Creativity and Class

By Daniel C. Adkins

We face the critical problems of the needs of a sustainable future and creating an economy that works for all of us, not just the interests of the 1%. These goals cannot be reached without changing our political and labor system from a game rich people play to a more democratic and inclusive one. To reach our goals it is time we evaluated how our various social-economic groups use their creativity to change society (or not). Below is a quick view of different social class contributions.

The middle and upper middle classes cover a wide area and have created the crown jewels of our networked society. In addition to maintaining educational systems, small businesses, etc., they have created the new corporations of our technological world. The tech companies: Microsoft, Apple, Google, and Facebook have been created by middle class students enthralled by the opportunities of their disciplines, especially the technological ones. Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak is the son of a defense engineer who taught his son electronics so well that the “Woz” was able to build one of the first personal computers. Bill Gates learned coding so well that he was able to start a business. Steve Jobs got enough college under his belt that he was able to build a computer that was important in a cultural way as much as a business way. The Google guys created a company in the process of implementing their search algorithms. Although middle class professionals are unionized in education and government, unionizations have not caught on in some of the newer industries so when companies have gotten creative stealing workers options, the work force has had to create class-action lawsuits.

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Clocking In for Equality

by Seth Sandronsky

Clocking In is a new online tool from Race Forward, a New York-based group whose self-described goal “is to build awareness, solutions and leadership for racial justice.” Its analysis finds disturbing trends for people of color and women employed in the U.S. service industry. This virtual resource allows service employees to share their real-life job experiences with other workers, consumers, employers and policymakers 24/7.
90% of female tipped workers have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. Continue reading

Supreme Court to Take Up Anti Union Case

English: The current United States Supreme Cou...

English: The current United States Supreme Court, the highest court in the United States, in 2006. Photo-Wikipedia.

by Laura Clawson. Labor at Daily Kos

The Supreme Court partially pulled its last punch against public employees and their unions, but it’s coming back for another shot. In 2014, the court limited its anti-union decision in Harris v. Quinn to only affect home care workers (some of the most vulnerable, exploited workers out there) rather than all public sector workers. That decision allowed anti-union home care workers to get the benefits of union membership without paying their fair share, thereby forcing their union-member co-workers to pay to represent them.
Now the court has said it will hear a similar case involving teachers, with anti-union teachers suing to get out of paying their share of union activities that directly benefit them.

Major labor leaders expressed dismay over the court’s decision to hear Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, which challenges a 1977 ruling that had said such fees were constitutional as long as they’re used for “collective-bargaining, contract administration, and grievance-adjustment purposes.” Continue reading

Massachusetts Home Care Workers Win Battle for $15

Local 1199 SEIU Massachusetts

Mass Health aides victory

Tears of joy streaked the faces of cheering home care workers assembled in their Dorchester union hall on Thursday afternoon as a decades-long struggle for recognition and a living wage culminated in a historic moment of celebration.

According to an agreement reached in contract negotiations between the 35,000 home care workers of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East and the administration of recently elected Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker (R), Massachusetts Personal Care Attendants (PCAs) are poised to become the first in the nation to achieve a statewide $15 per hour starting wage.

Upon reaching the agreement, workers called off the fifteen-hour picket they had planned to begin at the Massachusetts State House on the morning of Tuesday, June 30th. Instead, caregivers are planning a celebration of this milestone and nation-leading achievement of a $15 standard at 4:00 p.m. on the State House steps the afternoon of June 30th.

“This victory, winning $15 per hour, it means we are no longer invisible,” said Kindalay Cummings-Akers, a PCA from Springfield, MA. Cummings-Akers cares for a local senior and became a union activist at the onset of the campaign. She was also a member of the statewide PCA negotiating team that reached the agreement with the Baker administration. “This is a huge step forward not just for home care workers, but also toward ensuring the safety, dignity, and independence of seniors and people with disabilities,” she added. “We are a movement of home care workers united by the idea that dignity for caregivers and the people in our care is possible. Today, we showed the world that it is possible.”

“Massachusetts home care workers are helping to lead the Fight for $15 – and winning,” said 1199SEIU Executive Vice President Veronica Turner. “We applaud Governor Baker for helping to forge this pathway to dignity for PCAs and the tens of thousands of Massachusetts seniors and people with disabilities who rely on quality home care services to remain in the community or in the workforce. As the senior population grows, the demand for home care services is increasing. By helping to ensure a living wage for these vital caregivers, Governor Baker is taking a critical step with us toward reducing workforce turnover and ensuring that Massachusetts families can access the quality home care they need for their loved ones.”

“It is a moral imperative that all homecare and healthcare workers receive $15 per hour, and Massachusetts is now a leader in this effort,” said 1199SEIU President George Gresham. “Extreme income inequality is a threat to our economy, our bedrock American values and our very democracy. With a living wage, we can ensure more compassionate care for homecare clients, and better lives for homecare workers and their families. We applaud this bold step by Governor Baker towards a better future for our communities in Massachusetts and our country overall.”
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Trans Pacific Partnership – The Fight Continues

House Passes Trade Assistance Act

by Meteor Blades at Daily Kos

TPPWith only six Democrats opposed, the House of Representatives favored the trade adjustment assistance (TAA) program Thursday in a 286-138 vote. There were 175 Democrats and 111 Republicans in favor. The Senate passed TAA Wednesday.
The program provides modest financial and job-training help to workers displaced by trade agreements. It was passed as an amendment to the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which extends trade preferences until 2025 for a number of African countries. If the legislation had not passed, the TAA program would have expired at the end of the fiscal year, September 30. Continue reading

Failed Trade Policies

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