All of this would make some sense if we were talking about the Walmart Waltons. But Penny Pritzker is Barack Obama's national finance chair and likes to tout her various philanthropic activities, especially her involvement in Chicago's schools. What does it say that someone who claims to care about education yet works constantly to reduce the taxes she pays that will support local schools, whose company was cited by the government for workplace safety and health violations 18 times at 11 hotels in 2011, uses subcontractors to further exploit workers, and had the highest housekeeper injury rate of five hotel chains in a study published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine is influential in the political party that's supposed to be better for workers?
Similarly, I've written about Daniel Straus, the nursing home chain owner who locked out his workers, demanding they accept a pension freeze and cuts to sick days and holidays and overtime, pay up to $7,300 for family health coverage, and give up guaranteed hours and stable scheduling—all while Straus was endowing an "Institute for the Advanced Study of Law and Justice" in his family's name at New York University.
This week, the National Labor Relations Board issued a complaint against the nursing home chain, HealthBridge, saying that it "engaged in a pattern of bad faith bargaining and unlawfully locked out the unionized employees at one of its homes" and noting that this "is the fourth complaint issued against the employer by the NLRB Hartford Regional Office involving conduct that occurred over the past two years." The complaint will go to trial in May if no settlement is reached.
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- Mac McClelland went undercover working in a massive warehouse to report on the high price of free shipping:
Amalgamated has estimated that we pickers speed-walk an average of 12 miles a day on cold concrete, and the twinge in my legs blurs into the heavy soreness in my feet that complements the pinch in my hips when I crouch to the floor—the pickers' shelving runs from the floor to seven feet high or so—to retrieve an iPad protective case. iPad anti-glare protector. iPad one-hand grip-holder device. [...] I've started cringing every time my scanner shows a code that means the item I need to pick is on the ground, which, in the course of a 10.5-hour shift—much less the mandatory 12-hour shifts everyone is slated to start working next week—is literally hundreds of times a day. "How has OSHA signed off on this?" I've taken to muttering to myself. "Has OSHA signed off on this?" ("The thing about ergonomics," OSHA says when I call them later to ask, "is that OSHA doesn't have a standard. Best practices. But no laws.")
- The AFL-CIO has a snazzy new website. Looking at a video featured on the site, all I can say is I'm so afraid of heights I probably couldn't even watch the full-screen version of this:
- Related, as part of the AFL-CIO's Work Connects Us All campaign, Working America invited Pittsburghers to write thank-you notes to give to the workers they interact with during the day, like fast food workers who serve them lunch.
- Despite President Obama's efforts and those of the staff of experts he's put in charge of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, there's a lot the agency still can't do. Three guesses why.
- Bryce Covert asks One mancession later, are women really victors in the new economy?
- Steelworkers President Leo Gerard writes that Mother America always love manufacturing most.
- Oh, hey, what do you know. Foreclosures on the top 1 percent move more slowly than those on everyone else.