The U.S. auto sector added 3,400 jobs in January — and now employs more people than it did in September 2008 —as rising sales have boosted employment across the industry.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday employment at automakers and parts companies rose to 846,400 last month — up nearly 47,000 jobs over the last year.
Auto dealers added 42,000 jobs over the last year to 1.16 million.
Wages have remained relatively flat in the sector.
The average hourly wage in the auto sector for production and non-supervisory workers rose $0.29 an hour over the last year to $21.21. The average hourly warnings at automakers for the same group was $28.06, compared with $20.01 for parts employees.
Michigan added 700 net auto manufacturing jobs in 2013 to 43,300 — and the parts sector added 4,600 to 110,300 — the best gains of any states in the parts sector. Michigan has nearly twice as many auto parts manufacturing jobs than the second highest state — Indiana, with 56,600.
From The Detroit News: detroitnews.com
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.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the federal agency that protects workers’ rights to organize and demand better conditions, will announce a decision today to prosecute Walmart for violating workers’ rights by firing, disciplining, and threatening workers who went on strike or attempted to unionize, according to OUR Walmart, the group that has been helping to organize the strikes.
The group says the NLRB will prosecute the company for illegally firing and disciplining more than 117 workers, including some who went on strike last June. It also includes threats by managers and spokespeople meant to discourage workers from striking. Workers could potentially see back pay, reinstatement to their former positions, and the reversal of disciplinary actions. Neither the NLRB or Walmart returned a request for comment by the time of publication.
Workers have gone on strike multiple times over the past year, with a wave of 400 walking out on Black Friday last year. The latest saw strikes in three cities over a week-long period. Workers have been demanding higher pay, more full-time work, and an end to retaliation.
But workers have repeatedly claimed that they are fired or disciplined for going on strike. The company itself has also admitted to threatening workers who look into forming unions that their benefits could disappear if they organize.
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.
Quoted in entirety, because it’s mine.
Okay, since I only hit FB about once a month, I decided to make it worth it.
This is the post when you unfriend me. ;)
PRO-CHOICE: Note the second part of that hyphenated word. “Choice.” Personally, I believe one should choose life, but my beliefs should not hold true for everyone. It’s a choice.
NO GOD IN GOVERNMENT: The USA was made to be welcoming to everyone, no matter their race, religion, or beliefs. People may be motivated by their personal religious beliefs, but there’s no acid test for religion built into the Constitution. (All you folks who want to reforms laws to a “Biblical standard” should probably contrast and compare that idea with “sharia,” because you’re talking the same damn thing.)
OBAMA IS NOT THE DEVIL: In fact, he’s a hyper-conservative Democrat, or a slightly liberal Eisenhower Republican. Take a moment to read/watch some history.
OBAMACARE IS NOT THE DEVIL: In fact, will probably not affect most people reading this. It just makes healthcare more available to people who couldn’t get it before. The “no block for pre-existing conditions” has been a boon for dozens of my friends already. It’s a Republican health plan by the Heritage Foundation, implemented as Romneycare in Massachusetts, and works fine. Quit bitching.
THE NSA: Really, everyone should stop talking about it and its leaks. For the most part, it’s simply real-politik, and for the other part is people yammering on about secret clearances and intercepts they know nothing about. Here’s some facts:
* The Obama administration is better with the FISA court than the Bush admin.
* The whole clearance thing breaks down into secret (general stuff), top secret (most stuff), and compartmentalized secret (specific stuff). There is almost no one who has access across the board.
* The whole job of the org is to listen for threats. And some are bitching about that basic idea? Ridiculous.
WE SPEND TOO MUCH ON DEFENSE, AND NOT ENOUGH ON INFRASTRUCTURE: Not only that, but we spend too much money on the wrong things in defense. Sure, it’s nice to have a spiffy new bomber, but I’d rather our soldiers on the ground have better body armor. My opinon: we need a new WPA movement to help fix our crumbling railways, bridges, roadways, and electrical grid. That’ll make us more resilient to attack or natural disaster.
