Top Five Stories You Missed Over Thanksgiving


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The War On Thanksgiving Hits American Workers

1. Walmart Workers Strike On Black Friday: The nation’s largest private employer saw strikes in nine cities on Black Friday this year. OUR Walmart, the non-union group arguing for labor protections, saw tens of thousands of people participate in 1,500 protests involving workers and their community supporters. At the same time, workers who strike could face retaliation, like being fired, for their actions. Dozens of protesters have already were arrested for their civil disobedience.

2. Whole Foods Workers Strike In Protest Of Working On Thanksgiving: Ten workers went on strike at two Whole Foods stores in Chicago on Wednesday to protest having to come to work on Thanksgiving. Matthew Camp, an employee and member of the Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago (WOOC), told Eidelson that while they work hard so people can enjoy the holiday, “we would like to be able to participate in the holiday ourselves.” He added that “it’s a question of respect.” Given that he has a shift on Thursday, he said he won’t be able to spend the holiday with his family in Texas.

3. Ruining Workers’ Thanksgivings Fails To Boost Holiday Shopping Sales: A large number of stores decided to open for Black Friday so early this year that they had hours on Thanksgiving Day itself, hoping to juice the holiday shopping season haul and necessitating that millions of workers show up to their jobs. But while sales did increase on Thanksgiving this year, that only took a bite out of Black Friday sales, failing to bring the net increase that retailers were hoping for. Overall, retail spending over the holiday weekend actually fell for the first time in at least seven years.

4. Congress Got 239 Days Off This Year, Workers Are Guaranteed Zero: Congress has just eight days on the job between now and the start of the next session on January 7, with the House coming back on today and adjourning for the year by December 13 and the Senate returning on December 9 only to most likely adjourn for the year on December 20. In total, the House will have had 239 days off this year with even more scheduled for next year. The picture is very different for the rest of Americans, however. The country doesn’t guarantee its citizens any paid vacation or holiday time off, and many workers were forced to come in on Thanksgiving.

Where The Minimum Wage Would Be If It Kept Pace With The Earnings Of The 1%: If the minimum wage had grown at the same rate as the earnings of the top one percent of Americans the federal wage floor would be more than triple the current hourly minimum of $7.25. Instead, the minimum wage has been lower than a poverty wage ever since 1982. As minimum-wage jobs have provided less and less stable economic footing for working people, the wealthiest sliver of the country has seen astronomical gains in their compensation. If instead the federal minimum wage had grown at the same rate as one-percenter earnings, it would sit at $22.62 per hour today — 212 percent higher than the current wage floor.

Stay Tuned: Coming Up This Week

Fast Food Strikes Will Hit 100 Cities On Thursday: Fast food workers will stage a one-day strike against their employers in 100 cities on Thursday. Striking workers have been organizing since August and are demanding a raise to $15 an hour and the right to form a union.

John Whitehouse, MMFA


Media Matters for America
 

The cognitive dissonance between Thanksgiving and Black Friday is well-noted, but as more retailers open on Thanksgiving instead of Friday, it’s worth remembering this weekend what being thankful really means — and what are the best ways to pass that on to others.

John Whitehouse Twitter: @existentialfish

On Leave

Lara LoganFollowing a CBS internal review, the network asked Lara Logan and producer Max McClellan to take a leave of absence after their botched 60 Minutes Benghazi segment. http://mm4a.org/Ilyhpc

On Iran And Munich

Iran AgreementConservatives have rushed to compare the the preliminary nuclear agreement with Iran to the 1938 Munich agreement. Simon Maloy explains how this comparison points to gross misunderstanding of both agreements. http://mm4a.org/187oZTM Related: As experts praise diplomatic efforts, Fox’s John Bolton calls for military strikes on Iran right now: http://mm4a.org/Ipq0Q9

