Tag Archives: workers’ issues

Critics Smell ‘Economic Sabotage’ as McConnell Unveils Covid Plan With $0 for Unemployment Boost, Direct Payments

“McConnell is making it pretty clear that if Dems don’t win the Georgia Senate races, he will cripple the American economy, hoping it will let the GOP win the midterm.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-2-2020

Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday began circulating a coronavirus relief proposal whose contents offer so little assistance to the tens of millions of jobless, hungry, and eviction-prone Americans that critics warned the Kentucky Republican is actively working to ensure the U.S. economy remains mired in deep recession as Biden administration takes charge next month.

Described as a “targeted” relief proposal, McConnell’s plan is heavily geared toward providing corporations with immunity from coronavirus-related lawsuits; the offer includes a liability shield that Public Citizen’s Remington Gregg described as “breathtakingly broad.” The Kentucky Republican’s plan also contains a 100% tax deduction for business meals. Continue reading

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‘Housing Is Healthcare’: Evictions Have Exacerbated Covid-19 Pandemic, Research Shows

“This is a time where it’s not an overstatement to say that for many people, eviction can lead to death.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-30-2020

Image: Emily A. Benfer/Twitter

“There is no way for a vaccine to be successful without addressing the eviction crisis.”

That’s how housing justice advocate Emily Benfer, a law professor at Wake Forest University, put it when describing her co-authored research, which found that the premature expiration of state eviction bans led to more than 433,000 excess Covid-19 cases and 10,700 preventable deaths in the United States between March and September.

Although the CDC issued a national eviction moratorium in early September to reduce the transmission of the coronavirus, thousands of tenants across the United States had already been displaced prior to that as a result of uneven state-level protections. Continue reading

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‘Hunger Like They’ve Never Seen It Before’: US Food Banks Struggle as 1 in 6 Families With Children Don’t Have Enough to Eat

“We’re now seeing families who had an emergency fund but it’s gone and they’re at the end of their rope,” said one Texas food bank director.

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-27=2020

Lines for a food bank in Little Rock, Arkansas. Screenshot: CNN

One in six U.S. families with children don’t have enough to eat this holiday season, a national emergency exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic and the unemployment crisis it has generated. Over the past several days, remarkable reporting in the Washington Post and National Geographic, among other outlets, has explored this alarming trend.

According to Feeding America, the largest hunger relief organization in the U.S., more than 50 million people will experience food insecurity by the end of the year. Among U.S. children, the figure rises to one in four. The group, which runs a network of some 200 food banks across the nation, says it distributed over half a billion meals last month alone, a 52% increase from an average pre-pandemic month. Continue reading

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Hailed as ‘Heroes’ During Pandemic, Retail Workers Stripped of Hazard Pay While Companies Rake in Massive Profits

“While business booms and the pandemic rages, the rich are getting richer—and workers are getting sicker.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-20-2020

Nearly all of the top 15 retailers in the U.S., which provided hazard pay to workers in the beginning of the pandemic, have halted the extra compensation and are spending lavishly on stock buybacks. (Photo: Public Citizen)

Frontline retail workers have been lauded by U.S. corporations as “heroes” this year for keeping operations running during the Covid-19 outbreak, but a new study shows how companies like Dollar General and Walmart—which have made massive profits over recent months—have treated their employees like “sacrificial workers” by stripping hazard pay even as the pandemic soared.

The report, released Thursday by Public Citizen, details how most of the top 15 U.S. retail companies have quietly taken away hazard pay from their frontline workers, even as the coronavirus has continued to spread across the country and is now surging in states including Wisconsin, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Minnesota. Continue reading

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The Next Challenge: Keeping the Nation Together

By Chris Winters. Published 11-4-2020 by YES! Magazine

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris after their victory speeches. Photo: Amit Heerawan/Twitter

So here we are the day after Election Day—can we just call it Election Week from now on? Or Decision Month if this stretches into December?—and the presidential race again remains undecided.

For the left, this feels all too familiar, the ghost pains of 2016 throbbing in the hole where our souls used to be.

