Posts Tagged ‘unions’
Tags: Boeing, cartoon, corporations, healthcare, insurance, JPMorganChase, markets, Obamacare, Republicans, unions
Tags: Boeing, cartoon, corporations, food stamps, hunger, profits, stock market, Twitter, unions, Wall Street
Tags: agribusiness, agriculture, cartoon, farming, healthcare, land, Obamacare, Republicans, unions, workers
Tags: austerity, happiness, political economy, surplus, unions, workers
My colleague Benjamin Radcliff, author of the Political Economy of Human Happiness, argues happier people live in countries with strong social safety nets and labor unions.
The relationship could not be stronger or clearer: However much it may pain conservatives to hear it, the “nanny state,” as they disparagingly call it, works. Across the Western world, the quality of human life increases as the size of the state increases. It turns out that having a “nanny” makes life better for people. This is borne out by the U.N. 2013 “World Happiness Report,” which found Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden the top five happiest nations.
Conservatives may be equally troubled to learn that labor unions have a similar effect. Not only are workers who belong to unions happier, but the overall rate of happiness for everyone — members and nonmembers — increases dramatically as the percentage of workers who belong to unions grows, reflecting the louder political voice that organization gives to ordinary citizens.
Take it a step further and we can conclude that people will be able to have richer and more rewarding lives when the social surplus is used to support the welfare of the majority of the population and when workers have a democratic say in how that surplus is produced.
The United States will truly deserve the distinction of being exceptional when it rejects the austerity agenda that continues to be peddled as the solution to our current economic and social problems and embraces a more generous future.
Tags: Bangladesh, cartoon, environment, food stamps, garments, history, hunger, unions, United States, workers
Tags: Only in America, Republicans, Tennessee, UAW, unions, Volkswagen, workers
Apparently, the United Auto Workers are edging closer to organizing, either with a works council or an independent union, Volkswagen’s manufacturing plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Republican Senator Bob Corker is, however, opposed to the idea.
“We are talking with them all the time,” said Mr. Corker, a former mayor of Chattanooga who helped bring Volkswagen to Tennessee. “I’m reminding them that bringing the UAW in [to the Chattanooga plant] would damage our community’s prospects and damage our state. We know that right now it’s hurting our efforts to recruit other employers, other manufacturers to Tennessee.” Organizing the Volkswagen plant would be a significant victory for the UAW, which saw its membership decline steadily over more than two decades as the Detroit auto makers, hurt by high labor costs, closed plants and lost market share to foreign rivals.
Here we have a large multinational corporation that has not sabotaged a union’s organizing efforts, while one of the political representatives of the workers of that state is criticizing the corporation for even allowing the possibility of union representation.
Ah, only in America!
That’s right, according to the Wall Street Journal, workers’ real wages continue to decline in the midst of the so-called economic recovery.
The upshot: Even though rising home prices and stock values are making some people optimistic, many workers can’t push for higher pay—crimping their spending and potentially the recovery. “Workers feel like they have absolutely no bargaining power,” said Robert Mellman, an economist at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.
Besides not feeling confident enough to demand higher wages, employees also are wary of going out and looking for better jobs. Only 1.6% of employed Americans quit their jobs in June, below the roughly 2%-2.2% prerecession level. People tend to quit jobs more readily when they are confident they will find a new one that’s equal or better
The only path to wage gains is through a stronger economy or an increase in demand for specialized skills.
Or, alternatively, two possibilities the Wall Street Journal doesn’t want to consider: workers can strengthen their unions or demand a larger say in the enterprises where they work.
Tags: protest, unions, wages, Walmart, workers, working conditions
Walmart workers and supporters launched protests in at least 15 cities yesterday, urging the world’s largest retailer to provide higher wages, better jobs and the right to unionize.
OUR Wal-Mart, a coalition including Wal-Mart workers, community organizers and the United Food & Commercial Workers organized day-long protests, urging Wal-Mart to pay full-time wages of $25,000 a year, or $12 an hour. It says many of Wal-Mart’s 1.3 million associates are part-time employees averaging just $8.80 an hour.
The Wal-Mart protests – which follow last week’s broader, widespread strikes among fast-food industry workers seeking $15 an hour wages from fast food chains – were scheduled for Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, Seattle, Chicago, Denver, Boston, Orlando, Minneapolis and Washington D.C., where Wal-Mart is threatening to cut expansion if it’s required to pay a city mandated “living wage” of at least $12.50 an hour.
Tags: capital, corporations, history, inequality, labor, Labor Day, unions, United States, wages, workers
Back in 1882, union workers in New York City took an unpaid day off and marched to and around Union Square in support of their collective demands. But the United States didn’t have an official Labor Day until—in response to the Haymarket Square protests for an eight-hour workday in May of of 1886 and protests against President Grover Cleveland’s decision to send in federal troops to break the Pullman Strike in the summer of 1894—Congress rushed through a bill, which Cleveland quickly signed, creating a national holiday on the first Monday of September.
Now, the United States has a Labor Day holiday but still no restriction on the length of the workday and a union membership rate that has fallen (from a high of 35 percent during the mid-1950s) to 11.3 percent.* As a result, Americans work longer hours than workers in other advanced countries, wages for most workers are stagnant or declining, and inequality is getting worse (as large corporations and individuals at the top of the income distribution capture a larger and larger share of what is produced).
Thus, as Nancy Folbre concludes,
Today is officially Labor Day. But all the days in the year are now, unofficially, Capital Days.
*That’s for all workers (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2012). Public-sector workers have a union membership rate (35.9 percent) more than five times higher than that of private-sector workers (6.6 percent).
Tags: fast food, minimum wage, protest, strike, unions, United States, workers
Fast-food workers across the United States are planning to stage their largest strike to date today in a year-long campaign to raise wages and form unions n the service sector.
Employees of McDonald’s Corp, Wendy’s Restaurants LLC, Burger King Worldwide Inc and others have pledged to walk off their jobs in 50 cities from Boston, Mass, to Alameda, Calif., organizers say. They are expected to be joined by retail employees at stores owned by Macy’s Inc, Sears Holdings Corp and Dollar Tree Inc in some cities.
The strike follows a similar protest last November, when some 200 workers walked off their fast-food jobs in New York City. Groups in Chicago, Kansas City, Detroit and other cities followed their lead in April and July.
The workers want to form unions and bargain higher wages with their employers without facing retaliation from franchisees or their parent companies. They are demanding $15 an hour, up from $7.25, which is the current federal minimum wage.
The median wage for front-line fast-food workers is $8.94 per hour, according to an analysis of government data by the National Employment Law Project, an advocacy group for lower-wage workers. Virtually all private-sector fast-food jobs are non-union, and organizers say retaliation against workers who try to organize is common.
Martin Rafanan, a community organizer in St. Louis, Missouri, where the minimum wage is $7.35, said local employees of McDonald’s and Wendy’s were inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement’s discussions about income inequality. But he added that the main reason for their frustration is financial.
“If you’re paying $7.35 an hour and employing someone for 20, 25 hours a week, which is the average here, they’re bringing home about $10,000 a year. You can’t survive on that.” Rafanan said.