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women-owned worker coops & the fight against the feminization of poverty

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.
[more inside]
posted by divined by radio on Jul 22, 2014 - 15 comments

'workers who are "flexible"—that is, dispensable'

"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]
posted by the man of twists and turns on May 20, 2013 - 120 comments

Because clearly he does 1,795x the work

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.
posted by Freon on May 1, 2013 - 65 comments

Dangerous Work

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]
posted by enn on Mar 31, 2013 - 21 comments

Disposable Girls, Uninsured Laborers

“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]
posted by psoas on Jan 28, 2013 - 50 comments

Strike At The Strand

The workers at Manhattan's famous Strand Bookstore are currently in conflict with management over a severe new contract that radically reduces benefits. Bookstore employee and cartoonist Greg Farrell has decided to explain the conflicts and background of the problem via comic book.
posted by The Whelk on Apr 11, 2012 - 63 comments

Massacre feared in Kazakhstan

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; protests (YT) during independence day celebrations escalated into clashes with security forces. Latest reports suggest protesters are gathering again and 1,500 marines are moving in.
posted by Abiezer on Dec 16, 2011 - 23 comments

“Today we have a new group of satirists who, at the same time that they bite the bourgeoisie, use only their lips, but not their teeth”

While he was contributing to the New Yorker as Syd Hoff, he was also contributing to the Daily Worker and New Masses as A. Redfield — the pseudonym he adopted for his radical work, The Ruling Clawss (Daily Worker, 1935) a collection of surprisingly relevant cartoons.
posted by The Whelk on Oct 29, 2011 - 21 comments

Bullseye

A while back, Gawker broke the story of a former manager suing Target as part of a series about life at the notoriously anti-union store. Since then many more employees have come forward with stories about "The sketchiest place I've ever worked." (Target Previously)
posted by The Whelk on Oct 23, 2011 - 141 comments

Every child had a pretty good shot To get at least as far as their old man got.

"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]
posted by Toekneesan on Sep 20, 2011 - 271 comments

"My dead migrant has fingerprints, but nobody claims her. *I* claim her; she is mine."

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]
posted by zarq on Sep 7, 2011 - 7 comments

A Half-Century of Rights, Gone

Republicans remove fiscal measures of Wisconsin's controversial budget repair bill, no longer need quorum denied to them by the 14 AWOL Senate Democrats. After seven minutes and over the objections of the Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, the bill is revised and accepted. The bill passes in the Senate 18-1. Previously. Before that Before even that.
posted by shesdeadimalive on Mar 9, 2011 - 1264 comments

We are those lions

Jayaben Desai passes away. Ms. Desai came to national prominence in the UK for her leading role in the 1976-78 strike at Grunwick Processing's photo processing labs in North London, a dispute that shattered stereotypes about south Asian women workers in Britain, in the face of police violence, the antics of the McWhirter brothers and ambiguous support from the official trade union movement. [more inside]
posted by Abiezer on Dec 28, 2010 - 5 comments

I am the man who arranges the blocks

A Complete History of the Soviet Union through the eyes of a humble worker, arranged to the melody of Tetris by Pig With The Face Of A Boy. (previously)
posted by HumanComplex on Aug 18, 2010 - 12 comments

"This human rights abuse is universal, and no one should claim immunity from its reach or from the responsibility to confront it."

This year, for the first time ever, the U.S. included itself in the State Department's annual report on human trafficking. Most Americans associate human trafficking with sexually exploited women and children, but the definition includes guest laborers who have been trapped into indentured servitude as well. "More investigations and prosecutions have taken place for sex trafficking offenses than for labor trafficking offenses, but law enforcement identified a comparatively higher number of labor trafficking victims as such cases often involve more victims.” The full report--with victim stories, "TIP Heroes," methodology, definitions, etc.--is here.
posted by availablelight on Jul 31, 2010 - 10 comments

