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Monday, March 25, 2019

WASHINGTON — Could this Labor Day mark the comeback of movements for workers’ rights and a turn toward innovation and a new militancy on behalf of wage-earners?

Suggesting this is not the same as a foolish and romantic optimism that foresees an instant union revival. What’s actually happening is more interesting.

Precisely because no one in organized labor expects the proportion of private-sector workers in their ranks to rise sharply anytime soon, unions, workers themselves and others who believe that too many Americans receive low wages are finding new ways to address long-standing grievances.

At play here is “Stein’s Law,” named after the late conservative economist Herb Stein, who shrewdly declared: “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.” The steadily declining share of our economy that goes to wages is one of those things.

As New York Times labor writer Steve Greenhouse has noted, until 1975, “wages nearly always accounted for more than 50 percent of our nation’s GDP.” But in 2012 they fell to a record low of 43.5 percent. Those who make the economic engine run are receiving less of what they produce. And it’s not because employees aren’t working harder, or smarter. From 1973 to 2011, according to the Economic Policy Institute, employee productivity grew by 80.4 percent while median hourly compensation after inflation grew by just 10.7 percent.

Last Thursday’s one-day strike of fast-food workers in dozens of cities is one of the new forms of labor creativity aimed at doing something about this. The folks who serve your burgers are demanding that instead of an average fast-food wage of $8.94 an hour, they ought to be paid $15. Assuming two weeks of unpaid vacation, this works out to $30,000 a year, hardly a Ronald McDonald’s ransom.

The protests have the benefit of putting low-wage workers in the media spotlight, a place they’re almost never found in a world more interested in the antics of Miley Cyrus and Donald Trump. “They want a raise with those fries,” the New York Daily News cheekily led its story on the strike.

Key unions are helping to organize these efforts, but they don’t necessarily expect formal union recognition. They want to raise wages, which is what could happen if the public responds. Companies have been frantically painting themselves green to attract environmentally conscious customers. Employers might discover, to paraphrase the old McDonald’s slogan, that their workers deserve a break today if consumers (who are also workers themselves) started pressuring them to be more employee-friendly.

The fast-food campaign feeds into efforts to hike the current $7.25-an-hour minimum wage nationwide and to enact higher “living wages” in localities around the country. In Long Beach, California, as my colleague Harold Meyerson reported recently in The American Prospect, voters last November overwhelmingly enacted a measure to boost the hourly pay of some 2,000 of the city’s hotel employees to $13.

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88 responses to “New Life For Labor”

  1. John Pigg says:

    I think Unions are coming back. And we aren’t talking about huge greedy unions out in Cali that make for a plethora of administration problems. We are talking about Blue Collar people that are taking responsibility for their wage and lives by getting organized. The more of this that goes around the better, companies have been too interested in the bottom line for far too long.

    Manufacturing is coming back from China. And when it gets here we had better answer with Unions that support workers rights.

  2. Dominick Vila says:

    The most unfortunate part of the anti-labor movement, embraced or accepted by so many who benefit or aspire to benefit from the hard earned 40-hour week, overtime after working 8 hours a day or 40 hours a week, paid vacation, paid sick leave, paid bereavement, and participation in 401k or Thrift Plans, among others, is that those in Right To Be Abused states are fighting their long term interests.
    The excuse sold by corporate America to justify the deliberate destruction of organized labor has succeeded thanks to the naiveté of those who believe that it is better to accept a few crumbs than be unemployed. The part that they don’t understand is that in a country with a political system such as ours, we don’t have to accept crumbs, and we don’t have to allow corporations to outsource our jobs to the highest bidder to benefit a few greedy, unscrupulous and unpatriotic, entrepreneurs whose only priority is the accumulation of wealth, regardless of how much pain and misery they cause to their fellow Americans and how badly they undermine our national security and our privileged position in the global economy.
    Organized labor is not our enemy, and we are not having problems competing with other industrialized nations because of high wages and lavish benefit packages. Our wages are comparable to those in countries like Japan, Germany, France and others, and our benefit packages are substandard compared to what those countries offer to their workforce. Our problems stem from corporate ambition, greed, and unrealistic shareholder expectations. Instead of trying to lower our standard of living to Third World levels to be able to compete with countries like China, India, and other emerging economic superpowers, we should determine the root causes of our problems and make an effort to learn from countries that are successful in spite of their fair labor practices.

    • 14hei says:

      I agree with you Dominick that a race to the bottom line will only lead us to the bottom. We have to realize that a fair and living wage will generate consumption. An we live in a consumer economy for better or worse, so if more of us earned a living wage the economy would grow by the increased consumption of these workers. So if corporation would pay less to CEOs and more to their workers it would lead to more sales of what they produce. Plus it is a simple truth more income people have to spend the more jobs are created!

      • Consumption is probably a thing of the past, and not because the owners of production don’t know how to skim the cream off, but because consumers are increasing in number and cheap fuel/energy IS a thing of the past.

        Fortunately ‘climate change’ has come along and can be blamed on consumption. Hurricanes are better PR for cutting back than “hey folks – the oil has run out” The truth does not come into it.

        • 14hei says:

          The choice of consumption I would hope would be in renewable energy and recycle industries. This will help combat global warming and slow down climate change.

    • tax payer says:

      You have to stay at a job for many years to get good pay and that’s because of the raises they will get yearly. I had six weeks of vacation every year, when I retired, but it took over 30 years working there to be able to have that many days of vacation. I was out sick three months one time and got paid for everyday since I didn’t abuse my sick leave. The pay too goes up, but you can’t be jumping from one job to another since that won’t give you any Seniority to be able to advance in pay and sick leave plus vacation time. Stay in your job and the benefits will come your way in due time.

      • highpckts says:

        Not anymore! Seniority doesn’t pay! They want guys like that off the payrolls so they can get a younger person in that will take less pay and perks!

        • tax payer says:

          Once they leave ( seniority ) they can hire anyone they want, but they have to let you retire or quit.

          • Allan Richardson says:

            Or make up excuses to fire you. And in a non-union shop, they can use ANY excuse they like, as long as they don’t EXPLICITLY mention race, sex, religion, national origin, or age. And no, sexual orientation is not yet protected by law (although, as in the Cracker Barrel case, public opinion can SOMETIMES help).

