Labor

US Is an Oligarchy Not a Democracy, says Scientific Study

by Eric Zuesse

study, to appear in the Fall 2014 issue of the academic journal Perspectives on Politics, finds that the U.S. is no democracy, but instead an oligarchy, meaning profoundly corrupt, so that the answer to the study’s opening question, "Who governs? Who really rules?" in this country, is: 

Why the Minimum Wage Should Really Be Raised to $15 an Hour

by Robert Reich

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=GOqtl53V3JI

Momentum is building to raise the minimum wage. Several states have already taken action  — Connecticut has boosted it to $10.10 by 2017, the Maryland legislature just approved a similar measure, Minnesota lawmakers just reached a deal to hike it to $9.50. A few cities have been more ambitious — Washington, D.C. and its surrounding counties raised it to $11.50, Seattle is considering $15.00

Senate Democrats will soon introduce legislation raising it nationally to $10.10, from the current $7.25 an hour.

All this is fine as far as it goes. But we need to be more ambitious. We should be raising the federal minimum to $15 an hour.

Here are seven reasons why:

Presidential Prospect or Not, Elizabeth Warren Has a Lesson for Democrats

by John Nichols

Many thoughtful media reports on the remarkable address that Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren gave at the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party’s Humphrey-Mondale Dinner have focused on the fact that she took apart Paul Ryan.

There is no question that the senator from Massachusetts shamed the congressman from Wisconsin.

One report was headlined: “Elizabeth Warren schools Paul Ryan on poverty in 80 seconds.”

Another announced: “Elizabeth Warren Picks A Fight With Paul Ryan.”

Still another reported: “Elizabeth Warren Slams Paul Ryan On Inner City Culture Comment.”

All true. All accurate.

Eight Headlines the Mainstream Media Doesn't Have the Courage to Print

by Paul Buchheit

The following are all relevant, fact-based issues, the "hard news" stories that the media has a responsibility to report. But the business-oriented press generally avoids them.

 

With McCutcheon Ruling, An Activist Court Opts for Full-On Plutocracy

by John Nichols

Any doubts about the determination of an activist United States Supreme Court to rewrite election rules so that the dollar matters more than the vote were removed Wednesday, when McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission was decided in favor of the dollar.

The court that in 2010, with its Citizens United v. FEC decision, cleared the way for corporations to spend as freely as they choose to buy elections has now effectively eliminated the ability of the American people and their elected representatives to establish meaningful limits on direct donations by millionaires and billionaires to campaigns.

How to Fan the Flames

by Alexandra Bradbury and Jane Slaughter

We troublemakers keep hoping for the spark that will set a wildfire of workers in motion. The worse our situation gets—economically, politically, ecologically—the more we yearn for a vast movement to erupt and transform the landscape.

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

Serious Coverage of Trade Issues is Essential — but all too Rare

by John Nichols

President Obama used his European tour to make another pitch for sweeping new free-trade agreements such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Recognizing that there is mass opposition to these sorts of deals in the U.S. and abroad — based on the profound concerns about job security, wages, the circumstance of working farmers, environmental protection and democracy raised by the North American Free Trade Agreement, the permanent normalization of trade relations with China, and more recent trade arrangements — Obama urged critics of race-to-the-bottom trade policies to trust that he would negotiate better deals.
 

"(There’s) no point in getting excited about potential provisions in trade agreements that haven't been drafted yet,” the president said. "There will be plenty of time to criticize trade agreements when they are actually put before the public.”

The Symbolism of One Adjunct Professor's Death

by Jim Hightower

Margaret Mary Vojtko, fall 2008. (Photo courtesy Joseph Ball/Off the Bluff)

If one obscure college professor dies, does it make any difference? If you're Margaret Mary Vojtko, yes.

Margaret Mary died last summer at age 83 — and her death has turned her name into an emotional rallying cry for adjunct college teachers who're seeking justice from their schools.

The Tyranny of the On-Call Schedule: Hourly Injustice in Retail Labor

by Michelle Chen

A century ago, the misery of New York’s urban poor was embodied by the iconic scene of the morning shape-up at the docks, where rough-hewn longshoremen lined up anxiously to see if the boss would pick them for that day’s crew or turn them back empty-handed. These days, the city has a different kind of shape-up—a less visible mill of workers staffing its bustling boutiques and vendors. Instead of assembling at the waterfront, they call the manager to find out how many hours they can get on a given day—stressing about whether they’ll clock enough hours this month to make rent, or hoping their next workday doesn’t interfere with their school schedule or doctor’s appointment.

Corporate Welfare and the Minimum Wage

by Joslyn Stevens

(Photo: SEIU)

The arguments against raising the minimum wage are bullshit. The majority of Americans including conservatives support an increase yet congress continues to drag its feet on doing right by the people they claim to serve.  The conservative “pull-yourself up-by your-bootstraps” mentality has become an acceptable excuse to justify kicking people when they’re down. The greedy and elitist attitudes of CEO’s and bankers have created a culture of entitlement in this country in which stealing from others less powerful is the best way to get to the top regardless of the social cost.

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