This Christmas, as millions of families settle in to adorn fir trees, the children of striking coal miners in Alabama have asked mainly for practical gifts. Shoes and clothes top their lists, followed by Barbies and Rainbow High dolls, Legos, Nerf guns, and makeup kits.
The capitalist vultures are wheeling low, but they’re finding slim pickings to choose from these days.
“No one wants to work!” The bosses whine about a worker shortage—though it’s one they brought about.
Eighteenth-century British economist Adam Smith noted how common it is to hear complaints about workers coming together to fight for their interests, and how rare it is to hear about all the scheming the bosses do to plunder workers’ labor.
Two thousand Washington carpenters went on strike yesterday, out of 6,600 who currently work under the master agreement with the Association of General Contractors (AGC). Five jobs were picketed, including construction projects at Facebook’s Building X, the Microsoft’s Campus in Redmond, and Alphabet’s Google.
“I didn’t know what to expect. People can talk on Facebook, but you don’t know until it’s time for people to show up,” said Joe Rice, a general foreman at Local 30.
During a typical downpour, the rainwater also pours gobs of cash in tips into the pockets of immigrant gig workers as they zip around the city delivering takeout to New Yorkers hunkering down at home. Flash flooding warnings are not a case for worry; they are signs of a boon to come, as food delivery apps like GrubHub, DoorDash, and Relay offer bonuses to entice workers to traipse through snow and rain to feed homebound residents. On these days of extreme weather, upwardly mobile customers are apt to be less stingy.
UPDATE, August 26: After 10 days on strike, high-rise window cleaners in the Twin Cities secured a new contract that creates an employer-funded, state-recognized apprenticeship program, bolsters sick days and disability pay, and includes 12 percent wage increases. Workers will earn over $30 an hour by the end of the four-year contract—wages second only to window cleaners in New York City.
A National Labor Relations Board hearing officer has recommended a rerun of the union election that Alabama Amazon warehouse workers lost by more than 2 to 1 in April.
The hearing officer sided with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, which argued that Amazon had interfered with a fair election by pushing the Postal Service to install an unmarked mailbox as a ballot-drop site, within view of company surveillance cameras. The mammoth warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, employs more than 5,000 workers.