A compromise bill has passed the New York City Council to require employers to give employees sick days. What’s surprising about this – or maybe not surprising – is that very few American workers receive sick days. Daily Kos has published a map of countries that require sick days. Once again, the U.S. does not follow the pattern of most developed countries. Workers in the U.S. are under attack. We need to look at other countries and look at our own history. It’s time to fight back.
May 14, 2013
April 28, 2013
One of my good friends is an engineer. For most of his career, his employer paid overtime to engineers who worked more than 40 hours. That changed three years ago. Now they are on a “comp time” model in which non-hourly employees are supposed to be able to take time off for working over 40 hours in a week. However, given “lean” staffing, it’s impossible to use comp time.
Laura Clawson of Daily Kos discusses this problem and how the freedom-loving conservatives in Congress are trying to make it worse. The Working Families Flexibility Act, a proposed bill in the House of Representatives, would enable employers to control their employees’ time, working them hard during busy seasons,making them take comp time without pay when production is slow.
Clawson calls out Eric Cantor as the leading supporter of this “reform.” That’s not surprising. The real challenge will be to see how many Senate Democrats fall in line if the bill passes the House. Working people need to come together to support each other on this issue. The Working Families Flexibility Act should be a rallying point. Anyone (hourly or salary) working more than 40 hour should be paid overtime. Keep it simple: +40 = overtime pay.
April 18, 2013
Daily Kos’s Laura Clawson is a great writer on labor issues. Sometimes, she can also be very funny. In a recent post, Clawson speculates what it would be like if the Teach for America model were applied to other professional fields.
The real point is, of course, that attacks on teachers are absurd. Many corporate reformers are looking for ways to break unions and pay teachers less. To do that, they have to create a boogie man of the “bad teacher.” Am I claiming there are no bad teachers? Of course not. There are unqualified or incompetent people in every field. The attack on teachers serves a political agenda. In her funny piece, Clawson call out the absurdity.
April 3, 2013
A few days ago I posted about the growing number of college graduates working in low wage jobs. Laura Clawson of Daily Kos has written an article that is even more depressing in its finding: 7 of 10 available jobs are low pay ($30,000 or less per year). Clawson makes the wonderful point that business are treating workers with this attitude: Be happy you’re not making even less. Sooner or later, that attitude will really boomerang on the managerial class. The problem is that working people will suffer even more when the time of reckoning comes.
March 7, 2013
Not much time for a post today, but I found a very interesting article by Laura Clawson in Daily Kos Labor. The graph again shows how people are producing more while they are earning less. This is a message that working people need to get soon.
February 23, 2013
I frequently cite Laura Clawson of Daily Kos for her great reporting on workers’ issues. Here is a link to her overview of the week’s labor news. The first story is especially troubling. A group of “education reformers” are trying to influence a school board election in Los Angeles. Why? They want to chip away at traditional public schools and teachers unions. I recommend this story and everything else Laura Clawson writes.
January 27, 2013
In Daily Kos, Laura Clawson reports that Hyatt has settled a case with two workers it tried to fire for attempting to organize a union. It’s not a grand victory. But given recent court decisions and the GOP war on labor, it’s a victory. We need more.
January 19, 2013
Writing in Daily Kos¸ Meteor Blades reports that our focus on more jobs may be missing a bigger problem. The economy has added jobs. The problem is that more and more of them tend to be part-time or paid at lower wages. Blades cites a this eye-popping statistic: In 2008 4.7 million Americans were employed part-time. That number is now, just five years later, 7.8 million. Even more shocking, the retail industry has cut one million jobs since 2006 and only added 500,000 part-time jobs.
Recent economic news has sounded good: more people working, improved housing market, and more factory orders. None of this happy talk will matter if employees keep getting squeezed on income. My clients tend to be professionals with college degrees. Over the last year too many to count have told stories of going 3-5 years with no increase in pay. If this continues, the chickens will come to roost.
January 13, 2013
One of my favorite writers, Laura Clawson of Daily Kos, has posted a video by a commentator from Fox News who thinks sweatshops are just a stage in economic growth. Clawson points out that many working people today are stuck in low paid jobs and unpaid internships. She right, but I think the issue is more serious. My problem with the logic of Fox’s commentator is that it’s one more step toward abolishing the 13th Amendment. Can people be free in a country where they don’t earn enough to live, a country where they have no security in health care or retirement? Are people who live in fear and want any better than slaves?
December 30, 2012
Writing in Daily Kos, Laura Clawson reports on strategies and tactics being used by unions and often by non-union low wage workers. Workers at Walmart and other large, low-wage corporations are fighting back. They are attacking, as one labor leader put it, by coming at employers “from every angle.”
Traditional unions are often hindered by NLRB rules. Those rules don’t apply to workers who are kept out of unions. While they have no protection from the government, non-union workers can be more creative in their quest for workplace justice and fair pay. Hopefully, as Clawson suggests, the labor movement in the U.S. will be reborn from the bottom up.