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One reason for concern as consumers have turned to more energy-efficient light bulbs has been that those bulbs were overwhelmingly manufactured in China. So it's good to see Neutex Advanced Energy Group, which makes LED lights and fixtures, bringing manufacturing back to the United States, and working with the IBEW to provide union jobs. One hopes that all the talk in the video of the union working to help the employer with its wants and needs doesn't mean workers' wants and needs are being overlooked. Because as long as that's not the case, it's pretty exciting to see American union manufacturing of energy-efficient products that had been being made in China.

More from this week in the War on Workers below the fold.

A fair day's wage

  • In the "workers you don't think of as union members" category, musicians in the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra approved a new collective bargaining agreement.
  • Workers at a New York City MetroPCS store voted to unionize.
  • Thousands of grocery store workers in Washington state voted to authorize a strike.
  • A New Jersey newspaper and four unions reached a tentative agreement, averting a shutdown.
  • When eight Papa John's pizza outlets in Sacramento, California, closed recently, the franchise owner wrote bad checks to pay his low-wage workers who are now out of a job—and without the pay they were owed.
  • Looking for an American, union-made car? The UAW has released its 2014 guide.
  • How one stroke of the pen could lift wages for millions:
    Courtney Shackleford is one of two entry-level employees at the Ben and Jerry’s in Washington, D.C.,’s Union Station, where she makes $8.25 an hour. Like many workers in America’s growing low-wage economy, she struggles to make ends meet: Between her pregnancy and her tuition fees at Trinity Washington University, Shackleford doesn’t make enough to cover basic expenses. [...]

    But Shackleford isn’t just a low-wage worker: She’s a low-wage worker whose employer happens to have a contract with the United States government. Because the Ben and Jerry’s that she works at is located in a federally-owned building, the federal government has broad latitude to determine how employees there are treated. On Thursday, Shackleford and about 175 other federally contracted workers [went] on strike, rallying outside the White House, and asking the president to exercise that authority.

  • Working America is organizing in Texas for an anti-wage theft ordinance in Houston and more.
  • Historically, it's been hard to get much sympathy for the plight of NCAA athletes. People tended to think first and foremost of the athletes who would be going on to high pay and celebrity, overlooking the small number that would be true of and not understanding the degree of exploitation even they face along the way. But lately there's momentum behind the understanding that these athletes aren't really amateurs and they're putting their bodies on the line for school profits. The athletes themselves are fighting for change; during televised football games on Saturday, Josh Eidelson reports, 28 players wrote "APU," short for "All Players United," on wrist tape or elsewhere. Players are protesting conditions like this:
    Huma noted that current NCAA rules allow universities to cancel scholarships and medical coverage for athletes injured on the field, and prohibit universities from replacing athletic scholarships with non-athletic scholarships when a player is dropped from the team. The NCAA, charged Huma, would rather schools “save a buck and excuse themselves from their stated obligation of educating that player.” With “over a billion dollars in new revenue” coming in, said Huma, “there should be more support for the players,” rather than all the cash “going to the places where it usually goes”: luxury boxes and six-figure salaries. NCPA has also called for college athletes to be allowed to sign endorsement deals, and for stipends they receive to be hiked to better reflect the true cost of attending college.
  • Mitt Romney must be weeping: Staples has its first North American union contract. In Canada, naturally.
  • Um, yay?
    Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is hiring 55,000 seasonal workers and adding another 70,000 part-time and full-time workers as it gears up for the holiday season and reverses workforce reductions that have made it hard to keep store shelves stocked.

    The company is moving 35,000 part-time workers to full-time status and is elevating another 35,000 to part-time from temporary, the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer said today in a statement. The 70,000 workers will be elevated in the next few months and will keep their new posts after the holiday season ends, said Kory Lundberg, a Wal-Mart spokesman.

  • Being able-bodied doesn't make jobs magically appear.
  • Why the poor don't work, according to the poor.

Education

  • Do charter schools spend more on administration than traditional public schools? They sure do in Texas.
  • Cyber schools flunk but tax money keeps flowing:
    Taxpayers send nearly $2 billion a year to cyber schools that let students from kindergarten through 12th grade receive a free public education entirely online.

