Dinner was held on May 3 at the Holiday Inn Chicago Mart
Plaza's Wolf Point ballroom, a swanky but union venue at a reasonable
downtown price. This was the 55th annual dinner, and it was not
a large affair by historical standards. But we had a good turnout,
better than last year and younger, and it was fun.
Humor played a distinctive role this
year. Bill Barclay was straightforward in his presentation of
the award to the Chicago Teachers Union. And Jesse Sharkey provided
a realistic assessment of the balance of power and the tasks
ahead for the Chicago Teachers Union. But Peg Strobel included
in her introduction of Keith Kelleher a much belated (from 2007)
greeting from Barack Obama. It was revealed that Kelleher's first
date with his wife was to a speech by Michael Harrington at Wayne
State University. Ron Baiman conspired with friends like Heather
Booth to conduct a small William McNary roast. McNary emerged
largely unsinged to warmly defend the Affordable Care Act as
game changing legislation (not everyone in the audience would
agree) and went on to provide a fascinating compare and contrast
between Bill Gates and Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth.
Amy Dean brought her own humor to the
table. For example, when describing the reaction of some labor
leaders to changes in the economy toward the end of the 20th
Century, she told the story of a farmer holding up a pig so the
pig could eat apples off the tree. Wouldn't letting the pig eat
apples off the ground be quicker? Well, may be, but what's time
to a pig?
A sincere gramercy to Rev. C.J. Hawking,
who endured weather and traffic all the way from DC to be our
Master of Ceremonies that evening.
from the Jobs Lobby
by Tom Broderick
Between the high road to prosperity
for all and the low path to continued suffering thanks to austerity,
the choice is stark. Getting people back to work or to work for
the first time is critical and it will take the federal government
to act. It will take revenue raising and will power to turn things
around for the majority of those living in America.
The financial institutions are doing
nothing to help out main street. The bailout they received for
crashing our economy has either paid handsome bonuses to those
in charge of the financial industry or has been hoarded and is
sitting pretty under the "assets" column of the various
recipients. The power and influence they held back at the beginning
of the Great Recession crisis has only grown. What ever happened
to breaking up the financial industry into segments that both
serve the people and prevent this kind of global disaster?
Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN)
re-introduced his "Inclusive Prosperity Act" (HR-1579)
last month. This Bill seeks to "impose a tax on certain
trading transactions to strengthen our financial security, reduce
market volatility, expand opportunity, and stop shrinking the
This tax, "for the people, not
on the people" is a financial transaction tax that the high
flying professional traders would pay on each transaction. It
is set at a very low rate, yet it would raise hundreds of billions
of dollars annually, up to $350 billion per year according to
In a letter to his colleagues in the
U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Ellison states that these
"funds could be used to expand opportunity and financial
security for low and moderate income families, rebuild our crumbling
physical infrastructure, and create good paying jobs."
Last year, members of Chicago DSA (CDSA),
Northeastern Illinois Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) and
Progressive Democrats of America, Chicago (PDA) began
a petition drive to enact a similar tax in Illinois although
we referred to it as a "speculation sales tax." At
the same time, National Nurses United (NNU), a nurses union,
was beginning to work on the "Robin Hood Tax," on the
national level. It makes far more sense to do this nationally,
so those of us working on the tax for Illinois have joined forces
In Illinois, we plan to promote Ellison's
"Inclusive Prosperity Act" (aka Robin Hood Tax) as
a small tax on financial speculators providing big benefits to
main street America. This Bill will raise revenue from the industry
that broke our economy to provide economic justice to the majority
When a deep water oil rig blew up in
the Gulf of Mexico, workers were killed, economic crisis ensued
and there was tremendous environmental damage done. Recovery
is still not complete. There is an effort to make those responsible
for the damage pay for the destruction they caused. I'm sure
you're familiar with signs in some shops that say "You Broke
It, You Bought It!" Well, the "too big to fail"
financial folk broke it and we bought it for them. That's not
how it should work.
