Tag: Labor

Well, That Was Quick

After all the candidates who were to be in tomorrow’s debate said that they would not cross a picket line to be there, somehow or other the contractor that was hired by Loyola Marymont offered its employees a decent contract, which has tentatively been approved:

The union representing 150 cooks, dishwashers, cashiers, and servers at Southern California’s Loyola Marymount University has reached a, agreement with the multinational corporation that employs them, breaking a labor impasse that threatened to derail Thursday’s Democratic debate.

The three-year deal, which was ratified by the union members on Tuesday, includes a 25% increase in compensation, a 50% drop in health-care costs, and increased job security for workers, the union said. “I am thrilled that we were able to reach an agreement, and that the candidate debate can continue as scheduled,” Angela Fisher, a prep cook at LMU, said in a statement. “I want to thank the Democratic candidates who stood with us and the Democratic party that helped us win.”


The deal was the product of emergency negotiations on Monday among representatives from UNITE HERE Local 11, the food-service company Sodexo, the university president, and the chair of the Democratic National Committee. All seven Democratic candidates who qualified for Thursday’s debate had said they would not cross the picket line in solidarity with the workers, creating uncertainty around the party’s final debate of 2019.

My guess is that Loyola Marymont is going to be paying more for the services of Sodexo over the next years.

Well, This is Awkward

It looks like the next Democratic Presidential debate may not happen, because the candidates would have to cross a picket line, I guess the party has come a long way since Bill and Hillary scabbed on their first date:*

All of the Democratic presidential candidates who have qualified for next week’s primary debate are threatening to boycott it in response to a labor dispute between a food service company and workers at Loyola Marymount University, which is hosting the event.

Members of Unite Here Local 11, a union representing food service employees at Loyola Marymount, in Los Angeles, are in negotiations with the university’s food service provider, Sodexo. The union said in a statement on Friday that it had been unable to reach an agreement.

“We had hoped that workers would have a contract with wages and affordable health insurance before the debate next week,” the statement said. “Instead, workers will be picketing when the candidates come to campus.”


But by Friday afternoon, all seven candidates who are set to appear on the debate stage next Thursday — Joseph R. Biden Jr., Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer, Elizabeth Warren and Andrew Yang — had pledged not to cross a picket line, raising the prospect of a boycott.


The Democratic National Committee said it was considering how to proceed.

“While L.M.U. is not a party to the negotiations between Sodexo and Unite Here Local 11, Tom Perez would absolutely not cross a picket line and would never expect our candidates to either,” Xochitl Hinojosa, a spokeswoman for the committee, said in a statement, referring to the committee chairman. “We are working with all stakeholders to find an acceptable resolution that meets their needs and is consistent with our values and will enable us to proceed as scheduled with next week’s debate.”

Loyola Marymount said that it was not a party to the dispute, but that it had “asked Sodexo to meet with Local 11 next week to advance negotiations and solutions.”

Loyal Mayrmont IS a party to the dispute.

They outsourced their dining commons to a 3rd party specifically to underpay the workers.

It’s nice that it’s biting them in the butt now.


The D.N.C. chose Loyola Marymount as a debate site last month under pressure from organized labor. It moved the event from the original location, the University of California, Los Angeles, because of an ongoing labor dispute there.

This is not the first time a strike or potential strike has disrupted debate plans. In 2007, the Democratic National Committee canceled a debate after the top three presidential candidates at the time said they would not cross a Writers Guild of America picket line outside the CBS studios where the debate was to be held.

And in 2015, the D.N.C. removed the New Hampshire television station WMUR as a debate sponsor because a labor dispute at the station could have led to a picket line.

Oh Snap.

*That anecdote about Bill and Hillary’s first date is not a joke, on their first date, the literally scabbed to get a look at a Rothko exhibition.

Walmart Really Sucks

Walmart, reversing policy, has stopped offering holiday pay for workers over Thanksgiving, instead offering a discount on employee purchases, for 2 days.

How wonderfully generous of them:

Thanksgiving and Black Friday mark the beginning of the festive season in the US, but Walmart workers are not feeling the cheer. The world’s largest retailer will not be offering staff extra pay for working some of the busiest days of the year. Instead they will be offered a discount to shop at their own store.


Several large retailers including Barnes & Noble, Costco and Trader Joe’s have decided to close on Thanksgiving in recent years, arguing staff should have time with their family on the national holiday. But Walmart is one of several big-box retailers who are open on Thanksgiving Day and will start its Black Friday sale at 6pm.

