Category Archives: Labor Issues

Joyce Carol Oates at Occupy Wall Street Day

Joyce Carol Oates at Occupy Wall Street

Joyce Carol Oates at Occupy Wall Street Day march | Flickr – Photo Sharing!.

May Day 2012

Just got back from the May Day march for workers and the 99%. The crowd looked about 200 people, diverse in age, class, race and politics. What Cheer Marching Band was there. The march route took us through the City Hall lobby and I was right next to the tuba player. That was an experience.

What was it all for? For a more fair tax system, for a stop to illegal evictions and help for homeowners, for health care, for employment, for immigration reform and an end to profiling, for youth of all colors, for education.

The march started in Armory Park with drums and music and proceeded downtown. Stops were the Providence School Department, Verizon, City Hall, Bank of America and the Federal Building.

It’s something to get that many people to come out on a chill, rainy day for over three hours. One of the signs said, ‘Another World is Possible’. Not without work and sacrifice, but possible.

Wondering Where Your Job Went? Check the Local Prison

Why hire someone for minimum wage when you can get prison labor for half the cost?  While work can be an important part of rehabilitation, we have to look at how it impacts the job market when we are turning over millions of jobs to prisoners.  From Salon.com:  21st century chain gangs.

Providence Ranked in Bottom 5 for Job Creation

You hate to see it, but Providence is really struggling to hire.  I am sure Mayor Angel Taveras is doing all he can to put us on the road to job creation, but it’s not easy when his own city is so financially strapped.  Full article:  Oklahoma City Leads Large Cities in Job Creation.

Humanities and Social Science Grad Students: Really Smart Suckers?

The case is now being made, quite strongly some might argue, that a humanities or social science Phd is not going to get you very far in life.  In fact, the analysis of graduate students by the most strident critics suggests that they are “really smart suckers” for a system that is going to screw them in the end.  That’s the argument of William Pannapacker in this piece.

If you’re in graduate school and you need to vent, you can check out the website  called “100 Reasons Not to go to Graduate School.”   The following post describes how 100 Reasons is hitting a nerve big time:  Website offers regular debates on wisdom of going to grad school | Inside Higher Ed.

Kiersten Marek:

True words spoken on education and how it will be kicked around like a football in the game of politics over the next several months.

Originally posted on :

As election season nears, grandstanding Democratic and Republican politicians will discuss the importance of educators and not teaching to a test. Then, with their empty rhetoric still in the air, they will enact laws that base evaluations on test scores, weaken due process, and inject competition. Meanwhile, many news organizations, who have failed to report on why many educators are against these things, will hail their efforts. None of these efforts will work, and the thousands of teachers and principals who have criticized these ideas will then clean up the mess.

In 1991, New York released its first set of coronary-bypass mortality numbers for cardiac surgeons, and in a 2005 report by New York Magazine, an astonishing 79 percent of doctors who do angioplasty said anonymously the mortality statistics discouraged them from taking on risky patients. Now, some want to evaluate and publish – like the New York Times and…

View original 566 more words

Salon Profiles the 99-ers

The New Agenda for America, Set by Occupy and the 99%

Occupy Providence to Be Evicted Sunday Evening, October 30, 2011

A notice has been given to Occupy Providence members and has been posted around Burnside Park: they have 72 hours to vacate or they will be evicted. Given that so many other groups have expressed solidarity with the Occupy movement, it is unclear how this is going to play out. My hope is that it plays out non-violently, and also that the movement is not diminished in its importance. There is so little space for people to rally around an important cause at this point, and corporate pressure is increasingly squeezing out the voices of the 99%. We need to keep our ears and eyes open to what the opposition is saying or we will be increasingly dominated by corporations and their single-minded goal of increasing profits.

Workplace– From Mother Jones

Mother Jones has a fine article where workers tell their stories of speedups, add-ons and working off the clock.

In my part of the warehouse, we load products like cigarettes, shampoos, or lotions into totes that get sent down the rollers to where the trucks are. We’re given orders by scanning our badges and totes into a computer system, which tells us what to pull and how quickly it has to be done. Back when I started in 1999, the rate wasn’t so bad, but for about a year, they’ve been gradually ratcheting it up. Say the old rate was 100 orders a day. Now they’re up to 160, sometimes even higher.

‘Harrowing, Heartbreaking Tales of Overworked Americans’ first-person stories from the job, whether the job is maid, teacher or doctor, the squeeze is on to do more with less.

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