Economic and Social Justice

Economic and Social Justice (154)

The notion that they do nothing but drain public coffers is a myth.

Last October, Allysha Almada, a 28-year old nurse at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, California, was invited to the White House Summit on Worker Voice, where she presented President Barack Obama with a stethoscope engraved with the message: "Listen to Nurses."

The near-billionaire governor keeps insisting his policies increase opportunities for Illinoisans. But the numbers tell a different story.

Expanding New York City’s housing supply is not enough to expand affordable housing.

A UC labor union is calling for a speaker’s boycott at UC Berkeley for the duration of the spring semester, urging the campus to improve its treatment of subcontracted workers.

In a press release published Thursday, the labor union, AFSCME Local 3299,said it wants UC Berkeley to hire the nearly 100 subcontracted campus workers employed by Performance First, ABM and LAZ Parking as direct employees.

Prompted by the ongoing crisis of child migrants from Central American, Senate Democrats are trying to get due process for “vulnerable” asylum seekers.

The words on the flag of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers are a perfect summation of the labor movement at its best: “JUSTICE ON THE JOB, SERVICE TO THE COMMUNITY.”

It is that sense of solidarity that drives aggrieved workers to reach out to union organizers in the first place. They know that they are not just signing up to join a local or negotiate a contract, but to be a part of a movement that has been the last line of defense for many a worker since those Mill Girls first walked off the line in Lowell, Massachusetts in 1845. It is a movement that has come out of the shadows of its craft union past to embrace an industrial unionism that places its priorities in growing the ranks of the organized.

The National Retail Federation is fond of pointing out that “retail means jobs.” And it’s true: the retail industry today provides one in ten private-sector jobs in the U.S., a number set to grow in the next decade.  

Yet new findings show those jobs may be keeping retail workers and their families from rising up the career ladder, exacerbating our country’s growing inequality. The findings from the Center for Popular Democracydemonstrate that, for women and people of color especially, working in retail often means instability and low pay. Both groups make up the lion’s share of cashiers, movers, and other poorly paid positions and barely figure in the upper ranks of management. In general merchandise—including big-box stores such as Target and Wal-Mart—women hold more than 80 percent of cashier jobs, the lowest-paid position. And in the food and beverage industry, women make up approximately half of the workforce but less than a fifth of managers.

5 Reasons the Top Tax Rate Should Be 80%

It came up in the Republican debate again, the curious notion that striving for less inequality is somehow a form of "class warfare." The implication is that the richest people earned everything they have through their own initiative and hard work. But most of them have exploited an American financial system that has facilitated the transfer of our national wealth to the people who manage that wealth.

In our post-modern (or post-post-modern?) age, we are supposedly transcending the material certainties of the past. The virtual world of the Internet is replacing the “real,” material world, as theory asks us to question the very notion of reality.  Yet that virtual world turns out to rely heavily on some distinctly old systems and realities, including the physical labor of those who produce, care for, and provide the goods and services for the post-industrial information economy. 

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