jump to navigation

Why I Wouldn’t be Caught Dead Shopping in Wal-Mart May 29, 2014

Posted by rogerhollander in Capitalism, Economic Crisis.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

images

$16 billion
Walmart’s Profit

$144 billion
Wealth of Walmart Owners (the Waltons)
(as much as 42% of Americans combined!)

$7 billion
Subsidies and Tax Breaks that Benefited Walmart & the Waltons

< $25,000
Most Walmart Workers Annual Wage

imagesx

 

 

 

‘The Economy Runs on Our Toil': Record Protests Sweep Bangladesh September 22, 2013

Posted by rogerhollander in Asia, Bangladesh, Human Rights, Labor.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

 

Roger’s note: the myth is that we are living in a post-industrial society (as if somehow the clothes we wear, the cars we drive, the houses we live in, etc. somehow are magically made).  In reality exploited industrial labor has been shifted for the U.S. and Europe to the third world, mostly Asia.  Just about anything we buy, from running shoes, to screw drivers, to pillow cases, is manufactured by some exploited worker, quite possible a child working 12 hours a day for slave wages, in Bangladesh or the Philippines.  It is an iron law of  capitalist production to continually search out sources of cheap labor.  Capital accumulation originated on the backs of indigenous miners in Peru and African slaves.  Today, while it is mainly low paid services industry workers who are subjected to exploitation in the former industrial nations, the beat goes on for dark skinned factory workers in the third world.

Over 50,000 demand ‘dignity’ in garment industry where majority-female worke-force faces dangerous conditions and some of lowest wages in world

 

- Sarah Lazare, staff writer

Garment workers rally in Dhaka, Bangladesh Saturday, September 21 (Photo: Reuters / Andrew Biraj)

50,000 garment workers demanding higher pay flooded the streets of Dhaka, Bangladesh Saturday, and 20,000 shut down dozens of factories by walking off the job, in the largest demonstrations to ever sweep the notoriously dangerous and low-wage Bangladesh garment industry.

The protests continued on Sunday, with workers and their supporters blocking traffic, marching along a key highway, and clashing with police who shot rubber bullets and tear gas at crowds of thousands, the AFP reports.

“Our backs are against the wall, so we don’t have any alternative unless we raise our voice strongly,” Nazma Akter, president of the United Garments Workers’ Federation, which groups 52 garment worker’s groups, told Saturday’s protest, Reuters reports. “We will not hesitate to do anything to realize our demand.”

Bangladesh’s garment industry is the second largest in the world, accounting for 80 percent of the country’s annual exports. Its estimated 4 million workers, 80 percent of whom are women from rural areas, earn a paltry $38 U.S. dollars a month, making them some of the lowest-paid garment workers in the world.

Unions have demanded a wage increase that would bring them to a monthly wage of $100 dollars to lift workers out of deep poverty, but factory owners rejected the demand, offering a paltry 20 percent raise.

“We are not the object of mercy, the economy moves with our toil,” Akter declared addressing Saturday’s rally.

Bangladesh’s garment industry has been swept with protests since the collapse of a factory in April killed more than 1,200 workers and injured over 2,500, with most victims women—one of many tragedies to sweep the country’s dangerous garment industry. While the catastrophe captured global headlines, little has been done to improve the bleak conditions of an industry that sells to numerous U.S.-based corporations, including Walmart, Gap, Sears, Disney, and Benetton.

“[W]e want these jobs with dignity,” Akter declared previously, “with safe working conditions, decent wages, and a voice in the workplace, and a unionized work place.”

_____________________

Walmart Workers Arrested in Peaceful Protest August 22, 2013

Posted by rogerhollander in Labor.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

MCAW-logo

 

BREAKING: Ten current or recently fired Walmart workers were just arrested in Washington, DC for peaceful civil disobedience near Walmart’s downtown office. This action comes after the company fired or disciplined more than 70 workers for going on strike. Now workers say that if Walmart does not reinstate the illegally fired workers and publicly commit pay a decent wage by Labor Day, the company will face some of the most intense actions it has seen to date. Below is a letter from one of the arrested workers.

http://action.changewalmart.org/page/m/86f1ab2/3529af95/17464875/9cb5f48/3020380531/VEsH/

 

I was arrested today for standing up to Walmart. Can you sign my petition to call on Walmart to respect workers’ rights and pay a living wage?

I was raised by a strong single mother. I owe everything to her. She taught me how to work hard and stand up for what is right.

I did well in high school and loved sports. In college, I became a collegiate athlete and my future looked bright. That’s when my mom got sick. She wasn’t able to support herself, so I made a tough choice. I moved home and got a job at Walmart to help support my mom.

I soon found that Walmart didn’t pay me enough to get by. We were constantly understaffed and stretched thin. Worst of all, we were treated with such a lack of respect they made you feel like you weren’t even a human being.

That’s why I decided to stand up. I went on a legally protected strike in June and travelled all the way to Walmart’s headquarters in Arkansas to defend my coworkers’ right to stand up.

But when I got home, Walmart fired me. I’m not the only one. Since June, Walmart has fired or disciplined more than 70 of us for standing up. The company has written us up, cut our hours, bullied us, called the cops on us and even fired us for going on strike.

We’re not backing down. Today, we peacefully demonstrated in front of Walmart’s office in Washington, DC calling on the company to reinstate the illegally fired workers.

Instead of listening, Walmart had me and 11 other people arrested (19 of us workers and 2 activists).

It’s time to draw a line in the sand. Let’s send Walmart a clear message: If you fail to act by Labor Day, actions will intensify around the country.

