Saturday, March 21, 2009

Fuck Starbucks, Fuck Whole Foods, Fuck Costco

Costco, Starbucks, Whole Foods Present Alternative Labor Plan -
(H/T: AP):
As business and labor gird for battle over legislation that would make it easier for workers to organize, the debate could be transformed by a "third way" proposed by three companies that like to project a progressive image -- Costco, Starbucks and Whole Foods.

Like other businesses, the three companies are opposed to two of the Employee Free Choice Act's components -- a provision that would allow workers to form a union if a majority sign pro-union cards, without having to hold a secret ballot election, and one that would impose binding arbitration when employers and unions fail to reach a contract after 120 days.

To all our readers who aren't necessarily immersed in the labor movement: this is an attempt to get you, the highly-educated, conspicuously consuming progressive, to identify with these corporations against unions, workers, rising wages, workplace democracy, and something like a for-real check on corporate largesse. At this point in the Employee Free Choice Act debate, y'all's hearts and minds are endlessly more important than those of us laborite nerds. If you don't feel like this Employee Free Choice Act has been defined to your liking on this blog or elsewhere, or if you would like some specific, anecdotal illustrations of how the present process of forming a union is tailor-made for employer intimidation, please say so. Point blank: this bill is the last best chance for workers -- and I am including anybody who works for wages, here -- that we will see during the Obama administration, let alone whatever Jindal or Udall or whatever-the-shit administration will follow.

Nobody reading this blog loves coffee, Ryan Adams cds, organic produce, fake meat products and cheap Ric Flair dvds more than me; but never mind what they're selling, eh? It's what you're buying. The US Chamber of Commerce is betting that NPR fans and Gen X ur-hipsters identify more with their latte store and its liberal arts semiotics than they do with the folks who brought us the weekend -- which side are you freaks on? Are you primarily a consumer of steamed milk or a worker, like other workers, who figures 40+ hours a week of whatever-the-fuck merits economic security and, shucks, the right to do your job and have a say at work without fear of employer behavior that can be alternately arbitrary, patronizing, charitable or cruel, but which is always, as it stands in the non-unionized workforce, damn near unfuckwithable?

Friday, March 20, 2009

GOP grammar

Meanwhile, don't look now, but Nancy Pelosi and the Obama Administration is busily working to build up a debt larger than our country or any country has ever seen.

--Michael Steele in a written e-mail

There are not two Americas

Just so we're clear here...

If you're a US auto worker, it is pretty much your fault that your employer has decided to build large, crappy cars no one wants to buy. It is also your fault that your employer decided in the 1950s to oppose government-run health care in favor of employment-based health care, driving up their costs. It is also your fault that your employer engaged in decades of profit taking and dividend paying instead of reinvestment in the company. These things are your fault because you are in a union that has managed to negotiate you a wage that supports a middle-class lifestyle. This wage will be hype-inflated by including all projected future retirement benefits so that this country's right-wing media can say you earn $70 an hour. In order for your industry to get a government bailout, you have to agree to a pay cut and a reduction in future benefits. You are a greedy, grabbing, no-future-seeing asshole who could easily be replaced by any other Joe Lunchpail in America.

On the other hand, if you are an executive at the American Insurance Group, then you are a hard working slob who just happened to walk into a very fucked up situation. You are doing your best to bailout an company that was totally messed up when you got there, and now some government bureaucrat is talking smack about you receiving a bonus for not quitting, even though you are going to be allowed to actually keep all of it. While others only have to fear for their jobs, you have to fear for your life. For fuck's sake, some crazy union people plan on driving on public roads past your house! Union people!! Despite the fact that you earn well more than a middle-class wage, no one in this nation's media will actually mention what that wage is, let alone translate it into an hourly wage. You are a brave, brave person who can't begin to understand why this is happening to you. You are providing this nation a valuable service doing your best to oversee the spending of $85 billion dollars, a job that, if anyone else on this planet could do it, no one would want to. Not without some sort of million dollar bonus, anyway.

Krugman on AIG

full article here:
I’ll leave to others the question of who knew or should have known that the bonus firestorm was coming; but it’s part of a pattern. At every stage, Geithner et al have made it clear that they still have faith in the people who created the financial crisis — that they believe that all we have is a liquidity crisis that can be undone with a bit of financial engineering, that “governments do a bad job of running banks” (as opposed, presumably, to the wonderful job the private bankers have done), that financial bailouts and guarantees should come with no strings attached.

This was bad analysis, bad policy, and terrible politics. This administration, elected on the promise of change, has already managed, in an astonishingly short time, to create the impression that it’s owned by the wheeler-dealers. And that leaves it with no ability to counter crude populism.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The man has three houses to pay for

I was writing a post last night wherein I discussed wingnut attempts to pin the AIG debacle on Obama, even though their boy Bush was the one who gave AIG the $85 billion. Some very, very fine weed and a shiny box with moving pictures distracted me. One thing I commented on was the undercurrent of argument that the people who were getting the bonuses were just poor, hard-working slobs who had nothing to do with the crisis, and Obama was terrorizing them and making them fear for their jobs. It was the bit I didn't think anyone would buy, as I have often been accused of "reading too much into things." In my own, completely unnecessary, defense, I give you the Washington Post.
I understand Obama's railing against the bonuses -- but I think he may be making a mistake, both short-term and long-term.
Well, because in the short run, hammering the AIG employees to give back their bonuses risks costing the government more than honoring the contracts would. The worst malefactors at AIG are gone. The new top management isn't taking bonuses. Those in the bonus pool are making sums that for most of us would be astronomical but that are significantly less than what they used to make. Driving away the very people who understand how to fix this complicated mess may make everyone else feel better, but it isn't particularly cost-effective.

Yes, it really would be a tragedy if these hard-working Joes, the backbone of American industry, were driven away while their industry was collapsing and thousands of qualified people, who have not been part of destroying a financial giant, were looking for work.

Jesus Christ driving a turnip truck.

It gets worse, though. While Joe Sweat-Argyle needs his promised bonus, Joe Lunchbox at UAW can go take a leap. Yes, he has been forced to renegotiate a contract, but that's a future contract you see, so it's cool. He's already been paid for what he has done, if he doesn't like the new contract, he doesn't have to show up to work. It's just that simple.

There you have it, the nation's liberal media at work.

h/t: LGM

I got nuthin'

Not that anyone cares, but I apologize for falling off the map. I have been swamped with my teaching... (I always said I wanted to teach research methods, and I did, and do, but it is a lot of work, and it is like teaching a foreign language to many of these (last semester) seniors.)

Obama is in socal. He will actually be in Pomona tomorrow, at an electric vehicle experimental site (which I had not previously heard of) and then at a pseudo town hall meeting in downtown LA.

I showed my media class the stewart/cramer bit. and we were discussing why cnbc had no real obligation to anyfreakinbudy but their owners... and the class has been debating whether Guvmint control of the media is the only (best) alternative to the status quo corporate media.... whadda ya'll think???? I gave modern bbc as a positive example, and pointed out that in 11 European countries the gov't owned media is the number 1 rated channel, but they seem skeptical to put it mildly...they can't seem to envision how pbs could be #1....
(sorry for the slang, but it is how I type when grieviously organized)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Menage a my dreams

DF: Oh yeah. Carl Reiner and Bette Midler. How do you turn something like that down?

We all feel like that sometimes

I feel like Scooby-Doo tilting his head when he hears Grandpa rip a loud one. Hmnh??