Closing Thought–24Nov21

It appears the workers have found a new clout basically because of the pandemic…..companies are starting to run scared…..workers are getting in control of their destinies…..I appears…..

The pendulum has swung toward the labor force, and US workers are taking advantage of it. With their pick of employment opportunities these days, more Americans than ever—4.4 million—left their jobs in September, CNN reports. That could become the norm. “Labor now has the initiative, and the era of paying individuals less than a livable wage has ended,” said one economist. “This strongly suggests that rising wages are going to be part and parcel of the economic landscape going forward.”

Those workers had 10.4 million vacant jobs to choose from in September, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. Employers in health care and state and local government especially are dealing with more openings. There were slightly more vacant jobs overall in August, but that total was affected by the steady decline in hiring for leisure and hospitality jobs. While there were 7.4 million unemployed workers last month, per the Wall Street Journal, the site Indeed.com figured the number of US openings at 11.2 million. Workers also set a record in September with a quit rate of 3%, which refers to how many workers left their jobs as a share of overall employment.

The shift can be attributed to several factors, per the Washington Post. Some employers improved pay and benefits to attract hires. Coronavirus infections caused by the delta variant increased, making child care and school attendance less certain, and some workers were less eager to stay in jobs that require dealing with the public—including health care and education. Retirements were up. “Workers are fed up with working conditions and feel unsafe and quitting even though they might not immediately jump into a new job,” said an economist for Glassdoor.

This could be monumental for any labor movements….the workers are asserting themselves as they should have been doing for decades.

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Tomorrow is Thanksgiving….please be careful and be safe……

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Labor Day–2021

First before I start my rant let me wish everyone a very happy holiday known as Labor Day

Labor Day blessings and greetings

The ‘unofficial’ end of Summer.

Now my rant about Labor in this country.

Next I want to say to all the Repub in power…STOP using jobs as a crutch to pass crap that benefits no one but the wealthy…..stop using the workers as a slogan and a tagline for your next election.

My state of Mississippi is a right to work state….a cutsey title for a policy that does nothing to benefit the worker….but what is a right to work state (hint it is not what the title implies)…..

To help fill in any gaps in what the reader may have on the subject…..https://lobotero.com/2008/08/27/employment-at-will-vs-right-to-work/  and https://lobotero.com/2012/01/13/right-to-work-redux/

Learn stuff!

The Repubs in every state and at the federal level as well have done a marvelous job in the depression of the worker.  They have worked to lessen the influence of labor by selling a crappy myth of how bad labor is and does nothing for the worker….they defunded OHSA the group that use to protect the worker from injury or exploitation…all in all the GOP is NOT worker friendly…regardless what they say just watch what they do.

As an example I will point to my state of Mississippi and my personal story…..

I worked for the state as a worker in the state housing authority…well after 9 years of employment Katrina hit and hit us hard….about 30% of our units were made unusable…..we went to work trying to save as many as possible to make units available to people…..Katrina hit on 30 August 2005 and as I was working I fell on 26 December 2005 and broke my let in three places…..this injury kept me in surgeries and doctors until May of 2006.

On15 May 2005 I was told that I needed another surgery I immediately inform my employer….my surgery was scheduled for 10 June and on 06 June I got a termination letter because they said I was not back to work in 100 days.

There was NOTHING I could do but grin and bear….a right to work state…..

About a year before Katrina myself and two other employees tried to unionize….that is a story for another post……we worked for months to get the word out and we finally had interest generated as an IWW organizer we had a union that would support our efforts….but before we could launch our attempt we were sold out by one of the organizers….and word came down that anyone trying to join a union would be terminated immediately…interest waned and the attempt failed.

Labor in my state and this country needs to wake up and see the depressing effect that Repubs have on wages and opportunities….until then they will remain the lowest paid portion of our society.

Sorry to be a downer here but eyes need opening to the opportunities that are possible with a strong labor movement.

While you are enjoying your day off with family and food as Summer draws to an end…..think about what is possible and work for a better country.

