MNA NewsScan, May 1, 2013: May Day!

1 May

LABOR UPDATES

CEO Pay Gap Up 1000% Since 1950    Today Fortune 500 CEOs make 204 times regular workers on average, Bloomberg found. The ratio is up from 120-to-1 in 2000, 42-to-1 in 1980 and 20-to-1 in 1950.

Worldwide May Day Rallies Thousands of low-paid workers are rallying in the streets on May Day to demand better pay and improved working conditions a week after a Bangladesh building collapse that was a grim reminder of how lax safety regulations make work a danger in poor countries.

Health Care Dominates Highest Paying Jobs (no surprise:  nurses excluded) in America   Anesthesiologists top the list with average annual pay of $232,830 as of 2012, the latest year for which official figures are available from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

House Panel OKs Minimum Wage Hike    “Where the hell are the workers in this particular argument?” Mahoney, DFL-St. Paul, asked before the measure passed. “There used to be a compact: eight hours of work, eight hours of rest and eight hours of family. … It is time America, and Minnesota, and this world, get back to that particular attitude.”

Solidarity Forever!  Listen to the worker’s anthem by Pete Seeger


Today in Labor History  – May 01

  • Mary Harris “Mother” Jones born in County Cork, Ireland – 1830 (Mother Jones: The Most Dangerous Woman in America: Her rallying cry was famous: “Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.” A century ago, Mother Jones was a celebrated organizer and agitator, the very soul of the modern American labor movement. At coal strikes, steel strikes, railroad, textile, and brewery strikes, Mother Jones was always there, stirring the workers to action and enraging the powerful. In this first biography of “the most dangerous woman in America,” Elliott J. Gorn proves why, in the words of Eugene V. Debs, Mother Jones “has won her way into the hearts of the nation’s toilers, and… will be lovingly remembered by their children and their children’s children forever.”)
  • Cigar makers in Cincinnati warn there could be a strike in the fall if factory owners continue to insist that they pay 30¢ per month for gas heat provided at work during mornings and evenings – 1883
  • Eight-hour day demonstration in Chicago and other cities begins tradition of May Day as international labor holiday – 1886
  • The Cooks’ and Waiters’ Union strikes in San Francisco, demanding one day of rest per week, a 10-hour work day and a union shop for all restaurants in the city – 1901
  • Mother Jones’ 100th birthday celebrated at the Burgess Farm in Adelphi, Md. She died six months later – 1930
  • New York City’s Empire State Building officially opens. Construction involved 3,400 workers, mostly immigrants from Europe, and hundreds of Mohawk iron workers. Five workers died during construction – 1931
  • Congress enacts amendments to the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act, extending protections to the employees of state and local governments—protections which didn’t take effect until 1985 because of court challenges and regulation-writing problems – 1974
  • The federal minimum wage rises to $2 per hour – 1974
  • Int’l Molders & Allied Workers Union merges with Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics & Allied Workers Int’l Union – 1988
  • Woodworkers of America Int’l merges with Int’l Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers – 1994
  • Int’l Leather Goods, Plastics & Novelty Workers Union merges with Service Employees Int’l Union – 1996
  • Rallies in cities across the U.S. for what organizers call “A Day Without Immigrants.” An estimated 100,000 immigrants and sympathizers gathered in San Jose, Calif., 200,000 in New York, 400,000 each in Chicago and Los Angeles. In all, there were demonstrations in at least 50 cities – 2006 (Immigrants, Unions, and the New U.S. Labor Market: In recent years, New Yorkers have been surprised to see workers they had taken for granted—Mexicans in greengroceries, West African supermarket deliverymen and South Asian limousine drivers—striking, picketing, and seeking support for better working conditions. Suddenly, businesses in New York and across the nation had changed and were now dependent upon low-paid immigrants to fill entry-level jobs.)

HEALTH CARE

Park Nicollet, HealthPartners to Build Clinic in Plymouth   The site of a former driving range in western Plymouth soon will be home to a 60,000-square-foot medical and dental clinic jointly run by Park Nicollet and HealthPartners.

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