Jeremy Brecher- 10/ 13

after reading Strike! by Jeremy Brecher i had gained some knowledge of how it was like to have a 8- hour day. i believe that the history of the 8- hour day is probably one of the most influential and most important things americans have fought for over the years…and when i say fought for i mean by picketing and striking. before striking even took place workers had horrible working conditions and wage salaries with very long hours which were not even paid in full.  the strikes that went on eventually did work out for the better because it gave the working man a better lifestyle, which allowed them to have leisure time for themselves and to spend time with family.  when a person typically works extensive hours for days on end it does take a toll on their mind and body.  the 8 hour day was a breakthrough for all workers and allowed them to be free in other aspects of their life and actually carry out a normal life not just filled with work 247 also the striking was beneficiary to their wages also.  what made a lot of sense to me was when they stated that to cut unemployment rates they would lower the hours of each individual so there is more hours to be separated within one another therefore work and be evenly distributed among others. one thing that stuck out to me was when the May Day Strike broke out and millions of people gathered together to join this movement . in the reading Brecher describes the times he was living in to be very violent especially within the working environment… once people saw that it had taken a toll on were they were working it was time to take a stand and thats when things started to become very rowdy… violent riots with thousands of individuals would occur and left many injured…i am actually not even surprised about this because i would probably do the same thing if i lived back then there was barley no laws that anyone abided by and no legislation and especially during that time period if there was thousands of angry people all around me you shouldnt expect the person next to you to act in a civil matter.

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karl marx vs taylor 10/6

in the book ” Political Economy”  i believe what karl marx states that the labor has fallen to a bare minimum as well as the products and services that are given is to be true.  Karl Marx believes that as the workers puts in more hours and breaks his back harder for the labor he or she is involved in that person will get poorer basically saying the more work someone puts it the less financially successful they will become….i do not necessarily believe in this fact because i believe the more effort you put into something the more you gain out of that experience.  also as the laborer he soughts that the people putting in the work and hours become separated from merchandise because obviously they are not the ones whom control who produces what.  the condition of the worker is so bad that he or she is literally separated from the real world and humanity. i believe the form of capitalism today is a lot better than the form of capitalism when karl marx was around  even though he did not agree wit capitalistic ideals.  a person with different views about capitalism has once said that the best type of management under capitalistic ideals is scientific management instead of  initiative and incentives this man was Fredrick Taylor.  i believe that scientific management is not the best way to conduct a business.  in this type of managing the employers are the key people as to them deciding what should be produced who doesproductions…. in my opinion this is not the best way to run your business with employees making the decisions.  in my opinion people are driven by benifts, incentives, high wages which motivate individuals to give nothing but their best effort to help the company flourish.

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Riots in Greece

 We all have heard of the strikes throughout Europe especially the one in France. I would like to bring up the one happening in Greece during this week was pretty insane. Greece has been going through these pay cuts for a while now and when they go on strike they don’t just protest with signs they go all out.  Yesterday Athens had absolutely no transportation, including buses, trains, or trams ran and are ensuring that they will be happening again through the following weeks. As reported their wages are being cut from 790 Euros a month to 600, which is 190 euros less. That to me is a good reason to be striking, but it also impacts the lives of those who need the transportation to get to work. Imagine New York City having no public transportation, it would be chaos.  Protestors in Greece damaged cars, hotels, post offices, and also injured the Transport Minister. This is apparently the seventh strike this year alone that paralyzed the public and private sector and according to reports there are many more to look forward to. The one good thing with Europe is that the workers and the general public stick together in matter as such. I do not agree with the vandalism and the madness of the protestors but having public school close, public transportation, flights and hospitals shut down is definitely a way of getting their message across. What they do affects society as a whole therefore they can not be ignored. Maybe that is something that needs to be done here and show management the power we hold.

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Rite Aid

            A top article on LaborNotes that caught my attention today was Rite Aid union members being on strike all across the nation. According to the article, in California, this has been going on for years now. It took them two years of protesting to form a union to represent them and now they are still fighting for their rights in the first contract. As always corporations are looking for cheaper labor so by January 2011 , 400 unionized workers will be laid off because they are moving their work to Syracuse a NON-union facility. Through out the years i have been seeing pharmacies as such shutting down left and right but Rite Aid is still round and the AFL CIO  Rand Wilson said that it was their fault(The Pennsylvania based company)  for buying Eckerd and Brooks chains causing them to go into dept. Therefore it is not our fault, and  for them to ask workers to pay more for health insurance and blaming the workers for them shutting down is stupid. According to the article the the CEO John Steadely just received a raise of 4.5 MILLION!!!!! That alone says it all. How can management be so selfish and unreasonable is beyond me. At the end of the article Rand Wilson states that management needs to stop wasting everyone’s time and money and aggravating the employes.

        It is extremely disappointing to hear company after company doing this to their workers. Its not the first or last to exploit their employes in such way. And once they move and hire new employes for much cheaper wages and benefits (if any since they won’t be unionized) they still wont be satisfied. When large industries make million to billion dollar profits how can they not have any sympathy to those workers? They are one of the largest aspects contributing to the profit of the company. I’m sure the CEO or any individual at a higher lever position will not go and wok with the machines. The “Big Bosses” are definitely taking advantage of this economic downfall and dminishing any type of labor movement and progression in the working field that had achieved.

