Category Archives: Workers’ Issues

Amid Years of Funding Cuts to Public Health, First US Case of China’s Coronavirus Detected

Public health advocates say state, local, and federal agencies are underprepared to cope with the spread of a new infectious disease.

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-21-2020

Coronavirus. Photo: CDC

Officials in Washington State reported Tuesday that a resident was diagnosed with the coronavirus which was first detected in Wuhan, China last month, leading federal public health agencies which have suffered billions of dollars in cuts in recent years to issue warnings and post information about the illness.

“This is an evolving situation and again, we do expect additional cases in the United States and globally,” Nancy Messonnier of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told the Washington Post. Continue reading

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New Report Details How EPA Is Promoting ‘Worst of the Worst Pesticides’

From 2017-2018, the agency approved 69 new pesticide products containing an ingredient the EPA recognizes as a “known” or “likely” carcinogen.

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-10-2020

A detail of the cover image for Toxic Hangover, a new report by Center for Biological Diversity. (Image: Center for Biologicial Diversity)

A new review into the pesticide products the U.S. approved in 2017 and 2018 reveals the Environmental Protection Agency is carrying out an industry-friendly, “broken” regulatory process that included green-lighting over 100 products with ingredients widely deemed extremely dangerous.

Entitled Toxic Hangover: How the EPA Is Approving New Products With Dangerous Pesticides It Committed to Phasing Out, the 11-page analysis was released Tuesday by the Center for Biological Diversity. Continue reading

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Fresh Calls to #RaiseTheWage After Study Shows $1 Increase Could Prevent Thousands of Suicides

The House-approved Raise the Wage Act is among hundreds of bills sitting on the desk of Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the self-declared “grim reaper” of progressive legislation.

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-9-2020

A study published this week found that raising the minimum wage just $1 could prevent thousands of suicide deaths in the United States. Photo: Wisconsin Jobs Now/flickr/CC

A new study that suggests raising the minimum wage could prevent thousands of suicide deaths in the United States sparked fresh calls for relief from federal lawmakers and cast a spotlight on Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s legislative graveyard.

“Low-wage employees are in desperate need of a raise, and the Senate’s refusal to pass the #RaiseTheWage Act is keeping vulnerable Americans in harm’s way,” the advocacy group Patriotic Millionaires tweeted on Thursday, linking to NPR‘s report on the study. Continue reading

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How undoing ‘Obamacare’ would harm more than the health of Americans

Open enrollment for health care in the ACA marketplaces ended at 3 a.m., Dec. 18, 2019, the same day a panel ruled that the individual mandate is unconstitutional. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services/AP Photo

Simon F. Haeder, Pennsylvania State University

The Affordable Care Act remains on life support after a panel of federal judges ruled on Dec. 18, 2019 that the law’s individual mandate requiring people to buy health insurance is unconstitutional.

The decision hobbles the law in ways that are hard to predict politically, particularly in the upcoming election year. It also raises questions for the 20 million people who gained coverage in the marketplaces and all Americans who gained protections through the ACA. Continue reading

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‘They Did it on Purpose’: Protester Crushed Between Police Jeeps Latest Victim of Months-Long Chilean Crackdown on Dissent

The young man was seriously injured but is expected to survive.

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-21-2019

Twenty-year-old Oscar Ignacio Pérez Cortéz was pinned between two police jeeps on Friday. He is expected to survive but sustained serious injuries. (Photo: Archivando Chile/Telegram)

The ongoing protest movement in Chile has had success—the country’s constitution is expected to be rewritten as a concession from President Sebastien Pinera to demonstrators—but still faces a harsh crackdown from government security forces, who in a series of assaults Friday fired projectiles at crowds and crush one young man between two armored jeeps, causing him serious injury.

Twenty-year-old Oscar Ignacio Pérez Cortéz was pinned between two police jeeps—called by protesters zorrillos, or “skunks”—on Friday when one of the vehicles slammed the young man into the side of the other. Continue reading

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‘An Unthinkable and Unlivable Reality’: Australia Sees Hottest Day on Record as National Average Temperature Hits 105.6°F

“We are in a climate emergency,” said meteorologist Eric Holthaus.

