Prog Blog’s Flickr Photostream

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Trish Hennessy writes that the Cons’ budget is based purely on wishful thinking and deliberate denial rather than any rational plan. PressProgress identifies just a few of the problems which can’t be put off for two generations, no matter how determined Joe Oliver is to push any responsible government past his own lifetime. Adam Radwanski spots what may be a ready-made mechanism for the Cons to announce pork barrel projects without counting them in the federal budget. And Stephen Tapp writes that it shouldn’t be hard for opposition parties to find fiscal (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Jim Stanford kicks off the must-read responses to the Cons’ budget with a modest list of five points deserving of public outrage, while PressProgress identifies seven points where the Cons’ spin is far out of touch with reality. Citizens for Public Justice notes that climate change and poverty are among the important issues which don’t rate so much as a mention in the Cons’ plan for an entire term in office, while Jorge Barrera reports that First Nations were also conspicuously omitted other than some cynical re-announcements. Angella MacEwen points out that any (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Jay Baron Nicorvo discusses how the myth of U.S. meritocracy serves largely as a means of funneling profits toward the 1%. And Mary Hansen points out one way of fighting back against evolving forms of corporate power – being the development of new, cooperative alternatives to businesses designed to exploit workers.

- David Korten highlights a few of the most obvious dangers in the Trans-Pacific Partnership as just the latest and most draconian agreement intended to lock anti-democratic principles in as a restriction on government decision-making. And ICIJ and the Huffington Post (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Paul Krugman laments how faith-based economics which value unmeasurable market confidence over any meaningful outcome continue to form the basis for disastrous austerity policies around the world.

- Bill Curry reports on the PBO’s latest study showing that the only reason the Cons are in a position to brag about a nominally balanced budget is their continued siphoning off of EI premiums which are supposed to be for the benefit of the many workers who have lost their jobs. And Andrew Jackson puts the Cons’ miserable jobs record in context.

- Meanwhile, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Canadians for Tax Fairness offers a checklist to allow us to determine whether the federal budget is aimed at improving matters for everybody, or only for the privileged few. And Andrew Jackson argues that the Cons’ focus should be investment in jobs and sustainable development: Business investment is likely to fall even further due to the resource slump and halted mega projects. This might be offset a bit by new investment in the hard-hit manufacturing sector and in high tech, though there is no sign of that in the most recent numbers.

In (Read more…)

Northern Insight / Perceptivity: Sliding from have to have-not

Statistics Canada provides surveys that allow analysis of employment. In my opinion, one data set that gains too little attention is the employment rate. It refers to the number of persons employed, expressed as a percentage of the total population 15 years of age and over.

When the economy is difficult and opportunities are scarce, some individuals give up the search for employment and disappear from the ranks of the unemployed. When the economy is vibrant and opportunities are plentiful, inactive individuals are drawn into the workforce.

Recent events emphasize the BC government’s lack of focus on delivering benefits to (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Eric Morath points out that a job (or even multiple jobs) can’t be taken as an assurance that a person can avoid relying on income supports and other social programs. PressProgress offers some important takeaways from the Canadian Labour Congress’ study of the low-wage workers. Angella MacEwen writes about the spread of the $15 minimum wage movement in Canada.

- Meanwhile, Carol Goar writes that while we should be looking to improve our social safety net, we need to do so while taking into account the real experience of the people relying upon (Read more…)

wmtc: today! fight for fifteen on 4-15

Today, working people across North America – and the world – will rally, demonstrate, and go on strike for two demands: fifteen and fairness.

In the US, fast-food workers are joined by childcare workers, contract (adjunct) teachers, and other low-wage earners, as this movement continues to grow. They will demonstrate in more than 50 cities. They are demanding 15 and a union: a $15/hour minimum wage and the right to organize without fear of reprisal.

In Ontario, workers will demonstrate outside the Ministry of Labour in Toronto, demanding Fifteen and Fairness: a $15/hour minimum wage, decent hours for (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Paul Krugman highlights the policy areas where we need to look to the public sector for leadership – including those such as health care and income security where we all have a strong interest in making sure that nobody’s left behind. And Andre Picard reminds us of one of the major gaps in Canada’s health care system, as expensive prescription drugs can make for a devastating barrier to needed care.

