unions

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Meeting the Moment in Philadelphia

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 29/06/2022 - 10:10pm in

Grassroots union drives and America’s largest labor federation collide in Philly.

Public sector wide strikes needed to take the fight to the NSW Liberals

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 24/06/2022 - 9:07pm in

Tags 

unions, unions

Public sector unions in NSW are stepping up their campaign against the state Liberal government.

NSW Catholic and government school teachers are staging an unprecedented joint 24-hour strike on 30 June, while nurses will strike on 28 June to hold a special general meeting to consider further action.

Public services are at breaking point, with schools, hospitals and other areas drastically short staffed after two years of the pandemic.

As Unions NSW Secretary Mark Morey explained, across the board there are “people doing double shifts, doing the work of two or three people in their workplaces”.

Wages have gone backward over the last year, and workers face a real pay cut of a further $3500 over the next three years, even after NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet lifted the public sector pay cap to 3 per cent. This is still well below inflation.

A motion passed at a public sector campaign launch ahead of the budget in June promised “further individual or movement-wide industrial action until these issues are addressed”.

Teachers, nurses, rail workers and public servants have all staged industrial action in recent months.

A united stopwork rally could draw tens of thousands and seriously increase the pressure on the NSW Liberal government.

Unions need to name a date for a public sector-wide strike as soon as possible, either in July or August.

But there are signs that union leaders are looking to draw out the campaign to focus on voting the Liberals out at the NSW election in March.

The teachers’ strike on 4 May was held five months after their first strike. The last nurses’ strike was on 31 March, almost three months ago.

Perrottet and the Liberals need to go. But a campaign that folds into door-knocking for the state election will do nothing to build the union power needed to force the government to fund services.

This is a strategy the unions have fallen into again and again at both state and federal level, modelled on the Your Rights at Work campaign against John Howard’s Liberal government.

We can’t wait another nine months in the hope that a Labor government in NSW will fix the problems. Essential workers in the public sector have deep public support after their efforts during the pandemic. An escalating campaign of industrial action could force further concessions even from the NSW Liberals.

And if Labor does win the state election, unions will need to keep fighting to win our demands. In May, NSW Labor leader Chris Minns refused to support the nurse-to-patient ratios the nurses’ union is fighting for, because there were no estimates of the cost.

We need a public sector wide strike now.

The post Public sector wide strikes needed to take the fight to the NSW Liberals appeared first on Solidarity Online.

Sydney University strikes show how to fight back

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 24/06/2022 - 8:59pm in

University workers at Sydney University took three days of strike action in May, shutting down the campus and kicking off the national bargaining round for university workers represented by the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU).

The union is demanding job security, including an end to forced redundancies, improved redeployment rights, improved conversion rights and new permanent jobs for casual workers. Workers want a real pay rise, sick pay and equal superannuation payments for casual staff, improved flexible work arrangements, and to redress racism and transphobia at work, including demands for enforceable targets for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander jobs and annual leave for transgender staff undergoing gender transition.

The union is also fighting to force university management to withdraw their attacks on conditions, such as their attempt to abolish workload committees and end the right of academics to have research time allocations.

These strikes are also powered by anger at management’s behaviour over years. Their anxiety to maximise profits has led to an increasing reliance on repeat change proposals, which see workers sacked and workloads sky-rocketing. Simultaneously, wage theft has proliferated across the casual workforce, with managers acting to tighten new budget constraints.

After several years of crying poor and demanding further sacrifice, management posted an unprecedented $1 billion operating surplus for 2021. This was built on the overwork and underpayment of thousands of workers. While student numbers went up by 23 per cent in 2021, staff numbers went down by 4.5 per cent.

Strikes a success

The strikes have turned the political mood at the campus around. New and enthusiastic union members have been leafleting the gates every morning to build the strikes, as well as joining the strategic debates about recruiting, picketing, striking, or forcing an increase to the union’s pay claim. Over 150 new members joined the union in May alone.

The Sydney University Camperdown campus, which is so big it has its own postcode, was physically shut down for three days in May, which is a remarkable show of strength for the union. Workers, students and community supporters ran an unprecedented number of pickets for each of the three days, including pickets at the Conservatorium of Music and Business School.

Through rain and shine, we tried to stop every single person attempting to cross the picket line, explain the importance of our demands and why they should support our strike. Management were so concerned by the action, they even encouraged people to work from home and many buildings were closed to the public entirely.