Walmart is also one of the few big companies that does not offer employees increased hourly wages for working shifts on a holiday. At Target and Amazon, workers are paid time and a half for each hour worked.

“Walmart doesn’t offer holiday pay. They have a discount you have to work certain days to receive and one discount only lasts two days,” said a Walmart worker in Idaho who requested to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation. They are re scheduled to work full-time shifts on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday this year.

“No one is getting paid extra. You can’t get overtime unless it’s approved.”


A Walmart spokesperson said: “We simplified our paid time-off policies in 2016 to combine vacation, holiday, sick and personal time into one bucket. We did this to give our associates greater flexibility and more choice to use their time off when and how they want to. As part of this change, we no longer pay holiday pay. Associates can now cash out any unused PTO at the end of the year.”

This is a contemptible company, and it treats its employees like crap.

Do you really think that they won’t nickel and dime customers in the same way.

There Are Worse Things than Dressing Up as a Klans Man for Halloween

Things like opposing the repeal of Virginia’s “right-to-work” laws, wich nominal Democrat Ralph Northam just did:

Gov. Ralph Northam made clear to his revenue advisory council on Monday that he does not support repeal of Virginia’s right-to-work law that forbids compulsory union membership.

With Democrats preparing to take complete control of the General Assembly for the first time in more than 25 years, Northam sought to reassure Virginia business leaders that the state won’t take a sharp leftward turn on an issue that has long been a political fire alarm in a pro-business state.

“I can’t foresee Virginia taking actions [that would include] repeal of the right-to-work law,” he told the Governor’s Advisory Council on Revenue Estimates.

Virginia’s right-to-work law says participation in a union may not be a condition for employment in the state. In 2016, Virginia voters rejected a proposal to put provisions of the law in the state constitution.


Destiny LeVere, communications director of the Virginia AFL-CIO, said the organization reacted with “deep disappointment” to the governor’s remarks.

“Being named 1st for business and 51st overall for workers isn’t something Virginia should be proud of,” she said in a statement.

“This General Assembly session, workers will be joining together to ensure that there will be a robust, pro-labor agenda that values Virginia’s workers, putting us at the forefront. Number one on this agenda is repealing right-to-work.”

Northam is a f%$#ing coward and he is f%$#ing stupid.

Not only to anti-union laws like RTW hurt the average citizen, but they cost Democrats about 3½% of the vote.

Governor Northam, you are sh%$ting in your party in order to suck up to f%$#ing f%$#s like the f%$#ing Chamber of f%$#ing Commerce, which will oppose you and try to defeat you anyway.

Being Evil

After employee protests over kowtowing to Chinese demands for censorship, sexual harassment, DoD and CBP contracts, AI bias, etc., Google has done the obvious “heel move”, and clamped down on employee discussions and hired a notorious union busting firm:

Google has hired an anti-union consulting firm to advise management as it deals with widespread worker unrest, including accusations that it has retaliated against organizers of a global walkout and cracked down on dissent inside the company.

The firm, IRI Consultants, appears to work frequently for hospitals and other health care organizations. Its website advertises “union vulnerability assessments” and boasts about IRI’s success in helping a large national health care company persuade employees to avoid a union election despite the unions’ “dedicating millions of dollars to their organizing campaigns.”

Google’s work with IRI is the latest evidence of escalation in a feud between a group of activist workers at Google and management that has tested the limits of the company’s traditionally transparent, worker-friendly culture. Since Google was founded two decades ago, employees had been able to ask management tough questions at weekly meetings, and anyone who worked there could look through documents related to almost any company activity.


Last fall, Google employees around the world walked out to protest the company’s handling of sexual harassment complaints. And discussions on the company’s internal message boards have at times turned into contentious debates about politics or company policies that have become public embarrassments.


Google employees stumbled upon the company’s relationship with IRI in October, according to two employees familiar with the discovery, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the fear of retaliation. They unearthed internal calendar entries indicating that Google had hired IRI, according to screenshots shared with The New York Times.


At the time of the discovery, Google had recently installed a tool on employees’ web browsers that would flag internal calendar events requiring more than 10 meeting rooms or 100 participants.

Many employees believed that the so-called browser extension, which was first reported by Bloomberg, was a surveillance tool designed to crack down on organizing among workers. The company said at the time that it simply wanted to reduce internal spam and that the tool did not collect personally identifiable information.


