Friday, June 14, 2013
Obvious Steps For the Survival of the Middle Class
"Five years after the Great Recession began, the US economy appears to be rebounding a bit. But two recent bits of evidence suggest that the impact of the recession on ordinary workers may have been even worse than we thought—and that the impact of future recessions might be worse too."If the Economy Is Back, Why Are Wages Still So Low? - Mother JonesA higher minimum wage decreases inequality and stimulates demand to get the economy moving. Don't believe it? Read on!A strong safety net is critical to preserving the middle class, "and with an ever-rising share of income going to capital rather than labor, that safety net would have to be paid for to an important extent via taxes on profits and/or investment income." Not by taxing the very people who have an increasingly smaller share of the economic pie.Krugman Tears Apart Proposed Solution To Inequality Crisis - New York Times
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Walmart Hosts Star-studded Event, While Their Workers Suffer
Hugh Jackman and Tom Cruise (among others) showed up to Walmart's Annual General Meeting last week to dump praise on the company. Cruise even said that Walmart is a, “role model for how business can address some of the biggest issues facing our world, in ways big and small.” Meanwhile, Walmart has failed to pay most of its workers living wages, has largely turned a blind eye to the death of hundreds of workers in factories due to unsafe conditions, and has even been accused of discrimination based on gender.
While the celebrities gathered to help Walmart pat itself on the back, "workers and activists converged on the meeting to demand sweeping changes at the company’s U.S. stores and global factories... to change company practices on wages, safety and unions."
Here is yet another example of Walmart behaving badly. A new report alleges that a Walmart shrimp supplier has been subjecting workers to horrendous conditions, including "workers not being paid, being charged excessive fees for work permits and being forced to work in dangerous and unsanitary conditions."
Report Claims Thai Shrimp Processor Abusing Workers - Wall Street Journal
Monday, June 10, 2013
Still Waiting for Good Jobs
According to Paul Krugman, the number of Americans with jobs is still down two million from six years ago, and 7.6 percent of the workforce is unemployed. Before the recession, this would have been unacceptable, but now politicians are sitting idly by and taking no action on job creation. What exactly will it take for jobs to be a priority again?
The Big Shrug - New York Times
The title says it all. 13 laws passed by Congress this year. None on jobs.
Congress Has Passed 13 Laws This Year—None of Them Have to Do With Jobs - National Journal
Robert Reich knows one reason we can't seem to get anything done on jobs; it is because the tea party doesn't want the government to do anything. They have accomplished their goal of minimizing the role of the federal government by essentially shutting down the House (at the middle class's expense).
The Quiet Closing of Washington - Huffington Post
Monday, June 3, 2013
Workers Standing up Against Low-Wages
We all know that Walmart pays such low wages that many of its workers rely on food stamps and other government aid programs to fulfill their basic needs. But most don't realize just how much money tax payers are forced to spend to subsidize Walmart's profits. One Walmart Supercenter in Wisconsin alone costs taxpayers $900,000 annually, according to a study released by Congressional Democrats on Thursday.
There's something big happening here... Worker's are starting to stand up together for decent pay and respect on the job. Fast food workers are striking across the country, Walmart workers have kicked off their longest strike yet, and federally-contracted workers in DC have demanded that the President take action to make sure they are earning a living wage. We need to keep the momentum going!
Fast Food Workers Striking in Seattle - The Nation
Savannah's port truck driver's took a stand this past weekend against their bosses for what the drivers call unfair work conditions. "The drivers... say they are unlawfully classified as "independent contractors" by the trucking companies. They say low wages, high operating costs, "dangerously" long hours are just part of the equation drivers deal with."
Thursday, May 30, 2013
Joint Statement from the AFL-CIO and Change to Win on the attempt by Walmart and Gap to undermine worker safety in Bangladesh
Contact: Paco Fabian – Change to Win: 202-412-9969; Josh Goldstein – AFL-CIO: 202-637-5018
May 30, 2013
The AFL-CIO and ChangetoWin labor federations are deeply concerned about Walmart and Gap’s plan to move forward with a corporate-controlled, nonbinding process for adopting building safety standards in Bangladesh. While former Senators George Mitchell and Olympia Snowe are both respected for their ability to forge compromises, we cannot afford to compromise the lives of Bangladeshi workers. We are determined to get this process right, and we will express our concerns to both former Senators and ask that they not participate in undermining the ongoing and more productive process led by IndustriAll and UNI global labor federations. Forty retailers from all over the world, including H&M, PVH, and Loblaws, have agreed to a binding comprehensive safety plan for Bangladesh. No amount of bipartisan window dressing can change the fact that Walmart and the Gap have refused to take this important step. This is a matter of life or death. Quite simply, nonbinding is just not good enough.