            The big one is age, and the longer you have been at a company, even if the front line management likes the work you have been doing, when the word from the top comes that X workers earning over $Y have to be eliminated, the more trivial excuses they can find to fire you (as opposed to layoff, which requires paying a tax).

            Effort and work ethic cannot protect anyone from a corporate boss wanting to cut their CURRENT expenses and not caring what it does to their FUTURE earnings.

          • tax payer says:

            I worked for a company that had a Union and we had many scabs that refused to pay union dues. Once they got into real trouble they expected the Union to help them out, but ( No ) that was impossible since they felt they didn’t need to be in a Union until they were close to losing their jobs. If you do your work there’s no reason for a Company to fire you, so I believe in Unions 100%.

          • highpckts says:

            Not all companies have unions to protect them and many States are doing away with them. In the meantime, any company can and will let you go regardless of seniority! It’s all about their bottom line! All they have to do is lie and then it becomes he said, she said! Who’s going to be believed? Most people don’t have the money to fight that kind of firing!

          • tax payer says:

            That’s why I was a Union member because I knew they had to fire from below and those that weren’t Union Members should be the first to go, but we never had anyone tossed out for lack of work.

          • ralphkr says:

            Not just in non-union shops, Allan. Where I grew up there were only two union shops (both railroads) and they were famous for firing people one or two years short of retirement age.

          • highpckts says:

            Really? They can’t force you to quit? They can’t just pink slip you for no reason? LOL

          • tax payer says:

            If you quit you do it on your own and won’t get anything such as unemployment, so don’t quit is the answer to most workers that are being pressured to quit. Unions are good, but many companies don’t want them, so they offer the employees more money and find a reason to fire them later.

          • Barbara Morgan says:

            Oh yes they can especially if you are working in a right to work state like most the states in the South are. If the boss gets up in the morning and decides he is going to fire the first employee he sees that morning, he can do it and not give a reason for it and you are fired. In right to work states the employer doesn’t have to have a reason to fire you.

          • Barbara Morgan says:

            Seniority is only a job protection if you are union , if you aren’t it doesn’t matter how long you have been working at a place or how well you do your job, when it comes to being laid off companies can and do lay off the people with the most seniority and the best work records. So if anyone is counting on your seniority and great work ethic keeping you on the job when lay offs start forget it.

      • 4sanity4all says:

        I worked as a teacher, a union job, but the school boards had a way to keep their pay budget low- they let go teachers who have not achieved tenure. Then they can pay entry level wages to the new hires. And they have negotiated the time to achieve tenure upwards, so untenured teachers have less of a chance to get tenured. I was stuck in a revolving door of being forced to seek a new job every year or two, until I landed in a private school. This adversely affected my pension and benefits, if it wasn’t for my husbands pension, I would be living in a cardboard box under the freeway.

        • tax payer says:

          In my family we have teachers all over and they do tell me they have to sign some sort of contract, but I don’t know, if it’s every year. My brother and his son are teachers, so the pay is good, but there is one thing they would like to do, and that’s to have a secured job in the Private Sector; so they may decide to leave teaching in the future.

    • Mr Vila – your analysis is truly inescapable, but may hardly be the point. Those who manipulate wealth have no interest in a contented and healthy work-force.

      Such a work-force will earn yet more profit, of course. But how much more do the top 1% (or whatever) need? Drugs, criminality, under-education, define a population that can be controlled. Confidence defines a population of unacceptable danger to the tiny minority who want to rule them.

      And there are plenty of names to call intellects like you who want a just society.

      • Dominick Vila says:

        A contributing factor for the lack of loyalty exhibited by our corporations is that most are actually multi-national, owned by investors worldwide, and loyal only to themselves.
        Drugs, crime, and education that is not commensurate with the demands of the 21st are, indeed, among our biggest challenges. I can’t believe that instead of investing in infrastructure and education, there are politicians who propose the elimination of the Department of Education, and replacing the current system with in-home schooling and religious or charter schools. Instead of hoping for miracles we should do whatever we have to do to ensure our children are prepared to meet the challenges that lie ahead. Education ought to be our top priority. Some of our competitors, especially China, Japan, Germany, France, India, and a few others are investing heavily in education and encouraging careers in hard sciences. We must do the same.

        • highpckts says:

          Totally agree! Education should be our top priority! They are really pushing home schooling and charter schools here in Ohio and our Governor (R) has cut school funding again and pushed it off on the local communities! In the mean time he’s bragging about having a “slush” fund worth a billion dollars! At who’s expense?

        • Allan Richardson says:

          I can believe it. As H.L. Mencken said, no one ever went broke UNDERESTIMATING the intelligence of the average American.

        • bikejedi says:

          Wow ….Membership is way down in the Private labor and Trade Unions and wasn’t Obama’s De Stimulus supposed to address that ? unemployment levels in the Trade Unions didn’t budge even with that De Stimulus package . The only Unions that are seeing their membership increase are the Public Unions particularly the Fed Unions . Income disparity is increasing under Obama and we have the highest percentage of part time workers as opposed to full timers in the Country’s history . The 40 hr work week will be a thing of the past when Obamacare is implemented as employers don’t have to cover part timers …So please do away with those Inane Occupier Class warfare talking points about Corporations being greedy ….this is all on Obama and the Dems and their written policy .Oh by the way in Wisconsin where they fought the Unions to make them help pay for their own healthcare plans and where all the Socialists protested they have a budget surplus and have hired more Union Members . In Illinois we have tax increases massive debt and we are laying teachers off . In Chicago the highest paid teachers in the Nation called a strike because the felt entitled to EVEN MORE money on the backs of their neighbors who have half the average household income of a single teacher . They held the kids hostage and used them for pawns to fill their Union Greed and now they are getting laid off and we have closed over 50 schools . Chicago doesn’t have the resources to pay a 16 to 19% pay raise and keep schools open so the Union wins and the Schools lose . I support a modest increase in the minimum wage but for anyone to think you should be able to support a family working at McD’s is crazy and it is only being driven because under Obama that is the only job a lot of them can get .