Can you please send them this message by signing my petition today?

www.action.changewalmart.org/ARealWage

Thanks,

Brandon

Brandon Garrett
Baker, Louisiana

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: UFCW and OUR Walmart have the purpose of helping Wal-Mart employees as individuals or groups in their dealings with Wal-Mart over labor rights and standards and their efforts to have Wal-Mart publically commit to adhering to labor rights and standards. UFCW and OUR Walmart have no intent to have Walmart recognize or bargain with UFCW or OUR Walmart as the representative of Walmart employees

Critics Blast US Retailers’ Corporate-Dominated Factory Safety “Sham” July 11, 2013

Posted by rogerhollander in Bangladesh, Labor.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

 

 

Labor Rights Groups: ‘This confirms what we have long predicted: that Wal-Mart, Gap and companies like them do not want to make any promises they actually have to keep.’

- Lauren McCauley, staff writer

Names of killed Bangladesh workers are strung outside a GAP shareholders meeting in May 2013. (Photo: Anirvan/cc/flickr)

In what is being blasted as a “sham” and an “expensive PR stunt” by workers’ rights groups, 17 North American retailers—including the Gap and Wal-Mart—launched a Bangladesh worker safety plan Wednesday as a means of sidestepping a legally binding international agreement.

The plan, called the “Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety” was devised as an alternative to the Bangladesh Safety Accord—a union-led and legally binding agreement signed by over 70 international brands and retailers.

“Gap and Wal-Mart’s safety plan is a sham which won’t make factories safe and only serves to undermine the Bangladesh Safety Accord,” said Murray Worthy, sweatshops campaigner at the human rights watchdog group War on Want.

Both agreements were spurred by the enormous international outcry following the Rana Plaza disaster in April when over 1,100 workers were killed in the collapse of a substandard Bangladesh factory. Previous to the collapse, a series of devastating garment factory fires highlighted the dangerous working conditions in the country and the enormous risk posed to millions of workers paid as little as $40 a month.

“This is just more of the same corporate-dominated voluntary measures that were so clearly proven to have failed in the Rana Plaza disaster,” Worthy continued. “Gap, Wal-Mart and the other brands behind the Alliance must scrap this expensive PR stunt and join the rest of the clothing industry in signing the comprehensive, legally binding and life-saving Bangladesh Safety Accord.”

Other signers of the Alliance include Target, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Kohl’s, Sears, L.L. Bean and J.C.Penney.

The deal alleges to inspect all factories used by the signatories within a year and establish a common set of safety standards. Further, the retailers will reportedly pay up to $1m a year each to support mandatory training for factory staff and managers and to support “worker participation committees” in every factory to deal with complaints about working conditions, the Guardian reports.

However, according to a response by a half-dozen labor rights groups reported by IPS, “companies that decide to withdraw from the alliance are only penalized by being forced to pay their share of administrative costs. For large companies, this would work out to around five million dollars – while Wal-Mart alone brings in more than 400 billion dollars annually.”

“Companies that sign onto the alliance but fail to meet a commitment face no adverse consequences beyond expulsion from the scheme. Instead, workers will continue to pay,” Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, told IPS.

Further, Trumka notes that the “so-called” Global Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety was developed without consulting with workers or union representatives and other critics point out that the “worker participation committees” will likely undermine workers’ rights to join trade unions and organize freely.

“This confirms what labor rights advocates have long predicted: that Wal-Mart, Gap and companies like them simply do not want to make any promises they actually have to keep,” said the labor rights coalition. “What they want is to be able to make promises now, at a time of major public and media scrutiny, that they can walk away from whenever it suits them, at a token cost.”

_____________________

Even After One of Worst Worker Atrocities in Human History, Gap & Walmart Won’t Get Serious About Preventing Another July 4, 2013

Posted by rogerhollander in Bangladesh, Labor.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

 

AlterNet             /               By Jake Blumgart           
<!–

MailChimp RSS-Email Widget

–>Should the government of Bangladesh or the companies that sell products manufactured in the country be held responsible for working conditions?

 

photo_3

 

Photo Credit: Fight for Philly

July 1, 2013 |

On Saturday, June 29, Center City Philadelphia hummed with activity as shoppers and gawkers surged across the sidewalks, enjoying the first sunny day all week. But outside of the Gap outlet on Walnut Street, the crowds pause to look at the dozen people lying on the sidewalk. Again and again people came up to those standing at the fringes of the recumbent group: “What’re they doing?”

Amy Offner was quick to engage passersby. She explained the garment industry’s troubled history in Bangladesh, culminating in the April 24 collapse of Bangladesh’s Rana Plaza. Almost 1,130 people were killed, most of them garment workers who were forced to return to work in the obviously structurally compromised building. Following the disaster, which was the deadliest in the history of the global garment industry, many European and a few American companies signed the “ Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh” (U.S. signatories include Sean John, Abercrombie & Fitch, and the company that runs Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger.) The agreement is legally binding and would require independent inspection of all factories by an investigator “with fire and building safety expertise…who is independent of and not concurrently employed by companies, trade unions or factories.” When problems are found the companies must fix them and cover lost wages for the duration of the renovations.

But many prominent American companies, including Walmart and Gap, refused to sign. Hence the corpse-like bodies strewn on the sidewalk covered in signs reading “GAP: Death Traps” and “Workers Shouldn’t Die for Fashion.”

“People were really curious, and most people were surprised Gap even uses sweatshop labor,” says Offner. “They assumed sweatshops had been wiped out a hundred years ago, or at least by the actions in the 1990s. They were shocked to find out Gap uses sweatshops and is refusing to seriously try and improve the industry.”

