Monday, September 02, 2013

Monday Morning Links

This and that for your Labour Day reading.

- Jared Bernstein writes about the fight for fair wages in the U.S. fast food and retail industries. And Karen McVeigh notes that political decision-makers are starting to try to get in front of the parade of workers seeking a reasonable standard of living:
Organisers said the strikes, scheduled a day after the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and a few days before Labor Day, were being held in 60 cities and had spread to the south – including Tampa and Raleigh – and the west, with workers in Los Angeles and San Francisco taking part.

In New York, the Democratic mayoral hopeful Christine Quinn took part in a march with several hundred workers and protesters before entering a McDonald's near the Empire State Building on Thursday morning.
The US labour secretary, Thomas Perez, said the strikes showed the need to raise the minimum wage. Perez told the Associated Press that for too many people, "the rungs on the ladder of opportunity are feeling further and further apart."
- But there's always room for the labour movement itself to work on being more responsive to the needs of rank-and-file members and marginalized workers - as both Glenn Wheeler and Kev point out.

- Meanwhile, pogge notes that there's still a stark gap in Ontario between perpetually-expanding profits for the banksters, and austerity being imposed on the poor. Joseph Stiglitz observes the risk that Australia may abandon a highly successful stimulus program to follow the same path of austerity that's led to so much misery elsewhere around the globe. And Mark Taliano reminds us that the Trans-Pacific Partnership represents just another effort by the Cons to shift decision-making power away from citizens and toward the corporate sector.

- Justin McCurry reports that the Fukushima nuclear power plant is emitting 18 times as much radiation as previously claimed - and that nobody seems to be able to figure out why. And Mike de Souza highlights a similar lack of risk management and regulation in dealing with the ongoing Cold Lake oil spill.

- Finally, Erin Weir draws a needed distinction between social insurance which protects everybody's interests and self-insurance which protects only those who can afford it - and finds former Con cabinet minister Monte Solberg trying to push us toward the latter model.

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