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The Great Resignation: A Workers’ Movement in America

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 20/10/2021 - 10:21pm in

Over the last several months, millions of American workers have quit their jobs: about four million every month since spring. And the trend of saying, “I quit!” goes on.

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The post The Great Resignation: A Workers’ Movement in America appeared first on New Politics.

France’s Union: Between Dead Ends and Renewal

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 20/10/2021 - 2:23am in

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Labor

The national day of strikes and demonstrations organized in France on 5 October, called by the unions CGT, FO, FSU and Solidaires, will not go down in history; it was not a failure, but the mobilization was average in terms of demonstrations and weak in terms of strikes.

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The post France’s Union: Between Dead Ends and Renewal appeared first on New Politics.

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Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 14/10/2021 - 3:17am in

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Labor, Jobs, strike

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The General Strike of 2021

On Tuesday, the Labor Department reported that some 4.3 million people had quit their jobs in August. That comes to about 2.9 percent of the workforce – up from the previous record set in April, of about 4 million people quitting.

All told, about 4 million American workers have been leaving their jobs every month since last spring.

Add this to last Friday’s jobs report showing the number of job openings at a record high. The share of people working or actively looking for work (the labor force participation rate) has dropped to 61.6 percent. Participation for people in their prime working years, defined as 25 to 54 years old, is also down. Over the past year, job openings have increased 62 percent. 

What’s happening? You might say American workers have declared a national general strike until they get better pay and improved working conditions. 

No one calls it a general strike. But in its own disorganized way it’s related to the organized strikes breaking out across the land – Hollywood TV and film crews, John Deere workers, Alabama coal miners, Nabisco workers, Kellogg workers, nurses in California, healthcare workers in Buffalo.

Disorganized or organized, American workers now have bargaining leverage to do better. 

After a year and a half of the pandemic, consumers have pent-up demand for all sorts of goods and services. But employers are finding it hard to fill positions. 

This general strike has nothing to do with the Republican bogeyman of extra unemployment benefits supposedly discouraging people from working. Reminder: The extra benefits ran out on Labor Day.

Renewed fears of the Delta variant of COVID may play some role. But it can’t be the major factor. With most adults now vaccinated, rates of hospitalizations and deaths are way down. 

Childcare is a problem for many workers, to be sure. But lack of affordable childcare has been a problem for decades. It can’t be the reason for the general strike. 

I believe that the reluctance of workers to return to or remain in their old jobs is mostly because they’re fed up. Some have retired early. Others have found ways to make ends meet other than remain in jobs they abhor. Many just don’t want to return to backbreaking or boring low-wage shit jobs. 

The media and most economists measure the economy’s success by the number of jobs it creates, while ignoring the *quality* of those jobs. That’s a huge oversight. 

Years ago, when I was Secretary of Labor, I kept meeting working people all over the country who had full-time work but complained that their jobs paid too little and had few benefits, or were unsafe, or required lengthy or unpredictable hours. Many said their employers treated them badly, harassed them, and did not respect them.

Since then, these complaints have only grown louder, according to polls. For many, the pandemic was the last straw. Workers are burned out, fed up, fried. In the wake of so much hardship, illness and death during the past year, they’re not going to take it anymore.

To lure workers back, employers are raising wages and offering other inducements. Average earnings rose 19 cents an hour in September and are up more than $1 an hour – or 4.6 percent – over the last year.

Clearly, that’s not enough.

Corporate America wants to frame this as a “labor shortage.” Wrong. What’s really going on is more accurately described as a living-wage shortage, a hazard pay shortage, a childcare shortage, a paid sick leave shortage, and a health care shortage.Unless *these* shortages are rectified, many Americans won’t return to work anytime soon. I say it’s about time.

Contingent Faculty Activism Pushes Legislation into Congressional Budget Reconciliation

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 08/10/2021 - 1:14am in

The rising movement among contingent faculty has pushed bills onto CA Gov. Newsom’s desk and into the budget reconciliation process in Congress.

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The post Contingent Faculty Activism Pushes Legislation into Congressional Budget Reconciliation appeared first on New Politics.

The Kronstadt Revolt of 1921 as a part of the Great Russian Revolution

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 05/10/2021 - 12:49am in

The March revolution of 1921, initiated by “Red Kronstadt”, had to complete the cause of the February and October revolutions of 1917. In this context, the Kronstadt revolt of 1921 appears as an integral part of the revolutionary process that took several years.

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The post The Kronstadt Revolt of 1921 as a part of the Great Russian Revolution appeared first on New Politics.

COVID Paid Leave To Expire As Corporate Dems Stonewall

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 30/09/2021 - 7:00am in

Click to share this on FacebookCOVID Paid Leave To Expire As Corporate Dems Stonewall

As Congress squabbles over spending legislation, the federal government’s only emergency paid leave program is set to expire — and corporate Democrats’ move to kill President Biden’s agenda will remove an incentive for many employers to provide paid sick leave to their workers in the middle of a pandemic.

