THE MARCH TO REVOLUTION HAS BEGUN!
"The suppression of class struggle by the unions gave a
freehand to the American ruling elite to restructure class
relations in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crash. With
the assistance of the unions, corporate profitability was
restored through a relentless drive to cut wages and shift the
cost of health care and pensions onto the backs workers, and
the stock market bubble was re-inflated by providing virtually
free credit to financial speculators. The “quantitative easing”
program of the Obama administration depended on
containing “inflation,” the code word for rising wages."
OBAMA’S CRONY BANKSTERISM destroyed a 11 TRILLION DOLLARS in home equity… and they’re still plundering us!
Barack Obama created more debt for the middle class than any president in US
history, and also had the only huge QE programs: $4.2 Trillion.
OXFAM reported that during Obama’s terms, 95% of the wealth created went to
the top 1% of the world’s wealthy.
EVEN BEFORE HE TOOK OFFICE, BARACK OBAMA HAD SUCKED IN MORE BRIBES FROM CRIMINAL BANKSTERS THAN ANY OTHER PRESIDENT IN HISTORY!
Records show that four out of Obama's top five contributors
are employees of financial industry giants -Goldman Sachs
($571,330), UBS AG ($364,806), JPMorgan Chase ($362,207)
and Citigroup ($358,054)….. BUT HE KEPT THEM ALL OUT OF PRISON AND PLUNDERING FOR BOTTOMLESS BAILOUTS!
The resurgence of class struggle:
More strikes in the US so far in 2018 than all of last year
By Jerry White
11 May 2018
There have already been more major work stoppages this year in the US than in all of 2017, as teachers and other sections of workers have begun to break through the grip of the unions and express their opposition.
There were only seven work stoppages of 1,000 or more workers in 2017, the second lowest number since 1947, and the fewest since 2009, when there were only five such strikes. Already this year, there have been at least 10 major work stoppages, and many more are brewing.
“Waves of workers are hitting picket lines in 2018,” CBS News headlined a May 8 story. “From teachers walking out of classrooms in several states to hospital workers manning picket lines in California, a surge in strikes is happening in 2018… The first three months of 2018 have seen revived activity on the labor front, and the second quarter is suiting up to be active as well, as workers strike over issues including pay, benefits—and in the case of some educators—distress over lack of funds for equipment and supplies.”
The strikes so far this year have included:
* The nine-day strike of 33,000 West Virginia teachers and school employees in late February and March.
* A one-day strike on March 19 by teachers on the US territory of Puerto Rico
* A 12-day strike by 2,700 University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign graduate workers and teaching assistants in February and March.
* A three-week-long strike by 1,400 Frontier telecommunications workers in Virginia and West Virginia.
* A one-day strike by 4,000 teachers in Jersey City, New Jersey on March 17
* The nine-day walkout of 30,000 Oklahoma teachers in April
* A week-long strike by 3,000 teaching and research assistants at Columbia University in April and May.
* The April 26-May 3 strike by 60,000 Arizona teachers
* A three-day strike by 53,000 University of California food service, groundskeepers, janitorial staff and nurses at university campuses and medical centers.
* The ongoing lockout of 1,400 Charter Communications workers in New York City
Around 900 teachers are currently on strike in Pueblo, Colorado, in a state where thousands conducted sickouts last month to demand higher wages and restored school funding. Earlier this year, school bus drivers walked out in Seattle and Pasedena, California, and 350 faculty members struck at the Loyola University in Chicago. New strikes have just begun by 600 aerospace workers at United Launch Alliance worksites in Alabama, California and Florida, and electrical linemen in New Hampshire.
The struggles so far are an initial expression of what is to come. In the next few weeks, teacher protests are planned in North and South Carolina; grad students are threatening to strike at the University of Washington; and 50,000 casino and hospitality workers are voting on strike action. Educators in Dallas could strike in September when school reopens.
There is widespread rank-and-file opposition to a deal being prepared by the Teamsters for 280,000 United Parcel Service (UPS) workers when their current agreement ends on July 31. According to news reports, the Teamsters and UPS are discussing a two-tier wage system that would allow the company to hire lower-paid workers to deliver packages on weekends, including Sundays, to compete with US Post Office deliveries for Amazon.
The Atlanta-based company, which blazed the trail for low-paid, part-time warehouse workers, accepted by the Teamsters in the 1970s, now wants to create a “hybrid driver” position that would start at $15 an hour so that the company does not have to pay overtime to higher paid workers for working weekends.
A labor agreement covering 200,000 US Postal Service workers also expires September 20, and opposition is growing among hundreds of thousands of non-union Amazon workers who are paid low wages and subjected to sweatshop conditions.
There is also an incipient rebellion brewing among workers against the United Auto Workers (UAW) more than a year before the contract expires for 140,000 workers at General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler. Earlier this month, workers at the Flat Rock Assembly outside Detroit walked off the job when management attempted to resume production after a worker’s legs were crushed in an industrial accident.
The UAW is currently embroiled in a corruption scandal after it was exposed that union executives accepted millions in bribes for signing company-friendly contracts, which halved the wages of new hires, lengthened the workday and expanded the use of temporary part-time workers who pay union dues and have no rights.
