Join The Fight for $15

$15DSAThousands of people across the country will be taking part in a huge strike for better pay and working conditions  on April 15.  From fast-food to home care, airport, construction, and Walmart workers to adjunct professors and other underpaid workers, folks from every corner of the country and the globe will be joining together across industries on Tax Day, April 15th, for the Fight for $15.

Will you stand with them this Wednesday? Find an action near you.

You and I know that it’s inevitable in the capitalist system for bosses to exploit workers. But it’s not just happening at the level of individual workplaces. Corporations must compete with each other or die, and that means avoiding expenses as much as possible. Low-wage workers struggle to make ends meet and, if they can navigate the deliberately complicated application process and the constant shaming that comes with public assistance, they get the support they need from taxpayers while their employers get off the hook for paying higher wages. That’s what I call corporate welfare.

All workers deserve a union to demand their fair share of the fruits of their labor, but in the meantime, let’s demonstrate that collective action can be society-wide, not just in one workplace. It’s good practice for building a movement for democratic socialism. Continue reading

Walmart to Cut off 30,000 Workers from Health Insurance

Amid Soaring Profits, Walmart to Cut Off 30,000 Workers From Health Insurance

Largest private employer in U.S. announces elimination of insurance for part-time workers and across-the-board hikes in premium costs

by  Sarah Lazare, staff writer, Common Dreams

English: Walmart Supercenter front end in Hage...

Walmart, the largest retailer in the world and the biggest private employer in the United States, announced Tuesday it is eliminating health insurance for 30,000 of its workers and hiking the costs of premiums across the board.

The cutbacks to coverage, which many charge was insufficient to begin with, were met with immediate criticism.

“Our schedules and hours are all over the place, and I often find less than I expected and less than my family needs when I see my paycheck,” said Nancy Reynolds, a member of OUR Walmart and worker at a Merrit Island, Florida Walmart store. “Taking away access to healthcare, even though many of my co-workers couldn’t afford it anyway, is just another example of Walmart manipulating the system to keep workers like me in a state of financial crisis.” Continue reading

Workers at Walmart cite poor conditions

by Dave Anderson

Where will the next big movement come from? Fights in the workplace can be the training ground. Photo: OUR Walmart.

Photo: OUR Walmart.

This month, something quite remarkable happened in America. Hundreds of Walmart workers who don’t have a union stood up to the company, knowing that it has a long history of illegally retaliating against its employees. In a high unemployment economy, they went on strike for a short time and protested at the firm’s annual shareholder meeting. They are members of the employee group Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart).

In Boulder, the Coalition for Social and Environmental Responsibility in Boulder (CSERB) supports OUR Walmart by picketing the Walmart at 28th and Iris every second Saturday of each month.

CSERB leader Matt Nicodemus points out that this strike was “not the same as a unionized worker joining a company-wide work stoppage. Though she is part of a widespread collective action and therefore within her rights to strike, the associate may be the only one protesting within her own store and managers have all sorts of ways of intimidating and punishing ‘troublemakers.’ It takes real bravery to step out and publicly challenge the company in that way.” Continue reading

Walmart’s Women Can’t ‘Save Money’ or ‘Live Better’ with Wages and Hours Like This

by Sarah Jaffe

ourwalmart_jaffe(June 4) Walmart, the world’s largest retailer (and America’s largest private employer), occupies a rather strange place in the business landscape: a technologically innovative company with a down-home reputation – a low-wage, low-benefit employer that prides itself on a family atmosphere. Walmart masks the lousy working conditions that make its profits with its particular form of market populism: millions of “Walmart moms” can’t be wrong for wanting to “save money, live better”, can they?

But Wednesday, as the company’s shareholders prepare to meet in Bentonville, Arkansas,  a bunch of Walmart moms are aiming at the company’s already-shaky public perception. According to the Organization United for Respect at Walmart (Our Walmart), mothers who work at Walmart stores in more than 20 cities nationwide  are on strike. They’re taking a common media trope and a  key part of the company’s own public image and turning it on its head: Walmart, they say, is not a good place for mothers.

