Tag Archives: Income Inequality

‘No Pay, We Stay’: 23 Days Into Train Blockade Protest, Kentucky Coal Miners Demand Stolen Wages With Support of Progressives Nationwide

“I see us blocking the trains until we get paid.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-21-2019

Coal miners from Blackjewel coal company have been blocking a train in Cumberland, Kentucky since July 29, to prevent a shipment from their former employer until Blackjewel pats them their lost wages. The miners were suddenly put out of work when the company declared bankruptcy in July. Photo: BlackJewel Miners Blockade/Twitter

As of Wednesday, coal miners in Cumberland, Kentucky are now 23 days into a train blockade that they say will go on until their former company pays them.

The miners suddenly lost their jobs in the middle of a shift on July 1 when their company, Blackjewel, announced it had gone bankrupt. The company wrote two weeks’ worth of bad checks for a total of 1,700 coal miners, including 350 people in Harlan County, Kentucky. The company owes a total of $5 million to its former employees—about $3,000 per person. Continue reading

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Trump’s Domestic Gag Rule Forces Planned Parenthood to Withdraw From Title X Funding, Threatening Healthcare of 1.5 Million Women

“This is about control. Period. We will resist.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-19-2019

Reproductive rights groups on Monday condemned the Trump administration’s Title X rule, which bans health clinics from counseling patients on abortion care. (Photo: Mikasi/cc/flickr)

Reproductive rights advocates slammed the Trump administration on Monday after Planned Parenthood announced that the White House had forced it to decline funding used to provide healthcare to more than a million low-income women.

The organization said it was withdrawing from Title X funding, citing the Trump administration’s “domestic gag rule,” which prohibits health centers receiving the funds from counseling patients about where and how to obtain abortion care. Continue reading

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Bolstering Call to Expand Social Security, New Reporting Reveals How Corporations Are Offloading Pensions

Not only are pensions being offered less, existing pensions are being transferred to insurers, with employees suffering consequences

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-7-2019

Economists “warn that rarely, if ever, can people replicate the security of a pension,” said Karen Friedman, executive vice president and policy director of the Pension Rights Center. (Photo: 401kcalculator.org)

New reporting showing companies’ scrapping of pension plans has gone into overdrive means that Social Security must be expanded, an advocacy group said Wednesday.

“Expanding Social Security is important for today’s retirees,” Social Security Works said in a tweet, “but even more important for tomorrow’s.

The shift from traditional pensions to 401(k) or similar retirement plans—a change panned as an inequality-fueling disaster—isn’t new. “But lately,” reported Axios, “those changes are happening even faster.” Continue reading

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To Keep Public Housing From Becoming ‘Panopticon of Automated Face Scanning,’ Democrats Push Facial Recognition Ban

“Surveillance of poor communities isn’t about safety, it’s about social control.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-23-2019

Two congresswomen are expected to introduce legislation banning the use of facial recognition surveillance in public housing this week. Photo: Change.org

Privacy and civil liberties advocates applauded a pair of Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday as they prepared to introduce legislation to protect public housing residents from the rise of facial recognition surveillance.

In a letter sent to their fellow members of the U.S. House of Representatives, Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.) invited co-sponsors for the No Biometric Barriers to Housing Act, which would stop public housing complexes which accept funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) from installing facial recognition tools. Continue reading

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As Trump Sows Discord, Chief of Staff Mulvaney Reportedly Focused on ‘Building Empire for the Right Wing’

“Cabinet members are pressed weekly on what regulations they can strip from the books and have been told their performance will be judged on how many they remove.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-15-2019

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

While President Donald Trump dominates national media with racist tweets and lies, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney is quietly “building an empire for the right wing” and pushing Cabinet members to impose a radical and rapid deregulation agenda across the federal government, according to a new Washington Post report.

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Convicts are returning to farming – anti-immigrant policies are the reason

Migrant agricultural workers kept out of the US by tough immigration laws are now being replaced by prison labor. Shutterstock

Stian Rice, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Prison inmates are picking fruits and vegetables at a rate not seen since Jim Crow.

Convict leasing for agriculture – a system that allows states to sell prison labor to private farms – became infamous in the late 1800s for the brutal conditions it imposed on captive, mostly black workers.

Federal and state laws prohibited convict leasing for most of the 20th century, but the once-notorious practice is making a comeback. Continue reading

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Demanding End to ‘Rotten’ Opposition to Medicare for All, Doctors and Nurses to March on American Medical Association’s Annual Meeting

“It’s time for the AMA to join the majority of physicians who support improved Medicare for All.”

-By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-7-2019

Medicare for All Rally, Los Angeles – Feb 2017. Photo: Molly Adams/flickr

Accusing the American Medical Association of putting “profits ahead of patient care” by joining the corporate fight against Medicare for All, a coalition of physicians, nurses, and allies plans to march on the organization’s annual meeting on Saturday to demand an end to its longstanding opposition to single-payer.

The AMA is America’s largest association of physicians, one of the largest lobbying organizations in the U.S., and a founding member of the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future, a coalition formed by insurance and pharmaceutical interests to combat Medicare for All. Continue reading

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‘A Burning Indictment of Our Higher Ed System’: Commencement Speaker Pays Off $40 Million in Student Debt

Billionaire’s gift to nearly 400 graduating seniors of Morehouse College earned him praise—but also sparked criticism of the cost of education

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-19-2019

Morehouse College commencement speaker and billionaire Robert F. Smith announced Sunday he is wiping out an estimated $40 million in student debt for nearly 400 graduates. (Photo: Morehouse College/Twitter)

Commencement speaker Robert F. Smith garnered widespread praise Sunday when the billionaire investor announced he will wipe out an estimated $40 million in student debt for Morehouse College’s nearly 400 graduating seniors—but the move also sparked intense criticism of the cost of higher education in the United States.

“Two things are simultaneously true about this story: 1. This is a very cool thing to do,” tweeted Current Affairs editor Sparky Abraham. “2. That this is so cool and necessary and has such a huge impact on the students’ lives is a burning indictment of our higher ed system.” Continue reading

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In Show of ‘Breathtaking Cruelty,’ Trump White House Unveils Plan That Would Evict Tens of Thousands of Children From Public Housing

“Another despicable action by the Trump administration to disrupt communities and separate families.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-10-2019

The Maria Isabel Housing project, in the Bronx. Photo: Jim Henderson (public domain)

Using the federal agency that oversees public housing to wage its latest attack on immigrants, the Trump administration has proposed a rule that critics warn would result in tens of thousands of children being evicted from their homes.

Weeks after announcing it would tighten restrictions on undocumented immigrants who live in public housing, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) unveiled a proposal on Friday which would take away all housing aid from families with at least one member who is an undocumented immigrant. Continue reading

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‘Big Attack on Working People’: Trump Moves to Redefine Poverty in Order to Slash Social Programs and Services for Millions

“A novel way to take healthcare, etc., away from people AND make it look like there are fewer poor people.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-7-2019

The Poor People’s Campaign has mobilized nationally to fight the Trump administration’s attacks on the poor. (Photo: Becker1999/flickr/cc)

The Trump administration on Monday moved to change the definition of “poverty” in the United States in a proposal which combines the president’s attempts to portray the U.S. economy as strong with his repeated attacks on the working poor and their access to government services.

In a regulatory filing, President Donald Trump’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) wrote that it may change how inflation is calculated in order to reduce the number of Americans who are living below the federally-recognized poverty line and are therefore eligible for certain government support services and social programs. Continue reading

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