Today in Labor History Nov. 17, 1916: To the huge relief of Post Office Department employees, the service sets a limit of 200 pounds a day to be shipped by any one customer. Builders were finding it cheaper to send supplies via post than via wagon freight. In one instance, 80,000 bricks for a new bank were shipped parcel post from Salt Lake City to Vernal, Utah, 170 miles away. The new directive also barred the shipment of humans: a child involved in a couple’s custody fight was shipped—for 17¢—from Stillwell to South Bend, Ind., in a crate labeled “live baby”. ~ Union Communications Services
Nov. 5, 2015| The just-released TPP text is actually worse than we imagined. Here are just a few examples of how the TPP will undercut jobs and wages.
• The TPP forces U.S. employers into competition with companies exploiting workers in places like Vietnam, where the minimum wage is just a third of what it is in China’s manufacturing centers, and Malaysia, where an estimated one-third of all electronics workers are victims of human trafficking.
• The TPP enables products assembled from parts made in “third party” countries that are not subject to any TPP obligations, such as China, to entire the U.S. duty-free, undercutting U.S. manufacturing.
• The TPP includes procurement provisions effectively barring Buy American and Buy Local government purchasing preferences.
• The TPP includes controversial investor-state dispute resolution (ISDS) provisions that make it safer — and, in fact, create incentives — for U.S. firms to offshore jobs to foreign countries where they can exploit low-wage labor under privileged foreign investor status rather than be forced to deal with the countries’ regulator processes and courts.
• We also know that the TPP fails to include the currency safeguards demanded by a bipartisan majority in Congress that would prevent known currency manipulators like Vietnam, Japan and Malaysia from devaluing their currencies to gain an unfair trade advantage over U.S. employers.
The march to inequality: How did we get here? Nov. 10, 2015| This week Talking Points Memo launches an in-depth four-part series on the ever-pressing issue of today, wealth and income inequality. "The four pieces come from different authors, each coming from a different angle, with a different sort of expertise. The aim of the series is to pose a simple question: How did we get here?…" The first installment looks at the politics of the left and the decline of organized labor over half a century. The decline played a key role in the declining economic clout of working class and middle class Americans, but it is only part of the story…
21 organizations fighting for labor rights in the food system Nov. 19, 2015| … In Tracy, California, Teamsters members are fighting poverty wages and severe violations of basic rights at Taylor Farms. And more than 11,000 Teamsters workers have united to defeat a mega-merger of U.S. Foods and Sysco, which would have jeopardized thousands of broadline food service and transportation jobs… Read more here.
High court rulings could affect workers Nov. 20, 2015| The future of workers on the job could be shaped significantly by a spate of causes set to be considered by the U.S. Supreme Court during its current term. And it is something more everyday Americans need to be aware of and consider. … The Teamsters represent about 273,000 public sector workers, and other union represent millions more. These government employees are everyday Americans just trying to earn a living and support their families. But that will be increasingly difficult if union rights are curtailed nationwide. Full story here.