Category Archives: Workers’ Issues

Global Just Recovery Gathering Kicks Off to Harness ‘Collective People Power’ and Create a ‘Better Future for All’

The event is being called “an invitation for us all to build a movement that is massive and that shakes the foundations of power and money and greed that seem to hold all the cards right now.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-9-2021

Organizers circulated a promotional image for the Global Just Recovery Gathering. (Image: 350.org)

A three-day event called the Global Just Recovery Gathering kicked off Friday and is aimed at being “a space to design new pathways for a better future for all.”

“There is nothing we can’t achieve if we pool our collective people power together, and create the forces of change necessary for a just recovery for all,” organizers declare.

The free and virtual event, scheduled with time zones around the world in mind,
features 200 interactive sessions and high-profile progressives including Vandana Shiva, Bill McKibben, Greta Thunberg, and Nnimmo Bassey. Continue reading

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‘Outrageous’: 46 Million Americans Say They Would Not Be Able to Afford Healthcare If They Needed It

“The American model of health reform—throwing money at private insurers—cannot solve it.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-31-2021

Dr. Christina Bastin De Jong, a critical care physician at Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth, shares a light moment with Jimmy Porter, who was on the mend following a serious bout with COVID-19, on Thursday, Dec. 10. (Photo by Derek Montgomery for Essentia Health)

A new study released Wednesday morning shows that nearly 50 million Americans would be unable to afford quality healthcare should the need for treatment suddenly arise, a finding seen as further evidence of the immorality of a for-profit insurance system that grants or denies coverage based on a person’s ability to pay.

“People can’t afford their goddamn healthcare,” Tim Faust, a proponent of single-payer healthcare, tweeted in response to the new report. “Families spend less on food so they can make insurance payments. This problem is felt by all, but concentrated among poor people and black people. The American model of health reform—throwing money at private insurers—can not solve it.” Continue reading

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‘Revolutionary Moment’: Biden White House Announces Major Boost for Offshore Wind

“As our country faces the interlocking challenges of a global pandemic, economic downturn, racial injustice, and the climate crisis, we must transition to a brighter future for everyone.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-29-2021

The Block Island Wind Farm- the first US offshore wind farm. Photo: National Renewable Energy Lab/flickr/CC

Climate action groups and ocean defenders issued strong praise Monday after the Biden administration announced its intention to boost the nation’s offshore wind capacity with a number of steps including preparing forfede leases in an area off the coasts of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

“Today’s announcement marks a revolutionary moment for offshore wind. This powerful renewable resource has been waiting in the wings of our energy system for too long, and now it can finally take center stage,” Hannah Read, an associate with Environment America’s Go Big on Offshore Wind campaign, told Common Dreams. Continue reading

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Congress Urged to Take ‘Immediate Action’ to Stop Debt Collectors From Snatching Relief Checks

A legislative fix is needed, said one observer, to prevent “a flood of new judgments from debt collectors to siphon stimulus funds out.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-14-2021

Screenshot: C-SPAN

Direct payments from the newly approved coronavirus relief package began landing in people’s bank accounts with striking quickness this weekend, but a glaring shortcoming of the American Rescue Plan caused by the arcane procedural tool that Democrats used to pass the bill could prevent checks from reaching many vulnerable households.

Unlike the Covid relief bill that Congress passed through regular order in December, the new $1.9 trillion legislation does not include protections barring debt collectors from hoovering up the checks and using them to pay off people’s private debts—which, as The American Prospect‘s David Dayen put it, makes the American Rescue Plan “also a cash cow for debt collectors.” Continue reading

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‘Life-Changer for Millions’: FCC Approves Program to Help Poor Families Overcome Digital Divide During Pandemic

“As the pandemic nears its one-year mark, it’s only gotten harder for many people to afford essential internet connections to the remote learning, work, and healthcare services they need.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-27-2021

Photo: Nenad Stojkovic/flickr/CC

Advocates for boosting access to high-speed internet on Friday welcomed a unanimous vote by the Federal Communications Commission establishing the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program to help low-income households across the country get and stay online during the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the $3.2 billion program, for which Congress allocated funding in the December relief package, eligible households will get discounts of up to $50 a month for broadband service. On tribal lands, the discount is $75 a month. Families will also be given a one-time discount of up to $100 for a computer or tablet. Continue reading

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‘The CDC Must Appeal Immediately’: Trump-Appointed Judge Strikes Down Pandemic Eviction Moratorium

The pause on evictions was put in place to help stem the spread of Covid-19.

