Category Archives: Income Inequality

House Panel Exposes How ‘Shameful’ Meatpackers Put Profits Over Worker Health During Pandemic

“The report shows that corporate giants like Tyson and Smithfield worked closely with the Trump administration to keep their operations running despite the risks to workers.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 5-12-2022 by Common Dreams

Workers at the Sam Kane beef slaughterhouse in Corpus Christi, Texas. Photo: USDA/flickr

A congressional report published Thursday revealed that meat processing companies worked with and lobbied the Trump administration to continue operating during the Covid-19 pandemic, despite the danger to workers in the high-risk industry.

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis report—entitled Now to Get Rid of Those Pesky Health Departments!—shows how major meatpackers including Tyson Foods, JBS USA, and Smithfield Foods engaged political appointees in the Trump administration in “an aggressive campaign to ensure their facilities remained at maximum capacity.” Continue reading

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Texas GOP Governor Considers Challenging 1982 Ruling Requiring Free Public Education

The leaked opinion showing the Supreme Court’s right-wing majority is prepared to overturn Roe v. Wade “is an invitation to all manner of challenges to deeply rooted precedents,” said one critic.

By Julia Conley  Published 5-5-2022 by Common Dreams

Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas. Photo: World Travel & Tourism Council/flickr/CC

Days after rights advocates warned that the U.S. Supreme Court’s expected overruling of Roe v. Wade portends rollbacks of numerous rights for people in the U.S., Republican Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas said he wants to challenge a 40-year-old ruling that affirmed states must offer free public education to all children.

In a radio interview with right-wing host Joe Pagliarulo late Wednesday, Abbott discussed border security and agreed with the host’s claim that the children of undocumented immigrants place a “real burden on communities” when they attend public schools, as the Plyler v. Doe ruling required states to allow in 1982.

“The challenges put on our public systems [are] extraordinary,” Abbott said. “Texas already long ago sued the federal government about having to incur the costs of the education program… And the Supreme Court ruled against us on the issue about denying, or let’s say Texas having to bear that burden.”

“I think we will resurrect that case and challenge this issue again, because the expenses are extraordinary and the times are different than when Plyler v. Doe was issued many decades ago,” the governor added.

The Plyler case arose from a 1975 decision by the state of Texas to permit school districts to deny admission or charge tuition to undocumented immigrant families. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund filed a class action lawsuit after Tyler Independent School District charged $1,000 per year to children who did not provide proof of American citizenship.

The case eventually was taken up by the Supreme Court and the justices ruled 5-4 that all children in the U.S. were entitled to free public education under the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection clause.

Abbott’s comments came two days after a draft opinion was leaked from the U.S. Supreme Court showing that the court’s right-wing majority voted earlier this year to overrule Roe, a move that would eliminate abortion rights for millions of women in states hostile to reproductive justice.

“The leaked opinion is an invitation to all manner of challenges to deeply rooted precedents,” said Tom Jawetz, former vice president of immigration policy at the Center for American Progress.

Abbott’s threat to the children of undocumented immigrants, said one healthcare advocate, exemplified the late comedian George Carlin’s summation of the anti-choice movement’s views on the rights of children.

“I can’t believe this has to be said, but ALL children deserve access to a quality public education,” said Gwenn Burud, a Democratic candidate for the Texas state Senate. “Unlike the other side, I understand what settled precedent means.”

This work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).
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New Mexico Pilot Program Makes Child Care Free for Majority of Families

“We need federal dollars to make this happen everywhere in this country,” said one advocate.

By Julia Conley  Published 5-2-2022 by Common Dreams

In New Mexico, families earning up to $111,000 per year are now eligible for a pilot program providing free child care. Photo: Grant Barrett/Wikimedia Commons/CC

With millions of parents across the U.S. forced to leave the workforce due to an inability to find affordable child care during the coronavirus pandemic, families making up to $111,000 per year in New Mexico are set to benefit from a pilot program that went into effect May 1 waiving all child care payments for more than a year.

Families earning up to 400% of the federal poverty level are now eligible for the state’s child care assistance program. With the median household income standing at just over $51,000, the expansion of the program “will help A LOT of families,” said Washington Post reporter Casey
Parks. Continue reading

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Workers Mark May Day With Pro-Labor Protests Worldwide

“It’s a May Day of social and civil commitment for peace and labor,” said Daniela Fumarola, head of Italy’s CISL union.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 5-1-2022 by Common Dreams

Immigrants and allies marching in Washington DC on May 1, 2022. Photo: United We Dream/Twitter

Workers and labor rights advocates across the globe came together Sunday for demonstrations marking International Workers’ Day, or May Day.

