Tag Archives: Cheap Labor

Today In Cheap Labor: Prison Edition

This is pretty sickening:

Using Jailed Migrants as a Pool of Cheap Labor

[…]

As the federal government cracks down on immigrants in the country illegally and forbids businesses to hire them, it is relying on tens of thousands of those immigrants each year to provide essential labor — usually for $1 a day or less — at the detention centers where they are held when caught by the authorities.

This work program is facing increasing resistance from detainees and criticism from immigrant advocates. In April, a lawsuit accused immigration authorities in Tacoma, Wash., of putting detainees in solitary confinement after they staged a work stoppage and hunger strike. In Houston, guards pressed other immigrants to cover shifts left vacant by detainees who refused to work in the kitchen, according to immigrants interviewed here.

The federal authorities say the program is voluntary, legal and a cost-saver for taxpayers. But immigrant advocates question whether it is truly voluntary or lawful, and argue that the government and the private prison companies that run many of the detention centers are bending the rules to convert a captive population into a self-contained labor force.

This hits the trifecta of immoral policies: our immigration policy, which splits up families; our privatized prison policy, which turns incarceration into a profit center; and our addiction to cheap labor, which continues to devalue the “human resource.” Funny how these three roads have met. This will not end well.

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Filed under Cheap Labor, immigration, privatization

Obamacare Boosts Wages, Tennessee Proves

What’s that you say? It’s true, according to Dean Baker:

This is the “job loss” that has gotten opponents of the ACA so excited. But there is another aspect of this picture that should get other people excited. Back in intro economics we teach students about supply and demand. Other things equal, we expect a reduced supply – in this case of workers – to lead to a higher price or wage. In other words, a reduction in labor supply associated with the ACA might lead to some increase in wages.

We have an opportunity to test this proposition since Tennessee effectively did Obamacare in reverse, eliminating health insurance subsidies for low and moderate income adults without children in 2005. If the resulting change in labor supply has an impact on the market, then we would expect to see a drop in wages in Tennessee relative to other states.

That is in fact what we see. The figure below shows the median real wage for workers with high school degrees or less (the workers most likely to be affected) in Tennessee since 2000 compared to the workers without high school degrees elsewhere in the South.

btp-2014-02-20

Interesting idea. Also ironic that Tennessee kicked its low and moderate income folks in the teeth 9 years ago and saw a decline in wages as a result. It stands to reason that lifting up these folks will see a rise in wages. It’s sorta what people like Krugman have been saying since forever, but don’t expect the Republican’ts to start listening.

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Filed under healthcare, Obamacare, Tennessee, wages

So, What Is A Works Council, Anyway?

One thing which has been lost amid all of the conversation about the pending UAW vote at the VW plant in Chattanooga is that VW would implement a “works council” concept at the plant. The UAW would negotiate benefits and wages but the Works Council would negotiate specific workplace rules and job training.

So, what is a Works Council, anyway? This is something which is a big part of the German business culture. They are very common in Europe, but it’s an entirely new idea in the U.S. From the WaPo:

While the details of the arrangement would be ironed out after the election, works councils — which are elected by all workers in a factory, both blue and white collar, whether or not they belong to the union — usually help decide things like staffing schedules and working conditions, while the union bargains on wages and benefits. They have the right to review certain types of information about how the company is doing financially, which often means that they’re more sympathetic towards management’s desire to make cutbacks when times are tough. During the recession, for example, German works councils helped the company reduce hours across the board rather than laying people off, containing unemployment until the economy recovered.

This is an entirely new concept, and I think it will be very interesting to watch what happens. All of those scary billboards cropping up around Chattanooga saying a yes to the union vote will turn Chattanooga into Detroit seem pretty silly when one learns what exactly workers are voting for.

I find this interesting:

Works councils are also typically not allowed to call strikes, but they also don’t usually need to, because their authority is baked into their agreements with the company (and, in Europe, usually enforced by law). If the UAW wants to strike over wages and benefits, it’s still able to do so, but the likelihood of arriving at a mutually agreeable solution without one is much higher.

That’s why VW wants its plant to go union. According to VW’s global works council leader, Bernard Osterloh, the company even sees its culture of worker codetermination as a “competitive advantage.”

That politicians like Bob Corker, Gov. Haslam and the rest of the Tennessee Republican’ts would presume to tell VW not to do something it sees as giving itself a “competitive advantage” seems outrageous to me. I guess Republicans have no problem ditching their core principles when said principles become inconvenient.