Strengthening the strike campaign

Online work presented a new industrial hurdle for the union. Many classes on the strike days were simply held online and many workers chose to work from home. Some in the union have raised concerns that this negates the effectiveness of strike action. However, this downplays the wins obtained from the strikes and the political importance of controlling the physical space.

The union should claim the strikes themselves as an enormous tactical success. Following the strikes, management walked back some of their worst attacks on workload committees, diluted their attack on the right to research time and gave workers $1000 and an administrative pay rise of 2.1 per cent.

But having shut down the physical campus, the next challenge for the union will be to move to shut down the digital campus. There is only one way to do this reliably, and that is to recruit hundreds more union members, and make the case that strikes are the only way we can win dignity at work, decent conditions and quality education.

With none of the key bargaining issues close to resolution, strike action will be needed throughout the second semester. The task for union members is clear: we need leafleting, walk-throughs, organising and recruitment to make every strike more powerful than the last. The one thing management can’t ignore is a union growing in strength that refuses to stop.

National Coordination Needed

The successful strike action is a guide for what every branch should move towards, as the NTEU campaign spreads. The Western Sydney University branch struck for 24 hours in June, demanding 150 ongoing positions for casuals and a pay rise above the university’s 2 per cent offer. The University of Technology Sydney has also balloted for industrial action.

University workers across the industry should be coordinating strike and protest action. The issues branches are tackling are very similar across the country with pay, de-casualisation, and workloads arising as prominent demands. Additionally, the union must send a message to the Labor government that the federal October budget must prioritise funding for universities and reverse the Liberals’ attacks on the sector.

Coordination between branches will also be necessary to win the internal union debate for a real pay rise. The national executive requires NTEU branches to demand precisely 15 per cent pay rise over three years, though they can settle for less. With inflation predicted to reach 7 per cent by December, this approach risks binding workers to a real pay cut. The Sydney University and Australian National University branches want inflation plus 2.5 per cent a year to ensure a real pay rise. But if the national executive refuses to act, branches will have to coordinate nationally to force the change.

For university workers across the country, it’s time to get organised, spread the strikes, shut down campuses, and demand better funding. Sydney Uni’s successful action should be an inspiration.

By Dani Cotton

The post Sydney University strikes show how to fight back appeared first on Solidarity Online.

How Joe Biden Can Help Workers Without CongressDid you know Joe...

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 15/06/2022 - 11:02am in

Tags 

unions, workers, Video

How Joe Biden Can Help Workers Without Congress

Did you know Joe Biden can help American workers right now, even without Congress? He can sign three executive orders, affecting a fifth of the economy and transforming millions of workers’ lives. 

Biden has made campaign promises to support workers. Here are 3 ways he can fulfill that promise.

First: require that the federal government contract only with unionized companies whenever possible. This would give workers more bargaining power in every industry from healthcare to telecoms to food service to tech to defense.

******

Btw, if you’d like my daily analyses, commentary, and drawings, please subscribe to my free newsletter: robertreich.substack.com

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Back in the last century when I was secretary of labor, the Chamber of Commerce sued me for trying to do something similar. The Clinton administration had issued an executive order barring federal contracts with companies that permanently replaced striking workers. A federal court struck it down, ruling that the administration hadn’t shown that the executive order was necessary to save the government money. 

The way to ensure this executive order holds up is to include evidence that unionized companies save the government money. And that’s not hard to do. 

Unions may deliver higher wages but they also have been shown to deliver higher productivity. And higher productivity saves the government money.

Secondly, discourage union busting. Biden can require that federal contracts go only to companies that pledge to remain neutral in efforts to unionize. 

Companies routinely use an arsenal of union-busting tactics. Some are blatantly illegal. A third of companies fire employees who try to form a union. They harass and intimidate their workers. About half threaten to close up shop or slash wages and benefits. 

Why should taxpayers subsidize companies that illegally quash unions? 

Third, deny federal contracts to companies that break labor laws. Biden can require bidders on federal contracts to disclose any labor violations in the past 3 years. This would just be reinstating Obama’s executive order, which Trump revoked

Companies that break the law and hurt workers shouldn’t be rewarded with lucrative federal contracts.

A policy like this helps workers everywhere. One study found that when the Labor Department announced penalties for violating safety standards, other companies in the industry improved their safety standards.

Taken together, these three executive orders will improve the lives of millions of Americans. 

Make it happen, Joe. 

