Labor

70 supporters gather for James Kilgore in anticipation of Board Meeting

James press confOn Monday, November 10, about 70 Friends of James Kilgore held a press conference outside the Henry Adminstration building on the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign campus. They encouraged the Board of Trustees, meeting this Thursday, to reinstate Dr. Kilgore.

Beyond the CSA: Four Ways Communities Support Everything From Books to Beer

You know the model: Consumers purchase a share of the season’s harvest upfront and get a box of fresh produce each week from the farm. Now you can get your medicine that way too.

by Dana Drugmand

Since the first community supported agriculture program was established in western Massachusetts in the 1980s, the concept of buying food directly from local farms has taken off. There are now thousands of CSAs across the country. It’s a simple enough model—consumers purchase a share of the season’s harvest upfront, and they get a box or bag of fresh, locally grown produce each week from the farm.

And this model is not restricted to farming. In recent years, people have applied the CSA idea to other types of goods and services such as dining out, microbrews, and even fish. It’s a system that works for both producers and consumers. Here are some of our favorite examples.

Alaska, Oregon, and DC: A Marijuana Legalization Trifecta in 2014?

By Phillip Smith |  StopTheDrugWar.org
 

Labor Day has come and gone, and the 2014 election is now less than two months away. Marijuana legalization initiatives are on the ballot in two states — Alaska and Oregon — and the District of Columbia.

For the marijuana reform movement, 2014 is a chance for a legalization trifecta on the way to an even bigger year in 2016, but there is also the risk that losing in one or more states this year could take the momentum out of a movement that has been on a seemingly unstoppable upward trend.

The Initiatives

Non-Union Market Basket Workers Bring a Complicated Victory for Labor

by Kate Aronoff

This Labor Day, there’s an unlikely workers’ victory to celebrate. Late last week, employees of Market Basket, a New England grocery store chain, ended a successful two-month strike and consumer boycott not for a contract or higher wage, but to reinstate their beloved fired CEO Arthur T. Demoulas. Workers at the chain are non-unionized, and the entire two-month campaign took place without union support. They even rejected offers of representation from the Teamsters and United Food and Commercial Workers — a point that makes this a complicated victory for those concerned about the future of organized labor.

Univ. of Illinois Admits Pre-Emptive Firing of Israel Critic Steven Salaita

by Ali Abunimah

Finally breaking its silence, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on Friday claimed that the firing of Steven Salaita was “was not influenced in any way by his positions on the conflict in the Middle East nor his criticism of Israel.”

Rather, it was, in effect, a pre-empetive firing based on the assumption that his tweets would make him a bad teacher.

This transparent use of “civility” as a cover to fire a professor with outspoken views on Israel is almost identical to the pretext that was given by DePaul University in 2007 to deny tenure to Norman Finkelstein.

In that case, DePaul denied Finkelstein tenure on the vague grounds that he lacked “collegiality.”

How America's Largest Worker Owned Co-Op Lifts People Out of Poverty

Cooperative Home Care Associates has 2,300 workers who enjoy good wages, regular hours, and family health insurance. With an investment of $1.2 million into the cooperative sector, New York City is hoping to build on the group's success

by Laura Flanders

Before Zaida Ramos joined Cooperative Home Care Associates, she was raising her daughter on public assistance, shuttling between dead-end office jobs, and not making ends meet. “I earned in a week what my family spent in a day,” she recalled.

 After 17 years as a home health aide at Cooperative Home Care Associates (CHCA), the largest worker-owned co-op in the United States, Ramos recently celebrated her daughter’s college graduation. She’s paying half of her son’s tuition at a Catholic school, and she’s a worker-owner in a business where she enjoys flexible hours, steady earnings, health and dental insurance, plus an annual share in the profits. She’s not rich, she says, “but I’m financially independent. I belong to a union, and I have a chance to make a difference.”

States with Higher Minimum Wage Boast Faster Job Growth

- Lauren McCauley, Commondreams staff writer

Workers in New York City rally to raise the minimum wage. (Photo: All-nite Images/ cc/ Flickr)

Adding fuel to the growing populist call for a higher minimum wage and throwing water on the conservative argument that fair pay will threaten employment, new data released Friday shows that states with higher wages are gaining more jobs.

Why Big Business Loves Desperate Workers

And how a strong social safety net can make us all more free

by Stephen Pimpare

We don’t think enough about the economic functions of social welfare policy, or about the relationship between the safety net and labor markets, and this hinders our ability to make sense of why some people fight so hard against programs that aid poor and low-income people: We mistake them for anti-welfare ideologues, and dismiss them as cruel or ignorant, but there’s an economic logic to their activism, one that’s revealed if we look at the relationship between welfare and work from both the employee’s and the employer’s perspective. Let me explain.

Imagine that we have two workers, worker K and worker O, each with two young children.

Worker K is laid off when the company “downsizes.” K is nervous, but has some savings, is eligible for Unemployment Insurance benefits, Medicaid, food stamps (SNAP), and TANF, has access to free local day care, and lives in a Section 8 apartment, with their monthly rent tied to their income.

The Union vs. Corporate Showdown Has Officially Begun

by Shamus Cooke

The attack on the U.S. labor movement just sharpened with the Harris vs. Quinn Supreme Court decision, aimed at the heart of concentrated union power — public sector unions. When you add in the Obama-led assault on public school teachers unions and the Koch brother-funded “Right to Work” laws, the labor movement appears to be facing imminent ruin.  

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