Could American manufacturing see more Works Councils? I don’t see why not, especially if they work for both the company and its workers.

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Filed under Tennessee, unions

I Hate It When Mom And Dad Fight

Oooh. Grab the popcorn, y’all. Tennessee’s Republican Daddy is having a big fight with Corporate Mama over this week’s UAW vote at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga. And how scared are the Republicans? VERY:

On Monday, state Republican leaders accused Volkswagen of supporting the UAW and they threatened to withhold any tax incentives for future expansion of the three-year-old assembly plant in Chattanooga if workers vote to join the UAW.

“Should the workers at Volkswagen choose to be represented by the United Auto Workers, then I believe any additional incentives from the citizens of the State of Tennessee for expansion or otherwise will have a very tough time passing the Tennessee Senate,” State Sen. Bo Watson, R-Chattanooga, said in a statement sent to the Free Press.

A worker opposition group called Southern Momentum echoed that position in a statement.

“Further financial incentives — which are absolutely necessary for the expansion of the VW facility here in Chattanooga — simply will not exist if the UAW wins this election,” Maury Nicely, a Chattanooga labor lawyer representing Southern Momentum said.

Today’s threat comes less than 48 hours after Volkswagen said it favors a German-style works council with union representation.

“Outside political groups won’t divert us from the work at hand: innovating, creating jobs, growing, and producing great automobiles,” said Sebastian Patta, Volkswagen Chattanooga vice president of human resources.

The anti-union forces now are countering that VW isn’t neutral, it is pro-union.

Speaking of “outside political groups,” has anyone looked into who is paying Southern Momentum’s bills? All of those lawyers’ fees and anti-union billboards? I wouldn’t be shocked to find Americans For Prosperity or some similar conservative group financing this operation.

I find this absolutely hilarious. The company everyone embraced with hugs and kisses back in 2008 is now no longer welcome. Screw those thousands of jobs, amiright? We don’t want your kind around here.

Sen. Bob Corker wrote in 2008:

It’s difficult to find a sector of our state that will NOT be affected positively. Not only will the Chattanooga region be transformed by the tremendous economic impact and new job creation that will result from Volkswagen’s investment, our entire state will reap great benefits from suppliers and other supporting businesses this facility will attract.

Apparently allowing the workers to decide whether to have a collective voice in their workplace will somehow change all of that. Of course it’s not just Tennessee Republicans who are terrified of the implications of Volkswagen joining the UAW. It’s the entire Southern wing of the party (which, let’s face it, is basically the entire party). Would Nissan be far behind? Toyota up in Kentucky? The Mercedes-Benz plant in Alabama? Kiss cheap labor — and a treasured talking point — goodbye.

So now Tennessee Republicans are threatening to end the incentives they claim lured VW to the state in the first place. But did they? From the memory hole:

Mr. Jacoby said the decision went well beyond the question of the state’s financial incentives and of state and local investments in infrastructure in an excellent competitive site. It hinged equally, he emphasized, on the city’s deep and durable commitment to the vision of renaissance and quality of life that resurrected Chattanooga from pollution and decline; to the community’s dedication to a sustainable future; to our efforts at nurturing our natural environment and enriching our cultural amenities; and to the sense of commitment and determination for a better future that Volkswagen’s leaders culled from their conversations with people who live and work here and who spoke optimistically of their values, culture, schools, housing, hospitals and quality of life.

VW found shared values

In all these ways, he said, Volkswagen found shared values and common goals — “something in our heart … in our gut,” in the city’s history, culture, environment and natural beauty — that reinforced the company’s decision to come to Chattanooga to build a car for the future, a car designed specifically for the American driver.

Of course, that’s likely just ribbon-cutting nice time talk we’re used to hearing at these press events. Regardless, I guess the honeymoon is over. We love having jobs, as long as they’re, y’know, the right kind of jobs. Cheap labor jobs. The kind that know their place and don’t cause trouble in the neighborhood. The ones that don’t hang around with the wrong sort of elements and start rabble-rousing up in Smyrna or down in Vance, Alabama.

Tennessee Republicans are right to be scared. As I reported in a recent Good News post, Tennessee ranks number one in the nation for the largest percentage increase in union membership. That no doubt reflects how far we had to go compared to other states, but it also reflects the fact that Tennessee’s workers realize the low wage, low benefit jobs where workers have no voice in how their plants are run might not be jobs worth having.

