tv Cross Talk RT May 1, 2013 10:30pm-11:00pm EDT
all. her little bit of. it was. so. today is mayday also known as international workers day a celebration of the international labor movement all across the world from tokyo to it is to zimbabwe from germany to bangladesh workers took to the streets today to stand up for labor and they were rallies right here in the u.s. and cities like los angeles detroit and even montpelier vermont while workers here in america and across the globe have made great strides since the very first made
a celebration was held there are still a very long way to go in the fight for workers' rights so tonight we bring you a special bigger picture discussion on labor in america on our panel tonight are bill spriggs chief economist for the f.l. c.i.a.o. here and executive director working america and stuart a letter and union organizer who is by the way going to be signing copies of his latest book plain bigger than you are it's a great book i've read it tomorrow night at six thirty eight pm at busboys and poets on fourteenth street right here in washington d.c. so let's let's all get started it is a great book and it really is the minutes it's and you do play bigger than you are and. you know i i want to start with i want to get into the rallies that we've had around the united states but bill as the chief economist of the. i would love to hear and we just did a debate on economics and my position has always been the economy is driven from the bottom up i think that's kind of what adam smith david ricardo said and what
pretty much everybody is until ronald reagan came along and that good wages and a good strong middle class builds a good strong economy. do i have that right well that was absolutely the consensus in the united states you even put up where the republican party stood in the one nine hundred fifty s. and in the one nine hundred fifty s. yes they argued that we should raise the minimum wage they argued to protect labor unions. the consensus for the post-war era they gave us rising. productivity rising g.d.p. rising incomes and. calmly that was equal. that economy is what everybody thinks of the sort of the gold standard visit lassies through the eighty's yes in these last thirty years where we've had rising inequality falling wages falling unions fawley minimum wages
everyone is confounded by this because it has it is harder for the middle class and so while the g.d.p. has continued to grow g.d.p. per capita has continued to grow the median income of americans has been stagnant the family income has been stagnant and we're now mixes since it's killing us and this view that trickles down has had a thirty year experiment and we know it doesn't work because we've had thirty years of it and it's failed and carry on with working america working america is a great resource from the a.f.l. c.i.a.o. working america dot org is the website address and it's for people who are not members of unions who would like to have the access to the resources of in the you know have some wind behind their back and so. there are some americans now who are not members of the i mean it used to be about a third of the working force was unionized now it's under seven percent the private work force how did we go from what bill just described as
a rational functional strong middle class economy to this reaganomics. nightmare how did the american people buy this how do they swallow it how is it sold to them what do you hear from people you know so many people were sheared off of a strong economic point of view by the social wedge issues between in the seventy's in the eighty's and even into the ninety's but we find something completely different now we're in the neighborhood. every night talking to thousands of working people who don't have a union on the job and when least say are you for good jobs in a just economy they say yes i'm hurting what can i do about it and we say the only solution is strength in numbers join working america we're part of the f l c i o together we can make a change and nearly everybody signs up there's a every night people are voting with their feet to say yes we do want the kind of
economy that bill just talked about one that's based on good jobs fair wages real opportunity and that where we don't get crushed by the big banks international. finance corporations that are way out of control was your sense that the era of reaganomics and the. experiment of reaganomics. perforation your credit is coming to an end or a people are waking up from this dream well if someone is there to talk to them to give them alternatives that's what we don't have you know you're one of the lone voices tom most people they turn on the t.v. they hear a very different story and so it's that one on one communication that's what we need to real people back and they don't hear a lot about labor i mean when i grew up you know and i grew up in michigan and we had the detroit free press the detroit news and one was the democratic paper one of the probably the paper one had a labor section another had a business section i see the newspaper the labor section and you know in thirty
years you've been talking about this stuff your entire life you've been doing this work your entire life today is may day there were there were movements all over the country tell us about what's going on at the may day well one thing that's going on is that particularly in europe workers are turning against austerity measures in may courses a major way in fact. the steel of austerity is about to break the euro zone which could be a huge problem for the whole. world. and in fact right now as we speak workers in british columbia are in a provincial election if they let the new democratic party which is a progressive party then canada will have a progressive government it will be the strongest. strongest answer to austerity. it's provincial provincial election but it will tip the balance for the little
trick little tip the federal bill exactly yeah and so we're finding workers all over the world are turning against these austerity measures it is hard to break through in the united states against the debt argument but as i read somewhere today and bill could explain this better than i do. the government's debt issue is not like your family's debt issue my dad is your wage increase. and so in fact we need to find ways to grow the economy from the bottom up which is why i organizing rights and bargaining rights are so important why raising the minimum wage is so important and why the president's economic team really needs to bear down on this issue. and it's this is this phony did issue i mean the get control of
the terrible exactly right is you know they just they try to say oh our debt is almost one hundred percent of g.d.p. oh my god goes is terrible thing and i say do a mortgage on your house oh yeah i do much is the mortgage oh two hundred fifty thousand bucks how much do you make every year oh seventy five thousand dollars a year oh you're in debt five times yeah no no no no this is you know you must be you know and it's just it's a phony it's a phony baloney argument and you know the right cough cough whatever it was with the funny numbers and now they've been outed by a twenty eight year old grad student and. it turns out we know the job creators aren't creating jobs they're just investing in the stock market they're not job creators agenda word years right and so now i just read seven percent of the families united states control sixty three percent of the wealth in the united states how can the out this be satisfied with that or comfortable with that while a quarter of our kids are hungry or living in poverty meanwhile the republicans
launched an aggressive ad campaign as specifically for web sites frequented by women on tuesday the ads are going to tout the deceptively titled working families flexibility act is actually a law that would weaken overtime pay laws twenty thousand dollars ad buy or call on democrats to vote with house republicans next week on a bill to give our early private sector workers more flexibility to choose between compensatory time and cash payment for overtime work or word let's do away with the forty hour work week i mean this is this is the bottom line and and you know how overworked and underpaid are americans care what will work hours is one of the biggest issues for our members and so is trying to have a wage that pays for your bills those are the two top issues along with health care that's. what every family is struggling with but you know on an issue like come time instead of over time if all people get is what they see on t.v.