QUIT BITCHING ABOUT UNIONS: Unions helped make this country stable from about 1920 to 1970, providing working people with a living wage and protections. Yes, unions got a little wacky in the early 70s, but that’s a call for reform, not elimination.
READ/VIEW MORE THAN ONE SOURCE OF INFORMATION: Never rely on a single paper/channel/show to give you the truth. Read outside of it. Read the opposing view. Get all the facts, and make your own decision.
This approach would amount to formal government recognition of a two-class society, the innovators living under one set of policies that allows them to practice by cutthroat rules, the rest of America consigned to the relatively meager support of a safety net.
Looked at in this light, the 2012 presidential campaign was a louder version of the same argument. Mitt Romney’s total contempt for the 47 percent - “who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them” - reflected the conservative vision of this two-tier society.
Conversely, Barack Obama described an America where
“the basic bargain that made this country great has eroded. Long before the recession hit, hard work stopped paying off for too many people. Fewer and fewer of the folks who contributed to the success of our economy actually benefited from that success. Those at the very top grew wealthier from their incomes and their investments — wealthier than ever before. But everybody else struggled with costs that were growing and paychecks that weren’t — and too many families found themselves racking up more and more debt just to keep up”
Despite its egalitarian tradition, America may have already become a two-class society, with an elite benefiting from advantages in background, wealth, access to higher education and skill sets passed from generation to generation (whether through inheritance or cultural transmission). If that is the case, and there is some evidence that it is, the question is whether our rhetorical obeisance to egalitarian tradition will prevent us from openly recognizing what we have become - thus sapping our ability to do something about it.
Reuters has a piece out today that details how the cradle of organized labor, Michigan, became a Right to Work (for less) state, and explains why it happened when it did, and as fast as it did. The thing is, it wasn’t just because an attempt to enshrine collective bargaining rights into the state constitution went down in flames:
(Reuters) - As a trained aerospace engineer, Patrick Colbeck applied his penchant for data analysis and “systematic approach” to his new job in early 2011: a Michigan state senator, recently elected and keen to create jobs in the faded industrial powerhouse.
Those skills paid off handsomely for the first-term Republican this week as Governor Rick Snyder signed into law bills co-sponsored by Colbeck that ban mandatory union membership, making Michigan the nation’s 24th right-to-work state.
From outside Michigan Republican circles, it appeared that the Republican drive to weaken unions came out of the blue - proposed, passed and signed in a mere six days.
But the transformation had been in the making since March 2011 when Colbeck and a fellow freshman, state Representative Mike Shirkey, first seriously considered legislation to ban mandatory collection of union dues as a condition of employment in Michigan. Such was their zeal, they even went to union halls to make their pitch and were treated “respectfully,” Colbeck said.
Read the whole thing here.
Another casualty of the 2010 Tea Party wave. Elections do have consequences, and since the GOP won so many statehouses in a census year, they won the right to redistrict, and it looks like they have gerrymandered themselves into power until the end of the decade at least. So I doubt Michigan will be the last state to at least attempt passing a Right to Work (for less) law.
Fifty Years Ago, Striking Printers Shut Down Seven New York City newspapers. It Lasted for 114 Days and Killed 4 Newspapers
The Long Good-Bye: Fifty Years Ago This Month, Striking Printers Shut Down Seven New York City newspapers.The Strike Lasted for 114 Days and Killed Four of Those Newspapers. New York Was Never the Same Again « Sigmund, Carl and Alfred
New York City newspapers and journalism looked a lot different in 1960 than it does now. In that year 17,000 printers of 7 newspapers went on a strike that was to last 114 days.
The strike was a classic example of unions versus the corporate powers that be. Each side was willing to fight to the end to defend it’s turf but in fact the strike had a lot to do with new technologies. Computerized typesetting was to inevitably change the industry.The unions were trying to delay the inevitable.
When the strike was over a whole new crop of younger journalists were to emerge and change the face of journalism, not just in New York but throughout the nation. TV news was to gain new credibility. Whereas newspapers once were the primary source of news (many papers published both morning and afternoon editions), the strike helped supplant the credibility and immediacy of TV news.