The Philadelphia action coincided with similar protests in 35 other cities, representing a further escalation the United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) campaign against Gap. The protests came two days after the Obama administration announced it would be severing Bangladesh’s trade benefits under the Generalized System of Preferences. The move ends duty free privileges that were extended to some Bangladeshi products. It is explicitly meant to be a punishment for Rana Plaza and other recent industrial accidents. Although the dollar value of the sanction is only estimated to be $40 million annually and does not affect the garment industry, some Philly activists used the administration’s decision as a rallying cry, urging passersby to “support Obama’s executive order.”

“This is one of the stronger actions our government has taken—it sends a very strong message to the government of Bangladesh that our country takes seriously the egregious labor rights violations that have been going on,” says Cathy Feingold, director of the AFL-CIO’s International Department, which has been pushing such a punitive policy since at least 2007.“What is happening is a struggle to really figure out issues around global governance. The binding accord is really significant because it’s the first time we’ve seen corporations do something [besides] the traditional voluntary route. It will complement the political message coming from the U.S., because they are not just suspending GSP but engaging the Bangladeshi government so it can [improve] and get those benefits returned.”

The White house has stated that there isn’t a timetable regarding the possible reinstatement of trade privileges. The AFL-CIO expected the Obama administration to release a road map of necessary reforms when it announced the suspension of benefits last Thursday, but so far no such document has been forthcoming. The AFL-CIO suggestions include assurances that the right to collectively bargain be respected. Currently there are very few formal worker organizations in the Bangladeshi garment sector and labor organizing is often met with brutal force. (In May a new law was passed allowing garment workers to unionize without the permission of factory owners.)

Gap and Walmart Dishonesty June 4, 2013

Posted by rogerhollander in Asia, Bangladesh, Human Rights, Labor.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Last week, Gap made a big announcement. After weeks of pressure by people across the globe to sign the binding Bangladesh Safety Accord and end death traps in its factories, Gap put out a press release about its big new plan: partnering with Walmart on a fake “safety plan” that is not accountable to anyone.

Gap thinks it can fool us with a cheap PR stunt. It’s wrong.

Help us undermine Gap’s PR stunt by spreading the word about Gap and Walmart’s deadly “plan” and sharing this image on Facebook or forwarding this email to your friends.

Click here to share this image and help spread the word about Gap and Walmart’s dishonesty:

http://act.sumofus.org/go/1818?t=2&akid=1772.1024433.pqh3GU

 

Gap and Walmart are strange bedfellows. Walmart has a long record of unethical behavior, from brutally exploiting workers to discriminating against women to bribing Mexican officials, and it’s one of the most hated corporations in the world. Until recently, Gap was seen as a fairly responsible company.

Our sources tell us that Gap’s senior executives get really upset when they hear their company’s name mentioned in the same breath as Walmart. It means the brand they’ve tried to create for years is crumbling. But if they’re going to get in bed with Walmart to avoid taking responsibility for workers’ safety, they’re going to have to deal with the consequences. If Gap doesn’t like it, it can join the Bangladesh Safety Accord like dozens of brands already have.

Thanks for keeping the pressure on Gap to actually protect its workers from death traps,
Marguerite, Rob, Kaytee, and the rest of The Sum Of Us

 

P.S. We’ve created a new tumblr to spread the word about Gap and Walmart’s blossoming friendship: gapheartswalmart.tumblr.com. If you want to make your own submission (and make Gap’s bosses angry), just go here or here and email a link to reportback@sumofus.org. We’ll take the best submissions and put them on the tumblr.

Walmart: “Not Financially Feasible” To Take Minimal, Legally Required Steps to Save Workers’ Lives December 6, 2012

Posted by rogerhollander in Bangladesh, Labor.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far
Roger’s note: Marx wrote that one of the essential flaws of capitalism is that it is inherently incapable of protecting living human beings.  It is all about competition, profit, and the expansion of capital.  In our lifetime we are witnessing the coming to fruition of the logical consequences of capitalist economic relations, and this is truly frightening.  Government was forced to intervene in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to mitigate the barbarism of unfettered industrial capitalism; in our time nothing less that the kinds of popular uprisings we see today in Europe and the Middle East and last year in the Occupy movements can save us from the consequences of twenty-first century capitalism with its massive resources directed at militarization and total control of governments.
12.06.12 – 10:54 AM, www.commondreams.org

by Abby Zimet

_walmart_fire

In the wake of last month’s fire in a Bangladesh garment factory that killed over 100 workers, Bloomberg has gained access to notes from a 2011 meeting where Walmart officials decided against paying suppliers high enough prices to cover costs of needed safety improvements because they deemed it “not financially feasible for the brands to make such investments.” The meeting was attended by more than a dozen retailers, including Gap, Target and JC Penney. Over 300 Bangladeshi garment factory workers have died since 2006. Walmart reported a 9% increase in third-quarter net income, bringing their earnings for that quarter to $3.63 billion. An estimated half of Bangladesh’s garment factories don’t meet legally required work safety standards. At a fire in a nearby warehouse two days after the Tazreen factory fire, workers had to climb down a bamboo pole because they couldn’t get to the stairs; graffiti on a restroom wall there read: “Work here and your life is a living hell.”

“Specifically to the issue of any corrections on electrical and fire safety, we are talking about 4,500 factories, and in most cases very extensive and costly modifications would need to be undertaken to some factories,” they said in the document. “It is not financially feasible for the brands to make such investments.”

bangladesh-fire-mourner-horizontal-gallery

COMMENTS

  • gardenernorcal

     

    “It is not financially feasible for the brands to make such investments.”

     

    Guess what if that is their firm position, then mine is: It’s no longer morally feasible for me to purchase your goods.  I am thinking if fewer people buy their goods they may change their way of thinking.

