You know an industry has hit the big time when labor unions decide it’s time to organize the workers. So, it looks like California’s medical marijuana workers are about to reach new highs now that the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5 in San Jose has begun organizing local pot purveyors. Here’s the big question, though: How long before they start showing up to picket non-union shops with a giant inflatable bong?
Macy’s got punked. The fliers announced performances in Missoula, Montana, by Dave Matthews Band and other bands as a special “reinvesting in the community” “Goodbye Celebration” by Macy’s and Smurfit-Stone, two longtime businesses that had recently shut down and laid off hundreds of workers while top company executives received millions in bonuses. But Dave and his band would not be there, nor would Michael Franti or Slightly Stoopid. Nor the Mayor or the Governor. And there definitely would be no $5,000 prize drop. It was all a hoax hatched by angry ex-employees trying to draw attention to the negative economic impact the businesses’ departures would have on the community.
The sit-in has ended in Chicago, as Bank of America, union leaders and Republic Windows & Doors have reached an agreement that will give each employee eight weeks’ salary, all accrued vacation pay and two months’ paid health care. [AP]
United Airlines’ pilots have had enough of Glenn Tilton, the CEO of United, and have started a website that calls for his resignation. In addition to listing Mr. Tilton’s various faults, the website asks you, the consumer, to help them by submitting your United Airlines horror stories. (CC: The Consumerist, naturally…)
Sweatshop In Queens Produced Clothes For Macy's, the Gap, Banana Republic, Urban Apparel, and Victoria's Secret
New York state labor officials are bringing one of their largest cases ever against Jin Shun, a clothing factory in Queens, New York that employed Chinese immigrants. Inspectors say the company
- cheated its workers out of more than $5 million in pay;
- instructed workers to lie to state inspectors;
- required 6 and 7-day workweeks, sometimes for up to 120 days at a time;
- didn’t pay overtime or minimum wage;
- kept two sets of timecards to fake-out inspectors.
Macy’s says they’re “very concerned” about the case and are investigating it, the Gap says they’re cooperating with authorities, and Victoria’s Secret says they have a “zero tolerance policy” for factories that are unwilling to work with them to achieve compliance—all of which makes us wonder whether any of these companies ever investigated the factory personally. (It’s not like it was in some remote part of China.)
The New York Times says that the two most enthusiastic anti-Walmart groups, Wal-MartWatch and WakeUpWal-Mart are starting to take a more subtle approach when it comes to protesting the big blue box.
Last week a Florida journalist busted Burger King VP Stephen Grover for using his tween-aged daughter’s email account to slam a farm workers group—but that wasn’t the only weird email event related to this story. Now Burger King is taking steps to officially distance itself from Grover’s actions and the other internal emails by announcing it’s launched an “internal investigation” into all three.
The next time Burger King VP Stephen Grover goes online to spread FUD about labor advocates, he should probably leave his daughter out of it. For one thing, she’s a horrible accomplice and will spill her guts to the first reporter who calls. For another thing, this forthrightness clearly makes her too ethical to smear a group that’s trying to bring pay for tomato pickers up to living wage levels.
The New York Times looks at the blossoming foreign market for debt collection services, and describes a call center in India where the employees are reminded to bring up the 2008 stimulus checks when they call U.S. households, and where everyone claps three times when the first “deal” of the day is made (“”Rajesh, for $35 a month for three months,” the supervisor yells across the center.)
Burger King has been fighting with tomato pickers in southern Florida for two years, refusing to pay a penny more per pound. Now the burger chain has announced that they may simply buy their tomatoes somewhere else.
Economists and politicians rant about China in terms of jobs lost, currency valuation, and trade gaps. But the New York Times reports that a new metric has been discovered: every year, Chinese workers manufacturing our toys, garments and electronic junk in the Peal River Delta collectively break 40,000 fingers.
Southwest Airlines raised fares as much as $10 each way over the Thanksgiving weekend. This will be the 5th price hike this year for the discount carrier. Southwest faces rising fuel and labor costs that are only going to get worse.
Yesterday, a jury of its peers found Walmart guilty of forcing workers to toil through rest breaks and slave extra hours without pay, a violation of Pennsylvania labor law.
- “Wal-Mart Stores plans to hire up to 150,000 employees in China over the next five years, five times the number of workers it currently has there, as it expands its number of stores, the company said Monday.”