PSA members join the public sector strike wave in NSW

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 10/06/2022 - 3:58pm in

Workers across the public service in NSW took strike action on Wednesday, with thousands of members of the Public Service Association (PSA) marching on state parliament.

The union is demanding that the NSW Liberal government deliver a pay rise in line with inflation and the increased cost of living. Wages in the public sector have been held down by a 2.5 per cent wage cap for the last decade.

Ahead of the strike, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet agreed to lift the pay cap, but only to a miserly 3 per cent.

Teachers, nurses and rail workers have all staged industrial action in recent months demanding the end of the pay cap and action on crippling staff shortages.

“The wage cap needs to be removed and at the very least, our wages be in parity with increasing inflation,” Nick, who works at the Art Gallery of NSW, told Solidarity.

The PSA is demanding that Perrottet increase public sector wages by a minimum of 5.2 per cent.

Child protection workers, teacher’s aids, fisheries and health department staff, workers at art galleries, the State Library and Service NSW as well as prison guards all joined the strike.

“Frontline workers have been putting their well-being and their health at risk working through the pandemic,” Nick told Solidarity, with workers relied on to keep public services running while others stayed home.

“There’s been a higher expectation of workloads, which the public service has carried all the way through. That’s been taken for granted and now’s the time to get some respect back.”

Impossible

Like the nurses and teachers, workers across the public sector are facing impossible workloads due to lack of staff, high staff turnover, burnout and trauma for the essential work they do. An above inflation pay increase of 5.2 per cent is the bare minimum needed to address these issues and one that could easily be delivered.

The Perrottet government has tried to mute public anger with a one off $3000 payment to healthcare workers.

Closing the rally, PSA General Secretary Stewart Little told the crowd, “Health workers deserve every pay rise they get. But I also know that every person attending this rally deserves to be appreciated and respected.

“How can the Premier hand out a $3000 appreciation payment to health workers, but turn his back on every frontline worker who is here today? Mr Perrottet we have a very clear, a very loud message: we are coming for you.”

At the coming NSW state election, in March next year, we need to kick out the Perrottet government.

But we cannot solely rely on electing a Labor government to fix the public sector.

As Ray, a child protection worker from the Central Coast put it, “We definitely need the Liberals out, but I don’t know if Labor would be supporting us either. We need a very significant system change of everything because what we have right now is failing our communities in a very significant way.”

The Perrottet government is vulnerable to pressure now. Unions across the public sector need to ramp up the strike action to force them to boost pay and employ extra staff.

Public sector wide industrial action uniting nurses, teachers and the whole public sector is needed to hit the Liberal government hard.

By Niko Chlopicki

The post PSA members join the public sector strike wave in NSW appeared first on Solidarity Online.

People Do Not Live with Indignity Forever

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 07/06/2022 - 10:00pm in

Tags 

Labor, activism, unions

Starbucks workers rally and march in Seattle, WA, on April 23, 2022. Photo credit: Elliot Stoller / Creative Commons 2.0....

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Workers at NDIS provider walk out for pay and dignity

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 05/06/2022 - 5:55pm in

Support workers at NDIS provider Bedford in South Australia struck in late May for two days, for wage equity and better treatment by management. In a separate dispute, Bedford workers with disabilities are also gearing up to win wage justice under a new agreement.

According to the Bedford website, it is “the second-largest employer for people with disability in Australia”, with “1300 clients across 18 sites in South Australia”.

Solidarity spoke with Dave Kirner, District Secretary of the CFMEU Manufacturing Division in SA, about the disputes.

Kirner explains: “In the case of the striking workers, it’s often tradespeople who are supervisors, who are working with people with the disabilities.”

The strikers are fighting to keep their wages up with inflation, but there’s also an equity issue with two awards in the workforce. “One’s the Social Community and Disability Services Award, and the other is the Supported Employment Services Award. And there’s a 25 per cent pay differential between those two awards.” Members on the lower paid award want to be paid the difference.

The strikers are also standing up against “a culture of bullying and intimidation against workers who are trying to have their say about how to improve the workplace … shifts in management have led to poor workplace culture that needs to be brought back to a more progressive workplace culture,” Kirner said.

Equal pay

The second dispute concerns workers on the Disability Support Pension. The ongoing federal Disability Royal Commission has shone a spotlight on their exploitation of at places like Bedford. These workers are “manufacturing or doing hospitality work, or making furniture or timber products, quite successfully. They’re distributed to places like Bunnings, they’re good quality products …

“We have shop stewards on the site. We have member meetings down there and people particularly want to get a CPI-based pay rise. But they also want some fundamental changes to the supportive wage assessment tools … In the main, people really want to have equal pay for equal work.”

