Working In These Times
New York Times
Of course it’s the same struggle: “It’s the same people,” says Saru Jayaraman, the director of the Food Labor Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley. “Young people working in fast food are the same people as those who are the victims of police brutality. So the Walmart folks are talking about #blacklivesmatter and the #blacklivesmatter folks are talking about taking on capital.”
Thousands of fast food workers across 150 U.S. cities walked off the job on Thursday. Hundreds of those workers — nearly 500 of them, according to a public relations firm supporting the strikes — willfully committed civil disobedience as part of their protest, and were subsequently arrested by the police.
By calling McDonald’s a “joint employer” with its franchisees, the General Counsel—that’s the prosecuting side of the NLRB—sided with workers, who argue the corporation exerts so much control over store operations that it should be held accountable for what happens under its Golden Arches. The General Counsel’s announcement will clear the way for local NLRB offices to hold the corporation, not just franchisees, accountable for the workplace abuses.
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This article revolves a new book called The Precariat: the New Dangerous Class by Gary Standing, a British economist.Lack of job security and low wages is how he characterizes these workers. He cites McDonalds and Walmart as the model worldwide for creating precarious employment.
Political Research Associates
Corporate interests have taken credit for reducing private-sector unions to a fraction of their former strength, and for eroding public-sector collective bargaining, especially since the 2010 “Tea Party midterms.” A resurgence in low-wage worker organizing, sparked by growing inequality in the United States, promises to help defend the rights—and paychecks—of vulnerable workers. But corporations and their paid shills aim to snuff out the movement before it catches fire.
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Today, as then, a group of Americans is denied the dignity of decent wages and working conditions. Today, just as then, powerful forces are threatening and intimidating vulnerable people for exercising their legal rights. Today, just like fifty years ago, people who have been treated as voiceless and disposable are standing up and demanding change.