- Meanwhile, Paul Buchheit duly criticizes the combination of increasing wealth for the lucky few in the U.S., and increasing (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Lonnie Golden studies the harm done to workers by irregular schedules. And Matt Bruening comments on how Missouri, Kansas and other states are passing draconian restrictions on benefits by trying to get the middle class to envy the poor.

- Meanwhile, Scott Santens expands on the connection between increasing automation and a basic income which could ensure that people displaced from jobs by technological advancement aren’t left without a livelihood. And Sara Mojtehedzadeh talks to Guy Standing about a basic income as a means of relieving against reliance on precarious work: What is (Read more…)

wmtc: 50,000 mexican farmworkers are on strike, and almost no one in north america knows about it

Did you know that 50,000 Mexican farmworkers are on strike?

If your answer is no, you have plenty of company. The Los Angeles Times is the only English-language mainstream media venue to regularly cover the strike. Canadian media, predictably, only wants to know how it will affect food prices.

These farmworkers harvest the fruits and vegetables that fill our supermarkets and our tables. They are paid $8 per day – that’s right, not per hour, per day. They are gouged at company stores were they must purchase necessities, and see their pay routinely withheld without explanation. They are denied breaks (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- PressProgress documents how the Cons are driving Canada’s economy into the ditch. And Michael Babad reports that economists with a better grounding in reality than Stephen Harper are begging the provinces not to impose the austerity demanded by the Cons.

- Kara Santokie writes that if the Cons’ balanced-budget legislation has any effect at all, it will be to attack Canada’s social programs when they’re needed most. And Louis-Philippe Rochon sees the false balance bill as standing out even among the Cons’ bad ideas.

- Dylan Matthews questions whether workers present and (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Quebec’s Second Largest Union To Campaign Against Harper During 2015 Federal Election

The Confederation of National Trade Unions, Quebec’s second-largest labour federation, will campaign against the Harper during the 2015 federal election.

The post Quebec’s Second Largest Union To Campaign Against Harper During 2015 Federal Election appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- PressProgress exposes the Cons’ utter detachment from the realities facing Canadian workers. And Kevin Page, Stephen Tapp and Gary Mason all expose their balanced-budget legislation as being at best a distraction tactic, and at worst an incentive for governments to do exactly what they shouldn’t when the economy needs a boost from fiscal policy.

- Lu Wang reports on the ever-increasing gap between salaries and stock returns. Kaylie Tiessen points out the gap between the actual wages paid to far too many low-income workers, and the living wage required to get by (Read more…)

wmtc: what i learned at the cupe library conference

What did I learn at the CUPE Ontario Library Conference?

Technically, nothing. If learning means encountering something new, then no, this was not a learning experience.

But learning must also mean living with knowledge, absorbing it, seeing your theoretical knowledge translated into action. Understanding new configurations of that knowledge. Digesting it, assimilating it into our sense of ourselves.

In that sense, I’m learning this union stuff every day.

So here’s what I “learned”. (I learned that people are still overusing air quotes!)

All libraries everywhere have the same problems. Staffing levels are too low. Full-time jobs are disappearing. Positions (Read more…)

Canadian Dimension: Lifting Up Low-Wage Work: Global Perspectives

Image from Public Domain

Stephanie Luce is Professor of Labor Studies at the Joseph S. Murphy Institute for Worker Education, CUNY School for Professional Studies; and Professor of Sociology in the CUNY Graduate Centre. Professor Luce’s books include Fighting for a Living Wage and Labor Movements: Global Perspectives.

Low-wages are increasingly a problem for workers in many parts of the world. In the past two years, wages have remained flat in most wealthy countries and in others, average wages are still below the levels of pre-financial crisis. What do we know about the impact of minimum wage and living wage (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Noah Smith writes that the renewable energy revolution is further along than was projected just a few years ago: Each of these trends — cheaper batteries and cheaper solar electricity — is good on its own, and on the margin will help to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, with all the geopolitical drawbacks and climate harm they entail. But together, the two cost trends will add up to nothing less than a revolution in the way humankind interacts with the planet and powers civilization.

