Tag Archives: Bernie Sanders

15,000 Minnesota Nurses Launch Historic Strike to Put ‘Patients Before Profits’

“We feel like this is the only thing we can do,” said one nurse. “Hospitals tell us it’s our fault, but we’ve been actively involved and getting nowhere.”

By Jessica Corbett  Published 9-12-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: TakeAction Minnesota/Twitter

About 15,000 nurses in Minnesota walked off the job on Monday for a historic three-day strike after months of failed contract negotiations during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Members of the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) last month voted overwhelmingly in support of what the union says is the “largest private sector nurses strike in U.S. history.”

Nurses with MNA argue that hospital executives who make millions of dollars per year “refuse solutions to short-staffing, retention, and better patient care.” Continue reading

Share Button

America is in the middle of a labor mobilization moment – with self-organizers at Starbucks, Amazon, Trader Joe’s and Chipotle behind the union drive

A revised movement on the backs of young workers?
Calla Kessler for The Washington Post via Getty Images

 

John Logan, San Francisco State University

Labor Day 2022 comes smack bang in the middle of what is increasingly looking like a pivotal year in the history of American unions.

The summer has seen a steady stream of workforce mobilizations. Employees at Trader Joe’s locations in Massachusetts and Minneapolis both voted to unionize. Meanwhile, restaurant chain Chipotle saw the first of its stores unionize, following a vote by workers at an outlet in Lansing, Michigan. Continue reading

Share Button

98 Million in US Skipped Treatment or Cut Back on Essentials to Pay for Healthcare This Year

“People have been making trade-offs to pay for healthcare for years. Inflation has only made things worse as people are also now struggling with the high price of gas, food, and electricity,” said the president of West Health, which conducted the new poll with Gallup.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 8-5-2022 by Common Dreams

As inflation hit a 40-year high this year, nearly 100 million Americans skipped care or cut back on necessities to cover the rising cost of medical treatment in a nation infamous for its for-profit system, according to polling results released this week.

Inflation rose to 9.1% in June—and healthcare inflation was at 4.5%—when Gallup and West Health asked people across the country how they had handled higher healthcare costs over the past six months. Continue reading

Share Button

Yemen Truce Extension Applauded Amid Demands That US End Support for Saudi-Led War

“Not only was United States involvement in this brutal war unauthorized to begin with, but it is a crucial point of leverage to ensure that the Saudis and their allies remain at the negotiating table these next two months,” said one advocate.

By Julia Conley  Published 8-2-2022 by Common Dreams

Yemeni children play in the rubble of buildings destroyed in an air raid. Photo: Peter Biro/flickr/CC

Anti-war campaigners on Tuesday applauded news that the United Nations-brokered truce in Yemen had been extended for another two months and called on U.S. lawmakers to help ensure more permanent peace by passing the Yemen War Powers Resolution.

Both the Saudi-led military coalition, which receives backing from the U.S. government, and the Houthis have been accused of violating the four-month ceasefire, but anti-war groups and civilians report that access to fuel and freedom of movement since the United Nations brokered the truce in April have helped people return to some semblance of normalcy, as reports of civilian casualties have dropped. Continue reading

Share Button

On 13th Anniversary of Last Minimum Wage Hike, Dems Urged to Raise ‘Deplorable’ $7.25 Floor

“They must immediately raise the federal minimum wage to at least $15 an hour. Our country cannot afford to reach a 14th anniversary of $7.25.”

By Jake Johnson  Published 7-24-2022 by Common Dreams

NYC Rally and March to raise the minimum wage on 4-15-2015. Photo: The All-Nite Images/flickr/CC

Marking the 13-year anniversary of the last federal minimum wage increase in the U.S.—a meager boost from $5.15 to $7.25 in 2009—progressive campaigners on Sunday urged congressional Democrats to make another push to raise the national pay floor as inflation continues to diminish workers’ purchasing power.

“Today is a sad anniversary in the United States,” said Morris Pearl, chair of the Patriotic Millionaires, a group that advocates progressive economic policy. “For 13 years now, Congress has failed to act to raise the $7.25 hourly federal minimum wage. Lawmakers have turned their backs on America’s tens of millions of low-wage workers and revealed themselves to be beholden to the short-sighted interests of some of their ultra-rich donors.”

According to a recent analysis by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), the real value of the federal minimum wage is currently at its lowest point in nearly seven decades amid record-high inflation, which spurred a decrease in real average hourly earnings between June 2021 and June 2022 as corporate profits soared.

“Last July marked the longest period without a minimum wage increase since Congress established the federal minimum wage in 1938,” EPI noted, “and continued inaction on the federal minimum wage over the past year has only further eroded the minimum wage’s value.”

In 2021, Senate Democrats stripped a proposed $15 federal minimum wage from their coronavirus relief package on the advice of the chamber’s parliamentarian, an unelected official tasked with offering non-binding opinions on whether legislation complies with Senate rules.

Eight Senate Democrats joined Republicans in voting down Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) last-ditch attempt to reinclude the provision, which was approved by the House.

Amid more than a decade of federal inaction, states and localities across the U.S. have raised their hourly wage floors in response to pressure from the grassroots Fight for $15 movement.

But $7.25 an hour remains the prevailing minimum wage in 20 states. The tipped subminimum wage is still $3 an hour or lower in 22 states.

Had the federal minimum wage risen at the same rate as Wall Street bonuses, it would now be $61.75 an hour instead of $7.25. If the minimum wage had kept pace with worker productivity since 1968, it would have been around $23 an hour last year.

“Regressive politicians across this country have kept our wages down for years,” Fight for $15 wrote in a Twitter post. “That’s why it’s important that we get at least $15/hour federal minimum wage. That way no one gets left behind.”