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-18-2019

Photo: alex c/Twitter

With destructive wildfires raging across the country amid a severe drought, Australia on Tuesday experienced its hottest day on record as the national average maximum temperature reached an unprecedented 40.9°C (105.6°F).

“That was the national average temperature. Some places were far hotter,” tweeted meteorologist Eric Holthaus. “Truly, an unthinkable and unlivable reality. We are in a climate emergency.” Continue reading

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As NLRB Delivers ‘Victory’ to McDonald’s, Docs Reveal Fast Food Giant’s Dirty Anti-Union Tactics

“The owner class will buy up every lever of power they can… But in the end we will win because together we are unstoppable.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-12-2019

Workers and allies demanding a $15 an hour wage stage a protest outside a McDonald’s restaurant. (Photo: Steve Rhodes/flickr/cc)

A lengthy Bloomberg article spotlighting President Donald Trump’s long affinity for McDonald’s—which preceded a major decision from a federal agency that involved the fast food giant—revealed Thursday morning that thousands of previously unreported company documents and internal emails expose how “corporate executives monitored developments as managers helped orchestrate a years-long anti-union response across the U.S.”

Bloomberg reviewed McDonald’s internal records and reported that the company’s “tactics, which were discussed by and, at times, coordinated by regional executives of the company, included gathering intelligence from a cashier who attended a union meeting as a mole, circulating names of suspected pro-union workers, and coaching a franchisee on how to avoid hiring union sympathizers.” Continue reading

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Report Details How Social Security Has Become Rigged for the Wealthy While Leaving Behind Those It Was Designed to Help

“The program’s become less progressive,” said Jim Roosevelt, a former Social Security Administration official and grandson of FDR.

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-3-2019

The benefits of Social Security, a program designed to help vulnerable and low-income people, have since the 1980s become increasingly skewed toward the wealthy due to demographic shifts and soaring inequality, according to a new report.

Proponents of Social Security expansion, responding to the report (pdf) by Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research, said the New Deal-era program’s increasing regressivity was not inevitable, but the result of lawmakers’ refusal to enact basic progressive reforms such as lifting the cap on income subject to the Social Security payroll tax. Continue reading

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‘Their Secret Agenda Today Is Exposed’: Corbyn Says Leaked Trade Docs Show Tory Plan to Privatize NHS With Trump’s Help

The U.K. Labour leader said the move, if successful, “could lead to runaway privatization of our health service.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-27-2019

U.K. Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn holds redacted copies of the Department for International Trade’s U.K.-U.S. Trade and Investment Working Group report following a speech about the National Health Service in Westminster, London. Photo: Devutopia/Twitter

U.K. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on Wednesday unveiled over 450 pages of leaked documents that he said expose British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s effort to open up the National Health Service to corporate exploitation in trade negotiations with U.S. President Donald Trump.

During a press conference, Corbyn said the Trump administration’s negotiators are “demanding” that the NHS be put “on the table” in talks over a possible post-Brexit trade pact between the U.S. and U.K. Continue reading

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‘Targeted by My Own Government’: Journalists Sue Trump DHS Over ‘Coordinated Attack’ on Press Freedom

“This interference effectively prevented me and other journalists from carrying out our reporting at the U.S.-Mexico border.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-21-2019

“When I saw my photo crossed out in a secret government database, I realized the secondary screening and interrogation wasn’t random,” said photojournalist Bing Guan. “I was being targeted by my own government for reporting on conditions at the border.” (Image: NBC7 San Diego via ACLU)

Five journalists who were tracked, detained, and interrogated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for reporting on conditions at the southern border in 2018 and 2019 brought a federal lawsuit against the Trump administration Wednesday for what the ACLU called an “unprecedented, coordinated attack on the freedom of the press.”

The national ACLU, joined by chapters in New York and California, filed the suit (pdf) in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York on behalf of Bing Guan, Go Nakamura, Mark Abramson, Kitra Cahana, and Ariana Drehsler. The five are all U.S. citizens who traveled to Mexico as professional photojournalists. Continue reading

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