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Showing blog posts published on Mar 15, 2013

JPMorgan's 'Risky Business' and the London Whale Fail

Photo of whale courtesy of John "K"'s Flickr photostream:

JPMorgan Chase lost more than $6 billion on a bad bet known as the “London whale” trades and then tried to conceal its losses from regulators, investors and the public, according to a report released last night and hearings held today by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

When media reports surfaced in April of last year that a JPMorgan Chase trader had “amassed positions so large that he’s driving price moves in the $10 trillion market,” JPMorgan Chase executives quickly responded by holding a call with investors and analysts.

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Working America: 10 Things You Should Know About Paycheck Deception

Since 2010, right-wing governors and legislators have attacked workers’ rights across the Midwest. These attacks have come in different forms: from stripping public workers’ collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin to an all-out ban on fair share contracts in Michigan and Indiana.

In Missouri, extremist legislators and their corporate backers are taking a different tactic. They are pushing paycheck deception bills, which limit how union workers can make their voices heard in the political process.

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Mine Workers Say Patriot Plan to Gut Contract Is Totally Unacceptable

Photo by Julie Hunter

As previously reported, the Mine Workers (UMWA) union has been saying that Patriot Coal was specifically designed to fail so that former parent company Peabody Energy Corp. could eliminate health care costs associated with former workers in their mines. Patriot was originally spun off of Peabody and was started with much of Peabody's obligations to its retired workers, but very little of Peabody's assets. UMWA argued that Patriot was using bankruptcy to get out of living up to those obligations. Now Patriot filed a motion with the bankruptcy court to create a Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association (VEBA) to replace the existing retiree health care system. According to UMWA, the VEBA would cover only a fraction of the obligations owed to retired workers and their families.

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Miami Herald Op-Ed: Landowners Want to 'Fix' Temporary Worker System They Helped Create

In an op-ed column in The Miami Herald, William and Mary professor Cindy Hahamovitch traces the history of landowners exploiting temporary agricultural workers in the United States for personal gain. These farm employers are currently calling for more temporary workers to be allowed into the country, and they want fewer regulations on those workers. Hahamovitch points out the irony of the landowners condemning the current system, which is one they helped create and has allowed them to exploit foreign-born workers for decades.

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Progress for Striking McDonald's Workers

Photo courtesy Parenting Patch

Just minutes after yesterday's protest in New York by striking workers, McDonald's announced that the franchise owner accused of exploiting temporary workers in the country on J-1 visas will be selling his three stores and will no longer be associated with the company, the Nation's Josh Eidelson reports. The workers from Latin America and Asia who worked at the Pennsylvania fast-food restaurants allege that store owner Andy Cheung provided them with sub-standard employer-owned housing to live in, forced them to work shifts of up to 25 consecutive hours and threatened them with retaliation if they complained or refused to work.

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MAKERS: A Reminder of Where We Came from and What We Still Need to Do

MAKERS: A Reminder of Where We Came from and What We Still Need to Do

I’ll tell you the truth, I watched the PBS documentary, MAKERS: The Women Who Make America, because one of our top staffers at the AFL-CIO and Working America—Karen Nussbaum—was in it.  I’m so glad I did.  I had forgotten what a steep climb it has been for women in this country.  It wasn’t that long ago women had little or no place in sports, culture, public life, or the workplace.

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San Jose Minimum Wage Goes to $10 on Monday

Photo courtesy nogwater

In the largest minimum wage jump in the United States, the city of San Jose will increase the income for the lowest-wage workers to $10 per hour starting Monday. The increase passed with 59% of the vote in November. Ben Field, executive officer of the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council, and Scott Knies, executive director of the San Jose Downtown Association, wrote for the Mercury News that economic analysis shows the increase will add $70 million to the city's economy, as consumers will have more money to spend on local businesses.

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Senate Group Developing Plans to Make It Harder for Relatives of U.S. Citizens to Immigrate to America

Photo courtesy of the National Domestic Worker Alliance (NDWA) We Belong Together Campaign

The Washington Post reported yesterday that key senators in the "Gang of Eight" negotiations over creating a commonsense immigration process are developing plans to reduce family visas, a decidedly anti-family stance. 

The united labor movement’s immigration principles are straight-forwardly pro-family: “Family reunification is an important goal of immigration policy and it is in the national interest for it to remain that way.”

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Salon: Restaurant Horror Show

Photo courtesy of ROC's Flickr photostream:

If you think a tip for a server at your favorite restaurant is a gesture of recognition for good service, you're mistaken. 

“People think a tip is extra, to show gratitude for really good service, but it’s really not,” said Daisy Chung, executive director of the Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York, an advocacy group for restaurant workers. “Consumers should really know that they’re subsidizing workers’ wages, it’s not on top of it. You’re making up the difference for the fact that someone doesn’t make minimum wage.”

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