On Thursday, the National Labor Relations Board, led by Trump appointee Philip A. Miscimarra, undid an Obama-era ruling that protected workers, including subcontractors, from labor law violations. In an unsurprising move, all three Republicans on the Board voted together to undo the rule, while the two Democrats opposed them.
Their promised Affordable Care Act repeal failed – again and again and again. Their Muslim ban was, well, banned by the courts. And now, in the waning days of November, their infrastructure bill, big beautiful border wall and brand new NAFTA are all missing.
The Republican tax bill now in Congress would imperil many of the last century’s hardest-won labor rights for workers by building a new legal wall between businesses and so-called gig economy workers that absolves management of many obligations owed to employees, according to law school professors tracking the bill.
“We’re going to bring the coal industry back 100 percent,” Donald Trump told a Virginia audience of campaign supporters in 2016. At another rally in West Virginia, Trump announced, “Miners, get ready, because you’re going to be working your asses off.” Among the many lies Trump told on the campaign trail, the promise of a rejuvenated coal industry was among the most obvious.
Jeffrey Preston Bezos is the man of unbounded ambition who founded Amazon, the online retailing colossus that trumpets itself as “Earth’s most customer-centric company.” He’s considered a model of tech wizardry for having totally reinvented retail marketing for our smart-phone, globally-linked age.
One big reason is that corporate boards and CEOs have their heads stuck in a dreamy future. Nearly every economic sector is actually spending vast sums of money on workers — just not human workers. While few Americans are aware of it, bosses are quietly investing in hordes of sophisticated autonomous robots powered by a cognitive technology called artificial intelligence.
Today’s proliferation of industrial robots is an advanced generation of powerful, autonomous machines driven by artificial intelligence. The profiteers and techies propelling us into the deep unknown of a robot economy concede that the fast-evolving machines will be radically disruptive, not just in the workplace, but throughout society.
A consistent drumbeat in Donald Trump’s campaign for the presidency was a promise that he would stand up for the American working class against financial elites who had rigged policy to enrich themselves, a message that clearly resonated with some voters.
If you think your family’s future is safe because you don’t rely on factory work, think again. Rapid advances in AI have already turned yesterday’s science fiction into today’s brave new “creative destruction” — the constant churn of economic and cultural innovations that destroy existing ways of doing things.
In what is likely to be hailed as a brave admission, Ivanka Trump told talk show host Mehmet Oz that she had suffered from postpartum depression in an interview set to air Thursday. A clip released ahead of the episode’s broadcast shows the first daughter briefly discussing the emotional difficulties she faced after the birth of each of her three children.
In times like these (Donald Trump, the climate crisis, environmental degradation, police brutality, etc.), it’s natural to feel a need to do something. But what? It’s easy to donate online to any one of hundreds of organizations. Heck, even making an Amazon purchase online or an in-store Whole Foods purchase is accompanied by an opportunity to donate to an organization that needs your spare change. But where does that money go? And really, do you know what effect it is having?
In May, the New Orleans City Council declared monuments of Lee, Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Confederate Gen. PGT Beauregard public nuisances and had them removed. In August, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh ordered Confederate monuments removed from the city’s public spaces.
The Canadian Royal Mounties have offered to ride to the rescue of beleaguered American workers. It doesn’t sound right. Americans perceive themselves to be the heroes. They are, after all, the country whose intervention won World War II, the country whose symbol, the Statue of Liberty, lifts her lamp to light the way, as the poem at the statue’s base says, for the yearning masses and wretched refuse, for the homeless and tempest-tossed.
Most Americans today know that Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was killed in Memphis, Tennessee in 1968, but few know why he was there. King went to Memphis to support African American garbage workers, who were on strike to protest unsafe conditions, abusive white supervisors, and low wages — and to gain recognition for their union. Their picket signs relayed a simple but profound message: “I Am A Man.”
Watching helplessly as flood waters rose was not an option for Brandon Parker. This Texas refinery worker and member of the United Steelworkers union has a jacked-up Suburban and a friend with a boat. There was no way he was going to let family members, neighbors or strangers drown. Like Parker, many union members couldn’t sit still through the storm. One drove her high-riding pickup truck two hours to find baby formula for co-workers rescued from their roof with a newborn. Another used his pickup truck to rescue people whose cars got caught in fast-moving water.
This week, though, workers got bad news from Washington, D.C. President Trump proposed virtually eliminating funding for a Labor Department bureau that helps prevent U.S. workers from having to compete with forced and child labor overseas.
Indentured servitude is back in a big way in the United States, and conservative corporatists want to make sure that labor never, ever again has the power to tell big business how to treat them.
Tara worked full-time and was already caring for a toddler when she had her second child. Like many American mothers, Tara was not granted maternity leave. Instead, she cobbled together vacation days to give herself a mere 20 days with her new baby following the birth. With money tight, “my family can’t afford the loss of even one paycheck,” she told the Atlantic last year.
The Minneapolis City Council passed a law Friday making it the first Midwestern city to adopt a $15 minimum wage, increasing the salaries of 71,000 workers by 2024. With the historic vote, Minneapolis joins a growing wave of progressive U.S. cities like San Francisco, Seattle and Washington D.C., where the Fight for $15 movement and other grassroots organizations have scored major labor victories.
The exchange allowed Trump to present himself as again being tough on U.S. allies, particularly on trade deficits. But it remains to be seen if the public lecturing might complicate the relationship with Seoul’s leaders, whose help the United States needs to strengthen the alliance against North Korea and its nuclear threat.
As an Associated Press article joyously put it, “The U.S. job market has settled into a sweet spot of steadily solid growth.” At long last, the American dream is back for working families, right? Well … in a word: No. Further down in the article, AP’s sweet news turns sour with this little admission: “About all that’s still missing [in the jobs market] is a broad acceleration in pay.”
Known as SB 5, the bill was first passed by the Senate on June 14 following a special session called by Greitens. His aim was to overturn an ordinance that prevents employers and housing providers from punishing women for their reproductive health choices, according to a report by Feministing, a feminist website.
“This is repealing and replacing Obamacare, everybody doesn’t get what they want,” Ryan opines in the ad before he’s interrupted by Randy Bryce, a Wisconsin ironworker, military veteran and union organizer placing health care at the center of his platform.
As Trump slashes and burns his way through environmental regulations, including the Paris Accord, he continues to bet that political polarization will work in his favor. Not only are his anti-scientific, anti-environmentalist positions firing up some within his base, but those positions are driving a deep wedge within organized labor.
The case of three labor rights activists detained in China for trying to investigate a factory that makes Ivanka Trump brand shoes highlights the pervasive problem of labor abuses and lax enforcement by authorities. But rights activists said President Donald Trump’s daughter, who is also his assistant, could help make a difference if she speaks out about the case.