    The schools, many managed by for-profit companies, are great at driving up enrollment with catchy advertising. They excel at lobbying. They have a knack for making generous campaign donations.

    But as new state report cards coming out now make clear, there’s one thing they’re not so good at: educating kids.

  • Why one person quit Teach for America:
    [T]he truth is, by finally showing I don’t believe that American education can be saved by youthful enthusiasm, I feel more like a leader than I ever did inside the corps.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Sat Sep 28, 2013 at 10:55 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  One quibble: (0+ / 0-)
    One reason for concern as consumers have turned to more energy-efficient light bulbs has been that those bulbs were overwhelmingly manufactured in China. So it's good to see Neutex Advanced Energy Group, which makes LED lights and fixtures, bringing manufacturing back to the United States, and working with the IBEW to provide union jobs. One hopes that all the talk in the video of the union working to help the employer with its wants and needs doesn't mean workers' wants and needs are being overlooked. Because as long as that's not the case,
    It is quite appropriate for workers and their representatives 9the unions) to be concerned with employers' wants and needs, particularly needs. I'm 1000% supportive of unions, but sometimes think that the adversarial relationship between labor and management is a bit over-emphasized. Cooperation, provided it does not consist of selling out workers, is a good thing. If a company is not profitable, there won't be any jobs.

    If there is no accountability for those who authorized torture, we can no longer say that we are a nation of laws, not men.

    by MikePhoenix on Sat Sep 28, 2013 at 11:38:22 AM PDT

    •  Isn't that called Negotiating? (4+ / 0-)

         The CW is that if a Union negotiates in good faith - the CEO / corporation all says it is in bad faith - and that is more often than not what makes the headlines.

           The most recent bad faith was explored by Matt Tabbi article in Rolling Stone on how the American Worker was fleeced in the pension game.   http://www.rollingstone.com/...

           It is long (5 pages) but well worth a read.   Interestingly on the day after that was posted, the NYT posted an anti-article on their Dealbook page - blaming all the woes of Detroit on the pensions.  

           When all we hear is adversarial talking points - it seems to be a PR battle, not the real issue, sadly.

         

      •  Taibbi's article was exceptional and should be (0+ / 0-)

        read by as many people as possible.  Workers are now paying the price for the sins of their corporate fathers.  Just as W/Cheney used the Social Security Trust Fund as their personal piggy bank to run their wars, so too have the political leaders at the state and municipal levels, diverting the payments to pension funds that should have been made to other priorities.  It was interesting that most state pension funds were nearly adequately funded until the bank stuff hit the fan in '08.

        Workers are going to find themselves on their own in saving for their retirement--assuming they get to have one--because the banks have influenced the demise of defined benefits in favor of savings programs that are loaded with fees that will keep the financial services folks and the banks fat and happy.  

        Sweet Revenge Fantasy:  If I win the lottery I would beefsteak all those Papa John's employees to a large down payment on one of the eight places so they can make it an employee owned business and hope they succeed beyond all measure.

        Building a better America with activism, cooperation, ingenuity and snacks.

        by judyms9 on Sat Sep 28, 2013 at 01:13:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Judy, there is no way to use the so-called (0+ / 0-)

          "SS trust fund".  All surplus SS revenue must be deposited at the Federal Reserve by purchasing special non-marketable or transferrable US T-bonds.  There is no physical way to take that money and spend it on wars or anything else for that matter.  Thats just not how our monetary system works.  The only money that ever gets spent of the "SS trust fund" happens when the payroll tax balance is negative and then those special T-bonds are redeemed, that money is transferred into the Treasury General Account at the Fed, which then in turn gets transferred into your banks reserve account at the Fed, which then forces the banks to credit your personal bank account with some of the bank's private currency.  Thats the accounting and operational rundown.  I only speak up because we here at Kos rightly complain about the right wingers spreading myths and misinformation, whether they believe the shit they're spewing or not, so I figured you'd like to have the correct explanation of how the trust fund works so that you are not unknowingly spreading incorrect info.  Let me know if you have any other questions about it because this stuff is important to understand

