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Sherman A1

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Gender: Male
Current location: St. Louis
Member since: Sat May 13, 2006, 07:37 AM
Number of posts: 13,566

Journal Archives

Look Back • Race hatred, workforce tensions explode in East St. Louis in 1917

EAST ST. LOUIS • Land was flat and plentiful. Cheap coal was just up the hill. Low-wage workers were easy to find.

Once a quiet ferry landing on the east bank of the Mississippi River, this town burst with growth in the late 19th Century. Industrialists built sprawling factories across the formerly swampy expanse of the American Bottom. Workers lived in drab houses nearby. It was a gritty town, but there was plenty of work.

East St. Louis, briefly called Illinoistown after its incorporation in 1859, was home to only 5,600 people in 1870. Then came the National Stockyard in 1873 and the Eads Bridge one year later. The city became a tangle of 22 railroads connecting St. Louis to the north, east and south.

By 1910, with 58,000 residents, the city and environs were home to many industries that burned mountains of sooty coal from nearby Illinois mines. The big payrolls included Aluminum Ore Co., American Steel Foundry, Republic Iron & Steel, Obear Nester Glass and Elliot Frog & Switch (a frog was part of a railroad switch).


All's Fair In Love And (The Rubber Used To Make) Condoms

Finding the right condom just got a little bit more like finding a good cabbage.

Picky shoppers might notice labels on condom boxes these days that say fair trade, non-GMO and all natural.

Condoms don't just fall off trees, but most of them do start there. The major ingredient in most condoms is natural latex, which comes from rubber trees. A lot has to happen to make tree sap into a Jimmy hat. A number of companies are trying to make that process more ethical, from tree to ... well, you know.

There are Sir Richard's, GLYDE, Fair Squared, Condomi, L. Condoms, French Letter and now Sustain, which hit U.S. stores this summer.


US take Guatemala to arbitration for anti-union violence

It took over six years of a tortuous and hard fought legal battle, but Guatemalan workers have finally reasons to celebrate.
Today the United States has agreed to take Guatemala to international arbitration for violating workers´ rights under the DR-CAFTA (Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement).

It is the very first time in history that one country has sought international arbitration against another for a violation of labour standards.

The dispute started back in April 2008, when six Guatemalan unions and the AFL-CIO filed a complaint with the US Office of Trade raising a number of serious concerns, including trade union violence.

The petition argued that Guatemala failed to enforce its own labour laws and its commitments to respect, promote and realise core worker´s rights.


State still owes city $2.5B for school funding

The UFT joined public school parents, advocates and elected officials on the steps of City Hall on Sept. 18 to put the state on notice: the $2.5 billion that it owes the city’s public schools from the 2007 settlement of a landmark school-funding lawsuit is past due.

“We can’t wait” is the rallying cry and the hash tag for a social media campaign spearheaded by the Alliance for Quality Education to remind state officials of what the billions of dollars could provide for public students across the state: everything from smaller class sizes and science labs to after-school programs and AP courses.

“As a parent and an educator, I’m here to tell you we have waited too long,” said Karen Alford, the UFT vice president for elementary schools, at the rally. “Our students deserve smaller classes, afterschool programs, arts and music programs, and community learning schools.”

Alliance for Quality Education is asking people to make a #WeCantWait sign and write why they can’t wait for New York State to fully fund public schools and then share that picture across social media with #WeCantWait and at @AQE_NY on Twitter.


Charleston fast food workers strike shortly after Labor Day

On Thursday, September 4, the largest fast-food-worker strike in United States history took place in more than 150 cities, including: New York, Detroit, Chicago and even our very own, Charleston, SC. At 8 AM, workers, organizers, and activists, gathered outside of the Taco Bell on James Island, demanding a fair wage of $15 an hour and the right to form a union. Mid-day, they regrouped at Brittlebank Park and marched to the McDonald’s downtown holding banners and signs, chanting: “forward together, not one step back,” as printed on the back of their shirts. Twenty-five brave fast food workers blockaded all four lanes of the high-traffic Spring St. for over an hour. It was the largest civil disobedience event in Charleston since the November 2011 occupation of Marion Square, when 10 Occupy Charleston protesters were arrested.