Crushing organized labor to maintain low wages and oppressive work conditions has been a long-cherished Republican value. If VW falls, would Nissan be far behind? Or any other manufacturing plant? Stay tuned.

(Some history on the issue here.)

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Filed under Tennessee, Tennessee politics, unions

Death Of A RW Immigration Myth

Hey, Ted Cruz and the rest of you anti-immigrant, far-right tinfoil hat guys: before you start fearmongering about all of the “illegals” who are so desperate for our cool American stuff like free education and awesome healthcare (!!) that they’re flooding across the border like rats, here’s a reality check: not everyone wants the American dream:

The indigenous Mexican migrant farmworkers I have come to know do not dream the American dream as such. They do not hope to become U.S. citizens, leaving behind their hometowns in Mexico. They do not dream of becoming American business owners or entrepreneurs. They do not imagine that, if they work hard enough picking berries in Washington state or pruning vineyards in rural California, they could become wealthy.

Rather, the indigenous Mexican migrant farmworkers I know want to be Mexican citizens, living primarily in their hometowns in the southern Mexican states of Oaxaca, Chiapas, and Guerrero. They want Mexico to be their home. They do not want to have to cross a mortally dangerous desert in order for them and their families to have a chance to survive. They want to live in their ancestral lands with their relatives.

Sadly, the Border Patrol policies (such as “prevention through deterrence”) that encourage migrants to cross in increasingly dangerous areas have increased risk and death on the border. And ironically, the increasing border enforcement is encouraging those who have crossed in the past to stay longer and longer in the United States, instead of doing what they would have chosen to do: return home after the harvest season each year.

I know, pretty hard to believe that someone would actually choose to live in a place Not Murrica, especially a place Down There. And yet … it’s true! What do they wants? Try this:

[…] I asked my migrant friends what they hoped for. First and foremost, the young man nicknamed “El Gordo” explained, they need legal permission to work in the United States. His friend, Samuel, whose leg was recently run over by a farm truck, added that they need basic legal protections as workers that have long been ignored or broken in the agriculture sector and they need health care while they are working in the United States. Finally, Samuel and “El Gordo” intimated a hope that at some point in the future they might be able to stay in their hometown in Mexico without having to migrate to the United States at all.

[…] We must work toward fair enforcement of worker protections for those already here, regardless of their immigration status. Finally, the most basic (and long-term) solution for many immigrants would be transnational development so that those who so desire are able to stay in their home countries. This should include renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA, enacted a few years after my 16th birthday in southern Mexico) in ways that foster the ability of Mexican subsistence farmers to survive at home. In this way, more rural Mexicans would not have to say, like my indigenous Mexican friend Macario while crossing the desert border, “There is no other option left for us.”

That sounds like a great idea but be careful what you wish for: America doesn’t do nation-building any more, at least not the kind that involves countries we haven’t bombed into submission. And with America’s food and agriculture sector dependent on a steady flow of cheap brown labor from south of the border, I don’t think our corporate overlords are interested in seeing you guys stay in your home villages growing tomatoes for your own consumption. No, Burger King and Wendy’s need you picking those tomatoes on our side of the border. So don’t expect these problems to be fixed any time soon. Too many people profit from a broken system.

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Filed under farmers, immigration

May Day Message

Condemning the slave labor conditions that exist in Bangladesh and all over the world, Pope Francis has a very apt May Day message:

“Today in the world this slavery is being committed against something beautiful that God has given us – the capacity to create, to work, to have dignity,” the Pope said at a private Mass.

Not paying a fair wage, not giving a job because you are only looking at balance sheets, only looking to make a profit, that goes against God,” he was quoted as saying by Vatican radio.

I wonder if those Catholic-owned businesses fighting the Obamacare birth control mandate — Freshway Foods, Domino’s Farms, Hercules Industries, Sioux Chief Manufacturing, etc. — embrace this church view as robustly as they do the one about women’s reproductive rights?

Meanwhile, in the streets of Bangladesh’s capitol, people are protesting for better working conditions and there are calls for the owner of that collapsed factory building to get the death penalty. He’s currently under arrest and charged with negligence, illegal construction and forcing people to work.

Here at home, the owner of that West, Texas fertilizer plant remains happily free, despite the fact that the plant appears to have violated multiple regulations as well as common sense. I guess with this being Texas, the free hand of the market was supposed to protect those people who died or were injured when the plant blew:

Texas does not have an occupational safety and health program that meets federal requirements. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is therefore responsible for ensuring the safety of potentially dangerous workplaces like the West facility.

