with Bangladeshi and international unions. The Accord has rules to make real improvements in the safety of garment workers. Workers, unions and worker rights organizations negotiated this agreement with employers and integrated worker safety efforts by governments and the International Labor Organization (ILO). The AFL-CIO and Change to Win, along with global unions IndustriAll and UNI and numerous organizations representing Bangladeshi workers, also endorse it. The AFL-CIO and Change to Win reject the Walmart/GAP plan as a way to avoid accountability, limit costs and silence workers and their representatives.
Rather than sign the binding Accord, Walmart and Gap are pushing a weak and worthless plan that avoids enforceable commitments. The Bipartisan Policy Center, which has clear financial and political connections to Walmart, is releasing the document, which is the product of a closed process and has been signed only by the same corporations that produced it.
The Accord departs from the broken system of voluntary corporate responsibility in supply chains that has so often failed to protect workers. It makes a clear commitment to worker safety and rights, and to transparency. It expresses values that most countries uphold.