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Sold for Parts: Can Low-Wage Industries Survive Without Immigrants and Refugees?

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  • Part 1: Sold for Parts
    • One of the most dangerous companies in the U.S. took advantage of immigrant workers. Then, when they got hurt or fought back, it used America’s laws against them.
  • Part 2: Can Low-Wage Industries Survive Without Immigrants and Refugees?
    • Case Farms’ history shows how many sectors like meatpacking depend on immigrants and refugees. Now business leaders fear President Trump’s policies will create a labor shortage.

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest 

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Part 1: Sold for Parts

One of the most dangerous companies in the U.S. took advantage of immigrant workers. Then, when they got hurt or fought back, it used America’s laws against them.

Michael Grabell, ProPublica

https://static.propublica.org/projects/case-farms/assets/images/generated/story-opener-A-8x10-1200*960-9a4cdc.jpgMay 1, 2017 | By late afternoon, the smell from the Case Farms chicken plant in Canton, Ohio, is like a pungent fog, drifting over a highway lined with dollar stores and auto parts shops. When the stink is at its ripest, it means that the day’s 180,000 chickens have been slaughtered, drained of blood, stripped of feathers and carved into pieces — and it’s time for workers like Osiel López Pérez to clean up. On April 7, 2015, Osiel put on bulky rubber boots and a white hard hat, and trained a pressurized hose on the plant’s stainless steel machines, blasting off the leftover grease, meat and blood.

A Guatemalan immigrant, Osiel was just weeks past his 17th birthday, too young by law to work in a factory. A year earlier, after gang members shot his mother and tried to kidnap his sisters, he left his home, in the mountainous village of Tectitán, and sought asylum in the United States. He got the job at Case Farms with a driver’s license that said his name was Francisco Sepulveda, age 28. The photograph on the ID was of his older brother, who looked nothing like him, but nobody asked any questions.

https://static.propublica.org/projects/case-farms/assets/images/michael-grabell-200x200.jpg Michael Grabell covers economic issues, labor, immigration and trade. He has reported on the ground from more than 30 states, as well as some of the remotest villages in Alaska and Guatemala. His work has appeared in The New Yorker and The New York Times and on Vice and NPR. He has won a Gerald Loeb Award for business journalism and an IRE Medal for investigative reporting and is a three-time finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists.

Full story … 



Part 2: Can Low-Wage Industries Survive Without Immigrants and Refugees?

Case Farms’ history shows how many sectors like meatpacking depend on immigrants and refugees. Now business leaders fear President Trump’s policies will create a labor shortage.

Michael Grabell, ProPublica 

https://static.propublica.org/projects/case-farms/assets/images/generated/case-farms-spot-illo-02-900*549-3952a8.pngMay 5, 2017 | One afternoon this fall, I knocked on the door of a redbrick apartment building in Akron, Ohio, looking for a Bhutanese refugee who’d lost the tips of his fingers at a Case Farms chicken plant in a vacuum-pressure machine known as a “fat sucker.”

In the apartment’s tiny living room, a young man told his story in halting English. As he spoke, I realized that his name was different from the one I had, and, instead of losing his fingertips in a fat sucker at the company’s Canton plant, he’d lost his pinkie to a saw at its plant in nearby Winesburg. I had the wrong guy, but I’d stumbled on yet another Bhutanese refugee who’d sacrificed part of his body for the company.

https://static.propublica.org/projects/case-farms/assets/images/michael-grabell-200x200.jpg Michael Grabell covers economic issues, labor, immigration and trade. He has reported on the ground from more than 30 states, as well as some of the remotest villages in Alaska and Guatemala. His work has appeared in The New Yorker and The New York Times and on Vice and NPR. He has won a Gerald Loeb Award for business journalism and an IRE Medal for investigative reporting and is a three-time finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists.

Full story … 

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Section(s): 

Empire of the Sun

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Solar Jobs Are Booming

 

Nathanael Johnson, Grist

 

 

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Feb 7, 2017 | The number of people employed by the solar power industry in the U.S. surged 25 percent last year, to 260,000 workers, according to a count by the Solar Foundation, a pro-industry group. Twenty-five percent is huge. For comparison, the rest of the economy added jobs at a rate of 1.45 percent.

This stratospheric trend will probably start to level off this year: The Solar Foundation predicts the industry will add another 25,000 jobs in 2017. That’s about a 10 percent growth rate — a lot less than 25 percent, but still freaking impressive.

Nathanael Johnson is Grist's food writer and the author of All Natural: A Skeptic's Quest to Discover If the Natural Approach to Diet, Childbirth, Healing, and the Environment Really Keeps Us Healthier and Happier.

