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Bosses Hate This One Trick

Work-to-rule is not walking away from a fight, but a different way to fight.

IN THESE TIMES EDITORS TERRY LABAN 

Illustration by Terry Laban

work • to • rule

noun

1. a disruption of operations in which workers intentionally do the precise bare minimum — down to the ​“rule”

“Work-to-rule is not walking away from a fight, but a different way to fight.” — Labor activist Jerry Tucker

Is work-to-rule the same as ​“quiet quitting”?

Yes and no. Quiet quitting entered the discourse this year as a successor to the Great Resignation, and both phrases respond to a deep anxiety that a strong labor market is actually allowing workers to — gasp — get paid more and refuse uncompensated work. 

But work-to-rule is a deliberate strategy unions have employed for decades to draw attention to grievances from protesting workers. Where strikes and walkouts can be risky (or unlawful), work-to-rule is theoretically unpunishable — because workers simply do exactly what they’re paid for.

+ How can I work-to-rule at my job?

Much like declaring bankruptcy, it doesn’t work if you just shout out your intentions.

It’s best undertaken as part of an organizing campaign to increase leverage against your boss. Are you expected to show up 20 minutes early to do unpaid prep? Your mornings are now for coffee and contemplation. Have unfinished work you usually take home? Get ready for an evening of Netflix and chill. Pesky paperwork getting you down? Start dotting your I’s and crossing your T’s.

+ Is it effective?

Like any job action, there’s no guarantee. But work-to-rule has been deployed successfully across industries throughout the decades, especially when traditional strikes aren’t an option.

In 1938, French railway workers barred from striking instead seized on a law requiring train engineers to consult crew members if there was any doubt about a bridge’s safety. Crew members began scrutinizing every bridge, incurring massive train delays and therefore gaining negotiating power.
In the 1980s, when United Auto Workers realized during contract negotiations that manufacturers were trying to provoke workers into striking — to permanently replace them with scabs — the union turned to work-to-rule, throwing production into chaos and winning a 36% wage bump over three years at one plant.

Teachers, including in Oakland, Calif., have repeatedly used work-to-rule to shine a light on the amount of unpaid labor required to keep schools running in an era of privatization and disinvestment.

There’s nothing wrong with setting better boundaries at work and maybe even making a TikTok about it. But if you really want to change your workplace (to paraphrase an old labor adage): Don’t quiet quit — organize.

[Source]

Bernie Sanders Backs Historic $18 Minimum Wage Ballot Measure in Portland, Maine

“Our greatest weapon in this fight is solidarity,” said the senator from Vermont. “The people of Portland, Maine have an incredible opportunity this Tuesday to continue our movement’s collective struggle by voting ‘Yes’ on Question D.”

Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont has endorsed what he calls an “important” citizen-initiated referendum in nearby Portland, Maine, telling supporters in an email Thursday that the city “has the potential to pass the most progressive, inclusive minimum wage initiative in the history of the United States.”

“A ‘Yes’ on Question D would raise the minimum wage for all workers to a living wage of $18 an hour—including tipped workers, workers with disabilities, youth, gig workers, and incarcerated workers,” Sanders wrote. “As you might expect, opposition from the billionaire class and the ultra-wealthy to Question D has been fierce.”

“Lobbyists like the National Restaurant Association, large corporations like Uber and Doordash, and real estate developers have collectively poured more than $600,000 into Portland on mailers, advertising, and misinformation campaigns,” Sanders continued, “all so they can continue to pay restaurant workers and gig workers subminimum wages.”

“As a result of their efforts, polling shows a very tight race,” he added. “And with only a few days to go until the vote is decided, it’s up to our progressive movement in Maine to stand together and fight to pass Question D.”

The Portland Press Herald reported that the proposal “was put on the ballot by the Maine chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America’s Livable Portland campaign, which has said it’s expected to raise wages for about 22,000 workers across the city.”

“Sanders is the latest in a flurry of last-minute endorsements secured by One Fair Wage, a national group focused on eliminating subminimum wages that allow certain workers, such as restaurant servers, to earn less than the standard minimum wage,” the newspaper noted. “Saru Jayaraman, president of One Fair Wage, said the senator has been working with that organization for years on minimum wage issues.”

Sanders urged voters to sign a petition in support of the ballot measure. Those who do so are redirected to the Maine voter information lookup service, where they can confirm their polling location.

The federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour has remained stagnant since 2009 and provides only a fraction of what a full-time worker needs to afford a modest one-bedroom rental home in the United States. The federal subminimum wage of $2.13 per hour for tipped workers has not been raised since 1991.