Cherri Delesline, a mother of four, currently employed at a McDonald’s in North Charleston, was a dynamic ringleader leading chants such as,
“I believe that we will win,” and “we can’t survive on $7.25,” keeping up energy within the group. Earlier that week, Cherri spoke at the CofC Annual Labor Day Celebration as a part of a panel about labor laws and unions. Cherri spoke about her struggles surviving off of a $7.25 minimum wage and remarked, “Everyone should be a part of a union. When I wasn’t, my voice wasn’t being heard.” This and other struggles, resulting from working in a Right to Work state that scorns labor unions are shared among other fast food workers in South Carolina.


Failure to Heed Concerns of Workers Playing Role in Walmart’s Poor Sales

Recently, some Wall Street analysts have predicted that big box stores like Walmart will meet their demise.

Why? Not only are customers turning increasingly to online retailers or smaller, more convenient stores—which cut into the market share of big box retailers—but also because business practices like those of Walmart continually disregard the well-being of their workers, which is also bad for business.

Walmart began seeing a real problem with keeping its shelves stocked last year, as they continued to cut more and more hours from their employees’ schedules. Not only does this mean that workers continue to struggle to get enough hours and pay to make ends meet, but also that customers get angry or frustrated and turn elsewhere—which many weren’t shy about expressing on social media with photos of empty shelves, or even expired food.

Walmart workers have been talking about this issue for quite some time now, but that has not stopped America’s largest retailer from continuing to try to put profits above the well-being of the hard-working people they employ.


Income inequality last year rose in 15 states

The nation became more unequal last year.

The Gini Index, a measure of income inequality, was higher, in a statistically significant way, in 2013 than in 2012, rising from 0.476 to 0.481, according to a new Census Bureau report. A score of zero suggests perfect equality where all households have equal income, while a score of one suggests perfect inequality, where one household has it all, and the rest have none.

Alaska was the only state to see its Gini Index score decline, while 15 states posted increases. D.C. and the remaining 34 states saw no change. The 15 states that saw income inequality rise last year were: Arizona, California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington.

Those results reflect a multi-year trend: Earlier this month, the Federal Reserve reported that “nly families at the very top of the income distribution saw widespread income gains between 2010 and 2013.”


Governor: Montana can cut carbon, keep jobs

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Gov. Steve Bullock said Friday that Montana can meet the Obama administration's goal of reducing climate pollution while protecting energy-related jobs and avoiding the closure of coal plants that generate the bulk of the state's emissions.

The White House plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030 has generated a backlash in many coal-dependent states.

Republicans in Montana have sought to capitalize on the issue ahead of November's election, asserting the climate plan amounts to a war on coal.

With Friday's announcement, Bullock, a Democrat, moved to blunt such criticisms with alternatives that cut emissions but don't shut down coal plants. Those include the huge Colstrip Steam Electric Station run by PPL Montana, a 2,400-megawatt facility that churns out about 15 million tons of carbon dioxide a year, or about half the state's total.


September 21

September 21: International Banana Festival & National Pecan Cookie Day,

A time to share with family & friends!

Labor Files Ethics Complaint Against NJ Governor Over Pension Investments

The New Jersey AFL-CIO on September 12 filed a complaint with the state’s Ethics Commission charging that investments from state pension funds were steered toward investment firms that made big campaign contributions to Republican Gov. Chris Christie and his allies.

“Despite clear boundaries created to shield pension investments from the influence of politics, it appears that the State Investment Council under Robert Grady’s direction and the Christie administration’s leadership clearly violated those rules,” said Charles Wowkanech, president of the state’s AFL-CIO. “We urge the State Ethics Commission to investigate this pay-to-play scheme on behalf of taxpayers who are footing the bill for this abuse and pensioners being shortchanged of their retirement funds.”

Grady, Managing Director of Cheyenne Capital as well as Chairman of the New Jersey State Investment Council, was a prominent executive of the Carlyle Group until 2009.

The Investment Council advises and make recommendations regarding investments to the state’s pension funds.

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