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Category Archives: Labor & EmploymentImage
The politicians ran up the debt in Detroit, but business didn’t want to pay taxes, so when the can couldn’t be kicked further down the road the Republican-appointed Czar for the City wants to use the City’s pension funds to pay off the debt. Detroit may well be the 1%’s model for handling the debt that the U.S. Government has accumulated.
Lesson for workers, never accept promises about deferred compensation, demand pay now, or no work. If you do the responsible thing, you’ll be screwed out of your savings in the future. This is a Class War and the 1% know what they are fighting and are prepared to do anything to win. The 99% still think the 1% are just a few folks who got lucky. Which is why the 99% is losing.
One of every four workers in America are eligible for some sort of public assistance due to the low wages they are paid.
This is a sobering indictment of an economy in which the very, very, very few take so much while the vast majority get so little. Nevertheless, among fast-food workers, whose pay is even less, 52% of workers receive public assistance.
This means that taxpayers are subsidizing McDonald’s when they choose to pay less-than-livable wages. McDonald’s workers are eligible for public assistance — Food Stamps, Medicaid, WIC, Section 8, Public Housing, EITC — because they are NOT paid a living wage.
Taxpayer’s thus contribute $ 1.2 BILLION a year to McDonald’s.
Hey, McD, WE DESERVE A BREAK TODAY!
Economic Policy Institute calculates REAL unemployment rate
In today’s labor market, the unemployment rate drastically understates the weakness of job opportunities. This is due to the existence of a large pool of “missing workers”—potential workers who, because of weak job opportunities, are neither employed nor actively seeking a job. In other words, these are people who would be either working or looking for work if job opportunities were significantly stronger. Because jobless workers are only counted as unemployed if they are actively seeking work, these “missing workers” are not reflected in the unemployment rate.
As part of its ongoing effort to create the metrics needed to assess how well the economy is working for America’s broad middle class, EPI is introducing its “missing worker” estimates, which will be updated on this page on the first Friday of every month immediately after the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its jobs numbers. The “missing worker” estimates provide policymakers with a key gauge of the health of the labor market.
Current “missing worker” estimates at a glance
Updated October 9, 2013, based on most current data available
Total missing workers, August 2013:
Unemployment rate if missing workers were looking for work:
Official unemployment rate:
A woman who has been employed by the McDonald’s Corporation for over 10 years says she was arrested last week after she confronted the company president at a meeting and told him she couldn’t afford to buy shoes or food for her children.
Nancy Salgado, 26, told The Real News that she felt like she had to speak out during McDonald’s USA President Jeff Stratton’s speech at the Union League Club of Chicago on Friday for the sake of her children.
“It’s really hard for me to feed my two kids and struggle day to day,” she shouted as Stratton was speaking. “Do you think this is fair, that I have to be making $8.25 when I’ve worked for McDonald’s for ten years?”
“I’ve been there for forty years,” Stratton replied from the podium.
“The thing is that I need a raise. But you’re not helping your employees. How is this possible?” Salgado asked.
At that point, someone approached Salgado and informed her that she was going to be arrested.
From THE RAW STORY http://www.rawstory.com (October 9, 2013)
Underpaid 83-Year-Old Professor Died Trying to Make Ends Meet by Working Night Shift at Eat an’ Save
ALTERNET http://www.alternet.org (September 18, 2013)
On Sept. 1, Margaret Mary Vojtko, an adjunct professor who had taught French at Duquesne University for 25 years, passed away at the age of 83. She died as the result of a massive heart attack she suffered two weeks before. As it turned out, I may have been the last person she talked to.
On Aug. 16, I received a call from a very upset Margaret Mary. She told me that she was under an incredible amount of stress. She was receiving radiation therapy for the cancer that had just returned to her, she was living nearly homeless because she could not afford the upkeep on her home, which was literally falling in on itself, and now, she explained, she had received another indignity — a letter from Adult Protective Services telling her that someone had referred her case to them saying that she needed assistance in taking care of herself. The letter said that if she did not meet with the caseworker the following Monday, her case would be turned over to Orphans’ Court.