You see, the two trends reinforce each other. (Read more…)

wmtc: to ottawa for the 2015 cupe library conference

At this very moment I am on the train from Toronto to Ottawa, en route to the CUPE Library Workers Conference. This will be my first time attending this annual event. I don’t know what to expect, but I’m super excited!

Last week I was off work for a few days for my annual Spring New York City fix, and this week for the CUPE Conference. Somehow I am managing to stay on top of things at the library. Being compulsively organized has its advantages.

I’m blogging courtesy of my old netbook, the first time I’ve turned it on in (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Dean Baker reminds us that we shouldn’t let ourselves get distracted from the serious problems with inequality when defenders of the status quo try to change the subject to mobility: (M)any of the policies that would most obviously promote equality also promote growth. For example, a Fed policy committed to high employment, even at the risk of somewhat higher rates of inflation, would lead to stronger wage growth at the middle and bottom of the wage ladder, while also likely leading to more investment and growth.…It is also important to remember that (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Joe Gunn argues that it’s long past time for Canada to live up to its climate commitments. And Carol Linnitt writes that further delay will do nothing but damage to our economy and our democracy as well as our planet: Taking meaningful climate action would mean increasing green infrastructure, prioritizing sustainable cities and investing in renewable and low-carbon sources of energy.

It would also mean slowing the rate of expansion of oil and gas projects including the oilsands, which would eventually put a stop to new pipeline projects. That would come with (Read more…)

wmtc: mcdonald’s announces phony wage increase: workers rising on april 15

The resurgent workers’ movement scored a huge victory earlier this year, when Walmart announced it was raising wages - a step on the road to a true living wage and the right to unionize without fear of harassment. Other big corporations, such as Target, TJ Maxx, and Marshalls, followed with similar wage-hike announcements.

Naturally, it sounded like another important victory when McDonald’s announced it was raising wages to $10/hour… until we read the fine print. On Wednesday, McDonald’s followed the lead of fellow low-wage employer Walmart, announcing a small raise that puts its starting pay at $1 above the (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Saturday reading.

- Lana Payne writes that we’re seeing exactly the results we should expect from Stephen Harper’s foolish choice to push money upward: A recent Globe and Mail story, using data from Statistics Canada, pointed out just how poorly the job market is doing under Stephen Harper’s leadership.

“Employment growth has been below 1 per cent for 15 months in a row.  The longest stretch … outside of recessions in almost 40 years of record-keeping,” according to the article by economics reporter Tavia Grant.

At the same time, corporate Canada is flush with cash, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Margot Sanger-Katz writes about the connection between inequality and poor health. Nicolas Fitz reminds us that even people concerned about inequality may underestimate how serious it is. And BJ Siekierski asks what will happen to Canada’s economy in terms of both growth and equity as unsustainable resource and real estate booms come to an end.

- Of course, we could help matters by not burning billions of public dollars where they’re needed least. On that front, David MacDonald compares the Cons’ actual budget plans to the far more productive uses of public (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Jim Pugh argues that we should take a serious look at a basic income, while Livia Gershon examines how even a small amount of guaranteed income has made an immense difference in the lives of families in one North Carolina town. And Walter Frick observes that strong social supports are exactly what people need to be able to take entrepreneurial risks: In a 2014 paper, Olds examined the link between entrepreneurship and food stamps, and found that the expansion of the program in some states in the early 2000s increased the chance (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: A seat at the table

Richard Trumka’s address and the subsequent response panel at the Progress Summit have aptly addressed issues in trying to strengthen the grassroots of the labour movement. But Trumka’s focus on trade agreements also raises a related question which may not easily be dealt with at the grassroots level.

As I alluded to in this week’s column, governments are increasingly presuming that big businesses need to be at the table in all kinds of policy development which is even ancillary to the economy.

It may not be easy to tell our corporate overlords that they can’t have direct access to (Read more…)