Last month, Google management in Zurich caused an uproar when it tried to cancel an employee discussion about unionization and proposed its own discussion about labor laws and employee rights. In September, a small group of contractors that work for Google voted to unionize with the United Steelworkers.

The management, of course, thinks that they are something special and unique, and that the rank and file simply does not understand.

Would that they spoke in the language of their predecessors and simply said, “The peasants are revolting.”

Thus is always the way with self-entitled assholes.

You Don’t Do Good by Doing Bad

In what has been an increasingly common story, both Amnesty International and the Southern Poverty Law Center have been found to violate their employees labor organizing rights:

The U.S. arm of Amnesty International, the global human rights group, broke the law by threatening its own employees, a National Labor Relations Board judge has ruled.

Managers at Amnesty International USA violated the law that protects employees’ right to organize for improved working conditions, Administrative Law Judge Michael Rosas wrote in a decision issued Tuesday.

According to the ruling, last year a group of unpaid interns, with support from some of Amnesty’s unionized permanent employees, drafted a petition to their supervisor asking to be paid. “Amnesty International’s commitment to human rights should be proven from within first,” they wrote, according to the ruling.

In response, Amnesty’s executive director held meetings in which she made implied threats; told employees to make workplace complaints verbally before putting them in writing; equated their organizing with disloyalty; and asked staff to report co-workers’ activism to management.

All of those actions violated the National Labor Relations Act, the judge concluded.

and for the SPLC:

Southern Poverty Law Center management said Tuesday they would not voluntarily recognize a union organized by employees at the civil rights nonprofit and have hired a Virginia law firm whose website boasts about victories over labor organization attempts.

The SPLC Union said in a statement Tuesday it was “disappointed” in the decision but that it would go through an election, if necessary.

“Management’s refusal to voluntarily recognize the union and decision to hire a law firm that specializes in ‘union avoidance strategies’ are counter to SPLC’s values,” the statement said. “The Center cannot truly claim to support workers’ rights, while also hiring a ‘union avoidance’ law firm to prevent its own workers from exercising our right to collective bargaining.”

It’s the hypocrisy, stupid.

Live in Obedient Fear, Citizens

On very rare occasions, the front mouths for law enforcement — police unions — will surprise you with inadvertent truthiness. Such a rarity occurred recently. It was — as almost every union outburst is — provoked by the introduction of the tiniest sliver of accountability.

The Bronx District Attorney decided to release its list of cops even it can’t trust. What the New York Post refers to as a “naughty list” bears some resemblance to the Brady lists compiled (but rarely released) by other city prosecutors. These lists contain cops who have been caught lying in reports or in court or have had evidence tossed (usually more than once) for Constitutional violations.

These lists are supposed to make their way to criminal defendants. This rarely happens either. No prosecutor wants their star witness impeached, even if the prosecutor knows what we know: cops lie. Some more than others.


Here’s where it gets fun. The Sergeants Benevolent Association, one of New York’s law enforcement unions, reacted very badly to the release of the naughty list. Bear in mind this list only includes officers who’ve “given questionable testimony” or “had evidence tossed for unconstitutional policing.”

This is how the SBA responded, cloaked in stupidity it mistook for righteous anger.

The city’s police union responded to the release by slamming the Bronx DA’s prosecution record and attacking the “anti-cop activists” who requested the lists to smear “honest, hard-working police officers.”

So, if we’re to take the SBA at its word, the release of “naughty” list “smeared” “honest, hard-working” officers who… lied in court or committed Constitutional violations. Any straight reading of this assertion results in the assumption the SBA considers lying and Constitutional violations to just be part of the honest, hard work officers perform. That’s a bit disturbing.

One has to remember that these officers are still on the force, despite the fac that they have routingely violated their duty to follow the law, and that the rest of the force, or at least their duly designated representatives, is just fine with that.

The cops who lie and violate citizens rights are bad cops, but so are the cops who do not report them.

There needs to be a top to bottom cleanup of police forces across the county.

You Have to Love the Tote Bag Set

In news that should surprise no one, Philadelphia public radio station WHYY is declaring jihad on its employees unionization attempts, because solidarity with the working man is important, unless it inconveniences them personally:

A group of workers at the public media station WHYY last week delivered a petition to management declaring their intent to unionize with SAG-AFTRA.

