The Wobblies

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Elizabeth Knipe: The movement to organize labor is filled with colorful characters and none more so than those who led the International Workers of the World, more popularly known as the Wobblies.

Inequality: The Real Cause of America’s Economic Woes

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Robert Reich: During periods when the very rich took home a much smaller proportion of total income — as in the Great Prosperity between 1947 and 1977 — the nation as a whole grew faster and median wages surged.

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Labor Needs a New Generation of Leadership

Randy Shaw: Labor rewards those who wait. But those whose advancement depends on their willingness to wait may not be the most visionary or talented.

Corporate America Sends a Labor Day Message

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Walter Brasch: In the RR Donnelley Corporate Social Responsibility Report are four guiding principles. One is “Treating others the way that we want to be treated.” It’s nice rhetoric. If it were true.

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Immigrant Laborers Strengthen American Workforce, Economy

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Michele Waslin: While immigration restrictionists have long tried to demonize immigrant workers and blame them for high unemployment rates and other economic woes, the facts make it clear that immigrants actually create jobs and businesses and boost the wages of native-born workers.

The City of Second Chances

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Julie Gutman: On Labor Day, Let’s Celebrate L.A.’s Status as a Bastion of Human, Immigrant and Workers’ Rights

The Great Health Care Takeaway

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Shamus Cooke: Most workers now understand that there is a difference between apparently having health care and actually having health care: if you are technically “insured” but cannot afford doctor visits due to high deductibles and co-pays, you really aren’t insured.

Protests, Not Parades, This Labor Day

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Robert Reich: Labor Day is traditionally a time for picnics and parades. But this year is no picnic for American workers, and a protest march would be more appropriate than a parade.

Anti-Teacher Union “Reformers” Hoisted on Own Petard

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Randy Shaw: After years of teachers union bashing and corporate-led school “reform” efforts, anti-public school forces are now on the defensive. And the main reason is that the statistical measurements do not support their arguments, and even show a pattern of falsification.

Can Labor Confront Obama Over Jobs?

Official White House photograph by Pete Souza

Shamus Cooke: Hefty splits in the labor movement have already emerged on whether to support Obama’s reelection, based on his complete lack of action on creating jobs combined with his false promises in the 2008 election.

Stock Tip: Be Worried. Workers are Consumers.

Iranian medical delegation at the Agent Orange conference in Hanoi.

Robert Reich: Every CEO of every company that continues to squeeze payrolls (Verizon, are you listening? Ford?) needs to understand they’re shooting themselves in the feet. Where do they expect demand for their products and services to come from?

The Right to a Job

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Herb Engstrom: At this time of TEA Party hysteria, Fox News mendacity, and GOP hypocrisy a government guarantee of universal employment might seem like a radical idea, although it seemed not to be so to Franklin Roosevelt.

Obama’s Bold Jobs Bill (Maybe)

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Robert Reich: A bold jobs plan is also good politics. With more than 25 million Americans looking for full-time jobs, the wages of people with jobs falling, and an economy on the verge of a double dip, the President has to come out fighting on the side of average people.

Healthcare: What Democrats Should Have Learned By Now

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Robert Reich: Had the President and the Democrats stuck to their guns during the health-care debate and insisted on Medicare for all, or at least a public option, they wouldn’t now be facing the possible unraveling of the new health care law.

Inflation — Fighting the Last War

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Steven Conn: For thirty years inflation has not been a serious threat to the American economy, yet politicians and pundits continually fret about it. The never-ending worry about inflation is like fighting the last war rather than the current one. What’s needed today is a war on unemployment and wage stagnation, not inflation.

Well-To-Do Americans Getting More Benefits than the Poor

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Sherwood Ross: All the Federal welfare checks, food stamps, and unemployment benefits don’t begin to add up to the more than $1 trillion in indirect tax breaks awarded annually to America’s middle- and upper-classes.

Washington Farmers Fear Economic Impact of National E-Verify Bill

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Seth Hoy: Much like farmers in Georgia who are experiencing labor shortages due to HB 87—the state’s new immigration law which mandates use of E-Verify—growers in Washington state fear that a similar, national E-Verify bill will have a devastating economic impact on the state’s agricultural workforce.

Republican Double-Dip: What Must Be Done

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Robert Reich: Now that we’re slouching toward a double-dip recession, the only hope is voters will tell their members of Congress to stop obsessing about future budget deficits and get to work on the real crisis of unemployment, falling wages, and no growth.

Vicious Cycles: Why Washington Is About to Make the Jobs Crisis Worse

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Robert Reich: The only way out of the vicious economic cycle is for government to adopt an expansionary fiscal policy — spending more in the short term in order to make up for the shortfall in consumer demand.

10 Lessons for Today’s Unions from Labor’s Militant History

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Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer: As a first step, organized labor should organize massive demonstrations in major cities across the country on Labor Day to raise these demands. Working people strongly oppose these cuts and desperately want job-creation programs.

Turkey: Game On

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Nikki Junker: One group of people I am also hoping to meet up with are NGOs working in the human trafficking field.

Crunch Time for Public Sector Unions

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Shamus Cooke: Public sector unions must mobilize their members and the community they serve to fight back. They have no other choice if they are to remain powerful or even relevant.

Sometimes Ya Just Gotta Lighten Up

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Nikki Junker: If I can make light out of what happened to me and have some fun with the purpose it led me to, then I don’t see a problem with it. So we shall go with our tutus to raise $1000 to fight sexual exploitation of children

Jobs Crisis Is About People’s Lives, Not the Next Election

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Carl Bloice: If one out of ten people seeking work can’t find any, it follows that the average person has a friend, relative or neighbor amongst them. All she or he has to do is look out the window or answer the phone to be scared.

Our Hope for Change Still Not Fulfilled

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Walter Brasch: After significant compromise with the recalcitrant Republicans who want to continue to give the wealthy tax advantages while cutting significant social programs, President Obama has finally taken a stand on debt ceiling negotiations. However, in labor, wildlife management, and the environment he is still compromising rather than coming out forcefully for the principles he and the working class and environmentalists believe.

Voice Labor Settlement: High Drama or Foregone Conclusion?

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Michael Sigman: When a news story you know a little about comes along, the coverage in the mass media makes you wonder about everything else emanating from the world of “objective” journalism.

The National Education Association Flunks a Crucial Test

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Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer: As long as the N.E.A. as well as organized labor in general remain tied to the corporate-dominated Democratic Party, public education will deteriorate, critical thinking will be undermined, wages will remain low, and the working class will continue to suffer a decline.

Oregon Fights E-Verify Bill

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Seth Hoy: The Coalition for a Working Oregon, a group made up of 22 Oregon businesses, called out Smith’s proposal, highlighting E-Verify’s inaccuracies and calling for a “comprehensive retooling” of our broken immigration system.

How to Save the U.S. Labor Movement

Shamus Cooke: Labor unions do not need genius-caliber ideas or fancy gimmicks to save themselves; there are numerous practical, common sense solutions that could be implemented immediately.

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Repatriate Prosperity

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Brent Budowsky: Let’s add a “repatriate prosperity” provision that would require participating global companies to increase the size of their American workforce by a designated amount, within a designated window, such as six months, in order to receive the tax holiday.

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