Tag Archives: Worker’s Rights

‘Huge Victory’: Starbucks Agrees to Begin Contract Talks With 230+ Union Stores

“We’ve been ready to bargain since day one,” said one union leader, “but now we’re operating together on a national level to make sure all of our voices are heard, together.”

By Jake Johnson  Published 9-26-2022 by Common Dreams

Employees at a Starbucks location in Oak Creek, Wisconsin joined the wave of unionization efforts at the coffee chain on February 11, 2022. (Photo: CMRJB/Twitter)

Starbucks Workers United celebrated a “huge victory” Monday after the coffee giant committed to begin the bargaining process with nearly 240 unionized stores across the United States, progress that organizers attributed to relentless grassroots pressure from employees as the corporation dragged its feet.

Starbucks announced that it “has sent 238 letters” inviting Workers United—the union representing Starbucks employees—to join management “at the table and negotiate in good faith in each location where there is certified Workers United representation.” Continue reading

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House Passes Bill That Would Thwart Trump Plot to Purge Federal Workers

“The former president’s attempt to remove qualified experts and replace them with political loyalists threatened our national security and our government’s ability to function the way the American people expect it to,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly, the bill’s sponsor.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 9-15-2022 by Common Dreams

Donald Trump speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

U.S. House Democrats and a handful of Republicans on Thursday rejected former President Donald Trump’s plot to oust civil servants by passing the Preventing a Patronage System Act.

“The civil servants who make up our federal workforce are the engine that keeps our federal government running,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), the bill’s sponsor. “We rely on their experience and expertise to provide every basic government service—from delivering the mail to helping families in the wake of natural disasters.” Continue reading

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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

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‘Worst Yet to Come’ as Global Civil Unrest Index Hits All-Time High

“Over the coming months, governments across the world are about to get an answer to a burning question: Will protests sparked by socioeconomic pressure transform into broader and more disruptive anti-government action?”

By Jessica Corbett  Published 9-2-2022 by Common Dreams

Protesters at Plaza Baquedano, Santiago, Chile in 2019. Photo: Carlos Figueroa/Wikimedia Commons/CC

The risk of civil unrest is rising in over 100 nations, with the “worst yet to come,” according to an analysis published Thursday by the U.K.-based consulting firm Verisk Maplecroft.

Incorporating data going back to 2017, the latest update to the firm’s civil unrest index (CUI) shows that the last quarter of this year “saw more countries witness an increase in risks from civil unrest than at any time since the index was released,” the analysis states. “Out of 198 countries, 101 saw an increase in risk, compared with only 42 where the risk decreased.” Continue reading

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‘A Watershed Moment’: CA Senate Passes Historic Bill to Empower Fast Food Workers

If Gov. Gavin Newsom signs it, one union leader said the measure “will be the most important piece of labor law to pass in decades.”

By Jake Johnson  Published 8-30-2022 by Common Dreams

Fast food workers rally outside California Capitol. Screenshot: KCRA

In the face of fierce corporate opposition, the California Senate on Monday passed a landmark bill aimed at giving the state’s roughly 550,000 fast food workers a say over their working conditions, hours, and wages in an industry rife with abuse.

If Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signs it into law, the Fast Food Recovery Act (AB 257) would make California the first state in the U.S. to establish a council tasked with setting industrywide workplace standards for the fast food sector. The 10-member council would include workers and worker advocates as well as business representatives and state officials. Continue reading

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Following Trump’s Lead, GOP Pushes Bill to Make Federal Workers Fireable ‘At Will’

“Efforts to try to change the civil service aren’t just Trump,” warned one public policy expert, “and if Republicans take control of Congress following the midterms, this may very well go from idea to specific action.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 7-29-2022 by Common Dreams

U.S. Congressman Chip Roy speaking with attendees at the 2019 Young Americans for Liberty Convention at the Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol in Austin, Texas. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

U.S. Rep. Chip Roy’s introduction Friday of a bill to make federal bureaucratic personnel at-will employees further stoked fears that marginalized workers will suffer discriminatory firings under a future Republican administration or even GOP-controlled Congress. Continue reading

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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).
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Rights Advocates Decry ‘Very Frightening’ Court Ruling Upholding Anti-BDS Law

“This is not just about boycotts,” said one critic. “This is opening the door to strip away First Amendment rights of all Americans.”

By Julia Conley  Published 6-23-2022 by Common Dreams

Image: Al-Haq

A federal court ruling allowing Arkansas to penalize government contractors that support boycotts of the Israeli government was decried as “dangerous” and a threat to First Amendment rights on Wednesday, as civil liberties defenders vowed to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that an Arkansas law does not violate Americans’ constitutional rights by requiring state contractors with contracts of $1,000 or more to reduce their fees by 20% if they refuse to sign a pledge saying they won’t support the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction movement (BDS). Continue reading

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Why reporting from the Amazon has become so dangerous

The discovery of two bodies believed to be those of Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira highlights risks facing journalists in the region

By Pablo Albarenga and Francesc Badia I Dalmases  Published 6-15-2022 by openDemocracy

Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira on Amazon expedition in 2018 Screenshot: The Guardian

Reporting from the Amazon, as we can both attest, is fraught with danger at every corner.

While leaving Indigenous territory on one of our recent reporting trips, we were stopped at gunpoint by military police. Officers searched our bags and personal belongings while firing questions at us. Continue reading

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Our global economic system is broken. Are we headed for a mass revolt?

How long can billionaires continue to amass wealth while the world’s poorest struggle to buy food?

By Paul Rogers  Published 5-28-2022 by openDemocracy

Screenshot: The Today Show

While it has long been blatantly obvious that the global economic model is not working for all, the rate of accumulation of wealth by a small minority is now breathtaking – if not totally obscene.

With the situation only being worsened by the economic impact of the Ukraine War – which has come on top of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic – could we be headed for mass revolts sparked by a desperate need for change? Continue reading

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