This week in the war on workers: Puerto Rico’s school year starts, and it’s chaos

School privatization advocates have used the devastation of Hurricane Maria to close hundreds of public schools in Puerto Rico while pushing vouchers and charter schools. As we’ve seen again and again, chaos and destruction are favorite tools of privatizers, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that the school year has started in Puerto Rico with massive problems.

More than 56,000 students projected to be enrolled in Puerto Rico’s schools this year haven’t shown up and 18,000 were never enrolled. Some schools also have missing teachers after teachers have been repeatedly reassigned. Schools are in terrible shape:

Dozens of schools were still badly in need of repairs. A survey of the island’s 856 schools conducted by the Association of Puerto Rican Teachers the week before classes started found leaky roofs, mold and unusable bathrooms. One school had a rat infestation, according to the survey. Another was still littered with

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Brett Kavanaugh dissent shows how far he’ll go to side with the boss over workers

It’s starting to look like a requirement of being nominated to the Supreme Court by Donald Trump is having at least one gratuitously, ludicrously anti-worker dissent in your record. Neil Gorsuch had the frozen trucker, and as for Brett Kavanaugh, Dave Jamieson offers a candidate. Kavanaugh was the lone dissenter on a case in which a company was found to have created a spin-off company solely for the purpose of busting its union.

In the case, Island Architectural Woodwork, a unionized company, created Verde Demountable Partitions, which was non-union. Verde operated from an Island-owned building, used the same equipment, and was run by the daughter of Island’s chief executive. It was a thin fiction:

According to court filings, Island provided Verde with free equipment and rent but didn’t even bother to document its dealings with the supposedly separate company until after it was subpoenaed.  

As the appellate court

Continue reading “Brett Kavanaugh dissent shows how far he’ll go to side with the boss over workers”

Open thread for night owls: The AFL-CIO takes a stronger stand on climate change

Jeremy Brecher at Common Dreams writes—The New AFL-CIO Stand on Climate Change:

At its Quadrennial Convention in late October, the AFL-CIO unanimously adopted a resolution on “Climate Change, Energy, and Union Jobs.” The resolution says that the fastest and most equitable way to address climate change is for “labor to be at the center of creating solutions that reduce emissions while investing in our communities, maintaining and creating high-wage union jobs, and reducing poverty.”

If acted on, the resolution will bring about significant changes in organized labor and will bring American trade unions into far closer alignment with allies in the climate protection movement.

owls

The resolution starts with the facts of global warming. It acknowledges “the overwhelming scientific consensus” that climate warming is “due to human activities” and that higher global temperatures will trigger “irreversible changes in our climate,” causing “a rise in sea levels

Organize-Fish-eating-fish_NoTEXT_BlueRed.jpg

Continue reading “Open thread for night owls: The AFL-CIO takes a stronger stand on climate change”

Open thread for night owls: The AFL-CIO takes a stronger stand on climate change

Jeremy Brecher at Common Dreams writes—The New AFL-CIO Stand on Climate Change:

At its Quadrennial Convention in late October, the AFL-CIO unanimously adopted a resolution on “Climate Change, Energy, and Union Jobs.” The resolution says that the fastest and most equitable way to address climate change is for “labor to be at the center of creating solutions that reduce emissions while investing in our communities, maintaining and creating high-wage union jobs, and reducing poverty.”

If acted on, the resolution will bring about significant changes in organized labor and will bring American trade unions into far closer alignment with allies in the climate protection movement.

owls

The resolution starts with the facts of global warming. It acknowledges “the overwhelming scientific consensus” that climate warming is “due to human activities” and that higher global temperatures will trigger “irreversible changes in our climate,” causing “a rise in sea levels

Organize-Fish-eating-fish_NoTEXT_BlueRed.jpg

Continue reading “Open thread for night owls: The AFL-CIO takes a stronger stand on climate change”

Open thread for night owls: The AFL-CIO takes a stronger stand on climate change

Jeremy Brecher at Common Dreams writes—The New AFL-CIO Stand on Climate Change:

At its Quadrennial Convention in late October, the AFL-CIO unanimously adopted a resolution on “Climate Change, Energy, and Union Jobs.” The resolution says that the fastest and most equitable way to address climate change is for “labor to be at the center of creating solutions that reduce emissions while investing in our communities, maintaining and creating high-wage union jobs, and reducing poverty.”