Labor Day Working Hand Card | Birthday & Greeting Cards by Davia | Labor day  quotes, Happy labor day, Labor day pictures

Enjoy your day.

“lego ergo scribo”

That New Jobs Report

The figures are out.

Looks like all predictions were a bit off this time around.

The new unemployment report for April is out, and the takeaway number didn’t come close to meeting expectations. Details:

  • The number: Employers added 266,000 jobs in the month, even though analysts had expected roughly 1 million, reports CNBC. The outlet characterizes the figure as a “huge letdown.” What’s more, the March increase of 916,000 was revised downward to 770,000.
  • The rate: The unemployment rate rose from 6% to 6.1%. Though a disappointment, that’s down from a record-high 14.8% last April, notes the Wall Street Journal.
  • 2 reasons: The AP sees the disappointing hiring figure as a sign that employers are struggling to find people to fill openings. Supply-chain problems also may be limiting what businesses can do, per the Journal.
  • Bright spot: The leisure and hospitality industry saw the biggest gain with 331,000 new hires, though that still leaves the industry 2.9 million jobs short of pre-pandemic levels. Those gains were offset by losses in other sectors, including manufacturing, retail, and temping in general.
  • A blip? At MarketWatch, Jeffry Bartash suggests that the April figures will likely end up being a “temporary blip” in the recovery. “Falling coronavirus cases and massive federal stimulus have turbocharged the economy and job openings have surged,” he writes. The US remains poised “for a summer of strong growth.”

These figures are not good….but why is this?

Maybe it is because the unemployment benefits are too generous?  (This is a GOP talking point)……

The new monthly jobs report came in way below expectations on Friday, with employers hiring 266,000 people in April instead of the 1 million or so expected by analysts. The report has reignited a familiar political debate amid the pandemic, with those on the right arguing that President Biden’s relief package is so generous that it encourages people to stay home instead of getting a job. Defenders of the aid, however, say it’s not that simple. Coverage:

  • Chamber’s view: The US Chamber of Commerce on Friday came out firing after the unemployment report, reports CNBC. “The disappointing jobs report makes it clear that paying people not to work is dampening what should be a stronger jobs market,” it says. The chamber urged lawmakers to end “the weekly $300 weekly supplemental unemployment benefit,” asserting that 25% of those receiving it are making more money than they did when working.
  • Not so fast: The argument that extra benefits encourages people to stay home has been circulating for a while, and last month in the Los Angeles Times, business columnist Michael Hiltzik argued that it doesn’t hold water. “Economists have consistently debunked the idea that unemployment insurance benefits suppress job searching,” he writes. Those who say otherwise are citing anecdotes, not data, he adds.
  • Other factors: Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal dug into the issue of employers struggling to find workers, and the story cited a number of factors based on surveys. For one thing, people are afraid of getting COVID, especially in high-traffic places such as bars and restaurants; others cite child-care issues, because businesses are opening faster than schools.
  • One example: But the story notes that the extra unemployment benefits appear to be playing a role as well. The story quotes a concert promoter who wants to return to work in his own field and is avoiding taking other jobs because his $750 in weekly benefits makes that possible. “I really enjoyed what I did,” he says. “If the government is going to pay you to stay home, you’re going to do that unless that job you really want comes along.”
  • Biden vs. McCarthy: Expect the issue to intensify. Biden himself defended his rescue package on Friday in the wake of the jobs report, notes the Hill. “Help is here and more help is on the way and more help is needed,” he said. In contrast is this tweet from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. “Today’s jobs report is a disappointment—just like President Biden’s plan to burden families with more taxes & more debt,” he wrote. “While Dems trap people in a cycle of fear & pay them NOT to work, it’s clear the best thing to do is end the crisis-era policies & get Americans back to work.”
  • Eye on the states: States may make their own moves. Montana, for example, plans to start offering bonuses to people who return to work, reports KRTV. It also plans to opt out early of the federal program that provides extra benefits—by the end of next month instead of September.

The arguments against the benefits are just outright BS…..has anyone tried living on $300 a week?