The workers, who said they were unionizing to turn the station into a place where they could build their careers “without sacrificing [their] well-being,” had support from more than 80% of the nearly 100-person proposed bargaining unit — well over the simple majority needed to win a formal union election — and asked management to voluntarily recognize the union, rather than requiring it to go through a National Labor Relations Board election.

WHYY has not voluntarily recognized the union.


Generally, when workers announce their intent to unionize, it’s standard practice for employers to attempt to dissuade workers from voting for the union. As management-side lawyer Rick Grimaldi of Fisher Phillips put it, the employer uses the time before the NLRB election to “give employees the other side of the story.” Employers usually call this a period to educate their workers on the advantages and disadvantages of a union. Sometimes, though, employers agree to neutrality, promising not to carry out an anti-union campaign.

WHYY said in a statement, “WHYY is not anti-union nor have we made any attempts to dissuade workers from voting for the union.”

Station spokesperson Art Ellis confirmed it has retained Duane Morris attorney James Redeker, who has been meeting with managers and senior management to brief them on “all the legal aspects of NLRB proceedings.” Redeker’s website says he has “engineered numerous successful counter-organizational campaigns for clients … and conducted supervisory training throughout the country with respect to union avoidance.”

So, the station management is going to make it tough, and they have hired a union buster lawyer, because they are a bunch of people who think that running a humane workplace is beneath them.

I guess that it distracts them from being “Woke”.

This is literally every stereotype of the NPR type promulgated by right wing talk radio.

Above the Law

An administrative law judge has ruled that Tesla and Elon Musk violated labor law in their treatment of employees advocating for a union:

Tesla Inc. committed a series of violations of the National Labor Relations Act in 2017 and last year, a judge ruled Friday.

The electric-car maker illegally threatened and retaliated against employees, according to Amita Baman Tracy, an administrative law judge in California.

Nothing stopping Tesla team at our car plant from voting union. Could do so tmrw if they wanted. But why pay union dues & give up stock options for nothing? Our safety record is 2X better than when plant was UAW & everybody already gets healthcare.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 21, 2018

The judge’s order calls for Tesla to offer reinstatement and back-pay to a fired, pro-union employee, and to revoke a warning issued to another union supporter. The ruling also calls for the company to hold a meeting at its assembly plant in Fremont, California, that Musk must attend. Either he or an agent with the labor board must read a notice to employees informing them that the NLRB concluded the company broke the law.

It will no doubt be appealed to the NLRB, where the minions of newly appointed Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia will no doubt rule against the workers, because that is what they do.

Even if the NLRB rules against them,it is a marker.

Companies that mistreat their employees mistreat their customers as well.


California has a good bill in the legislature which will provide employee protections for the people misclassified as independent contractors by the “Gig-Economy” companyes.

Uber, Lyft and DoorDash are spending almost $100 million to prevent this through the initiative petition process:

Gig-economy giants Uber, Lyft and Doordash have put $30m apiece into a new fund to push a new California ballot measure that would prevent their workers get ordinary benefits like a minimum wage, overtime, workers’ compensation and so on.

The corporations are worried about a new piece of legislation working its way through the legislature in Sacramento that would effectively make their workers employees. The bill, AB5, passed the Assembly in May, has gone through one Senate committee and was cleared by another on Friday, meaning it will now go to the full Senate.

Numerous groups have won exemptions to the provisions in AB5 – doctors, engineers, architects, hair stylists and others – by arguing that that they set their own prices and work directly with their customers. But gig-economy giants have not, meaning that they will be on the hook for employee benefits, which in real terms will increase their cost of labor by 20-30 per cent.

Uber, Lyft and others, including truckers and exotic dancers – have been lobbying fiercely against the new law but seemingly to little avail. With the bill looking increasingly likely to become law, they have struck on a new idea: push a ballot measure that Californian residents will vote on that would undercut the law. 

I would hope that the people of the state of California would vote down what is clearly an attempt to  f%$# their own workers, but there is going to be a lot of money, from some very profoundly unprofitable (not a typo) firms, telling lies in order to keep the VC capital flowing so that their senior management can cash in before their inevitable collapse.

Still Contemptible Bastards

They lied:

It’s been almost a month since DoorDash, the leading food delivery app in the US, finally caved to public pressure and announced it would stop pocketing its workers’ tips.

At the time, CEO Tony Xu announced in a series of tweets that DoorDash would institute a new model to ensure workers’ earnings would “increase by the exact amount a customer tips on every order.” Xu promised to provide “specific details in the coming days.” The next day, Xu sent out a note to DoorDash workers, broadly outlining changes and letting them know “what to expect in the days ahead.”