    • midway54 says:

      “Organized labor is not our enemy, and we are not having problems competing with other industrialized nations because of high wages and lavish benefit packages. Our wages are comparable to those in countries like Japan, Germany, France and others, and our benefit packages are substandard compared to what those countries offer to their workforce.”

      But the plutocrats and their media and political propagandists have convinced much of the public that unions ARE the problem. The South, especially, and other regions of the Country have accepted what they have heard about “labor bosses” caring only for their own incomes and standards of living and that workers are foolish to join labor unions and pay union dues that in part go to the political campaigns of those “left winger, socialists opposed to the American Way and who seek to destroy the freedoms for everyone offered by the beneficence of the job creators.” This is all nonsense that is a part of the war against labor and the average middle class waged by the plutocrats. who want no restraints such as regulations, labor law legislation, and commercial and financial markets legislation. The plutocrats dream of a utopia wherein corporations and cabals are free to do what they please and how they please with no legal prohibitions of any kind and wherein all citizens must fend for themselves in an atmosphere entirely free of the what the plutocrats see as a European-inspired socialistic, safety net programs foisted on them by what has become an un-American style of government.

    • tobewan says:

      Hi Vila: Higher wages is anti-progressive! Increasing wages is only contributory to an upward inflationary spiral. Corporations that that feed, house, employ us need to lower the costs of goods, and do so by lowering their profits, surplus, and bonuses, along with Greed for wealth and dictatorial domination of the the work force here in America. There needs to be a retraction in the whole economic trend, a reversal, a deflation bringing jobs back, and education costs, medical costs, housing costs, and all living expenses back to sensible levels like we had back in F.D.R,s time, when our nation did very well with costs and expenses. Always increasing wages steers in a greedy direction like the greedy corporations and those who own them, who will only pass the increased wages on to the consumer, US. For example: Where do the Koch brothers get all those hugh sums of money to spend toward defaming our President? And helping to create an obstinate Congress?

      While we really need to de-spiral inflation, the problem will be “fear” as to “who” will be the first to begin it – always afraid no one else will follow suit.

      Its a human trait to always want more and better. We need to remember that “less is more” and better.

      The economic problem is not at the bottom, but at the top.

  3. itsfun says:

    While I do support a raise in minimum wage to $9.00 per hour. I can’t support a minimum wage of 15.00. That is over $30,000 a year. A whole lot of seniors are living on Social Security are making a lot less than that. Pre-distribution or re-distribution are something right out of Karl Marx. That is just taking from earners and giving to non-earners. I am a senior and right now I can afford to go to MacDonalds and have a $1.00 mcdouble and a $1.00 fry and a coffee. If the wages go to $15.00 a hour, I doubt if I will ever be able to go to MacDonalds again.

    • tax payer says:

      Burger King is the place to go or Whataburger.

    • Itsfun – us seniors have a more important role to play than supporting more wages for unskilled workers. We can show how rewarding it is to live well on less. While it is not fair to expect working people to make do with as little as we can, the fact remains that material possessions are not a substitute for an active mind and less selfish philosophy or life-style.

      However, much of the evil in the greedy West ‘society’ is related to the use business owners put to money workers spend with them. Many of the rich happily redistribute among themselves and buy the politicians they need to represent them. For them the ‘minimum wage’ is set just above the level required to prevent serious social unrest. This remains true even when profit levels soar.

      Don’t GO to MacDonalds again. And feel better for it. Agree?

      • itsfun says:

        Nope. My role in life now is enjoying myself after 40 years of working. It is not showing how rewarding it is to live on less. If taking care of myself and having things I want is greedy, then so be it. I am far from rich and never will be unless I win the lottery. I’ll never apologize for enjoying things I have and have earned after over 40 years of work. I worked my way through college bagging groceries, stocking grocery shelves and whatever else they wanted me to do and with the help of the GI bill. Almost anyone can do what I did, and I have no sympathy for someone that just wants to flip burgers for a career and expect to paid as much as someone working on the line at an auto factory, or as a computer operator, and so on.

        • Barbara Morgan says:

          A lot of people that are flipping burgers today did go to college and couldn’t find a job in their fields so they took what they could get to try and pay off college debts they incurred getting that college education. I worked for over 44 years and I still have a heart and believe that everyone deserves a living wage no matter what kind of work they do if they do it well. Seniors like you are one of the reasons that some many of the younger people think we are selfish and uncaring about anyone but ourselves when that isn’t so.
          Remember that the people you don’t want to make a living wage are the ones that are paying into the Social Security Fund and their money is paying your Social Security, the Social Security that we paid into the fund paid the Social Security that the generation before us drew and that is the way Social Security works. Also the extra 2/3% that we baby boomers paid into Social Security during the Reagan years on his promise that it would help us have a better retirement and make it easier on the young people paying into Social Securitynow was stolen by Reagan when he put all Social Security funds into the general funds. He used that extra SS money to make his bottom line look better and to try and prove that trickle down economics worked.

          • itsfun says:

            Nothing to do with having a heart. Don’t give me that crap about other people paying for my SS. I paid into it for over 40 years, it is my money. If I had been allowed to put that money where I wanted to, I would be rich today, instead of depending on SS to help me. At this time I couldn’t care less about what Ronald Reagan did or didn’t do. Like I said before, I will never apologize for earning what I have. No body is saying people shouldn’t make a living wage. Just don’t expect me to pay for it.

    • johninPCFL says:

      A McDonalds franchise fee is over $500k today. The typical restaurant earns over $40k per day in revenues. After paying the bills (and the owners), they make 3.5%, or $1400, per day in net profits, according to Herman Cain.
      The typical restaurant has half a dozen non-manager employees across two shifts (about 18 hours per day.) Assuming the non-managers all work at minimum wage (or slightly over that), going to $15 per hour ($7 raise) adds $756 plus SS per day to the wage bill. If they’re paid more, the impact is smaller.
      Depending on the location, the typical McDonalds meal runs $4 to $7, meaning that the revenue is generated by 4k to 5k meals. So if the owners won’t take a distribution reduction, and the store profitability can’t be reduced, then the $756 per day is paid by the customers immediately, and the impact is less than $0.25 per meal.
      This is a reprise of the Poppa John’s pizza flap from the summer. The ACA would put the franchisees out of business by adding $0.15 to the cost of a pizza?

