Showing posts with label Labor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Labor. Show all posts

Monday, March 1, 2021

Yes, It Matters Who Wins Elections in This Country

 


It is pretty shocking to see that the President of the United States has made a pro-labor pronouncement in the media. It shouldn't be, but it is:

In a statement aimed at Amazon, US President Joe Biden has warned companies against intimidating staff considering joining a labour union.

Mr Biden said "the choice to join a union should be up to the workers - full stop".

His remarks come in the middle of a historic vote in Alabama, where Amazon warehouse workers are deciding whether to join a union.

It is the first such vote Amazon has faced in the US since 2014.

It follows months of criticism of the e-commerce giant for falling short of coronavirus safety precautions, while making high demands on workers during the pandemic, when its business has boomed.

In his video remarks, Mr Biden did not explicitly back the union effort, nor did he mention Amazon by name. However, he said the White House was committed to the right to collectively organise.

Amazon definitely needs to organize itself into a union, one to protect rank and file employees on the website side and one to protect the rights of the workers who process, ship, and deliver the items ordered on the site. I mean, you could break that down even further, but it it pretty clear that there are a lot of workers being exploited after being displaced from other areas of the economy. 

Having a pro-labor president matters. It matters in terms of the quality of life that millions of Americans are hoping to have in the future. It matters for the future of Obamacare in terms of providing health insurance to Americans. And it matters as a function of raising the minimum wage, providing safety guarantees for workers, and for rolling back decades of anti-labor policies. That is not to say that the Obama Era wasn't pro-labor or anything like that. Eight years of Bush and four years of Trump hurt so many people that it would have been wonderful to see the Obama Era as one where things could have been accomplished. Republican obstructionism in Congress saw that very little got done.

Supporting the formation of unions and supporting labor in this country should deliver votes for Democrats. Here's hoping that the people who get raises and do better turn around and vote Democratic from here on in. We have to lift more and more people out of poverty and we have to support the rights of workers. We have to do better.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Raise the Minimum Wage


McDonald's needs to answer for having a "secret intelligence service" after we raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour:

For years, McDonald's has internally labeled activists and employees working with the Fight for $15 campaign a security threat and has spied on them, Motherboard has learned. McDonald's says that this work is designed to identify protests that "could put crew and customer safety at risk."

The fast food giant's secretive intelligence unit has monitored its own workers’ activities with the movement, which seeks to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour, including by using social media monitoring tools, according to two sources who worked at McDonald's who had direct knowledge of the surveillance and leaked documents that explain the surveillance strategy and tactics. A team of intelligence analysts in the Chicago and London offices keep an eye on the activities of Fight for $15 labor organizers across the world, figure out which McDonald's workers are active in the movement, and who they are working with to organize strikes, protests, or attempt to form unions. 

No McDonald's workers are currently unionized, but many of them are politically involved with Fight for $15, which has organized fast food worker strikes and protests since 2012 and is affiliated with one of the country's largest unions. To date, McDonald's has refused to bargain with workers who the company says aren't its employees because they work for franchises. 

The surveillance is particularly notable given the current political battle being fought over a $15 minimum wage, which has been proposed in Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package. An increase in the minimum wage is broadly popular nationally with both Republican and Democratic voters (and two-thirds of Americans support raising it to $15), but the proposal has become a sticking point in the stimulus legislation: West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin—a critical vote in the Senate—has said he does not favor a $15 minimum wage. The federal minimum wage has been stuck at $7.25 an hour for more than 10 years.

What is depressing is that all of the large chains probably have the same anti-labor, anti-raising the minimum wage mentality that needs to be addressed by ensuring that workers have the chance to organize. You can't just raise wages without raising the quality of the job itself. You do that by addressing who gets insurance benefits, paid time off, and all of the other things that collective bargaining can guarantee for people who have never had these things. That alone should motivate people to support raising the minimum wage and improving the structure of what work looks like in the 21st Century.

I am hoping that the new Biden Administration will put someone in charge of the Department of Labor who can make it easier for workers all over the country to organize. More importantly, they need to fight the disinformation campaigns that are being run to scare people into supporting efforts to block a minimum wage increase.

Raising the minimum wage does NOT kill jobs. It raises workers out of poverty. 

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Meghan McCain's Husband Is a Turd


When Senator John McCain's daughter, whose name is sometimes pronounced Meghan, got married, she probably suspected that her new husband might be stupid enough to publicly threaten to send his employees to a salt mine if they tried to form a union.