Yet as I write this, not one of the
Illinois members of the U.S. Congressional Progressive Caucus
(CPC) has signed on as a co-sponsor of Ellison's HR-1579. The
three Illinois CPC members are Progressive Caucus Vice-Chair,
Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Rep. Danny Davis and Rep. Luis Gutierrez.
Last session, Rep. Davis was a co-sponsor
of Ellison's Inclusive Prosperity Act. On the day before Rep.
Ellison re-introduced the Bill for this session, three of us
met with a staff member of Rep. Davis in his office on the west
side of Chicago. We wanted to get Rep. Davis to sign on as an
original co-sponsor. This was not to be.
At the end of April, members of NNU,
CDSA, ADA and PDA, all constituents of Rep. Davis, met with him
to discuss the issue. We reminded him that he co-sponsored the
Bill in the previous Congressional session. He answered that
he wasn't planning to be a co-sponsor now because he doesn't
want to appear anti-business. Chicago's financial center is in
Rep. Davis' district.
Many businesses got nothing out of the
financial bailout and still suffer from the Great Recession.
Without getting people back to work and getting money into the
hands of working people, businesses and workers and their families
will continue to pay for the bailout and greed of the financial
We spent a long and nearly fruitless
45 minute meeting providing various reasons to co-sponsor the
Bill, but the best we could get in response was that Rep. Davis
would get together with his staff and have further discussion.
Will this discussion happen? Will it
lead to Rep. Davis adding his name as a co-sponsor to Rep. Keith
Ellison's Inclusive Prosperity Act? Rep. Ellison is Co-Chair
of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. The CPC issued an outstanding
U.S. Budget proposal dubbed the "Back to Work" budget.
This budget includes a financial transaction tax.
Whoever your U.S. Representative is,
I urge you to call them, even at their local office and urge
them to co-sponsor HR 1579, Rep. Keith Ellison's Inclusive Prosperity
Act. For those of you who are constituents of CPC members Rep.
Schakowsky, Rep. Davis or Rep. Gutierrez, local telephone numbers
Rep. Jan Schakowsky: 847 328 3409 or 773
Rep. Danny Davis: 773 533 7520.
Rep. Luis Gutierrez: 773 342 0774 or 708
Day in Chicago
by Bob Roman
The annual May Day marches and rallies
in Chicago brought together almost 10,000 participants, though
there were considerably fewer present at any one time. The big
event was the immigrants' rights march that drew from a smaller
Occupy Chicago rally in Union Park, a very small anarchist march
from the near north side, and the Illinois Labor History Society's
annual rally at the Free Speech monument in the Hay Market (DesPlaines
All this was larger than some recent
years, very much smaller than others (2006).
But compared to marches in the early 2000s which drew 100s, it
was a healthy demonstration. The secret sauce has been the immigrant
rights movement plus labor. The left is a garnish yet it would
have been bland without us.
For more about the martyrs' monument
in Forest Park, see this item in the Forest
compiled by Bob Roman
"Today's Other America"
The last Sunday of the month is when
the Oak Park Coalition for Truth
and Justice shows a pertinent film of interest at the Oak
Park Public Library. In April, this was Bill Donovan's 1999 documentary,
Michael Harrington and Today's Other America. The showing
was co-sponsored by the Greater
Oak Park DSA . Some four dozen people attended, nearly a
SRO audience for that venue, and most remained for the discussion
afterwards. Chicago DSA treasurer Peg Strobel introduced the
video. Greater Oak Park co-chair Bill Barclay and Michele Zurakowski,
the executive director of a local food pantry, made brief presentations
afterwards to begin the discussion.
Part of the turnout may have been the
result of an op-ed
on poverty, promoting the documentary, by Tom Broderick and
Peg Strobel and published in the preceding Wednesday Journal.
Michael Harrington and Today's Other
America was the last film. The
Oak Park Coalition for Truth and Justice documentary series is
recessed for the summer and will resume in September.
