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  #51  
Old 05-21-2014, 10:00 PM
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Default Re: General Labour Issues Thrad

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Wow, she would only be making 6.21 euros an hour here...
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  #52  
Old 05-21-2014, 10:04 PM
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Default Re: General Labour Issues Thrad

Note to self: Do not work for minimum wage in Netherlands.
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  #53  
Old 05-22-2014, 10:17 PM
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Default Re: General Labour Issues Thrad

One big victory for corporations in recent years has been getting OSHA fines so low that their trivial costs make fixing safety problems less expensive than paying the fines. Of course this has had predictable outcomes:
Quote:
Twenty-eight-year-old Daniel Collazo was nearly done with his shift cleaning machines at the Tribe hummus plant in Taunton, Mass. when other workers heard his screams.

Collazo had become caught in the rotating screws that blend the hummus and struggled to free himself as slowly-winding 9-inch blades kept turning, crushing his arms and part of his head, according to public records. His co-workers dashed to cut the power and desperately tried to untangle Collazo from the machine.

Despite their efforts, Collazo died in an ambulance on the way to the hospital. But the horrific Dec. 16, 2011, accident could have been prevented had the plant followed a standard safety practice known as “lock out/tag out.” It requires employees to be trained to cut power to industrial machinery before cleaning activities begin.
No one could have predicted etc. Read the whole etc.

Oh and this is further evidence in the "Nestlé is terrible" file.

Also too, Amity Shlaes is still terrible.
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  #54  
Old 05-23-2014, 05:03 PM
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Default Re: General Labour Issues Thrad

Common sense isn't very common, unfortunately.
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Old 05-23-2014, 06:12 PM
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Default Re: General Labour Issues Thrad

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Originally Posted by The Man View Post
One big victory for corporations in recent years has been getting OSHA fines so low that their trivial costs make fixing safety problems less expensive than paying the fines. Of course this has had predictable outcomes:
Quote:
Twenty-eight-year-old Daniel Collazo was nearly done with his shift cleaning machines at the Tribe hummus plant in Taunton, Mass. when other workers heard his screams.

Collazo had become caught in the rotating screws that blend the hummus and struggled to free himself as slowly-winding 9-inch blades kept turning, crushing his arms and part of his head, according to public records. His co-workers dashed to cut the power and desperately tried to untangle Collazo from the machine.

Despite their efforts, Collazo died in an ambulance on the way to the hospital. But the horrific Dec. 16, 2011, accident could have been prevented had the plant followed a standard safety practice known as “lock out/tag out.” It requires employees to be trained to cut power to industrial machinery before cleaning activities begin.
No one could have predicted etc. Read the whole etc.

Oh and this is further evidence in the "Nestlé is terrible" file.

Also too, Amity Shlaes is still terrible.
Maybe he was left-handed and using a right-handed machine, that's dangerous.
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  #56  
Old 06-02-2014, 09:32 AM
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Default Re: General Labour Issues Thrad

Thomas Frank interviews David Graeber on labour and other issues:

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In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, one of the great divisions between anarcho-syndicalist unions, and socialist unions, was that the latter were always asking for higher wages, and the anarchists were asking for less hours. That’s why the anarchists were so entangled in struggles for the eight-hour day. It’s as if the socialists were essentially buying into the notion that work is a virtue, and consumerism is good, but it should all be managed democratically, while the anarchists were saying, no, the whole deal—that we work more and more for more and more stuff—is rotten from the get-go.

I’ve said this before, but I think one of the greatest ironies of history is how this all panned out when workers’ movements did manage to seize power. It was generally the classic anarchist constituencies—recently proletarianized peasants and craftsmen—who rose up and made the great revolutions, whether in Russia or China or for that matter Algeria or Spain—but they always ended up with regimes run by socialists who accepted that labor was a virtue in itself and the purpose of labor was to create a consumer utopia. Of course they were completely incapable of providing such a consumer utopia. But what social benefit did they actually provide? Well, the biggest one, the one no one talks about, was guaranteed employment and job security—the “iron rice bowl”, they called it in China, but it went by many names. You couldn’t really get fired from your job. As a result you didn’t really have to work very hard. So on paper they had eight- or nine-hour days but really everyone was working maybe four or five.