I guess I'm saying they might have been in on it from the start because look at how culpable he could be when it comes to violating labor laws:
The publisher of conservative online magazine The Federalist broke federal labor laws when he tweeted last year that he’d send employees “back to the salt mine” if they tried to unionize, a National Labor Relations Board administrative judge decided.
FDRLST Media chief Ben Domenech’s tweet was an “obvious threat"—not a joke or an expression of opinion shielded by the First Amendment—when viewed in light of workers’ legally protected rights, Judge Kenneth Chu said Wednesday. The timing of the tweet, which came on the same day of a walkout by union employees at Vox Media, supported the conclusion that Domenech was sending a message to employees, the judge held.
“Obviously, the FDRLST employees are not literally being sent back to the salt mines,” Chu wrote. “Idioms have, however, hidden meanings.”
The company will have to post physical notices in its offices and send email copies to employees, alerting them that FDRLST Media violated federal labor law and advising employees of their right to organize. That’s a standard remedy for relatively minor violations of the National Labor Relations Act.
A decent blogger would never dunk on mediocre people who marry into respectability, nor would said blogger ever remind people that Meghan's husband has long been accused of being a plagiarizing turd from the get-go. When we decide to be decent around here, I'll let you know how it goes.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

There's a Special Place in Hell For Ed Schultz




I thought I was done with Ed Schultz years ago. Apparently, he's now fully in the tank for Vladimir Putin. He's betrayed everyone and everything he used to stand for, up to and including what should be a no-brainer--Donald Trump is no friend of the working class in America.

What a shitbag:

It wasn’t entirely surprising that the former progressive talk radio host and MSNBC personality agreed to speak at annual conservative conference this year. Once a self-styled “prairie populist,” he signed on last January with RT America, where he anchors the nightly news for the state-run Russian network. He’s changed his tone on President Vladimir Putin, whom he used to deride as “Putie.” “Schultz, who once said on MSNBC that Putin is ‘crippling’ his country, now has a Russo-friendly, or perhaps American-skeptical, viewpoint on any number of issues,” The Washington Post reported in December.

Schultz has done an about-face on Trump, too. After calling him a racistand ridiculing his presidential ambitions in 2011, he praised Trump’s political skills during the campaign and downplayed Russia’s role in his election. Still, none of that quite compares to the praise Schultz heaped on the president on Thursday, talking with reporters on CPAC’s radio row. “I think he’s pragmatic, and I think he wants to win—he wants to win for the little guy,” Schultz said.

Schultz predicted Trump “will go with the people” on healthcare, speculating that the president might slow Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and criticized Democrats’ opposition strategy. “They ought to be focused on saving healthcare,” Schultz said. “They ought to be focused on making sure we don’t privatize Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. That’s where the Democrats ought to be. Instead, they’re chasing down scandals or they’re making them up. I’m just—I’m a little disappointed in them right now.”

Rather, Democrats are probably disappointed in Schultz. He used to be a warrior for the working class—cable’s biggest critic of union-busting Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who also spoke at CPAC on Thursday. MSNBC’s Chris Matthews even once told Schultz he should run the AFL-CIO. But like a disconcerting number of white-working class Democrats, Schultz found common cause with Trump after supporting Bernie Sanders in the Democratic presidential primaries.

Anyone who puts Schultz on the air after these acts of treason against the American people and working people is riding a wave of foolishness. These are not the actions of a progressive. They're the work of someone looking for a bigger and bigger payday. How are you going to eat when you have no soul? The biggest thing you can say about Schultz is that he knows who is buttering his bread, and it isn't the American worker.

I never had a problem with him taking money from American unions. I did have a problem with him being a raving hypocrite as far as not supporting efforts to unionize workers at MSNBC and NBC. Now he stands poised to join with the Trump Regime in "normalizing" all things Russian, Trumpian, and evil. Fuck him and fuck what's left of his popular support.













Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Mr. Puzder, There's Someone Named Zoƫ Baird on Line 1 For You




Andrew Puzder is probably going to survive this, if only because there is no way the current Republican majority in the Senate is going to start recognizing this thing we call hypocrisy any time soon:

Andrew Puzder, President Donald Trump's pick to lead the Labor Department, employed an undocumented immigrant for years, the business magnate said in a statement Monday. It's an admission that in the past has sunk other Cabinet secretary nominees.
Puzder's nomination has been stalled in Congress after a series of delayed hearings from the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Puzder, the head of the parent company that owns fast food companies Hardee's and Carl's Jr., said he and his wife have already paid back taxes on the employee.

He should remove himself from consideration given this latest revelation, but it's not like these people care about ethics in the first place. That swamp? Not drained, my friends. Not drained at all.