Personally I would listen to nothing the Chamber has to say….why?

They support all the voter suppression initiatives….for me that makes them the enemy…..and no one that I would consider reliable source.

So far most of the ‘owners’ of business that have a personnel problem and those that notoriously pay lower wages.

Think about this…the jobs that no one wants are the lower paid jobs…..why return to work for $200 a week when you can stay home and make $300?

I think this is a prime example that the minimum wage needs raising and quickly.

People would return to work if they were paid a living wage.

So stop bitching and do something about it!

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May Day 2021

AS the weekend begins IST would like to look at the day workers get international recognition for the contributions to society.

Commemoration of the May Day

It is 01 May and the International Workers Day……and May Day has a long history and not all of it deals with the workers…..

The Celts of the British Isles believed May 1 to be the most important day of the year, when the festival of Beltane was held.

This May Day festival was thought to divide the year in half, between the light and the dark. Symbolic fire was one of the main rituals of the festival, helping to celebrate the return of life and fertility to the world.

When the Romans took over the British Isles, they brought with them their five-day celebration known as Floralia, devoted to the worship of the goddess of flowers, Flora. Taking place between April 20 and May 2, the rituals of this celebration were eventually combined with Beltane.

https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/history-of-may-day

But these days the mention of May Day conjures up  visions of the workers and unions and dare I say….socialism.

For me it conjures up memories of the historical event that has become known as the Haymarket Riot….

The Haymarket Riot (also known as the “Haymarket Incident” and “Haymarket Affair”) occurred on May 4, 1886, when a labor protest rally near Chicago’s Haymarket Square turned into a riot after someone threw a bomb at police. At least eight people died as a result of the violence that day. Despite a lack of evidence against them, eight radical labor activists were convicted in connection with the bombing. The Haymarket Riot was viewed as a setback for the organized labor movement in America, which was fighting for rights like the eight-hour workday. At the same time, many in the labor movement viewed the convicted men as martyrs.

https://www.history.com/topics/19th-century/haymarket-riot

This event is the beginning of the use of “Anarchy” as something derogatory and synonymous with chaos. (A post to follow soon…..watch for it)….

As typical the powers decided that labor was to blame and since those days they try to dismantle the labor movement….and have been successful to a point….

May Day in the 'city of joy', Kolkata

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Those Police Unions

Closing Thought–20Aug20

First of all I take exception to the term ‘Union’ when applying it to the police.

At best it is an association……to imply it is a union means that it is part of the larger labor force…they are NOT!

That is my short bitch…..what this post is about is the coming storm of reform that is hitting the police forces around the country.

But why are these “associations” so strong?

Police unions are at the center of questions about what will happen to Chauvin and the three officers who watched as Floyd was suffocated. And they are also key to understanding why officers across the country escape discipline time and again after beating or killing people. As other labor unions have shrunk in recent years, membership in police unions has remained high. While the Black Lives Matter movement encouraged people to document police brutality on camera and demand accountability, police unions, which now have hundreds of thousands of members, have pushed back in almost every way imaginable—by overturning firings, opposing the use of body cameras, and lobbying to keep their members’ disciplinary histories sealed.

All of which can make officers feel invincible when they commit acts of violence. A forthcoming research paper from the University of Victoria in Canada found that after police officers formed unions—generally between the 1950s and the 1980s—there was a “substantial” increase in police killings of Black and Brown people in the United States. Within a decade of gaining collective bargaining rights, officers killed an additional 60 to 70 civilians of all races per year collectively, compared with previous years, an increase that researchers say may be linked to officers’ belief that their unions would protect them from prosecution. A working paper from the University of Chicago found that complaints of violent misconduct by Florida sheriffs’ offices jumped 40 percent after deputies there won collective bargaining rights in 2003.

The Infuriating History of Why Police Unions Have So Much Power

Reform is sadly needed but it will be a hard row to hoe…..because these so-called unions will fight any reform that is sadly needed.