OSHA has inspected the West plant exactly once in the company’s 51-year history. That 1985 inspection detected multiple “serious” violations of federal safety requirements for which the company paid a grand total of $30 in fines. OSHA’s 1992 process-safety-management standard for highly hazardous chemicals is supposed to protect against disasters like the West explosion, but it wasn’t in place for that inspection.

Regardless, OSHA lacks the resources to undertake the kind of comprehensive inspection needed to ensure compliance with the process safety standard at small facilities like West Fertilizer Company. OSHA’s tiny staff of around 2,400 inspectors is spread so thin that it would take more than 90 years to conduct even cursory inspections of all eligible workplaces in Texas.

Freedom! This is what happens when you “starve the beast,” folks. I’m sure everyone would love to blame the federal government for this disaster, but you can’t be all Tenth Amendment when it suits you and then say the Feds should have protected you after the inevitable happens.

Speaking of inevitable, did you hear the one about the worker in Oregon who died after he fell into a blender at a meat processing plant? According to the news report,

An OSHA report on the plant in February found machines were not locked during the tear-down process for cleaning.

Or, less gruesome — but closer to home — what about the pregnant T-Mobile empoyee in Nashville who was told she had to clock out every time she needed to pee?

She tried to hold off on eating and drinking; she needed the health insurance the job provided. But the baby was suffering, Rifkin said, and she had to start drinking water again.

Finally, she said, her supervisor pulled her aside and told her to get a note from her doctor explaining that she needed to go the bathroom often. ”At that point, I thought my head was going to launch off my shoulders,” said Rifkin. “‘Are you serious? I need to get a note from my doctor to go to the toilet?’ This is a basic biological need.’”

But Rifkin did as she was told; she got the doctor’s note and cleared it with Human Resources. She was told that she could use the rest room any time she needed to, she said, but that she would have to clock out. When she returned from that bathroom, she would have to clock back in. “This meant I was out of work for five minutes,” she said. She had to write the hours down and turn it into her supervisor, just to make sure she wasn’t taking advantage of the situation.

Nope, whether you’re in a place like Bangladesh or right here in the U.S.A., it’s not exactly the best of times to be a worker. You’re either treated no better than a slave or your boss steals your wages and your health, safety and welfare are treated with contempt. So what if you fall into that vat of boiling gook, there are a hundred more just like you who’d kill for your job, right?

To quote Paul Hawkin and Amory Lovins,

People are often spoken of as being a resource — every large business has a “human resources” department — but apparently they are not a valuable one.

Indeed. This is what Republicans don’t understand. This is the message they missed in that 47% video. When you treat people like they aren’t valuable, like their only worth is in the profit they can bring you, you’re dehumanizing them. This is why capitalism needs to be counterbalanced with instutions that promote social welfare and the common good. Otherwise, it runs roughshod over humanity.

I’m glad that Pope Francis has highlighted the way capitalism is at odds with Christianity. I just wonder if that message will ever sink in.

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Filed under Labor

Factories Full Of Women

This video about Mitt Romney’s China dealings is making the rounds:

Around the 0:45 mark you can hear Romney talking about a tour he took of a Chinese factory. You hear him talk about how awful the living conditions are in these factories, how many hours a day these people work, the crappy wages, and how they live 12 girls crammed into one room, with one tiny bathroom serving 10 rooms. And how the factory is surrounded by a huge fence with barbed wire and guard towers. Take it away, Mitt:

And we said, “Gosh I can’t believe how you keep these girls in. And they said, ‘No, no, no. This is to keep other people from coming in! Because people want so badly to come work in this factory that we have to keep them out or they’ll just come in here and start working and try to get compensated! This is to keep people out!'”

Riiiiight. Mitt Romney is either dumber than a box of hammers or he thinks his audience is.

I wonder if he thinks this is a plan for American workers? I’ll bet he does.

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Filed under 2012 presidential election, China, Mitt Romney

Today In Cheap Labor

[UPDATE] 2:

Amazing op-ed in the New York Times yesterday, via Joe in comments. Read the whole thing, but here are some excerpts:

The America that the Hershey’s workers have seen is surely not the one the J-1 visa was created to promote. But perhaps it is the America we have become. Hershey’s business strategy is a microcosm of the downsizing and subcontracting that so many American companies have pursued during the past few decades in search of ever cheaper labor.

