Category Archives: Workers’ Issues

Citing Orwell, Judge Blocks ‘Positively Dystopian’ Censorship Law Backed by DeSantis

The federal judge lambasted Florida officials’ argument that “professors enjoy ‘academic freedom’ so long as they express only those viewpoints of which the state approves.”

By Jake Johnson  Published 11-17-2022 by Common Dreams

Governor Ron DeSantis speaking with attendees at the 2021 Student Action Summit hosted by Turning Point USA at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

In an order that begins by quoting the famous opening line of George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984, a federal judge on Thursday blocked key provisions of a Florida censorship law that aimed to restrict how state university professors teach race, gender, and U.S. history.

“‘It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen,’ and the powers in charge of Florida’s public university system have declared the state has unfettered authority to muzzle its professors in the name of ‘freedom,'” Judge Mark Walker of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, an Obama appointee, wrote in his scathing decision, which temporarily halts enforcement of parts of the law championed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis—a possible 2024 presidential candidate. Continue reading

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‘Horrendous’: Labor Dept Accuses Company of Employing Dozens of Children at Slaughterhouses

“Taking advantage of children, exposing them to workplace dangers—and interfering with a federal investigation—demonstrates Packers Sanitation Services Inc.’s flagrant disregard for the law and for the wellbeing of young workers,” said the Labor Department.

By Julia Conley  Published 11-11-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: USDA/flickr

A federal judge on Thursday granted a nationwide injunction against an industrial cleaning company, ordering the company to end its use of “oppressive child labor” after an investigation found it was employing dozens of children as young as 13—some of whom were injured while working in meatpacking facilities.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) requested the injunction in a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska after completing an investigation of Packers Sanitation Services, Inc. (PSSI) that began in late August. Continue reading

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Trump Reportedly Seeking Tips for Imprisoning Journalists If Reelected in 2024

“We’ve become used to this sort of thing from him, but we shouldn’t,” said one critic of the former president.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 11-8-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

Amid speculation that former U.S. President Donald Trump will announce his 2024 run next week, Rolling Stone reported Tuesday that the Republican leader has sought advice about how he could ramp up his war with the news media by jailing journalists if he regains control of the White House.

Trump’s first presidential campaign and four years in office featured constant attacks on reporters, outlets, and the industry in general, from his frequent declarations of “fake news” to going after journalists for reporting on leaked information. Continue reading

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US Unemployment System ‘Wholly Unprepared’ as Fed Risks Throwing Millions Out of Work

“If another wave of job losses does indeed hit, the unemployment safety net isn’t ready to cushion the blow without significant improvements,” warns the co-author of a new study.

By Jake Johnson  Published 11-1-2022 by Common Dreams

People’s Unemployment Line protest in Philadelphia, 2020. Photo: Joe Piette/flickr/CC

With the Federal Reserve poised to induce mass layoffs in its ongoing campaign to curb inflation, a study published Tuesday warns the notoriously fragmented U.S. unemployment system is nowhere near ready to handle another surge in jobless claims, potentially spelling disaster for the millions of people who could be thrown out of work next year.

Authored by Andrew Stettner and Laura Valle Gutierrez of The Century Foundation (TCF), the new analysis notes that “the share of jobless workers actually receiving UI benefits has shrunk dramatically” since federal benefit increases expired last year. According to TCF, just 26.8% of jobless workers were receiving state unemployment benefits in the 12 months that ended in August 2022, a sharp decline from the 76% rate through early 2021. Continue reading

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The IRS already has all your income tax data – so why do Americans still have to file their taxes?

The government could toss the 1040 in the trash.
Kameleon007iStock via Getty Images

 

Beverly Moran, Vanderbilt University

Doing taxes in the U.S. is notoriously complicated and costly. And it gets even worse when there are delays and backlogs, making it especially hard to reach the Internal Revenue Service for assistance.

