Category Archives: Workers’ Issues

‘Illegal Boondoggle’: US Government Rebuked for Giving 1,400 Private Companies Access to Dubious Terrorism Watchlist

“We call on congressional leadership to investigate the private sector dissemination of watchlisting information that stigmatizes the innocent and makes none of us safer.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-20-2019

“The indiscriminate dissemination of the watchlist is but the latest indication that the federal government’s watchlisting system is an illegal boondoggle,” said CAIR litigation director Lena Masri. (Screenshot/The Intercept)

Denouncing the database as “an illegal boondoggle,” a civil rights organization on Wednesday is calling for a congressional probe after the FBI admitted it lied for years when it insisted federal authorities do not share the so-called terrorist watchlist with private entities.

In fact, as the Associated Press first reported, the federal government has shared the

controversial Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB) with 1,441 private entities including universities, detention facilities, and hospitals. Continue reading

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The soundtrack of the Sixties demanded respect, justice and equality

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The Supremes, with their polished performances and family-friendly lyrics, helped to bridge a cultural divide and temper racial tensions. AP Photo/Frings

Michael V. Drake, The Ohio State University

When Sly and the Family Stone released “Everyday People” at the end of 1968, it was a rallying cry after a tumultuous year of assassinations, civil unrest and a seemingly interminable war.

“We got to live together,” he sang, “I am no better and neither are you.”

Throughout history, artists and songwriters have expressed a longing for equality and justice through their music. Continue reading

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‘No One Should Be Surprised’: After Long Career Stiffing Workers, Trump Blocks Back Pay for Federal Contractors

Lack of back pay for low-wage contractors also called a “policy and political failure” for Democratic leaders, who were accused of failing to publicly fight the president’s cruelty

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-14-2019

The Trump International Hotel and Tower under construction in Chicago, Illinois., 2006. Photo: Antonio Vernon (public domain)

As a real estate mogul, Donald Trump was notorious for swindling low-wage workers out of pay.

So—as economist Robert Reich put it—”no one should be surprised” that Trump is continuing this cruel practice as president, this time by reportedly refusing to sign any government funding deal that includes back pay for the estimated 580,000 federal contractors who were furloughed or forced to work without pay for over a month due to the shutdown.

“I’ve been told the president won’t sign that,” Sen. Roy Blunt told ABC News, as Democrats made a last-minute push on Wednesday to attach back pay for contractors to the bipartisan federal spending package. “I guess federal contractors are different in his view than federal employees.” Continue reading

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‘People Shouldn’t Be Going Bankrupt and Dying’: Nationwide Week of Action Aims to Build Mass Movement Behind Medicare for All

“As nurses, we understand the need for guaranteed healthcare for everyone. That’s why we are fighting to win Medicare for All and joining thousands at barnstorms across the country.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-10-2019

“Folks are gathering to talk about the plan to win guaranteed healthcare.Next steps involve knocking on doors, phone banks—various ways of engaging our communities to get involved,” said National Nurses United executive director Bonnie Castillo. (Photo: National Nurses United/Flickr)

With Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) expected to introduce the Medicare for All Act of 2019 in the coming days, nurses, progressive activists, and ordinary people who have felt firsthand the crushing weight of America’s for-profit healthcare system took part in nationwide “barnstorms” this weekend to build grassroots support for transformative change.

From Texas to Kansas to California—around 150 total locations across the country—Medicare for All supporters gathered to discuss the necessity of a single-payer system that leaves no one behind, at a time when over 30 million Americans are uninsured and two-thirds of personal bankruptcies are caused by medical bills. Continue reading

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To Galvanize Local Organizing for Medicare for All, Nurses Union to Kick Off Nationwide ‘Barnstorms’ This Weekend

“I know people with diabetes literally dying because they cannot afford their insulin.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-8-2019

Volunteers across the country, coordinated by National Nurses United (NNU), are hosting Medicare for All barnstorms Feb. 9 to Feb. 13. (Graphic: NNU/Twitter)

Building on rising public support for scrapping the nation’s for-profit healthcare system and replacing it with Medicare for All, the nation’s largest nurses union—along with progressive allies—on Saturday will kick off a week of barnstorms in cities and communities across the United States.