          MMT = Reality

          "The Earth is my country and Science my religion" Christiaan Huygens. Please join our Kos group "Money and Public Purpose". The gold standard ended on August 15, 1971, its time we start acting like it.

          by Auburn Parks on Sat Sep 28, 2013 at 01:58:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, it is important to understand and now I (0+ / 0-)

            do, I think.  But now I'm confused about how we determine the general health of the SS trust fund, with some reporting that there is a surplus that will carry us forward a decade, and others who say the fund is in big trouble.  Even if the former is true, the latter may also be true now that unemployment is high, the SS tax cap is low, and wages are depressed.
             Thank you for the explanation of the money movement; there's a flow chart forming in my mind.

            Building a better America with activism, cooperation, ingenuity and snacks.

            by judyms9 on Sat Sep 28, 2013 at 04:09:03 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  With regard to the SS funds status, you're right (0+ / 0-)

              the wingers have spread so much misinformation its hard to tell whats true or not.  My understanding is that the SSDI (DI stands for disability insurance) has a separate fund with is own dedicated portion of the payroll tax as revenue, within the overarching SS framework.  Its this smaller fund and program that is going to run out of money in it within the next decade, not the General SS Fund.  

              You're also correct that stagnant wages combined with high unemployment have changed the trajectory of the date at which the all the SS T-bonds will have been redeemed.  At that point, due to the SS law being written to forbid SS checks from coming directly out of the Treasury General Account (like all other spending does), SS checks could only go out up to the amount that the payroll tax brings in.  I think thats projected to be around 80% of what benefits would otherwise be.  The problem with long term trajectories is the changing nature of the inputs.

              If we had full employment for the next 20 years accompanied with rising wages, D-date will be put off by years and years (the projections made during the Clinton boom were far different, for example).  If we don't do anything to get ourselves out of the Great Recession, and we continue our stagnant wages and high unemployment, then D-date will be moved up by years and years.  This is the nature of long term projections, you change a little today and it adds up significantly over the long term.

              One final thing for consideration, and doubling back on SS "funding" war spending or any other spending for that matter.  Because the Govt is forced to issue T-bonds in the same amount as it deficit spends, the T-bonds bought by the SS administration can be said to "fund" spending to the same extent that any other T-bond sale "funds" Govt deficit spending, whether it be grandma buying a T-bond for her retirement, a municipal pension fund, or China with all its surplus dollars acquired through our trade deficit with them.  They are all equivalent when it comes to "funding" deficit spending.  Thats another way to conceptualize the process.

              MMT = Reality

              "The Earth is my country and Science my religion" Christiaan Huygens. Please join our Kos group "Money and Public Purpose". The gold standard ended on August 15, 1971, its time we start acting like it.

              by Auburn Parks on Sat Sep 28, 2013 at 04:34:30 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  I know people aren't going to like this but (0+ / 0-)

    one of the ways to make manufacturing expansion (and all jobs for that matter) more attractive here in the US, is to get rid of corporate taxes.  Yes, I know we can put tariffs and such on imported products but all that does is cause the price of the products that we are paying for to go up.  Or we can try the Eurozone approach to exporting which is to reduce the standards of living and wages of regular people through austerity and depression enough so that they can better compete directly with Asia and developing world.

    First, corporate tax revenue is a very small part of federal revenue, its around 8% which amounts to around $185 billion per year.  .08 x $2.3 trillion.  We could easily make that up with higher taxes on high income earners ($1 to $5 million + per year) and capital gains.  Or we could institute taxes on things we actually don't want like pollution and financial speculation instead of taxing things we don't want, like business and therefore job growth.

    http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/....

    Secondly, the Govt is not revenue constrained as the monopoly issuer of the US dollar.  Whether tax revenues are $1 or $10 trillion per year, the ability of the Federal Govt to credit and debit bank accounts at the Federal Reserve is unchanged.  If the purpose of taxes is to promote the public good by penalizing negative externalities, then why are we hurting businesses unnecessarily with a 35% marginal tax rate?  

