By Staff for Fight for $15. Hundreds of fast-food workers flooded the lobby of Hardee’s corporate headquarters in St. Louis, Mo., this afternoon, demanding that Trump’s labor nominee Andy Puzder withdraw his nomination or be rejected by the U.S. Senate. Chanting “Hold Your Burgers, Hold Your Fries, Down With Puzder and His Lies” and “Make a Dollar, Get a Dime, Puzder Won’t Pay Overtime,” workers unfurled a banner reading “Puzder: Bad for America” in the lobby of the building. The also dropped a banner from the parking garage across from Hardee’s headquarters. The message: reject Puzder.
By Sam Pizzigati for IPS – In 1942, Franklin Roosevelt advanced what may have been the most politically daring policy proposal of his entire presidency. FDR called for the equivalent of a maximum wage. No individual American after paying taxes, Roosevelt declared, should have an income over $25,000, about $370,000 today. A half-century later, in 1992, Bernie Sanders — then a relatively new member of the House of Representatives — marked the 50th anniversary of FDR’s maximum wage initiative. Sanders placed a commentary on FDR’s 1942 proposal in the Congressional Record. Last week, in the 75th anniversary year of Roosevelt’s 1942 proposal, British Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn gave FDR’s income cap idea a considerably wider public airing.
By Staff of Fight for $15, Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s cooks and cashiers will lead marches and rallies, holding signs that read, “Meet Andy Puzder: CEO of the rigged economy” and “Puzder gets rich while keeping workers poor.” “Andy Puzder represents the worst of the rigged economy Donald Trump pledged to take on as president,” said Terrance Dixon, a worker at Hardee’s from St. Louis, who is paid just $9.00/hr. “If Puzder is confirmed as labor secretary, it will mean the Trump years will be about low pay, wage theft, sexual harassment and racial discrimination instead of making lives better for working Americans like me.” According to CKE’s latest financial disclosures, Puzder has made between $4.4 million and $10 million in recent years, which means he makes more in one day than he pays his minimum wage workers in any given year. Despite this, he has been an outspoken opponent of minimum wage hikes that would allow his workers to meet their basic needs. Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley found in 2013 that fast-food CEOs like Puzder cost taxpayers $7.3 billion per year in public assistance by holding down pay for their employees.
By Staff of Teamsters – Union members aren’t the only ones hurt when labor’s slice of the workforce pie gets smaller, a report confirms. In fact, research by the Economic Policy Institute shows all workers today are making less than they would if union density was at its 1979 level. Between 1979 and 2013, the share of private-sector workers in a union fell from about 34 percent to 10 percent among men, and from 16 percent to 6 percent among women. For women, the result is $718 less in pay per year. But for men, lost pay balloons to nearly $2,725 a year. As EPI notes, “Unions keep wages high for nonunion workers for several reasons. Union agreements set wage standards that nonunion employers follow.
By Staff of Science Blog – After years of progress, the median earnings gap between black and white men has returned to what it was in 1950, according to new research by economists from Duke University and the University of Chicago. The experience of African-American men is not uniform, though: The earnings gap between black men with a college education and those with less education is at an all-time high, the authors say. The research appears online this week in the National Bureau of Economic Research working paper series.
By Michael Arria for AlterNet. Labor Day is regarded as “the unofficial end of summer” for many Americans, a time for one last cookout party and back-to-school discounts. Its history is all but forgotten but it remains crucial. The holiday was signed into law by President Grover Cleveland in 1894, days after members of the United States Army and the United States Marshall Service had killed 30 workers during the Pullman Strike. The legislation was something of an attempt to win hearts and minds: unions were justifiably skeptical of the government and the holiday was seen as a way to win some support. May 1st was floated out, but people already celebrated International Workers’ Day on that day, commemorating the workers killed during the Haymarket Affair. Cleveland thought celebrating Labor Day on May 1st would encourage more protests, strikes and riots. The first Monday of September was selected to avoid further unrest. This Labor Day is a particularly great opportunity to remember the holiday’s history as 2016 has featured some major victories for workers.
