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Auto comeback celebrated, but there’s a cost

Right-wingers have no answer for today's problems in the auto industry, where the situation is far different from a year ago. The dust has settled but it came at a cost.

John Rummel, People's World

President Obama visited a General Motors in Hamtramck and a Chrysler plant in Detroit Friday (August 13) to celebrate the comeback of the two auto companies. But the comeback has come with a cost.

The president received enthusiastic receptions from workers at both plants. Over a thousand at Chrysler's North Jefferson plant gathered to hear him.

At GM's Hamtramck plant, where the new electric Chevy Volt is being made, Obama told cheering workers, "It's estimated that we would have lost another million jobs if we had not stepped in."

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Warehouse workers suffer while Wal-Mart rakes in cash

"Major companies are making millions of dollars, like Wal-Mart, and they're far from broke. In fact they treat their workers bad in order to increase their profits while some guy working at a warehouse can't feed his kids. It's just wrong."

Pepe Lozano, People's World

Tory Moore of Warehouse Workers for Justice.

Tory Moore, 37, from Kankakee, Ill., worked as a temp warehouse worker in the southwest suburbs of Chicago for six years before he was fired in December 2009, after standing up for his rights.

Moore said he asked for a pay raise each year and noticed that his paychecks were consistently short. So naturally he complained.

"That's why I got fired," he said.

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The jobs emergency

  • Twelve thousand new jobs in July -- when 125,000 are needed monthly just to keep up with population growth, when more than 15 million Americans are out of work, and when more than a half-million more state and local jobs are on the chopping block.
  • Predictably, Washington's latest rescue effort falls woefully short
  • U.S. Experiencing Worst Episode of Prolonged Unemployment Since Great Depression
  • An aid package to the states to prevent layoffs was funded by cutting the federal food stamp program.

Robert Reich, Robert Reich

bdunnette / CC BY 3.0

Washington’s latest answer to the worst jobs crisis since the Great Depression is $26 billion in aid to state and local governments. This still leaves the states and locals more than $62 billion in the hole this fiscal year. And because every state except Vermont has to balance its budget, the likely result is 600,000 to 700,000 more state and local jobs vanishing over the next 12 months (including private contractors and other businesses that depend on state and local governments), according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Say goodbye to even more of the teachers, firefighters, sanitary workers and police officers we depend on.

In July alone, state and local employment dropped 48,000. Not counting temporary census workers, the federal government shed 11,000. So with private payrolls increasing a paltry 71,000, July’s overall increase in payrolls was just 12,000.

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U.S. Experiencing Worst Episode of Prolonged Unemployment Since Great Depression, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR)

  • Adjusting for demographic factors, current labor market downturn steeper than '82-'83 recession.
  • The Horror Show

Obama's Hollow Victory, Joshua Green, The Atlantic

  • An aid package to the states to prevent layoffs was funded by cutting the federal food stamp program. That's nothing to brag about.
  • Robbing Peter to Pay Paul


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Obama's Hollow Victory

  • An aid package to the states to prevent layoffs was funded by cutting the federal food stamp program. That's nothing to brag about.
  • Robbing Peter to Pay Paul

Joshua Green, The Atlantic

On Tuesday (Aug 6), President Obama signed a $26 billion bill to help state and local governments cover Medicaid payments and avoid having to lay off teachers and other public employees. In what passes for high drama in Washington, the House of Representatives was called back from its summer recess to vote on the package, and the successful outcome was hailed as a major Democratic victory. "We can't stand by and do nothing while pink slips are given to the men and women who educate our children or keep our communities safe,'' Obama said. "That doesn't make sense.''

No, it doesn't. But only by the occluded standards of contemporary Washington could this aid package be considered a victory. What began three months ago as a $50 billion emergency spending bill limped to the president's desk at half that size and was largely paid for -- "offset'' in the clinical terminology of the budget -- by cutting $12 billion from the food stamp program. In other words, a measure designed to help one group struggling in the recession came at the expense of another that is even worse off -- and growing rapidly.

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Updated: U.S. Experiencing Worst Episode of Prolonged Unemployment Since Great Depression

  • Adjusting for demographic factors, current labor market downturn steeper than '82-'83 recession.
  • The Horror Show

Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR)

As the nation contends with a long and sustained labor market recession, a new study from the Center for Economic and Policy Research demonstrates that the current unemployment rate is higher than the conventional measure shows.

"An unemployment rate that has hovered above 9 percent for several months is striking, but the jobs picture is even worse than it looks," said report author and CEPR Economist David Rosnick.
The study, “The Adult Recession: Age-Adjusted Unemployment at Post-War Highs,” <http://www.cepr.net/index.php/publications/reports/the-adult-recession> adjusts the current unemployment rate to account for demographic differences and finds that the unemployment rate has not fallen below 10.8 percent in the last 12 months. During the worst episode of the recession of the 1980s -- the second half of 1982 and the first half of 1983 -- unemployment passed 10 percent for 7 months.