I have a lot of friends who grew up in the USSR, or Yugoslavia, who describe what it was like. You get up. You buy the paper. You go to work. You read the paper. Then maybe a little work, and a long lunch, including a visit to the public bath… If you think about it in that light, it makes the achievements of the socialist bloc seem pretty impressive: a country like Russia managed to go from a backwater to a major world power with everyone working maybe on average four or five hours a day. But the problem is they couldn’t take credit for it. They had to pretend it was a problem, “the problem of absenteeism,” or whatever, because of course work was considered the ultimate moral virtue. They couldn’t take credit for the great social benefit they actually provided. Which is, incidentally, the reason that workers in socialist countries had no idea what they were getting into when they accepted the idea of introducing capitalist-style work discipline. “What, we have to ask permission to go to the bathroom?” It seemed just as totalitarian to them as accepting a Soviet-style police state would have been to us.

That ambivalence in the heart of the worker’s movement remains. Growing up in a lefty, working class family, I felt it all the time. On the one hand, there’s this ideological imperative to validate work as virtue in itself. Which is constantly being reinforced by the larger society. On the other hand, there’s the reality that most work is obviously stupid, degrading, unnecessary, and the feeling that it is best avoided whenever possible. But it makes it very difficult to organize, as workers, against work.

...

It used to be that Americans mostly subscribed to a rough-and-ready version of the labor theory of value. Everything we see around us that we consider beautiful, useful, or important was made that way by people who sank their physical and mental efforts into creating and maintaining it. Work is valuable insofar as it creates these things that people like and need. Since the beginning of the 20th century, there has been an enormous effort on the part of the people running this country to turn that around: to convince everyone that value really comes from the minds and visions of entrepreneurs, and that ordinary working people are just mindless robots who bring those visions to reality.

But at the same time, they’ve had to validate work on some level, so they’ve simultaneously been telling us: work is a value in itself. It creates discipline, maturity, or some such, and anyone who doesn’t work most of the time at something they don’t enjoy is a bad person, lazy, dangerous, parasitical. So work is valuable whether or not it produces anything of value. So we have this peculiar switch. As anyone who’s ever had a 9-to-5 job knows, the thing everyone hates the most is having to look busy, even once you’ve finished a job, just to make the boss happy, because it’s “his time” and you have no business lounging around even if there’s nothing you really need to be doing. Now it’s almost as if that kind of business is the most valued form of work, because it’s pure work, work unpolluted by any possible sort of gratification, even that gratification that comes out of knowing you’re actually doing something. And every time there’s some kind of crisis, it intensifies. We’re told, oh no! We’re all going to have to work harder. And since the amount of things that actually need doing remain about the same, there’s an additional hypertrophy of bullshit.

...

Right after my original bullshit jobs piece came out, I used to think that if I wanted, I could start a whole career in job counseling – because so many people were writing to me saying “I realize my job is pointless, but how can I support a family doing something that’s actually worthwhile?” A lot of people who worked the information desk at Zuccotti Park, and other occupations, told me the same thing: young Wall Street types would come up to them and say “I mean, I know you’re right, we’re not doing the world any good doing what we’re doing. But I don’t know how to live on less than a six figure income. I’d have to learn everything over. Could you teach me?”

But I don’t think we can solve the problem by mass individual defection. Or some kind of spiritual awakening. That’s what a lot of people tried in the ‘60s and the result was a savage counter-offensive which made the situation even worse. I think we need to attack the core of the problem, which is that we have an economic system that, by its very nature, will always reward people who make other people’s lives worse and punish those who make them better. I’m thinking of a labor movement, but one very different than the kind we’ve already seen. A labor movement that manages to finally ditch all traces of the ideology that says that work is a value in itself, but rather redefines labor as caring for other people. I think we saw the first stirrings of that kind of movement during Occupy. I remember being particularly struck with the “We are the 99%” web page—this was a page where people who supported the movement, but were mostly too busy to actually take part in the occupations or assemblies, could contribute by posting pictures of themselves holding up signs where they’d written out their life situation. Demographically it was a very telling. Maybe 80% of them were women. And even those who were men were mostly in caring professions: health care, social services, education. And the complaints were surprisingly uniform: basically they were all saying, “I want to do something with my life that actually benefits others; but if I go into a line of work where I care for other people, they pay me so little, and they put so much in debt, that I can’t even take care of my own family! This is ridiculous!”

