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Archive for March, 2012

Republican NLRB member violated ethics laws

Why am I not surprised? These ideological conservatives hate the NLRB so much that they would do anything to undermine the NLRB and destroy it from within.

The board’s inspector general said the member, Terence F. Flynn, violated ethics rules by sharing confidential details on the status of pending cases and the likely votes of other members before decisions were released. A report from Inspector General David P. Berry also faulted Mr. Flynn for a “lack of candor” during the investigation.

This is really despicable. I hope that President Obama would ask for Flynn’s resignation from the National Labor Relations Board.

India knows how to do a general strike!

If people in India can do this; what’s stopping anyone in the world? Scott Walker’s Wisconsin? Kasich’s Ohio? Corbett’s Pennsylvania? LePage’s Maine? How about Indiana?

In the largest general strike since India’s independence, millions of workers went on strike Feb. 28 for stronger labor laws and to protest the rising cost of living. All 11 national labor federations plus 5,000 unaffiliated unions participated. This included labor federations associated with the ruling Congress party.

Both unions on the left and right have joined together and they are estimating 100 million people have gone on strike. This is simply amazing and I have to congratulate them for being able to carry out a general strike action.

Giant and Safeway advertising for scab labor

English: A Safeway.com delivery truck (operate...

A Safeway.com delivery truck (operated by Safeway Inc.) seen in Washington (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’d really hate to stop patronizing the new Super Giant on Columbia Pike in Arlington, Virginia. I remember when they first opened and I asked one of the VP’s about the union at Giant. He actually sounded positive in his answer when he told me that all Giant’s were unionized.

There is a brewing conflict between the union local (UFCW Local 400) and Giant and Safeway management over getting a new contract in place. It seems that management doesn’t want to bargain in good faith.

Noting that the two supermarket chains control nearly 60 percent of the Washington, DC, area grocery market and earn healthy profits, McNutt said, “For the past 30 years, our members sacrificed to make Giant and Safeway the leaders in our area and now, all we ask is for the companies to share the fruits of our labor. In response, we get a boot heel on our back. But our members are standing tall. We will not bend or buckle no matter what management does.”

They’re trying to extract concessions when both companies seem to be doing rather well. As the current contract’s deadline approaches on March 31st; Giant and Safeway have begun to advertise for scab labor. UFCW Local 400 feels that they are trying to provoke a strike or lock these workers out.

The really weird thing is that they have begun to wage a terror campaign on employees who use social media. They have enacted a policy that disallows these employees from saying anything on social networks about their situation. Are they actively patrolling Twitter and Facebook?

When March 31st arrives, if there is no contract in place for these workers—I will have to shop elsewhere!

Why the downfall of the U.S. healthcare industry is to be welcomed

I must say I was quite surprised to hear Wendell Potter quote the current CEO of Aetna saying, “the system doesn’t work. It’s broke today.” “The end of insurance companies, the way we’ve run the business in the past, is here.”

We can only hope that their downfall is close at hand. Although it probably won’t happen for years, it seems the process has begun.

Ever since the health insurance industry came to be dominated in recent years by a handful of big for-profit corporations, insurers have actually been driving away customers and shrinking the universe of people they were willing to cover, because of the return on investment and the profit demands of the large institutional investors that own most of the corporations’ shares. It is because of those demands that insurers price their premiums beyond the reach of millions of Americans. It is because of those demands that insurers reject on average a third or more of all applicants because of “preexisting conditions.” And it is because of those demands that insurers have routinely canceled the coverage of thousands of policyholders when they got sick. Now you know why more than 50 million of us are uninsured. It is not because most of those people are being irresponsible. Most of them either can’t afford to buy coverage or can’t buy it at any price.

The problem for the health care industry then becomes one of a shrinking marketplace. When you deny all these people coverage for whatever reason—you are limiting yourself. Whether you like it or not healthcare will eventually be managed by nonprofits and the government. It’s becoming unprofitable for the corporate killers.

The best psychological analysis of the conservative mind I’ve read

Reading Eric Alterman’s piece in The Nation. on right wing racism I came across this really good paragraph describing the conservative mind.