Employment Rights for Domestic Workers In New York State

New York State is now poised to pass the nation's first laws mandating that domestic workers receive overtime pay, vacation and sick days and the right to a weekly day of rest. The legislation signed by the state Senate yesterday is based in part on the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, which was conceived and lobbied for by Domestic Workers United, who estimate there are over 200,000 nannies, caregivers, and housekeepers in the New York Metropolitan area. Domestic Workers are currently exempt from most US employment laws and as a result remain unprotected by basic workplace guarantees that are given to most employees. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 3, 2010 - 111 comments

Communists, Socialists, And Anarachists Oh My

The Internationale, the anthem of international socialism, has been sung in many different ways. The original French. In Irish - Gaelic. In Russian. Hungarian. Romanian. By Billy Bragg. By Alistair Hulett and Jimmy Gregory. As Disco. As Chinese rock karaoke. As Gypsy guitar.
posted by The Whelk on May 1, 2010 - 35 comments

"Seiri, Seiton, Seisō, Seiketsu, Shitsuke and Safety"

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]
posted by zarq on Apr 15, 2010 - 55 comments

I bought my baby a red radio

RadioLabour "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.
posted by Abiezer on Feb 27, 2010 - 4 comments

Workshop of the world

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.
posted by Abiezer on Feb 19, 2010 - 36 comments

funemployment

How a New Jobless Era Will Transform America
The Great Recession may be over, but this era of high joblessness is probably just beginning. Before it ends, it will likely change the life course and character of a generation of young adults. It will leave an indelible imprint on many blue-collar men. It could cripple marriage as an institution in many communities. It may already be plunging many inner cities into a despair not seen for decades. Ultimately, it is likely to warp our politics, our culture, and the character of our society for years to come. (via rw)
posted by kliuless on Feb 11, 2010 - 84 comments

Sixteen workers are killed a day

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.
posted by shetterly on Nov 16, 2009 - 104 comments

Building Towers, Cheating Workers

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 is emerging. [more inside]
posted by Rufus T. Firefly on Apr 7, 2009 - 64 comments

“…If you stand up straight, people can’t ride your back. And that’s what we did. We stood up straight.”

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]
posted by univac on Apr 4, 2009 - 20 comments

British jobs for British workers?

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.
posted by Grrlscout on Feb 1, 2009 - 112 comments

Masters of the Nation

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.
posted by Abiezer on Jan 6, 2008 - 9 comments

Announcing: The International I.T. Workers Union

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.
posted by Babylonian on May 1, 2007 - 73 comments

Iran: the hidden power

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.
posted by Abiezer on Apr 14, 2007 - 26 comments

Global sweatshop lobby

"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.
posted by Abiezer on Apr 6, 2007 - 20 comments

24HourShow

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.
posted by Miko on Jun 15, 2006 - 6 comments

I tain't unedumacated!

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?
posted by jscalzi on Jul 3, 2005 - 87 comments

10 most bizarre employment cases of 2004

10 most bizarre employment cases of 2004 - At least two of these cases were previously discussed on Mefi. (1), (2)
posted by madamjujujive on Apr 30, 2005 - 8 comments

Plague burier, spitboy & leech collector: worst jobs in history

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.
posted by madamjujujive on Mar 20, 2005 - 21 comments

Nothing that is beautiful will harm the workers

"Greek art will never keep the workers from claiming their world; in fact, it will help them to realise what a stunted life they have hitherto led." wrote one of the supporters of the Workers Educational Association. The WEA was started to provide a college level education to workers. It's rival, the Pleb League, accused them of selling out to capitalists. The classics have inspired people, and continue to do so today.
posted by QIbHom on Jan 29, 2005 - 12 comments

Commies Need Art Too

Labor Arts. "Images that help us understand the past and present lives of working people."
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken on Jun 19, 2004 - 8 comments

Sebastiao

Sebastiao Salgado, author of Workers and Migrations (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.
posted by vacapinta on Sep 2, 2002 - 3 comments

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?
posted by wackybrit on Jun 22, 2001 - 22 comments

A study

A study 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).
posted by hazyjane on Jun 15, 2001 - 11 comments

union.amazon.com ?

union.amazon.com ? 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".
posted by owillis on Nov 16, 2000 - 8 comments

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