Monday, June 30, 2014

The Occupy Movement morphs and keeps going

"Many veterans of the 2011 movements nevertheless continue to believe that their electoral systems have become so broken that real change must come from outside. Rather than just making an end-run for government office, they believe they need to rebuild the economy and political structure, starting at the level of local communities and growing upward from there. That’s where some of the most interesting activism is happening.
Occupy alums have been especially busy promoting worker cooperatives, whose earnings tend to stay in local communities rather than being siphoned to big banks. One of the first enterprises to grow out of Occupy Wall Street was a worker-owned print shop, and in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Occupy activists helped affected communities set up their own cooperative businesses in order to be more resilient against the rich developers who arrived in the wake of the storm. Occupiers in Boston have been working with a non-profit called the New Economy Coalition to support new cooperative projects. People from around the country attended the Jackson Rising conference in Mississippi last month, which focused on using cooperatives to build lasting economic power in black communities hit hard by the last financial crisis. This so-called New Economy movement has been growing for years, but Occupy brought a new generation into it."

I admire the Occupy movement. They tried something. It worked to a degree, but they were basically squashed. So now they try other things and keep going.

Friday, June 6, 2014

What happens when low-wage earners suddenly get a raise

"Before the contract I was at $11.68 an hour, and when the raise came in I started making $21.67. Before I was making less than $300/week and after, it was $575. It helped a lot.
Before the raise, a lot of times I fell behind on my rent payments. It was a dilemma: which was more important, food or bills? So I made the bills and I'd buy whatever food I could afford afterwards. Luckily, my aunt lives here, so any time I was hungry I could go by her place and she could give me dinner or lunch. I'm very lucky I have family.
I'm 50 years old, and I don't have too many other options for work, but I appreciate this job. I'm always on time. I got sick a few weeks ago, I had a fever of 102, and I called my boss and he said "OK, we understand." We have better health insurance, better protection for the employees.
It's a tremendous change, getting this contract. Right now there are so many people living in poverty each week, doing what I did, struggling. Do you pay rent or do you eat? This country is a very rich country, with a lot of rich people, but so many are in poverty. It's only right that people who work hard get what they deserve. The minimum wage has got to go up. If it goes up, it makes a huge difference! The minimum wage has gotta go up."

Employees are people too.  Without them shareholders would be holding worthless paper.