Posts Tagged ‘economy’

When will the goal posts move for workers?

The New York Times reported over the weekend that Walmart plans to change its compensation strategy. Assuming the company read our report on turning its associates’ low-paying jobs into hourly careers, my first thought was, “This is great”! But my hopes were dashed by the second paragraph, where readers learned that Walmart was only adjusting its executive pay system.

And they’re not scaling back—not by a long shot. Read more »

 

Will workers win or lose when Walmart moves in?

Guest Post by author and MacArthur Foundation Chair in History at UC Santa Barbara, Nelson Lichtenstein.

As our consumer-driven economy struggles to regain lost ground, Walmart—the big-box retailer notorious for driving down wages and labor standards wherever it goes—is moving forward with plans to open stores in urban centers nationwide. What could the company’s expanded presence mean for workers and our communities?

Currently, Walmart uses its position in the economy to push low-road work that offers its associates no hope of a career. With such low pay and meager benefits, many Walmart employees who enjoy their job simply can’t afford to stay at the company. Career advancement is limited because only a few managerial positions exist at each store. Read more »

 

Numbers show the sacrifice isn’t shared

Income Growth Pie ChartAs the economy struggles to rebound and local, state, and federal legislators seek to address cash-strapped budgets, the buzzword has been “shared sacrifice.” But the AFL-CIO’s annual Executive Pay Watch report shows that CEOs of major companies, unlike their employees, haven’t made too many sacrifices. In fact, CEOs from S&P 500 companies received, on average, $11.4 million in total compensation in 2010— a 23 percent increase from the previous year!

Shared sacrifice? Not so much. We sure don’t know any workers who got 23 percent raises last year. Read more »

 

Tax Day: Corporate cuts taxing for workers

While no one likes paying taxes, most of us know it’s our tax dollars that support the schools, roads, and services we all use and depend on. But looking at a few statistics this tax day reveals the responsibility for keeping our public programs and economy on track isn’t shared equally — and the burden has fallen on those who can least afford it.

Middle-income families are taxed at 25 percent of their overall paycheck, compared to the average capital gains tax for the wealthiest, which are taxed at a minimum of 15 percent. Read more »

 

Wisconsin’s only one piece of the puzzle

The recent string of attacks on middle class workers has made it easier than ever to point the finger at the politicians spearheading anti-worker legislation across the country— legislators like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
But the fights currently playing out in these states may only represent the tip of the iceberg in a long-standing national movement that, until now, has gone largely unnoticed.
Read more »

 

NFL Lockout means big losses for players—and their families

At the start of this year, we let you know that a lockout of NFL players would hurt more than just the athletes. We underscored that it would also threaten the jobs and livelihoods of countless workers and business owners who rely on the industry to support their families. Read more »

 

Here’s a bright idea: Keep profit-making jobs in America

The union workers who make Philips lighting fixtures in Sparta, Tennessee, have been doing things right for over 40 years. In fact, their plant was named one of North America’s 10 best by Industry Week Magazine in 2009—and even won Philips’ own “lean” manufacturing award last fall.

But now Philips Global CEO Gerard Kleisterlee wants to send those good, American jobs to Mexico—leaving 275 workers jobless and an entire community devastated. Read more »

 

Despite economic climate, CEO compensation still on the rise

In recent weeks, anti-union politicians across the country have been attacking workers’ rights in the name of mustering up funds to curb state deficits. But for all their talk of shared sacrifice and merit-based pay, they seem to have overlooked a reality that working families know all too well. Read more »

 

Labor-management partnerships help Europe weather the economic storm

Abigail Paris serves as Program Assistant for the Socially Responsible Business Program.

In 2008, a financial meltdown triggered a deep recession, arguably the deepest recession to face the European Union (EU). Unlike in many other places in the world, the EU—through the collaboration of its employers, unions and governments—was able to avoid sky rocketing unemployment and emerge from the recession relatively unscathed. On March 3, 2010, the European Commission released a report, entitled Industrial Relations in Europe 2010, which highlighted how labor-management partnerships helped the EU adapt to the post-recession world.

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The market, unions, and gliding past stop signs

Guest Post by Author and Labor Scholar John Brueggemann, PhD

The logic of the market – that everything is for sale and we should strive to get as much as we can – has pushed beyond the economic sphere into other parts of our lives. Americans rush to work, gliding past stop signs, talking and texting on the phone, incrementally compromising public safety because our busy schedules feel more important. Once we get there, we stay, longer and longer, while simultaneously regretting the neglect of our loved ones. As a result, many of us have no network of social support, a trend that has worsened significantly over the last two decades. And despite this commitment to hard work and all the resources it yields – the highest Gross Domestic Product in the world – most Americans report not being able to afford what they need. I believe this mess is the result of a moral crisis brought about by market culture, which has led to a deteriorating capacity for meaningful relationships.
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