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Current Topic: Current Events

What do Stabucks and Walmart have in common?
Topic: Current Events 7:10 am EDT, May 28, 2009

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Starbucks’ nasty labor practices make the company look an awful lot like Wal-Mart. The National Labor Relations Board has repeatedly found Starbucks guilty of illegally terminating, harassing, intimidating, and discriminating against employees attempting to unionize. Starbucks has settled five labor disputes in the last few years in New York, Minnesota, and Michigan, spending millions on legal fees to avoid exposing their anti-worker ways. And Starbucks has led the charge on a so-called Employee Free Choice Act “compromise,” which would require 70 percent of workers to sign union authorization cards instead of the much more manageable 50 percent initially proposed by this legislation.

We’ve known for a while where Starbucks billionaire CEO Howard Schultz stands on unions. After all, it was Schultz who once said that if workers “had faith in me and my motives, they wouldn’t need a union.” While Starbucks pretends to be pro-barista, claiming to offer workers decent wages and health insurance, these “progressive” policies are less substantive than the company’s frothy milk-based beverages. The reality is, as Liza Featherstone has noted, Starbucks insures a lower percentage of its workers than Wal-Mart.

Less than 42 percent of Starbucks’ 127,000 baristas in the U.S. are insured by the company, whereas Wal-Mart insures 47 percent of its employees. To make matters worse, Starbucks offers its workers wages similar to those earned by Wal-Mart employees, and Starbucks does not guarantee workers set hours. Instead, the company follows an Optimal Scheduling policy that requires baristas to make themselves available 70 percent of open store hours just to work full time in any given week. This means that low-wage earning baristas do not have time to take a second job. Moreover, it precludes tens of thousands of Starbucks employees from working the 240 hours per quarter needed to qualify for the company’s health insurance.

What do Stabucks and Walmart have in common?

Argentine Professor Attacked for Sharing Philosophy Classics Online : northxsouth : free software news from latiN AMErica
Topic: Current Events 6:46 am EDT, May 28, 2009

A French publishing company, Les Editions de Minuit, has brought criminal charges against a professor in Argentina for making Spanish translations of classic works of philosophy available for free on the internet, including Nietzsche, Heidegger and Derrida. In February, Les Editions de Minuit filed a complaint which was then sent to the French Embassy in Argentina and, probably because of multilateral law enforcement treaties, the Argentina Book Chamber brought legal action against Professor Horacio Potel.

Ironically, Les Éditions de Minuit began as an underground publishing company in Paris in 1941, as part of the resistance to the German occupation of France. The Nazi occupiers controlled all media and publishing and, therefore, Les Éditions de Minuit’s founders were fighting against state control of information.

Argentine Professor Attacked for Sharing Philosophy Classics Online : northxsouth : free software news from latiN AMErica

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