One Generation’s Time: The Legacy of Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes
(YouTube, 1 hour). The story of two activists who fought to improve the lives of Filipino workers in Alaskan canneries, their murders by members of a street gang, and the eight-year investigation that ultimately found Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos responsible for their deaths. [more inside]
Sarah McKinley and Violeta Duncan for Community Wealth: Worker Cooperatives Address Low-Wage Work and the Feminization of Poverty
Women of color working low-wage jobs must often navigate unregulated work conditions, as much of their work is domestic labor—caregiving, house cleaning, child care—an industry that, historically, is not only low-paid but also exploitative. The National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), a 10,000 membership-based organization for nannies, housecleaners, and caregivers, describes, in its 2012 Home Economics: The Invisible and Unregulated World of Domestic Work [PDF] report, the substandard conditions of domestic work, including lack of employment benefits, meager wages, exposure to toxic chemicals, and physical abuse.
Such unhealthy work environments and insufficient pay have led a number of these low-wage women to take matters in to their own hands. Many have formed women-owned worker cooperatives that ensure good pay and healthy working conditions, help women overcome the isolation and vulnerability of domestic work, and empower women to build wealth for themselves, their families, and their communities.
"Everyone Only Wants Temps"
- My stint doing "on demand" grunt work for one of America's hottest growth industries
It's not a pretty formula, but it works. With 600 offices and a workforce of 400,000—more employees than Target or Home Depot—Labor Ready is the undisputed king of the blue-collar temp industry. Specializing in "tough-to-fill, high-turnover positions," the company dispatches people to dig ditches, demolish buildings, remove debris, stock giant fulfillment warehouses—jobs that take their toll on a body. [more inside]
Bloomerg compiles a list of the 250 highest CEO-to-employee-pay ratios
, estimated based on publicly available information. They also publish any rebuttals issued by those companies.
As OSHA Emphasizes Safety, Long-Term Health Risks Fester
: “The federal budget for protecting workers is less than half of that set aside for protecting fish and wildlife.″ [more inside]
“Never takes a vacation or holiday. Never asks for a raise. Never costs you a dime for slack time. (When the workload drops, you drop her.)" A brief history of temps. [more inside]
Seventy feared dead and five hundred wounded
by riot police in Zhanaozen, west Kazakhstan. Workers in the oil town
have been on strike since May
) during independence day celebrations
escalated into clashes with security forces. Latest reports
suggest protesters are gathering again and 1,500 marines are moving in.
"I never felt like passing out in a warehouse and I never felt treated like a piece of crap in any other warehouse but this one," Goris said. "They can do that because there aren't any jobs in the area."
The Allentown newspaper The Morning Call investigates life inside of one of Amazon's newest warehouses. [more inside]
A year ago this August, 72 migrant workers -- 58 men and 14 women -- 'were on their way to the US border when they were murdered by a drug gang
at a ranch in northern Mexico, in circumstances that remain unexplained. Since then, a group of Mexican journalists and writers have created' a "Day of the Dead-style Virtual Altar" Spanish-language website, 72migrantes.com
, to commemorate each of the victims, some of whom have never been identified. The New York Review of Books has English translations of five of their profiles. [more inside]
The National Labor Committee
, a watchdog group that investigates working conditions at foreign factories producing goods for US corporations, has released a report on the KYE Factory in Guangdong, China
. KYE manufactures outsourced products for Microsoft (their biggest customer), HP, Best Buy, Samsung, Foxconn, Acer, Logitech, and ASUS. The report focuses heavily on the workers producing Microsoft products
. In response, Microsoft says they will investigate the allegations
, as their vendor code of conduct (pdf)
bans much of the abuses uncovered by the report. Photo Slideshow / NLC report summary [more inside]
"presents 'The Solidarity Report', a half hour audiocast of international union news every Sunday morning." Main mover and presenter Marc Bélanger describes the journalistic and educational goals of the new service
Health and safety issues at an 'investment casting' (AKA 'lost wax') factory near Ningbo.
Seventh in a series of photo essays (1 2 3 4 5 6
) by Hong Kong-based independent photographer Alex Hofford
, looking at life and work in the factories of southern China where the world's stuff gets made.
Sixteen workers are killed a day
"Every eight hour workday, two people are killed on the job. Most companies are never prosecuted for negligence, even after repeated warnings that their workers were in danger. Meanwhile, workers who blow the whistle face threats and retaliation at the workplace." In a short video examining several cases of worker deaths, David Uhlmann suggests the sanction for an offense that results in a worker's death should be as great as the sanction for killing a deer out of season.
The Dark Side of Dubai.
"Do-buy" was meant to be a Middle-Eastern Shangri-La, a glittering monument
to Arab enterprise and western capitalism. But as hard times arrive in the city state that rose from the desert sands, an uglier story
. [more inside]
When Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated April 4, 1968, he was helping sanitation workers in Memphis form a union.