According to the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, a full-time worker would need to make $17.74 per hour to afford a one-bedroom apartment in Maine, meaning the statewide minimum of $12.75 ($6.38 for tipped workers) and Portland’s current minimum of $13 ($6.50 for tipped workers) are inadequate. If Portland voters approve Question D during the November 8 midterms, the city would have an $18 hourly wage floor.

“At a time when half of American workers are living paycheck to paycheck, and millions of people earn starvation wages and struggle to put food on the table, the wealthy and powerful have never had it so good,” wrote Sanders.

The Vermont progressive expanded on that point Friday in a Fox News op-ed modeling the kind of anti-corporate profiteering and pro-working class messaging he would like to see prioritized by the Democratic Party, with which he caucuses.

[Read on]


Biden Accuses GOP of ‘Rooting for Recession’ After Jobs Report

The president slammed Republicans for working to “increase prescription drug costs, health insurance costs, and energy costs while giving more tax breaks to big corporations and the very wealthy.”

President Joe Biden on Friday accused the Republican leadership of “rooting for a recession” after new Labor Department figures showed the U.S. economy added 261,000 jobs in October, more than analysts expected but down slightly from the previous month.

“Today’s jobs report—adding 261,000 jobs with the unemployment rate still at a historically low 3.7%—shows that our jobs recovery remains strong,” Biden said in a statement.

Progressive economists largely echoed that sentiment, with the caveats that hiring is cooling and wage growth is decelerating significantly, a sign that the Federal Reserve’s aggressive interest rate hikes are taking their toll on the economy and workers. Biden has declined to criticize Fed Chair Jerome Powell for actively trying to weaken the labor market, even as a growing number of Democratic lawmakers warn he is about to throw millions out of work.

In his statement Friday, the president said that “inflation is our top economic challenge” and acknowledged that “American families are feeling squeezed.”

With the midterms just days away, the president sought to draw a sharp contrast between his policy agenda and that of the GOP, which he said wants to “increase prescription drug costs, health insurance costs, and energy costs, while giving more tax breaks to big corporations and the very wealthy.”

“I’ve got a plan to bring costs down, especially for healthcare, energy, and other everyday expenses,” Biden declared. “Here’s the deal: cutting corporate taxes and allowing Big Pharma to raise prices again is the Republican inflation plan and it’s a disaster.”

The notion that the GOP is hoping for and cheering on bad economic news with the goal of capitalizing politically was echoed by other Democrats as Republican lawmakers bashed the new jobs report as “the worst of the Biden presidency” and evidence of a “Biden-induced recession.”

“MAGA Republicans’ extreme agenda would make inflation much worse: plotting to repeal lower prescription drug costs, give tax breaks to the ultra-rich, and slash Social Security and Medicare,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), chair of the congressional Joint Economic Committee, added in a statement that “stronger-than-expected GDP growth in the third quarter, which made up for all the losses incurred by the declines in the first and second quarters, reflects confidence in the resilience of the U.S. economy.”

“Republicans want to choke it all off,” Beyer added, pointing to GOP threats to use the debt ceiling as leverage to cut Social Security and Medicare if they retake control of Congress.

“They are threatening debt default and economic catastrophe to gut Social Security and Medicare, which could eliminate nearly six million jobs and cost the U.S. billions of dollars in lost economic activity,” said Beyer. “Republicans are threatening to repeal the Inflation Reduction Act, which would raise prescription drug costs and health insurance premiums. And they are planning giveaways to big corporations and the wealthy at the expense of everyday workers and families, which would stoke higher inflation and leave most U.S. households worse off.”

Republicans have made the economy, and inflation in particular, central to their midterm attacks on Democrats. But the right-wing party’s leadership and candidates have done little to spell out an alternative agenda that would bring prices down from a four-decade high—and some of their proposals, such as making former President Donald Trump’s tax cuts for the rich permanent, would exacerbate the problem.

Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik noted earlier this week that “a look at the GOP’s election manifesto, the ‘Commitment to America‘ recently issued by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), reveals no specifics. Nor have Republican candidates done so during the multitude of appearances they’ve made on cable talk shows, despite specific and pointed questions by the hosts.”

“Undoubtedly, more can be done [to combat inflation],” Hiltzik continued. “President Biden is jawboning oil companies about their huge run-up in profits, but that’s just one industry. Corporate profits have soared since mid-2020 while average worker earnings have remained muted—a little-noticed spur to inflation.”

“Has the GOP embraced those ideas? Of course not—corporate managements and the big oil companies are its patrons,” he added.

