The TSA May Unionize

Whew! There’s a LOT of worker-news today. (Readers: Don’t expect every day to be as productive as this one.)

The TSA (Transportation Security Administration) is responsible for, among other things, hiring the people who screen your luggage at the airport whenever you fly. For months, security analysts have been blasting these screeners for being poorly trained and the TSA for understaffing the program. The Bush Administration refused to respond to these charges, much less do anything to correct them (so what else is new?) and a union – the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) – is stepping in to do it for them by organizing the TSA’s non-union workforce. Continue reading

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Stealing Tips

In case you’re still cherishing some vain hope that the corporatocracy isn’t as rotten as it seems to be, you’d better have a look at this: Continue reading

Wal-Mart’s Phony Health Care

An internal study by Wal-Mart released today says that almost half of its employees don’t use the health care plan they offer.

Uh-huh.

This requires some explanation of exactly what they offer – or, more accurately, don’t offer – along with a little translating of Wal-Mart’s spokeswoman’s, um, analysis.

About 90 percent of Wal-Mart employees have health-care coverage, but 43 percent do not get it from the mammoth retailer, relying instead on benefits from a spouse, federal programs or even their parents, according to an internal survey the company made public yesterday.Wal-Mart employs more than 1.3 million people in the United States, making it one of the country’s largest employers. The company surveyed more than 200,000 workers during the fall open-enrollment period for health benefits, the retailer’s first effort to capture such data as it faces criticism from labor unions that accuse it of paying low wages and skimping on health benefits.

According to the report, 22 percent of employees receive health benefits under a spouse’s plan. Nearly 5 percent are on Medicare. Four percent are insured through their parents, school or college. About 2 percent are covered by Medicaid, and another 1 percent use an alternate state program.

The reasons for this are very simple: Wal-Mart’s health insurance plan is a joke. Continue reading

The Minimum Wage: Not the End of the World as We Know It

Well, they did it. The House passed a bill to hike the minimum wage for the first time in ten years.

The House yesterday overwhelmingly approved the first increase in the federal minimum wage in nearly a decade, boosting the wages of the lowest-paid American workers from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour over the next two years.The 315 to 116 vote could begin the process of ending Congress’s longest stretch without a minimum-wage increase since the mandatory minimum was created in 1938. In the past decade, inflation has depleted the value of the minimum wage to the lowest level in more than 50 years.

The bill now goes to the Senate, wherein lies the rub, you see. The Senate has its own version pending, and unlike the House bill, theirs tacks on yet more business tax breaks. Continue reading