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ben hamper 9/22

In  the reading, the ” Tales from the Assembly Line”, on Ben Hamper, it was honestly hard to follow along with the whole reading…in my opinion it wasent that entertaining to read it just made you sad the way the story lien was but at the same time there was some humor in there to make it al little more interesting.  in the reading it says that Hamper grew up in bad living conditions in the house and outside the house also that ultimately affected him physiologically.  Hamper had continueously critizied himself about not establishing himself as a GM employee.  his family had taken the route to work for GM but  not they way he wishes it to be…they were shop-rats in which they worked within the assembly line, Ben growing up saw what his family had endured and did not want to go through taht himself, Ben had dreams that surpassed what his family had become and to become more succesful person and break the curse of his family of becoming all shop-rats.  even by him thinking all of these things and thinking he will become a bigger and better person than his family members  he eventually did follow their footsteps and became a heavy drinker which did not do him any good.  i honestly thought while reading this reading that he would have overcome all the hardships and become more successful than his previous family members but i was wrong.

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Walmart News

Has anyone read the most recent news on wallmart?  After overcoming union and politicalopposition to new stores in CHicago, Walmart is looking for ways to overcome similar resistance in New York City. I really hope this does not occur any time soon! I still think the company pays too litte and benefits are low  for their employees and saps sales from smaller business. Im afraid that just like in Chicago, with stubbornly high unemployment and low prices, Walmart might succeed in their demands.  My parents are store owners themselves and having a Walmart in NYC can affect us by bringing our success down. People just dont realize that this company exploits its workers and is anti union.

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Working Youths

In Tannock Stuarts reading, he reveals that teenage workers particulary in North America are regulary exploited by their service sector employers, who hold them to minimum wage, low status, “stopgap” jobs with irregular hours and very few benefits. Stuart was able to find in his conducted research that young grocery workers are marginalized and alienated by the union which appears uninterested in their concers. Fast food employees do get help with individual grievances but little union effort is made to establish an atmosphere of collectivity. Neither union addresses such structural problems as dangerous work processes, harrassment, or the handling of off the clock work.  I was a victim myself of this unfair treatment. I started working at the age af 13 at a supermarket near my house. It is sad to remember the unjustices they used to do to me and other co workers. Now that I have grown and understand the labor force much better, I know that what they were doing was not right. I would have to work 30 hours a week with a minimum salary of 5.25. I was not able to take anything or eat something from the supermarket without paying and I only had a 30 min lunch break from a ten hour shift to eat in which I had to punch out my card. My legs would hurt a lot after standing for so long and the employers have no pity for such a young age girl. Reason why they only provided cashiers with 30 hours shifts is because they did not want to have the responsibility of having to give us benefits if we were full time. My parents thought it was a good idea for us to work to gain a sense of responsibility and learn the difficulties of life and most importantly to value our money. Unfortunately, from that I learned that I will never send my child to work under those conditions.

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My opinion on Immigrants

I think it is very pointless to say sending illegal immigrants is the best option. Immigrants are people, and I know a lot of illegal immigrants, people with personalities, some good some bad, and a lot of them work hard, and even though they don’t pay taxes because they can’t, they still contribute in other ways. They buy stuff, helping the economy, thay pay sales tax, so they do contribute money. I think the easisets way of solving the problem on immigrants would be granting them all some type of working permit so they can actually pay taxes if thats the issue. The money raised could be used in many diffferent ways to solve whatever it is that people are afraid of when talking about illegal  immigrants killing their country. America is build on immigrants! It is made of immigrants! We are all immigrants. The variety of cultures is what makes America what it is, I mean the statue of Liberty is an American symbol and was made to welcome Immigrants!

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Yates 9/15

in the readings by Yates ” Why Unions Matter” he makes the reader understand more about the labor movement that took place in the united states and the difficulties among individuals that accompanied it.  in the readings Yates, describes the different positions unions take  to make the union strong.  Yates identifies the significance  of how important it is for a union worker to maintain his dignity within his surrounding inside the working area.  by using the word dignity Yates meant by keeping respect for themselves making sure they some sort of “voice” within the place that their job takes place.  i agree with Yates on this matter because if someone especially someone small within the workplace does that have a say within the company it will eventually gather up so many voices that do not have a say within the company and may cause a strike or boycott of some sort.  people that do not have a ‘voice’ within their own working areas are typically not happy people… i know i would not be happy if my boss did not allow me to make any inputs of any kind, especially if you work long hours you do not want to be working long hours with an unhappy non motivated mood you want to be positive while you work and have a motivated intuition so you can provide your best skills to that company, these things far surpass benefits and wages because ultimately if you are not happy you will not be good at what you do which can probably give you lower income rather than if u are good at something you would get better income.

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cuny tuition

as most of us know there is a going to be a hike in tuition by next semester which is unacceptable and totally not fair to everyone that attends queens college.  the hike of tuition will be roughly 600 extra per semester and will interfere with people who do have TAP in financial aid .  i believe this is very unfair because not all people who go to queens college are supported by their families to pay off these expensive tuitions the vast of students that go to queens college can be teenagers who are supported by their parents ( like me) all the way up to single moms who are trying to get a educations and support their children at the same time and which cannot afford these rises in tuition. i do believe sadly that once people do realize that the hike of prices the attendees of people attending college will drop…but not by that much because people ultimately do need a education.  but people still receiving TAP like me will still be affected even though we are covered by financial aid which is totally uncalled for the reason why its called financial aid is to aid us paying these expensive prices in tuition… and now your trying to make our financial matters worse??!! especially during this bad economy we are in…. just dont get it and not fair at all… politics suck!

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