Ikea locked workers into a room and forced them to watch "scaremongering" anti-union powerpoints

When workers at an Ikea in Stoughton, Massachusetts expressed interest in forming a union, the company responded with an illegal anti-union crackdown that culminated in locking workers into a conference room and forcing them to watch anti-union slideshows that workers described as "scaremongering". Read the rest

Amazon will raise its minimum wage for employees to $15 (what about contractors?)

First, Disney announced that all its salaried workers would get a raise to $15/hour (with more raises to come); then Bernie Sanders announced legislation named after Jeff Bezos that would send companies an invoice for any food, housing or other subsidy their sub-starvation-wage employees received. Read the rest

Chinese students, made to study Communism, are rising up for workers' rights

In 1989, the Chinese government slaughtered pro-democracy student activists whose commitment to justice swept the nation; now they're facing a new student uprising, one comprised of ardent Communist youth whose state-mandated education in the works of Marx, Lenin and Mao have prompted them to stand up for oppressed workers who labor in the for-profit factories that have flourished since the Deng reforms. Read the rest

Leaked video reveals Amazon's union-busting playbook

As the tide of public opinion turns against monopolism, Amazon has become the poster child for irredeemable, late-stage capitalism; the company's ham-fisted attempts to burnish its reputation have not stemmed the tide. Read the rest

Since 2007, debt-haunted grads have been doing public service to earn loan forgiveness, which they won't get

The roster of people carrying student debt is really just "a list of people liable to additional taxation after graduation"; in 2007, GW Bush signed into law the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program that would allow debt-haunted grads to earn loan forgiveness by foregoing the private sector and working for lower wages in public service for a decade. Read the rest

#MeToo meets the #FightFor15 as McDonald's workers walk out over sexual harassment

McDonald's workers in ten US cities staged a mass walkout last week, demanding that the company take action on the rampant sexual abuse and harassment in its franchisees' stores; as the workers pointed out, the company surveils and controls their every move on-shift down to the minutest detail, but can't seem to find any way to chase down reports that women are being groped and then fired if they refuse to perform sexual acts on their supervisors. Read the rest

Exploring the ruins of a Toys R Us, discovering a trove of sensitive employee data

When the private equity raiders who took over Toys R Us, saddled it up with debt, extracted $200,000,000 and then crashed it, they took the employee severance fund with them, but that wasn't the final indignity the titans of finance inflicted on the workforce before turning them out on the unemployment line. Read the rest

Trailer for Capernaum, a "neorealist movie" about street kids, slum life, modern slavery and migration

Lebanese director Nadine Labaki's Capernaum won this year's Cannes Jury Prize; it premiered in Lebanon this week and will be in North American cinemas starting December 14; It's a "neorealist movie" with an all-amateur cast that sheds some light on the life of outcasts: street children, inhabitants of slums, while tackling modern slavery and illegal immigration. Read the rest

Puerto Rico is a tax-haven for rich mainlanders and is also too broke to survive hurricanes: are these facts possibly related, somehow?

Since the US conquered Puerto Rico in the Spanish-American war, it has treated the island as a playground for the rich, with all kinds of sweetheart tax-deals and regulatory exemptions that lured some industry and some rich people to the island, but which kept it from ever developing its economy and infrastructure to American mainland standards. Read the rest

Rice University eliminates tuition for all but wealthiest students, makes housing free for poorest

From its founding in 1912 until 1965, Houston's Rice University was free to attend; but today, Rice has joined other US universities in saddling its students with ghastly, inescapable mountains of debt, with annual attendance costing $61,350, $40,000 of which is tuition. Read the rest

Lyft will give free and half-price rides to the polls on election day

Lyft has teamed up with the Urban League, Voto Latino, the Urban League and the National Federation of the Blind to offer free and half-price rides to the polls for voters on November 6. "Transportation issues" were cited as reasons for not voting by 28% of Americans earning less than $20,000 who did not vote in the 2012 presidential election. Read the rest

CEO-to-worker wage gap yawns ever wider, hitting 312:1 in 2017, up by 17.6%

The CEO:worker wage ratio was stable in 2015/6, but some unnameable policy or policies, which we can only guess at, were at work in 2017, boosting the gap by 17.6% to 312:1. Read the rest

Florida's prisons change tech providers, wipe out $11.2m worth of music purchased by prisoners

For seven years, Florida state inmates could buy a $100 MP3 player from Access Corrections, the prisons' exclusive provider, and stock it with MP3s that cost $1.70 -- nearly double the going rate in the free world. Read the rest

12% of music industry revenues go to musicians

There are more people who want to make art than the market would support, and the arts are a highly concentrated industry: combine those two facts and you get a buyers' market for artists' work, controlled by intermediaries, who take almost all of the money generated by the work. Read the rest

Former Obama trade official teams up with Trump to create highly profitable TB epidemics in poor countries

When Josh Black quit his job as Obama's director for U.N. and Multilateral Affairs after the 2016 election (citing "growing disillusionment"), he found a sweet job as Associate Vice President for International Advocacy at Phrma, the global lobbying group for the pharmaceutical industry, which meant that he still got to work at the UN, but now he'd be advocating for giant, rapacious corporations that hold peoples' lives hostage to their profits! (speaking as a former NGO observer at the World Intellectual Property Organization from the era of the Access to Medicines treaty, Phrma are effectively public health war criminals). Read the rest

Economic indicators: consumer debt continues to grow, delinquency rises, students face "crippling debt"

Trump's economic statistics are all about stock growth and low unemployment numbers, but more than two thirds of the US economy is driven by consumer spending, so if you want to know where we're headed, you should be looking at the average American's ability to buy things. Read the rest

On the cruelty of ankle-monitors

Ankle monitors are billed as a humane alternative to incarceration, allowing people who might otherwise be locked up to be reintegrated into the community. Read the rest

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