[…]

Other guest worker programs — themselves often avenues for exploitation — are managed, however ineffectually, by the Departments of Homeland Security and Labor. They require employers to offer international workers the same wages as local workers in comparable jobs and to attest that no local workers are available. Not so with the J-1 visa.

Indeed, the J-1 program is attractive to employers because it is uncapped and virtually unregulated; companies avoid paying Medicare, Social Security and, in many states, unemployment taxes for workers hired through the program. One sponsor authorized by the State Department even offers a “payroll taxes savings calculator” on its Web site, so potential employers can see how much they would save by hiring J-1 visa holders rather than American workers. Visa holders can be deported if they so much as complain, and cannot easily switch employers.

At a minimum, the government should preclude the use of the J-1 program as a way to obtain workers at below-market rates. If the program continues, it should be reformed to explicitly incorporate worker protections, including the right to organize, and should be supervised by the Department of Labor.

Time to pull the plug on this program, or at least provide some strict regulation. But then of course the ownership class would complain mightily about oppressive government restrictions killing jobs. Never mind that the jobs are already dead.

This is what happens when you kill unions, America.

——————————-

[UPDATE]:

New York Times is on the story.

PALMYRA, Pa. — Hundreds of foreign students, waving their fists and shouting defiantly in many languages, walked off their jobs on Wednesday at a plant here that packs Hershey’s chocolates, saying a summer program that was supposed to be a cultural exchange had instead turned them into underpaid labor.

The students, from countries including China, Nigeria, Romania and Ukraine, came to the United States through a long-established State Department summer visa program that allows them to work for two months and then travel. They said they were expecting to practice their English, make some money and learn what life is like in the United States.

In a way, they did. About 400 foreign students were put to work lifting heavy boxes and packing Reese’s candies, Kit-Kats and Almond Joys on a fast-moving production line, many of them on a night shift. After paycheck deductions for fees associated with the program and for their rent, students said at a rally in front of the huge packing plant that many of them were not earning nearly enough to recover what they had spent in their home countries to obtain their visas.

[…]

A spokesman for Hershey’s, Kirk Saville, said the chocolate company did not directly operate the Palmyra packing plant, which is managed by a company called Exel. A spokeswoman for Exel said it had found the student workers through another staffing company.

Passing the blame on to the “subcontractor” is the corporate American way these days. It’s not us! We didn’t do anything wrong! Our hands our clean! We didn’t know!

Bullshit.

________________

Hershey’s chocolate ain’t so sweet, at least not for these foreign student workers who found themselves exploited by the free hand of the market corporate assholes who’d rather use foreign cheap labor than American workers. This is what happens when you destroy unions, America. Everyone suffers. As we hear on the video below, these used to be jobs held by Americans, with good pay and rights and workplace protection. Instead they go to foreign students who paid for the privilege, thinking they would get a taste of the American dream.

The students paid $3,000-$6,000 each to come to the U.S. this summer for what they thought would be a cultural exchange program through the State Department’s J-1 visa. Instead,they found themselves packing chocolates at the Hershey’s plant in deeply exploitative conditions. After automatic weekly deductions for rent in company housing and other expenses,they net between $40 and $140 per week for 40 hours of work. The workers talked about their struggle and asked for our support at the JwJ national conference.

[…]

The student guestworkers aren’t the only ones who have suffered. If Hershey hadn’t chosen to subcontract to have its chocolates packed by exploitable guestworkers,400 workers in Central Pennsylvania could have had living wage,union jobs.

And to our clueless news media more interested in covering Rick Perry’s corn dog condiment choice, fuck you. This is the kind of stuff that should be on the news, not some little social justice blog few people will see.

Oh, and don’t tell me these assholes are taxed too much.

Meet these student workers:

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Filed under immigration

Today In Cheap Labor

I’m sure all of Georgia’s pesky little labor problems would be solved if only they could bring back slavery:

ATLANTA — Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal offered a provocative solution Tuesday for farmers who claim workers have been scared away by a crackdown on illegal immigration: Hire people on probation to toil in the fields instead.

The Republican governor offered his remarks after an unscientific survey showed roughly 11,000 job openings in the state’s agricultural economy. He requested the survey after growers warned that a new Georgia law targeting illegal immigrants was scaring away workers needed to harvest labor-intensive crops like peaches and berries that are easily damaged by machines.