  • sLiM_mC_sHaDy

    Yes, please do not shop there. I never have; they sicken me.

  • Catherine Carre

    People forget that it is precisely this type of immoral exploitation that led Marx and Engels to develop their communist philosophy…Engels’ “The condition of the working class in England” describes very similar conditions as suffered by those workers in developing countries employed by behemoths such as Walmart…communism is the child of capitalism..

  • nveric

    Show me how Communism works?

  • Tom Carberry

    Communism works fine in Cuba, despite over 60 years of a crushing blockade.  Communism worked fine in the Soviet Union if you consider general equality and the absence of crime a good life.  Muhammad Ali said he felt safer in Moscow than any other city in the world, because it had no crime.

    Communism had its horrors, like Stalin’s gulags.  But the American slavery system, followed by 160 years of Jim Crow, and the largest prison system in the history of the world (dwarfing Stalin’s gulags at their largest point), makes those horrors look like minor glitches.

    And don’t forget the many tens of millions of people America has slaughtered in its wars for profit.

    American capitalism works for the top 20% of the people, but not for the rest.

  • Gubdeb

    I dunno…which is worse?: 1: Walmart, or, 2: the MIC/American Capitalism that makes a “Walmart”possible? How many wars did we wage to get to this point. How many “Deals” were cut to have these products sold here? (see NAFTA & Robert Reich) The POINT is, until we face who we really are, things will never change. Walmart is just a symptom, not the problem.

  • AmonVerite

    Here is the problem: http://www.stateofnature.org/d…

  • giovannalepore

    Remember Bhopal India and now Bangladesh: Symbols of why they hate the USA. Your “democracy” and “freedom” are nothing but smoke screens for crimes against humanity.

  • Gubdeb

    I thought Indians loved the USA(?) Why, the MSM in recent years has woven Indians into the very fabric of American life. In network programming, ads, and they seem to all love Walmart. Yes, Walmart.

  • giovannalepore

    I doubt that this is the case with the overwhelming numbers of Indians IN India especially those who were the US victims. At the rate the US is going it will have the entire world despise it.

  • Matthew Grebenc

    Money is power, and corporations pursue it at any cost. They are psychopathic.

  • wildcarrots

    Well yes there is a sick mentality.  Once a factory burns down it will have to been re-built or replaced.  You either re-build it before or after the employees are there working.  that is the sick really stupid part.

  • theoldgoat

    This is where we are, its emblematic of the massive shift that must be brought about in order to restore balance.

    “Work here and your life is a living hell.”

    … the system, owned by interests that value profit over life, scorn those who see from other perspectives – an absolutely essential aspect of life – yet do so brutally, without compunction, on the backs of BILLIONS OF PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD>

    Boycott any brand you cannot identify and source to ethical satisfaction.

  • itsthethird

    Corporations and workers  can take the heat while the stockholders, capitalists, consumers, and  management, can take the profits.  However the costs of profit are spread disproportionate to benefits if any exist the benefits are captured immediately while costs are avoided by all.  The whole system is dysfunctional because cost avoidance or shifting is acceptable and or encouraged.

  • greatbear215

    Walmurder: Were they value profits over people!

  • Shantiananda

    Not just Walmart, but the whole American Empire, “value profits over people”!   Walmart is just the paradigm of the American corportocracy.

  • AmonVerite

  • Gubdeb

    Thank you, Shan.

                We were unable to load Disqus. If you are a moderator please                see our troubleshooting guide.

  • 18 comments

Leave a message…
                        ⬇ Drag and drop your images here to upload them.
Connect with
                            or register with Disqus
Next

No one has commented yet.

Top Discussions on     Common Dreams

Top Commenters

Nothing for you here … yet. But as you comment with Disqus and follow        other Disqus users, you will start to receive notifications here, as well as a personalized        feed of activity by you and the people you follow. So get out there and participate in        some discussions!

                The new DISQUS Discovery box helps you find other vibrant discussions on the communities you love. Feedback? Let us know.

    Also on Common Dreams

     

    Walmart Relentless as Thousands Set to Lose Out in New Health Care Policy December 2, 2012

    Posted by rogerhollander in Health, Labor.
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
    add a comment
    Published on Saturday, December 1, 2012 by Common Dreams

    Box store implicated in federal wage-theft lawsuit

      – Common Dreams staff

    Walmart will continue to disappoint workers and labor rights activists in the coming months as it continues to ignore the current widespread workers’ strike and protest movement against its labor policies and implements a new health insurance program that will deny healthcare coverage to employees who work fewer than 30 hours a week, according to a copy of the company’s policy obtained by The Huffington Post.

    Photo via Facebook / Overpass Light Brigade.

    Walmart is known for employing many of its workers part time and less than 30 hours per week, meaning a large majority of its employees is set to lose insurance through their employer.

    In response to the Huffington Post, Walmart declined to disclose how many of its roughly 1.4 million U.S. workers will lose their insurance under the new policy, which is set to begin in January. Company spokesman David Tovar told Huffington that Walmart had “made a business decision” not to respond to questions from the paper.

    “For Walmart employees, the new system raises the risk that they could lose their health coverage in large part because they have little control over their schedules. Walmart uses an advanced scheduling system to constantly alter workers’ shifts according to store traffic and sales figures,” the Huffington Post reports.

    The discovery comes shortly after thousands of Walmart workers across the country walked off the job over the course of the week leading up to the national shopping day Black Friday. Workers continue to organize and speak out against the company’s attempts to silence employees’ complaints regarding the “company’s manipulation of hours and benefits, efforts to try to keep people from working full-time and their discrimination against women and people of color.”

