Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Exploited People

 


Exploited People... 

Living In The Modern Day Slave State
by Coast Watcher

A recent meme posted on social media summarizes the nature of modern industrial relations. In the meme—a reproduction of a work announcement at an unnamed place of business—the workers are informed that one of their co-workers has passed away due to COVID-19. It goes on to set out strict instructions on how to mourn the person, any contravention of which will result in their "immediate dismissal." To cap it all the order ends with a line from an Emily Dickinson poem—as if this helps soothe ruffled feelings.


How different is this order to slavery in America’s antebellum South? Or indeed anywhere on this planet that had—or still has—a wage slave-based economy?

One can imagine the plight of field slaves in some long ago Southern state. They watch in horror as a fellow slave falls over  from a heart attack and dies. He is then carried away to the sparse plot of land where their dead are buried. The overseer approaches and tells the slaves they have five minutes to mourn, and if they want to mourn any more than that they have to do it on their own time. Oh, except that their free time is now curtailed since they’ll have to work longer to make up the shortfall of labor hours caused by the inconsiderate death of their fellow slave...

Next thing that happens, the overseer states blithely, "Anyone questioning this order will be whipped. Here’s a poetic statement I came up with to make you all feel better. Have a nice day. "

Think this sort of thing doesn't still happen in the 21st century? You believe that the government will protect workers from this kind of exploitation? Here's a telling quote:

The only urgency we’re seeing at the federal level is the urgency of continuing to sacrifice the working class on the altar of economic growth. For too many policy makers, learning to live with the virus means learning to live with preventable death and suffering. Direct, predictable payments could solve that, but at this point, that’s as hard to imagine as the pandemic ever coming to an end under the prevailing political conditions.  John Knefel, How Did We Go From Stimulus Checks to "Go To Work With COVID"?


A labor shortfall in modern America is hardly addressed any differently than it was prior to the Civil War. With COVID-19 on the rampage, Delta Airlines found itself facing a staff shortage. As a result, it bribed/coerced the Centers for Disease Control into shortening the quarantine time for an infected person
from ten days to a mere five. Schools across the country took advantage of this CDC decision to force teachers back into the classrooms while they were still recovering from COVID, in spite of the disease having a track record of flaring up long past even the previous ten day quarantine. The Chicago mayor even outlawed remote learning and threatened teachers to return to work.

Childhood hospitalizations due to the omicron variant of COVID have skyrocketed in the last month in some American cities. "It's a mild variety" according to government spokespersons and mainstream media pundits. Can you imagine how much higher the numbers would be if it wasn't so "mild"?

It’s no wonder teachers and other workers are striking. Social media is full of accounts of people quitting after receiving peremptory texts from management ordering them back to work or else. Perhaps those doing so no longer face the whip or the other brutal methods used by slave owners to chastise unruly slaves, but official sanctions bite as hard. Unemployment pay is hard to get, and it doesn’t last for long. Landlords are evicting those who are behind on their rent, and student loan payments will be expected soon enough.

It’s my opinion that much more strike action is needed. Workers at Kroger stores in Colorado, Starbuck outlets across the country, and others are taking strike action and/or joining unions to demand fairer wages and working conditions in the face of the risks taken every day to keep these businesses running.
(Target workers are even creating their very own union: https://targetworkersunite.com/)

Meanwhile, the US government is doing nothing to help citizens beyond the token issue of COVID-19 home testing kits (on request only from a government website that's sure to crash). As a further measure to reassure the public, the government has decided no longer to issue daily records of deaths from the disease. Because if we don't know how many of our fellow citizens are dying from COVID, then it's not really happening, right? Now, get back to work!

There are rumors circulating that EU countries are preparing to take an influx of economic refugees from the US, as the American economy is expected to tank later this year. While there’s not much evidence in fact that this is the case, it’s a clear indicator of our times that such rumors circulate at all and are given credence. 

It's time to stop all worker exploitation. It's time to let the capitalists know who is really in charge of the economy--the workers. Don't be afraid to walk out, sit down, or march on the picket the lines. Human beings can only take so much punishment and cruelty from the ruling class. Their time of exploiting the people is about over. Let's do all we can to hasten its ending, shall we?

 

BIO: Coast Watcher is tired of the blatant greed and inhumanity of the bourgeoisie. Why do we let them treat us like trash? It's time to rise up and create a workers' utopia--or at least put everyone on an equal footing with universal health care, UBI, guaranteed housing and education, among other things. Power to the People!

