Tag Archives | Labor Unions

Fast Food Strikes on May 15

Protest proti McDonald's a jedení masaSalon‘s Josh Eidelson is reporting that there will be fast food strikes in 150 American cities and protests in 30 countries on May 15, 2014, but apparently the purpose is not to protest the fact that the food is terrible and harmful to your health, but about the widely acknowledged low wages and poor work conditions:

On May 15, fast food workers plan to mount one-day strikes in 150 U.S. cities, accompanied by protests in thirty countries, labor sources tell Salon. Organizers expect the walkouts to spread for the first time to cities including Philadelphia, Miami, Orlando, and Sacramento, and to involve thousands of total workers, including hundreds each in cities including St. Louis, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Oakland, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City.

Abroad, May 15 fast food protests – many of them targeting McDonald’s in particular – are planned in cities including Karachi, Casablanca, London, Sao Paolo, Dublin, Bangkok, Buenos Aires, Geneva, and San Salvador, as well as locations in India, Indonesia, Nigeria, South Africa, and Japan.

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Unions Hoping Marijuana Industry Becomes Major Employer

When organized labor unions campaign on behalf of legal marijuana growing and distribution, you know that America is way past the tipping point. Molly Redden reports for The New Republic:

Early one morning in April, DEA and IRS agents and U.S. marshals raided several Oakland properties owned by Richard Lee, then the leading figure of California’s medical-marijuana industry. At Oaksterdam University, Lee’s multistory business school for marijuana workers, agents went in with power saws, a sledgehammer, and a small battering ram, and walked out with file drawers and bags full of loose documents. At Lee’s dispensary down the block, they heaped live cannabis plants into trash bags. Word got out, and soon hundreds of protesters surrounded Oaksterdam, screaming “Fuck you, pigs!” at the officers. Some of the agitators milled around all day, hoisting signs, blocking the road, and, yes, smoking pot.

A more sober cohort also joined the protest—officials from the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5.

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Two Million Indonesian Factory Workers Go On Strike

Indonesia's factories ground to a halt on as millions of workers walked out of their jobs, calling for an increased minimum wage and more workers' rights and protections, Al Jazeera reported early yesterday:
It is estimated that some two million factory workers will go on strike nationwide on Wednesday. Al Jazeera's Stepp Vaessen reported from the scene of a strike. "I'm at the biggest industrial zone outside of Jakarta where 800 factories are basically closed down right now because all the workers are standing outside on the streets with banners and motorbikes going around," she said on Wednesday. They are protesting against their working conditions and over the work contacts that they have. They say they don't have any job security and no stability," she said. The workers [are also] protesting against the practice of outsourcing manpower. The Jakarta Globe newspaper reported on its website that the unions were expecting some 2.8 million people to go on strike in 21 districts and municipalities and 80 industrial zones across the country.
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Riot Police Arrest Walmart Warehouse Workers On Strike Against Abysmal Working Conditions

Via Buzzfeed, activist Daneyvilla took an snapped photos as a veritable army of riot police cracked down on a demonstration by several hundred completely peaceful, largely middle-aged Walmart warehouse employees. From the workers’ website, the reason for the strike:

No one should come to work and endure extreme temperatures, inhale dust and chemical residue, and lift thousands of boxes weighing up to 250lbs with no support. Workers never know how long the work day will be- sometimes its two hours, sometimes its 16 hours. Injuries are common, as is discrimination against women and illegal retaliation against workers who speak up for better treatment.

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Worker Unrest Grows Ever Stronger In China

Via Jacobin, Eli Friedman on low-wage Chinese workers fighting the machine:

Chinese workers are facing the same brutal competitive pressures as workers in the West, often at the hands of the same capitalists. Today, the Chinese working class is fighting.

China is undeniably the epicenter of global labor unrest. While there are no official statistics, it is certain that thousands, if not tens of thousands, of strikes take place each year. All of them are wildcat strikes – there is no such thing as a legal strike in China. So on a typical day anywhere from half a dozen to several dozen strikes are likely taking place.

More importantly, workers are winning, with many strikers capturing large wage increases above and beyond any legal requirements. Worker resistance has been a serious problem for the Chinese state and capital and, as in the United States in the 1930s, the central government has found itself forced to pass a raft of labor legislation.

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Foghorn Leghorn Speaks On Matters in Wisconsin

FoghornLeghornIs it possible to channel a fictional character? Specifically, the Southern-gentrified blowhard from the Warner Bro.’s 1960′s “Foghorn Leghorn” franchise? Based upon experiments performed over the weekend, I can report a firm and conclusive “yes”. But the ritual requires copious volumes of an obscure Sri Lankan stout called “Lion“. And Mr. Legohorn seems to have quite a bit to say about Wisconsin people and places . . . .