    In other Walmart labor news, Walmart warehouse workers in Southern California filed a petition in court this week in a bid to sue Walmart in a federal wage-theft lawsuit.

    Walmart’s warehouses in California and Illinois have accused their employer of labor violations in the past; however, Friday’s filing was the first time Walmart has been directly implicated in the claims of abuse, rather than the company’s warehouse subcontractors, the Huffington Post reports.

    “Walmart’s name does not appear on any of these workers paychecks, and the Walmart logo does not appear on the t-shirts they’re required to wear,” Michael Rubin, the workers’ lawyer, said on Friday. “But it has become increasingly clear that the ultimate liability for these workplace violations rests squarely on the shoulders of Walmart.”

     

    Comments

    • oldblue63

      A) Why does anyone shop at Walmart?  We shoppers  could bring them around in a few weeks if we all just QUIT shopping there. They need our business …we are in the driver’s seat if we use our power. B) This is a perfect example of why health care should not be provided through employers. Part-time employment is extremely common and it makes the employee constantly up in the air about health care benefits…and many employers do not begin coverage until 3-6 months of employment anyway, so people are going without insurance for long periods.  We are all FULL-TIME citizens and that is where we should be getting our health care benefits.

    • gardenernorcal

      We weren’t offered national health care.

      Many people are forced to shop Walmart because when they move in many local shops close up.  Before Walmart moved into my town we had a Wards, Penneys, KMart and Sears store and assorted small shops like dime stores.  Today we have Walmart  a couple high end furniture stores, 1$ Store, a Staples and a Home Depot.

    • BuddhaNature

      Your story is very similar to our town with one exception. Our town refused a Wal-Mart, so they built in everytown around us and sucked the business away. We  too had a JC Penneys, and Sears. And they try and tell you that capitalism is about competition? I won’t shop in there. They keep their wages down to assure themsleves of a customer base.. Henry Ford paid his workers the then good wage of $5.00 dollars a day so that could afford to buy the car they were producing, Wal- Mart on the otherhand, under pays their workers to  assure they can’t afford to shop anyplace else.

    • natureschild3

       

      “Henry Ford paid his workers the then good wage of $5.00 dollars a day so that could afford to buy the car”

      yes! he expressed the opinion that assembly line workers should earn enough to buy an auto. also he insisted the employees show up in a christian church…and never, ever drink a beer or any alcohol–even at home.

      then one day ford had a great business idea–“I can grow my own tires in honduras!” there, too, henry made sure the brown people of honduras appeared his his church, but adequate pay? “naw. we don’t need a bunch o’ darkies driving cars!” if you can, watch or read transcript here:

      “Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City”

       

      http://www.democracynow.org/20…

       

    • Amurkan

      Henry Ford was obliged to pay his workers $5 hr because they quit in droves when they realized that they would be demeaned by his new assembly line. He didn’t do this from the kindness of his heart. No one seems to know this.

    • natureschild3

      yes! and doesn’t that $5 an hour allowing his faithful to buy a model t speak volumes about the ongoing devaluation of the paper dollar?

      “you load 16 tons of #9 coal and what do you get? “anothe day older and deeper in debt. “lord, don’tcha call me ’cause i can’t go…

      “i owe my so-o-oul. . . to the company store!”

       

    • gardenernorcal

      Yeah Ford was not quite the big stalwart supporter of labor as he’s painted today.

       

      But for years Ford also resorted to legal as well as thug tactics to prevent workers in Ford plants from unionizing. 

      In December 1937, the company was found in violation of the Wagner Act and was ordered to cease interfering with workers’ efforts to unionize. In 1941, when wages at Ford were in fact lower than the average wage for the industry, Henry Ford continued to insist that “we do not intend to submit to any union.”

       

      http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09…

    • Yunzer

      That’s what you get for living in Kalifornia.  Even the pre-Wal-Mart stores you listed are big-box chains!  Is there ANY part of you state that isn’t totally dominated by big chain-crap?  The Summer of Love ended 43 years ago, and the last Doobie Brothers hit was 35 years ago.  You should consider moving back here to the unfashionable mid-atlantic/northeast.

    • gardenernorcal

      But consider this pre Walmart my community of approximately 500,000 supported 4 large chain stores, whose employees were organized and received full benefits including health care and retirement.  People had choices.  I know I shopped Penneys for clothes, Wards for furniture, Sears for tools and KMart for miscellaneous little stuff.  Today I have basically one choice Walmart and they say they can’t pay their employees a living wage or provide them with health care and other benefits.  Why is that?  They are one of the largest and most profitable US corporations.

      And I was born in California. It’s my home. I wouldn’t be moving back to anywhere.

    • nveric

      You being Snobbish? Don’t you know the oceans are rising?

    • Lorenzo LaRue

      ….And your only entry here is smart ass?  Don’t you know that everyone doesn’t live on the beach?

    • Yunzer

      Fortunately all Wal-Marts are out in the public transit-hostile suburban sprawl-land and require a car, or incredibly crappy bus service to get there.  I’ve sworn off all car use except for the occasional long-haul intercity, hiking or hang gliding trip.

      The only reason I would set foot in a Wal-Mart of Sam’s Club would be to burn one to the ground.  Don’t worry, I’d give plenty of warning to evacuate first.

    • Dem. Socialism

      “Too Big To Care”…”Too Immoral To Share”.

      (Wal-Mart’s new slogan.)

    • N30rebel

      Perhaps better?: “Too Big To Care”…”Too Immoral To Shame.”

    • Matthew Grebenc

      Too immortal to care.

