It has become an entrenched trend: corporations approach government officials and demand tax breaks, threatening to abandon the city, state or country if the politicians are not forthcoming. In 2011, for example, in San Francisco, Twitter demanded a tax break as a condition for locating in the city and won a $22 million break over [...]
The passage in Michigan of the anti-worker legislation grotesquely misnamed “Right to Work” (RTW) should be putting the entire nation on red alert. The downward pressure on the standard of living such bills unleash on the vast majority extend well beyond the union ranks. The bill’s success in Michigan, a pivotal state for organized Labor, [...]
In his recent New York Times op-ed piece, Princeton professor and regular columnist for The New York Times, Paul Krugman observed: The American economy is still, by most measures, deeply depressed. But corporate profits are at record high. It’s simple: profits have surged as a share of national income, while wages and other labor compensation [...]
As chaos again envelopes Egypt, the revolution is evolving in new directions, along contradictory and confusing channels. It’s tempting to immediately support the “opposition” to the Muslim Brotherhood’s apparent “power grab,” but the situation in Egypt is more complex. The recent events in Egypt are not simply signs of a healthy revolution, they include immediate dangers. Making sense [...]
History will undoubtedly deliver the harshest condemnations of the UN climate talks currently underway in Doha, Qatar. But the conference was laughable before it began; the inept “goals” of the talks stand in tragic-comic opposition to what we already know about climate change — that the climate has already changed in profound ways and its trajectory [...]
Whether we are left with the Fiscal Cliff or a Grand Bargain, workers in the U.S. face massive cuts to programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, unemployment insurance, Food Stamp assistance and other needed social safety nets. This is an example of “austerity” which has largely been pursued in the U.S. until now, on [...]
The last Congo war that ended in 2003 killed 5.4 million people, the worst humanitarian disaster since World War II. The killing was directly enabled by international silence over the issue; the war was ignored and the causes obscured because governments were backing groups involved in the fighting. Now a new Congo war has begun and [...]
I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to the institution of slavery where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so. First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1861 ______________________________ Lincoln, the latest production from Steven Spielberg, was released on Friday, November 16. The [...]
The labor movement is in terminal crisis. After decades of declining membership, the union movement has been targeted for destruction: private sector union membership is near eradication, and now the corporations are on a public-sector mopping up mission, using the city, state, and federal budget deficits as an excuse to target public sector unions. Obama’s Race to the Top [...]
As Obama tours Southeast Asia to strengthen his alliances against China, Gazans are being killed and maimed by the hundreds, with the possibility of an incredibly bloody Israeli invasion. The United States still wields tremendous power internationally; its actions and inactions have direct consequences in international conflicts.
Humanitarian catastrophes are surprisingly easy to predict. Take Syria for instance. Like Iraq, Syria has a complex mix of ethnicity and religion, with a long history of conflict. Enter the United States, who comes with guns and cash that it doles out to certain ethnic/religious groups, and not to others. The ensuing bloodbath is not a [...]
With pro-Obama election posters still visible in most union halls across the country, the President has already taken steps towards selling out not only labor unions (again) but all working people. But this isn’t the “ordinary” sellout that working people have come to expect from Democrats — this is an attack of historic proportions. The [...]
Literally the day after the election a sudden “urgency” gripped the nation: the imminent danger of the so-called “fiscal cliff” — the national automatic tax increases and spending cuts due in January. The media screamed that the suddenly approaching fiscal cliff would trigger a recession, forcing Democrats and Republicans to consider a “grand bargain” budget deal to avoid disaster.
The game is rigged, but not the fight. In 2010 and 2011, workers at St. Charles Hospital in Bend, Oregon came together to join Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 49 to improve their conditions and strengthen their voice. It was the largest union organizing victory in Oregon for 30 years. This victory held great [...]
It’s difficult to build a pre-election protest with so many labor and community groups busy campaigning for Democrats. Nevertheless, over 1,000 people marched the streets in Portland, Oregon against austerity cuts to education and other public services and the consequent debt accumulated by students.