In May, just days after a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd, Lieutenant Bob Kroll, the bellicose leader of the city’s police union, described Floyd as a violent criminal, said that the protesters who had gathered to lament his death were terrorists, and complained that they weren’t being treated more roughly by police. Kroll, who has spoken unsentimentally about being involved in three shootings himself, said that he was fighting to get the accused officers reinstated. In the following days, the Kentucky police union rallied around officers who had fatally shot an E.M.T. worker named Breonna Taylor in her home. Atlanta police staged an organized sick-out after the officers who killed Rayshard Brooks were charged. Philadelphia police sold T-shirts celebrating a fellow-cop who was caught on video clubbing a student protester with a steel baton. The list goes on.

Along with everything else about American society that was thrown into appalling relief by Floyd’s killing, there has been the peculiar militancy of many police unions. Law enforcement kills more than a thousand Americans a year. Many are unarmed, and a disproportionate number are African-American. Very few of the officers involved face serious, if any, consequences, and much of that impunity is owed to the power of police unions.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/08/03/how-police-unions-fight-reform

Until those much needed reforms hit in your police department….there are a few things we all can do to try and keep the cops in-line with the rest of society…..

As a reporter covering law enforcement for the Asbury Park Press in New Jersey, and now in partnership with ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network, I use investigative reporting techniques to strengthen police accountability. Other journalists do the same. But, in truth, any citizen can apply the same methods to ensure the law enforcement system they’re funding is serving them well.

Police culture can be insular and tough to penetrate. But I’ve been surprised by how often it’s possible, though time consuming, to expose important issues by requesting and examining records and data from police departments and other government agencies and engaging citizens and key leaders. So here are five techniques concerned citizens, journalists and policymakers can use to examine police conduct in their communities.

https://www.propublica.org/article/i-cover-cops-as-an-investigative-reporter-here-are-five-ways-you-can-start-holding-your-department-accountable

Read the list and try to help keep the PD on a thin line…..it is time for them to return to their prized motto…”To protect and serve”….instead of the one they live by these days…”to punish and enslave”…..

Do yourself a favor….READ THE DAMN POST!

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Closing Thought–01Jul20

But first….the most useless info available…..

01Jul1963…..zip codes were used for the very first time.

We are told by so many that the workers in this country have it made compared to workers in other countries….but just how true is this claim?

Actually…it is a lame ass claim ……

The U.S. has the worst record among major developed countries when it comes to workers’ rights, according to a survey of labor unions.

The world’s largest economy (US) is ranked a 4 in a scale by the International Trade Union Congress, meaning there are “systematic violations of rights.” Every other Group of Seven country ranks 3 or better.

Globally, the ITUC said the situation has worsened for workers, with violations of rights at a seven-year high. The worst region is the Middle East and North Africa, and the organization noted a number of countries have impeded the registration of unions, as well as banned strikes and collective bargaining.

Excluding countries where there are no rights due to a breakdown of the rule of law, the 10 worst in the survey are Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Honduras, India, Kazakhstan, Philippines, Turkey, and Zimbabwe. All are rated 5, for “no guarantee of rights.”

Europe dominates the top-ranked countries for workers, with the list including Sweden, Italy, Netherlands, Ireland and Germany. Uruguay is the only non-European nation in the group.

(Bloomberg)

I have been working to give workers a better life for 40 years….and my work is never been more important than it is today.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Could There Be Anything Positive About Covid-19?

We all know the downside of this virus….the unemployment, the food shortages, the confusion and the hysteria…..but could there be anything positive about this disease?

As an aging radical from the 60s and 70s I look for possibilities for organizing for a better country….at least in my thinking.

First as an IWW delegate in the past I look for ways to organize labor into better unions for the workers……this pandemic could very well be one of those times…..

September 1945, a little-remembered frenzy erupted in the United States. Japan had surrendered, ending World War II, but American meat packers, steelworkers, telephone installers, telegraph operators, and auto assemblers had something different from partying in mind. In rolling actions, they went on strike. After years of patriotic silence on the home front, these workers, along with unhappy roughnecks, lumberjacks, railroad engineers, and elevator operators — some 6 million workers in all — shut down their industries and some entire cities. Mainly they were seeking higher pay — and they got it, averaging 18% increases.