The current tool for measuring productivity “often assesses you on things that aren’t really relevant to your work performance … If you tested an average person on it, they’d probably fail, but it’s used here to compress wages down,” Kirner said.

“The Fair Work Commission’s looking at introducing a new system, which will provide increases to the tune of up to 25 per cent in most cases for most workers with disability.

“The new wage tool will go part of the way, but then the dialogue has to take place about how do you actually get it to a point where people are paid the full minimum rate, and not discriminated against, because of their disability.

“A person on a disability [pension] who turns up for 38 hours a week and is paid $14 an hour is paid probably 40 per cent less than the minimum rate.

“There’s no reason why a government can’t fund the institutions that are providing that work to pay minimum wage rates in line with the rest of Australia.

“It’s been done for workers in that sector who don’t have a disability. There really is no reason why it can’t be done for workers in the sector with a disability.”

The bargaining period for workers with a disability begins on 1 August. At the time of writing, meetings were continuing about the support workers’ agreement, with further industrial action planned if there was no satisfactory outcome.

Supportive

The Fair Work Act outlaws workers with disabilities joining the support workers’ industrial action—yet another reason Solidarity argues this bad law needs to be broken.

“Workers with disabilities who have been supportive of workers taking industrial action have been asking the question of their unions about their rights to take industrial action in the negotiation of their next agreement. There is certainly interest among workers with disabilities in doing that.”

The dispute and Royal Commission have brought out many supporters. “We’ve had lots of people ringing up or emailing saying, can we help? Is this something we can do? And other unions have said that this is good, what’s going on? Why are people paid so low?”

So what can supporters do to help? “Get more involved in the debates and the discussions. If you are a carer or a parent or a family member of a worker with a disability, feel free to contact a union to talk about people becoming union members.

“And we’ve got a lot more parents now saying they want to get involved in the collective bargaining debates and discussions. And they’re also talking about how do we have the debate about getting our kids into open employment with some of the Australian companies that are offering a full wage.

“We go down to these sites and we see how hard people work, how committed they are, how switched on they are, what a great job they do. No matter their circumstances, they shouldn’t be paid less than anybody else.”

By Robert Stainsby

The post Workers at NDIS provider walk out for pay and dignity appeared first on Solidarity Online.

Union fight for wage rises needed as cost of living set to keep rising

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 02/06/2022 - 3:09pm in

Tags 

unions, unions

Anger at low wages growth and the cost of living were major factors in the election result, after Labor’s Anthony Albanese said he’d “absolutely” support an increase in the minimum wage high enough to keep pace with inflation. But with the cost of living set to get worse, how bad are things going to get?

How much is the cost of living rising?

Inflation has hit 5.1 per cent for the past year. The cost of essentials has gone up even more, with “non-discretionary items” including food, petrol, power bills and insurance up 6.6 per cent.

Mortgages are rising, with interest rates on home loans set for further increases. Power bills are already climbing further, with benchmark prices set to jump another 18 per cent. Some are predicting further energy price chaos as gas prices surge.

The Reserve Bank expects overall inflation to keep climbing to 6 per cent by the end of this year before gradually declining. But it is still tipped to be near 5 per cent a year from now, and not back to 3 per cent for another two years.

And these are only predictions. As recently as November the Reserve Bank was predicting inflation would be down below 3 per cent already. Their predictions could easily be wrong again.

What does this mean for wages?

The result is that wages are shrinking in real terms. Over the year to March they went backwards by a sizeable 2.7 per cent. Wages have not grown for almost a decade—they are now at the same level as in September 2013.

Workers need an immediate wage rise to catch up for what we’ve lost already due to inflation, as well as protect us from the further price rises expected.

Would wage rises fuel inflation?

Some claim that wage increases would produce a wage price spiral, with Scott Morrison saying during the election campaign that wage rises to keep up with inflation would, “lead to higher interest rates and higher costs of living”.

But the inflation we are seeing is not being driven by wage increases. Supply chain disruptions as a result of the pandemic have driven up prices, creating temporary shortages of goods. This has been fuelled further by the war in Ukraine which has driven up the cost of petrol, energy prices and food.