    • gardenernorcal

       

      “But it has become increasingly clear that the ultimate liability for these workplace violations rests squarely on the shoulders of Walmart.”

       

      No actually the responsibility lies with all of us that worry more about the DOW every morning than we do the moral and humane treatment of every worker on this planet.  When Reagan fired those air traffic controllers it wasn’t victory for anyone but big finance and Wall St..

      I remember a time when the financial news was the last thing reported on and only given a few moments at that.  We also didn’t have our TV waves saturated with ads by big pharma or attorneys.  And is it just me or am I seeing more and more alcohol ads as well?  Weren’t they outlawed?  How is it some companies are allowed to campaign but Spuds Mckensey was torpedoed into oblivion.

    • 69Tuscany

      The US and New Zealand are the only countries in the world who allow pharmaceutical advertising.

    • adiantum

      I think NZ recently disallowed it.

    • Dem. Socialism

      Also, gardenernorcal, have you noticed the amount of smoking done in movies lately? Rather blatant.

    • Amurkan

      The excuse given for smoking actors is the ‘in character’ thing. It’s baloney. The studios are complicit in the death later by millions of kids who start smoking because their film heroes do it.  Disgusting and criminal.

    • Richard_William_Posner

      Let’s not overlook the amount of advertising being done by the military. It’s sickening.

      There’s also more than one show that is being used as a propaganda tool to reinforce acceptance of the phony war on terror.

      Additionally, the existence of chemtrails is being normalised through increasing visibility in programming and ads. Pay attention to scenes with nice blue skies in them.

    • gardenernorcal

      There’s a lot of infuriating advertising I didn’t mention like BP’s telling how their actions have improved life on the Gulf.

    • Richard_William_Posner

      Not being critical gardener, just reinforcing your observations.

      The Bernaysian ministries of propaganda, both commercial and political (is there really any difference?) are manufacturing every aspect of our reality.

    • gardenernorcal

      I didn’t take it as a criticism.  I find the additions to my list kind of interesting.

    • Richard_William_Posner

      I’m glad. Wasn’t really sure. And by the way, yes, I find those BP ads really outrageous and infuriating.

    • Holygeezer

      The whole stock market thing is pretty criminal. If one is honest and thinks about it at all, there is no way you can “earn” money by doing nothing, unless you are in effect stealing it from others somehow. The others in this case being workers. Some may say this is too simplistic of a view, but in essence, earning money from investments is glorified stealing.

    • nveric

      The 1970s changed reason into insanity.

      Reagan was the tipper, not the gipper.

    • gardenernorcal

       

      Walmart, the nation’s largest private employer, plans to begin denying health insurance to newly hired employees who work fewer than 30 hours a week, according to a copy of the company’s policy obtained by The Huffington Post.Under the policy, slated to take effect in January, Walmart also reserves the right to eliminate health care coverage for certain workers if their average workweek dips below 30 hours — something that happens with regularity and at the direction of company managers 

      Labor and health care experts portrayed Walmart’s decision to exclude workers from its medical plans as an attempt to limit costs while taking advantage of the national health care reform known as Obamacare. Among the key features of Obamacare is an expansion of Medicaid, the taxpayer-financed health insurance program for poor people. Many of the Walmart workers who might be dropped from the company’s health care plans earn so little that they would qualify for the expanded Medicaid program, these experts said.

       

      How convenient the US’s largest employer can now foist off their overhead on the US taxpayer while receiving tax breaks and subsidies.

      Interesting chart on this site:

      http://www.dailykos.com/story/…

    • Doug_Terpstra

      Yep, this was a predictable outcome of Obamacare, better known as “The Death Panel Profiteers Bailout Act.”  WalMart employees (or rather, taxpayers) will now be forced to buy a defective-by-design product from protection racket extortionists that some call insurance companies.  The full damage of this monstronsity won’t be understood until well after 2014, when its more onerous dictates are implemented.

      Thanks, Obama.

    • gardenernorcal

      Not just that.  Taxpayers will be subsidizing Walmart labor by providing them with medicaid, food stamps etc..  With their profits you’d think they could afford to pay  their employees a living wage.

    • Doug_Terpstra

      Good point.  The next logical step will be to lower corporate taxes even further and then repeal the Emancipation Proclamation.

    • Mike_Strong

      Yup! Repealing the Emancipation Proclamation is definitely on the agenda. Just slightly different job descriptions and this time with a paycheck. Sort of an upgrade on sharecropping.

    • natureschild3

      don’t just thank obama. top honors should go to lloyd blankfein, ceo of goldman sachs. lloyd is the real man behind the curtain pulling all sorts of political strings!

    • Donna M Crane

      Since my 41 year old son is already on ObamaCare for his pre-exisiting condition, I can assure you it is in no way defective, and is affordable.  He is able to pay his monthly fee of $188 and co-pays even though he is only working about 30 hours a week currently. The excellent RX Plan that is included (unlike Medicare) allows him to get his medications at an affordable price  that keeps him out of the hospital and able to work. In fact, as far as I can see, it works just like, and just as well as, my Medicare which I love.  And in point of fact, we are already paying for all Walmart’s employees, even the full time ones who still qualify for food stamps and Medicaid.  Most WalMart employees already don’t have health insurance thru the company.  In fact pretty much only the top levels have it. ObamaCares is already benefiting many people like my son and here in AZ we are using the Federal Government Set Up Exchange, since AZ isn’t going to set up its own Exchange…I consider this a benefit for us as I’m sure AZ wouldn’t do as well.  Before you start kicking around ObamaCare, you should talk to some people who are on it.