 
Related articles: 

Economic Update: Strikes Amid Reviving US Labor Movement (video)  https://youtu.be/4f2SeF60IQU

How Did We Go From Stimulus Checks to "Go To Work With COVID"? https://truthout.org/articles/how-did-we-go-from-stimulus-checks-to-go-to-work-with-covid/

Biden Urged to Fire COVID Response Chief Over Damning Failures https://scheerpost.com/2022/01/16/biden-urged-to-fire-covid-response-chief-over-damning-failures/

 Supreme Court Leaves Workers Without COVID-19 Protection https://popularresistance.org/supreme-court-leaves-workers-without-covid-19-protection/ 

Biden's Failure to Provide At Home COVID Tests Looks Extra Riduculous Arriving from the UK  https://popularresistance.org/bidens-failure-to-provide-at-home-covid-tests-looks-extra-ridiculous-arriving-from-the-u-k/ 

Australian Trade Unions Demand Free COVID Testing For All As Cases Surge https://popularresistance.org/australian-trade-unions-demand-free-covid-testing-for-all-as-cases-surge/

***

From UltraViolet:

The Trump-packed Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade this summer--and the minute that happens, it will unleash a wave of state-by-state battles by anti-choice radicals to ban abortion with zero exceptions in at least half the country

To kick off their push to ban abortion in as many states as possible in 2022, the anti-abortion movement is planning a march in Washington, D.C., on January 21, the eve of the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and we must fight back.

The anti-abortion movement's strategy is to try to convince politicians that most Americans want abortion banned, despite the fact that a wide majority of Americans actually supports legal abortion.1 They think that if enough people show up on the National Mall, it will convince any wavering governors or state legislators that the American people support their radical anti-abortion agenda.

We can't let them get away with it.

To stop the anti-abortion movement from controlling the narrative on this historic day and make sure that the media and the public hear from America's pro-choice majority, we're planning a series of actions to get our message out, including a flash mob at the Supreme Court, petition delivery to every U.S. senator, and a daylong pro-Roe social media campaign.

To go big, we need to raise as much money as possible to fund our counter-protest actions. Will you chip in to help defend abortion rights on this historic anniversary of Roe v. Wade?

The current Supreme Court is the most conservative in a generation, and it's clear that there is a majority to end the constitutional right to abortion.

The court declined to block a draconian ban on abortion in Texas--twice. It heard oral arguments on Mississippi's abortion ban, in which they were asked to immediately overturn Roe v. Wade. In the disastrous oral arguments on these cases, the justices compared Roe to the notorious Plessy v. Ferguson case upholding Jim Crow and argued that abortion isn't needed because babies can simply be given up for adoption.2

The moment the anti-choice majority on the Supreme Court dismantles Roe, abortion bans from Idaho to South Carolina will go into effect. Abortion will likely become illegal in 22 states or more. Over 40% of people able to become pregnant will see their nearest abortion clinics close, with Black people, Indigenous people, and working-class people of color being hit the hardest.3

This is the all-out, state-by-state battle for legal abortion that we'd hoped would never come. But it's here, and the fight begins on January 22, the 49th, and likely final, anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

We can't let the anti-abortion minority control the narrative with their lies and disinformation. So, on January 22, we're planning a series of actions to get our message out that Americans support abortion rights, including a petition delivery to every single senator, a pro-Roe social media campaign, and an on-the-ground flash mob in front of the Supreme Court.

Will you chip in $5 to help us go big on what could well be Roe v. Wade's last anniversary?

Thank you for fighting alongside us!

--Sonja, Shaunna, Kathy, Melody, Lindsay, Kimberly, Maria, Elisa, KaeLyn, KD, Iris, Bridget, Katie, Jaya, Meena, Isatou, Luna, and Toni, the UltraViolet Action team

CONTRIBUTESources:

1. About six-in-ten Americans say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, Pew Research Center, May 6, 2021

2. Conservative US supreme court justices signal support for restricting abortion in pivotal case, The Guardian, December 1, 2021

3. Where Abortion Access Would Decline if Roe v. Wade Were Overturned, The New York Times, May 18, 2021

***

National Nurses United

On January 14, nurses held actions across the country, including a candlelight vigil in Washington, D.C. for nurses who lost their lives to Covid-19 and a national virtual press conference. Together, we demanded the hospital industry invest in safe staffing, and that President Biden follow through on his campaign promise to protect nurses and prioritize public health.

