Israel’s March elections are fast approaching-and still too close to call. Even for devoted Israel watchers, though, it can be difficult to follow the fluctuations of a political scene that features over half-a-dozen parties jockeying for parliamentary position. And that’s before one bumps up against the Hebrew language barrier. Fortunately, Tablet is here to help.
How can one keep track of the many polls released each week-and how reliable are they? Which analysts are writing in English and offering detailed blow-by-blow accounts of the race’s developments? And who makes the best political parody videos lampooning the contest’s participants? Our primer has the answers.
In the era of Nate Silver, nothing carries more currency with political junkies than the latest polls. Israel’s, however, have proven notoriously unreliable. Pollsters have consistently overestimated the support for large parties and underrated smaller ones, often by dramatic margins. These errors are compounded by the fact that over a third of Israeli voters tend to be undecided before they get to the ballot box. With such a large late-breaking swing vote, and a parliament whose seats are determined by vote percentage, it can seem near impossible to predict Israel’s elections with any certainty.
Enter Project 61. Run by analyst Nehemia Gershuni, and drawing its name from the 61 seats required to form a majority coalition in the Knesset, Project 61 aims to be the FiveThirtyEight of Israel’s elections. Drawing on Nate Silver’s own methodology, the project aggregates Israel’s many polls, then weights the average based on the historical reliability of each pollster. Those with a better track record for accuracy count for more, and vice versa. The result, displayed in easily understood infographics, is likely the best look at the political state-of-play possible before election day. For example, at the top of the page is Project 61’s latest breakdown.
Reporting and Analysis
From top political reporters like Channel 2’s Amit Segal to Channel 10’s Nadav Perry, there is no shortage of quality election coverage in Hebrew. But what about in English? Thanks to the proliferation of online English media from Israel, some native and some translated, there’s plenty to choose from among outlets like the Times of Israel, Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, and many others.
But beyond the usual publications, there are also particular writers well worth following for up-to-the-minute coverage. Lahav Harkov, ace Knesset reporter at the Jerusalem Post, tweets breaking news, polls, photos and analysis from countless rallies and other electoral events.
Lets also get rid of the minimum wage and mandatory lunch breaks as well. Workers have the right to starve to death.
Wisconites tired of relaxing on weekends and staying home on federal holidays are in luck: On Thursday, GOP state Sen. Glenn Grothman announced his challenge to 18*-term moderate Rep. Tom Petri (R-Wis.). In a conservative district that went to Mitt Romney by seven points in 2012, Grothman hopes to channel dissatisfaction with Republicans in Congress whom he believes haven’t done enough to slow down the Obama administration’s policy agenda. But he comes with some baggage of his own.
In January, Grothman introduced legislation to eliminate a state requirement that workers get at least one day off per week. “Right now in Wisconsin, you’re not supposed to work seven days in a row, which is a little ridiculous because all sorts of people want to work seven days a week,” he told the Huffington Post. Eliminating days off is a long-running campaign from Grothman. Three years earlier, he argued that public employees should have to work on Martin Luther King Day.
Fox Business host Stuart Varney on Thursday asserted that paying overtime could stifle companies like Google, and that a proposed White House change to overtime rules was essentially “buying votes.”
Bloomberg News reported this week that the Obama administration was considering directing the Labor Department to make more American workers eligible for overtime pay. The rule change was expected to target fast food and retail companies which often label workers as “supervisors” or “managers” so they do not have to be paid for more than 40 hours of work.
The Washington-based Economic Policy Institute has said it supports the rule change for workers who make less than $50,000.
“It changes your quality of life when you know you can’t be required to work an extra 20 hours a week without being paid for it,” Economic Policy Institute Vice President Ross Eisenbrey told Bloomberg. “The restaurant industry is famous for doing this, for calling people assistant managers.”
I have been “salaried, exempt” my entire career except for a contract assignment at Ford from 1998-1999, doing production support and Y2K prep. It was a UAW shop and everyone who put in overtime, got paid overtime. I made a shitload of money that year but missed my kids birthdays and my own anniversary dinner.
At my current assignment, we get paid overtime if the extra hours are approved by management. On, a holiday like MLK Day or Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve, the facility is open on those days and we can choose to take the day off, or come in to work and receive holiday pay.
And yeah I think high-tech creatives who have to participate in overnight bullshit meetings should get paid for their talent.
Fuck you Varney.
More power to them. Anyone working full time should not also need welfare in order to survive.
Workers walked off their jobs at fast-food restaurants across the country as part of a national protest against low wages, a day after President Barack Obama renewed his call for a minimum wage hike in a speech Wednesday.
The action is part of a growing movement against what workers say are sub-standard working conditions and wages too low to make ends meet. Thousands of labor activists and workers, who were scheduled to start their shifts early Thursday morning, did not show at work and chose to protest instead.
Workers and their supporters are expected to strike at the nation’s major national fast-food restaurants, organizers said, including McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s and KFC. Protesters in cities such as Charleston, S.C., Providence, R.I. and Pittsburgh, Pa., will join the action for the first time, along with clergy, elected officials and community supporters.