      • Allan Richardson says:

        If a franchise is not profitable, why is the franchise fee so high? If the franchises suddenly became LESS profitable, wouldn’t the parent companies have to lower the fee to get more buyers of franchises?

        • johninPCFL says:

          The 3.5% margin is a claim from Herman Cain’s campaign last summer, and was derived from data gathered during his time as president of the National Restaurant Association. That margin is AFTER the principals take their cut, so doesn’t really hit the cost/value proposition on the franchise fee.
          The McDonalds franchise fee was advertised in July; don’t know the location. Franchise fee for Taco Bell is $750k today, Checkers at $345k. Seems like a current McDonalds fee in a moderately large city would top $1million today.
          Also the franchisee buys a significant amount of startup material from the franchise seller. For McDonalds this is the ovens and prep tables, sales tools, cash registers, etc. Continuing sales to the franchisee include potatoes, buns, patties, spices. The McDonalds parent would still be a profitable entity if they never sold another franchise.

      • bikejedi says:

        Real economists pin that price increase at 86 cents to 1.26 more for a quarter pounder . The ACA will mean that every burger joint and pizza joint will NEVER hire a full time employee again .

    • highpckts says:

      Seniors are not supporting a growing family!

      • itsfun says:

        If you can’t afford or support a family, don’t have kids until you can. Many of us are tired of supporting family’s that aren’t ours.

        • highpckts says:

          Well aren’t you lucky to be able to have the American dream all the while denying anyone else from having it also!

          • itsfun says:

            I am not denying anything to anyone. Just saying earn it! Quit expecting others to pay your way. I worked for over 40 years, worked my way through college on the GI bill and bagging groceries. Many of the people bitching about people like me, could do the same thing to get ahead in this world.

          • highpckts says:

            There are so mitigating circumstances that come into play on your response! Everything is not always black and white! Wouldn’t it be nice if life were so simple!

        • Barbara Morgan says:

          What families are you supporting since you are a senior? Unless you are making over $25000 a year drawing Social Security you don’t pay taxes on your money so you aren’t supporting any one but yourself. As a senior, I know what comes out of our social security checks so don’t start on supporting families that aren’t ours. Also you seem to forget that many people when they started their families had better paying jobs than they have now. There are many people that work in the fast food industries as counter help and so on that have college educations but can’t find a job in their fields and are working two or more jobs to support their families, thus leaving them no time to be a parent.

          • itsfun says:

            What are you talking about? I said if one cannot support a family, don’t start having kids. Why should I be expected to pay for someone to have kids? Just because someone can’t find a job in their chosen field, doesn’t mean there are no other fields to work in that pay just as well. Some college degrees are in fields that will never pay big money or maybe no money at all. There all kinds of strange degrees now. I do pay taxes and have for a long long time. I suppose you will now say, I make so much money, I should be giving it away. I will NEVER fell bad about having my own money that I EARNED. Giving people more and more will never solve anything.

    • Barbara Morgan says:

      I am also a senior and you could still go to McDonald’s if they did raise the minimum wage to $15 dollars an hour, all McDonald’s has to do is stop giving big bonus out to their CEO and higher paid employees and prices don’t change. Besides do you realize how selfish your post seems, I don’t have a lot of money coming in yearly but then I don’t have children to feed, clothe, take to the doctor, eye doctor or dentist, to pay school fees for and to put a roof over their head as most the people that work for McDonald’s does and $9 dollars an hour won’t take of one child and one adult , if there are more in the family what do you purpose that McDonald worker do?

      • itsfun says:

        I propose that McDonald workers get a different job if they want $15.00 per hour. So you have decided that McDonald’s should stop giving their CEO and management a bonus. CEO’s make big money, that is a fact of life. If you want to keep good management you give them a bonus. Flipping burgers and working the counter at McDonald’s doesn’t require a great skill set. If McDonald’s has so many college educated people working there, why aren’t they working their way up the ladder to those high paying jobs? McDonald’s is a great place for college students, high school kids, and seniors to work part time. They don’t need a bunch of full-time employees working each shift. If keeping what I have earned in my life is selfish then so be it. I am pro-labor and believe in making a living wage. I don’t believe in making a company that only needs to employ part-time people paid as much as line workers in an auto factory make.

        • Barbara Morgan says:

          Tell them where to get the jobs and they will. Why shouldn’t they make more money, did you ever work at a fast food joint in your younger years? I did and the workers do more more than flip burgers or wait on customers, they also clean the place, put up the stuff brought in on the company’s truck, clean the parking lots and lots of other stuff that the public doesn’t see them do so why shouldn’t they make a living wage when they do more than wait on people and flip burgers as part of their job.Yes I think all CEOs and higher management are way overpaid for what they do and don’t always deserve bonus. NO man or woman working as a CEO is worth $16000.00 dollars a day like Hostess was paying one when it went bankrupt while blaming the workers for the bankruptcy because they refused to take a pay cut that would have taken the workers below the poverty line. What you consider good management and what I consider good management is entirely different.
          There is a business owner named John Pepper in I believe it was Rhode Island that runs a fast food business that pays his employees not $15.O0 a hour but he does starts his employees out at $9.50 to $ 11.00 dollars an hour and gives them raises when they deserve one and he says that he is making lots of money for himself and stockholders, has happy employees which in turns mean more customers return to his places of businesses and brings new customers which increases his money. That is a good CEO and good management not the guy that makes a million dollars a year and doesn’t give a flip about the people that do the jobs that gets him the money and bonuses.

  4. tax payer says:

    This is a day of rest for all the people that work, but what do they do? They march and demand Rights they now have since the first day they were hired for by the company they work for. I sit home and enjoy this day even though I am retired, but not them. If you don’t like the way you are treated start your own Business and find out what it is to have people working under you that are never happy, but seldom quit to look for something better. I support that everyone should get out and work that don’t work, but that’s not going to happen as long as the Government provides to them for staying home, and doing nothing positives for themselves.

