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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Laura Clawson of Daily Kos reports on growing protests by workers at Walmart in Dallas, Miami, Seattle, and other cities. Is this a trend? A new hint that labor might have a heartbeat? I hope so. It would be nice to hear a Democrat say something in support of workers. I won’t hold my breath waiting. As in the late 19th century, workers are on their own. Solidarity!
The best way to kill a lie is to catch it early and call it out. This is exactly what Laura Clawson does in today’s Daily Kos. Experts and pundits are claiming the unemployment rate is high because workers lack skills needed to fill open jobs. Clawson look at the numbers and finds something very different. Employers are recruiting workers less intensely than they did before the recession. She also tests the claim that there are not skilled workers needed to fill open positions. Again, the lie is blaming the workers.
Why might employers want to leave positions unfilled? It’s more profitable to squeeze every ounce of productivity out of existing staff. A client recently told me that a leading retailer is going to cut all of its store managers and shift that duty to people who are currently assistant managers without giving them the title or salary of store manager. Sooner or later, this kind of corporate “strategy” will boomerang. Don’t listen to the lie. Don’t blame the workers.
PS: No Sabbath this week. I’ve been busy and dealing with a minor health issue.
Laura Clawson of the Daily Kos has written a perceptive and disturbing article on wealth held by the bottom 50% of Americans. In 1989, this group only held 3% of the nation’s wealth. 18 years later (2007) they held only 1.1%. Clawson cautions that we focus too much on the 1% and forget the gulf of inequality in the country, especially for the very poor. As always, her insight is brilliant – and it will find no voice in the corporate media or our political debates.
All of the experts say that consumers need to buy for the economy to improve. If 50% of the American people have had a nearly 2/3 loss of wealth, how can they spend? More importantly, what kind of lives can they live? Is this American exceptionalism?
I frequently praise Laura Clawson of Daily Kos for her coverage of issues that affect working people. Today her story made me want to scream. The problem is not Clawson’s reporting; it’s the subject matter: Home health care workers can be paid less than minimum wage.
This is disgusting. Clawson says that President Obama is trying to address this issue. My question is: How could it happen? The rationale for paying less than minimum wage is that being a home health care worker is similar to being a babysitter (Huh?). Home care workers cook and bath their elderly clients. They have to be aware of any potentially medical issues. They have to be trusted to enter homes. This is not the work of a 14 year old babysitter.
According to Clawson, there are 1.8 million home care workers. My guess is that some of them – maybe even a majority – make more than minimum wage. But it’s outrageous to think that even one person doing this important job could be paid as if she were a babysitter. This story is outrageous. The problem is that too many Americans seem only to have outrage at the poor, not at their exploitation.
Writing in Daily Kos, Laura Clawson reports that 24% women farm workers face sexual harassment and assault. In one area of California, the number was 80%. Clawson notes that this is one reason the Violence Against Women Act has been expanded to included undocumented workers.
When some American rage against “illegal aliens,” we need to ask what rights undocumented workers have as human beings. Yes, it is the right and duty of the government to arrest and deport anyone who does not have the proper immigration status. However, does that also give criminals – rapists – the right to abuse these people?
Both political parties say America is an exceptional nation. Many politicians claim to be following Christ. How is it exceptional or Christian to let innocent women be assaulted and harassed?