Episode 27 of Chicago DSA's monthly
podcast should be posted on our web site by the time you read
this. This latest episode features Bob Breving and Emily Rosenberg
discussing labor education. In particular, they talk about the
Labor Education Program that has some unique and some nearly
unique features, including a program for high schools.
The previous episode was "Organizing
Amid the Wreckage of the Wagner Act", featuring Leah Fried
of the United Electrical Workers and Stephen Yokich of Cornfield
and Feldman. They discuss so-called "right-to-work"
laws: the consequences for organizing and maintaining unions,
how the spread of these laws is a part of a broader attack on
unions, and how U.S. labor law compare with other countries.
The program includes excerpts from the question and answer session
The programs are recorded prior to our
monthly meeting. All DSA members are welcome to sit in. Check
chicagodsa.org for details or call 773.384.0327.
Chicago DSA's annual membership convention
will be on Saturday, June 8, 11:30 AM at the Chicago DSA office.
The meeting begins with the recording of the latest episode of
Talkin' Socialism. We're planning on having two members
of UNITE HERE Local 1 who will make a presentation on the Hyatt
campaign, including the effort to elect a worker representative
to Hyatt's board of directors.
Business begins at 12:30 PM. We will
be electing officers, co-chairs and a secretary, adopting a budget,
and dealing with other business. Ron Baiman will not be running
for re-election as male co-chair. For more information, call
The DSA National Convention will be
held October 25 through 27 this year, rather than in November,
and it will be hosted by the California East Bay chapter. It's
too early to know how many delegates Chicago DSA will be apportioned,
but we may be electing them in August rather than September.
It's not too early to be thinking of becoming a delegate. If
you would really like to go but have doubts about finances, the
CDSA June membership convention would be a good time to bring
up the issue of delegate subsidies.
The Young Democratic Socialists' summer
retreat will be held in Washington, DC, on August 8 through August
11. For more information, go to www.ydsusa.org.
HERE Local 1 organized a very
large protest outside the National Restaurant Association's meeting
at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place on Monday, May 20. The main
issue, the only one mentioned in most news reports, was a protest
against Penny Pritzker's nomination as Commerce Secretary. The
union has a bone to pick with Pritzker, as her Hyatt hotel chain
has been unwilling to meet the union's terms for a contract,
and it has been aggressive in outsourcing work to temp employees.
There is, in fact, a declared boycott of the hotel chain. That
was the other reason for having a protest. In having their meeting
large to-do) at the Hyatt, the National Restaurant Association
left itself open to protest, and it doesn't hurt that the industry
has a notoriously
poor labor record.
The picket line of several hundred was
overwhelmingly UNITE HERE, but GOPDSA's Tom Broderick organized
a contingent of a couple dozen to join the line. Most were not
DSA members, though there were several DSA t-shirts, caps, and
buttons on display.
has promised to raise labor issues during the confirmation process.
You can sign a petition to oppose her confirmation HERE.
April Jobs Report
In response to the April jobs report
from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Chicago Political Economy
On April 24th two groups of young people
met up on Chicago's Magnificent Mile, and it wasn't for the shopping.
One group was striking retail and fast food workers who had walked
off the job to protest low wages and demand a $15 minimum wage
for downtown workers. The other group was students protesting
Mayor Rahm Emmanuel's school closings. Many of the striking workers
were only a few years older than the students. Inequitable education
policies like those of the Chicago Public Schools fall most heavily
on low-income communities. The experience of dictates from above
disrupting neighborhoods-closing schools, firing school staff,
reducing education to performance on high stakes testingwith
no voice from those affected doesn't produce schools encourage
low-income students to assert themselves and demand a better
life for themselves and their families. Last Wednesday the youth
of Chicago taught us what we should already know, the economy
is not working for most people in the U.S.
