Inside America’s Largest Worker-Run Business

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By Jay Cassano for Fast Company – Fifteen years ago, Clara Calvo had just left her husband and her job. Both were abusive in their own ways. Her husband beat her, while her job at a beauty salon required long, unpredictable hours for little pay. Before that, she worked in a clothing factory in midtown Manhattan, earning a pittance for each hat she sewed, having immigrated from the Dominican Republic in 1995. Today, Calvo is able to support her three children as a single mother and sits on the board of company with over 2,000 employees that does $60 million in business per year. Solving Inequality: This is part of Co.Exist’s collection of stories about rising income inequality and big and bold ideas for how society can reverse this trend. See the whole list here. But Calvo also works as home health care worker, making just $10 an hour. Her company, Cooperative Home Care Associates (CHCA), is not like most other companies. It is a worker cooperative, an ownership structure that is somewhat rare in the U.S. but much more common in Spain, Italy, and parts of Latin America. In a worker cooperative, every worker can own an equal share of the company (and its profits) and get a say in company decisions.

Newsletter: Fight For Health Care Begins

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By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese. Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) were stalled again this week, due in large part to public pressure including courageous and persistent civil resistance in Congress. This was another battle won to prevent millions more from losing health insurance and tax cuts for the rich, but the fight for a universal healthcare system is far from over. In fact, we have barely begun. 1hcsenDr. Carol Paris writes, “Today, we breathe a quick sigh of relief. But we cannot celebrate a return to the status quo, a system that rations health care based on income and allows 18,000 Americans to die each year unnecessarily.” Dr. Paris argues that rather than focusing on the ACA, we must now advance National Improved Medicare for All (NIMA) – a publicly-funded and comprehensive universal healthcare system in the United States. Imagine the impacts National Improved Medicare for All will have when it is achieved…

Black Women Work 7 months In 2017 Equal Pay Of White Men In 2016

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By Staff for Economic Policy Institute. July 31st is Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, the day that marks how long into 2017 an African American woman would have to work in order to be paid the same wages as her white male counterpart was paid last year. Black women are uniquely positioned to be subjected to both a racial pay gap and a gender pay gap. In fact, on average, black women workers are paid only 67 cents on the dollar relative to white non-Hispanic men, even after controlling for education, years of experience, and location. Pay inequity directly touches the lives of black women in at least three distinct ways. Since few black women are among the top 5 percent of earners in this country, they have experienced the relatively slow wage growth that characterizes growing class inequality along with the vast majority of other Americans. But in addition to this class inequality, they also experience lower pay due to gender and race bias.

Fast-Food Workers Shut Down Hardee's Corporate HQ Puzder 'Unfit'

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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.

UK Labour Party Proposes A Maximum Wage Gap

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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.

Fast Food CEO Andy Puzder Has No Business As Labor Secretary

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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.

Unions Help All Workers Earn More

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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.

Black-White Earnings Gap Returns To 1950 Levels

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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.

Labor Day: Lots Of Worker Victories This Summer

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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.

How Much Will the War On Unions Cost You This Labor Day?

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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.

Protests Against 'Colonial' PROMESA Debt Plan Rock Puerto Rico

A protester against the first seminar of PROMESA tries to prevent an attendee from entering the conference in San Juan, Aug. 31, 2016. | Photo: Reuters

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.

Union Decline Lowers Wages Of Nonunion Workers

Image: Low wage workers take part in a protest organized by the Coalition for a Real Minimum Wage outside the offices of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo,

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.

Sakuma Agrees To Negotiate A Contract With Farm Workers

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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.

The Fight Isn’t Over For Farm Worker Overtime

ARVIN, CA – Two farm workers pull weeds in a field of organic potatoes. By mid-afternoon the temperature is over 100 degrees. Workers wear layers of clothes as insulation against the heat.

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.

Average CEO Raise Is Ten Times What Workers Earn

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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.