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The Horror Show, Bob Herbert, New York Times | NY

  • Policy makers seem intent on allowing the employment crisis to fester. As bad as the July employment numbers were, a deeper look into them shows a seriously scary situation.
  • Long-Term Economic Pain
  • Jobless? Your leaders are at ease with that

The jobs emergency, Robert Reich, Robert Reich

  • Twelve thousand new jobs in July -- when 125,000 are needed monthly just to keep up with population growth, when more than 15 million Americans are out of work, and when more than a half-million more state and local jobs are on the chopping block.
  • Predictably, Washington's latest rescue effort falls woefully short
  • U.S. Experiencing Worst Episode of Prolonged Unemployment Since Great Depression
  • An aid package to the states to prevent layoffs was funded by cutting the federal food stamp program.


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United by Hard Times: Workers Organize Across Race Lines

A tough economy makes cross-race organizing more important than ever.

Carlos Jimenez, Yes! Magazine

Carlos Jimenez marches with Jobs with Justice at the 2007 US Social Forum. Photo by Carlos Fernandez

I’m feeling relieved. For a while it seemed like the historic election of our first African American president would give legitimacy to the idea that we live in a “post-racial” America. The idea that race is no longer a part of people’s daily experience is not merely false. It’s potentially dangerous when a majority of people are struggling to understand what’s happening to them economically.

What people are experiencing is exactly what’s supposed to happen to them under capitalism and its current variant, neoliberalism. That economic system is grounded on the idea that society must have winners and losers. It has convinced people that those categories are based on race: that people of color are, in the natural course of things, losers; and that white people, regardless of class, are supposed to win.

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The Horror Show

  • Policy makers seem intent on allowing the employment crisis to fester. As bad as the July employment numbers were, a deeper look into them shows a seriously scary situation.
  • Long-Term Economic Pain
  • Jobless? Your leaders are at ease with that

Bob Herbert, New York Times | NY

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Thomas Sklarski

The employment situation in the United States is much worse than even the dismal numbers from last week’s (Aug 1-7) jobless report would indicate. The nation is facing a full-blown employment crisis and policy makers are not responding with anything like the sense of urgency that is needed.

The employment data for July, released by the government on Friday (Aug 6), showed that private employers added just 71,000 jobs during the month and that the unemployment rate remained flat at 9.5 percent. But as bad as those numbers were, if you look beyond them you’ll see a horror show.

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Long-Term Economic Pain, Bob Herbert, New York Times | NY

  • Simply stated, more and more families are facing utter economic devastation: completely out of money, with their jobs, savings and retirement funds gone, and nowhere to turn for the next dollar.
  • Reich and Krugman Agree: The Government Needs to Forget About the Deficit and Fix Unemployment
  • Krugman: US "Depressed Economy" Could Last 5 Years

Jobless? Your leaders are at ease with that, Paul Krugman, New York Times | NY

  • None of them want to fix it -- so high unemployment might become a habit.
  • Punishing the Jobless


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Strikers at Mott’s pick up nationwide support

  • Union leaders say that Mott's is doing what more and more corporations tend to do when joblessness, particularly regional unemployment rates, are high: cutting wages and benefits.
  • Tell Mott's: get the scabs out of your applesauce!

John Wojcik, People's World

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Marsha Aronson

Attired as a rotten apple, Curtis James Neff participates in July 1 demonstration in downtown Minneapolis. Jennifer Christensen/Workday Minnesota

Support from around the country is coming in to 300 striking workers at the Mott's apple products plant in Williamson, N.Y.

Faced with huge cuts in pay and benefits the members of the Retail, Wholesale, Department Store Union/United Food and Commercial Workers at the plant went out on strike May 23.

Mott's parent company, the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, demanded the givebacks, the union notes, despite earning $550 million in profits last year.

The company is demanding a $1.50 per hour wage cut, a freeze on pension benefits for current workers with no pensions for new employees, hikes in health insurance premium co-pays and cuts in company contributions to 401(k) retirement plans.

Dr. Pepper Snapple Group CEO Larry Young doubled his own salary last year to $6.5 million.

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Tell Mott's: get the scabs out of your applesauce! Manny Herrmann, American Rights at Work
Submitted  by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Ken Mitchell

  • Something's Rotten at Mott's
  • Tell the CEO of Mott's: Your workers are what makes your company successful. And you can't get away with screwing them over. Not on our watch!
  • Strikers at Mott’s pick up nationwide support

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