This week, Chicago Workers' Collaborative
members filed a class action law suit against a national temporary
staffing company, Staffing Network, alleging that Staffing Network
used van drivers known as "Raiteros" to illegally charge
workers for transportation and check cashing in addition to stealing
workers' wages and then retaliating against workers for standing
up for their rights. Our members' action comes in the wake of
a series of investigative reports entitled Taken for a Ride,
issued by ProPublica and Marketplace. The reports
exposed how major corporations use staffing agencies and the
agencies' extensive system of Raiteros to illegally recruit,
deploy and steal the wages of workers residing in La Villita
(Little Village), the largest Latino community in the midwest.
Chicago Workers' Collaborative staff and worker members spent
several weeks with the ProPubica reporter, Michael Grabell, and
Marketplace reporter, Jeff Tyler, organizing dozens of interviews
with temp staffing workers exploited by name-brand companies
that make Beanie Babies, Walmart pizzas, Smirnoff and other name-brand
Last month a few hundred retail and
fast-food workers, from places like Sears, Dunkin' Donuts, and
McDonald's, walked off their jobs for a rally in downtown Chicago.
Carrying signs saying "Fight for 15" (or "Lucha
Por 15") and "We Are Worth More," these workers
make $9 or $10 an hour, at best, and they figure they're worth
at least $15.
A one-shift walk-out and protest by
a few hundred out of the thousands of such workers in the Chicago
Loop and along Michigan Avenue's Magnificent Mile cannot have
the economic impact of a traditional strike -- one that shuts
down an entire workplace or industry for an extended period of
time and, therefore, can bend an employer's will. And these workers'
chances of getting $15 an hour any time soon are worse than slim.
This "job action," bolstered by community supporters
organized by Action Now and with help from Service Employees
International Union organizers, is more in the nature of a public
protest than a "real strike." You could even call it
"a public relations stunt," but you'd be wrong to dismiss
it as inconsequential.
Students Fighting Austerity The Young Democratic Socialists
held their Winter conference in Brooklyn, NY, on February 15
through 17 this year. Jackie Sewell's account of the conference
was printed in Democratic
Left, but videos of selected portions of the event are now
posted the web:
The YDS Summer Conference will be held
August 8 through 11 in Washington, DC. More information about
it can be found HERE.
-- Labor Education
Recorded 05.11.2013: Emily Rosenberg and Bob Breving discuss
labor education. In particular, they talk about the DePaul
Labor Education Program that has some unique and some nearly
unique features, including a program for high schools. CLICK
Congress Hotel Strike Ends Chicago DSA is proud of the
role we played in supporting the striking workers, but the world's
longest strike is over. The union has made an unconditional offer
to return to work on behalf of the strikers, but, as the Local
1 press release said, "it is unclear whether any strikers
will choose to." The Congress Hotel's attorney is quoted
in the Chicago Tribune as say the hotel and union officials
are planning to meet to facilitate the next step. The Local 1
press release can be found HERE.
"No" Nominated for an Oscar for Best
Foreign Language Film, this razor-sharp satire is an amazing
story based on fact. In 1988, brutal Chilean dictator Augusto
Pinochet decides to buff up his international image by holding
a token plebiscite, with each side presenting its case in nightly
TV broadcasts. Enter René (García Bernal), a hotshot
ad man who couldn't care less about politics but senses an opportunity
to butter up his estranged leftist wife. The anti-Pinochet forces
prefer an earnest campaign dwelling on gloom and torture; René
grasps that democracy has to be sold like cola or candy or any
other commodity, with upbeat images and jaunty jingles. Director
Larraín (TONY MANERO, POST MORTEM) ingeniously shoots
the film in murky period-appropriate VHS, merging the personal
story with archival footage and the actual commercials used in
the campaign. No is playing at the Gene Siskel Film Center,
May 31 through June 6. MORE
Left Turn? by Bob Roman
In a minor masterpiece of whining over at CounterPunch,
Jeffrey St. Clair asks:
Is there a Left in America today?
There is, of course, a Left ideology,
a Left of the mind, a Left of theory and critique. But is there
a Left movement?
Does the Left exist as an oppositional
political, cultural or economic force? Is anyone intimidated
or restrained by the Left? Is there a counterforce to the grinding
machinery neoliberal capitalism and its political managers?
