Category Archives: SubDisp Exclusive

DC Mayor Vetoes Living-Wage Bill, Endorses Walmart Poverty Wages

walmsrt2Walmart won another battle in its war on workers this morning as Washington, DC Mayor Vincent Gray vetoed the Large Retailer Accountability Act. With Walmart planning its entry into the DC market, the legislation would require the company and other big-box retailers to pay a minimum of $12.50 an hour in wages and benefits.

The Washington Post reports:

The debate over the bill, the Large Retailer Accountability Act, has polarized local leaders while garnering national attention and putting focus on the low wages many retail chains pay their workers.

But Gray made no secret in recent months that, for him, jobs and retail took priority.

Wal-Mart’s entry into the city was an early political coup for Gray, and he personally lobbied — some say threatened — top company executives to commit to a store at the Skyland Town Center development not far from Gray’s home in Ward 7.

The Skyland store is among those Wal-Mart has threatened to abandon should the living-wage bill become law.

Gray – who has previously received widespread support from the local labor movement – has been happy to promote Walmart’s narrative of jobs versus living wages. Before the city council surprised everyone by voting in favor of the bill earlier this summer, Walmart tried to blackmail the city by threatening to cancel building three of the six new stores planned for DC.

Sure enough, in announcing his veto Gray pretended to be a supporter of living wages in general while calling the LRAA a “job-killer.”

So much for standing up to Walmart’s bullying. And so much for bucking the national trend in which the only significant job growth is happening in low-wage industries. Read the rest of this entry

Decision 2012: Austerity vs. Austerity

November 6, 2012

As this year’s election finally reaches its conclusion, working-class people will soon know who will drive the agenda of austerity over the next four years. Whether it’s Obama or Romney, the underlying priorities remain the same, and at the center of those priorities is a commitment to cut the deficit on the backs of workers and the poor.

Up to this point, the campaigning on either side has sought to lead voters into a state of mind in which substance and style bleed together as one. Because beyond style, both Obama and Romney share more in common on policy than they disagree. Even if Democrats and Republicans differ on how to get there, the goal is the same: safeguard the dominance of corporate power and point to the deficit as reason enough to march forward with the assault on the working class.  Read the rest of this entry

Winning the Strike: How Chicago Teachers Made History

October 1, 2012

Last month, the Chicago Teachers Union did something that no one thought possible a few years ago when the Great Recession took hold. Back then, the economic crisis and devastating budget cuts gave corporate-backed school “reformers” the conditions they needed to thrust the war on public education into high gear.

The Chicago teachers strike is a groundbreaking event in the fight to defend public schools and resurrect a fighting labor movement. Months of preperation went into the victorious strike that forced Mayor Rahm Emanuel to back down from his most damaging attacks against teachers. The union knew it needed to build alliances beyond labor and win the support of parents and communities before moving to strike. Its success in doing so was central to winning the standoff.  Read the rest of this entry

European Austerity Deepens, Workers Strike Back

September 26, 2012

Plutocrats in Europe are continuing their march against the poor and working class. Their efforts to bleed workers dry has once again pushed unions in Greece to declare a nationwide general strike. And in Spain, protests this week turned violent as more austerity measures threaten the lives of workers already hurting from high unemployment and suffocating budget cuts.

Greek workers have endured massive cuts over the last several years and have repeatedly been forced to use the one thing they still have: the power to withhold their labor. Read the rest of this entry

DHL’s Attack on Turkish Workers’ Rights

August 15, 2012

In the last year, DHL  claims it has fired 24 workers in Turkey for “performance related” reasons. But the express parcel delivery company is fooling no one. TÜMTİS, the Turkey Motor Vehicle and Transport Workers’ Union, has been trying to organize the DHL workers for more than a year. DHL management in Turkey has fired workers for trying to organize and threatened to fire other workers for joining TÜMTİS. The company is also refusing to meet with the union over the firings.

Between last April and November, eight workers were fired for what the DHL called poor performance and endangering worker safety and health. But the workers said managers openly threatened one worker at a time with dismissal for organizing. Read the rest of this entry

Solidarity is a Wildfire: Houston Janitors’ Strike Spreads

July 18, 2012

The one percent is catching fire in the form of an expanding strike by the janitors who clean the buildings of some of the largest corporations in the U.S. Hundreds of janitors in Houston who walked off the job last week are being joined by hundreds more this week as picket lines extend to eight cities across the country.

The janitors – employed by contractors to clean office buildings for companies like Exxon Mobile, Shell Oil, and JP Morgan Chase – are striking against unfair labor practices. They are also demanding an end to poverty wages in a city recently named by Forbes as the number one city for millionaires. Read the rest of this entry