Archive for the ‘Fairness & Social Justice Denied’ Category


Wealthy & Business Groups get their laws passed, American public ignored

Friday, April 18th, 2014

The U.S. Supreme Court, the Roberts court, regularly finds in favor of corporations over individuals. In two landmark cases, Citizens United (2010) and McCutcheon (2014), the court gave wealthy individuals unlimited control over the political process — electing politicians and influencing lawmakers concerning public policy laws.

Now comes an empirical analysis of 1,779 public policy laws crafted between 1981 and 2002 by two academic political scientists — Martin Gilens at Princeton and Benjamin Page at Northwestern. The conclusions suggest that oligarchy (or more technically plutocracy) better describes the U.S. than a simple electoral democracy. This is a shot across the bow to defenders of American exceptionalism.


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Obscenity defined: CEO compensation, crumbs for the rest of us

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

From our friends at Executive PayWatch …

In 2013 the CEO to average worker pay ($16.59) ratio was 331:1 and the CEO to minimum wage ($7.25) worker pay ratio was 774:1.

America is supposed to be the land of opportunity, a country where hard work and playing by the rules would provide working families a middle-class standard of living. But in recent decades, corporate CEOs have been taking a greater share of the economic pie while wages have stagnated and unemployment remains high.

High-paid CEOs of low-wage employers are fueling this growing economic inequality. In 2013, CEOs of the Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500 Index companies received, on average, $11.7 million in total compensation, according to the AFL-CIO’s analysis of available data from 350 companies.

Today’s ratio of CEO-to-worker pay is simply unconscionable. While CEO pay remains in the stratosphere, production and nonsupervisory workers took home only $35,239 on average in 2013, and a full-time worker making the federal minimum wage earned only $15,080.

Even as companies argue that they can’t afford to raise wages, the nation’s largest companies are earning higher profits per employee than they did five years ago. In 2013, the S&P 500 Index companies earned $41,249 in profits per employee, a 38% increase.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Politicians should raise the minimum wage. Corporations should pay their employees a living wage. And workers should have a collective voice on the job to demand their fair share.

The Executive PayWatch site

Scroll down on the page to see that a single hour of WalMart CEO pay is equivalent to 1,372 hours of minimum wage page pay! You can’t make up stuff this outrageous.

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The Buffalo News – City policy on workplace bullying adopted by Council in North Tonawanda

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

By Nancy Fischer
News Niagara Reporter
The Buffalo News
March 4, 2014

NORTH TONAWANDA – Bullying has gotten a lot of attention among schoolchildren, but hostile work environments and bullying behavior in the workplace are now being addressed by a bill in the State Legislature.

In advance of the proposed legislation, the North Tonawanda Common Council unanimously adopted its own measure Tuesday, updating its 2009 Workplace Violence Prevention Policy with specific language to address bullying.

The Council did not discuss the policy, but Mayor Robert G. Ortt said after the meeting that bullying is a “real deal” that goes beyond schools, even to the case involving the Miami Dolphins in the National Football League.

“I think if you are going to ask kids to behave a certain way, there’s no reason not to expect adults to behave in the same manner,” Ortt said.

“You want people to be able to come to work and do their job in an environment that is professional. Without that, morale goes down, people don’t do their jobs as well, and there are health-related issues that are additional costs to the employer, which in this case is the city and ultimately the public.”

Assistant City Attorney Katherine D. Alexander said prior to the meeting, “We are just trying to be as prepared as we can here. If something were to happen, there will be steps an employee could take.”

Like the law being proposed in the State Legislature, the city policy gives employees the definition of an abusive workplace and provides for specific consequences. The policy also requires a system for reporting incidents of aggressive bullying.

The city now has a “zero tolerance policy” regarding reports of an abusive work environment.

According to the new city policy, after an investigation by the supervisor and the city attorney, any employee who is found to have committed a violation may be disciplined – which could include discharge, and criminal or civil prosecution.

Link to the original article

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When victors claim victimhood: “War on the 1%”

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

Evidence mounts every week that the American “have-nots” suffer new economic indignities. In our very unequal America (please hold off on the ‘American dream for everyone’ speech), wealth becomes might. The extremely wealthiest 1% benefited from the global recession of 2008. Of the wealth accumulated since then, the 1% won 95% while the bottom 90% of Americans grew poorer.

A disgusting aspect of our new Gilded Age (term coined in the late 19th century by Mark Twain) is the shamelessness of the uber rich. A case in point — Tom Perkins, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist, is making news with provocative (read hate-filled) comments that taxation is persecution of the rich by progressive akin to Nazi persecution of the Jews and, for extra effect, voting should be the privilege earned only by those who actually pay taxes. The latest outrageous comment was made at the ostensibly “serious” and credible San Francisco Commonwealth Club event titled: War on the 1%

Really? Really? The exploiters are victims??? Sounds like the bully’s faux lament.

Matt Tiabi regularly reports on new financial scams that generate obscene gobs of cash for the inventors while screwing employees of affected companies, and of course, the public.

