Six Surprising Facts About The Minimum Wage

By Sahid Fawaz
The minimum wage issue is back in the spotlight again as workers are increasingly struggling to meet their basic needs. Because of inflation and a lack of Congressional action, those on minimum wage have seen their purchasing power decline dramatically, which in turn results in less demand and a weaker economy. The must-see video below, which provides six surprising facts on the minimum wage, is a timely addition to the debate on the minimum wage and its importance to a healthy economy.

Interactive: Minimum Wage Evaporates Quickly

wage calculatorBy Michael Messina

While some call the discussion about minimum wage in this country a "debate," there are many that have already discovered (or are living proof) that it is not enough to survive on. We at Labor 411 push union-made products and services because of their direct connection to providing a respectable living wage for workers in this country.

The New York Times recently published an article explaining the direct and obvious benefits of raising the minimum wage. Last month, it would seem in order to prove an obvious point in a creative way, they also created a minimum wage calculator -- an interactive experience that visually displays how quickly a year's worth of minimum wage pay gets sucked up. We encourage you to check it out here if you haven't already.

They posit the question "Can You Live on the Minimum Wage?" We know a rhetorical question when we see one.

The Faces of the Kellogg Lockout

by Sahid Fawaz

Kellogg first locked out BCTGM members from its Memphis, TN plant over five months ago. This eye-opening video, courtesy of the AFL-CIO, explores the struggles that these workers face as a consequence of Kellogg's action.

Tim Allen and the American-Made Car

by Sahid Fawaz

Actor and funny-man Tim Allen provides a sneak peek into his awesome collection of American-made cars. From a 1965 Shelby Cobra to a 1950 Cadillac to a 1996 Chevy Impala, Allen's collection speaks volumes about the timeless quality of American-made automobiles. Included as well in his collection are a couple of German cars but we won't hold that against him since the Germans use union labor to build their fine vehicles. Check out his collection via the link below courtesy of GQ Magazine:

Homemade, Union Made Cleaners

heinz-vinegarBy Guest Blogger Ashley Beard-Fosnow

"Homemade, Union Made" might sound like an oxymoron, but you can make your own natural cleaning products out of the union made ingredients that you already have on hand.

Window Cleaner: Will clean glass without leaving streaks!

1/4-1/2 teaspoon Ajax (or Palmolive) Dish Liquid

3 Tablespoons Heinz (or Speas) White Distilled Vinegar

2 Cups water

Combine ingredients into a spray bottle and shake to mix.


Income Inequality: Francis and Obama to Meet

Pope FrancisBy Michael Messina

Pope Francis and President Obama will meet for the first time next week, on March 27, presumably on common ground. The Salt Lake Tribune recently published an article speculating that the two leaders will discuss topics they know they can collaborate on, rather than their differences.

The Tribune writes:

...Francis, the first pope from Latin America, has clearly signaled that he wants the Catholic Church’s public witness to focus less on culture-war issues and more on addressing income inequality and helping the poor and society’s outcasts — which dovetails with Obama’s priorities.

We at Labor 411, and much of the nation, find income inequality a topic of major importance and agree it needs addressing. Pope Francis is fast becoming the common man's pope because of his focus on such topics.

What do you think the two leaders should discuss? Do you care what the pope thinks? Let us know in the comments!

An Anti-Union Video That Will Make You Cringe

Few things are as enlightening about the nuances of union-busting as corporations' own employee videos. These videos grossly mislead workers about unions in an effort to steer employees away from exercising their federal rights to organize and collectively bargain. For a glimpse into the videos used by the world's richest corporation, make sure to check out the video below.

The First, Laborious Steps of Change in Bangladesh

Rana Plaza collapseBy Michael Messina

A sobering reminder of the substandard labor conditions in the factories that make much of our clothing here in America (and the rest of the world) reared its ugly head almost a year ago in Bangladesh. The collapse of the Rana Plaza clothing factory in April of 2013 claimed the lives of over 1,100 workers.

The catastrophic nature of the incident sparked a movement to improve factory conditions in that part of the world. The New York Times has issued an article on the findings of the initial inspections by engineers of the Bangladesh Accord Foundation, a group created by more than 150 retailers from around the world in response to the tragedy.

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