Friday, February 27, 2015

Scott Walker Hates the People of Wisconsin


The all-but-certain Republican presidential hopeful sharply criticized the Obama administration’s foreign policy, but when asked about how he would deal with the threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), dodged.
“For years I’ve been concerned about that threat,” Walker said, saying he received security briefings from the FBI and his adjutant general. “I want a commander-in-chief who will do anything in their power to ensure that the threat of radical Islamic terrorists do not wash up on American soil.”
“If I can take on 100,000 protestors, I can do the same across the world,” Walker added, referencing the months of protests in his state over his efforts to limit the power of public sector unions in his state.
If Scott Walker can take on 100,000 people who are unhappy with his decision to destroy labor unions in Wisconsin, he can take on terrorists because they're the same thing, you see. They both hate America.

Mr. Walker has a bright future in the Republican Party, I'll give him that.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Pinch Steps on a Rake



There's a reason why this story matters, and it really doesn't have anything to do with the fact that this is a media story or that these are wealthy, privileged media people who are whining and carrying on in public. This story matters because of how women are treated in the workplace when they ask for equal pay.

I mean, full stop.

This story resonates with the experiences of millions of American women. Jill Abramson found out she wasn't getting paid what her male colleagues and predecessors were getting paid. This went back years. Years of this kind of behavior, which is awful. And when she asserted her rights, they fired her. In violation of every common sense workplace ethic, they pulled the trigger on getting rid of her when they should have addressed the issue and made it right and apologized.

Which is going to be cheaper in the long run?

This whole thing about trying to cover up the fact that they fired her because she brought in a lawyer to talk about her compensation package is the legal nightmare behind the scenes--that's the inside baseball stuff that stood out to legal-minded folks. That's what set people on fire. That's what really drove home the idea that this could be applied to factory workers, retail workers, IT professionals, nurses--you name it. Forget the wealth and privilege of these media personalities--it could be a story unfolding in a company anywhere in America. Women just don't get paid what they're worth. We see it time and again.

And it's wrong. It's fundamentally the wrong thing to do to people.

What stood out to me was that you could write this story in a lot of places where women aren't paid as much as men for the same work--for work that is often better. There was a collective reaction to this story because so many women have experienced exactly what Abramson experienced--that sickening feeling of not being treated right because of only one thing--their gender.

In each and every part of America's work life, that has to stop. It should have stopped long ago. We passed Lily Ledbetter--legislation that addressed these issues--and it still goes on. We see stories about wage theft, and it made me think about what would solve something like this.

Pay women the same as men or lose your business. Steal wages from your employees and you lose your business. I'm not talking about shutting it down--I mean, you lose your property.

Your property is guaranteed to be protected by the law of the land and the infrastructure You Didn't Build that helped you create and run your business. If you don't pay people what they are worth and if you steal the wages of their work, you forfeit your right to enjoy the business you are in. You collect what you put into that business (minus what you cheated someone out of or stole) and you walk away with nothing else. You lose your business. It goes into public trust or receivership and is sold so that nobody loses their job. Whoever buys that business  has to keep everyone employed and has to pay them what is owed to them.

Try that and see if that brings pay up to an equal level and see if that stops wage theft.

Pinch Steps on a Rake

There's a reason why this story matters, and it really doesn't have anything to do with the fact that this is a media story or that these are wealthy, privileged media people who are whining and carrying on in public. This story matters because of how women are treated in the workplace when they ask for equal pay.

I mean, full stop.

This story resonates with the experiences of millions of American women. Jill Abramson found out she wasn't getting paid what her male colleagues and predecessors were getting paid. This went back years. Years of this kind of behavior, which is awful. And when she asserted her rights, they fired her. In violation of every common sense workplace ethic, they pulled the trigger on getting rid of her when they should have addressed the issue and made it right and apologized.

Which is going to be cheaper in the long run?

This whole thing about trying to cover up the fact that they fired her because she brought in a lawyer to talk about her compensation package is the legal nightmare behind the scenes--that's the inside baseball stuff that stood out to legal-minded folks. That's what set people on fire. That's what really drove home the idea that this could be applied to factory workers, retail workers, IT professionals, nurses--you name it. Forget the wealth and privilege of these media personalities--it could be a story unfolding in a company anywhere in America. Women just don't get paid what they're worth. We see it time and again.

And it's wrong. It's fundamentally the wrong thing to do to people.

What stood out to me was that you could write this story in a lot of places where women aren't paid as much as men for the same work--for work that is often better. There was a collective reaction to this story because so many women have experienced exactly what Abramson experienced--that sickening feeling of not being treated right because of only one thing--their gender.

In each and every part of America's work life, that has to stop. It should have stopped long ago. We passed Lily Ledbetter--legislation that addressed these issues--and it still goes on. We see stories about wage theft, and it made me think about what would solve something like this.

Pay women the same as men or lose your business. Steal wages from your employees and you lose your business. I'm not talking about shutting it down--I mean, you lose your property.

