The High Cost of Low Wages

high-cost-low-wages

The Center for Labor Research and Education at the University of California at Berkeley has produced the first report to examine the cost to the 50 states of public assistance programs for working families. It turns out that we spend nearly $153 billion dollars a year to subsidize the low wages at McDonald’s, Wal-Mart and the like.

Read More: The High Public Cost of Low Wages | UC Berkeley Labor Center

Download a PDF of the Briefing.

 

Chicago May Day 2015

joe-hill-roadshow

May Day Celebration – Noon to 1: 30 PM Haymarket Memorial, Corner of DesPlaines & Randolph

May Day 2015 March, Rally, and Noise Demonstration – 2:30 PM Union Park

Illinois Labor History Society Annual Membership Meeting – 5 to 7 PM Chicago Federation of Musicians, 656 Randolph Street, Haymarket Square

The Joe Hill Roadshow – 9 PM Hideout, 1354 West Wabansia Avenue, Chicago

Solidarity with our ILWU Brothers and Sisters

A dispute between the International Longshore & Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association has drawn the attention of President Obama, who has now sent Labor Secretary Thomas Perez to meet with the sides. It is not yet known what specific message was conveyed to the negotiators. Some have speculated that the Obama Administration is threatening to invoke the Taft-Hartley Act to reopen the ports in the event of either a strike or a lockout.

A Department of Labor press release on the matter stated the following. “On behalf of President Obama, Secretary Perez made clear that the dispute has led to a very negative impact on the U.S. economy, and further delay risks tens of thousands of jobs and will cost American businesses hundreds of millions of dollars.” It also said that the two sides must come to “immediate agreement to prevent further damage to our economy and further pain for American workers and their employers.”

This sort of talk seems a far cry from Obama’s campaign rhetoric, where he pledged to “put on a comfortable pair of shoes” himself and “walk on that picket line with you, as President of the United States of America.”

The PMA, an association of the owners of the 29 ports on the West Coast, has stepped up a media campaign to draw attention to the harm that the dispute may be doing to the larger U.S. economy. The President of the ILWU, Robert McEllrath, fired back two weeks ago, accusing the PMA of distorting the facts, threatening to close the ports and bargaining in the media instead of at the table.

“What the ILWU heard yesterday is a man who makes about one million dollars a year telling the working class that we have more than our share,” said McEllrath. “Intensifying the rhetoric at this stage of bargaining, when we are just a few issues from reaching an agreement, is totally unnecessary and counterproductive.”

The PMA on Wednesday distributed letters directly to workers at major ports from Los Angeles to Washington state that detailed what they called their last, best and final contract offer, apparently in hopes that the rank-and-file will pressure union negotiators to make concessions.

As the situation unfolds, we may get an opportunity to see whether or not the Obama Administration truly stands with the workers.

For nearly a century, the West Coast longshore and warehouse workers have stood, time and again, on the front lines of the struggle for freedom and justice. They deserve our attention, our respect and our support.

We Tortured People

Today the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released the Forward, Findings and Conclusions, and Executive Summary of their study on the Central Intelligence Agency’s “enhanced interrogation” program. Prior to its release, it has been a source of contention within the ruling class. The CIA actually was caught spying on the Senate Committee during the process of the investigation.

Here’s a link to the report.

Study of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program

For those who would like a three sentence summary, here it is.

We tortured people.

We lied about it.

The torture yielded no useful information.

Industrial Worker September 2012

The September 2012 issue of Industrial Worker from the IWW is now available.

The Industrial Worker is the official (English language) newspaper of the Industrial Workers of the World. It is published ten times a year, and printed by GCIU/Teamsters union labor. The editor is elected by the membership via a rank and file vote for a two year term of office.

I’ll be posting a link to the online version of each new issue as if becomes available. You can always find the most recent issue by clicking on the image of the newspaper in the right sidebar of this Weblog.

Industrial Worker July and August 2012

The July/August 2012 issue of Industrial Worker from the IWW is now available.

The Industrial Worker is the official (English language) newspaper of the Industrial Workers of the World. It is published ten times a year, and printed by GCIU/Teamsters union labor. The editor is elected by the membership via a rank and file vote for a two year term of office.

I’ll be posting a link to the online version of each new issue as if becomes available. You can always find the most recent issue by clicking on the image of the newspaper in the right sidebar of this Weblog.

Industrial Worker June 2012

The June 2012 issue of Industrial Worker from the IWW is now available.

The Industrial Worker is the official (English language) newspaper of the Industrial Workers of the World. It is published ten times a year, and printed by GCIU/Teamsters union labor. The editor is elected by the membership via a rank and file vote for a two year term of office.