    • johninPCFL says:

      Yeah. There’s something about that $250 per week UE check that makes looking for a $1000/wk job a complete waste of time. /sarc off

    • highpckts says:

      Yep! Just start your own business! Wow! If all solutions to being out of work were that simple! And just who is “them”? The takers? Did you ever think that there just aren’t any jobs out there that pay a living wage? My Son worked for a company that worked on government contracts! He worked there for 15 years and he was “furloughed”! He has a Masters and finding a job is essential for his family, yet there is NOTHING!! Should I tell him to just start his own business? Geez!

      • bikejedi says:

        That’s deep john and it also pretty vapid ..I agree with tax payer
        Membership is way down in the Private labor and Trade Unions and wasn’t Obama’s De Stimulus supposed to address that ? unemployment levels in the Trade Unions didn’t budge even with that De Stimulus package . The only Unions that are seeing their membership increase are the Public Unions particularly the Fed Unions . Income disparity is increasing under Obama and we have the highest percentage of part time workers as opposed to full timers in the Country’s history . The 40 hr work week will be a thing of the past when Obamacare is implemented as employers don’t have to cover part timers …So please do away with those Inane Occupier Class warfare talking points about Corporations being greedy ….this is all on Obama and the Dems and their written policy .Oh by the way in Wisconsin where they fought the Unions to make them help pay for their own healthcare plans and where all the Socialists protested they have a budget surplus and have hired more Union Members . In Illinois we have tax increases massive debt and we are laying teachers off . In Chicago the highest paid teachers in the Nation called a strike because the felt entitled to EVEN MORE money on the backs of their neighbors who have half the average household income of a single teacher . They held the kids hostage and used them for pawns to fill their Union Greed and now they are getting laid off and we have closed over 50 schools . Chicago doesn’t have the resources to pay a 16 to 19% pay raise and keep schools open so the Union wins and the Schools lose . I support a modest increase in the minimum wage but for anyone to think you should be able to support a family working at McD’s is crazy and it is only being driven because under Obama that is the only job a lot of them can get .

        • disqus_LcxpBv2uzz says:

          Does it make you feel better about yourself to insult the person to whom you are responding at the beginning of your post? (“That’s deep john and it is also pretty vapid…”). Why not make your point earnestly and logically and leave the personal put-down aside? I can point out that you are wrong without belittling you (even though your analytical ability and power of observation and reasoning are, as usual, woefully inadequate. But I digress…

          • bikejedi says:

            Point taken . I guess Im just so used to getting that myself on this site …anyway Sorry JohninPCFL …Let me see if I can edit that

        • highpckts says:

          And the reason for all the part timers is? Yes companies are only hiring part timers to avoid paying for healthcare! What would it cost them to raise the price of their product? Papa Johns a prime example! Raise the price of pizza 25 cents and, oh my God, they might go out of business! I doubt it! It’s just their slimey way of making more profits and complaining about the party in power, namely the President!

          • bikejedi says:

            Oh sure that is just because they are all so greedy and racist right ? Do you realize how you sound ? Most of the people who work for a fast food joint are part time already so they aren’t just changing that because of the ACA …Of course even without Obamacare Obamanomics has brought us the economy with the highest percentage of part time workers in History …But I guess someone reporting facts would just be labeled a racist who just doesn’t like Obama right ? When Obamacare is implemented NO Company in their right mind will hire full timers anymore and that is why the Private Unions who supported Obama and Obamacare before they read it have now read it and are telling him that Obamacare will be the death of the 40 hr work week and the middle class . People like you will then use Occupier Class warfare rhetoric and blame that on Corporate greed instead of Dem policy that is writing the rule book

          • highpckts says:

            You don’t think that when all this went down in 2008 and companies started laying off workers because of the “economy” they didn’t see the writing on the wall. They knew this was a perfect opportunity to clean house, make the ones that get to stay work harder and longer hours, for fear of losing their jobs and boost their profits! It’s been happening ever since and now they have the added bonus of the ACA to blame for not hiring full time! I didn’t mention race in this! It’s about corporate greed and no one, not even the President is doing anything about it! We know the GOP is for the 1% so the people don’t stand a chance in Hell of bettering themselves!

          • Barbara Morgan says:

            If papa john’s pizza quit giving away pizzas he wouldn’t have to raise prices but could afford to raise wages and pay for health insurance.

      • tax payer says:

        I am referring to those that are always mad about not earning enough and continue to think they deserve more even though they don’t have much education. Those that lose their jobs ( like your son ) I am not talking about them since they qualify for unemployment and may be able to find another job as the one they had before. I am sorry he lost his job and do hope he gets another one earning much more in the future.

      • disqus_LcxpBv2uzz says:

        Remember Willard “Mittens” Romney’s advice to young people during the last campaign? “Start your own company. If you don’t have the money, you can ask your parents for a loan”. Brilliant! Why haven’t more people thought of that?

    • Allan Richardson says:

      According to your philosophy, diabetics can be cured by cutting off their supply of medication and requiring them to make their own insulin. This does not cure diabetics, it KILLS them. All the incentive in the world cannot help someone do what is physically, biologically, socially or legally impossible. Would you be able to flap your arms and fly if someone offered you a billion dollars for doing it?

      The vast majority of people collecting unemployment are HOPING to stop doing so by getting a job. But in today’s economy, as ENGINEERED by the top one percent, you need TWO minimum wage full time jobs to get CLOSE to beating poverty. And in many cases, NEITHER employer will ALLOW you to have another job; they will assign conflicting hours on purpose as an excuse to fire you from both jobs, because employers want you to be AVAILABLE for them 24/7, even though they refuse to pay for that overtime (it has to be off the clock).

      Look at the NFL. If last year’s Super Bowl champion made up the rules, hired and fired the officials, changed rules during a game, overturned officials’ rulings they didn’t like (before firing them), and made rules their opponents had to follow, but they did not, how long would it be before there would be a DIFFERENT champion? Never, of course. That’s the way the economy works when government is owned by the wealthy.

