Posts tagged ‘Organized Labor’

America’s Deceptive 2012 Fiscal Cliff (Part 2)



America’s Deceptive 2012 Fiscal Cliff (Part 2) (via Market Shadows)

  Source: pintura.aut.org via Bonegrrl on Pinterest   Michael Hudson: America’s Deceptive 2012 Fiscal Cliff, Part II – The Financial War Against the Economy at Large Courtesy of Michael Hudson Originally published at Naked Capitalism (part 1 is here) By Michael Hudson, a research professor…

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Twin Cities Walmart workers say they will walk off the job Black Friday to protest working conditions


APPLE VALLEY, Minn – On a day that’s considered to be the “Super Bowl” of shopping, some Walmart workers warn they’ll be walking off the job, including employees in Minnesota.

More than 1,000 protests are planned across the country, from Milwaukee to Chicago and in St. Paul, at the Walmart at 1450 University Avenue in St. Paul, Friday at 11 a.m.

Gabe Teneyuque, 30, an Apple Valley Walmart employee, says he will be among the protesters, as part of the group OUR Walmart, a national organization formed by frustrated workers, and says the planned walk-off isn’t about working on Thanksgiving night, but how employees are treated all year long.

 
He says he took a job in the electronics department last year to help support his parents, but working conditions he encountered were “eye opening.” He says many workers are afraid to speak out about their low wages, short hours, and changing schedules.

“Everyone goes there because the prices are good, but it’s got to come from somewhere and from what I have seen it’s not coming from the top,” said Teneyuque.

Teneyuque says he earns $9.00 an hour part time, and has been unable to secure a full time position with benefits, and many of his co-workers are in the same situation. This Black Friday, he hopes shoppers will encourage Walmart to improve conditions.

“Just by increasing wages and making health care affordable, Walmart can turn this country around, they have that power, to raise up the poverty level,” said Teneyuque. “Something we can live on and be comfortable, not be on food stamps, not having to worry about paying bills and feeding family.”

In a statement, Walmart says its’ pay and benefit plans are as good or better than retail competitors, including those unionized, and shoppers won’t notice any disruptions when doors open at 8 p.m., or at their big electronics event at 10 p.m., and Friday morning kickoff at 5 a.m.

“Black Friday for us is the Superbowl of retail , we have a great plan in place and we don’t feel like there is any other retailer set up to win like Walmart,” said Sarah Spencer, a Walmart spokesperson offering media an early Black Friday preview at the company’s Brooklyn Center store.

“They are nervous and they should be, it’s time,” said Bernie Hesse, an organizer with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local 1189, the union supporting the Walmart workers in their protests.

“What I would say to folks is, economic choices are moral choices. When you shop not only do you want to get value, but also think about the worker in the store and the value they have,” said Hesse.

Walmart filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, claiming that UFCW’s involvement in the picketing is illegal.

In an email to KARE 11, Walmart said, “We recognize that not everyone is going to find what they are looking for in their job – that’s true of any workplace. The reality is that there are only a handful of associates, at a handful of stores scattered across the country that are participating in these UFCW made for TV events. Most of the numbers of people the UFCW claims at their events aren’t even Walmart workers. They are union representatives and other union members. The overwhelming majority of our 1.3 million associates are excited about Black Friday and are ready to serve our customers.”

Teneyuque isn’t sure what will happen when he walks off the job Friday, but says it’s worth the risk.

“The way I see it if a company like Walmart wants you gone, they will find a way, and that is what worries me, but I see the end gain, I see the future and what it can be,” he said.

 
 

(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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The Economic Case For Immigration Reform


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  • 16 Nov 2012 06:09 PM

    The Economic Case For Immigration Reform


    At this week’s presser, Obama said he wanted to introduce immigration reform “very soon after [his] inauguration.” Julia Preston sums up the president’s plan:

    Mr. Obama made clear he intends to push for broad-scope legislation that would include a program to give legal status to an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the country…. Mr. Obama said he also wanted to strengthen border security, punish employers who systematically hire unauthorized workers, and make visas available for farm workers and immigrants working in science and technology. 