Organizers held about 250 actions across France, many pressuring newly reelected French President Emmanuel Macron to ditch his plan to raise the retirement age from 62 to 65. Reuters reported that “marchers carried banners reading ‘Retirement Before Arthritis,’ ‘Retirement at 60, Freeze Prices,’ and ‘Macron, Get Out.'” Continue reading

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After Amazon and Starbucks, what’s next for revamped US labor movement?

Workers across the country are beginning to reverse a 40-year decline of labor organising. But deeper problems remain

By Aaron White  Published 4-29-2022 by openDemocracy

Starbucks employees protesting outside the Magnolia Dr. location in Tallahassee, FL. Photo: Ethan B./Wikimedia Commons/CC

“Starbucks has this image of being a progressive company that takes care of its employees. But really that hasn’t been the case,” Will Westlake, a barista at a Starbucks in Buffalo, tells openDemocracy.

Will got a job at Starbucks nearly a year ago, and was one of nearly 50 people from the Buffalo New York region – as part of Starbucks Workers United – to sign a letter in August asking then-CEO Kevin Johnson to support a fair union election. Continue reading

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‘Staggering’: Watchdog Finds Medicare Advantage Plans Deny Necessary Care

“These plans are designed to maximize profits for corporations, NOT to provide high-quality healthcare,” said Social Security Works.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 4-28-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Myfuture.com/flickr/CC

A government watchdog revealed Thursday that Medicare Advantage plans—which are offered by private companies but required to follow rules set by the government healthcare program—deny medically necessary care to tens of thousands of enrollees each year.

The revelation came in a report released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG), which examined a random sample of 250 prior authorization denials and 250 payment denials issued by 15 of the largest Medicare Advantage Organizations (MAOs) during the first week of June in 2019. Continue reading

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Global Military Spending Tops $2 Trillion for First Time in History

“If global leaders actually care about charting a more secure future, then we need a massive realignment in spending priorities,” said one prominent peace group.

By Brett Wilkins  Published 4-25-2022 by Common Dreams

U.S. warplanes and the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan are seen during a deployment in the Indian Ocean on June 32, 2021. (Photo: U.S. Pacific Fleet/Flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0)

Global military expenditures surpassed $2 trillion for the first time ever last year, with the United States spending more on its war-making capacity than the next nine nations combined, according to new data published Monday.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) reported an all-time high of $2.1 trillion in worldwide military spending for 2021, a 0.7% increase from 2020 levels and the seventh straight year of increased expenditures. Continue reading

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Rallies Held Across US for ‘Climate, Care, Jobs, and Justice’

“The president and Congress must protect our planet and the people who call Earth home—now.”

By Kenny Stancil  Published 4-23-2022 by Common Dreams

SEIU executive vice president Gerry Hudson speaks at the “Fight for Our Future” rally in Washington, D.C. on April 23, 2022. (Photo: Adrien Salazar/Twitter)

Scores of people in communities around the United States took to the streets on Saturday to demand swift and bold legislative and executive action to tackle the fossil fuel-driven climate crisis as well as skyrocketing inequality.

At “Fight for Our Future” rallies held in Washington, D.C., Phoenix, Atlanta, and more than 40 additional cities across the country, the message was simple: Time is running out for Congress and President Joe Biden to make the bold investments needed to create millions of unionized clean energy and care sector jobs that can simultaneously mitigate greenhouse gas pollution along with economic and racial injustice. Continue reading

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Legacy of Jim Crow still affects funding for public schools

School funding inequities persist along racial and economic lines.
David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Derek W. Black, University of South Carolina and Axton Crolley, University of South Carolina

Nearly 70 years ago – in its 1954 Brown v. Board decision – the Supreme Court framed racial segregation as the cause of educational inequality. It did not, however, challenge the lengths to which states went to ensure the unequal funding of Black schools.

Before Brown, Southern states were using segregation to signify and tangibly reinforce second-class citizenship for Black people in the United States. The court in Brown deemed that segregation was inherently unequal. Even if the schools were “equalized” on all “tangible factors,” segregation remained a problem and physical integration was the cure, the Court concluded. Continue reading

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West Virginians Lead Blockade of Coal Plant That’s Made Manchin Rich

“This is what the fight for a habitable planet looks like in real time.”

By Julia Conley  Published 4-9-2022 by Common Dreams

Police in Grant Town, West Virginia arrested demonstrators who blockaded a coal plant that contracts with Enersystems, a company owned by Sen. Joe Manchin’s family, from which the senator earns $500,000 per year. (Photo: @WV_Rising/Twitter)

Organizers of the “Coal Baron Blockade” protest which targeted right-wing Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin’s coal empire Saturday afternoon reported that state police almost immediately began arresting campaigners who assembled in Grant Town, West Virginia.

“Sen. Joe Manchin’s policies hurt poor people and hurt our environment so deeply that activists are ready to put themselves on the line,” tweeted the Poor People’s Campaign, which joined grassroots group West Virginia Rising and other organizations in the blockade. Continue reading

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