Will you join our call for safe staffing critical health and safety protections by adding your name to our petition?

add your name »

As the Omicron variant is exploding across the country, now is not the time to rip away protections for health care workers and the public. 

That’s why nurses, other health care workers, and activists all across the country are coming together to demand:

  • A permanent OSHA standard that requires employers to protect health care workers against Covid-19;
  • Retention and enforcement of the June 21 Covid-19 health care emergency temporary standard until it is properly superseded by the permanent standard; and
  • Restoration of guidance on ten-day isolation after a positive Covid-19 test for health care workers, other frontline workers, and the general public.

As of Jan. 11, 481 RNs have died of Covid-19, among 4,760 health care worker deaths overall, according to NNU tracking data. To date, more than 1.1 million U.S. health care workers have been infected. 

We know that optimal protections save lives, and we will not stop working to win those protections — but we don’t have second to waste. Will you add your name to call on the Biden administration to protect nurses and other health care workers during Covid-19?

add your name »

Thank you for standing with us.

In solidarity,

National Nurses United

 ***

From Friends of the Earth:

ACTION NEEDED: Corporate cruise ships are destroying our oceans -- driving orcas closer to extinction. Last year, we lost Cappuccino and Marina, two of the critically endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale population, which is now down to only 73 remaining orcas.

Scientists agree that orcas face three main threats: food shortage, chemical pollution, and vessel disturbanceCorporate cruise ships magnify all three of these risks and are making it harder for orcas to survive.

If we are going to protect the remaining orcas from extinction, we need to take action immediately to reduce the harm caused by cruise ships.

SIGN THE PETITION NOW

Engine waste, plastic waste, and human waste are ALL dumped directly into the water by cruise ships, damaging orcas’ sensitive habitats, food supply, and ecosystem. The pollution from cruise ships drives away orcas’ vital food source -- contributing to their STARVATION.  

Yet greedy cruise ship corporations continue to increase the size and number of these vessels -- meaning even more disturbances to vulnerable orcas. These ships add more underwater noise, hindering orcas’ echolocation abilities and making it difficult for them to hunt already-scarce prey. More vessel traffic also results in a higher risk of oil spills that can cause death or injury to orcas, and the physical presence of these massive ships interferes with their migration and mating patterns.

Cruise ships are HURTING orcas. We must do something before these beloved animals are gone forever. Please, take action now to help save the remaining orca population from corporate cruise ship pollution.

SIGN THE PETITION NOW

Thank you,
Friends of the Earth

 

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Teachers Are Not Babysitters, Nurses Are Not Disposable


Teachers Are Not Babysitters, Nurses Are Not Disposable

 by C.A. Matthews

After spending years in college studying for a profession you feel "called" to do, you'd hope you'd garner more respect, more compassion from your bosses than a curt declaration of, "We don't care if your health is at risk. Get back to work. Now. Or else."

But that's exactly what's happening in Year Three of the Coronavirus Pandemic. Two examples recently in the headlines: public school teachers and hospital nurses. These professions primarily have been held by females, many of them women of color and single mothers. Their bosses--school superintendents and hospital administrators--are roles primarily held by males, and white males at that.

Another worrisome connection between these two particular professions is that both have come under the scrutiny and control of private corporations in recent times, albeit in somewhat different manners. 

Nurses nowadays mostly work for private, for-profit hospitals and clinics. They are discouraged from organizing or joining a union. The first emphasis of their job performance is on generating profits for their stockholders, not necessarily on providing the best patient care possible. The faster patients come and go into a hospital, for instance, the quicker their private insurances can be billed, and the more money is made for the hospital/health insurance networks CEOs.

Public school teachers have been backed into a corner when it comes to contract negotiations by the threat of school districts allowing private "charter schools" to open up in their towns. Charter schools tend to hire less educated, less qualified teachers for less pay, and they're not open to unions. They follow cookie-cutter educational plans that "guarantee success" according to the CEOs of these educational corporations.

It's a well known fact that public school districts regularly receive kickbacks from these charter school corporations But rarely is this kickback money utilized to improve the public schools' facilities or equipment or increase compensation for the teaching staff. Inner city public schools in particular have received less and less funding as more and more charter schools have sprung up. 