    The above chart is from a 2010 Center for American Progress report (pdf) that projects immigration reform could add a potential $1.5 trillion to the US GDP over 10 years. Jordan Weissmann unpacks it:

    [The report’s] calculations are based partly on the impact of the Reagan administration’s 1986 immigration reforms, which gave legal status to about 3 million undocumented individuals. That, in turn, gave those workers leverage to bargain with their employers for higher paychecks, while giving them an incentive to learn English so they could advance in the workplace. … Extrapolating from that history, CAP believes that giving today’s 11.3 million undocumented immigrants a route to citizenship could increase their collective earning power by as much $36 billion a year.

    Free Exchange highlights similar findings:

    Even a modest … easing of restrictions could be very rewarding. Lant Pritchett of Harvard University estimates that just a 3% rise in the rich-world labour force through migration would yield annual benefits bigger than those from eliminating remaining trade barriers. The incorporation of women into the rich-world workforce provides an analogy: this expanded the labour supply and the scope for specialisation without displacing the “native” male workforce.

Obama Urging An Immediate Tax Cut For The Middle Class



Obama urges immediate tax cut deal for middle class (via AFP)

US President Barack Obama urged Congress Saturday to immediately extend a tax cut for middle-class Americans, arguing the move will give 98 percent of families and 97 percent of small businesses the certainty that will lead to faster economic growth. "This is something we all agree on," the president…

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Drone on the Range


Drone on the Range.

Those very same pilotless, remote-controlled, undetectable planes that the CIA has been secretly using to spy on and bomb people in Pakistan and elsewhere are headed to our local police departments.

Get ready, America. Here comes “the next latest and greatest thing in aviation.” Wow, what could it be? Maybe the airlines are going to drop all of their ridiculous rip-off fees. That’d be great!

No, no, not that kind of aviation. You probably won’t find this breakthrough so great. It’s the arrival and proliferation of “unmanned vehicle systems,” soon to be buzzing around the airspace of your own town.

Yes, drones, right here at home. Those very same pilotless, remote-controlled, undetectable planes that the CIA has been secretly using to spy on and bomb people in Pakistan and elsewhere are headed to our local police departments, FBI offices, and…well, who knows who else will have these toys?

All we know is that Congress — under pressure from Boeing, Northrop Grumman, and other big drone peddlers — directed the Federal Aviation Agency earlier this year to open up civilian air space to thousands of them by 2015. And, in their wisdom, our loosey-goosey lawmakers provided no regulation of who can have drones, how many, or for what purposes.

So prepare to be pestered and monitored, for police agencies and corporate interests are said to be abuzz about getting their own. The first ones are expected to be used for high-altitude surveillance, which is worrisome enough. But consider this: A Texas sheriff’s office that has already bought a “ShadowHawk” drone says it might outfit the little buzzer to fire tear gas and rubber bullets.

No worries, though. The drone industry’s lobbying group has drafted a two-page code of conduct urging purchasers to “respect the privacy of individuals.”

How nice. Only, it’s a voluntary code — and totally unenforceable. For more information about this invasive swarm, contact the Electronic Privacy Information Center: http://www.epic.org.
This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.
Jim Hightower

Chicano Documentary PBS The Stealing Of Mexico Land Legally By The USA


Pelosi, Boehner see wealth drop – TheHill.com


 

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Speaker John Boehner (R-Calif.) both saw their wealth tumble in the last year.

Pelosi suffered the bigger loss as her wealth tumbled by nearly a quarter, according to a financial disclosure report released Thursday.

Pelosi’s minimum net worth dropped by roughly $8.8 million in 2011, the report suggests. It valued Pelosi’s wealth as at least $26.4 million at the end of the 2011 calendar year, down from at least $35.2 million the previous year.

Pelosi also has more to lose the Boehner.