Outcome aside, the fact that this race is even close is a shocking wake-up call for those of us—myself included—who believed that, with the scales off their eyes, Americans would choose decency over crude savagery, compassion over cruelty, professionalism over abject incompetence, honesty over absolute corruption. Continue reading

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‘So, So Cruel’: Rights Advocates, Biden Campaign Sound Alarm About Immigration Agenda Stephen Miller Is Crafting for Trump’s Second Term

According to the Democratic nominee, “This agenda is designed to do one thing only: divide our communities with cheap, xenophobic rhetoric, and demonize those seeking to make legitimate asylum claims.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-31-2020

Stephen Miller. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

Immigrant rights advocates along with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his supporters responded with alarm to reporting this week that Stephen Miller, a senior adviser to President Donald Trump, is plotting how to “rev up Trump’s restrictive immigration agenda” and is ready to “unleash executive orders deemed too extreme for a president seeking reelection” in the event of a Biden loss next week.

NBC News reported Friday that Miller, speaking as an adviser to the president’s campaign, laid out four top priorities in a 30-minute call Thursday: “limiting asylum grants, punishing and outlawing ‘sanctuary cities,’ expanding the so-called travel ban with tougher screening for visa applicants, and slapping new limits on work visas.” Implementing these policies would require a mix of legislation and executive action. Continue reading

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Investing $2 Trillion in US Clean Energy and Infrastructure Could Create Millions of ‘Good Jobs,’ Analysis Finds

“We don’t have to choose between a strong economy or a healthy environment—we can have both,” says an EPI data analyst.

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-20-2020

A solar PV array in Gerlach, NV. Photo: BlackRockSolar

Pursuing trade and industrial policies that boost U.S. exports and eliminate the trade deficit while investing $2 trillion over four years in the nation’s infrastructure, clean energy, and energy efficiency improvements could support 6.9 to 12.9 million “good jobs” annually by 2024, according to an analysis published Tuesday.

The new report from a trio of experts at the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), a U.S.-based think tank, comes as the country continues to endure the public health and economic consequences of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed more than 220,000 lives and millions of jobs in the United States alone this year. Continue reading

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Critics Say Deregulatory Rush Shows Even If Defeated the Trump White House Willing to ‘Scorch the Earth Before They Go’

From bomb trains to biometrics to workers’ rights, the administration is pushing for last-minute rollbacks that could prove hard for its successor to overturn.

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-17-2020

President Donald Trump signs an executive order in the White House. Photo: White House/flickr

With President Donald Trump’s re-election very much in doubt, his administration is rushing to ram through regulatory rollbacks that could adversely affect millions of Americans, the environment, and the ability of Joe Biden—should he win—to pursue his agenda or even undo the damage done over the past four years.

Reporting by the New York Times details how the administration is cutting corners as it scrambles to enact as much of its agenda as possible before ceding power on January 20 if Trump loses the election. Required public comment periods and detailed analyses, according to the Times, are being eschewed in favor of streamlined approval processes that have left even staunch deregulation defenders sounding the alarm. Continue reading

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Warning Fundamental Rights and American Lives at Stake, 5,000+ Lawyers Urge Senate to Reject Barrett

“Rushing to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett will cause irreparable damage to the public’s faith in the Supreme Court, the rule of law, and our democracy.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-9-2020

Photo:massmatt/flickr/CC

Ahead of Senate Judiciary Committee hearings scheduled to start Monday, more than 5,000 lawyers issued an open letter Friday urging senators to “defend the lives and fundamental rights of all Americans” by refusing to confirm President Donald Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

Congressional leaders and the White House have been locked in a political battle over the high court’s empty seat since the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg  in September. Rights advocates have raised alarm about Barrett’s “extreme ideology”—as the lawyers put it—since even before Trump officially announced her nomination. Continue reading

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‘Catastrophic Failure to Tackle Inequality’ Left World Unprepared for Pandemic: Global Index

“Millions of people have been pushed into poverty and hunger and there have been countless unnecessary deaths.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-8-2020

Photo: Sarah Wy/flickr/CC

With the world’s death toll from Covid-19 above one million and confirmed cases surpassing 36 million, a pair of advocacy groups on Thursday released an analysis illustrating how governments’ failures to implement policies that reduce inequality left countries “woefully unprepared” for the coronavirus pandemic.

The Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index, updated annually by Oxfam International and Development Finance International (DFI), ranks 158 governments based on three core pillars: spending on public services (meaning health, education, and social protection), progressive taxation policies, and workers’ rights. Continue reading

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