Some Things to Remember Now That Santorum Is Running for President Again: Punching In

Pregnancy shouldn’t disqualify women from getting paychecks

“Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, UPS permits light duty for drivers injured on the job or who have a qualifying disability. Even drivers who lose their licenses after a DUI offense are given alternative work to do. But women who get pregnant? You’re too big of a risk for a company that puts more than 96,000 vehicles on the road each year.”

Minimum wage will go up in Florida and other states, but it’s still not enough

“Something will be done in the next few years. Every year that we wait there are more states that are moving to a higher increase and we’ll find ourselves as a state on the low end of the minimum wage scale.”

Rick Santorum wants to run for President again, so let’s remember his stance on unions

“There is no tougher bullies than the public employee unions,” said the former Pennsylvania Senator and presidential candidate in March 2012.

Enrollments on health care exchanges surge in December

“Obamacare customers shook off their Thanksgiving food comas last week and began signing up at a much quicker pace on HealthCare.gov, which has now sold 1.38 million insurance plans.”

Clarence Thomas Makes The Most Curious Statement of His Career About Unions: Punching In

Conservatives Supreme Court Justice suggests Amazon workers join a union

Clarence Thomas: ”These arguments are properly presented to the employer at the bargaining table…not to a court in an FLSA claim.”

Elizabeth Warren is not backing down in her fight against Wall Street-backed Treasury nominees

As Warren pointed out, three of the last four Treasury Secretaries under Bill Clinton and Barack Obama worked for Citigroup at some point, and the fourth, Tim Geithner, was offered the Citi CEO job.

Introducing the app that gives control back to shift workers

WellStar Health System is using a new system that allows its nurses to pick their own shifts.

How a full-time job at Whole Foods left this man in poverty

“It’s no secret that Whole Foods Market is hostile to unions. Its co-founder and co-CEO John Mackey has compared unions to herpes, and has insisted that his company is ‘beyond unions.’”

This Burger Joint Pays $15 an Hour, and Yes, It’s Making Money: Punching In

We don’t need more public service from Wall Street bankers

Dean Baker on why Obama Administration’s latest treasury nominees are getting some well-deserved scrutiny for their connections to the financial industry.

This burger joint pays $15 an hour, and yes, it’s making money

“Because of our low turnover, and the fact that people are really into their jobs, $15 an hour wasn’t a big stretch.”

Unionized Amazon workers in Germany go on strike for better wages and conditions

“Union supporters believe the company is misclassifying workers in order to underpay them, and the strikers hope to force the company to raise its starting pay from the current level of nearly $12 an hour.”

It’s easier to raise wages for 100,000 than to unionize 4,000

“Blocked from unionizing workplaces by ferocious management opposition and laws that fail to keep union activists from being fired, unions have begun to focus on raising wages and benefits for many more workers than they can ever expect to claim as their own.”

Why Are Dentists Associating With Anti-Worker ALEC? Punching In

Why are dentists still associating with the climate-denying, anti-worker-law-creating ALEC?

“So when ALEC decided to take up the issue of dental care—it’s weighing whether to urge states to allow non-dentists to do routine procedures like filling cavities—it suddenly seemed like a really good idea for the American Dental Association to pay their dues and hang out at the group’s policy summit in Washington.”

GOP-controlled Ohio House passes bipartisan redistricting reform

“In 2012, House Democrats received 51 percent of total votes statewide, but the current legislative map favors Republicans in 62 of 99 House seats, according to analysis by the League of Women Voters of Ohio.”

Paging Walmart: Costco had a great month, despite closing on Thanksgiving

“Costco’s total November sales rose 7 percent to $9.43 billion, and revenue for its first quarter, which ended Nov. 23, also climbed 7 percent to $26.28 billion.”

Tea Party House members still fulminating over Obama’s commonsense (and legal) immigration action

Ted Cruz and Co. using the strongest and most ridiculous language possible to describe President Obama’s executive actions to fix our broken immigration system.

Philadelphia Could Finally Get Paid Sick Days, If Comcast Doesn’t Block It

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In the past, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter has made his position on a paid sick days law very clear. In 2011 and 2013, he vetoed paid sick days bills passed by a majority of the City Council, turning a deaf ear to the nearly 35 percent of Philly’s workforce that doesn’t have access to a single paid sick day.

But third time might be the charm for Mayor Nutter. The Mayor’s Task Force on Paid Sick Leave produced a report this week formally recommending that businesses with more than 15 employees allow all workers to accrue one hour of sick leave for every 40 hours worked. And Nutter indicated he would support such a bill if it came to his desk:

“A healthy worker is a happy worker, and it’s a person that’s ultimately going to be more productive and just spreading a lot less stuff around the workplace,” Mr. Nutter said after accepting the report of a 14-member mayoral task force formed to study the issue.

In 2013, Working America drove hundreds of calls and emails to the Philadelphia City Council and Mayor Nutter’s office urging support for a paid sick days law. After Nutter’s veto, the Council was one vote short of an override.

The fight this time might be over the details. Councilman William Greenlee, who introduced the 2013 bill and is expected to do so again, thinks “15 employees is a little high” for an exemption. He supports exempting businesses with 10 employees or more.

Another player to watch? Comcast, the Philadelphia-based cable giant that lobbied hard against paid sick days in 2013. “Almost all of the $108,429.25 Comcast spent on lobbying in 2011 was in opposition to paid sick days,” reported PRWatch.org last year, “It also is a major contributor to Mayor Nutter, contributing $7,500 to his campaign in 2011 and an additional $8,500 in 2012.”

