-By Elizabeth Dwoskin
November 16, 2012- America’s biggest retailer may be in for an unexpectedly painful holiday season. Protesting low wages, spiking health care premiums, and alleged retaliation from management, Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) workers have started to walk off the job this week. First, on Wednesday, about a dozen workers in Wal-Mart’s distribution warehouses in Southern California walked out, followed the next day by 30 more from six stores in the Seattle area.
The workers, who are part of a union-backed employee coalition called Making Change at Wal-Mart, say this is the beginning of a wave of protests and strikes leading up to next week’s Black Friday. A thousand store protests are planned in Chicago, Dallas, Miami, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Milwaukee, Los Angeles, Minnesota, and Washington, D.C., the group says.
-By Kathleen Miles
November 9, 2012- Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving regarded as one of the biggest shopping days of the year, may be dramatically different this year.
Organizers are planning a nationwide strike against Walmart, the largest retailer in the world, and are banking on a new strategy: online organizing.
Labor organizers are working with social action nonprofit Engage Network as well as corporate watchdog nonprofit Corporate Action Network to pull off what they are calling a "viral" -- meaning national and spreading online -- strike.
Walmart workers interested in joining the day of action are directed to this website, either to find a store near them with an organized strike or to "adopt an event" at a store near them.
Brian Young, cofounder of the Corporate Action Network, said on a conference call coordinated by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union Thursday, that organizers cannot cover the roughly 4,000 Walmarts across the country, but enabling self-appointed leaders online has widened and decentralized the campaign.
-By Jia Lynn Yang and Tom Hamburger
November 7, 2012- The day after an election in which the U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent millions of dollars backing losing Republican candidates, executives began the brutal process of assessing what went wrong at the nation’s leading business organization.
The Chamber spent nearly $24 million to defeat several high- profile Democratic Senate candidates, including Sen. Sherrod Brown in Ohio, former governor Timothy M. Kaine in Virginia and Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. But out of 15 Senate races where the business organization put down money, only two went the Chamber’s way.
The results were not much better in the House, where the Chamber poured more than $7 million into 22 races, according to the CRP. The Chamber’s candidates picked up only four wins.
Even the Chamber’s close allies agreed that this year’s record spending yielded disappointment and exposed potential rifts in the business community just as Congress begins to tackle the so-called “fiscal cliff” and related tax and spending issues.
The One Percent is not only increasing their share of wealth — they’re using it to spread millions among political candidates who serve their interests. Example: Goldman Sachs, which gave more money than any other major American corporation to Barack Obama in 2008, is switching alliances this year; their employees have given $900,000 both to Mitt Romney’s campaign and to the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future. Why? Because, says the Wall Street Journal, the Goldman Sachs gang felt betrayed by President Obama’s modest attempts at financial reform.
To discuss how the super-rich have willfully confused their self-interest with America’s interest, Bill is joined by Rolling Stone magazine’s Matt Taibbi, who regularly shines his spotlight on scandals involving big business and government, and journalist Chrystia Freeland, author of the new book Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else.
Democracy NOW! Wal-Mart Workers in 12 States Stage Historic Strikes, Protests Against Workplace Retaliation
October 2, 2012- WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce reported an investment of $4 million to help 10 Republican congressional candidates in California and Illinois.
The advertisements all begin with a 10-second clip of Darlene Miller, the winner of the Chamber's Small Business of the Year in 2008, explaining that uncertainty over taxes and health care is preventing her from hiring more workers. Then they shift to nearly identical attacks on their intended Democratic targets, criticizing higher taxes, cuts to Medicare, health care reform and high energy costs.
The Chamber ad blitz heralds the beginning of the coming crush of third-party advertising directed at House races. Super PACs, unions, trade associations and non-profits already have spent $39 million since June on general election campaign efforts, ahead of their pace in the previous election. Over the next 30 days, these groups will spend between double and triple that amount just in House races.
Moyers & Company presents "United States of ALEC," a report on the most influential corporate-funded political force most of America has never heard of -- ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council. A national consortium of state politicians and powerful corporations, ALEC presents itself as a “nonpartisan public-private partnership”. But behind that mantra lies a vast network of corporate lobbying and political action aimed to increase corporate profits at public expense without public knowledge.
Using interviews, documents, and field reporting, the episode explores ALEC’s self-serving machine at work, acting in a way one Wisconsin politician describes as “a corporate dating service for lonely legislators and corporate special interests.”
-By Maggie Haberman
September 17, 2012- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which was up earlier in the cycle in support of Maine Republican Senate hopeful Charlie Summers, has reserved new time starting tomorrow in the state, according to two sources tracking TV air time.
The $280,000 buy goes through Sept. 30.
The NRSC recently plunked down $600,000 in the state, where they're trying to make a show after they adjusted their map in the wake of Todd Akin's controversial comments (national Republicans pulled out of Missouri a short time later when it became clear he wouldn't drop out).
Summers is facing independent Angus King, and Democratic hopeful Cynthia Dill, and hopes to pull the majority vote share over the two.
Because of partisan gridlock in Washington, the Supreme Court has become the most powerful and outspoken branch of government – decisions they make shape our democracy’s fate for generations to come. Now, one has only to look at Bush v. Gore, Citizens United, and the Affordable Care Act rulings to understand why some call it a “one-percent Court” -- dedicated by majority rule to preserving the power and influence of a minority of wealthy special interests.
The Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel and Jamie Raskin, constitutional law professor and Maryland state senator, join Bill to discuss how the uncontested power of the Supreme Court is changing our elections, our country, and our lives. The two joined forces for a special upcoming issue of The Nation entitled “The One Percent Court.”
Huffington Post: Walmart Warehouse Workers Pilgrimage For 50 Miles Over 6 Days To Protest Working Conditions
-By Kathleen Miles
September 14, 2012- In Southern California, warehouse workers who load goods for delivery to Walmart have reached a boiling point. For the first time in their history, they have walked off the job, even though their jobs are not protected by a union.
And they're still walking. The Inland Empire group began on Thursday a six-day, 50-mile march, which they are calling a "pilgrimage," to draw attention to the poor working conditions that they say they can no longer tolerate.
About 30 workers walked out of the large warehouse where they were employed in Mira Loma, Calif., and about half of them have committed to marching the full six days, Elizabeth Brennan, a spokeswoman for Warehouse Workers United, told The Huffington Post. Joining them on the march are workers from other Southern California warehouses who either have days off or have been injured on the job.