“The behavior on display before us in this instance constitutes a perfect SCANDAL in the eyes of our sacred parliamentary traditions. This method of proceeding cannot call to mind words any loftier or more noble than “poltroon” and “knave”. I understand that the accepted standards of comportment may not be all they could in some of the darker corners of the great state of Wisconsin, but I see no reason to drag them into the sacred halls of our legislature.”

—Regarding the extraordinary violation of Wisconsin’s open meetings law by which Republican majority leader “Big Fitz” Fitzgerald surreptitiously passed Gov.… Read the rest

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Through the Eye of a Needle …

DopeVia Dystopia Diaries:

Some unexpected good news here:  A Wisconsin judge has ruled that the passage of Governor Scott Walker’s aggressive union-busting bill’s, engineered late in the night without the statutorially required 24 hours notice or the quorum necessary for a budget bill, is a violation of the state’s open meetings law.  An injunction is now in place to prevent the bill’s enforcement.

You may recall the raucuous buildup to the April 5th Wisconsin Supreme Court election which was widely seen as a referendum on that un-precedented (and now apparently un-lawful) powergrab, an Orwellian abuse of rhetoric and procedure whose only certain purpose was to destroy any group to politcally organize outside the orbit of his Koch brothers patrons.  David Prosser, the Republican incumbent was and still is regarded as strongly in favour of Walker’s dubious scheme, whereas his opponent, Madison-based JoAnne Kloppenberg ran on the ticket of the Democratic party who not unnaturally opposed it.

But if the buildup was a barn-burner, the prolonged aftermath was distinctly anti-climactic.  The 11th hour defection of one of Prosser’s campaign managers seemed to deal a heavy blow to the Republican’s judicial credibility.  Lazy or naive[1] commentators would have expected the hoary old chestnut about Wisconsin being the clean-government state, a la it’s Robert La Follette heritage, to come into play here and cast Prosser’s chances in doubt.… Read the rest

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By The Top One Percent, For The Top One Percent

top-one-percentIn a fantastic piece for Vanity Fair, acclaimed economist Joseph Stiglitz discusses what America’s vast income inequality means for our future — in short, how it will corrode and distort every aspect of society:

Some people look at income inequality and shrug their shoulders. So what if this person gains and that person loses? What matters, they argue, is not how the pie is divided but the size of the pie. That argument is fundamentally wrong. An economy in which most citizens are doing worse year after year—an economy like America’s—is not likely to do well over the long haul. There are several reasons for this.

First, growing inequality is the flip side of something else: shrinking opportunity. Whenever we diminish equality of opportunity, it means that we are not using some of our most valuable assets—our people—in the most productive way possible. Second, many of the distortions that lead to inequality—such as those associated with monopoly power and preferential tax treatment for special interests—undermine the efficiency of the economy.

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“Herr Prösser?!!”: The Madison Uprising to Shift Gears on April 5th

>Click Here<The madness surrounding Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s efforts to destroy trade unionism continues apace, but outsiders are likely to be deceived into thinking momentum of the Madison Uprising has been dissipated from its previous well-defined orbit. They couldn’t be more wrong and the turnout for Wisconsin’s April 5th supreme court contest between Prosser (R) and Kloppenburg (D) will prove that.

Current reports from Madison consistently describe a hard core of about one to two dozen protestors haunting the capitol building these days. Some Right Wing supporters of the union-busting tactics have publicly taken courage from this decrease since March 11th, when Walker signed the contententious bill. That, however, would be to focus on the hole, rather than the doughnut, so to speak.

While massive 100+ person rallies like those that continued for 3+ weeks in the capitol building are hugely important for gathering momentum and mobilizing latent energies, they really only represent the tip of an ungodly horror being whipped up for Walker and his supporters in places where it will do some real damage — the home districts of Republican legislators.  Here is but a brief sampling of highlights from the blog TMPDC:

— The wife of Senator Randy Hopper (R-Fond du Lac) and their household help have signed petitions demanding Hopper’s recall in a very public way.

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Unpaid Huffington Post Writers May Strike Following $315 Million Sale To AOL

arianna_0-311x233The progressive views of leading liberal website the Huffington Post apparently stop at the office door. When your company is worth $315 million, it’s hard to make excuses for not paying your writers, and so the Newspaper Guild is urging the site’s unpaid bloggers to strike, in a controversy that has gone oddly undermentioned in the left-wing blogosphere. The Wrap reports:

Arianna Huffington scoffed at a group of unpaid Huffington Post contributors that announced on Wednesday they would stop contributing content to the site, weeks after its $315 million sale to AOL was announced.

“The idea of going on strike when no one really notices,” Huffington said. “Go ahead, go on strike.”

The controversy arose after writers for the websites ArtScene and Visual Art Source , which had been contributing content to the Huffington Post for free since 2010, refuse to contribute additional material to the site unless they got paid.

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