Fact Checking Fox

Fox Cleveland ClinicFox News blamed Obamacare for layoffs at the Cleveland Clinic. Just one problem: there aren’t any layoffs. A spokeswoman for the Clinic explained the real story to Tyler Hansen – and noted that they’ve been trying to get Fox to correct the record. http://mm4a.org/1bPRbeV Related: Economists agree the ACA is already successful in controlling health care costs. So why is the media ignoring that? http://mm4a.org/1a4EKL2

FEATURED VIDEO

LimbaughFollowing Pope Francis’ remarks denouncing trickle-down economics and vast inequality, Rush Limbaugh lashed out at the pope: http://mm4a.org/It52jt

THANKSGIVING AND THE NRA

NRAThe NRA is gearing up for Thanksgiving by asking members to regurgitate their lies at the dinner table. http://mm4a.org/1iTNxra

HALFWAY THERE…

Fox NewsFox News finally reported on the judicial crisis facing multiple states. But they didn’t mention that Republican obstructionism caused the crisis: http://mm4a.org/1bTcHPZ

IMAGE OF THE WEEK

Obamacare, Katrina, Iraq
How A Fox Anchor Describes Obamacare

 

 

Rashad Robinson, ColorOfChange.org


WALMART
For Black Friday, speak out for striking Walmart workers.Walmart workersWrite a letter to the editor of your local paper now:Join Us

Every week, it’s more bad news for Walmart. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), charged with protecting workers’ rights to organize and demand better working conditions, just announced it will prosecute Walmart for illegal firings and threats to workers in 13 states.1 News of Walmart’s canned food drive for its own employees — who aren’t paid enough to afford Thanksgiving dinner — has gone viral.2

Walmart workers are leading a movement to end the systemic labor exploitation Walmart has made the norm.3 They’re standing up and saying no to part-time, temporary, poorly paid work that keeps our families struggling to put food on the table and holds our economy back. This week, as they engage in historic, nationwide strikes for the second Black Friday in a row, Walmart associates are putting their lives and livelihoods on the line for all of us — and they need our support.

Not everyone knows the risks Walmart associates are taking for workers everywhere this Black Friday, but there’s an easy way to fix that: Please take a moment to send a short letter to the editor of your local newspaper today showing your support for striking workers.

Despite raking in record-breaking billions in annual profits, Walmart recently got caught admitting that most of its employees make under $25,000 a year.4 And the company knows that it can afford to give workers a full 50% raise without harming its profitability — bringing take-home earnings up to $33,000 for cash-strapped associates who are now forced to depend on government, food banks and even each other to make ends meet.5

All workers are harmed by Walmart’s artificially low pay, wage theft, and aggressive reliance on intimidation tactics — up to and including illegal firings — to keep employees from speaking up for their most basic rights on the job. But as the single largest employer of Black workers in the country,6 Walmart has become a critical battleground in the fight to reverse the devastating shrinking of Black economic opportunity we’ve seen over the past few decades.7

Walmart won’t suddenly do what’s right on its own — it’s up to us to make the company pay a fair wage for a day’s work and treat its employees with basic respect. By sending a letter to the editor of your local paper — especially in communities with a Walmart store — you are providing exactly the kind of support a worker needs when making the difficult choice to leave work and stand up for all of us. It’s easy with our simple tool: click below to get talking points and writing tips, then submit your letter directly to your local paper online.

Keep Walmart’s bad behavior in the news by writing a letter to the editor of your daily paper: let your community know why you’re supporting striking workers this Black Friday.

Thanks and Peace,

–Rashad, Matt, Arisha, Aimée, Johnny, Kim and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team    November 23rd, 2013

Help support our work. ColorOfChange.org is powered by YOU — your energy and dollars. We take no money from lobbyists or large corporations that don’t share our values, and our tiny staff ensures your contributions go a long way.