I’ll be posting a link to the online version of each new issue as if becomes available. You can always find the most recent issue by clicking on the image of the newspaper in the right sidebar of this Weblog.

2012 Living Planet Report

2012 Living Planet Report. [World Wildlife Fund] – The 2012 edition of the Living Planet Report highlights the tremendous pressure that humanity is putting on our planet. We are currently using 50 per cent more resources than the Earth can provide. By 2030, even two planets will not be enough. Rising consumption trends in high-income groups around the world (and also in Brazil, Russia, India, Indonesia, China and South Africa), combined with growing population numbers, provide warning signs of the potential for even larger footprints in the future.

The United States ranks 5th among per-capita consumption (behind Qatar, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and Denmark). If the entire world consumed as we Americans do, it would currently take 4 planets just like ours to sustain us.

Download the full report here or the summary here.

Catholic Bishops Investigate The Girl Scouts

Today’s WTF Story:

Girl Scouts under scrutiny from Catholic bishops. [CSMonitor.com] – Long a lightning rod for conservative criticism, the Girl Scouts of the USA are now facing their highest-level challenge yet: An official inquiry by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. At issue are concerns about program materials that some Catholics find offensive, as well as assertions that the Scouts associate with other groups espousing stances that conflict with church teaching. The Scouts, who have numerous parish-sponsored troops, deny many of the claims and defend their alliances.

Brian’s Comment:

Clean up your own power-mad money-grubbing homophobic misogynistic pedophiliac den of iniquity, Bishops.

Leave our Girl Scouts alone.

Industrial Worker May 2012

The May 2012 issue of Industrial Worker from the IWW is now available.

The Industrial Worker is the official (English language) newspaper of the Industrial Workers of the World. It is published ten times a year, and printed by GCIU/Teamsters union labor. The editor is elected by the membership via a rank and file vote for a two year term of office.

I’ll be posting a link to the online version of each new issue as if becomes available. You can always find the most recent issue by clicking on the image of the newspaper in the right sidebar of this Weblog.

Headlines:

  • General Strike, Mass Protests Engulf Europe
  • Picket Against Unpaid Labor In Glasgow
  • Polish Ironworkers Walk Out In Wildcat Strike

Features:

  • Some Objections To Occupy May 1st
  • Review: Who Bombed Judi Bari?
  • Sex Workers: “We Ask For Solidarity, Not Salvation”

Download a Free PDF of this issue.

Industrial Worker April 2012

The April 2012 issue of Industrial Worker from the IWW is now available.

The Industrial Worker is the official (English language) newspaper of the Industrial Workers of the World. It is published ten times a year, and printed by GCIU/Teamsters union labor. The editor is elected by the membership via a rank and file vote for a two year term of office.

I’ll be posting a link to the online version of each new issue as if becomes available. You can always find the most recent issue by clicking on the image of the newspaper in the right sidebar of this Weblog.

Headlines:

  • Industrial Bakery Workers Fight For Dignity In NYC
  • Living Wage Victory For IWW Cleaners In London
  • IWW Launches In Uganda

Features:

  • Direct Unionism And Beyond
  • Special: Lessons From Workplace Organizing
  • IW Book Review: The Fiction Issue

Download a Free PDF of this issue.

Millions Join Spain’s General Strike

The Spanish People Strike Against Austerity and Attacks on Labor

Coming Soon to a Country Near You!

Spain Hobbled by General Strike. [NYTimes.com] – Heavy industry and large parts of the transportation network were disrupted on Thursday by Spain’s first general strike since the Popular Party of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy came to power late last year.

The strike was called by Spain’s two main trade unions to protest a recent overhaul of labor rules that makes it less costly for employers to hire and fire workers. It came on the eve of Mr. Rajoy’s presentation of Spain’s 2012 budget, which is expected to contain about €20 billion, or $26 billion, in additional spending cuts and tax increases to help Spain meet deficit targets it agreed to with the European Commission.

Millions Join General Strike in Spain. [WSWS] – Yesterday’s general strike against new labour laws imposed by the right-wing Popular Party government was backed by millions.

The two main union federations, the Socialist Party (PSOE)-aligned General Workers Union (Union General de Trabajadores, UGT), and the Communist Party (PCE)-led Workers Commissions (Comisiones Obreras, CC.OO) estimated that the stoppages were supported by 77-80 percent of the workforce. Many more people, unemployed, school children, housewives and students used it as a vehicle to protest government cuts and austerity measures.

Mass stoppages took place in industry, transport and services. The walkout hit road, rail and air service with barely any domestic or European flights in operation.