By Richard Eskow for Campaign for America’s Future. The decline of unions has probably cost you, or someone close to you, thousands of dollars since last Labor Day. A new study by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) found that income for nonunion workers fell substantially as union membership declined. And it hasn’t fallen because of some immutable economic law. It’s a casualty of war – cultural and political war. If union enrollment had remained as high as it was in 1979, nonunion working men in the private sector would have earned an average of $2,704 more per year in 2013. The average non-unionized male worker without a college degree would have earned an additional $3,016, and those with only a high school diploma or less would have earned $3,172 more. (The differences were less striking for women because of workforce changes since the 1970s.) The decline in union membership is costing nonunion workers a total of $133 billion per year, according to EPI.
By Staff for Telesur. Hundreds of protesters took to the streets in San Juan Wednesday to block the first scheduled conference on the installation of a financial control board to remedy Puerto Rico’s crippling debt crisis but slammed by critics as an anti-democratic, neo-colonial policy that will redistribute wealth from the island nation to Wall Street. Demonstrators formed protests lines and blocked roads with rocks and bricks to disrupt the conference at San Juan’s Condado Plaza Hilton. They carried signs and shouted slogans against the federal control board, whose authority will supercede that of Puerto Rico’s democratically-elected governor, effectively handing budgetary decision-making over to unelected appointees, many of them bankers. The U.S. law creating the control board, known by its acronym PROMESA, grants the oversight panel the power to cut pensions, labor contracts with civil servants, and social services, to restructure its US$73 billion debt load. Despite lines of riot police and occasional use of pepper spray, the protests managed to block conference-goers on their way to the venue and forced organizers to re-arrange the meeting agenda, local media reported.
By Jake Rosenfeld, Patrick Denice, and Jennifer Laird for Economic Policy Institute – Pay for private-sector workers has barely budged over the past three and a half decades. In fact, for men in the private sector who lack a college degree and do not belong to a labor union, real wages today are substantially lowerthan they were in the late 1970s. In the debates over the causes of wage stagnation, the decline in union power has not received nearly as much attention as globalization, technological change, and the slowdown in Americans’ educational attainment.
By Whatcom-Skagit General Membership Branch, IWW. Four Years Struggle Three Years Boycott, Sakuma Finally Ready to Negotiate- FUJ Response to Sakuma Press Statement on MOU Burlington, WA – We at Familias Unidas Por la Justica (FUJ) are certainly encouraged that Sakuma Berry Farms has relented to the pressure of the #BoycottDriscolls campaign and the workers voices in the fields to finally agree to begin negotiations. We want to make three things very clear: 1. Sakuma Brothers Farms approached us at FUJ indirectly to begin the process. 2. We have agreed to meet on a date proposed by them. 3. They asked for confidentiality about this prior to our meeting with them.
By David Bacon for Capital and Main – For the state’s first hundred-plus years, certain unspoken rules governed California politics. In a state where agriculture produced more wealth than any industry, the first rule was that growers held enormous power. Tax dollars built giant water projects that turned the Central and Imperial Valleys into some of the nation’s most productive farmland.
By Stan Choe for Associated Press – NEW YORK (AP) — CEOs at the biggest companies got a 4.5 percent pay raise last year. That’s almost double the typical American worker’s, and a lot more than investors earned from owning their stocks — a big fat zero. The typical chief executive in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index made $10.8 million, including bonuses, stock awards and other compensation, according to a study by executive data firm Equilar for The Associated Press. That’s up from the median of $10.3 million the same group of CEOs made a year earlier.
By Staff of Workers Struggle – Following the day of mobilization on May 11, 2016 that the Textile Factory Union Platform-Batay Ouvriye (PLASIT-BO) launched to demand that the government set the minimum wage at 500 Gourdes ($7.94 for an eight-hour workday) and publish an Executive Order to make it official immediately, Clifford Apaid, owner of the plant, Premium Apparel, made the decision to fire our comrade, Telemarque Pierre, General Coordinator of Apparel and Textile Workers Union (SOTA-BO) and spokesperson for PLASIT, on Saturday May 14, 2016.
By Laura Bassett for The Huffington Post – The wage gap between full-time working men and women in the United States short-changes women by nearly $500 billion per year, according to a new report from the National Partnership for Women & Families. To put it in individual terms, if women earned as much as men, each woman with a full-time job would be able to afford an additional seven months of mortgage and utilities, or 1.6 years worth of food, annually.