Working Class Self-Activity III: Walmart Workers Rising & the Prospects for Radical Politics

By: Sunday December 2, 2012 5:00 pm

The ongoing grassroots labor activism at Walmart in the U.S. reminds us that while the election is over the class struggle is not, and that class politics moves now from the voting booth to the workplace and the streets. For any Progressive whose political imagination extends beyond the narrow ideological confines of today’s two-party discourse, that is good news indeed. For those of us who consider ourselves socialists or radicals, it is essential, because those confines have rendered electoral politics basically irrelevant to advancing working class interests, as opposed merely to defending them.

 

My Walmart Black Friday Experience, and the Productivity/Wage Gap

By: Monday November 26, 2012 6:53 am

Walmart workers staged their historic strike on Black Friday. Management tried to downplay it, and given how massive Walmart is, the relative strength of the strike was small in real terms compared to the company’s 1.4 million workers. But it would be silly to just leave it at that without the context of the company witnessing no labor strikes in its 50-year history. The strikes were an expression of human dignity from a segment of their labor force that feels discriminated, retaliated, unappreciated and downtrodden.

Federal Employees Paid Well Below Private Sector Counterparts

By: Monday October 22, 2012 2:00 pm

If you compare organized federal employees, many of whom have college degrees, to unorganized service-sector and retail workers, then yes, you will find higher wages in the public sector. But if you do an apples-to-apples comparison between public employees and their private-sector counterparts in related fields, you will find that the public sector is significantly undervalued.

Walmart Strikes Extend to 12 Cities, Black Friday Actions Planned

By: Wednesday October 10, 2012 1:35 pm

The wildcat strikes by non-union Walmart associates are approaching a critical mass. The first-ever strikes have now spread to 12 cities across the country – including Chicago, Dallas, Miami, Orlando, Seattle, and various locations in California – with workers joined by labor and community activists. Protests have been held in front of 200 Walmart stores in the US. Another 100 workers traveled to corporate HQ in Bentonville, Arkansas, to protest the retaliatory measures taken against workers who advocate for higher pay and better working conditions.

Now, OUR Walmart, the organization putting together the strikes and protests, have put out a threat for planned actions around the most important retail day of the year, Black Friday.

Greece Proposes Another Austerity Budget, Its Lenders Decide It’s Not Cruel Enough

By: Tuesday October 2, 2012 1:37 pm

The Greek government submitted a draft budget for next year that would only further increase the pain and suffering directed at the population, despite depression conditions. But the European leaders determining whether the fresh austerity plan is good enough to meet their conditions want even more pain, in the form of deeper wage cuts.

Key Economic Indicators Fail to Meet Expectations

By: Friday September 28, 2012 9:04 am

A series of economic data released today has pretty bad news for those hoping for a sustained recovery that will increase job and GDP growth.

Expensive To Be Poor: Expenses Twice as Much as Income for Bottom 20% of US Households

By: Thursday September 27, 2012 2:08 pm

A new study from the Bureau of Labor Statistics out today probably won’t get as much notice as their other report showing the US gained 386,000 jobs more than expected. However, this one shows a persistent problem in America, that it’s actually expensive to be poor.

Census Statistics Show Continued Decline in Median Income

By: Wednesday September 12, 2012 9:25 am

The US Census Bureau released median income, poverty and insurance stats today, all of which have a 90% confidence interval, meaning that there’s a fairly high margin for error. Still, the trends in median income are not encouraging, although the insurance stats bucked that trend.

EPI Report Shows Inequality, Lack of Mobility Key Challenges for US Economy

By: Tuesday September 11, 2012 7:00 pm

The Economic Policy Institute delivers an annual analysis of the “State of Working America,” and this year’s version was released today. In their key findings, they lament the rise of “policy-driven inequality,” a condition that, even when the job market improves, leads to the bulk of our economic growth funneling up to the 1%, while those who can find work cannot get a decent wage.

Most New Jobs Are Low-Wage Jobs

By: Friday August 31, 2012 12:41 pm

It’s not like there aren’t possibilities for skilled labor to proliferate in America. I hear we have trillions of dollars in infrastructure needs over the next several years. Most of the associated jobs in that space pay decent wages. The public sector has been cut to the bone. Lots of mid-range jobs there. We need hundreds of thousands of new teachers. They need to be paid more money, as a teacher on stage at the Republican convention said (!) last night. We have an entirely new energy sector to stand up. Just boosting demand at all will bring back jobs like truck drivers and construction workers and real estate agents, all of which pay fairly well.

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