The era of raucous labor is long past, and worker chutzpah along with it. That is, it was — until now. Desperately needed to staff the basic economy while the rest of us remain secluded from Covid-19, ordinarily little-noticed workers are wielding unusual leverage. Across the country, cashiers, truckers, nurses, burger flippers, stock replenishers, meat plant workers, and warehouse hands are suddenly seen as heroic, and they are successfully protesting. For the previous generation of labor, the goal post was the 40-hour week. New labor’s immediate aims are much more prosaic: a sensible face mask, a bottle of sanitizer, and some sick days.

https://marker.medium.com/america-is-about-to-witness-the-biggest-labor-movement-its-seen-in-decades-3aa47f0edf52

IWW?  What the Hell?

The IWW is a member-run union for all workers, a union dedicated to organizing on the job, in our industries and in our communities. IWW members are organizing to win better conditions today and build a world with economic democracy tomorrow. We want our workplaces run for the benefit of workers and communities rather than for a handful of bosses and executives.

We are the Industrial Workers of the World because we organize industrially.

This means we organize all workers producing the same goods or providing the same services into one union, rather than dividing workers by skill or trade, so we can pool our strength to win our demands together. Since the IWW was founded in 1905, we have made significant contributions to the labor struggles around the world and have a proud tradition of organizing across gender, ethnic and racial lines – a tradition begun long before such organizing was popular.

We invite you to become a member whether or not the IWW happens to have representation rights in your workplace. We organize the worker, not the job, and recognize that unions are not about government certification or employer recognition but about workers coming together to address common concerns.

Sometimes this means refusing to work with dangerous equipment and chemicals.

Sometimes it means striking or signing a contract. Other times it mean agitating around particular issues or grievances in a workplace or industry.

The IWW is a democratic, member-run union. That means members decide what issues to address, and which tactics to use and we directly vote on office holders, from stewards to national offices. Why wait? Join the IWW and organize for a better future.

Now that part of your education is done…..

What about politics?

And yes I was a political activist as well back in the Dark Ages (60s and 70s)……

This pandemic could change the political scene in the US…..for the better…..only if we are paying attention and not looking for easy answers….there are NONE!

There is a future that makes itself, and a future that we make. The real future is composed of both. The future that makes itself, including a pandemic, we can never modify. The future we make is within our grasp to change, but to do so favorably demands that we look at the world with clear eyes. Government officials across the political spectrum have not always done so during the pandemic. I sometimes sense a kind of attentive passivity in them, of the kind I demonstrated in my own case. They are aware of what is happening, but somehow their thoughts seem tied to other forces that come along. Their minds are on the alert, but still vulnerable, a kind of target; they are sensitive, receptive to everything, and therein lies the problem: Their thinking risks succumbing to human nature and ideology.

Diagnosing America’s Pandemic Response

We can get this thing right this time…..but only if we stop looking for the easy answers and falling for promises that cannot be delivered….or looking for partisan answers….it will take the whole country to fight this thing since we have a president that will not step to do the hard work.

If you work then time for some unity and some demands to be met.

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“lego ergo scribo”

Closing Thought–04Mar20

“A travesty and a disgrace”

In the past I have worked as a union activist and organizer and still help when I can whenever my union asks….

I have been worried about the lack of concern and members in unions….and one of the best unions was that of the Federal employees….all that could very well change thanks to Trump….

“This administration will not stop until it takes away all workers’ rights to form and join a union.”

President Donald Trump on Thursday quietly issued a memo granting Defense Secretary Mark Esper the power to abolish collective bargaining rights for the Defense Department’s 750,000 civilian workers, a move unions decried as part of the administration’s far-reaching assault on organized labor.

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) condemned the memo, which was published in the Federal Register (pdf) Thursday, as “a travesty and a disgrace.”