Full story … 

Special Report | Yanis Varoufakis: Why the Universal Basic Income is a Necessity

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  • Yanis Varoufakis, argues why the Basic Income is a necessity today. His arguments take into account a macro socio-economic, psychological, philosophical and moral perspective. In addition after the speech Varoufakis addresses a wide range of questions from the public.
  • Related: Universal Basic Income Is Our Best Weapon Against The Rising Far Right

Zain Raza, acTVism

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30 April 2017 | In this video former finance minister of Greece, professor of economics, author and founder of the Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 (DiEM25), Yanis Varoufakis, argues why the Basic Income is a necessity today. His arguments take into account a macro socio-economic, psychological, philosophical and moral perspective. In addition after the speech Varoufakis addresses a wide range of questions from the public.

  • What is the social democratic tradition about? And how did influence Capitalism in the 20th century?
  • Why is Social Democracy coming to an end? And how is the process of financialization & the rise of technology contributing to its demise?
  • What is Bankruptocracy? What problems is it posing to our society?
  • What is the current narrative on the relationship between the markets & state in terms of wealth generation? And how and why is a change required in this narrative in order to make the Basic Income a reality?
  • What are the arguments are against a Basic Income? And how should they be confronted?
  • How is a Basic Income aligned with the Libertarian philosophy? Will it promote freedom of choice and self-determination?
  • How will a Basic Income promote creativity in our society?

All of these questions and many more are addressed in this video.

Zain Raza is a contributor to acTVism Munich, an independent, grassroots and nonprofit media outlet that broadcasts in multiple languages regularly from Munich.

Yanis Varoufakis: former finance minister of Greece, professor of economics, author and founder of the Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 (DiEM25).

Full story (video) … 

To read this speech, click here: Transcript: Varoufakis – Basic Income is a Necessity

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Universal Basic Income Is Our Best Weapon Against The Rising Far Right, Guy Standing, Huffington Post 

Without basic economic security, people often behave selfishly and vote irresponsibly.

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Section(s): 

Trump's First 100 Days: Workers Get Pummeled, People Fight Back

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  • "We can't feel fear, can't feel weakness," she argues, despite her illness and the long nights she works at McDonald's to keep her family afloat. "We can overtake anything that comes our way. We have people power. Everything we want, and we need, we have to fight for it." --Organizer
  • Related: Special Project | The Resistance Now: Week Ending April 29, 2017

Sasha Abramsky, Equal Voice News

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http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/Money%20Pie.jpg | Friday, April 28, 2017 | As the contours of Donald Trump's presidency over its first 100 days -- and the priorities of the Republican-majority Congress -- take shape, the economic impact on working families of this agenda is becoming clearer.

Trump ran for election on a hard nationalist, economically populist platform, wooing voters in depressed regions of the country, and in declining industries such as coal, by stressing economic protectionism, job creation, and massive infrastructure spending, and by promising to create a "beautiful" health care system for all Americans.

Sasha Abramsky is a freelance journalist and a part-time lecturer at the University of California at Davis. His work has appeared in the Nation, The Atlantic Monthly, New York magazine, The Village Voice, and Rolling Stone. 

Full story … 

Related:

 

Special Project | The Resistance Now: Week Ending April 29, 2017, Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

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  • Resistance starts with the simple but revolutionary act of refusing to accept what you are told by those with power. Evergreene Digest is extensively covering the people, ideas, and actions driving protest movements globally. Follow along with us.
  • 7 New Items including:
    • So Much for "Draining the Swamp": Wall Street's Power Soars Under Trump
    • Trump's First 100 Days: Workers Get Pummeled, People Fight Back
    • What does it take for activists to get your attention?
    • "We Are Going to Shut It Down on May 1": Caravan Against Fear Mobilizes the Masses
    • 'These issues affect all of us': this is what the resistance movement looks like
    • May Day to have immigrant tilt as workers plan to protest against Trump
    • The Resistance Now: Science Gets Its Own March

Seattle implemented a $15 minimum wage two years ago. Here's what Minneapolis could learn from that fight.

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Whether a Minneapolis minimum wage ordinance should allow credits for tips earned divided dueling rallies April 17 in front of the Stadium Village Buffalo Wild Wings. Restaurant workers in the background confronted activists who oppose what they term a "tip penalty." MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan

  • MinnPost talked to three key figures in Seattle's 2014 $15 minimum wage fight, not only to explore the similarities and differences with the current situation in Minneapolis, but to see what advice they might have for the players looking to craft a new ordinance here. 
  • Related: Universal Basic Income Is Our Best Weapon Against The Rising Far Right

Peter Callaghan, MinnPost

04/25/17 | It’s tempting to look back at the first successful fight for a $15 minimum wage and figure it was inevitable: Seattle, 2014. Wealthy city. Booming city. Left-of-center politics. A large base of progressive activists.