For a proud professional like Margaret Mary, this was the last straw; she was mortified. She begged me to call Adult Protective Services and tell them to leave her alone, that she could take care of herself and did not need their help. I agreed to. Sadly, a couple of hours later, she was found on her front lawn, unconscious from a heart attack. She never regained consciousness.
Meanwhile, I called Adult Protective Services right after talking to Margaret Mary, and I explained the situation. I said that she had just been let go from her job as a professor at Duquesne, that she was given no severance or retirement benefits, and that the reason she was having trouble taking care of herself was because she was living in extreme poverty. The caseworker paused and asked with incredulity, “She was a professor?” I said yes. The case- worker was shocked; this was not the usual type of person for whom she was called in to help.
Of course, what the case-worker didn’t understand was that Margaret Mary was an adjunct professor, meaning that, unlike a well-paid tenured professor, Margaret Mary worked on a contract basis from semester to semester, with no job security, no benefits and with a salary of between $3,000 and just over $3,500 per three-credit course. Adjuncts now make up well over 50 percent of the faculty at colleges and universities.
While adjuncts at Duquesne overwhelmingly voted to join the United Steelworkers union a year ago, Duquesne has fought unionization, claiming that it should have a religious exemption. Duquesne has claimed that the unionization of adjuncts like Margaret Mary would somehow interfere with its mission to inculcate Catholic values among its students.
This would be news to Georgetown University — one of only two Catholic universities to make U.S. News & World Report’s list of top 25 universities — which just recognized its adjunct professors’ union, citing the Catholic Church’s social justice teachings, which favor labor unions.
As amazing as it sounds, Margaret Mary, a 25-year professor, was not making ends meet. Even during the best of times, when she was teaching three classes a semester and two during the summer, she was not even clearing $25,000 a year, and she received absolutely no health care benefits. Compare this to the salary of Duquesne’s president, who makes more than $700,000 with full benefits.
Meanwhile, in the past year, her teaching load had been reduced by the university to one class a semester, which meant she was making well below $10,000 a year. With huge out-of-pocket bills from UPMC Mercy for her cancer treatment, Margaret Mary was left in abject penury. She could no longer keep her electricity on in her home, which became uninhabitable during the winter. She therefore took to working at an Eat ‘n Park at night and then trying to catch some sleep during the day at her office at Duquesne. When this was discovered by the university, the police were called in to eject her from her office. Still, despite her cancer and her poverty, she never missed a day of class.
Finally, in the spring, she was let go by the university, which told her she was no longer effective as an instructor — despite many glowing evaluations from students. She came to me to seek legal help to try to save her job. She said that all she wanted was money to pay her medical bills because Duquesne, which never paid her much to begin with, gave her nothing on her way out the door.
Duquesne knew all about Margaret Mary’s plight, for I apprised them of it in two letters. I never received a reply, and Margaret Mary was forced to die saddened, penniless and on the verge of being turned over to Orphan’s Court.
The funeral Mass for Margaret Mary, a devout Catholic, was held at Epiphany Church, only a few blocks from Duquesne. The priest who said Mass was from the University of Dayton, another Catholic university and my alma mater. Margaret Mary was laid out in a simple, cardboard casket devoid of any handles for pallbearers — a sad sight, but an honest symbol of what she had been reduced to by her ostensibly Catholic employer.
Her nephew, who had contacted me about her passing, implored me to make sure that she didn’t die in vain. He said that while there was nothing that could be done for Margaret Mary, we had to help the other adjuncts at Duquesne and other universities who were being treated just as she was, and who could end up just like she did. I believe that writing this story is the first step in doing just that.
