Category Archives: Workers’ Issues

‘Utterly Terrifying’: Study Affirms Feedback Loop Fears as Surging Antarctica Ice Loss Tripled in Last Five Years

“The most robust study of the ice mass balance of Antarctica to date,” scientists say, “now puts Antarctica in the frame as one of the largest contributors to sea-level rise.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-14-2018

Most serious melting is occuring in West Antarctica, scientists say. East Antarctica has experienced far less melting because the bulk of its ice is above sea level. (Photo: Natalie Tapson/flckr/cc)

Scientists are expressing alarm over “utterly terrifying” new findings from NASA and the European Space Agency that Antarctica has lost about 3 trillion tons of ice since 1992, and in the past five years—as the atmospheric and ocean temperatures have continued to climb amid ongoing reliance on fossil fuels—ice losses have tripled.

This should be a wake-up call, said University of Leeds professor Andrew Shepherd, a lead author of the report. “These events and the sea-level rise they’ve triggered are an indicator of climate change and should be of concern for the governments we trust to protect our coastal cities and communities. Continue reading

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Sounding Alarm Over Possible #GOPTaxScam 2.0, 130 Groups Warn Lawmakers Against ‘Another Massive Tax Cut’ for Wealthy

New letter warns of conservatives seeing “an excuse for still deeper cuts” to social safety net

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-13-2018

A woman holds a sign at a protest of the “Trump tax scam” on Dec.4, 2017. (Photo: CDEL Family/flickr/cc)

With President Donald Trump and fellow Republicans eyeing a second round of tax cuts—with a rollout possible this summer—130 organizations are urging members of Congress to reject them, because, like the first round, they will “primarily enrich the already wealthy” while threatening even deeper cuts to essential services.

“The richest Americans do not need another massive tax cut,” the letter from national groups including the AFL-CIO, Americans for Tax Fairness, Friends of the Earth, the National Education Association, and Patriotic Millionaires states. Continue reading

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Poor People’s Campaign Leaders Among Dozens Arrested Nationwide as Moral Movement Persists

Ahead of Capitol Hill forum, Rev. William Barber and Rev. Liz Theohalis reportedly still in police custody

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-12-2018

Rev. Liz Theohalis was among the community leaders who were arrested on Monday on Capitol Hill, while demonstrating as part of the Poor People’s Campaign. (Photo: @UniteThePoor/Twitter)

A day after being detained for leading a Poor People’s Campaign demonstration on Capitol Hill—just two of the dozens of arrests of anti-poverty advocates at protests across the country on Monday—Rev. William Barber and Rev. Liz Theoharis were set to speak at a forum on inequality and poverty in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Elijah Cummings called the meeting in order to hear from Americans who are demanding that Congress address economic inequality and persistent poverty in many parts of the U.S.—amid the implementation of cruel policies like last year’s tax law, the benefits of which mainly went to the richest Americans. Continue reading

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Nevermind the Wall — They’re Building Warehouses

The newest plank of immigration enforcement? Piling children into overcrowded detention centers.

By Peter Certo. Published 6-7-2018 by Foreign Policy In Focus

This article is a joint publication of Foreign Policy In Focus and InTheseTimes. It ran first at OtherWords.org.

Most mornings lately, I’ve woken up to two things. First I hear my toddler, sounding off that it’s time to get up. Then I see the news stories about other toddlers our immigration authorities ripped away from their parents.

For weeks, I’ve felt the gnawing need to write something, anything, about it. But God, where even to begin?

First, there are the stories. The Congolese asylum seeker who heard her six-year-old scream “Don’t take me away from my mommy!” and couldn’t reach her. The woman forced to put her 18-month-old in a car seat in an ICE van, the door slamming shut before she could even say goodbye. The man who hasn’t seen his son in six months. Continue reading

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To Keep ‘Internet Free and Open for All,’ Dems Demand Paul Ryan Schedule Net Neutrality Vote Immediately

“Activists and advocates in every district are already turning up the heat on anyone who sells out their constituents to line the pockets of AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-7-2018

Screenshot: MSNBC

Accusing Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan of thwarting the will of the public by attempting to block lawmakers’ efforts to restore overwhelmingly popular net neutrality protections—which will officially be repealed on June 11th—the entire Senate Democratic caucus sent a letter to Ryan on Thursday demanding that he end his “obstruction” and immediately schedule a vote to preserve the open internet.