It’s true that Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have many political differences. But they also agree on many essential policies; enough to make the next four years easily predictable, no matter who wins. Here are five predictions based on the most important shared beliefs of the two candidates:
For some time now, Labor has been punched into a corner when it comes to state legislation. Over the last two years legislation has been passed in Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan that has attempted to gut largely public workers of their union rights.
On November 3rd Portland community and labor groups will declare “enough is enough” by organizing a first for the U.S. — a large demonstration against government austerity cuts.
When a torrent hits an obstacle that refuses to give, it either flows around or over the obstruction. When workers’ needs for a living wage, fair treatment, and a voice are damned up by an oppressive employer, it is only a matter of time before they find a way of asserting their strength. Testament to [...]
The coast is clear, the media tells us; economic disaster has been averted. The Euro Zone is finally stable and the U.S. economy is recovering. Whew!
U.S. workers and those who are unemployed are frequently told that the current presidential elections are among the most important in this country’s history. With continuing high unemployment and underemployment, declining wages, and looming massive cuts to social programs that help workers, such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, we are at a grave point [...]
The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those, who in time of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality. Dante The world watches as a nation is torn, slow motion, at the seams. Money and geopolitics has caused a feeding frenzy of western nations biting and tearing at Syria, all hoping to profit from the regime’s destruction. [...]
If foxes are put in charge of rebuilding a chicken coop, it is a given that the chicken’s new quarters will be less than secure. In terms of rebuilding the economy, with the predatory interests of Wall Street dictating the “solutions” proposed by both the Republicans and Democrats, it is a given that their plans [...]
With the November elections right around the corner, the millions of unemployed and under-employed have little reason to care. Aside from some sparse rhetoric, neither Democrats nor Republicans have offered a solution to job creation. Most politicians seem purposefully myopic about the jobs crisis, as if a healthy dose of denial might get them through the [...]
Many crucial issues are at stake in the Chicago Teachers Union strike. But the school district’s insistence that student test scores constitute a major basis of teacher evaluations seems to have become a particularly contentious point, leading to the vilification of teachers by the mainstream media, particularly The New York Times.
The issue of unemployment and underemployment loomed above the hype of both the Republican and Democratic Party conventions with the cold stare of a harsh judge. Many promises and dubious claims were made from the respective party podiums, but no real solutions were put forward.
It took less than 24 hours for Obama’s “inspiring” convention speech to be smothered by the reality of the job crisis. The August national jobs report showed that the U.S. economy failed to create enough new jobs to keep up with population growth. More importantly, in August 368,000 Americans completely dropped out of the labor [...]
As the U.S. sinks further and further into economic decline, with 23 million people unemployed or underemployed and one report after another detailing the everyday sense of dread the average working class family faces with a declining standard of living, cuts to education and vital services for those most in need, the tightly controlled spectacle [...]
It’s impossible to exaggerate the national importance of the teachers’ struggle in Chicago. If the Chicago teachers’ union — 26,000 members strong — goes on strike, many critical yet ignored political issues will go into the national spotlight, exposing nastiness that many politicians and labor leaders would like ignored until after the presidential elections.
The International Association of Machinists just succeeded in negotiating a humiliating defeat with Caterpillar after a 15-week strike. Workers lost considerable money by striking, and then lost even more with the new contract, accepting almost every concession the company demanded despite the fact that the company was sitting on a record $4.9 billion in profits. [...]
The unions remain the only organizations in this country built by and for workers to be a collective fighting force to defend and improve the members’ standard of living. While only a minority belongs to unions, all workers’ fate depends on their strength. Unfortunately they have been taking a serious beating. How has the leadership [...]
What will happen in America when overworked employees begin to demand to be paid what they are worth?
The Great Recession and its possible continuance has brought the issue of privatization to the forefront of American politics. But most Americans aren’t even aware that this debate is happening, because the media and politicians aren’t using the word “privatization;” instead less threatening substitutes are used to ram through a corporate agenda that aims to massively [...]
Many of today’s social expectations and political outlooks of the Labor Movement, and workers in general, were formed in the post World War II economic expansion. While the economy was expanding and there were steady jobs to be had, it appeared to be enough for many people to focus on improving their immediate community or [...]