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Archive for the ‘workers’ Category

Hm. Wonder if this happens in the US?

Posted by Charles II on December 5, 2012

Seumas Milne, The Guardian:

As in the phone-hacking scandal, the evidence of illegality, surveillance and conspiracy is incontrovertible. In both cases, the number of victims already runs into thousands. And household names are deeply tied up in both controversies – though as targets in one and perpetrators in the other.

But when it comes to the blacklisting scandal, the damage can’t only be measured in distress and invasion of privacy. Its impact has already been felt in years of enforced joblessness, millions of pounds in lost income, family and psychological breakdown, emigration and suicides.

It’s now clear that workers across Britain have been systematically and illegally forced into unemployment for trade union activity – often on publicly funded projects and in collusion with the police and security services – by some of the country’s biggest companies, using secret lists drawn up by corporate spying agencies.

Of course blacklisting isn’t new. Throughout the cold war, the virulently rightwing Economic League ran a similar corporate espionage outfit, from where Kerr brought his database. And more recently civil servants, police and corporations have been shown to work hand in glove against climate change and other environmental activists.

You know, you can’t have a meritocracy if political reliability is what determines who works and who gets ahead. If you don’t have a meritocracy, then the worst people rise.

Which could explain why there are so many psychopaths among corporate leaders.

Posted in abuse of power, corruption, workers | Comments Off on Hm. Wonder if this happens in the US?

The minimum wage is lower than in 1968

Posted by Charles II on April 17, 2012

Atrios is right. When the editors at Bloomberg call for a higher minimum wage, the apocalypse is at hand. Or, as Atrios puts it, it’s “notable”.

Some excerpts from the Bloomberg editorial:

…Senator Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat, is proposing to increase the federal rate in three increments to $9.80 an hour in 2014. Many of the initiatives under consideration would smartly tie the minimum wage to the cost of living, meaning that those workers’ wages would finally keep up with inflation. [I wish I knew why Democrats have repeatedly failed to index the minimum wage to inflation].

In 2010, nearly 44 percent of minimum-wage workers had either attended or graduated from college, up from 25.2 percent in 1979, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a liberal think tank.

This is one of many reasons that critics, including business groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Restaurant Association and many Republicans, oppose minimum-wage increases. The argument is that it will hurt the very people it was meant to help by forcing employers to cut jobs, raise prices or both.

But a wave of new economic research is disproving those arguments about job losses and youth employment. [Actually, Card and Krueger exposed the BS over a decade ago, and for many decades before that it was common wisdom that Henry Ford had discovered that paying a decent wage meant that his workers could afford to buy his cars].

Posted in economy, workers | Comments Off on The minimum wage is lower than in 1968

Airport Screeners Vote for Union Representation

Posted by MEC on June 24, 2011

Airport screeners have chosen the American Federation of Government Employees as their union.

Although the collective bargaining rights are very limited, this is progress over the Bush regime’s vehement opposition to any rights at all for the workers.

Posted in unions, workers | 1 Comment »

A fable for our time, by Tommy Douglas

Posted by Charles II on June 22, 2011

Avedon links us to a most brilliant piece:


Posted in (Rich) Taxpayers League, abuse of power, workers, You're On Your Own-ership Society | 1 Comment »

Hey, Starbucks!

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 22, 2009

Maybe if you didn’t screw your employees, and maybe if you didn’t burn your friggin’ coffee, you might have more customer loyalty and people wouldn’t be ditching you for better fair-trade brands that they can make at home.

I get my coffee from fair-trade, fair-employment sources like Peace Coffee and Farmer to Farmer. Set the coffee maker up the night before, wake up to fresh coffee the way I like it, take some to work in a Thermos. Life is good.

Posted in activism, doing the right thing, unions, workers | Tagged: | Comments Off on Hey, Starbucks!

What a Coincidence

Posted by MEC on May 19, 2008


The recent mass arrest of undocumented immigrants at a meat processing plant in Iowa looks likely to derail an investigation into violations of labor laws.

Mark Lauritsen, international vice president of the United Food and Commercial Workers, expressed his concerns in a letter to U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine Chao. Because federal authorities are quickly moving 389 workers from the Agriprocessors Inc. plant through the legal process, he said he worries key witnesses won’t be available to complete investigations “that could ultimately uncover serious and unscrupulous employer acts.”


