Events in India and the Future of Organized Labor


In an article published by AlterNet, Vijay Prashad reports on the latest and most massive general strike that occurred in India in early September. Although the article has a Marxist slant that may make it seem more op-ed than news report, Prashad gets several things undeniably right: (1) the corporate media has largely ignored labor unrest; (2) the decline in union membership does not mean that labor issues have become anachronistic; (3) the number of exploited, low-income workers is increasing, rather than declining; (4) in many ways, the exploitation of those workers has not just been an unfortunate consequence of economic change and an unfortunate anomaly of recent economic growth, but, instead, a major factor in both; and (5) if labor unions are to have renewed purpose and renewed vitality in the post-industrial economy, they need to serve such exploited workers, even if doing so requires new structures and…

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Statistic of the Day


$933 million

Wage theft recovered for workers by federal and state agencies in 2012.

$341 million

Estimated value of all of the property taken in all reported robberies in 2012.

Jeff Spross, The Week, 15 Aug. 2016

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The Self-Declared “Voice of the Working Man” on the Workers’ Holiday

Saving the Labor Center at UMass-Amherst


This post originally appeared on the blog Talking Union. Paul Garver, the editor of that blog, on which some of my labor-related posts to this blog have been re-posted, has asked that I disseminate it as widely as possible. As the note at the bottom makes clear, it had already been recycled several times before it made it onto the Talking Union blog.


This letter is from Eve Weinbaum, Director of the Labor Center at UMass-Amherst. She writes about the abominable efforts of the university administration to get rid of the Labor Center and its despicable treatment of her. Eve is an outstanding champion of workers, at her own university and across the country. And the Labor Center is outstanding. Please consider writing to the persons she notes at the end of her letter, protesting what the university is doing. I taught in the Union Leadership and Administration…

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“Right to Work,” By the Numbers: Part 14

Job Growth and Good-Paying Job Growth in U.S. Urban Areas

The “right-to-work” states are indicated in red, and the pro-labor states in white:

Pro-Labor and RtW States

If you compare that map with the following map, showing the raw job growth in U.S. urban areas, you’ll see that the greatest raw job growth is in the Sun Belt states, including the “right-to-work” states in the southeastern and south-central regions of the country:

1 Raw Job Growth

But this next three maps, differentiating growth in low-wage jobs (paying less than $14.00/hour), mid-wage jobs (paying between $14.00 and $21.00/hour) and high-wage jobs (paying more than $21.000/hour), the “right-to-work” states look much less attractive to workers, even taking into account differences in cost of living:

2 Low-Wage Job Growth

3 Middle-Wage Job Growth

4 High-Wage Job Growth


Previous posts in this series have included:

Right to Work by the Numbers, Part 1: Population Growth and Movement:

Right to Work by the Numbers, Part 2: Immigration:

Right to Work by the Numbers, Part 3: Unemployment Rates, by State:

Right to Work by the Numbers, Part 4: Historic Highs and Lows in Unemployment, by State:

Right to Work by the Numbers, Part 5: Employment in Manufacturing:

Right to Work by the Numbers, Part 6: Loss of Employment in Manufacturing, before and during the Great Recession:

Right to Work by the Numbers, Part 7: GDP by State and GDP per Capita by State:

Right to Work by the Numbers, Part 8: GDP in Urban and Rural Areas:

Right to Work by the Numbers, Part 9: Previously Uninsured Americans Who Now Receive Health Insurance through the Federal Exchanges Established under the Affordable Care Act:

Right to Work by the Numbers, Part 10: Unemployment Rates in August 2015:

Right to Work by the Numbers, Part 11: Adult Obesity Rates:

Right to Work by the Numbers, Part 12: Adult Obesity Rates: Unemployment Rates in Mid-December 2015:

“Right to Work,” by the Numbers: Part 13: Poverty Rates in 2014:

“Right to Work,” by the Numbers: Part 14: Workers Earning Federal Minimum Wage or Less:

“Saving Jobs” in Indiana while Losing Twice as Many Jobs


This is from CNN’s Politics Nightcap newsletter of August 29, written by Eric Bradner:


“Indiana’s Business Tax Breaks under Pence Scrutinized

“Under Gov. Mike Pence, the Republican vice presidential nominee, Indiana companies are getting tax breaks even though they’re outsourcing jobs, the Indianapolis Star‘s Tony Cook reports.

“How does this work? It’s complicated, but here’s an example: Vera Bradley got a 10-year, $1.75 million tax break to add 128 jobs to its 567 in Roanoke, Indiana. But in nearby New Haven, Vera Bradley laid off 250 workers, shifting their jobs to Asia. That’s almost double what they added in Roanoke — yet the company didn’t lose its tax break. Other states have banned this but Indiana has not.

“Why this matters: Pence is running on a Republican ticket laser-focused on jump-starting the economy by cracking down on outsourcing and the trade deals that allow it. That under his leadership, Indiana has…

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Statistic of the Day


CEO salaries in the health-insurance industry:

CEO Salaries in Health Insurance Industry

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Just About Anywhere but Here


Writing for Yahoo News, Jon Ward describes efforts to track the outsourcing of products sold by Donald Trump’s various companies:

“Trump, like most celebrities who monetize their fame, does not always manage the day-to-day operations of the companies that make goods with his name on them, instead making licensing deals and receiving payments simply for the use of his name as a brand. It’s the same approach he has taken to real estate: There are 17 properties in Manhattan with the Trump name on them, but Trump owns only five of the buildings.

“Nonetheless, public data collected by a private company, ImportGenius, which gathers export and import information, shows Trump products outsourcing jobs back to 2006. And the trend has intensified over the past few years. Since 2011, around 1,200 shipments of goods with the Trump name on them have come to the U.S. from other countries. Our…

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Some Good Labor News


This item is from Politico’sMorning Transportation newsletter for August 15:

“UNITED FLIGHT ATTENDANTS NAB NEW UNION DEAL: The flight attendants of United Airlines jet off to work today with a freshly ratified union contract after turning out in droves last week to vote for solidifying the agreement. More than 90 percent of the airline’s flight attendants cast votes on the labor deal that brings them under one contract. But the vote was no landslide, with 53 percent opting to ratify the agreement that covers 25,000 flight attendants.

“The Perks: The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA brags that the agreement includes double-digit pay increases, better job security, improved health care coverage and protection of retirement benefits. “The contract provides immediate economic gains, sets a new industry standard and ensures flight attendants can achieve the benefits of a fully integrated airline,” the union’s president, Sara Nelson, said in a written statement.”

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Trump Promises to Restore Jobs in an Industry That Collapsed in the 1950s


Today, Donald Trump spoke in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and promised to restore the jobs of coal miners.

I grew up in Scranton, and he might just as well have promised to restore the jobs of telegraph operators or those in typewriter factories.

The population of Scranton peaked at more than 140,000 in 1930. By 1960, the population had decreased to just over 110,000, and today it is between 75,000 and 80,000. The population decline mirrored the decline of the coal industry, though the production of coal ultimately fell more dramatically than the population.

Scranton remains the largest city in what is known as Pennsylvania’s “Coal Region.” Four substantial deposits of anthracite coal extend throughout a spur of the Appalachians in east central and northeastern Pennsylvania.

From the late nineteenth century through World War II, anthracite coal became the primary heating fuel for homes in the New York and Philadelphia metropolitan areas…

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