St. Clair counts the ways and comes
to the silence of the lambs:
One looks in vain across this vast
landscape of despair for even the dimmest flickers of real rebellion
and popular mutiny, as if surveying a nation of somnambulists.
We remain strangely impassive in the
face of our own extinction.
Bhaskar Sunkara pursues a similar theme
Socialist at In These Times:
He wasn't a household name, but for
the last half of the 20th century Michael Harrington was the
most prominent socialist in the United States. International
leaders like Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme said that
if Harrington were European, he'd be a head of state-rather than
simply a regular on late-night C-Span. William F. Buckley was
more dismissive, noting, "Being called America's foremost
socialist is like being the tallest building in Topeka, Kansas."
Sunkara goes on to call for "a
Left willing to engage with liberalism, but," he cautions:
the trends in this respect are not promising.
A peculiar brand of anarchism, prevalent during the Occupy movement,
has attracted many young activists to its ranks. Their master
plan for world change: Refuse to take power. Avoid politics.
Occupy squats and "liberate space." Celebrate liberalism's
collapse and hope something better will arise out of the rubble.
This charge might ring a bell for some.
Harrington discussed the very same conflict in a speech back
in 1971. See "On
Socialism" at the Chicago DSA web site. It's an old
But if it didn't work out back then,
it must have been Harrington's fault, says Sunkara.
A new New Deal alliance would bode well
for the liberal-Left, but playing a role in rejuvenating American
liberalism will only be a means to an end. That's where Michael
Harrington and his co-conspirators, many of whom were leaders
of the labor movement, erred. Their folly wasn't a hostility
to engagement with liberals, like that of today's anarchist youth,
but that their political strategy by design played second fiddle
to, and eventually became indistinguishable from, that of their
liberal counterparts. Given the chance during the high-water
mark of American liberalism, they were unable to build their
own institutions and struggle for dominance within the broader
Problem Is Capitalism," at In These Times, Joe
Schwartz and Maria Svart take exception to this overly easy diagnosis:
First, we must remind liberals of history.
Before social democracy retreated, socialists foresaw the dangers
of insufficiently radical reforms. In the 1970s and 1980s, European
socialist theorists such as Nicos Poulantzas and Andre Gorz joined
Harrington in warning that if the Left failed to socialize control
over investment, the corporate drive for profit would lead capital
to abandon the "social contract" compromise of the
Sunkara was being polite. After all,
it is not as if his In These Times article accused the
left of political onanism, as he did at Jacobin in "Fellow
Travelers." To solve the absence of a left, he says
will take an organizational revolution,
not just a cultural one. We're weird because we're not accountable
to any mass constituency, not because we didn't watch enough
cable growing up.
Okay, maybe that too.
But it's impossible to deny that institutionally
the socialist left is in disarray, fragmented into a million
different groupings, many of them with essentially the same politics.
It's an environment that breeds the narcissism of small differences.
In a powerless movement, the stakes aren't high enough to make
people work together and the structures aren't in place to facilitate
He goes on to call for a
convergence of American socialists committed
to non-sectarian organizing under the auspices of an overarching
democratic structure. This in itself may not seem like a significant
undertaking -- we're only talking about a few groups and a few
thousand people -- but we shouldn't let those humble beginnings
obscure the potential that a fresh start for the organized left
All this strikes me as rather similar
to Andy Stern's attempt to rationalize the labor movement. Maybe
that was a good idea and Andy Stern was the problem. But here
Socialism as a political movement
with any kind of mass constituency has been dead in America
since at least the 1970s and maybe longer. Moreover, whether
one should speak of a single movement or of several movements
is entirely arguable. Is this really worth the effort, or should
we be thinking about how socialism got its start in this country
-- like so much else, through immigrants. And that would imply
something mostly new.
Having said that, even so, where this
goes can only be a guess. It could be a new awakening. It may
be you can't get there from here. It could be the final bleats
of the lambs.
here are not necessarily endorsed by Chicago DSA but should
be of interest to DSA members, friends and other lefties.
