Archive for Labor
Working Families Party shakes up New York city politics (video from this summer), backing Democrat Bill DeBlasio for mayor. DeBlasio leads in the polls. Their “long game” is paying off, says the New York Post:
“On the issues they care about, from minimum wage to tenant issues to development, they are absolutely definitional — they can set the debate at the city and the state level,” de Blasio said of the WFP in 2010.
The party, founded in 1998 to take advantage of New York’s fusion voting system, which allows candidates to run on multiple ballot lines, effectively represents organized labor. Despite its small membership, its used its ballot line and operational resources to push Democratic officials farther left, and elect new ones who are already there. That plan has paid off.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A majority of workers at Volkswagen’s assembly plant in Tennessee have signed cards favoring the union’s representation in creating a German-style works council at the plant, a top United Auto Workers official said.
Volkswagen declined to comment, but its human resources director defended the union’s attempts to organize at Chattanooga.
“I find it very depressing how deeply divided the country is on the issue of labor unions,” Horst Neumann told Reuters late on Wednesday following a panel discussion with German auto industry executives and senior labor leaders from the IG Metall union.
And finally, the oceans boiled, the earth quaked, the skies collapsed and the whole of Earth was engulfed in fire.
Otherwise, it was clearing and cooler on the coast with a light breeze out of the southwest with moderate temperatures and light surf.
You want a roof over your head with that?
The New York Times supports low-wage workers in its lead editorial:
Activism among fast-food workers is almost certain to continue and is likely to spread to other underpaid workers. Most of the jobs lost during the recession were midwage jobs, while most of the new jobs have been lower paying. In addition to food-service jobs, big growth areas today include home care and retail sales, with median hourly wages of roughly $10 and $11, respectively. According to the Labor Department, six of the 10 occupations that are projected to add the most jobs by 2020 pay wages at the lower end of the scale.
The strikes are spreading and drawing more attention than I might have expected. McDonalds’ helpful financial planning website for employees assumes they work a second part-time job for a total of about 70 hours a week.
Living the Dream.
With the North Carolina state legislature in recess, Moral Mondays – the Forward Together Movement – began a march across the state, starting in Asheville on August 5 with the largest protest yet. The crowd “well exceeded” the 5,000 the Asheville police department had prepared for, with early police estimates to 10,000.
“You can’t do wrong in Raleigh and then hide back home,” said NC NAACP president the Rev. William Barber. Firing up the crowd as he has in Raleigh, Barber condemned the actions of the state legislature as “constitutionally inconsistent, morally indefensible and economically insane.” Barber and other speakers called out local and state legislators by name, some of whom were in the crowd.
“From the mountains to the coast, we’re sick of this mess,” Barber declared. “This is no momentary hyperventilation or liberal screaming match; this is a movement. We have a governor that has decided to be on the wrong side of history. We have a legislature that is bragging and boasting about its power and is legislating on the basis of lies and discrimination. Though they have temporary power, the future does not belong to them.”
Barber and other speakers addressed education, labor, LGBT rights and a bill seizing the local water system. Asheville local, Heather Rayburn, spoke surrounded with a group of other civil disobedience protestors arrested in Raleigh. Keeping with the moral theme, Rayburn reminded the crowd, “This group of jailbirds and I believe in the Golden Rule. That we should treat people the way we would want to be treated. And politicians should live by the Golden rule too.”
(Cross-posted from Crooks and Liars.)
A teacher once said that the hardest thing for her to deal with was not the child who could do the work but would not apply himself. It was the child who kept trying and kept failing. Unlike Lake Wobegon, in real life every child is not above average.
Life is not fair that way, our conservative friends like reminding us. There are winners and there are losers. Yet in the next breath they assure us that with hard work, in America anyone can overcome their circumstances and succeed. This is not just an American myth. I once read something similar written in iron above the gates at Dachau.
Equally mythological as hard work guaranteeing success is the unwritten subtext. That if you have not triumphed over your circumstances, it is because you are lazy. You just need to work harder.
This is one of “4 Things Politicians Will Never Understand About Poor People,” writes John Cheese in a recent issue of Cracked magazine.
“Politicians can’t get past the idea that the only possible way to fail in America is if you sit back and do nothing. The idea that someone can put out the effort, yet not gain ground is inconceivable to them.”
Wow. In case there was any doubt left in your mind that Mitt Romney isn’t like you, just watch this video. It’s also important to mention that there are people who hold up Romney’s career as an example of American success. I don’t. I see it as an example of exploitation of the poor without any sense of responsibility to them.
A couple of weeks ago, “This American Life” aired a story titled “Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory,” about life in the Chinese factory that makes the iPhone and other consumer electronics. Apparently, others took notice. “The Daily Show,” for example.
I wonder if the dormitories in the clip are the ones they show to the press?
I’ve been watching the Occupy Events grow across the country and waiting to find out what it’s all about. As with so many left-leaning political efforts, there’s an air of everything-but-the-kitchen-sink to the issues raised. When I attended the protests against invading Iraq, I saw “Free Mumia”, “Keep Abortion Legal”, “End the Death Penalty”, and other activists out there piggy-backing on the message of the march.
When Occupy Wall Street began, I wondered if the same approach would occur. As of now, it’s uncertain. The movement is new, and as more people come to it, the purpose and message will adapt to meet their agendas. At some point, it’ll either boil down to something actionable (a la “Taxed Enough Already”) or it’ll peter out. Regardless of the outcome, the fact that lots of people are spontaneously coming together under interesting methods of self-governance to address local, national, and international issues is newsworthy.
In the interest of furthering the conversation about Occupy, I’m posting the “Declaration of the Occupation of New York City“. Click below the fold to read.
Somebody gets it:
A shorter version of this video really ought to be running in theaters ahead of the trailers.