Call it the revolt of the caring classes. Because, after all, the working classes have always been the caring classes really. I say this as a person of working class background myself. Not only are almost all actual caregivers (not to mention caretakers!) working class, but people of such backgrounds always tend to see themselves as the sort of people who actively care about their neighbors and communities, and value such social commitments far beyond material advantage. It’s just our obsession with certain very specific forms of rather macho male labor—factory workers, truck-drivers, that sort of thing—which then becomes the paradigm of all labor in our imaginations; that blinds us to the fact that the bulk of working class people have always been engaged in caring labor of one sort or another. So I think we need to start by redefining labor itself, maybe, start with classic “women’s work,” nurturing children, looking after things, as the paradigm for labor itself and then it will be much harder to be confused about what’s really valuable and what isn’t. As I say, we’re already seeing the first stirrings of this sort of thing. It’s both a political and a moral transformation and think it’s the only way we can overcome the system that puts so many of us in bullshit jobs.
The whole thing makes for fascinating reading and I strongly recommended it.
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“If you took the most ardent revolutionary, vested him in absolute power, within a year he would be worse than the Tsar himself.” -Mikhail Bakunin

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  #57  
Old 06-11-2014, 11:56 AM
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Default Re: General Labour Issues Thrad

David Atkins points out the decline of high-wage work in the U.S.:



While Digby points out that joblessness is becoming the "new normal".

Meanwhile, Krugman points out that the War on Coal Workers happened, and coal workers lost in a rout, and Erik Loomis points out that much seafood sold in the U.S. is produced with slave labour. Wal-Mart and other companies don't care and in fact try to follow this model for their domestic contractors as closely as the law will allow.
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“If you took the most ardent revolutionary, vested him in absolute power, within a year he would be worse than the Tsar himself.” -Mikhail Bakunin

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  #58  
Old 06-11-2014, 08:38 PM
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Default Re: General Labour Issues Thrad

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Meanwhile, Krugman points out that the War on Coal Workers happened, and coal workers lost in a rout
The sad part about that is that there should've been an opportunity for Democrats to get coal workers on their side on the environmental issues then.

Strip mining is horrible for the environment. Not just in an abstract "oh I love nature" way but in a "seriously affects the standard of living of people nearby" and a "completely destroys the natural beauty that could be making tourist dollars" way. And because more labor-intensive mining is better for the environment - even if we're mining less of it, it could still be better for employment - it shouldn't have been hard to get people on board.

You would think they would be able to campaign on "save our beautiful mountains" for tourism, "save our environment" for health, and "save our coal mining jobs" because strip mining is a job killer.

Missed opportunities.
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  #59  
Old 06-29-2014, 07:51 PM
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Default Re: General Labour Issues Thrad



In other news, Stiglitz argues that inequality under capitalism is not inevitable, but a series of policy choices. Loomis adds that racism was part of the choice structure.

Loomis also gives us brief overviews of the IWW and the Fair Labor Standards Act, which set minimum wages and overtime pay and banned most forms of child labour.
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“If you took the most ardent revolutionary, vested him in absolute power, within a year he would be worse than the Tsar himself.” -Mikhail Bakunin

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  #60  
Old 07-10-2014, 10:28 PM
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Default Re: General Labour Issues Thrad

Over a million public sector workers in the U.K. go on strike to protest pay cuts etc.
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“If you took the most ardent revolutionary, vested him in absolute power, within a year he would be worse than the Tsar himself.” -Mikhail Bakunin

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  #61  
Old 09-28-2014, 04:28 AM
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“All for ourselves, and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind.” -Adam Smith

“If you took the most ardent revolutionary, vested him in absolute power, within a year he would be worse than the Tsar himself.” -Mikhail Bakunin

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  #62  
Old 09-28-2014, 05:25 AM
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Default Re: General Labour Issues Thrad

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“All for ourselves, and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind.” -Adam Smith

“If you took the most ardent revolutionary, vested him in absolute power, within a year he would be worse than the Tsar himself.” -Mikhail Bakunin

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  #63  
Old 10-11-2014, 09:00 PM
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Default Re: General Labour Issues Thrad

Holy crap, I hadn't heard of this one:

Amazon’s gross new innovation: How it’s quietly shortchanging everyday Americans - Salon.com

When I was 18 or 19, I was working at a convenience store that had a policy that you were supposed finish up your 'closing' crap after you'd clocked out, and I fought and won, telling them that if I was clocked out and not being legally detained, I was officially free to go and would be doing just that. And I won. They were mad about it, but they changed the policy to allow up to 15 minutes or something to the ends of our shifts.

