Mitt Romney accused of supporting Chinese sweatshop labor

Report from the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights: 

When he was the CEO of Bain Capital and the president of its affiliated corporations, investments in Global-Tech factories directly contributed to abominable labor practices, records show.

more at  Mitt Romney accused of supporting Chinese sweatshop labor.

Advertisements

“Won’t Back Down” Film Pushes ALEC Parent Trigger Proposal | PR Watch

Follow the money…

Well-funded advocates of privatizing the nation’s education system are employing a new strategy this fall to enlist support for the cause. The emotionally engaging Hollywood film “Won’t Back Down” — set for release September 28 — portrays so-called “Parent Trigger” laws as an effective mechanism for transforming underperforming public schools. But the film’s distortion of the facts prompts a closer examination of its funders and backers and a closer look at those promoting Parent Trigger as a cure for what ails the American education system.

more at  “Won’t Back Down” Film Pushes ALEC Parent Trigger Proposal | PR Watch.

Chinese firm promoted its low-wage, low-tax liability to investors shortly before Mitt Romney made investment – Political Intelligence – A national political and campaign blog from The Boston Globe – Boston.com

Oops!

Less than two weeks before an investment firm controlled by Mitt Romney decided to invest in a China-based home appliance company, the company put out a detailed document to investors promoting itself as a low-wage, low-tax firm that would not be subject to taxes in the United States.

It used “inexpensive labor,” Global-Tech Appliances wrote in a prospectus meant to attract investors on April 8, 1998. Its location in China meant “an overall effective tax rate that may be less than that of US corporations.” It said its current operations would not be subject to “material US taxes because it should not be considered to have significant income effectively connected with a trade or business in the US.”

The company also noted its working conditions: peak production periods required six-day work weeks, and two 10-hour shifts per day in the case of the metal stamping department. The main manufacturing facility, located in Dongguan, China, included 14 buildings that served as dormitories accommodating up to 3,700 workers.

Nine days after the document was released – on April 17, 1998 — an affiliate of Bain Capital called Brookside Capital Partners Fund acquired about 6 percent of Global Tech, according to Securities and Exchange Commission documents that were first reported by Mother Jones magazine.

Romney was listed as the “sole shareholder, sole director, President and Chief Executive Officer of Brookside Inc. and thus is the controlling person of Brookside Inc.”

more at Chinese firm promoted its low-wage, low-tax liability to investors shortly before Mitt Romney made investment – Political Intelligence – A national political and campaign blog from The Boston Globe – Boston.com.

15 Quotes In Support Of Labor | Addicting Info

In honor of Labor Day, a tribute to labor by Stephen D. Foster Jr. at Addicting Info;

Labor unions are important. The American worker has a lot of things to thank the efforts of organized labor for. The 40 hour work week, pensions, health care, and the minimum wage are just a few things that unions have fought for on behalf of the American worker. Corporations are now on the verge of destroying unions and seek to strip away the right to organize and strike. To this effort, corporate bosses and their Republican puppets are falsely blaming organized labor for the problems in our economy. But labor unions are not the problem. Corporations are. The following quotes demonstrate support for labor unions. Many of them stated by former Presidents.

1.”Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”

~Abraham Lincoln

2. “Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost.” ~Ronald Reagan

3. “The laboring classes constitute the main part of our population. They should be protected in their efforts peaceably to assert their rights when endangered by aggregated capital, and all statutes on this subject should recognize the care of the State for honest toil, and be framed with a view of improving the condition of the workingman.”

~Grover Cleveland

4. “It is essential that there should be organization of labor. This is an era of organization. Capital organizes and therefore labor must organize.”

~Theodore Roosevelt

5. “If I went to work in a factory the first thing I’d do is join a union.”

~Franklin D. Roosevelt

6. “All wealth is the product of labor.”

~John Locke

7. “Let the workers organize. Let the toilers assemble. Let their crystallized voice proclaim their injustices and demand their privileges. Let all thoughtful citizens sustain them, for the future of Labor is the future of America.”

~John L. Lewis

8. “It is one of the characteristics of a free and democratic nation that it have free and independent labor unions.”

~Franklin D. Roosevelt

9. “Only a fool would try to deprive working men and working women of their right to join the union of their choice.”

~Dwight D. Eisenhower

10. “History is a great teacher. Now everyone knows that the labor movement did not diminish the strength of the nation but enlarged it. By raising the living standards of millions, labor miraculously created a market for industry and lifted the whole nation to undreamed of levels of production. Those who attack labor forget these simple truths, but history remembers them.”

~Martin Luther King Jr

11. “Although it is true that only about 20 percent of American workers are in unions, that 20 percent sets the standards across the board in salaries, benefits and working conditions. If you are making a decent salary in a non-union company, you owe that to the unions.  One thing that corporations do not do is give out money out of the goodness of their hearts.”

~Molly Ivins

12. “Every advance in this half-century:  Social Security, civil rights, Medicare, aid to education…  one after another- came with the support and leadership of American Labor.”

