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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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.
by John Atcheson
Across the board, Republicans have been sabotaging government by a variety of measures, then pointing to the resulting – and inevitable – governmental failures to reinforce their Ayn Rand fantasy of government as inept and the private sector as the solution to all our problems.
Doubt that? Well, it appears that they will spend more money investigating the Benghazi "scandal" than the Veterans Administration debacle.
Meanwhile, the Democrats stand back and mumble lame protestations under their breath, being careful not to anger the corporatists and fat cats at whose trough they feed. And the press? Pulleez. They are the corporatists.
None of this is new, as far as a generally accepted meme, but what’s not getting much play, are how the specific problems Republicans are shouting themselves into a frothing frenzy about at the moment have been engineered by them.
Let’s look at the top five, and one emerging issue.
by Ralph Nader
CEO Greg Wasson of the giant Walgreen drugstore chain may be thinking of other things than patriotism this 4th of July. He confirmed last month that, to save on taxes, he and his Board of Directors may be renouncing the company's U.S. citizenship and moving its incorporation to Switzerland or some nearby tax haven.
Were Mr. Wasson to quit America, where the company rose to great profits and where it receives one quarter of its annual $72 billion in sales from Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements, he would be grossly underestimating the reaction of many Americans.
Following intentions by corporate welfare kings Pfizer and Medtronic to quit their native country to get further tax escapes, Walgreen is unique in that it has 8000 pharmacies -- convenience stores well situated for citizen picketing.
Imagine the signs:
"Walgreen Goes For the Green Instead of the Red, White and Blue."
Or "Walgreen: Where's Your Patriotism?"
by Emily DeVito
Here is the clearest, and scariest, implication of the Supreme Court’s Monday ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, Inc.: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – “Obamacare” – is fatally flawed. It is clear we now need a public, single-payer health care system – because the Supreme Court can no longer protect us.
The fact that Hobby Lobby Inc. actually had a legal standing to bring this case to court in order to contest providing comprehensive health care to their 18,000 employees should prove that a key feature of the Affordable Care Act is unsound: It relies too heavily on private entities to deliver a public good – health care.