(BTW, I could have put this in the Supreme Court thrad, I guess, but I looked and there were nerds in there.)
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  #64  
Old 10-11-2014, 09:24 PM
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Default Re: General Labour Issues Thrad

The end of that article says that Amazon claim there is little or no wait involved in post-shift screening. So it really depends on who is telling the truth about the amount of unpaid screening time - Amazon or its employees.

My employer requires me to wear (reasonably) clean clothes to work, but right now I don't charge them extra time for doing my laundry. :chin:
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  #65  
Old 10-11-2014, 09:38 PM
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Default Re: General Labour Issues Thrad

Ha, yeah, I saw that and immediately assumed they were lying.
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  #66  
Old 10-11-2014, 09:52 PM
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Default Re: General Labour Issues Thrad

I believe the employee's lawyers said it took upwards of 20 minutes for the screening. Amazon says the first employees got through in only about five minutes, a minimal amount of waiting. It's the slothenly schlubs in the back of the line that had to wait more.
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Old 10-12-2014, 02:13 PM
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Default Re: General Labour Issues Thrad

Socialist Obama siding with the proletarian Jeff Bezos here.
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Old 10-12-2014, 08:49 PM
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Default Re: General Labour Issues Thrad

I get paid a half hour per day for shift turnover, whether or not it actually takes that long. It usually doesn't, not even by half.
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Old 11-02-2014, 10:41 PM
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Default Re: General Labour Issues Thrad

Jacobin discusses the way most discussions of the sex industry elide the perspectives of sex workers themselves. Particularly worth noting:

Quote:
With her highly visible status, Pollitt is free to determine the real heart of the debate around sexual labor — and overlook evidence showing most women in the sex industry do not feel more exploited than other workers.
Quote:
It is out of the need to prioritize their survival that sex workers mobilize for basic rights and often choose not to make themselves experts on human trafficking — particularly when popular discourses around trafficking refuse to acknowledge its less titillating realities, including the fact that the majority of trafficking is not for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation and most minors performing sexual services for money are not facilitated by a trafficker or pimp.

But children exploited by systemic poverty rather than morally disfigured pimps and the whores that love them are far less enticing victims to adopt because they exist in unwieldy and brutal economic realities, not the confines of the morally panicked imagination.
This is particularly relevant because Kristof is bloviating about the issue again, as he does.
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“If you took the most ardent revolutionary, vested him in absolute power, within a year he would be worse than the Tsar himself.” -Mikhail Bakunin

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  #70  
Old 11-02-2014, 10:58 PM
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Default Re: General Labour Issues Thrad

Knowing a few women in the sex industry (of varying degrees) I can vouch for the fact that they are really tired of people talking for them and trying to 'save them' especially when save means taking away their own initiative.
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  #71  
Old 11-24-2014, 05:35 AM
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Default Re: General Labour Issues Thrad

Balloon Juice on the erosion of overtime pay.
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“If you took the most ardent revolutionary, vested him in absolute power, within a year he would be worse than the Tsar himself.” -Mikhail Bakunin

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Old 11-24-2014, 01:28 PM
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Default Re: General Labour Issues Thrad

I get overtime pay for over 40 hours in a week, and due to the way they jack my schedule around, scheduling me for as little as 24 hours in a payroll week, I need a couple hundred hours per year of it just to get my annual base salary.
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Old 11-25-2014, 07:43 PM
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Default Re: General Labour Issues Thrad

I work Sundays and some holidays (Christmas and Easter) and I never see a dime of overtime or holiday pay.
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Old 11-25-2014, 07:57 PM
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Default Re: General Labour Issues Thrad

I don't get anything extra for working Sundays (I don't mind), but I do get extra for all hours worked on all seven company holidays, double time for hours worked on the holidays, plus 8 hours straight time for each day.

I remember the first time I made $100 in a day; I worked 16 hours on Christmas Day in 1977, and made just over $100 plus an overtime meal. Now I make that much in just a few hours on a holiday. And I am not one bit better off now than I was then, or at least don't feel like I am.
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Old 02-04-2015, 06:20 PM
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Default Re: General Labour Issues Thrad

I haven't seen the Superbowl commercials, because I'm not going to go out of my way to be sold things. I read my brother's blog post and some of his tweets, though, so I know about some of them. This is an interesting response to the McDonald's ad about 'paying with love' and how it looks from the other side.
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