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Tom Tomorrow: No big deal WV (when corporations pollute)

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

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Pete Seeger, requiescat in pace

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

January 27, 2014 a great flame went dark … the good don’t always die young

For Pete

he’s a sailor
a bumbling, crafty, thoughtful, dreaming
chopstick drummer
a lover
a brightly colored creature
a root that knuckles through the soil
to reach you
a sculptured banjo body
shedding humane thoughts
on careless scraps of paper leaves
a voice of fiber bark
tender as an April bud
a raging, flaming, autumn fire
Tall
Strong
bending in the breeze, but growing
natural as wood
a shady place
for all these children of the son

Don McLean

(From Songs and Sketches of the First Clearwater Crew; North River Press, 1970)

More relevant than ever…WWII vet Pete on the Vietnam-era Smothers Brothers shut down by timid CBS executives …Pete sings Waist Deep in the Big Muddy…warning to not follow the Big Fool who commands us to push on…sage advice to all of us in contemporary America…let’s remember when we recognized the power of singing together with one voice…Pete would like that

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Pete Seeger testified before the kangaroo court known as Congress’ House Unamerican Activities Committee in 1955 during another time of intense fear replacing leadership in this country. Then, it was communists, now it’s terrorists. Read how bravely Pete stood up and proclaimed his love of country, not the HUAC-crazed country that turned friends against friends, but the USA to which we and Pete aspire.

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The problem with workplace bullying is not its definitions, let’s take it more seriously

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

Just recently the CDC established conditions for a universal definition of youth bullying in schools. Newcomers to the adult Workplace Bullying movement clamor for a uniform, common definition. But back in 1997, when we were beginning, there was a very active listserv among the international academic community striving to find commonalities. They finally agreed to not force a common definition.

Workplace bullying, as a documented research phenomenon, is not new. It is quite “mature,” contrary to what newbies may believe. For example, here are the properties that all operational definitions share:

• the loathsome conduct is negative or offensive to a rational person
• it is aimed at one or more individuals, personalizing the assaults
• perpetrators act either alone or in concert with others (mob)
• perpetrators attack from any and all levels in organizations — top-down, horizontal (peers), and from subordinate positions
• when perpetrators outrank their targets, it is an abuse of authority
• regardless of perpetrator rank, there exists a power differential, real (titular) or perceived (in the mind of the perpetrator)
• acts of omission (withholding) are included with acts of commission
• deliberateness and intentionality are less important than the fact the mistreatment happened
• tactics may be overt or covert, most likely subtle and behind closed doors
• though there is a singling out of certain targets, bullying transcends status-based (illegal) discrimination, ignoring gender, race, age, etc.
• repetitive, a chronic pattern, not single-shot emotional explosions
• unwanted, uninvited, unprovoked by targets
• harmful to targets — health (from distress), psychological integrity, self-esteem
• harmful, or at least disruptive, to witnesses and coworkers
• bullying toxifies a productive work environment, undermines work itself
• employers bear the responsibility to prevent and correct

Thus, there is a great deal of conformity across various definitions. There are huge public education goals facing the movement in 2014.

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WA State fetes Boeing which screws its machinists

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee was once a liberal democrat as Congressman. Now he fawns over one of the state’s two large employers — Boeing — as if he was once an executive there. After McDonnell-Douglas merged in 1997, Boeing became the only surviving American aircraft manufacturer. Its 787 Dreamliner model was fraught with problems when launched. It’s newest commercial project is to build the wide-body 777X model. Assembly is scheduled for the Seattle area. But before starting, Boeing decided to alter its contractual relationship with a big part of its laborforce — the machinists. The corporation is behaving as an unscrupulous monopoly.

Boeing moved its corporate headquarters from Seattle, its home since William Boeing bought his first airplane factory site in 1910. It settled contentious strikes, especially with its machinist employees (the IAM, Local 751 in Seattle) the most recent contract expires in 2016! However, negotiating for changing terms began in 2013. Boeing demanded more “givebacks,” concessions, by the union.

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WBI Podcast 36: Straight talk about the movement against workplace bullying

Friday, December 6th, 2013

Dr. Gary Namie provides clarification about three fundamental themes of the social movement against workplace bullying which are commonly misunderstood or mischaracterized:

1) It’s about bullying, not bullies or their personalities.

2) Employers act irrationally and irresponsibly about bullying, which itself makes no sense.

3) Being “anti-abuse” is not the same as being “anti-corporate”

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Halifax shipyard workers protest alleged workplace bullying following suicide

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

NOV. 29 UPDDATE: Flash – Shipyard president Kevin McCoy claims to have “investigated” the bullying allegation below and found “no evidence of it.” No duh! And the protesters lost a day’s pay.

By Patrick Odell, Global News, Nov. 28, 2013

Hundred of workers at Halifax’s Irving Shipyard walked off the job Thursday, angry about the way management is treating them and what they call an oppressive work environment. Ross Lord reports.

HALIFAX, NS – Workers at the Irving-owned Halifax Shipyard walked off the job Thursday morning in protest after they say a co-worker killed himself after being suspended by management.

Rick Rose of Unifor says a worker took his own life on Wednesday after he was suspended for 30 days.

Rose says the death came after a series of disciplinary actions involving various employees.

He says other employees are upset over what they say is an increase in disciplinary actions by management.

In an email statement, Irving said it was “devastated” to find out one of its workers, whom it identified as Peter MacKenzie, had died.

Police were on scene to keep things under control and so traffic doesn’t get back up. Protesters were crossing Barrington Street earlier in the morning, which caused lengthy delays for downtown commuters.

Rose says he is meeting with management today about the death and the workers’ grievances.

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The intriguing angle to this bullying-suicide-protest story is that troubles began when Irving brought in an American president and he, in turn, imported an American management team. Since then, there have been 14 disciplinary dismissals. One triggering a suicide. What did they do differently? Why did the new team not acclimate to the culture of the shipyard? Were the Americans sent in to “clean up” the shipyard with respect to workers? Was previous Canadian management considered to cooperative with the union? Were the Americans sent in to bust the union?

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