Category Archives: Work life

And again! Happy Labor Day!

I’ll say it again: Happy Labor Day!

It’s Labor Day! Time for a picnic!

But even more, it’s time to remember the history of Labor Day, which didn’t begin as a heavy-travel day, or a time when we stretch out summer by 24 hours, or a good day to shop the sales.

If you’re doing any of those things, good on you, but make sure you take the time to hug a union member. And remember: Those public servants (I’m married to one) aren’t the cause of our financial meltdown. Far from it.

(And thanks, Susan Forbes Hansen, for the inspiration on “The Sunday Night Folk Festival,” available from 7 to 10 p.m. here, every Sunday.)

The rich are getting richer in CT, and the poor? Well, guess what?

The wage gap is growing in the Land of Steady Habits, according to “The State of Working Connecticut 2012,” a new report from Connecticut Voices for Children. In fact, the report found the:

highest wage workers enjoying wage growth four times that of median wage workers, while wages stagnated for low wage workers.  Given these wage trends and related demographic changes and disparities, it concludes that Connecticut is increasingly becoming a state of “haves” and “have-nots,” and if current trends continue, the have-nots will make up an increasing share of the state’s population.

The report also found that African Americans and Latinos in the state aren’t enjoying an economic recovery, manufacturing jobs are disappearing from the state, and unemployment is heavily affecting Connecticut’s youngest and oldest workers.

You can read more here: exec summary state of working ct

Cleaning up temp jobs

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has signed a law that says

the state’s temporary employment agencies will no longer be able to send any temp workers to jobs without informing them of the name of their employer, the wages they will be paid or any basic safety training they need.

The bill was signed without fanfare in Boston on Monday, but I bet there was cheering in plenty of mail rooms.

And thanks, DickG., for the link.

What does job insecurity do to you?

Quite a lot, as it turns out, and it’s the new disease of the century, writes Lynn Parramore at Truthout. An excerpt:

Job insecurity is nothing new for those on the lower rungs of the economic ladder. Since the ’70s and ’80s, a shifting labor market and anti-worker policies have been fraying the ties between employers and employees, fueling the perception that a job is a temporary affair. Globalization, outsourcing, contracting, downsizing, and recession have conspired to make confidence in a stable, long-term job a privilege that few can enjoy.

But the global recession has blown the numbers experiencing persistent job insecurity through the roof. In the U.S., the stress of three years of unemployment over 8 percent – the longest stretch at that level since the Great Depression – has rocketed our anxieties to new heights, even among traditionally secure workers.

And thanks, DickG., for the link.

Is a living wage a pipe dream?

Rep. C.W. Bill Young (R-FL) recently told a young man to get a job, when the young man told him he already had one, but it did not pay enough to support him.

Rep. Young had been asked if he’d support a bill proposed by Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) that increases the federal minimum wage to $10. Here’s more on the minimum wage, which in Connecticut is $8.25. Even at a $1 more than the current federal minimum wage, the Connecticut Housing Coalition says the housing wage in the state — what a person must earn in order to afford a clean and safe two-bedroom apartment — is $23.58. No way can minimum wage in this state be considered a living wage.

You can read more about the state’s housing wage here: CT2

And thanks, DickG., for the link.

Are you boycotting Coke?

On the hottest day of the year (so far), we wandered up to the Coca-Cola factory in East Hartford (Conn.), where union workers have been on strike for more than five weeks.

One of the main issues is health care. Plant officials say…well, here. You can read a recent media statement below:

Sorry it’s crumbled. It was hanging on a tent and a hot wind was blowing. Union members say the media statement does not necessarily reflect the truth.

While the picketers were sweating in the sun, a line of limousine vans was snaking by. Some were carrying one or two a passengers in air-conditioned comfort behind darkened windows, and some were carrying no one at all. The limousines are for people who are willing to cross a picket line and they are doing so, say the striking workers, with bellyfuls of catered meals paid for by the company. Some are being brought in from elsewhere, and put up in an area hotel or hotels. How much do you think that’s costing Coke, versus what they would spend to keep funding for their workers’ health care as it is now?

Strike funds are tiny, and a striking union workers gets just a fraction of his/her salary. Things are tough all over, but do you wonder what scabs make?

In this area, you’ll find Teamsters Local 1035 members picketing various business establishments besides the plant, including area McDonald’s restaurants. Honk. Say hey. And be sure to ask them why they’re striking. They’re happy to talk.

If you want to go whole-hog, here’s a list of Coca-Cola products besides that brown fizzy drink. Living without the soft drink is easy. It might be an interesting exercise to see if you could go a day without consuming a single Coke product.

Oh, really? Bite me.

You’ll have to watch all the way to the 5:08 mark and no women, don’t find it difficult to compete with men for journalism jobs.

But thanks, Bob and Sherry, for the clip.

When is it an unpaid internship and when is it unethical labor?

Great Britian’s young jobless are being sent to work for free for up to two months — but they get loads of “experience,” according to this article sent by Mike the Heathen.

Now let me see: Will work for food. Will write for money. But no money or food? Here’s a bit more on the ethics of unpaid internships.