If acted on, the resolution will bring about significant changes in organized labor and will bring American trade unions into far closer alignment with allies in the climate protection movement.

owls

The resolution starts with the facts of global warming. It acknowledges “the overwhelming scientific consensus” that climate warming is “due to human activities” and that higher global temperatures will trigger “irreversible changes in our climate,” causing “a rise in sea levels

Organize-Fish-eating-fish_NoTEXT_BlueRed.jpg

Continue reading “Open thread for night owls: The AFL-CIO takes a stronger stand on climate change”

Billionaire Trump donor puts 115 people out of work after some joined a union

Last week, writers at the news sites DNAinfo and Gothamist joined a union. This week, the sites’ Trump-supporting billionaire owner, Joe Ricketts, shut them down, putting 115 people out of work.

Ricketts, who deleted negative coverage of himself when he acquired the Gothamist properties in March, has threatened to shut down the site in the past if the writers attempted to unionize.

On Thursday, he made good on the promise. […]

According to the National Labor Relations Board, laying off employees because they are engaged in union activity is illegal, but the Supreme Court ruled in 1965 that shutting down an entire business — like Ricketts chose to do Thursday — is one permissible form of retaliation.

Ricketts’ letter announcing the decision said that “DNAinfo is, at the end of the day, a business, and businesses need to be economically successful if they

Continue reading “Billionaire Trump donor puts 115 people out of work after some joined a union”

Government reports 261,000 new jobs created in October, wages slip

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the economy generated 261,000 new jobs in October. The “headline rate” of unemployment fell to 4.1 percent. Of the total, 252,000 were created in the private sector, 9,000 in the public sector. The jobs calculation was derived through analysis of the Current Employment Survey of 147,000 business establishments. The unemployment rate was calculated from the Current Population Survey of 60,000 households.

Each month, the bureau revises estimates of job growth or loss for the previous two months because it has more complete data than were available when the job numbers were first released. For September, the revision turned a loss of 33,000 jobs into a gain of 18,000; for August, the revision was from 169,000 jobs to 208,000.

The August-September decline in job creation was largely a factor of hurricane Irma and Harvey, according to the bureau. “Leisure and Hospitality,” the category that took the biggest hit in September—a loss of

Continue reading “Government reports 261,000 new jobs created in October, wages slip”

New GOP-led migrant guest worker proposal ‘a recipe for worker exploitation’

United Farm Workers, Farmworker Justice, and other immigrant rights advocates are opposing a GOP-led migrant guest worker proposal that “would gut protections for workers, substantially lower wages for migrants, and expose even more workers to exploitation.” The bill’s Republican author is suspect enough: in the past, he’s sought to turbo-boost Donald Trump’s mass deportation force by hiring thousands more Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents and them arming them with “M-4 rifles or equivalents”: 

The latest attempt is a bill by Virginia Rep. Robert Goodlatte, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and one of the biggest proponents of reforming the H-2A.  The bill,which narrowly cleared the committee last Wednesday, would overhaul the current guest worker program and replace it with a new H-2C visa for bringing in foreign agricultural workers to the US. In contrast to the current H2-A visa, the new program, called the Agricultural Guestworker

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Democrats expand on the ‘Better Deal’ with proposed labor law reforms

Democrats are campaigning for 2018 on a “Better Deal” platform, focusing on progressive economic reforms, and this week have rolled out a set of proposals for strengthening unions and workers’ right to organize. Among them:

  • A “federal law that provides public workers with the same rights and freedom to engage in collective bargaining as their private sector counterparts,” designed to prevent the piecemeal right-to-work efforts that have taken off in Republican-run states since 2011.
  • A ban on state “right-to-work” laws altogether, as “they have been found to reduce union membership by up to 10 percent and have resulted in lower wages and decreased access to employer-provided health care and pensions.”
  • Making it easier to strike with a “ban [on] the permanent replacement of striking workers.”
  • Limiting employers’ ability to campaign against union drives. “When companies taint the election process by using captive audience meetings, the NLRB will set

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This week in the war on workers: Don’t buy the Republican ‘small business’ tax cut hoax

When Donald Trump and congressional Republicans start making a serious push to cut taxes for wealthy individuals and corporations, expect a lot of talk about “small business.” In fact, expect to hear a pitch that sounds like small businesses will be absolutely the biggest winners from a Republican tax plan. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ Chye-Ching Huang explains the reality Republicans are trying to hide with their “small business” talk:

Gov’t reports 209,000 new jobs created in July; jobless rate at 4.3%; Trump claims credit

The seasonally adjusted net gain of jobs in July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report released Friday, was 209,000. Of those, 172,000 were created in the private sector, 37,000  in the public sector, as determined by analysis of the Current Employment Survey of 147,000 business establishments. A consensus of experts in Bloomberg’s survey of experts earlier this week had concluded there would be a gain of 178,000 new jobs in July.