    • Inspector47

      Thank you! As far as Walmart being thieves they are the free market, capitalism at it’s best! The republicans are crying about the four people who were killed overseas, four thousand Americans die monthly due to the lack of health care. My daughter wreaked on her bike, she is a college student, at 23, she was able to be on our health ins for her injuries thanks to Obama care.

    • Doug_Terpstra

      Thanks.  I’m glad it’s working for you, at least for now. Most of the perceived good provisions of the 2,000-page bill were implemented upfront, pre-election, by design.  2014 is when the kickers come, too late, by design.

      [Adding: Walmart is the post-election coalmine canary.  Dropping employeer-provided healthcare will become a corporate rush by 2014.  Obamacare did nothing to cap runaway drug and sickcare costs.  Enjoy the good times.]

    • Inspector47

      Like the 80/20 law that forces insurance companies to spend 80 percent of premimuns on the policy holder or return it?

    • Doug_Terpstra

      Not quite. The rebate does not apply to individual policy holders as you imply, but to collective policy holders within a state. IOW, you don’t get a refund as an individual customer if you’re healthy and the company spends little or no money on you.  This is why Obama’s Death-Panel Profiteers Bailout Act is more than 2,000 pages of lobbyese.  It’s designed to confuse most people while enriching the investor class that Obama really works for.

      The theoretical rebate would be a share of whatever amount your insurer spends on health care that is less than 80% of aggregate premiums paid in by all of its customers in that state, and you can imagine how corporate attorneys will game that one).

      So, if your employer (like Walmart) drops you—as many or most will do in the next year or two—forcing you (or taxpayers for you) to pay thousands in out-of-pocket in premiums (no choice under the mandate), you might get a $158 rebate at the end of the year like the lucky lottery winners of North Carolina ($7 in Utah).  Partly, this depends on how successful the death-panel gatekeepers are at rationing care or denying claims in a particular state.

      http://www.examiner.com/articl…

      See also: Welcome to the Future of Your Health Insurance. It Sucks.

      http://www.nakedcapitalism.com…

    • Inspector47

      Death panels in the affordable care act, Sarah Palin won lie of the year with that one.

    • Doug_Terpstra

      Thank you.  Apparently, my use of the term for private versus public was unclear. Palin’s use of the term for her GOP handlers referred to government “death panels”, to scare people away from universal coverage by single-payer (for the same people waving signs reading “keep your government hands off my Medicare”).    My use of the term refers to the private profiteers (insurance racketeers), whose gatekeepers are a far worse form of “death panel” — denying claims and rationing care for profit only.

      The denial of coverage by for-profit gatekeepers is routine and far worse here than what occurs in civilized countries with single-payer universal coverage like Sweden, Canada and the UK.  And Obamacare rejected single-payer and any public option thus institutionalizing profiteering by private racketeers with a captive market — with almost no limits on escalating costs, including prescription drugs that are explicitly protected from market competition (free trade is remarkably selective).  It is the worst form of crony capitalism endorsed by the conservative Supine Court.

    • wildcarrots

      Well said.

    • wildcarrots

      I’m really glad it is working for your son, no doubt it will work better than standard insurance for some groups.  Just remember that the system you are comparing it with really sucks. If you really think it is good try comparing it to one of the other systems in the world that deliver better care at half the cost.

    • Kenneth C. Fingeret

      Hello gardenernorcal,

      Walfart has been doing this for decades.  As I understand it part of the paperwork when you are hired is getting government assistance due to your lack of a living wage salary that does not include much if anything in the way of benefits. This makes you eligible for different programs such as Medicade, AFDC, etc.  A special Walfart tax of 500% of all government payments that are made to Walfart employees due to lack of salary and benefits given to their employees. should be the minimum required for Walfart to pay.  I call them Walfart because they leave a bad odor wherever they are located!

    • nveric

      Blood sucking death mongers run Walmart, their oozing puss filled sores covering their faces, acidic drool plops from their crusted puffy lips burning holes to the center of the Earth, necks as short as their ‘other’ parts and as wide as their hips, and below are stubby trunk-like legs incapable of independent motion.

      You see, there’s no body and no heart for these Borg-like little people spawned from Sam Walton and an unknown surrogate, most likely an alien life-form kept in an undisclosed location in Nevada.

    • wildcarrots

      The U.S. is going to be a very unhealthy place to live and shop when you consider the number of people that do not have access to healthcare.  Disease does not respect ideological boundaries. .

    • Gubdeb

      Look around. It already is.

    • Poet

      I don’t know who designed the portable lit sign, but it gives the graffiti of protest an entirely new frontier (drive through territory after or just before dark) and flexibility (how difficult would it be to change the message to “Tax the Wealthy for a Change”, or “Shrink the Pentagon Not Social Security”?).

       

      It can be easily moved and, depending on the time, and location reach many people with a simple message they cannot avoid.  Flash mobs just got an entirely new twist unique to the US motoring culture!

       

    • 69Tuscany

      Great idea.

    • d9rich

      It’s been done with hand-made signs for over a decade or more.

    • Poet

      If by “hand made signs” you mean electrically lit like the one in the picture, then great–I have never seen any such example before the above photo.

       

      What I meant to convey was that most “hand made signs” are invisible after dark to all but the cars slowing to a stop at a traffic light.

       

      That one in the picture cannot be missed by passing motorists on their way to nowhere and as such expands both the potential audience and time of exposure to whatever message an activist wishes to present.

       

       

                    We were unable to load Disqus. If you are a moderator please                see our troubleshooting guide.

    • 81 comments

    • 41 reactions

    Leave a message…
                            ⬇ Drag and drop your images here to upload them.
    Connect with
                                or register with Disqus
    Next

    No one has commented yet.