The 10-year period between 2007 to 2016 saw the lowest number of major work stoppages since the US Bureau of Labor Statistics began collecting data in 1947, with an average of only 14 per year. This compares to an average of 145 per year in 1977-1986, 332 in 1967-1976 and 344 in 1947-1956.
The suppression of class struggle by the unions gave a freehand to the American ruling elite to restructure class relations in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crash. With the assistance of the unions, corporate profitability was restored through a relentless drive to cut wages and shift the cost of health care and pensions onto the backs workers, and the stock market bubble was re-inflated by providing virtually free credit to financial speculators. The “quantitative easing” program of the Obama administration depended on containing “inflation,” the code word for rising wages.
The historic redistribution of wealth from the bottom to the top that occurred under Obama has continued under Trump, who has slashed corporate taxes and sought to lift every regulation on big business, from health and safety to environmental laws. The administration is currently planning to overturn prohibitions on employing young workers under the age of 18 in hazardous occupations.
US corporations are sitting on a cash hoard estimated to be over $2 trillion and are squandering record amounts on dividends and stock buybacks for their richest investors and corporate executives. At the same time, despite supposed “full employment” in the US—with the official jobless rate at the lowest level since 1969—wages only rose about 2.6 percent year-over-year, according to last week’s jobs report, barely above the official rate of inflation of 2.1 percent.
The unions have sought to block any strikes, and, where unable, to isolate them, wear down strikers and then shut down the walkouts before they have a chance to spread. In West Virginia, Oklahoma and Arizona, the National Education Association (NEA), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and their state affiliates accepted deals with state governments that ignored teachers’ demands and funded meager pay increases by cutting other essential services and supporting regressive taxes that will hit workers the hardest.
Allied with the Democratic Party, the pro-capitalist unions and the affluent executives that run them fear that that these individual sectional struggles could coalesce into a broader movement of the working class. However, the discredited and corrupt unions are finding it increasingly difficult to suppress opposition to their decades-long collusion with the state and the employers.
The strikes that have erupted, particularly among the teachers, have been largely initiated by rank-and-file workers, using social media, in opposition to the strikebreaking unions. This has struck fear in the entire corporate and political establishment. Responding to this challenge from below, the Democrats are trying to do everything they can to prop up the discredited unions and reassert their domination over workers.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and a group of Democrats, including Senators Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand and Sherrod Brown, introduced the Workplace Democracy Act Wednesday, to shore up the financial and institutional interests of the anti-working class unions by making it easier for unions to sign up new workers with card checks and banning “right to work” laws that allow workers to opt of joining and paying dues as a condition of employment.
“You could make the argument that right now the trade union movement, as weak as it is, is the last line of defense against a corporate agenda that not only wants tax breaks for billionaires but wants to privatize Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid,” Sanders said.
In fact, the unions are the “last line of defense” of the Democratic Party and the capitalist system that it defends. Far from opposing the relentless attacks by the corporations and both big business parties on workers’ living standards and essential services like public education, the unions have been partners in these attacks.
The growing wave of strikes is only the initial stage of a powerful upsurge of the class struggle that is coming in the United States and internationally. Workers require new forms of organization, rank-and-file factory and workplace committees, independent of the nationalist and pro-capitalist unions, to wage these coming battles. All these separate struggles must be combined in a general strike to fight for the social rights of the working class, including the right to a good paying and secure job, fully funded health care and pensions, and a vast expansion of funding for public education and other essential programs.
The resurgence of class struggle must be connected to a political movement of the working class, in the US and internationally, against the capitalist system and its state. All efforts to implement desperately needed social reforms require the expropriation of the fortunes of the capitalist oligarchy and a frontal assault on the dictatorship of the banks and giant corporations. This requires a struggle by the working class to take political power in its own hands and replace capitalism with socialism.
By Patrick Martin
Back to the 19th century
Trump administration preparing green light to child labor
By Patrick Martin
11 May 2018
The US Department of Labor is moving to lift longstanding restrictions on hazardous work by teenagers in non-agricultural employment. The agency gave notice of a proposed rule under the title, “Expanding Apprenticeship and Employment Opportunities for 16 and 17-Year Olds Under the FLSA.”
The FLSA is the Fair Labor Standards Act, first passed in 1938 as part of the Roosevelt-era “New Deal,” which gave legal sanction to the minimum wage and “time-and-a-half” overtime and outlawed what was termed “oppressive child labor.”
Despite the Orwellian language about “expanding opportunities” for young workers, the proposed new rule is really about expanding the opportunity for employers to exploit teenagers as low-wage labor, while dramatically increasing the risks that these children will be exposed to, as they operate heavy equipment and dangerous tools like chainsaws for much longer periods of time.
The abstract of the new rule, published May 9 as part of a semi-annual announcement of ongoing rule-making and rescissions across the entire federal government, notes that the Secretary of Labor issues “Hazardous Occupations Orders” (HOs) as “the means by which the Secretary declares certain occupations to be particularly hazardous” for young workers.