But 27 days later, current DoorDash workers tell Recode that the company’s pay and tipping policies have stayed the same. The company has not made any public statements about its worker pay and how it plans to institute the changes, nor has it offered a specific date when it will fulfill its promise.

A spokesperson declined to comment about the company’s plans to change its tipping policy.

They are not figuring out how to implement a fair tipping policy, they are trying to figure out how to best weasel out of their commitment.

The final word on DoorDash is this:  If they treat their employees like sh%$, how do you think that they will treat you as a customer?

Live in Obedient Fear, Citizen!

In response to a spate of officers caught posting bigoted and what can only be called terrorist threats to social media, the Phoenix Police Malovelent Association is offering a service to scrub officers accounts, because accountability and responsibility are anti-police, I guess:

An investigation called the “Plain View Project” has uncovered a truly disturbing amount of bigoted, violent social media posts by police officers located all over the United States. The entire database of posts is located here. Anyone wanting to see what their public servants truly think about the people they serve can click through and be horrified.

It would be horrifying enough if officers just kept their thoughts to themselves and let those thoughts guide their actions. But these are public posts able to be viewed by anyone and these officers apparently had no qualms about displaying the content of their character. This is just a small sampling:

……… (you really don’t want to read that crap)

Lovely. That’s the mindset of far too many cops. The people they interact with daily are viewed as subhuman garbage only worthy of a beating or a bullet. The good news is that since the publication of this database, the hammer is starting to fall.

A whopping 21 Dallas police officers are under investigation for “racist or violent” Facebook posts, which were uncovered by the Plainview Project. Four others have been placed on administrative leave, the Dallas police chief announced Friday.

Things have gone even further in Philadelphia, where officers are actually losing their jobs over their Facebook posts


These are all rational responses to the public outing of law enforcement officers as not-so-closeted bigots and homophobes. Then there are the clearly irrational responses, emanating almost exclusively from police unions.
In Philadelphia, the Fraternal Order of Police has expressed its “disappointment” that the PD would actually punish officers for their hate-filled social media posts. Of course, unions like this also express their disappointment when cops are punished for literally any act, including unjustifiable homicide.
But the prize for most idiotic response (so far!) goes to the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association. PLEA doesn’t seem to believe the bigoted posts by police officers are problematic. No, the real issue here — according to PLEA — is that the posts were seen by outside eyes. PLEA doesn’t want better officers. It only wants less accountable officers.

After dozens of Phoenix police officers were caught posting racist memes and praising violence on Facebook, Phoenix police union president Michael London said the union plans on purchasing a service that will “scrub” police officers’ information from the Internet.

“The Facebook investigation is still going on,” London said Thursday in a video shared on the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association’s Facebook page. “We had our monthly board meeting this past Tuesday, and Franklin Marino has contacted a service that will scrub your name from the internet. It’s more of a security and privacy type thing. There’s some more information about it on the members-only Facebook.”

“We think right now with the numbers we have, it would cost you about $3 a month, but we’re still trying to contact the provider of this and see if we can work out a deal,” London said.

That’s the solution. Just pay and make it all go away. The union head is so secure in his delusion he actually claimed this wasn’t about making stuff vanish, but rather to “protect” officers from people attacking them online. Yep, it’s the bigoted cops who are the real victims here.

I understand the need for labor unions to zealously defend their members, but this is being a co-conspirator in a coverup.

Where is the damn RICO lawsuit, anyway?

Never Failing to Disappoint

Well, in a feat of profound stupid cowardice, House Democrats are planning to water down their minimum wage bill, because, I guess, actually helping the working man is scary:

Top House Democrats are eyeing a major tweak to the caucus’ signature minimum wage proposal, part of a last-minute bid to bolster support among moderates just days before a floor vote.

Democratic leaders are floating a more gradual path to a federal minimum wage of $15 per hour, which would mark a concession to some centrists who had been hesitant to back the bill for fear of aggravating small businesses, according to multiple sources familiar with the ongoing discussions.

Under the proposal, employers would have six years to phase in the wage hike rather than five.

The House plans to vote on the bill next week. And while top Democrats like Majority Leader Steny Hoyer have said they’re confident it will have enough votes to pass, they have worked behind the scenes to shore up more support and avert any drama on the floor.