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-26-2021

Photo: Steve Rhodes/flickr/CC

A Trump-appointed federal judge in Texas on Thursday sided in favor of a group of landlords and ruled that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s federal moratorium on evictions is unconstitutional.

“The federal government cannot say that it has ever before invoked its power over interstate commerce to impose a residential eviction moratorium. It did not do so during the deadly Spanish Flu pandemic. Nor did it invoke such a power during the exigencies of the Great Depression. The federal government has not claimed such a power at any point during our nation’s history until last year,” wrote Judge John Barker of the  U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. Continue reading

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‘Dirty and Dangerous’: New Data Show Higher Rates of Contamination in Pork Plants Using New Slaughter System

Plants adopting the Trump-approved New Swine Inspection System had, on average, nearly double the rate of fecal and digestive matter contamination of other facilities.

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-19-2021

Workers process parts from slaughtered pigs at a Triumph Foods plant in St. Joseph, Missouri on April 28, 2017. (Photo: USDA)

New data released Friday revealed pigs slaughtered at plants piloting a controversial new system—which speeds production while replacing many government inspectors with slaughterhouse employees—had much higher rates of fecal and digestive matter contamination than animals processed in other plants, information that the Trump administration hid from the public while expanding the system.

The consumer advocacy group Food & Water Watch said in a statement that from 2014 to 2017, pork processing plants implementing the New Swine Inspection System (NSIS) on a trial basis had, on average, “nearly double the violations than comparably sized plants outside the program” and “were almost twice as likely to be cited for contamination.” Continue reading

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New York AG Sues Amazon Over ‘Flagrant Disregard’ for Worker Safety During Pandemic

“We won’t let corporate bullies put hardworking New Yorkers in harm’s way,” said the state attorney general, Letitia James.

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-17-2021

Screenshot: YouTube

New York Attorney General Letitia James on Tuesday sued Amazon, accusing the retail giant of disregarding worker safety during the coronavirus pandemic and retaliating against employees who raised concerns—a move that came just days after she declared that “we won’t be intimidated” in response to the company’s preemptive lawsuit.

The state’s suit (pdf), filed in the New York Supreme Court, follows an investigation launched last March and claims Amazon violated multiple labor laws as the virus struck. Continue reading

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In ‘Particularly Cruel’ Act, Maine Hospital Vaccinates Out-of-State Union-Busters as Vulnerable Residents Forced to Wait

“It’s concerning that MaineHealth would put their own anti-union agenda, and their own bottom line, ahead of the health and well-being of Maine people.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-11-2021

“MaineHealth is comfortable calling nurses heroes but draws the line at treating them like heroes or respecting their desire to form a union,” said Maine’s Assistant Senate Majority Leader Mattie Daughtry (D-Brunswick). Photo: Medic454/wikimedia commons/CC

Maine’s largest health network is being condemned this week by organized labor leaders, a local editorial board, and elected officials after it vaccinated union-busters who traveled from Florida and New York to the Pine Tree state to undermine a unionization effort at a Portland hospital while the state’s frontline workers and eligible residents in high-risk groups were forced to wait.

“Every out-of-state consultant and lawyer that MaineHealth flew in as part of their intimidation campaign got the vaccine instead of someone’s grandparent or loved one,” Maine Senate President Troy Jackson, a Democrat from Allagash, said in a statement Tuesday. Continue reading

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‘Enough Is Enough’: 8 Senate Dems Slammed for Going ‘Hand-in-Hand With GOP’ to Oppose Covid Relief for Undocumented Workers

“Let us be clear on this. Not only do undocumented community members pay taxes, they are also suffering as much as anyone else because of this pandemic.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-5-2021

John Hickenlooper speaking with attendees at the 2019 National Forum on Wages and Working People hosted by the Center for the American Progress Action Fund and the SEIU at the Enclave in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

As the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus pandemic topped 456,000 and U.S. senators participated in a 15-hour overnight voting session, eight Democrats elicited outrage and condemnation from rights advocates and progressives for backing a GOP amendment to explicitly exclude undocumented immigrants—including essential frontline workers—from receiving direct Covid-19 relief.”We expected this vote from Republicans, but seeing Democrats vote this way is a betrayal to the values they say they stand for.”

The “vote-a-rama” on a series of nonbinding Republican amendments culminated in the Senate approving along party lines a budget resolution that could eventually enable congressional Democrats to implement President Joe Biden’s $1.9 American Rescue Plan—which does not include relief checks for undocumented immigrants. Continue reading

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