But David Rolf, the president of SEIU 775 and one of the leaders of the drive to increase the minimum wage in the city to $15, said it was anything but a sure thing. “To start with, we were the first,” Rolf said last week. “We were in completely uncharted territory.”

Peter Callaghan covers local politics and government Minneapolis, St. Paul and the Twin Cities region.

Full story … 

Related: 

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Universal Basic Income Is Our Best Weapon Against The Rising Far Right, Guy Standing, Huffington Post 

Without basic economic security, people often behave selfishly and vote irresponsibly.

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Study by MIT Economist: US Has Regressed to a Third-World Nation for Most of Its Citizens

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“Collapse” by Erica Woodson

A new book by economist Peter Temin finds that the U.S. is no longer one country, but dividing into two separate economic and political worlds

Lynn Parramore, Institute For New Economic Thinking / The Intellectualist

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April 20, 2017 | You’ve probably heard the news that the celebrated post-WW II beating heart of America known as the middle class has gone from “burdened,” to “squeezed” to “dying.”  But you might have heard less about what exactly is emerging in its place.

In a new book, The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy, Peter Temin, Professor Emeritus of Economics at MIT, draws a portrait of the new reality in a way that is frighteningly, indelibly clear:  America is not one country anymore. It is becoming two, each with vastly different resources, expectations, and fates.

Lynn Parramore, Senior Research Analyst, Institute For New Economic Thinking 

Full story … 

Related:

From the Archives | New Figures Detail Depth Of Unemployment Misery, Lower Earnings For All But Super Wealthy, Huffington Post

  • Those Americans earning more than $50 million increased their income from an average of $91.2 million in 2008 to almost $519 million. That's nearly $10 million in weekly pay!These 74 people made as much as the 19 million lowest-paid people in America, who constitute one in every eight workers."
  • September Jobs Report Reveals America’s Emerging Third World Economy

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Section(s): 

Union membership in Minnesota has been declining for decades. How are unions changing to stay relevant?

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REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk

The facts remain that unions’ membership decline in Minnesota has been largely at the hands of automation, globalization, and a business climate that seeks to prevent workers from organizing more than in the past — things that don’t appear to be going away anytime soon.

Greta Kaul, MinnPost

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03/08/17 | The share of Minnesota employees who were members of unions has declined, from 23 percent in 1983 to 14 percent in 2016.

For a state with a major political party that includes “Labor” in its name, you might think Minnesota would be a haven for the union movement.

The DFL notwithstanding, that’s not necessarily the case: In the last three decades, the share of Minnesota employees who are members of a union has been on a slow, steady decline.

In 1983, 23 percent, or nearly a quarter of Minnesota employees were members of labor unions. Today, that number is down to about 14 percent, according to state-by-state breakdowns of Current Population Survey data from Unionstats, a website maintained by labor researchers at Georgia State and Trinity universities.

Greta Kaul is MinnPost's data reporter. 

Full story … 

Section(s): 

When Martin Luther King Came Out Against Vietnam

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Credit Matt Rota

 

It would be a mistake to read Dr. King’s speech as merely an antiwar statement. It reflected his widening worldview that chronic domestic poverty and military adventurism overseas infected the wealthiest nation on earth just as indelibly as did deep-rooted racism. It went to the heart of the multilayered social and political conflicts of the 1960s — and, like all great rhetoric, continues to speak to us today.

David J. Garrow, New York (NY) Times 

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https://static01.nyt.com/images/2017/04/04/opinion/04Garrow/04Garrow-master675.jpg The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at an antiwar demonstration in New York in April 1967, with Dr. Benjamin Spock to his right. Credit Agence France-Presse — Getty Images  

April 4, 2017 | Fifty years ago today — and one year to the day before his assassination — the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered the most politically charged speech of his life at Riverside Church in Upper Manhattan. It was a blistering attack on the government’s conduct of the Vietnam War that, among other things, compared American tactics to those of the Nazis during World War II.

The speech drew widespread condemnation from across the political spectrum, including from this newspaper. Other civil rights leaders, who supported the war and sought to retain President Lyndon B. Johnson as a political ally, distanced themselves from Dr. King.

David J. Garrow is the author of “Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference” and the forthcoming “Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama.”

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