Posts Tagged ‘New York’

Sub-contracted retail janitors picket the downtown Minneapolis Target store Tuesday morning February 26, 2013. The workers are not currently organized through a union. (Pioneer Press: John Doman

Sub-contracted retail janitors picket the downtown Minneapolis Target store Tuesday morning February 26, 2013. The workers are not currently organized through a union. (Pioneer Press: John Doman

Employees of a Target Store in Brooklyn, NY organized a labor union at a Target store, which was once considered impossible.

According to the Wall Street Journal:

“A group of less than a dozen pharmacy employees in Brooklyn, N.Y., passed the measure on Sept. 8 after the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) approved a request to conduct a vote.”

Target had argued against the vote, saying it shouldn’t have been allowed given the pending sale of the company’s pharmacy business to CVS Health for $1.9 billion. Target plans to appeal the NLRB’s decision to allow the vote, said spokeswoman Molly Snyder.

“Although we are disappointed by the results of the election, and believe that our team members do not need paid third-party representation, Target respects the rights of its team members to make this choice,” Ms. Snyder said.Target plans to appeal the NLRB’s decision to allow the vote, said spokeswoman Molly Snyder.”

Then Ms. Synder proceeded to say that Target plans to appeal the NLRB’s decision to allow the vote, said spokeswoman Molly Snyder.

“The union would be the first such group among Target’s nearly 350,000 employees. There have only been two votes to unionize at Target stores since 1990, according to Ms. Snyder: at Valley Stream, N.Y., in 2011, and in the Detroit area in 1990. Both were rejected.

The Brooklyn employees decided to pursue a union vote after CVS agreed to buy Target’s pharmacy business, according to a pharmacy employee at the location who asked not to be named. Staffers were worried about potential layoffs, reductions in their hourly wages or other labor changes after the CVS deal, the employee said.”

In other words, the employees were worried that part of their future income would be redistributed to CVS shareholders and or management compensation, or their lost future earnings would be applied toward paying for the purchase, or a combination of all. In effect, the employees were worried this purchase was an income redistribution scam.

See more at workers-unionize-at-target-for-the-first-time-in-the-chain-s-history

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From US Uncut:

“The Fight for $15 made history this week as three of the nation’s largest cities jumped on board. And today, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren were joined by 16 fellow Senators announcing their support for $15/hour for the first time ever, demanding President Obama take executive action and raise contract workers wages. We will keep everyone updated as these measures progress, but this is a lesson to never underestimate your own power–not for a second. When the Fight for $15 began two years ago, it was dismissed as a utopian pipe-dream. Now, $15/hour is quickly becoming a political reality across the country. This is the power of organized workers. If you support Fight for $15 at your work, in the streets, or behind your keyboard, take a bow. We aren’t going to win, we are winning!”

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According to a report from the Institute for Global Labor and Human Rights, the sweatshop factory Alianza has closed its doors, ripping off its workers of some $6 million. These workers earned $1.05 per hour, and the factory owners made off with a ton of their money.

According to the report,

From 2001 through March 22, 2013, 1,050 to 1,500
workers, mostly indigenous Maya Indian, toiled at the
Alianza Fashion factory in Chimaltenango, Guatemala.

• Over the last 12 years, the Alianza workers were robbed
of over $6 million in wages and benefits due
them, most significantly health and pension benefits
through the Guatemalan Social Security Institute

• Over 60 labels and retailers — some of them powerhouses
like Macy’s, JCPenney, Kohl’s and Philips-Van
Heusen — were produced in the factory. In 2011 alone,
Alianza workers sewed 4.2 million garments, and over
the course of 12 years some 52 million garments
were exported to the U.S. and Canada.

• The workers earned a base wage of just $1.05 per
hour, which is the lowest wage in Guatemala and well
below subsistence levels.

These corporations had huge markups in their prices. The bigger the markup, the better for Wall Street and these companies. This is precisely why Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden likes free trade treaties. Many of these jobs used to be in the United States, but after companies shipped the jobs to overseas sweatshops, the markup increased. In other words, the free trade treaties that paved the way for US corporations to ship millions of jobs overseas has been nothing but an income redistribution scam, thanks to Wyden, and other like-minded Republicans and Democrats.

“• A Wal-Mart women’s blazer retailed for $21.88,
while its total production cost was just $4.25 — for
a mark-up of 415 percent.!
• Calvin Klein jackets and vests for the Burlington
Coat Factory cost $9.23 to make, but retail
for $59.99 — a mark-up of 550 percent.”

Major corporations got major financial breaks, according to the report.

“• Lavish 100% tax breaks saved the Alianza factory
and major U.S. labels millions of dollars.
• The Guatemalan Ministry of Labor is dysfunctional
and does nothing to implement Guatemala’s
labor laws or internationally recognized worker
rights standards.
• For 12 long years, the labels and retailers at Alianza
never once sought to guarantee that fundamental
worker rights standards would be respected. Workers
had no legal rights whatsoever and every attempt to
organize was crushed.
• Philips-Van Heusen, Nordstrom and others are launching
a proactive campaign to reimburse Alianza’s workers
what they are owed.
• “From the very beginning at the Alianza Fashion factory,
management’s policy was to plunder the workers
in every way possible — robbing the workers of over
$6 million in back wages and benefits over the years,
in collusion with corrupt Social Security Institute and
Ministry of Labor officials who totally failed to defend
the rights of the workers,” said Gabriel Zelada, director
of Center for Studies and Support for Local Development

Below is a list of corporations that took advantage of the workers at the Alianza factory in Guatemala.