[Read on]

US, Israel Only ‘No’ Votes as UN Members Condemn Cuba Embargo for 30th Straight Year (+1 more)

Peace advocates on Thursday said that the near-unanimous vote by United Nations member states to demand an end to the US economic embargo of Cuba underscores the imperative for the Biden administration to lift the crippling 60-year blockade.

For the 30th straight year, UN General Assembly members voted in favor of a Cuban resolution condemning the embargo, first enacted during the administration of then-President John F. Kennedy, who according to close confidant and historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., wanted to unleash “the terrors of the Earth” on Cuba following Fidel Castro’s successful overthrow of a brutal U.S.-backed dictatorship.

Thursday’s vote was 185-2, with only the United States and Israel dissenting, and Ukraine and Brazil abstaining.

“The Biden administration talks about the need for a rules-based international order. Today’s UN vote clearly shows that the global community is calling on the US to lift its brutal embargo on Cuba,” CodePink cofounder Medea Benjamin said in a statement.

[Read on]


Conflicts of Interest: Rep. Ilhan Omar Adopts the War Party’s Talking Points

On COI #343, Kyle Anzalone discusses progressives in Congress supporting the war in Ukraine.

Subscribe on YouTube and audio-only.

Democratic Progressive Caucus caves to war party, Democratic electoral politics, over Ukraine negotiations letter (+1 more)

That was quick.

On Monday, 30 House Democrats representing the Congressional Democratic Caucus, sent a letter to President Biden to initiate negotiations to end the Russo Ukraine war. “We urge you to pair the military and economic support the United States has provided to Ukraine with a proactive diplomatic push, redoubling efforts to seek a realistic framework for a ceasefire.”

Finally, a tiny contingent, 13% of House Dems, got the message after 250 days of unrelenting carnage in Ukraine, with no end in sight, that only negotiations will end this war. Check that. The other way is nuclear Armageddon. It’s likely the thought of reliving the Cuban Missile Crisis 60 years ago, this time with an explosive ending, motivated their plea.

It did, however, gave those of us in the peace community, a glimmer of hope Democrats controlling Congress would begin an actual debate promoting negotiations which are the only way this war will end short of nuclear confrontation.

But within 24 hours our slim hopes were dashed when the Progressive Caucus rescinded their letter and reiterated lockstep support for no negotiations without Ukraine approval.

They wilted amid of firestorm of criticism from pro war hardliners in government and the pundit class they were abandoning Ukraine by even considering negotiations without Ukraine’s lead, input and involvement. But this maligns the carefully worded letter which promoted negotiations to achieve “a free and independent Ukraine” but that “it is America’s responsibility to pursue every diplomatic avenue to support such a solution that is acceptable to the people of Ukraine.”

But even fiercer pushback came from the Democratic power structure more obsessed to avoid even a hint of some Democrats aligning with Republicans who have promised to revisit the endless US spigot of billions to supply an endless war in Ukraine.

Former Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-chair Mark Pocan explicitly admitted the letter appeared to have aligned the Democratic Party with the presumed Republican promise to abandon Ukraine. In a preposterous non-sequitur, Pocan argued “Every war ends with diplomacy, and this one will too after Ukrainian victory.” It’s sorta like “We’ll negotiate peace…after we kill you.”

The letter was in complete accord with President Biden’s earlier statements that all wars end in negotiated settlement and unless this one does it could go nuclear, the closest we’ve come to that since the ’62 Cuban Missile Crisis

It is a tragic day for the cause of peace when even the mildest effort to promote negotiations to end a war with nuclear possibilities is stamped out with irrational fury.

What’s truly bizarre is the call for negotiations aligns with growing public weariness for endless billions fueling a war having virtually no connection whatsoever to Americans’ national self-interests, much less their immediate well-being.

Sixty years ago JFK, with infinitely more sense than his current successor Biden, resolved the Cuban Missile Crisis in 13 days. At the rate Biden and the Democrats are governing this crisis, the history of it, if we’re lucky enough to avoid nuclear destruction, may be titled “1,300 Days.”

[Source]


Puppet master Biden pulling puppet Zelensky’s negotiating strings in Ukraine

President Biden’s proxy war against Russia, using US firepower to shed endless Ukraine blood, remains an unrelenting catastrophe for over 8 months.

Tens of thousands of Ukrainians are dead or wounded. Millions have fled to safer climes. Ukraine has ceased to function as a viable state, totally dependent on US and NATO aid. We’ve poured tens of billions in weaponry into Ukraine to keep the carnage soaring with no chance of a Ukraine military victory. Upwards of a third of that weaponry never reaches the battlefield against Russia. But enough does to delay an inevitable resolution favorable to Russian security concerns. This ensures a long, bloody war.

