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Tue Jul 10, 2012, 02:58 PM

The austerity arrives ..

and if people think this is an isolated incident I've got a fine bridge to sell them ...

Scranton, Pa., slashes workers' pay to minimum wage

By Patrick Rizzo

Unions representing civil servants in the city of Scranton, Pa., are girding for battle after the mayor announced recently that he would be cutting pay for police, firefighters, garbage collectors and other public workers to minimum wage.

The unions' attorney, Thomas Jennings, told the Scranton Times-Tribune Tuesday that they would be filing a lawsuit against Mayor Chris Doherty in federal court under the Fair Labor Standards Act accusing the city of failing to pay wages on time and failing to pay overtime.

The lawsuit will be among several legal actions the unions may take after Doherty made the announcement last Friday that the city's 398 workers would be paid $7.25 an hour because the city was running out of money.

The Times-Tribune, quoting City Business Manager Ryan McGowan, reported that as of Monday the city had $133,000 in cash, but owed $3.4 million in vendor bills. One of those bills was health insurance, McGowan said.

Jennings said the unions also will again ask a local judge to hold Doherty in contempt of court for violating a judge's order to pay workers their full wages.

More here - http://bottomline.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/07/10/12659748-scranton-pa-slashes-workers-pay-to-minimum-wage


(cross-posted in GD with a similar article - in which I'm getting ripped for suggesting that *gasp* someone raise some taxes ... how ever will the rich folk live?)

24 replies, 4638 views

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Arrow 24 replies Author Time Post
Reply The austerity arrives .. (Original post)
TBF Jul 2012 OP
midnight Jul 2012 #1
mike_c Jul 2012 #2
TBF Jul 2012 #3
HiPointDem Jul 2012 #17
PETRUS Jul 2012 #4
Starry Messenger Jul 2012 #5
TBF Jul 2012 #6
Starry Messenger Jul 2012 #7
limpyhobbler Jul 2012 #12
socialist_n_TN Jul 2012 #8
socialist_n_TN Jul 2012 #9
TBF Jul 2012 #10
limpyhobbler Jul 2012 #11
TBF Jul 2012 #13
socialist_n_TN Jul 2012 #14
Starry Messenger Jul 2012 #15
white_wolf Jul 2012 #16
HiPointDem Jul 2012 #18
TBF Jul 2012 #19
PETRUS Jul 2012 #20
TBF Jul 2012 #21
TheKentuckian Jul 2012 #22
white_wolf Jul 2012 #23
PETRUS Jul 2012 #24

Response to TBF (Original post)

Tue Jul 10, 2012, 03:14 PM

1. I think scrooge scrapper tried to warn us too.d Here is what they posted before they were destroyed.

A note of appreciation from the rich

Let's be honest: you'll never win the lottery.

On the other hand, the chances are pretty good that you'll slave away at some miserable job the rest of your life. That's because you were in all likelihood born into the wrong social class. Let's face it — you're a member of the working caste. Sorry!

As a result, you don't have the education, upbringing, connections, manners, appearance, and good taste to ever become one of us. In fact, you'd probably need a book the size of the yellow pages to list all the unfair advantages we have over you. That's why we're so relieved to know that you still continue to believe all those silly fairy tales about "justice" and "equal opportunity" in America.

Of course, in a hierarchical social system like ours, there's never been much room at the top to begin with. Besides, it's already occupied by us — and we like it up here so much that we intend to keep it that way. But at least there's usually someone lower in the social hierarchy you can feel superior to and kick in the teeth once in a while. Even a lowly dishwasher can easily find some poor slob further down in the pecking order to sneer and spit at. So be thankful for migrant workers, prostitutes, and homeless street people.

Always remember that if everyone like you were economically secure and socially privileged like us, there would be no one left to fill all those boring, dangerous, low-paid jobs in our economy. And no one to fight our wars for us, or blindly follow orders in our totalitarian corporate institutions. And certainly no one to meekly go to their grave without having lived a full and creative life. So please, keep up the good work!

You also probably don't have the same greedy, compulsive drive to possess wealth, power, and prestige that we have. And even though you may sincerely want to change the way you live, you're also afraid of the very change you desire, thus keeping you and others like you in a nervous state of limbo. So you go through life mechanically playing your assigned social role, terrified what others would think should you ever dare to "break out of the mold."

Naturally, we try to play you off against each other whenever it suits our purposes: high-waged workers against low-waged, unionized against non-unionized, Black against White, male against female, American workers against Japanese against Mexican against.... We continually push your wages down by invoking "foreign competition," "the law of supply and demand," "national security," or "the bloated federal deficit." We throw you on the unemployed scrap heap if you step out of line or jeopardize our profits. And to give you an occasional break from the monotony of our daily economic blackmail, we allow you to participate in our stage-managed electoral shell games, better known to you ordinary folks as "elections." Happily, you haven't a clue as to what's really happening — instead, you blame "Aliens," "Tree-hugging Environmentalists," "Niggers," "Jews," Welfare Queens," and countless others for your troubled situation.