“It is incumbent on the House of Representatives to listen to the voices of consumers, including the millions of Americans who supported the FCC’s 2015 net neutrality order, and keep the internet free and open for all,” the Senate Democrats write, urging Ryan to take up a Congressional Review Act (CRA) measure they passed last month with the help of three Republicans. Continue reading

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‘What Happens When You Put Someone in Charge of Agency They Think Shouldn’t Exist,’ Says Warren After Mulvaney Guts CFPB Panel

“Mulvaney is only interested in obtaining views from his inner circle, and has no interest in hearing the perspectives of those who work with struggling American families,” says the board’s ousted chair

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-6-2018

Mick Mulvaney press conference about President Donald Trump’s budget plan. Screenshot: YouTube

Mick Mulvaney, acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), disbanded the Consumer Advisory Board (CAB) on Wednesday in what critics are calling just his latest in a series of moves to “quietly sabotage” the agency.

“Everyone on the board has been fired,” said Judith Fox, a professor of consumer law at Notre Dame Law School and three-year member of CAB—a group of 25 economic and financal experts that the watchdog agency is legally required to meet with at least twice a year. Continue reading

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UN Calls on US to ‘Immediately Halt’ Policy of Tearing Children Away From Parents

The human rights office says the practice “amounts to arbitrary and unlawful interference in family life, and is a serious violation of the rights of the child.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-5-2018

Photo: ACLU

The United Nations human rights office on Tuesday demanded that the Trump administration “immediately halt” its policy of tearing migrant children away from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, declaring that the practice “always constitutes a child rights violation.”

Under the administration’s so-called zero tolerance policy, unveiled last month by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, border agents separate children from their parents at the border and prosecute the adults. The approach, which is being framed as a deterrent to stop migrants from attempting to enter the country, has been widely denounced as “evil” and spurred protests from immigrant rights advocates. Continue reading

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San Juan Mayor Says Trump’s “Total Neglect’ of Puerto Rico Must Be Called Out

“The United Nations says that when people are denied the access to basic human services—like electric power, like water, like food, like appropriate medical care—it is like a violation of human rights.”

Rally for Puerto Rico hurricane relief at the Capitol. Screenshot: YouTube

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-4-2018

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz tore into the Trump administration’s response to the ongoing catastrophe on Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria and denounced the president’s “total neglect.”

Her comments to MSNBC on Sunday follow a Harvard study estimating that the death toll as a result of the storm was in the range of 793 to 8,498 and deeming the original official estimate of 64 excess deaths “a substantial underestimate.” Continue reading

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Scathing UN Report Condemns Trump and GOP for ‘Deliberately’ Driving Up Already Devastating Inequality

“At the end of the day, particularly in a rich country like the United States, the persistence of extreme poverty is a political choice made by those in power.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-1-2018

Rev. William Barber unveils Poor People’s Campaign’s list of demands at a rally in April. (Photo: Poor People’s Campaign/Twitter)

It is no secret that the United States has among the worst levels of inequality, poverty, and infant mortality of all wealthy nations, but a scathing new United Nations report (pdf) concludes that President Donald Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress are “deliberately” working to make these already devastating crises worse by waging war on the poor while lavishing the rich with massive tax cuts.

Highlighting the Trump administration’s push to dismantle the last vestiges of the American social safety net, Philip Alston—U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights and author of the new report—told the Guardian on Friday: “This is a systematic attack on America’s welfare program that is undermining the social safety net for those who can’t cope on their own. Once you start removing any sense of government commitment, you quickly move into cruelty.” Continue reading

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‘This Is a Democracy, Not a Dictatorship’: Federal Workers Union Sues Donald Trump

“This president seems to think he is above the law, and we are not going to stand by while he tries to shred workers’ rights.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-31-2018

What’s disgusting? Union busting.’ The AFGE on Wednesday filed suit against the Trump administration over its attack on the right of public sector unions to organize. (Photo: @AFGENational)

The nation’s largest union of federal workers filed suit against the Trump administration on Wednesday over an executive order signed by President Donald Trump that seeks to deny workers the right to job site representation—an established guarantee in existing labor law.

The lawsuit (pdf) by the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), a member of the AFL-CIO which represents approximately 700,000 federal employees, argues that among a slate of anti-worker orders signed by the president last Friday, one of them specifically exceeds the president’s constitutional authority and violates the First Amendment right of workers to freely associate. Continue reading

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