worker rights

Happy New Year From The Economic Populist!

Happy New Year from the Economic Populist!  Let's hope 2014 is better economically for most of us as 2013 was another real dog for most of America.  Wall Street was on fire and the investor class made out like bandits while real robust job growth still has not materialized.  2013 is the year the middle class was completely ignored.  Still broke, still jobless or working with low wages and eroding worker's rights, America's middle class was pummeled yet again.

Safeway Skewered for Throwing 6,000 Workers Under the Bus in Video Parody

Safeway closed a whopping 72 Dominick's grocery stores resulting in 6,000 jobs lost.  They acquired Dominck's grocery chain, engaged a hedge fund, hyped up the stock price and then promptly shuttered the Illinois neighborhood grocery.  The excuse is these Dominick's grocery stores serve low profit margin geographical locations.  In other words, Safeway doesn't want to offer grocery access to poor people.

Employee Abuse Runs Rampant In America

Corporate culture, HR hound dogs who hunt the squeaky wheel, bullying, abuse and politics abound for working America today.  For those who still have a job, America has turned into a survivor game.  No longer are workers respected and treated as human beings.   Even those most educated and skilled are treated like pond scum

Wages in America and the Attack on Labor

The attack on labor is in full throttle. We hear reports of outrageous pay for government workers with economic fictional spin. Pundits weave tall tales blaming the workers themselves as the reason for America's economic malaise. Actual wage statistics are never mentioned. Nor is the never ending income inequality in the United States and the policies which cause it.

The Triangle Fire Goes Global

trianglefireOn March 25, 1911 a fire broke out in the Triangle Shirtwaist factory where 146 workers died. The company had blocked the exits and the stairwells so employees couldn't leave or take a break. As the fire spread, workers were trapped and the only escape was to jump ten stories to their deaths. The outrage sparked reforms and unionization for U.S. garment workers.

Over 100 years later on November 24th, 2012 the exact same thing happened. Workers burned alive and jumping to their deaths has gone global. In a history repeats itself Déjà vu, we've outsourced our history of worker exploitation and lack of safe work environments along with American jobs. Once again, fire escape routes were locked by managers and workers couldn't escape the flames. In Bangladesh 112 people were killed in a garment factory fire.

The flames at the Tazreen Fashions factory outside Dhaka spread rapidly on the ground floor, trapping those on the higher floors of the nine-story building. There were no exterior fire escapes, according to officials, and many died after jumping from upper floors to escape the flames.

As firemen continued to remove bodies Sunday, officials said at least 112 people had died but that the number of fatalities could go higher.

Friday Movie Night - Frontline's Cell Tower Worker Deaths & MF Global

hot buttered popcorn It's Friday Night! Party Time!   Time to relax, put your feet up on the couch, lay back, and watch some detailed videos on economic policy!


This week's videos are two shorts by PBS Frontline. The first is about workers falling from Cell Towers. At first you might think, that's an easy fix through safety and regulation. Think again. Literally young boys are climbing up cell towers for $10 bucks an hour. It's a poster child for what has happened to work in America. The cheapest price wins and training, safety, experience be damned. This short puts new meaning to the phrase working yourself to death.

Pay close attention to the description of contracts, the chain of subcontracts all the way down to the worker, who also are contractors, not employees. Use of contracts, contract law to subvert U.S. worker rights, deny benefits and remove any sort of liability is extremely common these days.

The Way the World Works

By Numerian
Chances are if you are a typical American consumer you have purchased something made by Foxconn Technology Group. This giant Taiwanese-owned company is under contract to make Sony’s Playstation, the Xbox 360, the Wii, motherboards for Intel, routers for Cisco, and Apple’s iPhone, iPod, and iPad. As profitable as Foxconn is, it is in a fundamental sense a failure of capitalism. At a time when machine tools and robotics are available to make these products at high speeds, Foxconn uses manual labor to craft tens of thousands of electronic devices each hour, 24 hours a day. (Image)

To accomplish this, Foxconn employs over 800,000 workers in mainland China alone, and 420,000 of them at a massive “campus” in Shenzen. The workers in Shenzen are required to live on campus in dormitories with bunk beds, cafeterias, a medical unit, and a few recreational facilities. The overwhelming number of them range in age from 18 to 24, have moved to Shenzen from rural villages with no job opportunities, work six days a week at the factory for 10 hours a day including overtime, and make about $130 a month.