Wal-Mart’s Mexican unit was found to have violated Mexico’s constitution when it paid a worker with electronic cards that can only be used in Wal-Mart outlets. The ruling by Mexico’s Supreme Court currently will only have impact on the one employee who brought the complaint and the court did not ask the chain to stop the practice. However, the court issued a statement that if more employees bring similar suits, the company can expect the same ruling. Up until 1911 it was common practice in Mexico for wealthy business owners to pay workers with currency that could only be used in company stores where prices on items were often inflated.
The U.S. auto industry is looking for some help from the government as Congress returns from a summer break. The industry is seeking $50 billion over three years that would be used to modernize plants and expedite the development of fuel-efficient vehicles. The loans would be used to cover 30 percent of the cost for refitting plants so they can produce a new generation of vehicles. The Presidential candidates have begun weighing in on the plan. Democratic candidate Sen. Barack Obama supports funding the injection to the full $50 billion, but Republican candidate Sen. John McCain has only expressed support for $25 billion previously authorized in 2007’s energy bill.
As a strike by 27,000 Boeing workers enters it’s third day, many employees say they are willing to stay on the picket lines “as long as it takes” in order to make the company offer a contract that is reflective of what the workers say they deserve. The workers are on the lines demanding better pay, retirement benefits, healthcare premiums, and job security. In 2005, Boeing workers struck the company for 24 days. No new negotiations are scheduled.
California Attorney General Files Suit Against Two Port Trucking Companies For Misrepresenting Workers – 09/08/08
Lawsuits have been filed against two trucking firms that operate at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach alleging misclassification of workers in order to dodge taxes and labor laws. The suit was filed by California Attorney General Edmund Brown and says the two companies “cheated the state of California out of thousands of dollars in payroll taxes.” The two companies named in the suit are Pac Anchor Transportation and Jose Maria Lira and the suit suggests some companies at the ports have been classifying regular drivers as independent contractors so they can skirt taxes. Doing so, gives the companies an unfair advantage over companies that properly identify employees.
If anyone still played that old kids’ game of “button, button, button, who’s got the button?” Dan Duncan, president of the Northern Virginia Central Labor Council, would win hands down. Duncan, one of those folks born with an oversized I-love-politics gene and, in the words of Hubert Humphrey, a “happy warrior” in election season, has a political campaign button collection of more than 2,000, dating from the 1890s to this year’s battle.
Many of those buttons—including union-endorsed candidate buttons from the 20th and 21st centuries—are now on display in the lobby at the AFL-CIO headquarters. If you’re in town, be sure to drop by. Let Dan tell you more.
For a political junkie, collecting presidential campaign pins is a wonderful hobby. You learn history. You see how issues unfold over the years. They also can be a heck of a lot more expensive—and harder to find—than baseball cards.