US: House passes bill that forces workers to work without pay

by MARK GRUENBERG

People’s World | May 11, 2017

House passes bill that forces workers to work without pay

HR 1180 legalizes a practice that employers like Walmart have been sanctioned for in the past. AP

WASHINGTON – By a 229-197 party-line vote, the House has approved a bill, HR 1180, that will give employers the power to decide whether or not they will pay for overtime work.

The Working Families Flexibility Act “is not good for working families at all. It changes our nearly 80-year system of overtime that discourages employers from overworking us,” Leo Gerard, president of the United Steelworkers said in his blog.

Under the bill’s provisions, employers could force workers to accept compensation time rather than pay them for work done in excess of 40 hours.Read More »

Road to Trump’s Climate Change Hell Paved by Obama and Clinton

Gerald Horne, Robert Pollin and Paul Jay discuss the debate within the Trump White House on whether to leave the Paris climate accords or just undermine them; and how this relates to the fight within the Democratic Party

The Real News Network | May 08, 2017

Road to Trump's Climate Change Hell Paved by Obama and Clinton

PAUL JAY: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Paul Jay in Baltimore.

According to the New York Times, there’s a big debate going on within the Trump White House. A debate is on one side, led by Steve Bannon and his allies, pull out of the Paris Climate Accords altogether. And on the other side of this debate is, “Let’s not pull out, but let’s make sure we actually don’t do very much.” In other words, “Can we stay within the Paris Accords?” this side argues, and that includes Secretary of State Tillerson, we are told.

This side says, “Well, we can stay in it, but we actually don’t have to do very much. In fact we can lower our pledge, and we will still be within the legality of the agreement.” Which is all kind of odd anyway, because the agreement’s non-binding. But one side argues, let’s keep the positioning looking not as bad, and the other side says let’s be honest and just get the heck out of it.Read More »

What’s driving abnormal profit margins? Monopoly

Corporate Profits

by

MR Online | May 02, 2017

GMO‘s Jeremy Grantham is worried about the perseverance of abnormally high corporate profit margins in the US. The phenomenon is amongst other things upsetting the standard notion that profits are mean reverting to historic averages. But as the following chart from GMO’s latest quarterly letter shows this just isn’t happening:

Read More »

The Promises and Limitations of Radical Local Politics

Workers at Whirlpool

An Interview with Steve Early and Mike Parker

by and

MR Online | May 03, 2017

Steve Early (hereinafter SE) has worked as a labor journalist, lawyer, organizer, or union representative since 1972. For 27 years, Early was a Boston-based national staff member of the Communications Workers of America. He has published many books and articles about labor-related issues. His work has appeared in The Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, The Nation, The Progressive, and many other newspapers and magazines. His most recent book, Refinery Town: Big Oil, Big Money, and the Remaking of An American City (Beacon Press), describes the building of a what is very likely the most successful progressive political organization, The Richmond Progressive Alliance, in the United States, in Richmond, California, a blue collar city long dominated by Chevron Corp.

Mike Parker (hereinafter MP) is a leader of the Richmond Progressive Alliance. He was its candidate for Mayor in 2014, dropping out for another candidate as part of a coalition to defeat Chevron’s multi-million dollar attempt to take the city council. He then became the campaign coordinator for the successful Team Richmond campaign. Before moving to Richmond, Mike worked in the auto industry in Detroit as an electrician and trainer in new technology. He is on the Labor Notes Policy Committee and has coauthored (with Martha Gruelle) Democracy is Power, and (with Jane Slaughter) Working Smart: A Union Guide to Participation Programs and Reengineering, both published by Labor Notes.

This interview was conducted by Michael D. Yates (hereinafter MY) by email.

MY: Steve, after a long and admirable career in the labor movement, you moved from the east coast to Richmond, California. Why Richmond?

Read More »

Blacklisted: The Fight for Freedom of Expression on Campus

 John Bellamy Foster

by Morgan Krakow

Ethos | April 17, 2017

From floor to ceiling, John Bellamy Foster’s walls are lined with books. The sociology professor’s library of society, philosophy, and environment reading is extensive, passed down and collected over decades. Foster has taught at the University of Oregon since 1985, and until recently, has maintained a fairly private life. However, in December 2016, his name was added to a list of perceived radical professors by the national conservative nonprofit Turning Point USA, which has a University of Oregon chapter.Read More »

May Day: Tens of thousands march across US

Riot declared in Portland

Arrests and clashes in several cities

A Journal of People report

Tens of thousands of people marched in May Day rallies in major US cities while police declared a riot in the northwest US city of Portland after “anarchists” threw rocks, smoke bombs and soda cans at officers during a May Day rally. There are reports of arrests and clashes in several US cities.

Media reports from the U.S. said:

In major cities including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, thousands took to the streets on the historic May Day. Their protests included president Trump’s policies.Read More »

Resisters fight for $15 at Illinois state capital

by EARCHIEL JOHNSON

People’s World | April 28, 2017

Resisters fight for $15 at Illinois state capitalEarchiel Johnson/PW

SPRINGFIELD, Il. – On Tuesday, hundreds of people gathered for a rally at the state capital to lobby the Illinois House of Representatives to raise the minimum wage to $15. The action was led by a multi-generational coalition consisting of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Illinois Alliance of Retired Americans(IL-ARA), Steel Workers Organizing Active Retirees, Nabisco 600 and many others.

Raising the minimum wage would impact the wages of a diverse swath of industries including fast food and home care workers.  In Chicago, the current minimum wage is $10.50 and will steadily increase until 2019 until it reaches $13 an hour. However, the rest of the state’s workers labor under a minimum wage of only $8.25 an hour.Read More »

North Carolina measure aims to get rid of unions

by LARRY RUBIN AND MARK GRUENBERG

People’s World | April 28, 2014

North Carolina measure aims to get rid of unions

Darron Cummings/AP

The right wingers who have captured North Carolina’s legislature are pushing to make the state’s anti-union, so-called “right to work” (RTW), law a part of the state constitution, which would make it more difficult to get rid of in the future.

North Carolina is just 3 percent unionized, the second lowest union density state in the nation. The state with the lowest percentage of union workers is South Carolina.Read More »

The Next Generation of Democratic Socialists Has Started Winning Local Elections

Campaigning for economic and social justice, they are winning municipal races in states like Illinois and Georgia

Dylan Parker

Dylan Parker, a 28-year-old diesel mechanic and DSA member who was recently elected to the city council of Rock Island, Illinois. (Neighbors for Dylan Parker)

The Nation | 20 April, 2017

Democratic socialists have advised presidents and cabinet members; they have been elected as members of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives, and as state legislators, judges, sheriffs and school board members. But their primary service has been at the municipal level, as mayors and city council members — leading not just big cities such as Milwaukee but mid-sized cities like Reading, Pennsylvania, and small towns like Girard, Kansas.Read More »

The seven men who will decide US role in Paris climate deal

Donald Trump’s most powerful advisors are set to debate whether the US stays in the UN climate pact. Here’s what we know about their positions

by Karl Mathiesen

Climate Home | April 18, 2017

US president Donald Trump signs orders to green-light the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines in January in front of key advisors Jared Kushner and Steve Bannon (6th and 7th from right) (Photo: Office of the President of the United States)

On Tuesday seven White House powerbrokers will sit down to discuss the US’ ongoing participation in the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

President Donald Trump has criticised the agreement – and the US policies developed to implement it – for targeting the US fossil fuel industry and harming US workers.

The accord, which was agreed by 194 countries and has already been ratified by 143 (including the US), caps global warming at below 2C.Read More »