Volunteers nationwide, coordinated by National Nurses United (NNU), are planning more than 150 events from Feb. 9 to Feb. 13. Continue reading

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Warnings of Trumpism ‘Forever’ as Senate GOP Rams Through 44 Lifetime Judges in One Day

“Too many of these nominees have spent their careers opposing the rights of women, minorities, the LGBTQ community, and Americans who need affordable healthcare.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-8-2019

Mitch McConnell, Brett Kavanaugh, Mike Pence and Jon Kyl before Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings. Photo: Office of the Vice President [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

With the nation’s eyes largely elsewhere in a sea of distraction on Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee quietly advanced 44 of President Donald Trump’s federal judicial nominees in what civil rights defenders denounced as a “monster markup” that threatens to leave the president’s dangerous ideological footprint on the nation’s courts for generations to come.Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said the move “disturbingly exemplifies the joint Senate Republican-Trump administration effort to distort our federal judiciary and roll back our civil and human rights.”

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Siding With ‘Loan Sharks’ Over Consumers, Trump CFPB Moves to Gut Payday Lender Regulations

“This administration has moved the CFPB away from protecting consumers to protecting the very companies abusing them.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-6-2019

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director Kathy Kraninger testifies during a confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. Photo: C-SPAN screenshot

In what progressive lawmakers and advocacy groups decried as the Trump administration’s latest “shameful” attack on vulnerable families, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) unveiled a plan on Wednesday that would gut regulations protecting consumers from predatory payday lenders.

Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, denounced the CFPB’s plan as “a slap in the face to consumers—especially people of color—who have been victims of predatory business practices and abusive lenders.” Continue reading

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Demanding Lawmakers Forge ‘Path Away From Climate Suicide,’ Groups Kick Off Green New Deal Push

“We have no time to lose in the fight to avoid irrevocable climate chaos.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-4-2019

A coalition of progressive groups has launched a week of action to demand a progressive Green New Deal from federal lawmakers. (Photo: Friends of the Earth/Twitter)

Building on the grassroots momentum that has thrust the Green New Deal onto a national stage, a coalition of progressive groups on Monday launched a week of action to demand climate leadership from federal lawmakers, calling for a plan to fully phase out fossil fuels and rapidly reform industries that produce massive amounts of planet-warming emissions while also promoting economic justice.

“To take action on climate change at the scale of the crisis, we need a Green New Deal,” declared May Boeve, executive director of 350.org. “It’s time for all progressive lawmakers to take real climate action and support a massive federal investment to bring health, safety, and justice to people and the planet.” Continue reading

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‘Crimes Against Humanity’: Abuses Persist at Immigrant Detention Centers as DHS Hands Out ‘Waivers’ to Contractors

Contractors have been granted waivers to use tear gas on detainees and after failing to report a sexual assault, an inspector general’s report found

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-4-2019

A new report by the inspector general of the Homeland Security Department found persistent abuses at immigration detention facilities that the department has done little to address. (Photo: Customs and Border Protection)

In another sign the Trump administration is violating the rights of immigrants, a poorly regulated system of handing out “waivers” to contractors which run immigrant detention facilities has allowed many abuses at the facilities to persist for years, according to a damning new report by the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The report found that federal immigration authorities are failing to police both private and public contractors which run detention facilities currently holding more than 45,000 immigrants each day. Instead of revoking contracts, fining the businesses and public entities which are operating the centers, or taking other actions to ensure abuses don’t continue once they’re discovered, DHS is simply granting waivers to the contractors for violations including failure to report sexual assaults in their facilities. Continue reading

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With Trump Seen as ‘Symptom Not a Cause,’ US Rank Plummets on Global Corruption Index

“The U.S. is experiencing threats to its system of checks and balances, as well as an erosion of ethical norms at the highest levels of power.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-29-2019

People gathered in the streets of London to protest U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to the United Kingdom in July of 2018. (Photo: Alisdare Hickson/Flickr/cc)

An analysis out Tuesday from Transparency International “reveals the United States as a key country to watch in a global pattern of stagnating anti-corruption efforts and a worldwide crisis of democracy,” according to the group, with the U.S. rank on a global index plummeting by four points in just the past year under President Donald Trump.

The United States earned a score of 71 out of 100 on the watchdog’s 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), knocking it out of the top 20 countries for the first time since 2011. Continue reading

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