AAFES (Army and Air Force Exchange
American Apparel Global Corp
Bealls Florida
Blair Catalogue
Briggs New York
Burlington Coat Factory
Calvin Klein
Carole Wren Inc
Cato Corp
Charlotte Russe
Charming Shoppes
Fashion Bug
Fishman & Tobin / Li & Fung
Fred Meyer
Harvé Benard
Hudson Bay Company
Ike Behar
J.C. Penney
J.M. Collection
Jones Apparel Group
Judy’s Group (Emily, NYP Suits)
Kim Rogers
La Maison
Minikin Togs
NBC (National Broadcasting Corporation)
Norton McNaughton
Philips Van Heusen
Ross Stores
Sag Harbor
Stage Stores
Stein Mart
Style & Co.
The Men’s Warehouse
Tommy Hilfiger
Tracy Evans
VF Outlet
Von Maur
Winners Apparel

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According to Bill Moyers, “As we near the end of 2013, it suddenly seems everyone’s talking about inequality. Earlier this month, Barack Obama spoke of a “relentless decades-long trend” of “dangerous and growing inequality and lack of upward mobility.” Around the same time, in a papal exhortation, Pope Francis wrote, “Just as the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say ‘thou shalt not’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills.” And a month earlier in New York — the most unequal big city in the USMayor-elect Bill de Blasio won a landslide victory campaigning on the issue.

But just how bad is American inequality? How did we arrive at this new Gilded Age? And how might we create an economy of broadly shared prosperity?

If you’ve got questions, we’ve (hopefully) got the answers in this Essential Reader…”

One thing that needs to be addressed when it comes to inequality is what nobody seems to be talking about. Inequality has been brought about government legislation that redistributes income from the 99 to the 1 percent. This process of corrupting government at all levels began with a variety of tax cuts to the rich and corporations under President Ronald Reagan, and which has enabled them to buy the legislation that redistributes income from the 99 to the 1 percent, and resulted in the complete  corruption of federal and state governments and politicians, such as Wall Street Senators Ron Wyden, Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul. This includes legislation that has weakened union organizing efforts, such as the passing of right-to-work-for-less laws, as well as free trade treaties, privatization scams, and other vicious attacks against the 99 percent.

Check out the link below for the complete story.

Inequality: An Essential Reader | The Poverty Line, What Matters Today | BillMoyers.com.

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Big Money didn’t win all the time on Tuesday election. In fact, big money lost 15 times against progressive policies and candidates. For example, Bill de Blasio won the New York City’s mayor race “on a platform of reducing inequality and halting NYPD’s controversial ‘stop-and-frisk’ program, he’ll also govern with a more progressive city council, as the 21 new members of the 51-seat body are expected to double the council’s progressive caucus after aggressive campaigning by labor groups and the Working Families Party.”

Check out the story below from Moyers and company.

Under the radar progressive wins of the 2013 election–Bill Moyers and Company

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Earlier this month, thousands of fast food workers in cities from New York to Chicago to Detroit hit the streets. Many were wearing “red ‘Fight for 15’ T-shirts – a reference to the popular call for a $15 hourly wage, almost double the current federal minimum.” More protests are planned for the fall.

“We’re frustrated and we’re angry,” says Alex Mack, 33, a worker at Wendy’s in Chicago. “I make $8.25 an hour and it’s impossible to live on. I’m a father, a husband. I’m always robbing Peter to pay Paul, shorting one bill to pay another.” But Mack is optimistic that the strike action will be successful. “If we stick together, it’s not impossible,” he says.

Corporations such as McDonald’s are earning record profits, mainly by cheapening their products and poisoning their customers through the use of less expensive genetically modified ingredients. Under the current circumstances, McDonalds and the other food chains can afford to pay more to their employees, it just means less will go to their investors.

The result will be simple if this scenario happens. The employees will demand more goods and services, thereby strengthening the weak economy. Rich investors will have less money to invest in politicians, such as Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden, as well as derivatives and other things, most of which are geared toward redistributing the wages, benefits and salaries of the 99 percent to themselves.

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This morning, Apple was convicted of conspiring with book publishers to raise ebook prices. This was one of the biggest anti-trust lawsuits ever brought by US federal authorities.

According to the Guardian newspaper, “US district judge Denise Cote ruled on Wednesday that the company played a “central role” in a conspiracy with the biggest book publishers in the US to fix prices in violation of antitrust law.

Executives from the companies would meet in the private dining rooms of upscale New York restaurants to bemoan the low prices charged by the ebooks market leader Amazon, and what they could do about it, Cote said in her ruling.

Cote ruled that that damages would be determined at a new hearing. Apple continued to deny on Wednesday that it had done anything wrong, and said it planned an appeal.”

This a perfect example of what goes on throughout the US economy. Regardless of how weak demand is, manufacturers consistently conspire to artificially raise the price of their stuff. Doing so pushes their stock prices higher, as well as dividend payments and corporate earnings. Now, if only the US government would do something about the thousands of other corporate executives redistributing income from the 99 to the 1 percent via conspiracy in restraint of trade, like the big banks withholding millions of houses from the market in order to artificially jack-up housing prices even though demand is historically weak.

Click below for the complete story about Apple in the courtroom. Below that is the story of the big banks rigging the housing market.


The Fix is In: Big Banks Have Rigged the Housing Market

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