“The administration’s divide-and-conquer strategy with respect to organized labor is as disgusting as it is shameful.”
—American Federation of Government Employees

https://www.rawstory.com/2020/02/a-travesty-and-a-disgrace-trump-quietly-issues-memo-that-could-abolish-union-rights-for-750000-federal-workers/#.XlGdg7qxeX4.twitter

Decline in Union membership is not something Americans acre about……

For much of 2019, headlines signified a labor resurgence, particularly among white-collar industries like technology and media. US public support for unions was among the highest levels in 50 years at 64%, according to a 2019 Gallup survey.

Despite the overall support for the cause, the anecdotal evidence has not shown up in the data.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics’s latest available data on annual union membership, released on Jan. 22, shows that 10.3% of American workers were in unions, down from 10.5% in 2018. For context, in 1983, the first year for which the bureau started collecting the data, the union membership rate was about 20% with 17.7 million union workers.

https://qz.com/work/1789615/union-membership-rates-in-the-us-continues-to-decline/

Unions made our middle class and yet no one gives a crap that the middle class is disappearing along with the unions.

Maybe a little rational thought could help explain why they are declining together…..or maybe it is just a coincidence….(I do not believe in those)….

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“lego ergo scribo”

Labor Is Unimpressed

Last election in 2016 the American worker went for Trump in a big way….his promises of jobs and plants opening swung them to his corner…and so far most of his promises were just farts in a hurricane.

https://lobotero.com/2019/08/28/closing-thought-28aug19/

The American worker is dissatisfied with Trump so that bodes well for the Dems in 2020, right?

You would think so….but so far workers are unimpressed….

When one heckler yelled, “You’re an asshole!” at Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at Philadelphia AFL-CIO’s first ever Workers’ Presidential Summit on Tuesday, the entire room roared back with chants of the senator’s name.

This was the most charged moment in a day of presidential candidates pitching union members including steel workers, drywall technicians, communications workers, school cafeteria employees, and airline food workers. Over the course of four hours, they heard from former Vice President Joe Biden, entrepreneur and tech executive Andrew Yang, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio, Sanders, major Democratic donor and billionaire Tom Steyer, and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

But despite the candidates’ best efforts, the mood among the 2,000 attendees was one of general lackluster toward Democrats in the presidential race, and the six contenders who had showed up to try to win their votes. Notably, front-runner Sen. Elizabeth Warren was missing from the forum the day after she won an endorsement from the Working Families Party.

https://theintercept.com/2019/09/18/philadelphia-union-workers-presidential-summit/

Bad news for the Dem candidates indeed.

Labor would not be having this problem if they had in the early part of the 20th century had gone for political power instead of economic then this would be a easier race to watch.

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“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Labor Economics

MY friend and regular reader of IST Carl of “I Know I made You Smile”……https://carldagostino.wordpress.com/……ask a good question in one of his comments after reading one of my posts.

He had a problem with a statement made in post from last week…..”“Labor shortages are impeding job growth”….the statement is from this post…..https://lobotero.com/2019/06/07/closing-thought-07jun19/

His question fired me up to do what I truly enjoying doing…research…..so as promised here is the best answer that I could come up with since I am not an economist by trade it may get a bit techy…..

A common bit of confusion is between jobs and labor…..first what causes a labor shortage?

A labour shortage can be caused by a turn in economic conditions where there is a shortage of skilled workers for a given industry or overall job market. … Shortages can also be caused by a mismatch in skills, poor compensation, geographic location or ineffective recruitment by employers

Now the difference between Labor force and workers…..Employees are considered part of the labor force, but the terms “employees” and “labor force” don’t mean precisely the same thing. Not everyone in the labor force would fit the exact definition of an employee, since the labor force includes a much broader category of people. The labor force is a blanket term describing an entire collection of people either employed or seeking employment.

Is that confusing enough?

Maybe this short video will help…..

After writing this I realized that this may not answer the question Carl asked….I apologize if I made it more confusing.

Another reason I do not like economics…..too damn confusing and none of the “laws” seem to work without some sort of adjusting.