      • tax payer says:

        Diabetes can’t be cured. It can be controlled by exercise, medication, good healthy meals and of course insulin. I know because I am a Diabetic and have been one since 1980. I don’t lie there and wish it away because that’s not going to happen. Everywhere you go people will have Diabetes and they think it’s a death sentence. Sure, you will die, if you don’t do something to control it, so I try my best and make sure I don’t stop trying to let it defeat me. I read the Obituaries daily and it mentions the cause of some death, and ( Yes ) it Diabetes. I do fly in my Dreams, but no one has offered me one Billion dollars so far.

  5. Lovefacts says:

    Taking a historical view, starting with the 1970s and Reagan’s anti labor stance, we are replaying the era from the 1890-1920. In 2008, we started the 1930s. While the crash wasn’t as great as 1929–for the rich–it was a repeat of the Great Depression for most of labor and small business.

    Up until the depression, business won all the battles with labor. However, during the 1930s depression is when the labor movement took-off. I see that happening now. When times are tough is when people are willing to risk the most–they’ve already lost everything or on the verge of losing it or can’t take the abuse any longer. The last is very important. Because as the span between the wealthy and the rest of the country grows, anger and resentment escalate. That’s why when a specific disparity is reached civil war usually erupts. That we passed that point a decade a go and haven’t broken out in war is because Americans still believe in the dream. Also, the wealthy have successfully the majority of the white poor that it’s the fault of minorities, women, and non-christians.

    • Allan Richardson says:

      American workers are brainwashed into believing that they are ALL “temporarily broke” millionaires, and when that lucky break DOES come, they will not want to contribute to the benefits they need (and may or may not get) NOW.

  6. ObozoMustGo says:

    Talk about stupid leftist freak ideas…. how’s this for the DoJ’s efforts to keep black children in poverty so all they can do is work fast food jobs….

    The Department of Injustice
    By Marta H. Mossburg
    Friday, August 30, 2013

    Martin Luther King Jr. was so naïve. He wanted Americans to judge one another on the content of their character, not the color of their skin. And he believed that the “bad check” that the government had written black people in the United States that he spoke of in his “I Have A Dream” speech 50 years ago this week could be cashed in the future where the “riches of freedom and the security of justice” would be available to all.

    He obviously did not realize that character cannot be counted in a quota system. Or that black people should merely aspire to desegregation, not excellence, as Eric Holder’s Department of Justice contends.

    In what is especially ironic for its timing 50 years after the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the Department of Justice (DOJ) last week sued to block poor black children in Louisiana from using school vouchers to attend a good school. The reason: their leaving failing schools upset the racial balance of those schools, depriving all students “of their right to a desegregated educational experience.”

    First, almost all of the 8,000 students using vouchers are black, so it’s absurd to argue that they discriminate against minorities. As Louisiana state superintendent of schools John White said of the suit, “it would be laughable if not being so tragic for the families.”

    The bigger issue, however, is the idea that racial balance is the top priority and not a good education. Only children at schools graded C, D, or F by the state ranking system whose families have an income less than 250 percent of the federal poverty line can apply for vouchers, so forcing them to stay is akin to what white segregationists did in the past, only this time its liberals committing the injustice. Militantly policing desegregation also turns what once was the means to a better education for black children into an end totally disconnected from the original goal.

    That is why it is so sad. Because through the lawsuit the DOJ is saying that it cares about power, not about children. If it did, it might have interviewed the voucher families to find out why they applied for them.

    Wanda Baham is one mother who hopes the DOJ drops the lawsuit. The 35-year old
    from Hammond, La., with three daughters who have vouchers, described the public
    schools where her daughters used to attend as “horrible.” “They didn’t learn anything,” she said.

    She hated the fact that her daughter, Jerenia, 11, when she was younger, passed her grade in school but could not pass the state test for the grade, even after attending summer school. She couldn’t find out what was wrong, she said, because “the teachers never had time for me.” She said she has great communication with the teachers at her daughters’ private school and that they are thriving.

    Mitzi Crain-Dillon, a 33-year-old mother of two children with vouchers, said the government needs to ask, “Do you want to have an equal amount of color or have students succeed in life?”

    Kenneth Campbell, president of the Black Alliance for Educational Options, put it this way, “In an ideal world, we could have a system of education that offers both high-quality and racial and economic diversity.” He added, “In 2013, our most urgent priority must be ensuring that all children have access to a high-quality education – irrespective of school type. Neither the Department of Justice nor the courts should assign children to certain failure in the name of racial integration.”

    Amen. Enforcing desegregation solely for the cause of desegregation is an inversion of Rev. King’s dream that ensures some of the poorest and most vulnerable children in Louisiana stay that way. The fact that the government would expend limited resources to impose such a brutish mandate reveals them to be thugs with consciences unpricked by the poverty of mind and body they are inflicting on generations of children. And for the sake of what?

    Marta H. Mossburg writes about national affairs and about Maryland, where
    she lives. Follow her on Twitter at @mmossburg.

    • Allan Richardson says:

      Vouchers give a FEW parents in poor neighborhoods a false hope of getting a good education for their children, except that those parents do not have the extra cash ON TOP OF THE VOUCHER to send their kids to the voucher-taking private school, especially considering uniforms, textbooks (often BOUGHT by the students, not issued), bake sale goodies, etc. and the TIME to join the PTA and be boosters for the school. In addition, part of the PRODUCT being sold by private schools is “your kids will not have to go to school with their inferiors,” so voucher students will have a harder time being accepted. And schools set up to TAKE vouchers are often inferior to even the worst public schools, since they are created just to make a quick buck; and voucher laws are usually written so that the private schools do not HAVE TO show the progress that public schools do. And in issuing vouchers, they are cutting back on funding even more for the public schools, making it worse for the remaining children.

      It’s like some of the passengers cutting holes in a sinking ship to build THEIR lifeboats, and making the ship sink faster.

      • ObozoMustGo says:

        Put your crack pipe down and read the article, you dope!

        • Allan Richardson says:

          I have read many articles along those lines, and have seen how voucher systems work in two different states up front. The “quota” system you cite does not exist, except the OLD quota system of “no MORE than X percent of group Y” is no longer OFFICIAL, but is enforced “under the table.”