We're also very pleased that many of you still embrace the "work ethic," even though most jobs in our economy degrade the environment, undermine your physical and emotional health, and basically suck your one and only life right out of you. We obviously don't know much about work, but we're sure glad you do!

Of course, life could be different. Society could be intelligently organized to meet the real needs of the general population. You and others like you could collectively fight to free yourselves from our domination. But you don't know that. In fact, you can't even imagine that another way of life is possible. And that's probably the greatest, most significant achievement of our system — robbing you of your imagination, your creativity, your ability to think and act for yourself.

So we'd truly like to thank you from the bottom of our heartless hearts. Your loyal sacrifice makes possible our corrupt luxury; your work makes our system work. Thanks so much for "knowing your place" — without even knowing it!

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Response to midnight (Reply #1)

Tue Jul 10, 2012, 04:46 PM

2. rec'd the OP just to get your response more widely read....

Very nicely done!

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Response to mike_c (Reply #2)

Tue Jul 10, 2012, 05:06 PM

3. Agree - sometimes I wish we could rec individual posts on this site. nt

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Response to midnight (Reply #1)

Thu Jul 12, 2012, 07:01 AM

17. you should make that an op in gd. +1

 

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Response to TBF (Original post)

Tue Jul 10, 2012, 05:18 PM

4. From my neck of the woods...

Judge: Detroit does not have to bargain with police union

By Karen Bouffard
Detroit News Lansing Bureau

Lansing— The city of Detroit is not required to bargain with the Detroit Police Officers Association, whose contract expired June 30, a judge ruled Monday.

The ruling by Ingham County Circuit Judge Paula Manderfield means the union's 2,130 members have no idea how much they are being paid....

http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20120709/METRO01/207090416/1361/Judge--Detroit-does-not-have-to-bargain-with-police-union

(more at the link)


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Response to TBF (Original post)

Tue Jul 10, 2012, 05:55 PM

5. WTF.

Wow, this isn't just austerity, it's the failure of late capitalism itself. More and more cities are going to be going dark like this. If we don't get something like a new New Deal soon, or some kind of federal bailout program for Main Street, things are going to get ugly, fast.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #5)

Tue Jul 10, 2012, 06:08 PM

6. Yup, that is exactly what I thought when I saw this -

today it is Scranton. By next year it is the next 1000 cities who see how it can work ..

At this rate my only hope is that the police officers are pissed and change allegiance (rather than go off and join the private security companies that rich folks will be hiring to protect themselves). Odds are 50/50 on that ...

Seriously scary shit.

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Response to TBF (Reply #6)

Tue Jul 10, 2012, 06:22 PM

7. My mom was just telling me last week about the sanitation strike in NYC

when she lived there in the late '60's. Humans can go about 48 hours without garbage service before total chaos ensues. Combined with a pissed off fire and police service, this is going to be extremely dangerous. Shit.

There is so much fucking money in this country. I guess we'll see how long Wall Street decides it can watch us turn into little third-world enclaves before they decide they can do without those tax cuts after all.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #5)

Tue Jul 10, 2012, 11:39 PM

12. Something like a New Deal could help get the economy out of the depression.

As long as we don't finance it by borrowing money from banks, and end up with the government more leveraged with the banks holding all the cards.

Better to pay for it by taxing banks and oil companies. Or break up the banks. Federalize some parts to convert their holdings into public holdings. We can also pay for some by federalizing some lager oil companies and allowing their following years revenue to move into the federal treasury.

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Response to TBF (Original post)

Tue Jul 10, 2012, 10:43 PM

8. Well on the bright (?) side.........

This type of thing is probably what it will take to bring the masses up to speed on the class war. And of course this type of shit has a cascading effect in the private sector too. About all that's left that's organized are the public workers and if they get busted out, the private sector is gonna be REALLY in a world of hurt. So when those libertarian engineers are making half of what they were making six months ago, with no benefits, things will get ugly fast.

As Lenin said, sometimes years go by with nothing going on and sometimes years go by in months. I think this is soon to be the "years go by in months" part.

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Response to socialist_n_TN (Reply #8)

Tue Jul 10, 2012, 10:49 PM

9. BTW, I'm sure you all noticed that contracts........

are only for the wealthy, not the "common people".

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Response to socialist_n_TN (Reply #8)

Tue Jul 10, 2012, 10:51 PM

10. Sadly, once again, I think you're correct.

And I bet we won't see what we should see - striking police officers unions taking up the picket line in solidarity with their brothers/sisters in Scranton. That would wake a few people up if they realized all of their police protection were busy striking rather than guarding their precious BMWs and McMansions ...