That, tragically, is the primary US goal, to weaken Russia so they will never achieve political and economic integration into Europe. That has been the foundation of the US proxy war against Russia since the Soviet Union disbanded in 1991. Five presidents before Biden, beginning with George H.W. Bush, maintained that relatively bloodless proxy war by expanding NATO from 14 to 30 members, including former Soviet states, right up to Russia’s borders.

President Obama accelerated the march to this years’ hot war in Ukraine by greenlighting the US destruction of Ukraine democracy in 2014. Our encouragement and support of the February coup against Russian leaning Ukraine president Victor Yanukovych, set off a civil war in the Donbas, further encouraged and weaponized by America. Over 14,000 dead there when the 2015 Minsk II Accords, providing regional autonomy for the Donetsk and Luhansk, could have ended it early on. Obama, Trump and now Biden sabotaged Minsk II least it be viewed as a Russian victory in the proxy war.

But it was President Biden, for inexplicable reasons, who made Russia’s illegal, criminal invasion of Ukraine February 24, virtually inevitable. He kept dangling possible NATO membership for Ukraine, a red line Russia proclaimed we dare not cross. He totally rebuffed Russian President Putin’s December, 2021 efforts to negotiate a sensible resolution to the approaching war. Worse yet, Biden stood back as Ukraine massed thousands of elite troops near the Donbas to finish off the Russian speaking Ukrainians rightly seeking independence from the murderous Ukraine regime

As chief funder of the war, Biden is the only leader capable of negotiating a ceasefire and peace. Sadly, he’s so boxed himself and the US into total victory over Russia, the war is likely to proceed till Ukraine simply collapses regardless of America’s blank weapons check.

In a cop out for the ages, Biden insists only Ukraine President Zelensky can negotiate its end. Yet when Zelensky got on board a possible 15 point Turkey brokered agreement in March, Biden sent top UK and US officials scurrying to Kyiv to disabuse Zelensky of any settlement that does not weaken Russia in America’s self-destructive proxy war.

America’s puppet in Ukraine can’t make a move without the US pulling his strings to do as it says. We can only hope Zelensky, like Pinocchio, comes to life, throws off his US held strings and sits down at the Peace Table before reckless US string pulling destroys his country.

[Source]

Green Party Candidate Matthew Hoh On Democrats Undermining Democracy, Pelosi’s Trip To Taiwan

In this free edition of the weekly Unauthorized Disclosure podcast, Matthew Hoh returns to the show. He’s a former Marine, whistleblower, and Green Party candidate for the US Senate in North Carolina.

Matthew provides an update on his Senate campaign. The Green Party was certified by the State Board of Elections, which means candidates may appear on the ballot in November. But the Democratic Party filed a lawsuit to stop the Green Party that was condemned by a major local newspaper.

Later in the show, Matthew reacts to Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan and also comments on the US drone strike against Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and what that signified.

[Source]

DEMOCRATS’ CLIMATE BILL STILL ‘POURS GASOLINE ON THE FLAMES’

Clear-eyed critics and frontline activists say the “historic” Inflation Reduction Act is a “ransom note” from the fossil fuel industry holding our planet hostage.

BY JESSICA CORBETT

While many environmental advocates celebrate the Senate Democrats’ climate deal this week, frontline activists and more critical voices continue to note that the legislation, whatever its promises and upsides, remains an inadequate response to the global emergency that will likely further harm communities already affected by fossil fuel pollution.

The Senate approved the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in a party-line vote Sunday and it is expected to pass the Democratic-controlled House as soon as Friday.

Writing for Jacobin in the wake of the Senate vote, Branko Marcetic called for being “clear-eyed” about the package, adding that “the urge to smooth over the IRA’s serious flaws was understandable when its prospects of passing sat on a knife edge. But after passing the Senate, it’s now overcome its biggest hurdle.”

[Read on]

FBI Search Warrant: Trump Under Investigation For Espionage

Things just got as lot worse for the treasonous ex-president.

 FBI Search Warrant: Trump Under Investigation For Espionage
Credit: Composite/Howie Klein

By John Amato 

Politico is reporting that after reviewing the search warrant for Mar-A-Lago, Trump may have been in possession of documents marked with the high level classification of TS/SCI (Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information, usually reserved for the highest level of government).

The warrant shows federal law enforcement was investigating Trump for removal or destruction of records, obstruction of justice, and violating the Espionage Act. Conviction under the statutes can result in imprisonment or fines.

fbimal_warrant_and_property

There is no reason at all why any former president would be in possession of these types of top secret documents because it’s not legal for him to have them, let alone storing them in an unsecured location.

