consultants are sandburs

Monday, January 20, 2014

Martin Luther King day thoughts turn to minimum wage. When shot, King was looking beyond purely racial issues, at labor reform, so the thought is appropriate.

It was the sanitation workers strike in Memphis that brought him there, at his peril, his knowing so, to his death, all that.

If you don't already know, here, here and here; and the "Poor People's Campaign" was formulated as a race-neutral look at poverty's evils - which did weigh more heavily in predominantly black communities but which grind as an unnecessary inhumane burden on all poverty sufferers.

It is troubling to see Minnesota's DFL foot dragging in the legislature. It is troubling to see Minnesota's organized labor bloc in the DFL more concerned selfishly rather than being in solidarity with all labor in ways that could expand a power base for lasting effectiveness. Lasting vs shrinking effectiveness.

Card check is fine and all, but what about minimum wages, guys and gals in OL? Get with an expanded agenda, please.

Recently, days ago in Minnesota, this online press opinion:

On Jan. 1, more than 2.5 million low-paid workers throughout the country got a raise. Unfortunately, none of these workers lives in Minnesota.

Thanks to minimum-wage increases that took effect on New Year’s Day in Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington, those who do the hard work of cleaning office buildings, serving food, and providing care for the elderly received a modest pay raise.

Four of these states — New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island — approved minimum-wage increases last year while the remaining nine were the result of states adopting a key policy reform known as “indexing,” which calls for automatic minimum wage increases each year to keep pace with the rising cost of living.

Last spring, Minnesota had the chance to join these 13 states by passing legislation to raise the minimum wage, currently stuck at the federal level of $7.25 per hour, or $15,000 for a full-time, year-round worker. Legislation in the Minnesota House also would have established automatic annual increases so the state’s minimum wage would keep pace with the rising cost of living.

When lawmakers return to St. Paul in late February for the next legislative session, they would do well to reflect on the opportunity our state missed by failing to pass a minimum-wage increase last year.

Those are opening paragraphs, so read it all, again, here.


Next, don't think small. Think better and bigger.

In Seattle, for an example that should shame the small-step incrementalists within Minnesota, this report, stating in part:

Socialist Alternative activists, fresh off City Councilmember Kshama Sawant’s election, passed out fliers and signs in an effort to build a mass movement for raising Seattle’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.

At the time of his death, King was fighting for higher wages, said Philip Locker, a political organizer with the Socialist Alternatives and leader in the 15 Now campaign.

“He understood that if you want to stop racism, you have to abolish poverty,” Locker said.

Inside the gymnasium, Black Panther Party founder Aaron Dixon gave a keynote address that urged people to honor King by considering which causes he would be fighting for if he were alive today.

“We are at a very critical point in America and a very critical point in the world,” Dixon said. “Anybody who is oppressed is our friend. We gotta find common cause.”

Incrementalism should be made a thing of the past. Bold approaches are best. A 15 Now campaign would resonate in much of Minnesota. The term livable wage should not be cheapened to where "livable" means bare subsistence with government help required to make ends meet. It should mean living in decent comfort, in exchange for daily labor in sometimes difficult situations. The boss can be an a**hole, but if tolerated, the indignity of too low a wage should not be adding insult to injury.

Organized labor, pitch in or be left behind in shrinking numbers moving inexorably to irrelevance and powerlessness when ALEC and allies gain strength enough to take you out, and you lack the solidarity and support of those you now ignore.

That might not be entirely a scenario which organized labor leadership wants, but it is how it is.

Like the Panther guy said in Seattle, you gotta find common cause.

As in "think small," there is this. &9.50 is not much. It is below building trade money; AFSCME money; teacher money. It's hard even for individuals alone to cut it, on $9.50 an hour. Yes, better than the presently applicable minimum wage. But if you are putting in an effort, aim higher.

Here, and here. From the last linked item, this screen capture, below. You decide, is it tokenism, or a studied view of reality; achievability vs. optimal? It just seems low, is all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Why should my hard earned tax dollars go to fund left wing socialists / communist scum politicians? Retarded assholes like franken and klobuchar & dayton.. Bring On Scott Walker 2016!