And if they only rise in line with productivity growth they do not add to inflation at all.

What about unemployment?

Official unemployment is at almost a 50-year low of 3.9 per cent. Job numbers have rebounded rapidly following the COVID lockdowns. But a closer look shows things are not so rosy.

There are also a record number of people working multiple jobs. As Greg Jericho wrote at The Guardian this is not just down to the pandemic, in fact, “it is a trend that we have been seeing not just during the pandemic, but for the past eight years.”

People typically take up second jobs because they can’t get by on their main job alone.

So it’s no surprise that the growth in people working second or third jobs really began around 2014, in the period where wage growth slumped. Nearly a third of the new jobs created since the last election have gone to someone already working another job.

Are wages going to pick up?

As it is, we can expect further effective wage cuts. Wages growth before inflation is predicted to increase over the next two years to reach 3.75 per cent a year. But that means another two years of wages going down after inflation is factored in, or another cut to wages of 0.6 per cent.

And wages growth has not been picking up over the last six months, despite constant predictions that increases are on the way.

Even with unemployment already at its lowest since the 1970s, wages are only growing at a glacial pace. The reason for this is that workers are not fighting for pay rises. The decline in union power means fewer and fewer workers are covered by enterprise bargaining agreements, as low as 12 per cent in the private sector.

Although Anthony Albanese has said that “Labor has a plan to lift wages” he has not announced any policies that could deliver this.

But business can afford to pay, with the profit share of the economy at a record high.

We need a union campaign for wages right across the working class. Some NTEU branches at universities are pushing for 15 per cent wage rises over three years—even that could see wages fall behind the cost of living.

Thousands of delivery drivers at Global Express and StarTrack, members of the TWU, won pay deals last year that guarantee wage rises that at a minimum match inflation, as have some workers in manufacturing. But for workers’ living standards to rise, we need real wages to rise greater than inflation.

Our unions need to take up the fight.

By James Supple

The post Union fight for wage rises needed as cost of living set to keep rising appeared first on Solidarity Online.

Union fight for wage rises needed as cost of living set to keep rising

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 02/06/2022 - 3:00pm in

Anger at low wages growth and the cost of living were major factors in the election result, after Labor’s Anthony Albanese said he’d “absolutely” support an increase in the minimum wage high enough to keep pace with inflation. But with the cost of living set to get worse, how bad are things going to get?

How much is the cost of living rising?

Inflation has hit 5.1 per cent for the past year. The cost of essentials has gone up even more, with “non-discretionary items” including food, petrol, power bills and insurance up 6.6 per cent.

Mortgages are rising, with interest rates on home loans set for further increases. Power bills are already climbing further, with benchmark prices set to jump another 18 per cent. Some are predicting further energy price chaos as gas prices surge.

The Reserve Bank expects overall inflation to keep climbing to 6 per cent by the end of this year before gradually declining. But it is still tipped to be near 5 per cent a year from now, and not back to 3 per cent for another two years.

And these are only predictions. As recently as November the Reserve Bank was predicting inflation would be down below 3 per cent already. Their predictions could easily be wrong again.

What does this mean for wages?

The result is that wages are shrinking in real terms. Over the year to March they went backwards by a sizeable 2.7 per cent. Wages have not grown for almost a decade—they are now at the same level as in September 2013.

Workers need an immediate wage rise to catch up for what we’ve lost already due to inflation, as well as protect us from the further price rises expected.

Would wage rises fuel inflation?

Some claim that wage increases would produce a wage price spiral, with Scott Morrison saying during the election campaign that wage rises to keep up with inflation would, “lead to higher interest rates and higher costs of living”.

But the inflation we are seeing is not being driven by wage increases. Supply chain disruptions as a result of the pandemic have driven up prices, creating temporary shortages of goods. This has been fuelled further by the war in Ukraine which has driven up the cost of petrol, energy prices and food.

And if they only rise in line with productivity growth they do not add to inflation at all.

What about unemployment?

Official unemployment is at almost a 50-year low of 3.9 per cent. Job numbers have rebounded rapidly following the COVID lockdowns. But a closer look shows things are not so rosy.

There are also a record number of people working multiple jobs. As Greg Jericho wrote at The Guardian this is not just down to the pandemic, in fact, “it is a trend that we have been seeing not just during the pandemic, but for the past eight years.”

People typically take up second jobs because they can’t get by on their main job alone.