    I am not a winger people I know thats a marginal rate and hardly anyone pays that much, and most of the biggest corporations pay nothing or actually get subsidies.  Which is yet another reason to do away with the corporate tax code, only the biggest companies can afford the teams of lawyers, lobbyists, and accountants that are required to milk the tax code for all its worth.  While small and medium sized businesses are unfairly punished relative to the global conglomerates.  I want business to succeed (not at the expense of everyone else of course like a winger does), but because its good for the country.  Taxation is not there to provide revenue for the federal Govt anymore, thats what having a fiat monetary system is all about.  The gold standard has been over for more than 40 years.

    MMT = Reality

    "The Earth is my country and Science my religion" Christiaan Huygens. Please join our Kos group "Money and Public Purpose". The gold standard ended on August 15, 1971, its time we start acting like it.

    by Auburn Parks on Sat Sep 28, 2013 at 01:03:50 PM PDT

    •  My apologies, the last sentence in the 2nd (0+ / 0-)

      paragraph should read:

      "Or we could institute taxes on things we actually don't want like pollution and financial speculation instead of taxing things that we do want, like business and therefore job growth."

      "The Earth is my country and Science my religion" Christiaan Huygens. Please join our Kos group "Money and Public Purpose". The gold standard ended on August 15, 1971, its time we start acting like it.

      by Auburn Parks on Sat Sep 28, 2013 at 01:05:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  neo liberal... (0+ / 0-)

      This argument is actually quite widely accepted in large parts of the Democratic Party, that is to say, the neo liberal wing led by Clinton and his/her cronies.

      It has a certain logic. It would only make sense, in my opinion, in conjunction with corporate stock transfer tax.

      •  I'm not familiar with that tax, is it designed (0+ / 0-)

        to punish a particular social ill like a carbon tax or financial transaction tax?  I'm all for using the tax code to shape social behavior.  Everyone is always lamenting (and rightfully so to a certain extent) the loss of manufacturing jobs here.  There's a good reason why it happens, its more profitable to make many consumer goods elsewhere since a relative standard of living is so high.  American workers get paid too much relative to our Chinese counterparts (and way too little relative to what we should be making given our national wealth and productivity), removing the corporate tax burden is just one way to help our companies compete better, and it has less negative consequences than some of the other options.

        The neo-liberal desire to minimize all regulation is much more dangerous than low taxes (not important for a country with monetary sovereignty) and free trade.

        MMT = Reality

        "The Earth is my country and Science my religion" Christiaan Huygens. Please join our Kos group "Money and Public Purpose". The gold standard ended on August 15, 1971, its time we start acting like it.

        by Auburn Parks on Sat Sep 28, 2013 at 03:52:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  stock transfer tax... (0+ / 0-)

          ...is simply a tax on the sale of stock. It is often cited as a way for the government to generate income lost by abolishing corporate income tax.

          As with any tax, it is opposed by the Republicans and the Democratic neo liberals.  

          •  I thought it might be that straight-forward. (0+ / 0-)

            The Govt doesn't need income, it issues the money.  Just like the NY metro doesn't need to collect its own subway tokens before they "spend" them.  If you're up for a little light economic reading on your Sunday.  Please enjoy this piece as its perhaps the most easily digestible and thorough analogy about the dynamics of being a currency issuer, enjoy.  

            http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/...

            Its only about 10 pages, but you certainly don't have to read any further than the first 3 or 4 to start to "get the drift"  of the thing.

            MMT = Reality

            "The Earth is my country and Science my religion" Christiaan Huygens. Please join our Kos group "Money and Public Purpose". The gold standard ended on August 15, 1971, its time we start acting like it.

            by Auburn Parks on Sun Sep 29, 2013 at 07:09:31 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  re Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (0+ / 0-)

    Nashville Symphony agreed to 15 percent pay cut in a new contract finalized in Aug.

    Minnesota Orchestra now entering the second year of a lockout in Minneapolis.

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