Pelosi is among the richest members of Congress, and ranked 12th on The Hill’s 2011 list of wealthiest members. 

Pelosi reported almost $39.3 million in assets as well as close to $12.9 million in liabilities for 2011, according to the report. Her drop in wealth can be partly attributed in her rise in liabilities last year. For 2010, Pelosi reported about $8.3 million in liabilities.

Boehner’s (R-Ohio) minimum net worth dropped by about 14 percent, according to his disclosure form. Boehner’s minimum dropped from $2.1 million in 2010 to $1.8 million in 2011, according to his financial disclosure report, released Thursday.

Boehner’s assets include a pension plan from the state of Ohio worth at least $50,000, and several investment funds, also valued at least $50,000 each.

Like the prior year, the Ohio Republican reported no liabilities in 2011.

Lawmakers’ financial disclosure reports were released Thursday. The reports can give a good estimate of their wealth, though exact figures for assets and liabilities are not reported. Instead, the forms list a range of values.

The Hill uses the lowest number in each value range to come up with a lawmaker’s minimum net worth. The sum of a lawmaker’s liabilities is subtracted from the sum of their assets, giving a conservative estimate for their wealth.

Much of Pelosi’s wealth is wrapped up in investments in real estate and stock held by her husband, Paul.

Pelosi jointly owns a vineyard in St. Helena, Calif., with her husband that is worth at least $5 million. The lawmaker’s spouse also owns by himself a commercial property in San Francisco valued at least $5 million and a four-story commercial building in the same city worth at least $1 million.

Paul Pelosi also has at least $1 million in Apple common stock as well as another $1 million in a partnership investment for a Tiburon, Calif., restaurant company. In addition, he has some interests in the United Football League — specifically in Jacksonville, Fla., and Sacramento, Calif. — ranging from at least $1 million to $5 million in value.

Pelosi’s liabilities include several mortgages on properties, including the St. Helena vineyard, valued at at least $1 million.

Despite the drop in wealth, Pelosi is likely to remain among the wealthiest members of Congress.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) also saw a decline in his wealth, reporting a minimum net worth of $2.6 million on his financial disclosure form for 2011. That’s nearly a 24 percent drop from 2010, when he reported at least $3.4 million in wealth.

Reid reported more liabilities for 2011, which partly explains his drop in wealth. That included a campaign loan worth at least $50,000 — which he reported paying off in 2011 — and a Wells Fargo mortgage on a personal residence in Searchlight, Nev. valued at least $100,000.

In 2010, Reid only reported the campaign loan as a liability. The STOCK Act, which passed earlier this year, requires lawmakers to report the terms of their personal mortgages on their financial disclosure reports for the first time.

Among his assets, Reid reported having several real estate holdings throughout the West, including a Searchlight, Nev. mine worth at least $1,000 and 160 acres in Bullshead City, Ariz. valued at least $250,000.

Unlike Reid, Pelosi and Boehner, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) saw his minimum net worth increase, though not substantially.

McConnell reported his wealth was at least $9.9 million, according to his financial disclosure form. That’s a slight jump from the $9.8 million the Kentucky senator reported for his minimum net worth in 2010.

McConnell’s wife, former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, earned fees from Fox News, Dole Food Company, Protective Life and Wells Fargo. Chao also takes a salary from the Heritage Foundation, and picked up speaking fees from the Human Capital Institute, Boston Scientific and the Biotechnology Industry Organization.

Because of disclosure requirements for lawmakers’ spouses, McConnell only has to report that Chao made “over $1,000” for each of those jobs.

The couple jointly own a Vanguard tax-exempt money market fund that’s worth at least $5 million. Other holdings include a Washington carriage house valued at least $1 million and a Vanguard 500 index fund worth at least $1 million.

Like the prior year, McConnell reported no liabilities in 2011.

—Rachel Leven contributed to this report.

This story was updated at 12:31 p.m.


Pelosi, Boehner see wealth drop – TheHill.com