It’s not just the low wages (although a raise wouldn’t hurt):  a new study out this week from the non-partisan think tank Demos  highlights more than just the difference a raise to $25,000 a year would make for Walmart’s workers and others in the retail sector. Amy Traub at Demos looked at the effects of erratic scheduling – specifically on women who hold the majority of low-wage jobs in the sector – and concluded:

The impact of scheduling can be profound: without a stable and predictable work schedule, incomes fluctuate and workers cannot budget effectively.

Continue reading

No Metaphor Here: The WalMartization of Public Education

by Martin Kich

Walmart_2_croppedAlthough the more overtly political spending of the Koch brothers has received much more attention, the Walton Family Foundation has, not surprisingly, been one of the major supporters of right-wing think tanks and public-policy experiments. Long a major donor to the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research and the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, the Walton Family Foundation has also become the major source of private funding supporting the development of charter-school alternatives to public schools, contributing more than $1 billion to charter schools over the past decade. Nationwide, more than one-quarter of the new charter schools have received “start-up” grants from the Walton Family Foundation. In the April 25, 2014, issue of the New York Times, Motoko Rich reveals these facts, among many others, about the Walton Family Foundation’s funding of what amounts to extensive Far-Right social engineering. [The full article is available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/26/us/a-walmart-fortune-spreading-charter-schools.html.]

This funding has insured that some of the charter schools have been tremendously successful—for instance, the four schools operated by D.C. Prep in the nation’s capital. But studies are now providing much concrete evidence that there is a very substantial gap between the performance of the most successful and selective charter schools–typically highlighted in materials promoting charter schools–and the majority of the charter schools, which are operated by for-profit corporations rather than by non-profit foundations. These would include most of the charter schools that now educate about half of the students in Washington, D.C. (There is a parallel, here, in the advertising for on-line for-profit universities, which typically features already successful professionals seeking additional credentials though those students are hardly typical of the majority of students at those institutions, who are seeking certificates and associate degrees.)

Continue reading

Walmart Moms’ Walkout Starts Friday

by Sarah Jaffe

For years, Walmart workers have protested the company's low wages and unfair treatment of employees. This Friday, a week before the company's shareholders meet, hundreds of 'Walmart Moms' will begin walking off the job. (OUR Walmart)

For years, Walmart workers have protested the company’s low wages and unfair treatment of employees. This Friday, a week before the company’s shareholders meet, hundreds of ‘Walmart Moms’ will begin walking off the job. (OUR Walmart)

For years, Walmart workers have protested the company’s low wages and unfair treatment of employees. This Friday, a week before the company’s shareholders meet, hundreds of ‘Walmart Moms’ will begin walking off the job. (OUR Walmart)

In 2008, political commentators made a lot of fuss about “Walmart Moms,” a demographic that was supposedly key to the election. The Walmart Mom was an updated, service-economy version of the blue-collar worker: Someone without a college degree, working and raising a family, usually white, possibly religious. She was courted heavily by both parties and perceived, at least in recent decades, to be swinging right.

Six years later, the real-life Walmart Moms are going on strike. According to a Thursday conference call hosted by the Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart), hundreds of mothers who work at Walmart stores throughout the country will begin walking off the job on Friday, a week before the company’s shareholders meet in Bentonville, Arkansas. The action will culminate in a nationwide strike on Wednesday, June 4.

Continue reading

Not everyone shares in Boeing’s success

by Stan Sorscher

Stan Sorscher

Stan Sorscher

Taxpayers around Washington state are trying to understand Boeing’s recent announcement of layoffs, just months after the Legislature met in special session to grant $8.7 billion in tax preferences — the largest such deal in American history.

Our relationship with Boeing has definitely changed.

For decades, Boeing products excelled in the marketplace. The company prospered and the community shared in those gains. Continue reading

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