Restaurant workers who make the federal minimum wage for tipped workers are pretty well screwed: That minimum wage is just $2.13 an hour, the theory being that tips will be enough for these workers to get by. When tips don’t bring workers up to the full federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, their employers are supposed to make up the difference, but in practice, that’s an invitation for bosses to pressure workers to just accept below-minimum wages. That’s not the only abuse of this rock-bottom minimum wage, though, and as a new report from the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United shows, these abuses and high poverty rates fall most heavily on women.
“As Americans read about the flood of private money that is going into the current presidential campaign, most can’t help but shake their heads in disgust about how our democracy functions.
”With all the talk about changing Washington, voters are shrewd enough to understand that if contributors give this much money to the candidates in both parties, there is little chance that Washington will be much different in 2013.”
This is how Princeton University Professor of history and public affairs, Julian Zelizer, began his latest commentary for CNN, It took a scandal to get real campaign finance reform.
His article is one of the first in a new series put out by CNN, “money in politics,” which focusses entirely on issues surrounding campaign finance reform.
By Seth Freed Wessler, of ColorLines:
Every morning since the first of his three boys was born in 2007, Felipe Montes would wake early and prepare breakfast for his wife and children, get his boys ready for their day, change them, feed them and when he could not arrange a ride with another family member, drive them to daycare. Then he’d go to work at a landscaping company for the next 9 hours and return home in time to cook his children dinner. “I love my kids to death,” Montes said recently. “When they were born, it’s something so wonderful you can’t explain.” Now, Montes may never see them again.
Reposted from Insurgent Notes:
In Cleveland, in 1944, streetcar workers threatened to refuse to collect fares in order to win a pay increase–the City Council gave in before they actually used the tactic…This type of action would in most cases have to be taken outside the union, since few union bureaucrats would use such a clearly class-directed tactic, and thus of necessity the workers would have to organize this themselves.
–Root & Branch
Wall Street and Beyond
For some, Occupy is a long awaited popular resistance to global capital triggered by its most recent crisis and aftermath. Considering the fall in the living conditions of the working class since the largely diverted crisis of the early ’70s, a mass movement against capital (though only a particular form) such as Occupy has been anticipated by many on the Left—since at least the end of the anti-globalization protests. For those of the pro-revolutionary milieu, the exact positive content, trajectory and significance of Occupy is a key question. Despite its varying forms, self-descriptions, promulgations and demands (or lack thereof), one thing is fairly certain: Occupy, with its rhetoric and peculiar actions, has not spread deep enough—into the ghettoes, the ruined towns and cities, among the marginalized, and directly into the sphere of circulation or the point of production.
Chris Hedges has written some of the most insightful analysis of the U.S. war machine in recent years. His 2009 book “The Empire of Illusion” was an exploration of how exhibition has eclipsed truth and meaningful connection in American society. His acknowledgment of the ease in which one can buy into such spectacles is a small part of why it was so odd to read his article on Truthdig attacking both anarchists and black bloc tactics entitled “The Cancer in Occupy.”
Arizona sate employees’ unions were caught off guard this week with news that the state’s republican controlled senate was passing a series of bills which, amongst other provisions, would completely ban unions from engaging in any negotiation which effects the terms of a persons employment with state, county or city government.
The move, according to Nick Dranius of the Goldwater Institute – one of the bills shapers – is intended to “cause people to leave the unions as they recognized that unions no longer have an unfair bargaining advantage given to them by collective bargaining laws.”
Once unions are no longer legally allowed to negotiate with the state, he concludes, workers will “realize that unions don’t do much for them.”
The unions, however, may have already beat them to it.
That Lawrence Summers, a president emeritus of Harvard, is a consummate distorter of fact and logic is not a revelation. That he and Bill Clinton, the president he served as treasury secretary, can still get away with disclaiming responsibility for our financial meltdown is an insult to reason.
Yet, there they go again. Clinton is presented, in a fawning cover story in the current edition of Esquire magazine, as “Someone we can all agree on. … Even his staunchest enemies now regard his presidency as the good old days.” In a softball interview, Clinton is once again allowed to pass himself off as a job creator without noting the subsequent loss of jobs resulting from the collapse of the housing derivatives bubble that his financial deregulatory policies promoted.
At least Summers, in a testier interview by British journalist Krishnan Guru-Murthy of Channel 4 News, was asked some tough questions about his responsibility as Clinton’s treasury secretary for the financial collapse that occurred some years later. He, like Clinton, still defends the reversal of the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act, a 1999 repeal that destroyed the wall between investment and commercial banking put into place by Franklin Roosevelt in response to the Great Depression.
By Workin Class Self Organization, at LibCom:
Thousands of nurses across California have gone on strike to fight for their pensions which are being slashed by Kaiser Permanente. They have been joined on the picket line in a ‘sympathy’ strike by nurses from a union with a ‘no strike’ policy, and by maintainence workers.
By Associated Press:
Some have advanced degrees and remember middle-class lives. Some work selling lingerie or building websites. They are white, black and Hispanic, young and old, homeowners and homeless. What they have in common: They’re all on food stamps.
As the food stamp program has become an issue in the Republican presidential primary, with candidates seeking to tie President Barack Obama to the program’s record numbers, The Associated Press interviewed recipients across the country and found many who wished that critics would spend some time in their shoes.
Most said they never expected to need food stamps, but the Great Recession, which wiped out millions of jobs, left them no choice. Some struggled with the idea of taking a handout; others saw it as their due, earned through years of working steady jobs. They yearn to get back to receiving a paycheck that will make food stamps unnecessary.