The threadbare paid leave tax credits allowed small- and medium-sized businesses to offset the cost of providing up to 80 hours of paid leave to their employees. When it terminates on September 30th, it will be the latest COVID response initiative to expire, including pandemic unemployment assistance and the federal eviction moratorium. Without the tax credit program, employers lose an incentive to provide paid leave to sick workers, even as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage across the country.

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While a federal paid leave program is currently included in the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package being debated in Congress, the fate of the reconciliation bill and the various social measures it aims to implement are still very much uncertain. What is certain, however, is that the lack of paid leave is hindering vaccination efforts nationally at a time when the country is still seeing tens of thousands of new COVID cases per day, driven largely by the Delta variant.

Meanwhile, Americans are still waiting for a new rule Biden ordered from the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration earlier this month to mandate paid time off so workers can get vaccinated. It is unclear if the rule will apply only to vaccine-related time off, or would also cover time off for infection.

Justin Feldman, a social epidemiologist and fellow at Harvard’s FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, worries that without the tax credit program, thousands of employers could end their paid sick leave programs — though he cautions that data about the program’s reach is unavailable.

“We are in the middle of a raging pandemic that is killing 15,000 Americans every week,” says Feldman. “Removing paid sick days means more workers will spread COVID to their colleagues, more people will be hospitalized, and more will die.”

In March 2020, at the outset of the pandemic, Donald Trump signed a COVID relief bill that mandated up to 80 hours of paid leave for many workers and contained a refundable tax credit for impacted employers. However, the paid leave expired on December 31, 2020, and it was not included in Trump’s second relief package after Mitch McConnell objected to its inclusion.

When Joe Biden took office, he did not reinstate the mandate. Instead, in April, his administration announced a paid leave tax credit under The American Rescue Plan (ARP) for small and medium-sized businesses. Employers with fewer than 500 employees would be able to draw on a tax credit to “offset the cost” for providing up to 80 hours of paid leave.

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From the outset, the paid leave tax credit appeared to be a poor replacement for the mandate. Employers had to opt into the tax credit program, leaving workers at their mercy — an arrangement that likely contributed to Americans not getting vaccinated.

The White House has not publicly touted the impact of the tax credit, and so far little information has been released on how many employers have taken advantage of the program. As The Daily Poster previously reported, polls over the summer indicated the program’s coverage was limited.

In June, a Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) poll found that two out of every ten Americans who remain unvaccinated would be more likely to get the jab if they had paid leave to do so. The following month, according to an Axios-Ipsos poll, a quarter of all unvaccinated Americans said paid sick leave would encourage them to get a vaccine.

Congressional Democrats are working on another way to provide sick leave, one that may or may not come to fruition. A week after Biden announced the paid sick leave tax credit, the administration announced its American Families Plan, which contained a plan for a federal program providing American workers with 12 weeks of paid leave, phased in over 10 years.

That plan was folded into the Build Back Better Act, the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill currently making its way through Congress. The House approved the 12 weeks of paid leave in its version of the bill, but whether or not the plan will be part of the final package — and whether a final package will even be passed — remains to be seen, due to conservative Democratic senators Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin presenting potential roadblocks.

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The Forgotten History of William McCarthy and Boston Teamsters Local 25

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 20/09/2021 - 11:19pm in

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Labor

By understanding the Teamsters past, union members can acquire the ability to become agents of their own history and change its course.

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The post The Forgotten History of William McCarthy and Boston Teamsters Local 25 appeared first on New Politics.

French Anti-Pass Demonstrations on the Eve of the Presidential Election

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 17/09/2021 - 11:15am in

The fragmentation of the left has led to an almost certain second-round dual between Macron and Le Pen in 2022, with grave implications for the future of an explicitly left mass movement.

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The post French Anti-Pass Demonstrations on the Eve of the Presidential Election appeared first on New Politics.

Mobbed-Up! The Untold Story of Sean O’Brien and Teamsters Local 25: A Rank-and-File Perspective

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 16/09/2021 - 8:32am in

O’Brien is a man who will stop at nothing to achieve his ends. His past attacks on reformers demonstrate that he is a bully.

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The post Mobbed-Up! The Untold Story of Sean O’Brien and Teamsters Local 25: A Rank-and-File Perspective appeared first on New Politics.

How Work Is Killing Us

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 15/09/2021 - 10:11am in

Three authors—Jamie McCallum, Sarah Jaffe, and Eyal Press– have published important books that examine work and its discontents, in pre-pandemic form.

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The post How Work Is Killing Us appeared first on New Politics.

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