The Fed’s Austerity Program to Reduce Wages

To Wall Street and its backers, the solution to any price inflation is to reduce wages and public social spending. The orthodox way to do this is to push the economy into recession in order to reduce hiring. Rising unemployment will oblige labor to compete for jobs that pay less and less as the economy slows.

This class-war doctrine is the prime directive of neoliberal economics. It is the tunnel vision of corporate managers and the One Percent. The Federal Reserve and IMF are its most prestigious lobbyists. Along with Janet Yellen at the Treasury, public discussion of today’s inflation is framed in a way that avoids blaming the 8.2 percent rise in consumer prices on the Biden Administration’s New Cold War sanctions on Russian oil, gas and agriculture, or on oil companies and other sectors using these sanctions as an excuse to charge monopoly prices as if America has not continued to buy Russian diesel oil, as if fracking has picked up and corn is not being turned into biofuel. There has been no disruption in supply. We are simply dealing with monopoly rent by the oil companies using the anti-Russian sanctions as an excuse that an oil shortage will soon develop for the United States and indeed for the entire world economy.

Covid’s shutdown of the U.S. and foreign economies and foreign trade also is not acknowledged as disrupting supply lines and raising shipping costs and hence import prices. The

— source | Michael Hudson | Jun 19, 2022

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Rs 1,387 crore pending in MGNREGA wages

Some Rs 1,387 crore is pending in unskilled wages under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), the Indian government’s flagship rural employment guarantee scheme, according to data on the MGNREGA dashboard.

The dashboard is a website designed and developed by the National Informatics Centre and maintained by the Union Ministry of Rural Development.

In Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh, a little over Rs 243 crore is pending as payment dues. These states together account for over 65 per cent migrant workers returning home during last year’s novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown.

However, the highest dues pending are in the states of Manipur and Nagaland. The government has not cleared wage arrears to the tune of Rs 772 crore, accounting for 55 per cent of the total pending payment in these two states according to the dashboard.

— source | Shagun | 20 Apr 2021

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5,579 Indian farmers died by suicide in 2020

Some 5,579 Indian farmers died by suicide in 2020, Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar, told the Lok Sabha November 30, 2021. The figures are according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), that has published reports on farmer suicides up to 2020. These reports are available on its website. Tomar added that the Union government had received no report on farmers, especially in Madhya Pradesh, committing suicide due to unavailability of fertiliser.

— source | 30 Nov 2021

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Reinstate seven Memphis Starbucks workers immediately

The National Labor Relations Board has filed a rare lawsuit in federal court to immediately reinstate seven Memphis Starbucks workers who say they were illegally fired in retaliation for their union efforts. The group is known as the Memphis 7. They were fired after Starbucks claimed they violated company policy for speaking to reporters about their union drive. This comes as the NLRB, the National Labor Relations Board, issued a complaint against Starbucks for 29 unfair labor practice charges, including over 200 violations of federal workers’ protections, stemming from retaliation claims made by members of the Starbucks Workers United in Buffalo, New York, where Starbucks’ union organizing effort began in August.

— source | May 11, 2022

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Amazon fired two workers who helped organize the first successful union in US

Amazon has fired two workers who helped organize the first successful U.S. union at Amazon’s Staten Island JFK8 warehouse. This comes as the National Labor Relations Board on Monday upheld a complaint that Amazon violated labor law in the Staten Island union vote by holding mandatory worker meetings to dissuade employees from voting to unionize. We speak with the fired workers, Tristan “Lion” Dutchin and Mat Cusick, who say they need the support of the NLRB and pro-worker legislation to protect them against retaliation by Amazon.

The reason for my firing was, as mentioned, productivity, not meeting the certain time rate or goal. I was recently terminated May the 7th due to falling behind rates. I fell behind rates in the past, of course, me just being a regular worker working at a regular pace. These people expect you to work really fast, like to speed it up. They expect you to pick items for like 275 an hour at a universal station and 375 an hour at the ARSAW station.

They sent a couple of retrains, you know, people to retrain me, from time and time again. My last retrain was, I think, three weeks ago. After that, that’s when I started to, like, speed it up

— source | May 11, 2022

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Stanford Threatens to Cut Health Care for Nurses Who Go on Strike

Nurses at Stanford Health Care and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital are ready to exchange thermometers and scrubs for picket signs in a planned strike starting on April 25. To avoid burnout and to continue to offer care during the chaos of the pandemic, the nurses say they need more staff, better mental health resources, better pay, and more paid time-off. More than ninety percent of the 5,000 nurses who belong to the Committee for Recognition of Nursing Achievement (CRONA) union at the two hospitals voted for the strike.

Rather than cave to their demands, Stanford had another message for them: Be prepared to lose your health care. On April 15, right before the Easter weekend and amid Passover and Ramadan, Stanford Health Care announced that in addition to withholding pay, it would also be suspending health insurance benefits for striking nurses and their families beginning on May 1.

— source | Apr 19, 2022

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Film on the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)

The landmark 1979 labor documentary, “The Wobblies,” has been restored and rereleased for May Day, International Workers’ Day. The film details the history of the Industrial Workers of the World — a radical union whose members are also known as Wobblies — and their inclusive fight to organize “unskilled” workers, secure fair wages and enshrine the eight-hour workday in the early 20th century before they were targeted and repressed by the FBI during World War I. It features interviews with former Wobblies still alive in the 1970s. Deborah Shaffer, who co-directed the film with Stewart Bird, says the IWW “was founded in 1905 out of necessity” because no existing unions represented so-called unskilled labor. “The workers had no representation at all, and they were being expected to work seven days a week, 12-hour days, no breaks, no meals, underpaid, overworked,” she says. “Conditions were terrible and intolerable.” The high-definition rerelease of “The Wobblies” comes after the Library of Congress added it to the National Film Registry in 2021.

— source | Apr 29, 2022

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