Your property is guaranteed to be protected by the law of the land and the infrastructure You Didn't Build that helped you create and run your business. If you don't pay people what they are worth and if you steal the wages of their work, you forfeit your right to enjoy the business you are in. You collect what you put into that business (minus what you cheated someone out of or stole) and you walk away with nothing else. You lose your business. It goes into public trust or receivership and is sold so that nobody loses their job. Whoever buys that business  has to keep everyone employed and has to pay them what is owed to them.

Try that and see if that brings pay up to an equal level and see if that stops wage theft.

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Dignity of Honest Labor


This is one of the most important op-ed pieces of the year so far:
Americans are mostly disconnected from the labor movement — only 6.7 percent of private sector workers are part of a union — and that means we’ve become disconnected from the idea of solidarity. Instead, we have an ill-defined feeling that we should do something for those worse off than ourselves, something that often turns into a pity-charity complex. Rebuilding the social safety net is a good start, but something more powerful would be a real understanding that we’re all in this together.
I heard that understanding in the voice of Alex Shalom, another low-wage worker who stood up for himself and his co-workers against his boss — this time, his boss at Bank of America. “I think people need to know that tellers are just cashiers with ties on,” Shalom told me, placing himself squarely in the same movement as McDonald’s and Wal-Mart workers. The perceived class difference between a bank worker in a suit and a fast-food worker in a logo baseball cap evaporates when the rent comes due, and many of us know what it’s like to do the math of monthly bills and find you’re coming up short.
We need a movement that makes us feel strong — all of us, whether we work at Burger King or Bank of America or an automobile plant or in journalism. That means not just focusing on the poverty but also the power in the voices of a group of workers on the street outside the Wendy’s where one of their colleagues was just fired for organizing. It means giving those workers and their strikes the credit for the wins when they do come. Too often, people derive something that feels like strength from remembering that someone else has it worse. But that’s temporary, and real strength comes from all of us being strong together.
Any movement which empowers working Americans to attack the bullshit used to marginalize their lives is going to have to overcome the need to remain isolated in communities designed to prevent people from gathering to talk about their issues. I would love to see a movement that used America's churches, but nobody goes to church anymore, except for maybe older Americans who have left the workforce. Could a chat room on a video game platform serve as the meeting hall of this century? How do you get people from a broad range of backgrounds in one place together so that they can see, with their own eyes, that the bank employee and the brick layer and the shelf stocker have a lot more in common than they realize?

Well, you need a world war to do that, as awful as that sounds. You need a draft, a conscription, and you need millions in uniform, held in place by necessity and warehoused like cattle so that they can rub up against, literally and figuratively, their own kind from all over. The thing that helped build this country was a pair of world wars that brought disparate members of American society together in one place for an extended period of time. They had to learn to get along. The kid from Ohio had to learn to get along with the kid from Montana and the kid from Florida. They had to live under one roof and figure out what it was that they had in common.

Works Progress Administration projects were attacked, endlessly, along with all of the other New Deal initiatives. They weren't all individually successful but they did bring dignity to labor. From that effort to destroy the New Deal was born Reaganism and a hatred for government which survives as practically the only idea the Republican Party has had, other than war, for twenty years.To these people, the only sacrifice necessary should come from the poor. It used to be, sacrifice was shared across the American political spectrum, especially during the Progressive Era and in the aftermath of the trust-smashing years. Once the robber barons were done, Americans shared in the misery of the Depression.

Their collective shared sacrifice helped the labor movement immensely. As an example, by the time he was 25 years old, my grandfather had worked in the Civilian Conservation Corps, which sent him up and down the State of Minnesota to work in different camps. He had been in the Army, and sent from basic training to Hawaii, and then to the South Pacific for months of war. When he was sent home, he enlisted in the army a second time and went to Europe. He had, with virtually no education, developed a worldliness that is difficult for us to imagine, all of it in the service of the country. No wonder he became dedicated to organized labor and the protection of Social Security benefits while never hating anyone who had more or less than he did. And, while always poor financially, he was connected to the idea that he had common cause with people who worked for a living.

When the wealthy in this country managed to destroy those connections in the 1980s, he was rolled over like everybody else who had organized unions in this country. He was cheated, by an early death, out of the benefits he had fought for. If he had lived, those benefits would have been drained away by now.

The issues faced by the poor are inherently American ones, and they deserve to be heard. That could be you, working hard like the folks you've spent your whole live looking down upon, and the way things are going, you'll know it before everyone else does. You'll know when you are one of them but you won't know what to do because they have conditioned everyone that any agitation against the wealthy class in this country is worse than anything imaginable. That's what is radically different today from the forty year period after the end of World War II. You dare not criticize the rich, and you better stay home and disorganized.