So it’s no surprise that the growth in people working second or third jobs really began around 2014, in the period where wage growth slumped. Nearly a third of the new jobs created since the last election have gone to someone already working another job.

Are wages going to pick up?

As it is, we can expect further effective wage cuts. Wages growth before inflation is predicted to increase over the next two years to reach 3.75 per cent a year. But that means another two years of wages going down after inflation is factored in, or another cut to wages of 0.6 per cent.

And wages growth has not been picking up over the last six months, despite constant predictions that increases are on the way.

Even with unemployment already at its lowest since the 1970s, wages are only growing at a glacial pace. The reason for this is that workers are not fighting for pay rises. The decline in union power means fewer and fewer workers are covered by enterprise bargaining agreements, as low as 12 per cent in the private sector.

Although Anthony Albanese has said that “Labor has a plan to lift wages” he has not announced any policies that could deliver this.

But business can afford to pay, with the profit share of the economy at a record high.

We need a union campaign for wages right across the working class. Some NTEU branches at universities are pushing for 15 per cent wage rises over three years—even that could see wages fall behind the cost of living.

Thousands of delivery drivers at Global Express and StarTrack, members of the TWU, won pay deals last year that guarantee wage rises that at a minimum match inflation, as have some workers in manufacturing. But for workers’ living standards to rise, we need real wages to rise greater than inflation.

Our unions need to take up the fight.

The post Union fight for wage rises needed as cost of living set to keep rising appeared first on Solidarity Online.

How Corporations are Using Inflation to Take Your...

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 01/06/2022 - 8:01am in

How Corporations are Using Inflation to Take Your Money

Corporations are using inflation as an excuse to raise their prices, hurting workers and consumers while they enjoy record profits. 

Prices are surging – but let’s be clear: corporations are not raising prices simply because of the increasing costs of supplies and labor. They could easily absorb these higher costs, but instead they are passing them on to consumers and even raising prices higher than those cost increases.

Corporations are getting away with this because they face little or no competition. If markets were competitive, companies would keep their prices down to prevent competitors from grabbing away customers. But in a market with only a few competitors able to coordinate prices, consumers have no real choice. 

As a result, corporations are raking in their highest profits in 70 years.

Are they using these record profits to raise their workers’ real wages? No. They’re handing out meager wage increases to attract or keep workers with one hand, but effectively eliminating those wage increases by raising prices with the other.

Wages grew 5.6 percent over the past year — but prices rose 8.5 percent. That means, adjusted for inflation, workers actually got a 2.9 percent pay cut.

So what are corporations doing with their record profits? Using them to boost share prices by buying back a record amount of their own shares of stock. Goldman Sachs expects buybacks to reach $1 trillion this year – an all-time high.

This amounts to a direct upward transfer of wealth from average working people’s wallets into CEOs’ and shareholders’ pockets. 

Billionaires have become at least $1.7 trillion richer during the pandemic, while CEO pay (based largely on stock values) is now at a record 350 times the typical worker’s pay.

The Federal Reserve intends to curb inflation by continuing to raise interest rates. That would be a grave mistake, because it doesn’t address corporate concentration and it will slow job and wage growth. The labor market isn’t “unhealthily tight,” as Fed Chair Jerome Powell claims. Corporations are unhealthily fat.

So what’s the real solution?

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First, tougher antitrust enforcement to address the growing concentration of the economy into the hands of a few giant corporations. Since the 1980s, over two-thirds of American industries have become more concentrated, enabling corporations to coordinate price increases.

Next, a temporary windfall profits tax that takes corporation’s record profits and redistributes them as direct payments to everyday Americans struggling to cover soaring prices.

Third, a ban on corporate stock buybacks. Buybacks were illegal before Ronald Reagan’s SEC legalized them in 1982 – and they should be made illegal again.

Fourth, higher taxes on the wealthy and on corporations. Corporate tax rates are at near-record lows, even as corporate profits are at a near-record highs.  And much of billionaires’ pandemic gains have escaped taxes altogether.

Lastly, stronger unions. As corporate power has grown, union membership has declined, and economic inequality has risen – the reason most workers haven’t seen a real raise in 40 years. All workers deserve the right to collectively bargain for higher wages and better benefits.

In short, the real problem is not inflation.The real problem is the increase in corporate power and the decline in worker power over the past 40 years. Unless we address this growing imbalance, corporations will continue siphoning off the economy’s gains into their CEOs’ and shareholders’ pockets — while everyday Americans get shafted.

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