Morris of the Patriotic Millionaires said Sunday that “$7.25 was already inadequate back in 2009 when the minimum wage was last raised, but now it is downright deplorable.”

“Since 2009, workers have endured the Great Recession, a worldwide pandemic, historic inflation, and massive changes in the cost of living,” Pearl added. “And what have they gotten in return? A minimum wage that is worth 27% less than its 2009 value, one that now isn’t enough to afford even a single-bedroom apartment in 93% of the country.”

“In the face of rapidly rising costs for American families, Congress must act to raise wages for the tens of millions of workers who are struggling just to get by. They must immediately raise the federal minimum wage to at least $15 an hour. Our country cannot afford to reach a 14th anniversary of $7.25.”

And if congressional Democrats can’t muster “the political will” to raise the federal minimum wage to at least $15 an hour—a move that would boost the incomes of more than 30 million people across the country—”then the president must act,” said Pearl.

“When President Biden came into office, he raised the minimum wage for employees of federal contractors to $15,” he pointed out. “Given the rising cost of living, he should now raise the minimum wage for federal contractors even higher, to no less than $20 an hour. This move will benefit hundreds of thousands of workers, prove to voters that Democrats care about working people, and provide a strong example to spur Congressional Democrats to action.”

“The president,” Pearl added, “is supposed to be the leader of our country—it’s time for Biden to lead on this critical issue.”

This work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).
Share Button

In ‘Crisis Moment’ for Abortion Rights, Biden Weighs Declaring Public Health Emergency

“This is a five-alarm fire,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren, “and we cannot wait to respond.”

By Jake Johnson  Published 6-16-2022 by Common Dreams

Demonstration in front of SCOTUS May 3 2022 Photo: Janni Rye/Wikimedia Commons/CC

With the right-wing U.S. Supreme Court expected to overturn Roe v. Wade as soon as this month, President Joe Biden is reportedly weighing a number of executive orders to protect abortion rights at the federal level—including declaration of a national public health emergency—as progressive lawmakers and rights groups push him to act.

The New York Times, citing unnamed administration officials, reported Thursday that “some of the ideas under consideration include declaring a national public health emergency, readying the Justice Department to fight any attempt by states to criminalize travel for the purpose of obtaining an abortion, and asserting that Food and Drug Administration regulations granting approval to abortion medications preempt any state bans.” Continue reading

Share Button

Workers Mark May Day With Pro-Labor Protests Worldwide

“It’s a May Day of social and civil commitment for peace and labor,” said Daniela Fumarola, head of Italy’s CISL union.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 5-1-2022 by Common Dreams

Immigrants and allies marching in Washington DC on May 1, 2022. Photo: United We Dream/Twitter

Workers and labor rights advocates across the globe came together Sunday for demonstrations marking International Workers’ Day, or May Day.

Organizers held about 250 actions across France, many pressuring newly reelected French President Emmanuel Macron to ditch his plan to raise the retirement age from 62 to 65. Reuters reported that “marchers carried banners reading ‘Retirement Before Arthritis,’ ‘Retirement at 60, Freeze Prices,’ and ‘Macron, Get Out.'” Continue reading

Share Button

After Amazon and Starbucks, what’s next for revamped US labor movement?

Workers across the country are beginning to reverse a 40-year decline of labor organising. But deeper problems remain

By Aaron White  Published 4-29-2022 by openDemocracy

Starbucks employees protesting outside the Magnolia Dr. location in Tallahassee, FL. Photo: Ethan B./Wikimedia Commons/CC

“Starbucks has this image of being a progressive company that takes care of its employees. But really that hasn’t been the case,” Will Westlake, a barista at a Starbucks in Buffalo, tells openDemocracy.

Will got a job at Starbucks nearly a year ago, and was one of nearly 50 people from the Buffalo New York region – as part of Starbucks Workers United – to sign a letter in August asking then-CEO Kevin Johnson to support a fair union election. Continue reading

Share Button

West Virginians Lead Blockade of Coal Plant That’s Made Manchin Rich

“This is what the fight for a habitable planet looks like in real time.”

By Julia Conley  Published 4-9-2022 by Common Dreams

Police in Grant Town, West Virginia arrested demonstrators who blockaded a coal plant that contracts with Enersystems, a company owned by Sen. Joe Manchin’s family, from which the senator earns $500,000 per year. (Photo: @WV_Rising/Twitter)

Organizers of the “Coal Baron Blockade” protest which targeted right-wing Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin’s coal empire Saturday afternoon reported that state police almost immediately began arresting campaigners who assembled in Grant Town, West Virginia.

“Sen. Joe Manchin’s policies hurt poor people and hurt our environment so deeply that activists are ready to put themselves on the line,” tweeted the Poor People’s Campaign, which joined grassroots group West Virginia Rising and other organizations in the blockade. Continue reading

Share Button

Air and Water Under Threat as SCOTUS Targets Environmental Laws

“It seems like we have a new conservative supermajority on the court that is much more inclined to do a slash-and-burn expedition through our major environmental laws.”

By Julia Conley   Published 1-25-2022 by Common Dreams

Coastal Wetlands at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge in Newburyport, MA.
Ohoto: Kelly Fike/USFWS/flickr/CC

Environmental advocates and congressional Democrats are raising alarm after the U.S. Supreme Court this week agreed to hear arguments in two cases regarding bedrock regulations designed to protect the quality of the nation’s air and water.

The nine justices announced Monday that they plan to hear arguments in the case of an Idaho couple who were blocked from building a home on their land by the Clean Water Act. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Chantell and Michael Sackett’s land contained wetlands and the couple needed a federal permit to build. Continue reading

Share Button