Having been an “Adjunct” myself I can relate to the plight of Margaret Mary. University-level teaching has practically been turned over to adjuncts and temps. It is remarkable that as the cost of higher education has gone higher, the real “costs” have been reduced to the bone. Universities will pay quarter-million salaries plus bennies to big name profs and yet students never see these all-stars. Most students are taught by adjuncts and temps as well as teaching assistants. The expense for all teaching staff in many a department is roughly equal to what one Star Prof takes in.
And this is symptomatic of employment elsewhere. “Temps” are IN! They are paid less, get fewer and frequently NO benefits, and are not even provided sick leave. From the Management standpoint, where “exploitation” is the most important product, it is a WIN-WIN. Hire the peons for pennies, work the crap out of them and then dump them when convenient. This is the Labor Market of today, and tomorrow.
Employees of the European information media giant REUTERS have been informed that they are about to be downsized. This is apparently a shock to Reuters personnel who thought that their merger with THOMSON-WEST would guarantee their economic security.
They should have read their own news reports. THOMSON is the very epitome of the slash-and-burn corporate model. The founder of the company was a Canadian press baron who bought up a slew of hometown newspapers, cut news reporting, and turned content over to a national headquarters which eschewed investigation for simple press release journalism, i.e. acquire governmental and corporate releases, re-write them as news copy and then put the paper to bed. Easy-peasy.
The idea that journalist had an ethical obligation to their readers, to democratic government or the truth became a quaint remembrance. The Thomson goal was an annual return on capital of 15%. And they did it by transforming newspapers into advertising circulars.
This drove the market value up, and while it ultimately led to the death of news journalism, the ultimate result was of little concern. The management goal was to maximize profits temporarily so as to prettify the balance sheet in preparation for a quick sale. That is what was done, scores of newspapers with puffed profit statements were quickly sold off for a handsome sum. The cash infusion was used to buy new media especially internet-based and computer databases.
Eventually this brought Thomson to West Publishing of Saint Paul Minnesota. West is the company that owns the Law. Yes, owns the Law. You see, law is publicly produced and supposedly accessible to the public who pays for it. West gathered up laws, regulations, ordinances, and court decisions for free and turned around in-putting such data into proprietary databases. So when lawyers or government agencies needed to look up the law they had to pay West for the privilege. West was a veritable goldegg-laying goose.
West was Thomson’s crown jewel until Reuters went on the market. Reuters was Thomson’s primary competitor in the info biz. It a myth of the capitalist hype-sters that capitalism is based on competition. Capitalists hate competition, and when they can’t destroy it, they buy it. Thus Reuters wedded Thomson, and Reuters employees found themselves Thomsonified. If you have a monopoly there is no need to produce quality. Reuters will be slimmed-down and operations transferred to China (as happened to West’s Law). A captive (literally, “captive”) workforce in China will free up cash for Thomson to maintain its position in the database markets in the USA and Europe.
Got a deal on a new shirt or blouse at Wal-Mart?
Northern consumers used to get good deals when they bought their cotton from the slaveholding Southern States. Today when kids study American history they can easily assume a sense of moral superiority, we wouldn’t tolerate slavery today, would we?
Well, we do, and we celebrate it every time we make the rounds at Wal-Mart or at any other outlet for Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Thai or Chinese goods. We support slavery, we pay slavedrivers with every “deal” we brag about.
In Bangladesh, textile workers are on strike. Many of them are force to work a 19 hour day in factories in which they are locked-in for their full shift. If they get sick, they’re fired. They are allowed bathroom breaks on their own time — ever try “holding it” for 19 hours?
An 80 hour work week is common and female workers are frequently required to perform for their supervisors after they’ve put in a full day’s work (and we mean FULL DAY’s work). Despite the long hours, most textile workers cannot support themselves or their families. Families survive only by putting their children to work to supplement the parents’ and older siblings’ wages.
When 200,000 textile workers resolved to strike, as well as give up eating, the employers on behalf of Wal-Mart and others responded with bullets and tear gas. Instead of meeting the workers’ demand for a wage of a $ 100 A MONTH, Wal-Mart’s agents would rather kill a few now so as to intimidate the rest later.
And all so you can get a good deal.