One may or may not be surprised to learn from yet another recent study—this one published in Psychological Science—of an apparently direct correlation between low scores on childhood IQ tests and prejudiced beliefs and socially conservative views later in life. Such beliefs, as the theory goes, offer “structure and order” that wash away the complexity of the real world into simple and identifiable rules, according to Dr. Gordon Hodson, a psychology professor at Brock University in Ontario. “So, it may not be surprising that people with less cognitive capacity will be attracted to simplifying ideologies,” according to Brian Nosek, a University of Virginia psychologist quoted in the Huffington Post.

I believe that all of this is true. A conservative is a reactionary they function in the negative.

Romney & Marriott Sucks: Avoids paying taxes

Most hotels treat their workforce like garbage. They pay them low wages and don’t give them benefits and etc. Some hotels are hostile to union organization as well. So it makes it all the more important to highlight their tax-dodging efforts.

During Romney’s tenure as a Marriott director, the company repeatedly utilized complex tax-avoidance maneuvers, prompting at least two tangles with the Internal Revenue Service, records show. In 1994, while he headed the audit committee, Marriott used a tax shelter known to attorneys by its nickname: “Son of BOSS.”

Romney likes to say corporations are people. Yet, how many people can avoid paying their taxes like Romney and Marriott?

If all the undocumented workers were gone. Would people take the jobs? No.

This map shows the incorporated and unincorpor...

Image via Wikipedia

I think this excerpt says it all right here.

And while anti-immigration arguments hang on the idea that if illegal workers were barred from these jobs Americans would eagerly fill them, Smith and other farmers say this doesn’t square with reality. Cullman County is 93 percent white. Of the locals Smith has hired to replace the workers who fled, most lasted only a couple of hours he says, before they quit.

Basically, states like Alabama are screwing themselves economically. They are killing off agriculture in their state; an industry they rely heavily on. Sooner or later everyone in Alabama will have to self-deport. Good job nativist racists!

Don’t have a kid born while working at this warehouse = fired

Deutsch: Automatisches Kleinteilelager English...

Are you an expectant parent? Well if you work at this warehouse you’ll be fired for having your child born while working there.

There are NO exceptions to this policy. She says to take Brian, for example, who’s here with us in training today. Brian already went through this training, but then during his first week his lady had a baby, so he missed a day and he had to be fired. Having to start the application process over could cost a brand-new dad like Brian a couple of weeks’ worth of work and pay. Okay? Everybody turn around and look at Brian. Welcome back, Brian. Don’t end up like Brian.

That is pathetic. The sad thing is that there are people waiting in line behind that worker waiting to be hired. If this isn’t the race to the bottom I don’t know what is.

Upon further reading it seems that creating a standard for a sort of “fair trade warehouse” is in order. People have to know that the products they are buying aren’t coming at the expense of some ill-treated temporary worker.

"A standard has to be created. Like fair trade or organic certification, where social good is built into the cost. There is a segment of the population"—like the consumers of her company’s higher-end product, she felt—"that cares and will pay for it."

We are willing to pay more for fair trade coffee and tea for example. So yes, there is a market for fair labor products and services.

Redskins paid for violence: Take a player out get $$$

This has got to be one of the worst things I’ve heard of in professional sports in a long time. It’s bad enough that hockey allows fighting; here you have an NFL defensive coach enticing players to “take out” the opposition.

“I never took it for anything [but] just incentive to make good, hard plays,” said a current player, who requested anonymity. “But I’m pretty sure it did entice some guys to do more to a player than normal when it came to taking them out. I mean, that’s cash. Let’s just be honest about it.

“If you took the star player out, he’d hook you up a little bit.”

The Redskins are declining to comment, but they can’t hide from the truth forever. A recent NFL investigation uncovered that the New Orleans Saints also had a bounty system like this. How does promoting violence over sportsmanship do a player’s career any good in the long run? They end up with serious injuries.

What’s the matter with Georgia? Criminalizing Picketing?

Conservatives and anti-labor zealots in Georgia are attempting to pass a law that would make picketing by organized labor (or anyone for that matter) illegal. Yet, one law enforcement officer is speaking out against it.

On Feb. 29 Georgia legislators discussed a new proposed law that would make union picketing a felony but yesterday the sheriff of the largest county in the state blasted the bill, saying it would require him to shift from policing crime to policing free speech.

This isn’t an anti-union bill; this legislation is an anti-freedom bill. It seems unconstitutional actually.

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