A Factory Farmer Strikes Back at the Company He Farms For – Wired


Wired
A Factory Farmer Strikes Back at the Company He Farms For
Wired
Watts is being represented by the Food Integrity Campaign, part of the nonprofit Government Accountability Project, which filed on his behalf this morning with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, within the US Department of Labor

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Phyllis Bennis: As Obama Hails “Turning Page” on Wars, U.S. Drone Strikes Continue Across Globe

http://youtu.be/thXYhkf0BnM

Read the full transcript on Democracy Now!

The post Phyllis Bennis: As Obama Hails “Turning Page” on Wars, U.S. Drone Strikes Continue Across Globe appeared first on Institute for Policy Studies.

Phyllis Bennis is the Director of the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies

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Port Strikes Mirror Organized Labor’s Roots

Port drivers strike in Oakland, CA.

Police officers monitor the port truckers port shutdown in Oakland, CA. (Photo: Daniel Arauz / Flickr)

Port truckers in California walked off the job in November to protest their dismal working conditions. Required to lease trucks while paying insurance and maintenance costs, drivers often earn less than minimum wage.

The strike came just days after big box retailers, manufacturers, and other supply chain stakeholders sent President Barack Obama a letter warning that labor disputes could cause “a full shutdown of every West coast port.”

Spearheaded by the National Retail Federation — whose members include large corporate retailers like Wal-Mart — the letter stated that a shutdown would be “catastrophic,” costing the economy up to $ 2 billion a day. Over a hundred business associations who signed the letter requested “immediate action” by the federal government to prevent such losses.

Though a shutdown did not happen, tensions remain as port truckers, dockworkers, and other workers step up their demands to be treated fairly during the peak holiday season.

This isn’t the first time in our nation’s history that a transportation strike has made big business anxious. In 1877, when thousands of railroad workers went on strike in a dozen American cities, businessmen pleaded with then-President Rutherford B. Hayes to intervene.

Businessmen had reason to worry. At the height of the 1877 strikes, more than half the freight on the nation’s railways stopped running.

Circumstances leading to the railroad strikes were not unlike our own today. Unregulated economic growth after the Civil War concentrated wealth in a few hands. Labor conditions deteriorated as big business sought ever greater profits. The first Gilded Age was born.

Then, as now, transportation workers held the strongest hand in demanding higher wages and better conditions. Unlike other workers, they could disrupt business as usual everywhere.

The railroad strikes showed how powerful workers could be when they united. Workers across all industries responded in solidarity when business and government tried to put down the railroad strikes.

After 1877, labor unions grew and more strikes ensued. Ultimately, this led to passage of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the bedrock of modern employment rights.

Over a hundred years later, port truck drivers are denied the very same employment rights that workers in the first Gilded Age fought so hard to achieve. In the last year, port truckers have gone on multiple strikes protesting their misclassified status as “independent contractors.” Nearly 70 percent of port truckers are denied protections and benefits due to misclassification, according to the National Employment Law Project.

Port trucking was a secure, middle-class occupation until Congress first deregulated the trucking industry in 1980. Now, most port truckers lack basic labor rights, such as workers’ compensation, overtime pay, and even a guaranteed minimum wage.

Port truckers aren’t the only workers in this boat. They’re also an essential link in a supply chain that ends with low-wage retail workers at Wal-Mart. If port truckers wage a protracted strike, it could reverberate throughout the entire national economy.

While their plight hasn’t commanded the widespread attention that the 19th century rail strikes did back then, port workers just might be the key to restoring basic labor rights for all Americans.

The post Port Strikes Mirror Organized Labor’s Roots appeared first on Institute for Policy Studies.

Marjorie E. Wood is a senior economic policy associate at the Institute for Policy Studies and the managing editor of Inequality.org.

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Earthquake strikes Kefalonia off western Greece – euronews


euronews
Earthquake strikes Kefalonia off western Greece
euronews
An earthquake with a 6.1 magnitude has struck off western Greece just one week after another quake hit the same area. Seismologists say it was centred near the island of Kefalonia and was felt in the capital Athens. Last week's tremor caused a small
Earthquake strikes off western coast of Greece, USGS saysCNN
Powerful 6.1-Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Kefalonia, GreeceThe Weather Channel
Greece island Kefalonia struck by 6.1-magnitude earthquakeCBC.ca
Reuters
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Greece resumes talks with creditors as strikes planned – BBC News


New York Times
Greece resumes talks with creditors as strikes planned
BBC News
The so-called troika of lenders has returned to Athens for its latest audit of the Greek economy. The visit will determine whether twice bailed-out Greece will get its latest instalment of cash. Representatives from the European Commission, the
Greece resumes talks with its creditors; issues to include privatizationsFox News
Why Greece Is Not WeimarNew York Times
Greece seized by new sense of foreboding as violence flares in streetsThe Guardian
CNBC.com -gulfnews.com -Straits Times
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France to debate Syria strikes ahead US vote; Israel and US, with eye on Syria … – Fox News


euronews
France to debate Syria strikes ahead US vote; Israel and US, with eye on Syria
Fox News
BEIRUT – The French parliament will debate Wednesday whether the nation should launch strikes against Syria, though France's president says he will wait for a decision from the U.S. Congress on possible military action against Bashar Assad's regime.
France's Hollande wants Europe to consider action against SyriaLos Angeles Times
Assad threatens France with retaliation if it attacks Syrian forceseuronews
France: Syria Action Would 'Re-Balance' SituationABC News
Huffington Post -The Independent
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Self-organised strikes on the mines and farms in South Africa – Infoshop News


AFP
Self-organised strikes on the mines and farms in South Africa
Infoshop News
Human Rights Watch estimated recently that less than 3% of South African farm workers are organized. Most farm workers earn the minimum wage or well below, with many in the Western Cape still paid partly in alcohol even though white farmers claim that
Leaderless farm strike is 'organic'Mail & Guardian Online
SOUTH AFRICA: Western Cape farmworkers join strikesIRINnews.org
SA's recent labour unrest has been a long time comingIndependent Online
Politicsweb
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Spain, Portugal, Greece Hold Anti-Austerity Strikes – Wall Street Journal


Wall Street Journal
Spain, Portugal, Greece Hold Anti-Austerity Strikes
Wall Street Journal
Unions in Spain, Portugal and Greece went on strike Wednesday to protest government austerity plans amid a wide economic contraction across Europe's periphery, but questions remained about the unions' ability to influence economic policy. Enlarge

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Strikes spreading in China – World Socialist Web Site

Strikes spreading in China
World Socialist Web Site
Hundreds of workers at the company's Wuhan sweatshop had threatened a collective suicide over low wages and unbearable labour conditions. (See: “Foxconn workers threaten suicide protest in China”) In recent weeks, strikes have continued to erupt in

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