But to me this raises an important question: Why should taxpayers have to navigate the tedious, costly tax filing system at all? Continue reading

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Republican Policies Are Killing Americans: Study

“Changing all policy domains in all states to a fully liberal orientation might have saved 171,030 lives in 2019,” researchers estimate, “while changing them to a fully conservative orientation might have cost 217,635 lives.”

By Kenny Stancil  Published 10-26-2022 by Common Dreams

Main Street, Mount Hope, West Virginia. Photo: Tim Kiser/Wikimedia Commons/CC

The Republican Party’s regressive policies are not just unpopular, but a new study out Wednesday suggests they are also deadly to those who live under them.

Working-age mortality rates have been rising for decades across the United States, but premature deaths are more pronounced in states where “conservative” policies predominate and less common in states that have adopted more “liberal” policies, according to peer-reviewed research published in PLOS ONE. Continue reading

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‘Imminent Danger’: Millions Set to Lose Medicaid, Food Benefits Once Public Health Emergency Ends

“When the public health emergency ends, many individuals and families will experience the cumulative impact of losing access to both Medicaid and SNAP,” advocates warned.

By Jake Johnson  Published 10-19-2022 by Common Dreams

Logo: Public Domain

In less than three months, millions of people across the U.S. could be kicked off Medicaid and see their food benefits slashed if the Biden administration declines to further extend the federal public health emergency that was first declared at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Last week, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra announced an extension of the public health emergency (PHE) until January 11, but it’s not clear whether the administration is planning another renewal—leaving millions of households concerned about their health coverage and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Continue reading

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‘Believe Him,’ Say Critics, as McCarthy Signals GOP Plan to Attack Social Security, Medicare

“The future of Social Security and Medicare is on the ballot this November,” said one advocate. “Republicans, led by Kevin McCarthy, are united in a plot to reach into our pockets and steal our money.”

By Julia Conley  Published 10-18-2022 by Common Dreams

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

Progressives on Tuesday warned that U.S. voters should take House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and other Republicans at their word when they threaten to enact cuts to Social Security and Medicare despite the cost-of-living crisis that already has Americans struggling to afford healthcare and other essentials.

In an interview with Punchbowl News Tuesday, the California Republican outlined plans to use the expected fight over the raising of the debt ceiling next year as leverage to pass several austerity policies and block additional aid for Ukraine, as well as blocking pandemic-related spending. Continue reading

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Marches on US Main Streets Center Poor Voters’ Demands Ahead of Midterms

“The priorities of poor and low-income people are on the ballot this election—from healthcare to living wages to social programs that lift the load of poverty and much more,” said Poor People’s Campaign co-chair Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 10-15-2022 by Common Dreams

The Poor People’s Campaign organized get-out-the-vote marches across the United States, including in Westminster, Maryland, on October 15, 2022. (Photo: Maryland Poor People’s Campaign/Twitter)

Less than a month before Election Day, low-income people and allies came together across the United States on Saturday as part of a get-out-the-vote push by the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.

The campaign aims to reach at least five million people by the midterm elections next month, spreading the word that “if we ever needed to vote for democracy and justice, we sure do need to vote now!” However, the effort also has a message for politicians. Continue reading

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‘A Huge Deal’: Major Rail Union Rejects White House-Brokered Contract Proposal

Maintenance workers voted against the tentative agreement reached last month and said without a fair contract, a work stoppage could begin as early at November 19.

By Julia Conley  Published 10-10-2022 by Common Dreams

Railyard behind the Cincinnati Union Terminal. Photo: David Brossard/Wikimedia Commons/CC

A union representing railroad maintenance and construction workers on Monday announced that its members have rejected the tentative agreement reached last month between unions and rail carriers, putting pressure on the carriers to offer a better deal to workers in order to avoid a nationwide strike in the coming weeks.

Reporting a turnout of 11,845 members, the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division (BMWED) said that 6,646 people had voted against ratifying the agreement and 5,100 had supported the deal, which was brokered last month with the help of the Biden administration’s Presidential Emergency Board. Ninety-nine ballots were returned blank or were voided due to user errors. Continue reading

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