    Top Discussions on     Common Dreams

    Top Commenters

    Nothing for you here … yet. But as you comment with Disqus and follow        other Disqus users, you will start to receive notifications here, as well as a personalized        feed of activity by you and the people you follow. So get out there and participate in        some discussions!

                  The new DISQUS Discovery box helps you find other vibrant discussions on the communities you love. Feedback? Let us know.

      Also on Common Dreams

      In Support of WalMart Strikers on Black Friday: “The Belly Button Theory of Economics” November 23, 2012

      Posted by rogerhollander in Labor.
      Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
      add a comment

      Roger’s note: Several years ago while I was in Los Angeles, workers in three major supermarket chains were on strike because their employers wanted to lower them to WalMart standards of salaries and benefits.  I spent some time at one of the picket lines and had the opportunity to speak with several of the shoppers who were crossing the picket line.  It was disheartening to hear shoppers, working people themselves, complain that supermarket workers had benefits that they lacked and therefore deserved no sympathy.  It reminded me of the world’s oldest political strategy: divide and conquer.  Instead of advocating for higher standards for everyone, employer, politicians and the media play on the emotion of envy to promote the notion of lowering standards to the bottom.  This experience inspired me to write the following essay, which I re-post here in solidarity with the striking WalMart workers.

       

      The Belly Button Theory of Economics

       

      Roger Hollander

       

      Call it the belly button theory of economics, if you will.  Every one knows there are two types of umbilicals: innies and outies.  Well, when all is said and done, all complexities aside, doesn’t one’s economy simply break down into what comes IN and what goes OUT?

       

      Let’s talk about the ordinary working person.  She earns from her job (IN), and she meets her needs and pleasures by making purchases (OUT).  The well-being of her “economy” depends upon there being at least enough IN to take care of all the OUT.

       

      One might be tempted to say that both are equally important, that is income (IN) and the cost of things (OUT).  Here is where I would argue that many economists miss the boat.  I believe that what one does through her work to acquire the means to live (IN) is fundamental, whereas the cost of things (OUT), while important, is secondary.  Think of is this way.  If you are unemployed you sure appreciate a good bargain, but what you really need is a good job.

       

      There can also be a “dialectic” between IN and OUT.  Take health care.  It is something we purchase (an OUT).  However, for millions of Americans, their health care comes as a benefit attached to their work (an IN).  In other words, health insurance as a benefit is an IN that offsets the cost of health care, an OUT.

       

      That is why I believe it is so important for all working people that in the current labor dispute that grocery giants — Safeway, Vons, Ralphs and Albertsons — do not succeed in their efforts to cut drastically the wages (IN) and health benefits (IN) of their workers.  They argue that this is necessary in order to compete with the Wal-Mart super stores, who pay their workers substantially less in wages and benefits[note: cf. Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed On (Not) Getting By in America] Wal-Mart does this by keeping its prices (OUT) lower than anyone else.  Interestingly, and here is that dialectic at work again, Wal-Mart is able to offer such low prices (OUT) by pressuring its suppliers to cut labor costs (their workers’ IN) in order to provide Wal-Mart with its goods at cut-rate prices.

       

      In the end, you see, it always boils down to IN(come).  Of course, the worker is also a consumer and naturally loves low prices.  We all appreciate a bargain, and who can blame us?  But if the price of bargains is that, in the long run, we don’t have a living wage (IN) that meets our needs to provide for our expenses (OUT), then the bargain is, in effect, no bargain.  It is a cruel trick disguised as a bonus.

       

      Human beings are by nature, first and foremost, producing animals.  We produce the means by which we survive and thrive.  Only then are we able to “consume.”  I am no great fan of capitalism because it treats human labor as a commodity, just one more expense for the capitalist along with things such as materials, rents and other overhead costs.  But as long as capitalism exists, working people have no choice but to demand wages and benefits that meet their fundamental needs.  Health care, along with food and shelter, is one of the most basic of human needs.  Because the United States government, the only one in the world of industrial nations, has not seen fit to provide universal health coverage for its people, then this need for most of its working people gets fulfilled through employer health care plans.  It is not an “extra.”

       

      I have spoken with shoppers crossing the picket lines at the supermarkets, fellow working people, who justify their non-support of the grocery workers on the basis that they too must pay part of their health care costs (“If I can’t have it, you can’t have it either”).  This sad lack of worker solidarity is a product of the divide and conquer strategy of the supermarket chains, and it is in contrast to the solidarity the chains themselves have shown by sharing their profits amongst themselves, possibly in violation of anti-trust legislation.  How ironic that the supermarket industry is turning around that famous dictum to read: “chains of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your workers!”

       

      Think of this the next time you are tempted to support them by shopping in one of the on-strike or locked out supermarket chains.

       

      Attention WalMart Shoppers: Cynical Hypocrisy In Aisle Two November 20, 2012

      Posted by rogerhollander in Economic Crisis, Labor, Uncategorized.
      Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
      add a comment

      by Abby Zimet

      With more and more WalMart workers joining protests and threatening to join a nationwide walkout on Black Friday, the company has filed a complaint with the National Relations Board arguing that workers seeking a decent wage and reasonable working conditions have “created an uncomfortable environment and undue stress on Walmart’s customers, including families with children.” So if the lousy syntax wasn’t bad enough, the company that by some estimates pays its CEO more in one hour than it pays its retail employees in a year – a wage so low that most of its employees with kids live below the poverty line – is saying they’re worried about families with children? R-i-g-h-t. They also threaten to hold those uppity workers “accountable.” Accountable?! Now there’s an idea. More on why this strike matters. And a reminder: If you’re shopping, go local.

      Follow

      Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

      Join 216 other followers