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Response to socialist_n_TN (Reply #8)

Tue Jul 10, 2012, 11:13 PM

11. I was thinking something like this.

Consider how much the US working class (+ middle class) has lost over about the last 25 years. Loss of wealth, benefits, security, etc.

If all of that has been lost over the course of a month, or a year, there would have been a huge upheaval. But because it's happening a little bit at a time, people haven't got too bent out of shape.

Hopefully people will start saying 'hey enough already' and start taking back some of what's been stolen.

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Response to TBF (Original post)

Wed Jul 11, 2012, 08:19 AM

13. I detailed in the GD thread how I would tackle the problem -

interested in what you all think.

I would declare Scranton a fiscal disaster area and start pumping in federal bailout money today (much like a weather emergency). Frankly they should have done this with Detroit rather than send in the privatization vultures. Bail-outs aren't just for investment banks. All funding/organization would be coordinated at the federal level, with input sought from local leaders via town hall meetings and the like. We have the technology to communicate world-wide very easily these days, let's use it.

How do we pay for bailing out our cities and getting our neighbors back to work? We tax the fucking billionaires. We tax the millionaires. We tax the corporations instead of giving them loopholes in which they figure out how to write off everything imaginable and get tax money returned to them. They all can hold off on purchasing a 17th yacht for the fleet, for example, so that Barney the fire chief can get a decent wage rather than be cut back to minimum wage.

I'm tired of everyone else going broke and losing their jobs/homes while just a very few live in extreme luxury. It isn't right.

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Response to TBF (Reply #13)

Wed Jul 11, 2012, 08:40 PM

14. It's a good start T..........

I especially like the idea of using Federal disaster funds. Cause this will be a disaster if this spreads.

I would suggest to the good people of Scranton that this would be a good time to put together some neighborhood militias for policing against violent crime. IF you stay away from trying to police the "private" property and relatively victimless crimes, and just try to guard against violence and crimes against personal property, you can somewhat cover for the cops. The FD and EMS though needs more support.

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Response to TBF (Reply #13)

Wed Jul 11, 2012, 08:44 PM

15. I love all of your ideas.

Plus ending our "non-wars" and bringing that money back home. http://costofwar.com/

Also, instead of just waiting for each city to collapse piecemeal, see if we can target the regions at risk and staunch the bleeding before the cities go code red. Most of what is going on is attributable to the foreclosure crisis. Find out where--create a Foreclosure Crisis Authority and go big. We need big projects like the old Tennessee Valley Authority.

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Response to TBF (Original post)

Wed Jul 11, 2012, 09:43 PM

16. We see news like this everyday and yet most people don't seem to care.

Seriously, what will it take? How bad do things have to get before the country demands change? Like someone said above thread maybe once all these libertarians start taking a hit things will come around. The example of engineers is a good one, especially those going into civil engineering. Or look at architects, they aren't doing too great anymore, because no one can afford to even buy a house let alone have a new one built. Seriously, people need to learn that the economy is like an ecosystem. The engineer might think that the loss of car manufacturers in his town doesn't hurt him, but it does. Or look at actors, if no one can afford to see movies, they will eventually be trouble.

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Response to white_wolf (Reply #16)

Thu Jul 12, 2012, 07:08 AM

18. i think it's because most people are thinking inside the frame given to them by capital. they think

 

this is all the inevitable result of bad budgeting, or overpaying city workers, or the mayor being crooked, or industries leaving cities because they're overtaxed -- all those kinds of things.

and because they've never been exposed to working class politics, or working class pov, let alone left/socialist/communist/marxist analysis, they literally don't have the tools to question the narratives of capital.

i remember how that was. if i'd heard the story of scranton then, i would have thought, 'oh, what a terrible situation! it's too bad they're bankrupt, but everybody has to sacrifice'.

a good liberal.

they think there is no alternative, so 'what can you do?'

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #18)

Thu Jul 12, 2012, 04:40 PM

19. Exactly right - and at least in the public schools

the concept of critical thinking has been taken over by time to prepare for "the tests". It's an intentional dumbing down of the country imo.

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Response to TBF (Original post)

Fri Jul 13, 2012, 07:37 PM

20. I got myself tangled up in your GD xpost.

Ugh...

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Response to PETRUS (Reply #20)

Fri Jul 13, 2012, 10:17 PM

21. Yes, there's quite a lot of right-wing economic posting on this website

and as long as they are polite it seems to stay.

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Response to TBF (Reply #21)

Thu Jul 19, 2012, 11:21 AM

22. and if the say their "Hail Obama" litany then they don't have to be polite

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Response to PETRUS (Reply #20)

Thu Jul 19, 2012, 01:28 PM

23. I really need to do a search for this xpost.

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