0. DSA News
New YDS Organizer
Socialist International, Progressive Alliance, DSA and the European
It's the Taxes, Stupid
2. Ars Politica
3. Democratic Socialism
Steelworkers and Mondragon
Socialist Unity, the Movie
4. Upcoming Events of Interest
-- Someone Like Me
Recorded 06.08.2013: Meet Cathy Youngblood, a housekeeper at
the Hyatt Andaz in West Hollywood. She has been running to be
added to the Hyatt board with the support of the UNITE HERE union
through a campaign called "Someone
Like Me." Crisscrossing the country since 2012, Youngblood
has been speaking to workers and community leaders about the
need for strong worker board representation to help correct years of abuses at Hyatt.
This will, she argues, make it a better hotel for the people
who work there, the families who stay there, and the shareholders
who have seen the formidable chain decline in revenue and value
recently. Interviewed by Tom Broderick. CLICK HERE.
New YDS Organizer
My name is Neal Meyer and I got my start
in politics and organizing doing labor solidarity work in college
with Harvard's Student Labor Action Movement. We worked on two
major campaigns while I was a member: an anti-layoffs campaign
right after the recession and a "Sustainable Foods, Sustainable
Jobs" campaign to support the dining hall workers' contract
negotiations. I also studied American labor history, and I wrote
my thesis on why it mattered that the CIO organizing campaigns
of the 1930s relied so heavily on organizers who came out of
the socialist movement.
The YDS Summer Conference will be held
August 8 through 11 in Washington, DC. More information about
it can be found HERE.
Socialist International, Progressive
Alliance, DSA and the European Left Stephan Peter is a co-chair
of DSA's International Commission, an erstwhile member of the
German SDP, presently employed by Die Linke. At the DSA
International Commission web site, he writes:
Around 2011 I went to the headquarters
of the Dutch Labor Party (PvdA) in Amsterdam to meet with a staffer
from the party's International Department. I was surprised to
learn that they were collaborators in formulating a systematic
critique on the Socialist International (SI) -- a critique apparently
initiated by the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) and then
published in the 02/2011 edition of 'Intern,' a bulletin for
SPD activists and representatives.
A year earlier I served as member of
a small Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) delegation to
the SI Congress in Paris. There was a large guest delegation
from the Chinese CP present. They were permitted to address the
room. We -- a full voting member and sole U.S. representative
to the SI -- were not. A small German SPD delegation was there,
too. But not all of them stayed for the entire conference. A
friend from the International Department of the Mexican PRD complained
to me how this travel all over the world was getting difficult
to fund. It came as little surprise when SI leaders announced
that more than half the 150-party membership was behind with
Given that General Fund Deficits have
been incurred over such an extended period of time, many have
naturally concluded that overspending on services must be a major
contributing factor. The data, however, clearly indicate that
Illinois' persistent General Fund deficits are primarily caused
by its tax policy, not its service spending.
The Center also released an analysis
of Illinois' FY 2014 budget, as passed by the Illinois General
Assembly and pending the Governor's signature or veto(s). CLICK
Hothouse Rebooted Some of you may remember Hothouse,
a near-south side arts and politics space. It never entirely
went away, transforming into Portoluz,
an organization that sponsored films, panels, music, and more
without a particular venue. This may be about to change. "We
have the Hothouse back," they say. They have a relaunch
benefit party in the works: MORE
Steelworkers and Mondragon Some time ago, the United Steelworkers
and Mondragon announced a partnership to develop cooperative
enterprises in the United States. More recently, they released
not a business plan but a template for business plans. The Democracy
Collaborative's Steve Dubb interviewed Rob Witherell, who works
for the United Steelworkers as the lead liaison to the Mondragon
Cooperative, and provides some more detail on the progress to
Socialist Unity, the Movie In the New Ground 148.1,
Left Turn?", Bob Roman talked about a meeting in New
York to discuss prospects for some manner of unity on the left.
You can watch the presentations HERE.