Lauritsen asked Chao to explain what steps are being taken to ensure that key witnesses are not being deported or leaving the area.

The alleged violations include the use of child labor. By coincidence, children who were apprehended in the raid “have been moved to facilities outside Iowa”.

Oh, and the United Food and Commercial Workers had been trying to organize the workers.

A cynical person might suspect that the purpose of the raid wasn’t to discourage the hiring of undocumented workers, but to protect a big business from the threat of a criminal probe and the bigger threat of unionization.

Posted in BushCo malfeasance, phony scandals, workers | 4 Comments »

A Surprise Ruling from the Supreme Court

Posted by MEC on February 21, 2008

A unanimous Supreme Court ruling supported workers’ rights.

The unanimous holding reverses a lower court decision that had barred individuals from suing over losses related to mistakes and misconduct, and thus had insulated employers from lawsuits even as more U.S. workers came to rely on the savings accounts to help fund their retirements.

Even more surprising, Bush’s Labor Department was arguing the employees’ case:

The Labor Department and the solicitor general, who argues the Bush administration’s position before the Supreme Court, threw their weight behind LaRue. Assistant Solicitor General Matthew D. Roberts argued in November that any recovery by the plaintiff would benefit the company’s retirement plan as a whole in keeping with the law, known as the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

I’m such a cynic. I can’t help but think this ruling has more to do with the You’re On Your Own-ership Society than — specifically, with shifting retirement from employer-provided pensions and Social Security to individual investments — than with the rights of workers.

Posted in Supreme Court, workers | Comments Off on A Surprise Ruling from the Supreme Court

On The Global Waterfront

Posted by Phoenix Woman on January 26, 2008

In which a group of union dockworkers, most of them black, remind us to fight the real enemy — and win.

Yes, win.  Even in South Carolina.

Posted in big money, capitalism as cancer, civil rights, Good Things, unions, workers | 1 Comment »

A Win for Workers’ Rights

Posted by MEC on October 3, 2007

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Workers win $62 million in damages because Wal-Mart forced them to work “off the clock” or lose their jobs.

About 125,000 people will receive $500 each in damages under a state law invoked when a company, without cause, withholds pay for more than 30 days.

A Philadelphia jury last year awarded the workers the exact amount they had sought, rejecting Wal-Mart’s claim that some people chose to work through breaks or that a few minutes of extra work here and there was insignificant.

Wal-Mart’s defense was that the employees skipped their rest breaks and kept working after quitting time by choice. Um, yeah. I’d believe that the kinds of jobs hourly workers do at Wal-Mart are just so fulfilling and enjoyable that people forgot to stop working.

Oink, oink, flap, flap.

Posted in capitalism as cancer, judicial rulings, workers | 2 Comments »

Department Of Double Standards

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 21, 2007


Ever wonder why Leona Helmsley and Martha Stewart are attacked for treating their employees like trash, whereas Donald Trump is given his own TV show for the exact same behavior?

Wonder no more:

Although differences in starting salaries are usually modest, small differences can have big effects down the road. If a 22-year-old man and a 22-year-old woman are offered $25,000 for their first job, for example, and one of them negotiates the amount up to $30,000, then over the next 28 years, the negotiator would make $361,171 more, assuming they both got 3% pay rises each year. And this is without taking into account the fact that the negotiators don’t just get better starting pay; they also win bigger pay rises over the course of their careers.

The traditional explanation for the gender differences that Babcock found is that men are simply more aggressive than women, perhaps because of a combination of genetics and upbringing. The solution to gender disparities, this school of thought suggests, is to train women to be more assertive and to ask for more. However, a new set of experiments by Babcock and Hannah Riley Bowles, who studies the psychology of organisations at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, offers an entirely different explanation.

Their study found that men and women get very different responses when they initiate negotiations. Although it may well be true that women often hurt themselves by not trying to negotiate, this study found that women’s reluctance was based on an accurate view of how they were likely to be treated if they did. Both men and women were more likely to subtly penalise women who asked for more. The perception was that women who asked for more were “less nice”.

“What we found across all the studies is that men were always less willing to work with a woman who had attempted to negotiate than with a woman who did not,” Bowles said. “They always preferred to work with a woman who stayed mum. But it made no difference to the men whether a guy had chosen to negotiate.”

Posted in sexism, women's issues, workers, WTF? | Comments Off on Department Of Double Standards