Posts Tagged ‘wages’

Livable wage at Walmart would have huge impact on associates, while leaving low prices intact

Guest Post by Chair of UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education, Ken Jacobs.

Walmart is well known for both its low prices and its low wages, and the drive to keep prices down is offered as a ready rationale for the company’s substandard wages and benefits. New findings show that Walmart can still keep those prices low and pay its workers a living wage.

In a recent study I completed with my colleagues Dave Graham-Squire and Stephanie Luce, we found that Walmart could raise its starting wage to $12, a significant improvement for many Walmart workers, with only the slightest impact on customers. Read more »


The Right To Join A Union: From Eleanor Roosevelt to John Kasich

Guest Post by Author and Labor Scholar Brigid O’Farrell.

When my phone rang in Moss Beach, California, I was surprised to find a young girl calling from a small town in Ohio, not far from Columbus. She and her friends in eighth grade were writing a play about Eleanor Roosevelt for a school project. She saw my book on the internet, She Was One of Us: Eleanor Roosevelt and the American Worker. They wanted their drama to address the workers in Ohio and Wisconsin. “Eleanor Roosevelt went into a coal mine, didn’t she?” the girl asked. “Do you think she would be supporting the workers today?” Read more »


Working conditions for DC restaurant employees not what they ordered

On Monday, the Restaurant Opportunity Council of DC (ROC) held an event to discuss their most recent report, Behind the Kitchen Door: Inequality and Opportunity in Washington, DC’s Thriving Restaurant Industry. And the findings were less than appetizing for the area’s food service workers.

The report took a detailed look at a wide range of topics, including racial discrimination, workplace safety, low wages, and public health. Restaurant employees reported facing tip theft by managers and owners, as well as wage theft—owners requiring workers to clock out before finishing work in order to avoid earning overtime. Similarly, the report found that many wait staff, busboys, and dishwashers are not given paid sick leave from work, exposing their coworkers and customers to illness.
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Chamber of Commerce to Wal-Mart: keep up the good work!

chamber of commerce logoFor the past 11 years, the United States Chamber of Commerce’s Business Civic Leadership Center has held an award ceremony to honor and showcase “companies who care.”  The Corporate Citizenship Awards are given to businesses that, in the Chamber’s view, make a positive difference in society through community service, philanthropy, skilled volunteerism, and ethical decision-making.

So of course, it’s no surprise to any of us that Wal-Mart has been nominated for the Corporate Stewardship Award.  Right? Read more »


Getting a fair shake in the fast food nation

If you’ve ever lived in a college town or if you’re just a fast food fan like me, then you have probably heard of Jimmy John’s.  The chain serves up delicious sandwiches that can be delivered directly to your pad well into the wee hours of the night.

But behind that tasty French bread exterior, not everything at Jimmy John’s is so appealing. Like many in the fast food industry, Jimmy John’s workers suffer from substandard wages, they don’t receive sick days, and have to bring in a doctor’s note just to get the day off. One worker claims that he had to work bicycle delivery shifts with a broken clavicle or risk losing his job, while another employee complains of working with too many ill coworkers, so sick they even vomit in the workplace. Read more »


Myth busting: The “overcompensated” public employee

The Center for Economic and Policy Research and the Political Economy Research Institute recently released a fascinating report “The Wage Penalty for State and Local Government Employees in New England.”

The report refutes claims from anti-union pundits and the media that government employees make more than private sector employees. In fact, the report’s results show that government workers at the “high-wage” level, like supervisors and managers, often make 13 percent less than their private sector counterparts. Read more »


Back in business: Mott’s summer-long strike comes to an end

UFCW logoSince May, 305 Mott’s factory workers in Williamson, NY have been on strike to protect their wages and pension plans. And on Monday, they were able to put down their signs for the first time in three-and-a-half months. The strike is finally over. Read more »


Unions can lift wages, economy

Marcus Glassman is our Summer 2010 Socially Responsible Business Intern.Ben S. Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chief, spoke in South Carolina.

As reported in The New York Times this week, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has stated that, even in the face of weak job gains and reduced consumer confidence, rising wages would be enough to spur household spending and economic recovery efforts through the coming fiscal quarters.

This rare piece of financial optimism begs the question – how do we do it?  Clearly, getting economic relief to those who need it most is a priority, and for those millions of workers currently under- and unemployed, economic growth can’t come soon enough.  We could wait for Congress, but bills typically pass through their chambers at glacial speed.

What then, I ask, can we do to spur economic recovery and lift all boats with a rising tide?  The answer is clear: unions! Read more »


Getting on the right side of history: supporting the Paycheck Fairness Act

Vice President Joe Biden Women in the United States make 77 cents for every dollar that men earn for the same work.

And even though women won the right to make as much as their male counterparts decades ago, weak federal enforcement has prevented equal pay from actually occurring in many workplaces. And for many women, the consequences of earning less than their male counterparts can be life-altering, like not having enough money to retire without becoming an economic burden to their families.

The American Rights at Work staff made a field trip across D.C. yesterday to listen to some impassioned speeches about the Paycheck Fairness Act at a White House Middle Class Task Force event.  Awaiting a vote by the Senate, the Paycheck Fairness Act requires employers to provide a legitimate reason for paying women and men performing the same job different salaries.

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Mott’s: rotting away workers’ rights

courtesy UFCWMott’s apples have a giant worm wriggling around in them.

Despite the fact that the juice and apple sauce manufacturer’s parent company, Dr. Pepper Snapple, has seen its stocks rise an astonishing 180 percent since March 2009, they’re trying to slash their workers’ wages and take away pension plans.

Over 300 workers from Mott’s Williamson, NY plant have already been on strike for over a month. And if an agreement between the workers and management is not reached by the end of the summer, and the factory reopens to full capacity, hundreds of local apple farmers will be left without a buyer. Their fruit, and income, will rot away on the trees.

Mott’s is doing better than ever. In spite of the recession they managed to earn $555 million dollars last year. Since business is so sweet, why do the heads of the corporation need to sour it by cutting workers’ wages by as much as $2.50 an hour? There are some companies out there that are financially distressed and need to decrease wages as a way to stay afloat.  If last year’s stocks and earnings are any indicator, Mott’s is certainly not one of them.

Take action!  Tell Dr. Pepper Snapple President Larry D. Young that Mott’s workers deserve better!