In 1967, SCLC initiated the Poor People's Campaign
to unify the African-American civil rights movement with working people's movements more generally. In MLK's words, "It must not be just black people, it must be all poor people. We must include American Indians, Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, and even poor whites." [more inside]
British jobs for British workers? Workers at a Total refinery in north Lincolnshire walked out in protest
over an Italian firm importing Italian and Portuguese workers to complete an expansion. Since Wednesday, the walk out at the Lindsey refinery has snowballed into a mass industrial action across the UK
. The majority of the strikes and protests have been by energy workers, though some in other sectors (steel) hit by closures and vulnerable to job offshoring have joined the action in solidarity. Brown's government is trying to respond
, without much success.
The China Labour Bulletin reports on the state of the worker's movement in China
and sees a potential role for the official All-China Federation of Trade Unions in the light of the new Labour Contract Law
that came into effect January 1. CLB director Han Dongfang has previously been less than enthusiastic
about the ACFTU's potential as a genuine voice for workers. Some businesses have already
moved to preempt what protections
the new law offers, and despite a decade of criticism, worker abuse persists in China
Today is May 1st, also known as International Workers Day. International Workers Day began when 340,000 in Chicago, Milwaukee and other cities struck for the eight-hour day in 1886. Flash forward to today where for many workers in the I.T. industry, years of 60-hour weeks and taking classes on your own dime to keep up with technology leave you in the unemployment line, after being laid off with no notice. For years
, people have been calling
for the I.T. Workers of the world to unite and form a unified labor union. I.T. workers should form a union for the same reason that workers have always formed unions: together we have more power to improve the terms and conditions of our employment than we do as individuals. This is an announcement and a call to action to the world-wide IT worker community to become involved in the development of a new resource — The International I.T. Workers Union
that will represent the interests of I.T. Workers around the world.
The war in Iran has already begun.
"Iran's leadership proclaims its confidence and ambition but it draws power from a western threat that enables it to target and crush grassroots protest." Opinion and analysis from the authors of Iran on the Brink
"In a historically unprecedented visit, the influential Chinese scholar and labor law expert Liu Cheng arrived in Washington, D.C. this week to garner support from US legislators and labor leaders for a law
that is pending not before the US Congress but before
the National People’s Congress
in China."Global Labor Strategies
' recent report Undue Influence
has prompted comment that US corporate advocacy in China is retarding democracy
. The US-China Business Council
rejects this characterization of their lobbying efforts (China Law Blog
broadly agrees). Their European counterparts
think better compliance and implementation are key to improving protection for Chinese workers
When Everyone Else's Party is Your Job
The 24-Hour Show is a documentary project and exhibit that offers a glimpse of Las Vegas through the eyes of the people who live and work in the city. It's based on interviews with a diverse cadré of casino and entertainment workers who have made Las Vegas home.
Workers in the U.S. South Too Uneducated to Build Cars?
Automobile manufacturer Toyota announced that it would build a new car factory in Woodstock, Ontario, even though several US states offered greater subsidies and tax breaks to the company. The reason?
[M]uch of that extra money would have been eaten away by higher training costs than are necessary for the Woodstock project... Nissan and Honda have encountered difficulties getting new plants up to full production in recent years in Mississippi and Alabama due to an untrained - and often illiterate - workforce. In Alabama, trainers had to use 'pictorials' to teach some illiterate workers how to use high-tech plant equipment.
(Also a contributing factor -- Canada's national health service, which apparently drives down the overall cost of each individual worker.)
To be fair to the US South, the problem may be more apparent there because of the region's zealousness in competing for automobile factories. But the point remains -- Toyota is saying US workers are so poorly educated that it's not worth the effort to train them. Whom to blame? And how many more factory (and other) jobs will have to be lost to better-educated workforces in other countries before this pings on the national radar?
10 most bizarre employment cases of 2004
- At least two of these cases were previously discussed on Mefi. (1)
The worst jobs in history.
Channel 4 takes you on a journey through 2,000 years of British history and the worst jobs of each era for minions like you and me. If you are curious whether you are best suited to be an Anglo-Saxon guillemot egg collector or a Georgian loblolly boy, take the career guide quiz
. (via Malbec.
"Images that help us understand the past and present lives of working people."
, author of Workers
(a beautiful book to share with others) and Earl Dotter,
author of The Quiet Sickness: A Photographic Chronicle of Hazardous Work in America
. Photographers of Labor.
Staff shortages are rife in the UK. University staff, midwives, teachers,
police, pretty much every profession (especially unskilled).
In nearly every shop or workplace I've walked past in the past few weeks I've seen 'Staff Wanted' signs galore. Too many jobs, not enough workers. With the lowest unemployment rate in 20 years,
and average pay rises of 5% per year,
is there any hope of filling these positions anytime soon?
from researchers at the University of Alberta concludes that unhappy workers perform their tasks at the same rate as happy workers, but with about half as many errors (more inside).
Customer service reps at Amazon.com are trying to form a union. Amazon says "We don't have unions at Amazon and don't really need them".