How will history recall the strike? The author Tom Wolfe said, ‘This was an absolutely unnecessary strike.’
A little more than two hours after midnight on December 8, 1962, hundreds of printers walked away from their clattering Linotype machines and their rumbling presses and departed en masse from The New York Times’s block-long composing room, on West 43rd Street. Everything they deemed essential—typewriters, adding machines, a public-address system, manila folders stuffed with union documents—was packed into cardboard boxes and carted away to strike headquarters, in Greenwich Village. The printers, most of them second-generation Irish, Italian, and Jewish men in their 40s, belonged to Local No. 6 of the International Typographical Union (I.T.U.), a confederation better known by its historic nickname, “Big Six.” The Times was shut down, and within hours so was every other major newspaper in New York City.
One of the most dramatic and vexing strikes in American history was under way. The showdown of 1962-63 pitted around 17,000 newspaper employees—pressmen, photoengravers, paper handlers, reporters, elevator operators, office boys—against the owners and publishers of seven New York City newspapers, who were determined to curtail the influence of Big Six and nine other clamorous unions. Over the next 114 days, 600 million newspapers would go unprinted; newspaper-obsessed New Yorkers would be forced to navigate their metropolis without them. President John F. Kennedy would denounce the president of Big Six, Bertram “Bert” Powers, who spearheaded the strike; the Publishers Association would be shaken by the defection of its only woman, Dorothy Schiff of the New York Post; and the newsgathering abilities of local TV stations would grow in size and sophistication. The strike would put a decisive end to New York as a boisterous newspaper town, one that in the 1920s had possessed 19 dailies.
For some New York newspaper veterans, even a brief mention of the episode is enough to summon rage and melancholy. “This was an absolutely foolish strike,” says Tom Wolfe, who was a reporter at the Herald Tribune at the time. “There was a stubborn union leadership that was not going to give in, no matter what. So they managed to kill off four newspapers out of seven.” Jimmy Breslin, then a Tribune columnist, says, “Bert Powers was fucking crazy! He disliked newspapers.” If the strike hastened the decline of newspaper culture in New York, it also changed the landscape of literary journalism: the void created by the news blackout helped to launch and solidify the careers of Gay Talese, Nora Ephron, Pete Hamill, and Wolfe himself. “The freedom that came with that strike,” says Talese, who was then a 30-year-old Timesman, “made me, for the first time, know what it was like to be a writer rather than a reporter whose life was owned by the Times.”
Note that Tesla is funded by the infamous DoE loan program which gave us the Solyndra debacle. So, as a matter of principle, we don’t recommend the purchase of a Tesla. However, it should be noted that their Fremont, California plant is non-union, reportedly paying their workers just $12 an hour.
ArcelorMittal and France Strike a Deal, but Question Remains: Was This Racism Instead of Socialism? - Quartz
The last-minute peace deal between French President Francois Hollande and steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal may have saved everyone’s face for the time being. ArcelorMittal plants in France will remain open and job losses will be averted after the government backed away from nationalization threats.
But the damage to Paris’s reputation will be long-lasting.
The world has seen France as a defensive, declining power that can take a xenophobic and—according to some sections of the Indian press—even borderline racist attitude to foreign investors, especially if they come from rising Asia where Europe’s second-largest economy once ran a vast colonial empire.
The personal attacks on Mittal began last week when the paradoxically titled Industrial Recovery Minister Arnaud Montebourg lashed out at billionaire Mittal and his French operations for “lying” and “blackmail.” The minister went so far as to say the company, which employs 20,000 in France, should “get out” of the country because it had failed to show “respect” by planning to shut down two mothballed blast furnaces, resulting in potentially hundreds of job losses.
A poor grasp of basic economics, business imperatives and global financial conditions was demonstrated by the minister, unions and even former senior figures in ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy’s centre-right administration. All of them joined the crowd baying for Mittal’s metaphorical head, although the head of France’s large employers’ association MEDEF, Laurence Parisot, said the threats of nationalization were “scandalous.” A front-page Le Monde editorial also lambasted Montebourg and Hollande for jeopardizing foreign investment with their intemperate words and threats.