Democrats have long worried that a GOP procedural maneuver on the floor — in which Republicans use a “motion to recommit” to put forward their own changes — could ultimately tank the entire effort.

If Republicans win support from about two dozen Democrats, they could force changes to the bill all within a few minutes. That could result in others in the caucus, including progressives, choosing to revolt and vote it down.

They are worried about faux Dems knifing them in the back, so they are pre-capitulating, because they have no guts.

You know, maybe Nancy Pelosi should spend less time clapping ironically or slagging real Democrats in her caucus, and instead whip the phony Democrats to vote for raising the minimum wage, which, after all, is overwhelmingly supported across the partisan divide.

This sort of crap is why people don’t believe it when Democrats say that they will help ordinary people, because when push comes to shove, they cave so badly they should be wearing spelunking helmets.

Who Says that Irony is Dead?

Labor Secretary Alex Acosta’s resignation Friday amid the mushrooming Jeffrey Epstein investigation made him the latest in a growing list of President Trump’s Cabinet members to depart under a cloud of scandal, plunging an administration that has struggled with record turnover into further upheaval.

Trump announced the departure in a morning appearance with Acosta on the South Lawn of the White House, telling reporters that his labor secretary had chosen to step down a day after defending himself in a contentious news conference over his role as a U.S. attorney a decade ago in a deal with Epstein that allowed the financier to plead guilty to lesser offenses in a sex-crimes case involving underage girls.

 Of course there is a replacement in the wings, and he worked closely with corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramhoff to protect the use of slave labor in the Marianas, which might make him even worse than the guy who let a pedophile off with a slap of the wrist:

Incoming acting Labor Secretary Patrick Pizzella will take the helm of the department following the resignation Friday of Alex Acosta, who faced scrutiny over his role in prosecuting alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein more than a decade ago.

But Pizzella, currently deputy Labor secretary, has his own controversial past that will likely come to the fore. Democratic senators and civil rights groups have expressed concern about Pizzella’s prior work with disgraced Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff in the late 1990s and early 2000s to hamper worker protections in the Northern Mariana Islands.

When Pizzella worked on Abramoff’s team at Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds, the lobbying firm was pushing to prevent Congress from imposing minimum wage laws on the Northern Mariana Islands. At the time, there were “maximum” wage restrictions on the islands of $3.05 per hour for foreign workers, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting.

“Foreign workers pay up to $7,000 to employers or middlemen for the right to a job in the CNMI. When they finally reach the Commonwealth, they are assigned to tedious, low paying work for long hours with little or no time off. At night they are locked in prison-like barracks,” one government report found.

Is it just me, but does it seem that each time a member of the Trump administration is leaves, they are replaced by something even more bizarrely inexplicable.

Remember When VW Used Slave Labor and Killed Thousands?

It turns out that the unionization effort at the Chattanooga VW plant is largely by management trying to work their employees to death.

This does seem to be a tradition for the boys from Wolfsburg:

“I’m only 33 and I can’t see myself working here for another 10 years,” said Ashley Murray. “I would be disabled by then. We need a union because they are a multibillion-dollar company and they treat us like shit.”

Murray is a production employee at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, one of 18 hourly employees there I interviewed for this story. Comments like hers were almost universal.

According to these workers, on-the-job injuries are among the top issues at the sprawling plant nestled in the Appalachian mountains of East Tennessee. The union authorization election runs Wednesday through Friday this week; 1,700 workers are eligible to vote.

Many workers told variations of the same story. For the first time in their lives, they’re making good money—but they’re trapped in a job that’s chewing them up.

“My co-workers are getting hurt, I’ve been hurt, there is constant threat of injury, and if it doesn’t change, none of us will survive,” said one worker who’s been at Volkswagen for eight years but asked to remain anonymous for fear of management retaliation.

“I shouldn’t have to give Volkswagen my body in exchange for the house that I live in and the lifestyle I try to provide for my family.” Workers described a plant where high turnover and dangerous conditions lead to serious injuries, most commonly in the hands and shoulders. Some of the workers I met now suffer from lifelong disabilities.

Yeah, that whole, “Foreign workers in German factories,” thing?

Not good.

Democratic Centrists in a Nutshell

Just weeks after claiming that he is standing with Uber drivers, Pete Buttigieg is fundraising with the executives who are abusing those drivers.

It’s sh%$ like this that get people voting for Republicans.