References

1. “National Labor Relations Board to Prosecute Walmart For Violating Workers’ Rights,” ThinkProgress, 11-18-13 http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3087?t=9&akid=3188.1174326.mtLIG3

2. “Walmart Store Holding Thanksgiving Food Drive For Its Own Workers,” Huffington Post, 11-18-13 http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3091?t=11&akid=3188.1174326.mtLIG3

3. “Josh Eidelson: Walmart Is a Pioneer in Unionbusting,” The Nation, 11-21-12 http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3095?t=13&akid=3188.1174326.mtLIG3

4. “Why Wal-Mart can afford to give its workers a 50% raise,” CNN Money, 11-12-13 http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3089?t=15&akid=3188.1174326.mtLIG3

5. “A Higher Wage Is Possible,” Demos, 11-19-13 http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3090?t=17&akid=3188.1174326.mtLIG3

6. “Will Black Friday Be Blue for Wal-Mart?” The Root, 10-13-12 http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3094?t=19&akid=3188.1174326.mtLIG3

7. “Black workers embody the new low-wage economy,” Al Jazeera America, 09-12-13 http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3096?t=21&akid=3188.1174326.mtLIG3

the War on Holidays …


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Which Companies Are Ruining Thanksgiving For Their Workers?

It’s that time of the year: conservatives are once again decrying the non-existent War on Christmas.

Meanwhile, retailers across the country are engaged in a very real War on Thanksgiving by forcing their low-wage workers to come in and work on Thanksgiving Day so the rest of us can start shopping a few hours earlier.

Here’s the ThinkProgress guide to the War on Thanksgiving.

war_on_thanksgiving_graphic-01

Walmart: Bah, humbug


We stand on the side of Walmart workers.Humbug

Please share this image to show your support.

 

Just like the workers toiling thanklessly for Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol, Walmart employees are rewarded for their efforts with insults and disrespect.  Walmart’s notoriously poor wages and working conditions — designed to squeeze every last dollar of productivity out of its “associates” — mean workers struggle to survive on poverty wages while executives and the Walton family rake in record profits.1

On Black Friday, workers across the country told Walmart loud and clear: enough is enough. Historic protests held at over 1,000 Walmart stores demonstrated the powerful need for real change at the company.2

You and nearly 55,000 ColorOfChange members are helping us take the fight for good jobs to the next level, by demanding that Walmart’s Board meet with workers and take immediate steps to improve working conditions. Now, with the holiday shopping season in full swing — and Walmart scrambling to avoid any more negative publicity3 — it’s time to further expose America’s biggest Scrooge.

Please share this image with your friends and family: show Walmart that we demand respect for all workers.

The odds are stacked against low wage workers — many of whom are Black women. Service sector jobs continue to dominate the post-recession labor market, and they’re not going anywhere.4 This is why it’s essential we make companies like Walmart a better place to work and shop.

At the end of A Christmas Carol, Scrooge learns the importance of treating people well, and if Walmart ever hopes to be embraced as a good company, it needs to learn the same lesson. Walmart can start by ensuring that its employees work reasonable hours, have adequate health care and can support their families.

Please share this Humbug image to show Walmart workers that you support them and their demands for respect in the workplace. And when you do, please ask your friends and family to do the same.

Thanks and peace,

– Rashad, Matt, Arisha, Aimée, Kim, Johnny and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team     December 21st, 2012

P.S. Click here to download either the full-size version or the Facebook cover photo size of the image.

Help support our work. ColorOfChange.org is powered by YOU—your energy and dollars. We take no money from lobbyists or large corporations that don’t share our values, and our tiny staff ensures your contributions go a long way.

References

1. “Corporate Profits Just Hit An All-Time High, Wages Just Hit An All-Time Low,” Business Insider, 06-22-12 http://act.colorofchange.org/go/2021?t=7&akid=2762.1174326.evKS2S

2. “Walmart impoverishing and endangering workers,” The Hill, 12-07-12 http://act.colorofchange.org/go/2022?t=9&akid=2762.1174326.evKS2S

3. “Hold Walmart accountable to Black workers,” ColorOfChange.org, 11-15-12 http://act.colorofchange.org/go/2023?t=11&akid=2762.1174326.evKS2S

4. “A Fast Food Nation Fights for Living Wages — Against Long Odds,” Colorlines, 12-07-12 http://act.colorofchange.org/go/2024?t=13&akid=2762.1174326.evKS2S