          You never addressed ANY of the points I made, because you have no facts on your side, only insults. And not everyone who disagrees with you has a “crack pipe.”

        • LotusJoan says:

          I find it objectionable that you would
          suggest that someone who has written a well thought out post with good grammar
          and spelling is a crack smoker. Your posts are full of personal attacks and
          misinformation gleamed from Faux Non News. Personal insults are not an
          argument nor even a comment. Your post shows a lack of regard for
          the person who would read your vile, obviously erroneous slanderous
          attack. Someone should go, but it is not President Obama.

        • disqus_LcxpBv2uzz says:

          Fuckin’ asshole!!!!!

      • tax payer says:

        There’s no need to go to a Private School to learn because ( how many College Graduates ) went to Public School? Most of them went to Public Schools and did fine without the benefit of going to a Private School. If you are willing to listen and learn you can get ahead even in a Public School. Vouchers aren’t going to help most students that ( never wanted to learn ) because the opportunity was there and they didn’t take advantage of it.

    • bikejedi says:

      Right on ….Membership is way down in the Private labor and Trade Unions and wasn’t Obama’s De Stimulus supposed to address that ? unemployment levels in the Trade Unions didn’t budge even with that De Stimulus package . The only Unions that are seeing their membership increase are the Public Unions particularly the Fed Unions . Income disparity is increasing under Obama and we have the highest percentage of part time workers as opposed to full timers in the Country’s history . The 40 hr work week will be a thing of the past when Obamacare is implemented as employers don’t have to cover part timers …So please do away with those Inane Occupier Class warfare talking points about Corporations being greedy ….this is all on Obama and the Dems and their written policy .Oh by the way in Wisconsin where they fought the Unions to make them help pay for their own healthcare plans and where all the Socialists protested they have a budget surplus and have hired more Union Members . In Illinois we have tax increases massive debt and we are laying teachers off . In Chicago the highest paid teachers in the Nation called a strike because the felt entitled to EVEN MORE money on the backs of their neighbors who have half the average household income of a single teacher . They held the kids hostage and used them for pawns to fill their Union Greed and now they are getting laid off and we have closed over 50 schools . Chicago doesn’t have the resources to pay a 16 to 19% pay raise and keep schools open so the Union wins and the Schools lose . I support a modest increase in the minimum wage but for anyone to think you should be able to support a family working at McD’s is crazy and it is only being driven because under Obama that is the only job a lot of them can get .

  7. bikejedi says:

    Membership is way down in the Private labor and Trade Unions and wasn’t Obama’s De Stimulus supposed to address that ? unemployment levels in the Trade Unions didn’t budge even with that De Stimulus package . The only Unions that are seeing their membership increase are the Public Unions particularly the Fed Unions . Income disparity is increasing under Obama and we have the highest percentage of part time workers as opposed to full timers in the Country’s history . The 40 hr work week will be a thing of the past when Obamacare is implemented as employers don’t have to cover part timers …So please do away with those Inane Occupier Class warfare talking points about Corporations being greedy ….this is all on Obama and the Dems and their written policy .Oh by the way in Wisconsin where they fought the Unions to make them help pay for their own healthcare plans and where all the Socialists protested they have a budget surplus and have hired more Union Members . In Illinois we have tax increases massive debt and we are laying teachers off . In Chicago the highest paid teachers in the Nation called a strike because the felt entitled to EVEN MORE money on the backs of their neighbors who have half the average household income of a single teacher . They held the kids hostage and used them for pawns to fill their Union Greed and now they are getting laid off and we have closed over 50 schools . Chicago doesn’t have the resources to pay a 16 to 19% pay raise and keep schools open so the Union wins and the Schools lose . I support a modest increase in the minimum wage but for anyone to think you should be able to support a family working at McD’s is crazy and it is only being driven because under Obama that is the only job a lot of them can get .

    • Dominick Vila says:

      Membership in private sector unions is, indeed, substantially lower than it was before assembly line work was outsourced to foreign countries. It has absolutely nothing to do with President Obama’s stimulus package, which along with Bush’s TARP, helped us dodge a bullet caused by Wall Street greed, irresponsible tax breaks, unwillingness to raise taxes to pay for two unnecessary wars, inability to invest at home to rebuild our dilapidated and inefficient infrastructure, and inability to invest in education to ensure future generations of Americans can compete effectively against professionals from other countries.
      The stimulus package did what its name implies, it helped stimulate the economy, it helped prevent the collapse of two major Americans corporate icons, and it provided the impetus needed to entice the private sector to invest at home.
      The trend to replace full time workers with part timers, the elimination of private pension plans, plant closures, the outsourcing of blue collar jobs, and growing financial inequality began when President Nixon and Henry Kissinger re-established diplomatic and trade relations with China, and it went into high gear in the Reagan era. Our steel mills did not shut down 4.5 years ago. Our garment industry did not curtail its operations 4.5 years ago. And the tens of thousands of service jobs that have been outsourced to India, Bangladesh or Mexico did not leave the USA 4.5 years ago. The erosion of manufacturing began half a century ago, and one of its consequences is a terrified workforce willing to accept substandard jobs because (a) they do not have the technical skills to get the vacancies that do exist in the medical and high tech field, and (2) because there are simply not enough high paying jobs available for all Americans. The jobs that allowed an assembly line person to support his family are long gone, and they are not coming back.
      I participated in several bargaining unit negotiations on behalf of the company I worked for. A union representative was always present to offer legal advice, but for the most part the folks that argued for higher wages and a better benefit package were our employees, not a nefarious union thug smoking a Cuban cigar.