Mardi Gras Casino and Resort, a South Florida gambling, dog-racing and hotel complex, has been around in some form since the 1930s. What started as a pari-mutuel betting track is today a Las Vegas-style destination for beachgoers, part of Florida’s booming gaming economy responsible for 2,600 jobs and nearly $382 million in spending in 2012. But Mardi Gras has made national news for something else entirely: an explosive labor dispute now before the Supreme Court.
On Nov. 13, the court will hear oral argument in Unite Here Local 355 v. Martin Mulhall and Mardi Gras Gaming. It is the latest case testing the boundaries of workers’ right to organize and could be among the most significant labor-related decisions since John Roberts was appointed chief justice of the United States in 2005.
At issue in Mulhall is the neutrality agreement, a contract widely used by private employers and unions to govern conduct and set ground rules for workplace unionization campaigns. About a decade ago, Mardi Gras employees began talking with Local 355 of Unite Here, a union focused on organizing hotel, casino and airport workers. Like other casino employees, they hoped that the union could help them bargain for better wages, benefits and working conditions. Local 355’s website motto — “Lifting South Florida above the poverty line” — reflects the measured aspirations of this area’s low-wage service sector.
The trouble started in 2008, when Mardi Gras refused to comply with the neutrality agreement. Local 355 initiated legal proceedings, and the casino invoked an unorthodox defense: The contract it signed was unlawful under an anti-corruption statute.
Federal criminal law prohibits employers and unions from trading money or other “things of value.” According to Mulhall and Mardi Gras, neutrality agreements flout this interdiction and improperly circumvent employees’ right to secret-ballot elections, set out in the National Labor Relations Act. According to Local 355, the law forbids bribery and corruption, not mutually beneficial agreements between cooperating employers and unions.
A powerful conservative nonprofit group opposed to organized labor helped shape Mardi Gras’ strategy. The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation (NRTW) — whose stated mission is to “eliminate coercive union power and compulsory unionism” — came to represent Martin Mulhall, a Mardi Gras employee opposed to the union.
Mulhall sued Local 355 and Mardi Gras, but the case was thrown out by a Florida district court. On appeal by Mulhall, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit sent the case back down. In the appellate court’s view, the kinds of promises and information exchanged in neutrality agreements are things of value and therefore foster corruption as much as cash bribes do. Unite Here then appealed to the Supreme Court.
Sisters’ Camelot in Minneapolis is a small collectively run organization that does wonderful work. They distribute organic food in impoverished neighborhoods in Minneapolis. They’ve also, historically, been supportive of political causes such as the Occupy Movement and, on occasion, labor unions.
However, when faced with labor organizing within their own organization their response was to, initially, not negotiate. Later, they agreed to negotiate, but then fired one of their canvassers (a classic divide and conquer union busting strategy).
Please read the statement of support below and, if so inclined, sign on. If you’re outside of the Twin Cities you may state where you from if you wish to.
President Obama plans to nominate the government’s top-ranking civil rights lawyer as the new secretary of Labor on Monday, a key position as the administration prepares to take on immigration reform.
Thomas E. Perez’s nomination had been expected, but the administration said last week that the announcement was not imminent. If confirmed by the Senate, Perez would be the only Latino in Obama’s second-term Cabinet. He is the assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
An administration official said Sunday that Obama would name Perez to succeed Hilda L. Solis, a former member of Congress from California who decided to leave the Labor post. The other Latino in the first-term Cabinet, former Sen. Ken Salazar of Colorado, is stepping down as secretary of the Interior. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the nomination before the White House announcement.
Perez, a Harvard-educated lawyer, is a first-generation Dominican American with a long career in public service. Although Democratic supporters consider him a vigorous advocate of worker rights, he could face a challenge from Republicans angry about initiatives at the Justice Department.
Wal-Mart Nixed Paying Bangladesh Suppliers to Fight Fire
By Renee Dudley & Arun Devnath
Dec 5, 2012 8:57 AM MT
At a meeting convened in 2011 to boost safety at Bangladesh garment factories, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) made a call: paying suppliers more to help them upgrade their manufacturing facilities was too costly.Bangladeshi people identify the bodies of their relatives who died in a fire at a garment factory in the Savar neighborhood in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Sunday Nov. 25, 2012. Polash Khan/AP Photo
Details of the meeting have emerged after a fire at a Bangladesh factory that made clothes for Wal-Mart and Sears Holdings Corp. killed more than 100 people last month. The blaze has renewed pressure on companies to improve working conditions in Bangladesh, where more than 700 garment workers have died since 2005, according to the International Labor Rights Forum, a Washington-based advocacy group.
At the April 2011 meeting in Dhaka, the Bangladesh capital, retailers discussed a contractually enforceable memorandum that would require them to pay Bangladesh factories prices high enough to cover costs of safety improvements. Sridevi Kalavakolanu, a Wal-Mart director of ethical sourcing, told attendees the company wouldn’t share the cost, according to Ineke Zeldenrust, international coordinator for the Clean Clothes Campaign, who attended the gathering. Kalavakolanu and her counterpart at Gap reiterated their position in a report folded into the meeting minutes, obtained by Bloomberg News.