Once again, which has been the case for most of the past eight years since the recovery from the Great Recession officially began, wages climbed only a smidgen. Compared with last July, they were up 9 cents an hour, a 2.5 percent year-over-year rise against an annual inflation rate of 1.6 percent. For the average worker, the wage gain has amounted to barely treading water.

As it does in every monthly report, the bureau revised its counts for the previous two months based on more complete

Continue reading “Gov’t reports 209,000 new jobs created in July; jobless rate at 4.3%; Trump claims credit”

Gov’t reports 209,000 new jobs created in July; jobless rate at 4.3%; Trump claims credit

The seasonally adjusted net gain of jobs in July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report released Friday, was 209,000. Of those, 172,000 were created in the private sector, 37,000  in the public sector, as determined by analysis of the Current Employment Survey of 147,000 business establishments. A consensus of experts in Bloomberg’s survey of experts earlier this week had concluded there would be a gain of 178,000 new jobs in July.

Once again, which has been the case for most of the past eight years since the recovery from the Great Recession officially began, wages climbed only a smidgen. Compared with last July, they were up 9 cents an hour, a 2.5 percent year-over-year rise against an annual inflation rate of 1.6 percent. For the average worker, the wage gain has amounted to barely treading water.

As it does in every monthly report, the bureau revised its counts for the previous two months based on more complete

Continue reading “Gov’t reports 209,000 new jobs created in July; jobless rate at 4.3%; Trump claims credit”

Gov’t reports 209,000 new jobs created in July; jobless rate at 4.3%; Trump claims credit

The seasonally adjusted net gain of jobs in July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report released Friday, was 209,000. Of those, 172,000 were created in the private sector, 37,000  in the public sector, as determined by analysis of the Current Employment Survey of 147,000 business establishments. A consensus of experts in Bloomberg’s survey of experts earlier this week had concluded there would be a gain of 178,000 new jobs in July.

Once again, which has been the case for most of the past eight years since the recovery from the Great Recession officially began, wages climbed only a smidgen. Compared with last July, they were up 9 cents an hour, a 2.5 percent year-over-year rise against an annual inflation rate of 1.6 percent. For the average worker, the wage gain has amounted to barely treading water.

As it does in every monthly report, the bureau revised its counts for the previous two months based on more complete

Continue reading “Gov’t reports 209,000 new jobs created in July; jobless rate at 4.3%; Trump claims credit”

In California, disgruntled employers may be siccing ICE on workers who report labor violations

Among the most disturbing patterns emerging in the Trump era is Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents stalking undocumented immigrants at courthouses, including targeting victims at a New York human trafficking court. The chief justices of the California Supreme Court, the Connecticut Supreme Court, the New Jersey Supreme Court, and the Rhode Island Supreme Court (so far) have all taken the extraordinary steps by condemning former Department of Homeland Security Sec. John Kelly and Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III for the actions, with California’s Tani Cantil-Sakauye writing that “we encourage the vulnerable to come to our courthouses for help. But immigration arrests, or the fear of arrests at or near courthouses, disrupt court activities and the lives of those seeking justice.”

Now ICE appears to be taking their thuggery to labor dispute proceedings in California:

Federal immigration agents have shown up twice at California

Continue reading “In California, disgruntled employers may be siccing ICE on workers who report labor violations”

In California, disgruntled employers may be siccing ICE on workers who report labor violations

Among the most disturbing patterns emerging in the Trump era is Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents stalking undocumented immigrants at courthouses, including targeting victims at a New York human trafficking court. The chief justices of the California Supreme Court, the Connecticut Supreme Court, the New Jersey Supreme Court, and the Rhode Island Supreme Court (so far) have all taken the extraordinary steps by condemning former Department of Homeland Security Sec. John Kelly and Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III for the actions, with California’s Tani Cantil-Sakauye writing that “we encourage the vulnerable to come to our courthouses for help. But immigration arrests, or the fear of arrests at or near courthouses, disrupt court activities and the lives of those seeking justice.”