      • bikejedi says:

        If the DE Stimulus worked why are we still stuck in this economy of Obamanimics ? That is such a erroneous statement I don’t know where to begin . Also the De Stimulus and the Govt bailout of Govt Mototrs and the UAW pensions had nothing to do with one another . If you want to talk about outsourcing manufacturing no one has done more of that then GM and they have done it with our MONEY …So has GE 26,000 jobs to China . The economic collapse wasn’t caused by Wall Street greed ( where did you get that an Occupier Meeting ? ) It was caused by bGovt policy dictating to Banks who they had to write Mortgages to . Even when the Govt and the Banks both knew these bad mortgages had no prayer of ever being repayed …Please don’t use the lowest commond denominator and try to blame all the bad debt on greed when it was Dems policy that forced all the Banks to take on that bad debt . That is on the Dems solely for they set the rules .
        Most of the outsourcing is being done because of our own restrictive Corporate tax rates and policy . We have the highest or second highest Corp tax rates in the world . How can we be competitive against foreign products in our own markets like that ? The answer is we cant and that is why Lenova bought out IBM’s lap top div . Other Countries make foreign products pay tariffs to keep their own produict price competitive . In essence that makes the foreign companies pay taxes here …I support a plan that says if our products face tariffs in your Country then those are the same exact tariffs your stuff will face here . I also support tax reform of the Corp tax Rates to bring the investment back here , but the Dems think they can get more revenues just by raising taxes . A microcosm example of how that doesn’t work is Illinois where we keep raising taxes so the Dems here can keep their supporters in the Public Unions making double the average household income if the tax payers and to keep giving them pensions that tax payers don’t get …Consequently business off stated to States that offer a better plan for Businesses ..Also because of that Illinois is losing tax revenue and not increasing it ….Same principle is happening Nationally . Companies are offshoring Jobs out of here because of the high taxing strategy of Dems and yes it really is that simple .

        • highpckts says:

          What????? It wasn’t caused by Wall street greed?? Wall street and the big banks still need to be reigned in! It was not the Dems who” forced” the banks to take on bad debt! This was happening before Obama came to office! I simply can’t understand why anyone with an ounce of sense can’t see that! This debacle was happening even when Reagon was in office so place your blame squarely where it belongs! GOP and greed! Look up some history on past GOP Presidents and their policies and try no to distort the facts to support your beliefs!

          • bikejedi says:

            I never said Obama was the reason for the economic collapse but you need to learn recent history and just stop blaming Republicans for Dem policy . It was Jimmy Carter who passed the Community Reinvestment Act in 1977 . That was designed to get Banks to write loans to minorities so they too could become home owners . What is was was a scheme to use the Banks money to make these poor people thank the Dems forever for getting them into a home they never could qualify without it being legislated . So the Banks wrote the loans to people who weren’t qualified credit wise and to people they NEVER would have written a loan to before the legislation . Most of these people defaulted and the banks were suddenly holding bad loans . When Clinton was President the Banks informed the Govt that they were holding too much bad paper and debt . They told them they didn’t feel comfortable originating these loans anymore . Janet Reno then threatened them with Fed discrimination lawsuits if they didn’t continue this flawed practice . In essence they blackmailed the banks and then when the whole thing fell apart they blamed the banks for the collapse . The Republicans did let it continue but the economy was good at that point . When Bush was President Bawney Fwank continually told him everything was alright and the Fannie and Freddie were ok ….right up until they weren’t and he wanted Bush to bail them out . Of course this is only the Crayola version . We could also factor in the repeal of the Glass Steagal act when Clinton was President . It seems that you already just have talking points and are good with that . So you either know about Carter and the CRA of 1977 or you don’t and are just buying your talking points as is they were reality . They aren’t .

          • Barbara Morgan says:

            You are talking to a poster that is a brick wall. He or she believes only what they post even when proven it is wrong.

    • highpckts says:

      It is not any President’s fault! It is, pure and simple greed!!

  8. tobewan says:

    Honoring both our President and MLK:

    THANK YOU, The National Memo, for producing for us a copy of our
    President’s 2013 inaugural address.

    Inspiring and yet challenging, strengthing and yet humbling, drawing on the
    depths of our history and heights of the ideals of men of courageous minds and
    hearts.

    One could but hope that G ridlocking O bstructionist P eople’ s hearts could
    melt and be swayed from their self-destucting, nation destructing persuasions.

    Obama enters the next four years with his eyes wide-open, yet with resolute
    will and hope and determination – NOT for himself, but for us – will we help
    him to help us? He can’t do it as just one man – he said so. The past four and
    the past two years has OPENED the eyes of the majority of American citizens and
    got our votes – he needs us now more than before.

    Whereas in times past, unions led the way, now it is up to each one to champion
    the cause of freedom – life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness –
    collectively – to overcome the collective giants of industry and corporations
    who steadily, stealthily seek to enslave us.

    Keep in mind those legendary words of the King: “WE shall overcome.”
    WE, We the people!

  9. tax payer says:

    I remember my first job ( straight out of High School ) as a ( candymaker ). The company told the production workers would get a raise to $1.40 an hour from the pay of $1.25 an hour. Most of the workers there didn’t know it was the Law to up the minimum wage to $1.40. I earned slightly more since I learned ( I also got that $.15 raised ) how to run the machines real fast and could work every floor in that company within one year after being hired. I wasn’t going to be a production worker there all my life, but found a way to not work as hard as those that had been there for years. No one wanted to be trained to run the candy machines, so I jumped at the chance and made it. I was there three years and was earning $3.00 an hour by the time I went elsewhere to work for more pay. The production workers were still earning $1.40 an hour. Back in those days everything was cheap. Gas was $.29 a gallon, bread was $.25 a loaf, sodas were one nickle and so on. When I was in Elementary School we went on a tour there and I told my teacher I was going to work there one day. I was hired the same day I applied and worked four hours that day since I was hired before noon. So, you see people working for minimum wage made it back then, but now you’ll make it, but only; if you are single and living with your parents.

  10. Germansmith says:

    bring the Labor Unions back to prominence….the Mob also needs a break.
    I am all for fast food workers earning higher wages, but the real problem is that those types of jobs are not supposed to be “careers” unless you get into management.
    I know what it is to work for minimum wage and what a wonderful incentive was to get to school and improve myself.
    More concerning to me , are those people in “careers” that use to drive people into middle class (airlines, manufacturing, education, banking) just making enough to keep the bill collectors away.
    More important is to “encourage” companies to make REAL jobs creation in the US a priority to increase their earnings (tax breaks and tax penalties and points toward getting federal contracts or NOT)

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