Sadder yet, many public schools are seen as simply "daycare services" by many private businesses. They exist simply so parents of grade school-aged children can work outside of the home. The quality of education isn't as important as keeping the kids out of their parents' hair so they can continue working many hours in low-paying jobs.

Could the influence of private corporations explain the ill treatment teachers and nurses have received recently from politicians? Politicians in the US are an example of yet another profession that has been heavily influenced by private corporations, particularly since the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling. 

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has threatened public school teachers who have gone on strike because it simply isn't safe to teach in person during  this recent surge of omicron variant COVID-19. She refuses to allow them to have online learning classes, and instead is trying to force both students and teachers back into non-well-ventilated school buildings. Why is the health and safety of children and teachers not seen as important as the profits of the corporations who want their parent-employees back slaving away in warehouses, factories, retail stores, hospitals, and restaurants?

Many nurses have been working with less-than-adequate PPE and N95 masks for almost two years now. Many have become ill and some have died because of this lack of safety equipment. They have been forced to work overtime and endure long shifts, which further drains their health and puts them at risk of catching COVID. Nurses have walked out and threatened strikes nationwide because of these hazardous work conditions, although the mainstream media has conveniently not followed many of these stories. Why haven't the nurses' demands been met by management?  After all, we are in the midst of a health crisis--shouldn't all health workers' safety be paramount to profits?

And there's that word again: profits. Teachers aren't seen as educators who wish to instill the love of knowledge in their students and help children grow in wisdom. Nurses aren't seen as caregivers who wish to ease pain, cure illness, and take the best care of their patients as humanly possible. No, these professions have been downgraded to their barest of functions in order to make the most profits for their related private corporations. 

Public school teachers exist to babysit the kids of the poor working classes, so that these distracted parents don't realize how much better pay they deserve for working dead end jobs where massive profits go straight into the pockets of CEOs to buy yet more yachts.

Nurses exist to push profit-generators--that is, patients--through the medical-industrial complex quickly, so that maximum amounts of money may be extracted with the least amount of time and material spent on said profit-generators.

And if these teachers and nurses should get sick on the job during this pandemic? Well, they are tossed to the side and simply replaced, right? Workers are a dime a dozen in the eyes of elitists--especially female workers, POC workers…

Is it any wonder why the aroma of a general strike is in the air?

In the following video, Lee explains the history of why capitalists feel that generating profits are much more important than workers' lives. https://youtu.be/GrMp_cOyf0E  

Related Articles:   

This is NOT a Pandemic of the Unvaccinated  https://peterdaou.substack.com/p/this-is-not-a-pandemic-of-the-unvaccinated  

Affordable Child Care is the Boost Our Economy Needs https://scheerpost.com/2022/01/07/affordable-child-care-is-the-boost-our-economy-needs/  

Chicago Teachers Voted to Teach Remotely Amid Omicron Wave https://popularresistance.org/chicago-teachers-voted-to-teach-remotely-amid-omicron-wave/ 

Schools Need More Resources Before They Can Open Safely Chicago Teacher Says  https://truthout.org/articles/schools-need-more-resources-before-they-can-open-safely-chicago-teacher-says/ 

Instead of More Support, Schools Have Upped Demands on Teachers During  Pandemic  https://scheerpost.com/2022/01/09/instead-of-more-support-schools-have-upped-demands-on-teachers-during-pandemic/   

Teachers Fighting For School Safety Are Not The Enemy https://therealnews.com/teachers-fighting-for-school-safety-are-not-the-enemy

US Workers Are Still Quitting Their Jobs In Record Numbers https://jacobinmag.com/2022/01/labor-jolts-quits-employment-wages-unions  

Take This Job and Shove It (music video): https://youtu.be/gj2iGAifSNI  

Nurses on COVID Frontline Speak Out (video) https://youtu.be/40WAimj8Aac

Omicron Spike Is Training Straining Hospitals As Health Care Workers Leave the Profession  https://truthout.org/video/omicron-spike-is-straining-hospitals-as-health-care-workers-leave-the-profession 

Seen on Twitter:    

The most effective thing we can do right now is support teachers & other workers who strike to oppose unsafe conditions. The most powerful thing we can do is disrupt the economy until the government enacts actual public health policy. — Bree Newsome Bass (@BreeNewsome) January 6, 2022 

Going to work should not mean putting your life and the lives of your loved ones in danger.