People would rather vote for someone who says that they will do their best to f%$# you, and are telling the truth, than they would for someone who says that they are here to help, and are lying:

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is set to attend a fundraiser with a top Uber executive just weeks after expressing solidarity for drivers protesting the ridesharing company.

The Indiana Democrat is one of 14 presidential candidates who will descend on San Francisco this weekend for the California Democratic Party State Convention. Between attending an SEIU California Democratic Delegate breakfast on Saturday morning and addressing convention goers later that afternoon, he will headline a fundraiser in Oakland hosted, in part, by Uber executive Chelsea Kohler, the rideshare company’s director of product communications.

It is a dissonant move for a candidate who fewer than three weeks ago voiced his support for striking Uber drivers demanding an end to pay cuts and a drivers’ bill of rights ahead of the ridesharing company’s initial public offering on Wall Street.


Chris Meagher, Buttigieg’s national press secretary, declined to comment. But an organizer with the Los Angeles-based drivers’ association told The Daily Beast that the candidate’s decision to fundraise with an Uber executive was untenable with his support for the contracted drivers.

When push comes to shove, he’s going to stand with his donors, and former classmates, like Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, and not the rest of us.

We’ve seen this before.

The Gig Economy Strikes Back

A group of Uber and Lyft drivers serving Washington National Airport have taken to simultaneously turning off their apps to drive surge pricing to increase their fares:

Drivers for ride-hailing apps Lyft and Uber have organized for better pay through collective action – and not by unionizing.

Here’s how it works: a group of drivers who pick up passengers at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, outside the US capital, have been turning off their taxi apps simultaneously to influence the surge pricing algorithms used by the two companies.

A report published last week by local ABC affiliate WJLA-TV recounts how a group of 100-150 drivers all turned off their driver apps in sync – coordinated by an individual using an unidentified app – to create the false impression of a local driver shortage.

With the ride supply down as demand peaks, the taxi apps’ surge pricing algorithms kick in, offering higher rates to entice more drivers to come to the airport. Minutes later, once the price rises anywhere from $10 to $19 or so, the drivers sign back on and accept the fare at a level they find more reasonable.

This is why you should not do business with companies that treat their employees like crap.

Even ignoring the ethical issues, it is likely that those poorly treated employees will find a way to fight back, and you are likely to be the battlefield.

Walking the Walk

Thousands of workers from the University of California waged a one-day strike Thursday and found some unexpected allies out on their picket lines.

In an unusual move for a presidential candidate, the campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) sent out targeted text messages and emails to its supporters in California a day ahead of the strike, urging them to join workers as they rallied against the university system in a labor dispute.

“Tens of thousands of workers in the University of California system are standing up this Thursday to stop the outsourcing and privatization of union jobs,” the email said. “We are hoping you can join these workers tomorrow.”

The note included an RSVP link and an address for a local picket.

The move apparently worked, according to John de los Angeles, a spokesperson for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299, one of the unions involved in the strike.

“I deployed a press team across the state and was in contact with them,” de los Angeles said. “They were sending me pictures of random supporters out on the line because they had received an email or text from the Bernie campaign. That happened all over the place.”

If you wonder why people are, to quote Steve Rogers, willing, “To make the sacrifice play, to lay down on a wire and let the other guy crawl over you,” for Bernie Sanders, it is because he has been laying down on the wire for us for decades.

Yes, I do realize that juxtaposing Captain America and Steve Rogers is a bit bizarre, but I’m a bit bizarre.

Unparalleled Self Owning, Or Masterful Trolling

On Reddit, user u/Strikeactionemployer completely owns himself, blithely suggesting that he listened to his accountant, and not his lawyer (Solicitor, it’s the UK).

It’s a director for a firm who tried to screw his employees, and then fired them when they went on strike, which, shockingly enough, is illegal in the UK, and then he tried to loot the company, declare insolvency, and then restart the corporation with its old asset.

It’s really too long to summarize, but this comment explains why you should read this:

I just want to say that if you’re for real about this, this is absolutely hilarious. On the flipside, if this is a very elaborate exercise in trolling, I’m even more impressed, since you’ve put in time and effort over a year to set this up which is much further than the overwhelmingly vast majority of trolls will go, and you’ve also captured the exact tone of greedy bewilderment that most company directors have in real life.

Read in chronological order, including the completely unsympathetic comments.

It is a thing of beauty.

So much ownership in so little space.

H/t Charles Saroff for the tip.