Labor Day Links

September 6, 2010

Links mentioned during my guest host stint on the Labor Day Sonic Detour on WMNF.

Support Motts workers

A Successful Company

Mott’s parent company, Dr Pepper Snapple (DPS), paid CEO Larry Young $6.5 million in 2009. The company is profitable and successful with its stock rocketing 35% since their most recent earnings announcement in February of 2010. In fact, their stock price is outperforming the industry as a whole by 443% since that earnings release (as of April 2010).

A Bad Apple

Meanwhile, members of RWDSU-UFCW Local 220 in Williamson, NY, have been trying to negotiate a contract with Mott’s, a subsidiary of Dr. Pepper Snapple Group. The company has slashed wages by as much as $1.50 an hour for each and every employee, and is trying to take away the workers’ pension plan. There is no economic necessity for what the company is seeking to do. They are a profitable, growing company.

But instead of being a responsible corporate citizen, Dr. Pepper Snapple and Mott’s are looking to take advantage of the economic misery of upstate New York. They are looking to take money out of the pockets of workers not because they need to but because they feel that they can get away with it and that workers will have no choice but to accept their offer.

Learn more about the AFL-CIO and how we are fighting for the rights of all workers.

I garbled this piece by Paul Rosenberg

My grandparents were immigrants. My paternal grandfather escaped from a Tzarist prison camp. According to family legend, he was the only one who escaped who got out of Russia alive. He settled first in Philadelphia, where my father was born, and then moved to Los Angeles. He joined the ILGW, and became a shop steward. He bought a car, and a house. He became part of the middle class. His son–my father–went to a state university–UCLA–and eventually became a college professor of English, one of seven or eight languages my grandfather spoke.
This is not an unusual story. It happened tens of millions of times. It is how the American middle class was made. It wasn’t capitalism that did it. Capitalism was doing just fine with a relatively tiny middle class of managers, professionals and small business owners. Well, except for that whole Great Depression thing. And repeated “panics” throughout the 1800s, as they called them back then.

No, it wasn’t capitalism that made the modern American middle class.

It was unions.

Money wasn’t all they brought. There was dignity. Pride. Security. Respect. Solidarity. All those intangibles were extremely important. And guess what? Money spoke to all of them, as well.

We all know that unions aren’t as strong as they used to be. But how many of us realize that they are still creating America’s middle class? The difference between a union and a non-union job doing exactly the same sort of work averages more than 25%. And for Latinos it’s double that: 50%.

Read the rest at the link.

And if you missed the show, listen to the archive here. Or leave a comment and I’ll send you an mp3 of the show.

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