We’re hoping that Mayor Nutter, who leaves office next year, will side with Philadelphia workers over the corporations that have funded his previous campaigns.

Photo by PhillyCam on Flickr

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Unions And The Tea Party Find Themselves On The Same Side In TPP Fight: Punching In

Unions and tea party activists are strange bedfellows in fight against bad TPP trade deal

“The internal GOP feud over what some conservative critics are calling ‘Obamatrade’ is just the latest in a series of skirmishes between the party’s corporate-friendly leadership and its populist base.”

Airport workers join nationwide fast food strikes

“Airline cost-cutting measures over the years have resulted in airlines contracting out work that was once performed by the airlines themselves.  Often, these contracts go to the lowest bidders, who in turn pay their workers very low wages.”

Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr expected to resign within days

“It’s time for Kevyn Orr to put more steaks in the fridge and line his pockets in the private sector for a while,” he said (bizarrely) in a recent speech.

Here’s an idea: abolish the U.S. Senate

Daniel Lazare at Jacobin lays out why we’d be better off without “one of the world’s most undemocratic legislatures.”

Uber, Gerrymandering, and the Workers Behind Cyber Monday: Punching In

Is Uber offering subprime auto loans to its workers?

One driver described the terms of the loans as “just laughably bad, and left for the desperate and/or uneducated.”

The workers behind Cyber Monday: 15 pictures of an Amazon fulfillment center

Check out the description from a warehouse worker of the weirdest grouped order they’ve ever shipped.

The study that could end partisan gerrymandering forever

Several Supreme Court opinions say there’s no objective way for them to figure out if a Congressional district has been rigged. But what if science handed it to them?

Mayor Nutter’s task force reports: Philadelphia should absolutely have a paid sick days law

Democrat Mayor Michael Nutter has twice vetoed paid sick days bills, so this puts him (and Comcast lobbyists) in an awkward position.

Hotel Workers and Harvard Students Stand Together: Punching In

AFL-CIO’s President Trumka speaks out on Ferguson non-indictment

“While we can all agree that justice must take its course, we cannot deny or marginalize the perception that the system, itself, is not yet color blind.”

There’s no “tech shortage,” tech industry just wants cheaper workers

“They may not be able to find them at the price they want. But I’m not sure that qualifies as a shortage, any more than my not being able to find a half-priced TV.”

Hilton workers and Harvard students protest anti-union activity at Cambridge-area DoubleTree

“About 700 students, religious workers, and hotel and food service workers from around the city showed up for a rally Thursday evening outside the Science Center to support the housekeepers’ unionization efforts.”

Warren to NY fed President: Fix your problems, or we’ll find someone who will

“The president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York faced a grilling from the Senate Banking Committee on Friday, following revelations that one of its former employees had been fired by Goldman Sachs for accessing regulatory information about one of the banks it oversees.”

Warren Takes on Obama’s Nominee to Head The Treasury: Punching In

Judge rules Illinois pension cuts unconstitutional

“Our unions have long argued that the state cannot simply choose to violate the Constitution and diminish or impair retirement benefits if politicians find these commitments inconvenient to keep.”

Shrinking the financial sector will make us all richer

“We must come to understand our economy not as simply a vehicle for capital owners, but rather as the creation of all of us, a common endeavor that creates space for innovation, risk taking, and a stronger workforce.”

 

Teamsters allege salad company Taylor Farms took advantage of undocumented workers

A half-dozen current and former workers interviewed by the Guardian alleged the billion-dollar company took advantage of undocumented migrants from Mexico and central America to keep workers on “temporary” status year after year.

Senator Warren pans Obama’s nominee to head Treasury Department

“In recent years, President Obama has repeatedly turned to nominees with close Wall Street ties for high-level economic positions…It’s time for the Obama administration to loosen the hold that Wall Street banks have over economic policy making. Sure, big banks are important, but running this economy for American families is a lot more important.”

After 500 Days of Congress Refusing to Vote on Immigration Bill, Obama Acts: Punching In

Obama unveils executive orders on immigration to shield 4.1 million from deportation

“I know some of the critics of this action call it amnesty. Well, it’s not. Amnesty is the immigration system we have today — millions of people who live here without paying their taxes or playing by the rules, while politicians use the issue to scare people and whip up votes at election time. That’s the real amnesty — leaving this broken system the way it is,” Obama said. “What I’m describing is accountability.”

AFL-CIO President Trumka wants a comprehensive solution that works for workers

AFL-CIO’s Trumka: “Unfortunately, more than half of those who currently lack legal protections will remain vulnerable to wage theft, retaliation and other forms of exploitation. In addition, we are concerned by the president’s concession to corporate demands for even greater access to temporary visas that will allow the continued suppression of wages in the tech sector.”

NLRB rejects Marist College vote against adjunct professor unionization

NLRB ruled that Marist College “committed objectionable conduct during the course of the union election for the nearly 500 part-time adjunct faculty employed by the college.”

Yet again, Walmart holds food drive for its own underpaid employees

ThinkProgress: “In addition to asking workers to help feed each other, Walmart gets an assist from every taxpayer in the country. The company’s low wages leave huge numbers of its employees on public assistance programs such as food stamps and Medicaid. By one estimate, a single Walmart superstore incurs up to $1.7 million in public assistance spending every year.”

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