Wow! Nobody could have anticipated that demonizing immigrants would have any repercussions in the labor force! [/sarcasm] Thank goodness Convict Nation has a ready supply of strapping young bucks ready to harvest your berries and tomatoes on the cheap!

Because, despite Georgia’s nearly 10% unemployment rate, Georgia’s farmers just can’t find anyone to hire:

Farmers say they can find few U.S. citizens willing to work in hot, dusty fields and criticize a federal guest work program as expensive and cumbersome.

“It’s hard work,” said Sam Watson, the owner Chill C Farms in Moultrie, who wants more workers and is considering hiring probationers. “It’s hot. It’s a lot of bending, can be long hours.”

Oh yeah, sure, that’s it. That’s what keeps U.S. citizens from taking those jobs! The “hot, dusty fields” and all of that bending! This story makes zero mention of the wages migrant laborers are paid, which last I checked is around $5 a day. You find me an American citizen who can make ends meet on $5 a day, please. If you do find them, send ’em on down to Moultrie, Ga.

Meanwhile:

Watson said he could only hire two-thirds of the 60 workers he would have wanted to harvest squash, cucumbers and zucchini from his 300-acre farm. He blamed the state’s new law targeting illegal immigrants for driving away Hispanic workers. The lack of labor forced him to leave 13 acres of squash to rot in his fields.

“We’ve got to come up with something,” Watson said. “There’s no way we can continue if we don’t have a labor source to pull from.”

I’m sorry, Farmer Watson, but you’re an asshole. We are the wealthiest nation in the world, yet people go hungry every day. Yes, even in rural areas. And you’d rather let your squash rot in the fields? Haven’t you read in Leviticus about allowing the poor to glean from your fields? Or did you just read the part about teh gaii?

I wonder how many farm subsidies Farmer Watson got? Yes, mah tax dollahs! I guess you have to wear a tricorn hat to get away with complaining about this stuff.

I’m sorry, but this whole thing really pisses me off. Where are all the good Christians? Why does the AP write about this issue and overlook the obvious elephant in this story (and no, the elephant is not failed Republican policies, though that’s part of it)?

Look, it’s really simple. Georgia has 10% unemployment. People are pissed off and blame the brown people and pass racist laws. The brown people stay away, and no one is left to take their crappy, low-wage jobs that pay $5 a day. So the governor decides convict labor is the way to go.

Stop me if you’ve seen this movie before.

The obvious solution here is to raise your fucking wages, assholes! But no, we can’t do that, because then a Big Mac wouldn’t cost $3 and change, it would cost a helluva lot more. But we’re paying those costs anyway! We’re paying them in indirect ways, in high unemployment and high incarceration rates and poverty and malnutrition and everything else.

But let’s go on our merry way pretending we can have something for nothing, we can have the good life without paying for it, that our nation wasn’t built on cheap labor and exploiting the poor. Let’s pretend we don’t continue to have an exploitive economy so a few people can live the good life and wave the flag and talk about how great we are.

It’s the American way.

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Filed under food supply, poverty, rants, wages

Cheap Labor Update

Well this is interesting:

According to UC Berkeley’s report, Walmart employees earn 14.5 percent less than other workers in large retail companies. Depressing stuff, but there is any easy enough fix: If Walmart implemented a $12 per hour minimum wage for all employees, it would cost the company $3.2 billion. That is a lot of money, unless you’re Walmart, in which case it’s just 1% of your overall annual $305 billion in sales. Even if Walmart passed on the entire burden of the wage increase to customers, it would only average out to a cost increase of 46 cents per shopping trip. That’s surely something that most Walmart shoppers can afford.

But they wouldn’t even have to. Remember Walmart’s exceptional energy-saving plans? Perhaps it could take some of the money it will inevitably save from energy and materials efficiency and pass it on to workers.

Heh. Yeah don’t hold your breath.

Last month the New York Times looked at WalMart’s accelerated campaign to enter the New York market. They’ve been foiled for years and now that WalMart is all green and socially responsible they’re asking New Yorkers for another chance. But with WalMart depressing wages everywhere it sets up shop, can you blame people for being wary?

Here’s a thought for WalMart: Instead of spending so much money on elaborate TV and print ads, glossy brochures, polls, and hiring Michael Bloomberg’s ex-campaign manager, why not just pay people a living wage and be done with it?

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Filed under employment, Wal-Mart