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There appears to be a possible obstruction of justice charge as well thrown in as well.

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And just for fun, Marci Wheeler writes: JOHN SOLOMON AND KASH PATEL MAY BE IMPLICATED IN THE FBI’S TRUMP-RELATED ESPIONAGE ACT INVESTIGATION

It’s a good read.

It seems like just yesterday when Republicans cheered after Ron DeSantis sent in armed FBI agents to Rebekah Jones house because she may have had Florida COVID data after the Florida governor fired her trying to allegedly covering up Florida’s COVID infections.

And she did not have top secret documents in her possession.

Reality Winner went to prison for 5 years for possessing ONE document. Trump’s got hundreds, apparently.

Read more about the documents here.

[Source]

Grieving family wants killer-cop fired

By Gloria Rubac 

Jalen Randle was only 29 years old when he was murdered by Houston cops on April 27. His parents, Tiffany Rachal and Warren Randle, want answers. They want Shane Privette, the cop who killed their son, fired and prosecuted. They want justice.

And they are using every method they can come up with to get to the truth.

There’s been a demonstration outside the Harris County District Attorney’s office. There was a march from City Hall to the Houston Police Department headquarters. There was a press conference at the courthouse. There was a town hall meeting with the HPD chief and a representative from the DA’s office.

And the parents want it known who their son was. He was a son of Pleasantville, a working-class Black neighborhood in a thriving Black community. Pleasantville was the first Black deed-restricted neighborhood in the U.S., a place where homes are passed down through families. The neighborhood was annexed by Houston in 1949 and built during the 1950s. Randle and his friends were raising their children where they grew up.

The Houston Chronicle reported June 3: “When Houston police officer Shane Privette shot Randle in the neck, Pleasantville lost a son. It lost a father and a youth sports coach. It lost an amateur veterinarian, a man who loved dogs and would help his friends give them shots when their own pets got sick.”

Jalen Randle spent his last weekend in Pleasantville, doing what he so often did — volunteering at the Judson Robinson Sr. Community Center. He spent several days a week there coaching a youth football team with friends.

When asked about the town hall meeting, Tiffany Rachal told Workers World: “I felt like Chief [Troy] Finner told us what he thought we wanted to hear. But I need action. You can talk all day long, but we need action. My question to Finner is how many bad police in your time have you released? So, we are still searching for answers.”

The next event will be Friday, Aug. 19, at 9:30 a.m. at Houston City Hall. The demands: Get Shane Privette off the streets and stop recycling bad cops.

Banner made by Jalen Randle’s friends. Credit: Gloria Rubac

[Source]

Our Entire Civilization Is Structured Around Keeping Us From Realizing We Can Do This

Listen to a reading of this article

The video footage coming out of Sri Lanka right now has been the recurring nightmare of every ruler throughout history.

Thousands of protesters outraged by the deteriorating material conditions of the nation’s economic meltdown have stormed the presidential palace of Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, and I guarantee you the aerial footage as they poured into the building en masse has made every government leader and plutocrat a little uncomfortable today.

[snipped]

Just look at that. Look at all those people flooding in there. That is some truly awe-inspiring power. Imagine how terrifying it would be to find yourself on the receiving end of it.

I don’t know enough about what’s going on in Sri Lanka yet to comment with any authority on what powers might be at play in this uprising, but I do know that every ruler throughout history has spent time envisioning what would happen if a crowd that size decided to storm their base of operation. If their numbers became too great to suppress, or if your forces who would be doing the suppressing joined the ranks of the people instead, the best-case scenario for you is that you’d have already fled the building by that point, as Rajapaksa had the good sense to do shortly before the building was stormed. If enough angry people get their hands on you, it won’t matter if they’re armed with rockets or pistols or their own bare hands; you are in for a violent end.

If you’ve ever wondered why so much energy goes into keeping everyone propagandized in our society, this is why. If you’ve ever wondered why our rulers work so hard to keep us divided against each other, this is why. If you’ve ever wondered why we’re always being instructed to take our grievances to the voting booth even though we learn in election after election that it never changes the things that most desperately need to change, this is why.

Our entire civilization is structured around preventing scenes like the one we’re seeing in Sri Lanka today. Our education systems, our political systems, our media, our online information. Religions that have been around for thousands of years because the powerful endorsed and promulgated them are full of passages extolling the virtues of obedience, poverty, meekness, and rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. From the moment we are born our heads are filled with stories about why it’s good and right to consent to the status quo and why it would be wrong to take back what has been stolen from us by a predatory ruling class.

[Read on]