Now ICE appears to be taking their thuggery to labor dispute proceedings in California:

Federal immigration agents have shown up twice at California

Continue reading “In California, disgruntled employers may be siccing ICE on workers who report labor violations”

This week in the war on workers: Here are the economic issues Ohio swing voters care about most

We hear a lot about the economic populism that Donald Trump supposedly tapped into and that Democrats must reclaim to win. But what does that look like on the ground? Working America canvassed 355 likely midterm swing voters in Ohio, asking them about Trumpcare, a range of economic policies to support middle-class and lower-income families, Ohio politicians, and where they’re getting their political information. The resulting report offers a wealth of information.

Opposition to Trumpcare was strong, with just 39 percent of Trump swing voters in favor of passing it, while “Overall, 60 percent of Ohio swing voters we spoke with chose it from a list of 11 policies as the one that would have the most negative impact on their family.” Beyond that, voters’ top three issues off that list were stopping outsourcing, addressing the opioid crisis, and paid family leave. Expanding overtime, passing paid sick days,

Continue reading “This week in the war on workers: Here are the economic issues Ohio swing voters care about most”

This week in the war on workers: Here are the economic issues Ohio swing voters care about most

We hear a lot about the economic populism that Donald Trump supposedly tapped into and that Democrats must reclaim to win. But what does that look like on the ground? Working America canvassed 355 likely midterm swing voters in Ohio, asking them about Trumpcare, a range of economic policies to support middle-class and lower-income families, Ohio politicians, and where they’re getting their political information. The resulting report offers a wealth of information.

Opposition to Trumpcare was strong, with just 39 percent of Trump swing voters in favor of passing it, while “Overall, 60 percent of Ohio swing voters we spoke with chose it from a list of 11 policies as the one that would have the most negative impact on their family.” Beyond that, voters’ top three issues off that list were stopping outsourcing, addressing the opioid crisis, and paid family leave. Expanding overtime, passing paid sick days,

Continue reading “This week in the war on workers: Here are the economic issues Ohio swing voters care about most”

Trump has bad news for millions of workers in line for overtime pay under Obama

Donald Trump’s major life goal at this point seems to be rolling back everything good President Barack Obama did for the country and its people—and now he’s coming for your overtime pay. Obama had sought to raise the overtime eligibility threshold to include millions more workers, a change that was supposed to go into effect in December but was blocked at the last minute by a judge. Now, of course—of course—Mr. Populist is rolling back Obama’s expansion. Trump’s Labor Department announced Tuesday that it would be doing something to the overtime eligibility threshold, but it’s not clear what, and they’re definitely not going to be raising the threshold to $47,000 like Obama proposed.

In the final days of the Obama administration, the Labor Department had appealed the judge’s decision blocking implementation of the raise, and Trump’s Labor Department agreed in court that it has the power to set the eligibility

Continue reading “Trump has bad news for millions of workers in line for overtime pay under Obama”

Trump has bad news for millions of workers in line for overtime pay under Obama

Donald Trump’s major life goal at this point seems to be rolling back everything good President Barack Obama did for the country and its people—and now he’s coming for your overtime pay. Obama had sought to raise the overtime eligibility threshold to include millions more workers, a change that was supposed to go into effect in December but was blocked at the last minute by a judge. Now, of course—of course—Mr. Populist is rolling back Obama’s expansion. Trump’s Labor Department announced Tuesday that it would be doing something to the overtime eligibility threshold, but it’s not clear what, and they’re definitely not going to be raising the threshold to $47,000 like Obama proposed.

In the final days of the Obama administration, the Labor Department had appealed the judge’s decision blocking implementation of the raise, and Trump’s Labor Department agreed in court that it has the power to set the eligibility

Continue reading “Trump has bad news for millions of workers in line for overtime pay under Obama”

This week in the war on workers: CEOs being paid 271 times the average worker

The Economic Policy Institute is out with its annual look at CEO pay, and by two measures, the pay of CEOs at the nation’s 350 largest companies is nauseating: 271 times what the typical worker made. Though that ratio is down from its peak, consider that in 1989, the ratio was 59 to one. That means we’re talking about a shift that happened during the lives of Millennials. 

  • Using the stock-options-realized measure, the average CEO compensation for CEOs in the 350 largest U.S. firms was $15.6 million in 2016. Compensation in 2016 (data available through May) is down 4.3 percent (from $16.3 million) since 2015 but up 45.6 percent (from $10.7 million) since the recovery began in 2009. The fall in average compensation reflected a loss for the highest-paid CEOs while those in the bottom 80 percent earned more in 2016 than in

    Continue reading “This week in the war on workers: CEOs being paid 271 times the average worker”