The abstract goes on to say, “In this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the Department will consider whether certain HOs as well as the conditions that apply to the employment of all apprentices and student learners in hazardous occupations, should be updated to reflect the current economic and work environments and to allow for safe and meaningful apprenticeship opportunities and student-learner programs.”
Translated from bureaucratic jargon, this means that the Department of Labor is preparing to allow younger workers to work at hazardous occupations for much longer periods of time each day they are employed. It would end the maximum of one hour a day, essentially to allow young workers to be trained in such occupations but not to work at them either part-time or full-time.
The rule-making change and its purpose was first reported Tuesday by Bloomberg Law, which cited unnamed officials in the Department of Labor acknowledging that the agency “plans to unwind decades-old youth labor protections by allowing teenagers to work longer hours under some of the nation’s most hazardous workplace conditions…”
Among the 17 occupations currently labeled hazardous are roofing, operating chainsaws, and the use of other power-driven machinery. In seven of these occupations, the Department of Labor can grant waivers permitting teenagers to work up to an hour a day, allegedly for training purposes. In ten of the occupations, even such limited employment is banned.
Bloomberg Law obtained a summary of the new draft regulation, not yet made public by the Department, which justifies the relaxation of safety restrictions as an effort “to safely launch more family-sustaining careers by removing current regulatory restrictions on the amount of time that apprentices and student learners may perform” hazardous work.
This language is an effort to put a worker-friendly gloss on an extremely anti-worker policy. Teenagers are supposedly to be launched into “family-sustaining careers” by becoming full-time breadwinners in hazardous occupations. It would be more accurate to say that they are being launched into physically destructive work in which the very possibility of any sort of career will be continually threatened by the risk of hideous and even life-threatening injuries.
Bloomberg Law, part of the media empire of billionaire Michael Bloomberg, seeks to put a favorable spin on this revelation, claiming that it “fits with the Trump administration’s broader goal of expanding earn-as-you-learn apprenticeship programs by replacing government red tape with industry-generated standards.”
Again, the terminology is completely loaded. Safety regulations imposed by law are defined as “government red tape.” The absence of such legal restrictions, with open season on worker safety, is rebranded as “industry-generated standards.” Of course, if they are “industry-generated,” that means such standards will be based on what produces the maximum profit for the industry in question, regardless of the toll in pain and suffering, disability, and even human life.
Like much of the Trump administration’s ultra-right agenda, the promotion of child labor builds on initiatives taken by the Obama administration before it. Eric Seleznow, who oversaw efforts to expand apprenticeships under Obama’s Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez—now chairman of the Democratic National Committee—told Bloomberg Law that many private employers and school systems wanted to expand training in hazardous jobs.
“I hate to use the word hazardous because 18-year-olds are allowed to do it; a 17-and-a-half-year old is not,” Seleznow told Bloomberg Law. “An apprenticeship provides that close supervision on the job, which can help prevent it from being hazardous.”
By this pigheaded logic, allowing younger teens to work longer hours at hazardous jobs will make it “safer” for them to continue working the same jobs once they reach their 18th birthday. More likely, it means that they will suffer devastating injuries at an even younger age.
There is significant congressional Democratic support for the loosening restrictions on child labor. Bloomberg noted that Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota had asked Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta at a March 14 hearing if he would consider lifting the restriction on working hours for teenagers. According to the Bloomberg account, “Relaying concerns from the manufacturing industry, she questioned how a one-hour time limit could be truly about safety concerns when teens can work a full day on this machinery once they turn 18.”
Acosta assured her that the department was looking into it, adding, “We’d rather that they learn to use equipment the right way when they’re 17 than use it for the first time when they’re 18.”
Child safety advocates have noted that the workplace death rate among teenagers has been slashed from 70 a year to 20 a year over the past two decades. The changes proposed by the Department of Labor would virtually assure a reversal of that trend.
The proposed rule on child labor is only one of a vast number of socially retrograde measures being considered by the Department of Labor. Among those listed in its May 9 announcement are:
* Revising or entirely removing an Obama-era rule requiring certain industries to track workplace injuries and illnesses and submit reports electronically to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
* Rescinding regulations to implement the nondiscrimination and equal opportunity requirements of the Job Training Partnership Act of 1982.
* Expanding the exemption for employers who object to providing contraceptive coverage for workers in their health plans, either on religious or “moral” grounds.
* Loosening safety regulations for cranes used by the railway industry in track maintenance.
* Permitting coal mining companies to train workers on how to find refuge during a disaster only once a year, rather than every three months.
CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR
MEXICO’S BIGGEST EXPORT TO AMERICA… POVERTY, CRIMINALS, ANCHOR BABY BREEDERS FOR WELFARE and HEROIN
Mexico prefers to export its poor, not uplift them
1) Mexico ended legal immigration 100 years ago, except for Spanish blood.
2) Mexico is the 17th richest nation but pays the 220th lowest minimum wage to force their subjects to invade the USA. The expands territory for Mexicans, spreads the Spanish language, and culture and genotypes, while earning 17% of Mexico's gross GDP as Foreign Remittance Income.