It is time for @OSHA_DOL to issue a permanent standard and #ProtectNurses and health care workers who are on the front lines working to save the lives of others!https://t.co/6C2xlzsftt Bonnie Castillo (@NNUBonnie) January 5, 2022
 
All teachers should just quit and let the system deal with finding babysitters elsewhere. — GodandtheBear☭ (@GodandtheBear) January 7, 2022
 
Not wanting to die at work is not “selfish.”

***

National Nurses United

Last week, NNU President and RN Jean Ross told the CNN Newsroom the truth: that by weakening their Covid-19 isolation guidelines to seven days for health care workers — and even less time if there are staffing shortages — the CDC is putting thousands of lives at risk.

While the CDC now claims this change is motivated by science, nurses know it’s motivated by something else entirely: employers wanting workers back on the clock fast, regardless of whether it’s safe, to maximize their profits.

 We’ve fought since day one of this pandemic for protections for nurses and health care workers based on science and the precautionary principle, and we’re not backing down now. will you help us draw attention to this failure to protect patients, nurses, and other health care workers by joining our national day of action on January 13?

join us »

On this national day of action, nurses, other health care workers, and activists across the country will be standing up for change — and C.A., having your support at this critical moment will make a huge impact.

This move by the CDC comes as Omicron is exploding across the country, single-day records for Covid-19 cases continue to be broken, and the number of available ICU beds dwindles in hospital after hospital. What’s more, this change comes right as OSHA announced its plan to rescind hard-won emergency protections for health care workers.

Plain and simple, ​​we are dumbfounded and enraged by these actions and the very real risk they pose for nurses, other health care workers, and patients. But we refuse to go backward, and we need your help to protect nurses and patients now.

Join us in fighting for our nurses, patients, and other health care workers by signing up for our national day of action on January 13th. After signing up, we’ll make sure you have everything you need to take action.

join us »

Thanks for your support,

National Nurses United

***

 
take action against methane pollution
Take action!

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wants to hear from YOU about regulating methane emissions from the oil and gas industry.

Every year, the oil and gas industry emits hundreds of millions of tons of methane from wells, pipelines, and storage facilities. Methane has a massive impact on global warming, around 80 times the impact of carbon dioxide in the short term.

Leaking wells can also release toxic chemicals, heavy metals, and particulate matter into the air that harm people locally.

That’s why it's so important that the EPA is proposing to take action to dramatically reduce methane emissions from both existing and new wells and infrastructure nationwide for the first time.  

But, there will be strong opposition to the rules and efforts to water them down.

The EPA needs to hear that you support the commonsense regulations proposed which are essential to protecting the planet and our own health. 

Take action against methane pollution

For a greener world, 



Todd Larsen
Executive Co-Director for Consumer & Corporate Engagement
Green America 

***






In December, not long after workers in Buffalo, New York successfully organized the first Starbucks union, we reported on what happened to Brittany Harrison, a Starbucks store manager in Arizona.

Starbucks fired Brittany Harrison after she exposed the company’s union-busting plans. Now Brittany’s store in Mesa, Arizona is following in Buffalo’s footsteps and unionizing in response to Starbucks' behavior.

They’re facing Starbucks' extreme anti-union tactics at their own store.

As these courageous Starbucks workers fight to become the next unionized Starbucks store in the U.S., the More Perfect Union media team is there to cover it and expose Starbucks management for not living up to the values they advertise. Help stand in solidarity with workers by watching and sharing our reporting now!

Image of a woman at a computer with her head in her hands. Headline reads: Crackdown on Subscription ScamsWATCH, SUBSCRIBE & SHARE

Starbucks has pulled out all the stops to try and kill workers’ attempts to form a union.

Intimidation tactics such as flooding the floor with managers who, in the words of one worker, are “trying to figure out ways that they can fire us.” Managers eavesdrop on conversations. They hold special meetings, splitting workers up, and providing free pizza -- then telling them they “have to vote no” on forming a union.

The biggest anti-union move of all was to fire Brittany Harrison while she’s battling cancer after more than 4 years working her way up to managing her own store, because she released a video exposing an anti-union meeting led by Starbucks HQ.

Silence is not solidarity. That’s why we need your help today. Check out More Perfect Union’s exclusive report, then subscribe to our channel and help boost our reach by sharing to your social networks today.

Thank you for working to build a More Perfect Union.

In solidarity,

-Faiz

Faiz Shakir, Co-Founder
More Perfect Union