Democratic Socialists of America (DSA)
condemns the partisan 5-4 Supreme Court decision in Shelby
County v. Holder that threatens four decades of gains in
the protection of voting rights and rights to representation
of citizens of color. Hundreds of thousands of civil rights activists
put their lives on the line to win the expansion of the suffrage.
We must not allow five Republican justices to overturn the right
to vote, a civil right which underpins the defense of all other
DSA in the News The Young Democratic Socialists
were held up as a positive example in a Ravenna, Kent & Portage
County, Ohio, Record-Courier
op-ed. Kansas City, Missouri, community radio station KKFI's
program had a half hour summary of New York's 2013 Left Forum
that included a summary of the Left Forum's history, including
DSA. We also get mentioned in blogs every day. These are almost
blogs. Almost but not quite: The
North Star reposted an Activist
post by David Duhalde that replies to some International Socialist
Organization (ISO) sniping. Also worth reading at The
North Star is this item on ISO. (DSA mentioned once in the
comments.) There is also this interview with Harlan Baker on
Larry Crane. Baker is a DSA member who worked for the Chicago
Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee back in the 1970s.
YDS Summer Conference The YDS Summer Conference will
be held August 8 through 11 in Washington, DC. More information
about it can be found HERE.
The summer, 2013, issue of Democratic Left is now available
for download. This issue focuses on the 50th anniversary of the
March on Washington. It also has an account of the Chicago Political
Economy Group. CLICK
You Belong Here
Isn't it time you paid your dues? Do it on line. CLICK HERE.
May BLS Jobs Report From the Chicago Political Economy
The labor market remained sluggish in
May. Unemployment rose from 7.5% to 7.6%, while nonfarm payroll
increased 175,000. Much of the job growth was concentrated in
retail, food services and drinking places and temporary help.
Manufacturing fell slightly.
The growth in employment is at about
the same rate as has characterized the economy over the last
year. This rate is simply not enough to make headway against
the huge damage done by the financial panic and recession that
started in late 2007. The key measure of labor market health,
the employment to population ratio remains stuck at 58.6%. That
ratio has been at this level since 2010. On the eve of the recession
the employment to population ratio was over 63%. In the 2001
recession this measure never fell below 62%. The economy remains
in deep trouble. We are treading water. Growth is barely covering
population increases. The human cost of the recession continues.
The simple logic of the numbers is that we have made no progress.
Fortress Unionism? With the passage of the Taft-Hartley
Act in 1947, organized labor has had one foot on a banana peel
and the other more existentially positioned. At Democracy,
Rich Yeselson outlines the history, the problem, and, for private
sector unions, proposes a possible approach to solving the dilemma:
By Thy Rivers Gently Glowing,
Controversial radioactive waste legislation
was introduced into the U.S. Senate today that could result in
Illinois becoming a de facto national high-level radioactive
waste dumpsite until at least 2048.
The City University of New York School
of Law's Community Economic Development (CED) Clinic has launched
a new partnership with the Mondragon Cooperatives, the largest
worker-owned cooperative in the world.
Under the new partnership, the CED Clinic,
in collaboration with Pennsylvania-based Regional Housing Legal
Services, will help launch the Pittsburgh Clean & Green Laundry,
an eco-friendly laundry based on Mondragon's cooperative model.
Pittsburgh Clean & Green aims to re-employ 100 primarily
minority laundry workers, who were laid off when their Sodexho
Corporation laundry closed. They will work in a new state-of-the-art
facility in Pittsburgh's Central District.
Going Postal, North Dakota,
and Other Financial Alternatives
At Dollars & Sense, Abby Scher reports:
Hundreds of people seeking a roadmap
for remaking the banking system gathered north of San Francisco
in early June at Public Banking 2013: Funding the New Economy,
a conference held at Dominican University, whose Green MBA program
was a cosponsor. It was the second annual gathering sponsored
by the Public Banking Institute (PBI) -- the California-based
nonprofit that is popularizing the idea of a North Dakota-style