Great Video From Yahoo Finance On Why We Need Unions

“The pendulum has swung to far to the side of business owners.”

This is the main message of this short video from YAHOO Finance.  The commentators talk about why we need unions especially in this economy.

Companies are making more money than ever and workers are making less than ever. Sound familiar?

Please watch this video and then share it!

Stand Up Live Better! Wal-Mart Workers Speak Out For Respect

Stand Up Live Better WalMart

Through out the labor community Wal-Mart is well known as one of the worst employers in the country.  They treat their employees like dirt, they pay them even less, and do even ask for healthcare.  Well now they are standing up to live better.

Together with the help of Organization United for Respect at Wal-Mart (OUR), workers are starting to make their voice known.  As some in the labor movement have said, one voice can be heard, but 10,000 voices cannot be ignored.  Organization United for Respect at Wal-Mart  recently delivered a ‘Declaration of Respect‘ to the home office (Video) in Arkansas which included:

  • Listen to us, the Associates
  • Have respect for the individual
  • Recognize freedom of association and freedom of speech
  • Fix the Open Door policy
  • Pay a minimum of $13/hour and make full-time jobs available for Associates who want them
  • Create dependable, predictable work schedules
  • Provide affordable healthcare
  • Provide every Associate with a policy manual, ensure equal enforcement of policy and no discrimination, and give every Associate equal opportunity to succeed and advance in his or her career
  • Provide wages and benefits that ensure that no Associate has to rely on government assistance.

These are not outrageous claims. These workers want to be treated with the respect and dignity that every worker deserves.  They want to be paid a living wage not minimum wage.  They want to be able afford to eat and pay their rent. They want they option to get affordable healthcare.

This declaration is only the beginning.  Wal-Mart associates in Richmond Virginia staged a ‘sit in’ prior to walking off the job. “We will not be silenced by Walmart for standing up for respect and against harassment, intimidation and retaliation,” said Mario Hammod, a worker at the Richmond Walmart.

This comes just weeks after Walmart workers walked off the job in more than a dozen states. At the same time, workers went on strike at Walmart’s largest distribution center outside of Chicago, IL and were joined by hundreds of clergy and community supporters, some of who were arrested by riot police during the peaceful protest. And earlier this fall, workers in Walmart-controlled warehouses in Southern California went on a 15-day strike that included a six-day, 50-mile pilgrimage for safe jobs.

 

 

Now that you have seen their story you can help take part in their action.  They are planning a nation wide strike of Wal-Mart workers on Black Friday. Yes the largest shopping day of the year, BLACK FRIDAY.

We need your help to spread the word.  Share this post with your friends, your family, your kids teachers, and coaches.  Make them understand what Wal-Mart is doing to their associates.  Then stand in solidarity with Wal-Mart Workers by boycotting Wal-Mart on Black Friday.  Let them know you and all your friends won’t shop at a place that does not respect their associates.

Wal-Mart Puts More Pressure on Struggling Workers!

By Matt Murray
for the NH Labor News
10/23/11


Photo from NYT Article

Here in Red Sox Nation we refer to the New York Yankee’s as the Evil Empire.  In the world of Labor, Wal-Mart is our Evil Empire.  It was announced on 10/22, that Wal-Mart, the nations largest employer would be making significant changes to their employee health care program.  While the changes have not been fully released the New York Times has reported on some of these changes.

The first of the three major changes is that Wal-Mart will no longer allow part time employees (emps. who work less than 24 hours per week) a health care option.

The second is that if you work between 24 and 33 hours per week would qualify for health insurance coverage.  The change is that now only employee’s and their children would be covered.  Spouses are no longer covered.

The third change is to the full time employees.  They will still qualify for health insurance, however they will be paying more per week and have significantly higher deductibles. Some of the deductibles are near $5000 per year.

In Wal-Mart’s 2012 health offerings, premiums will increase for some plans by more than 40 percent, although many of their workers pay relatively low premiums in comparison to more generous plans offered by other employers. But many Wal-Mart employees complain that their low premiums are accompanied by high deductibles that sometimes exceed 20 percent of their annual pay. (NYT)

Why is this happening? Well we all know health care costs have risen, and Wal-Mart is no exception.  Is Wal-Mart in finical trouble?  Well the fact is that Wal-Mart is the number one of the Fortune 500 companies. Last year alone they made 14.3 Billion dollars in profits.  That is operating costs for the employment of 2.1 million workers nationwide. In times of economic depression, like we are in now, people are racing into Wal-Mart stores to save ten cents on a box of pasta.  They are trying to save pennies where they can, and every penny counts right now.

So what can the Wal-Mart employee’s do about these changes?  Right now, nothing.  In my opinion the workers really only have one option, UNIONIZE!  A few years back there was a bill in the US Congress that would make it easier for workers to unionize.  It was called the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA).  While it was supported by workers and labor unions, corporations like Wal-Mart feared it.  Wal-Mart knew that if workers unionized it would cut into their profit margins, and they would have less “flexibility” to institute changes like these on Wal-Marts employee’s.  So after months of fighting EFCA seemed to disappear after the 2010 elections.  Now with an anti-union Tea Party in Congress we are not likely to see anything like EFCA again anytime soon.

So why should the workers unionize Wal-Mart?  Unions have always fought for workers over profits. Without the protection unions provide we are likely to see more changes as Wal-Mart paves the way for Corporate America steamrolls its workers.  Combined with low pay and no benefits some Wal-Mart employee’s are force to get programs like Medicare and Medicaid to get any health coverage.  The same people in Congress who are making it hard to unionize are now also trying to take away their Medicare too.  This will cause great social problems.  Workers without health coverage are one hospital trip away from bankruptcy. So they will avoid going to the doctor knowing they can not pay for it.

Unions have always fought to ensure that every worker gets a decent pay and health coverage.  Before the Unions fought for it health care options were not even offered.  In 1997, the Teamsters went on strike agains UPS because UPS would not cover part time employee’s health care.  Now all workers at UPS receive the company funded health benefits.  With such friendly corporations like Wal-Mart it is no wonder that workers are protesting Wall Street.  We need corporations like Wal-Mart to care more about their workers and less about their stock prices!