~Jimmy Carter

13. “The American Labor Movement has consistently demonstrated its devotion to the public interest. It is, and has been, good for all America.”

~John F. Kennedy

via 15 Quotes In Support Of Labor | Addicting Info – Creative Commons License

Critics say lax visa rules for foreign workers allow abuse by… | www.palmbeachpost.com

How much is this kind of thing affecting our jobs numbers?

The six college students from Thailand and Vietnam had paid thousands of dollars to participate in an internship program at an Orlando hotel and get hands-on experience in the hospitality business.

The State Department issued them J-1 visas, which are supposed to be used for “educational and cultural exchange.” Under the terms of the visa, the students would spend a year performing paid work in different departments of the hotel to learn the business.

But the students claim that there was no educational component to their experience, just fulltime work as housekeepers — sweeping floors and making beds. On top of that, in a lawsuit filed this year, they say the Wyndham Hotel in Orlando broke federal and Florida laws by not paying minimum wage for that work. The Wyndham denied the charges, arguing that exchange students are not covered by U.S. labor standards, and moved to have the case dismissed. But on May 7 a U.S. district court judge refused to do so.

The accusation is one of many that have emerged recently against employers who have allegedly misused guest worker and student exchange visas in order to find cheap labor overseas and avoid hiring U.S. workers.

more at Critics say lax visa rules for foreign workers allow abuse by… | www.palmbeachpost.com.

Why America — Where Only The Rich Get Richer — Is Not A Democracy

Bill Moyers has seen the rich getting richer since the 1950s, and he’s sick and tired of it.

Bill Moyers gives his take on what has happened to our democracy, using the now famous leaked Citigroup document entitled “Revisiting Plutonomy”. These are the words that so disturbed Moyers:

“Asset booms, a rising profit share and favorable treatment by market-friendly governments have allowed the rich to prosper… [and] take an increasing share of income and wealth over the last 20 years.”

“…the top 10%, particularly the top 1% of the United States – the plutonomists in our parlance – have benefited disproportionately from the recent productivity surged in the US… [and] from globalization and the productivity boom, at the relative expense of labor.”

“… [and they] are likely to get even wealthier in the coming years. Because the dynamics of plutonomy are still intact.”

Disturbing indeed.  See Bill Moyers comments at:

Why America — Where Only The Rich Get Richer — Is Not A Democracy.

Romney’s Independence Day Advice: Buy Foreign

A message from Leo W. Gerard, the international president of the United Steelworkers:

America commemorates its Independence Day this week with food, festivity and fireworks. To supply these events, Mitt Romney recommends: Buy foreign.

Americans naturally think the patriotic choice would be to buy American. But for Romney, capitalism trumps patriotism. Romney goes where the money is. He made big bucks as CEO of Bain Capital by investing in a series of companies that specialized in shipping American jobs offshore. For him, it’s fine to kill an American job as long as he can make a buck on it.

Americans must decide. Do they pledge allegiance to money-grubbing? Or do they pledge allegiance to the United States of America? If it’s the United States, then on this Independence Day, demonstrate patriotic pride by deliberately buying American. Search for that “Made in USA” label. Pick the product that will create American jobs, the one that is an investment in an American company and the American economy.

more at Romney’s Independence Day Advice: Buy Foreign.

Well, It May Be Time To Face The Fact That We Need Labor Unions… – Business Insider

Even though the author of this article claims to have “always hated labor unions”…

…we’ve now developed a bigger problem in this country.

Namely, we’ve developed inequality so extreme that it is worse than any time since the late 1920s (just before the Great Depression).

Leaving aside fairness, what this inequality does is hurt the main purchasing-power engine of the US economy–the strong middle class.

(Although the 1% likes to think of itself as investing the capital and “creating the jobs” that employ the rest of the country, this is a consensual hallucination. Jobs in this economy only exist because there are customers who can afford to buy the products. And customers can’t buy products if they don’t have any money. See: Finally, A Rich American Destroys The Fiction The Rich People Create Jobs)

So, for the sake of the economy, we have to fix this inequality problem.

more at Well, It May Be Time To Face The Fact That We Need Labor Unions… – Business Insider.

Why Europe’s Laws On Vacations Are Better Than Your Wildest Dreams (and How Badly Americans Get Screwed) | | AlterNet

The title pretty much says it all..

We work ourselves to death, while people in other countries take holidays, get family leave and have paid sick time during vacations.

more at Why Europe’s Laws On Vacations Are Better Than Your Wildest Dreams (and How Badly Americans Get Screwed) | | AlterNet.

Job Insecurity: It’s the Disease of the 21st Century – And It’s Killing Us | | AlterNet

Workers need to fight for better rights before corporations destroy the American Dream:

Research shows that the purgatory of job insecurity may be even worse for you than unemployment. And it’s turning the American Dream into a sleepwalking nightmare. From young temporary workers to middle-aged career veterans, Americans are being pushed to their physical and psychological limits in what has the makings of a major national public health crisis.

via Job Insecurity: It’s the Disease of the 21st Century – And It’s Killing Us | | AlterNet.