. they get confused but these are issues that can be easily explained to people when we talk to people one on one and we say you know what this is this is corporations is trying to cheat you out of overtime pay they say i don't want any of that you know i reject that in fact we had this fight in two thousand and six and working people around the country overwhelmingly rejected it and they couldn't get the bill passed bill this is you know because it isn't really come from the workers. perspective so it doesn't give you the liberty to say oh next week my child has a doctor's appointment let me take that time was it's your boss who says well you can take that to him all right so this is a flexibility from the workers perspective this is flexibility from the bosses perspective who says well you can work sixty hours this week and will figure it out later. and then later comes in it may or may not be useful or even appropriate for
you to take that time on. and the really sad thing is this is the single issue that more american workers died on strike for that any forty hour week or time for an eight and eight hour day and the right to have a union from the haymarket bombing in one thousand nine hundred six through homestead strike in one thousand nine hundred eight all the way through more workers in this the bloodiest labor history in the western world over the eight hour day and right to have a union that any other single issue so what are we going and this this of course a frontal attack on the eight hour day yeah when are we going to see. that we have a democratic president we have a democratic majority in the senate obviously can't pass and israel will consider obstructive when are we going to see card check. well. we're going to see organizing and bargaining rights like i'm in for work i don't know what form it
will be and obviously i'm not at the center of those discussions anymore karen and bill are but we're going to see legislation come forward you know want to roll back more of our i mean we have. to go to the right take the heat out of that is the secondary boy we had so you know is this a minute here bill or karen either of you know i'll tell you what's while the legislation changes what's really exciting is that working people are creating the new forms of organization that they can operate in. and to make change and it's we're beginning to see like working america that exercises power in a lot of new ways and has three million members and growing but also in these small ball bowling up kinds of forms of resistance the women who worked at weight watchers who weren't getting paid enough for the weekly sessions that they were teaching they organize the models alliance in new york which just started the
dancers on videos who organized and became a union and it's when that starts happening when they're spontaneous organizing and some of it will become a union like the video dancers and some of it will just resist but it's that's what's creating a new people or a sense out there as a great while at the back this up after the break more of tonight's bigger picture discussion on labor in america after the break.
welcome back to our special bigger picture discussion panel discussion on labor in america and the panel tonight bill spriggs chief economist of the a.f.l.-cio karen nussbaum executive director working america and story from union organizer and author and let's get back to it in bangladesh where there was this building that was built by a guy who was a local rich guy and a local politician you know both in one man and five major factories were building stuff or making garments many of them for consumption in the united states in the building collapsed several hundred at least three hundred people are dead they're
still there still looking couple thousand people managed to get out alive but it was a big deal but they immediately arrested him. he's in jail this guy. the five companies that were doing business they froze their assets and they're using those frozen assets to continue paying wages to the people who have lost their jobs because their factory fell apart meanwhile in west texas we have a fertilizer factory that had over one hundred tons of the stuff that tim mcveigh used to blow up the federal building illegally stored and you know they didn't bother telling anybody about it and i haven't heard about anybody being arrested i don't even know the name of the company that owns the stuff and i mean we have my last recollection of the statistics and i'm sure you want to you know probably knows this roughed up you had about five thousand americans a year die on the job you know people people are dying on the job all the time we
just had this you know. thirty. and always have to. fourteen hundreds were injured and we just had workable boreal day a few weeks ago when we were more realize those who work it's the biggest tragedy of all that someone kisses someone goodbye and they don't come back home because they die at work the. and it is astounding i mean the boston bombing was really horrific and it's hard for us to take that off the front page but in equal space needed to be on the front page because fourteen people died and entire town was decimated and yet as you pointed out we had someone storing chemicals that as we know were at the core of domestic terrorism why do you have that much chemical and not reported unless you're doing something that might be supporting terrorism and so the fact that these laws don't get in the forest equally is the big puzzle we
don't treat labor law. so if someone had broken and we saw a. this right so won't break the law of boston they broke a law in texas they both blew up people killed them front line workers in texas firefighters who were there trying to save the building and the homes and the elderly home that was right nearby and we lost those firefighters front line union workers trying to protect people and and we don't have the same reaction and this is the disappointing thing in our country we want to read litigate labor laws all the time with our laws and it was a senator and that there are real lives at stake at all raises the question stuart how do you have. good worker protections without workers having a say in the workplace you don't he says that are ever inspected. are in.
the mine safety health administration or union workplaces because the only workers who are safe enough on the job and who have security in there are union workers and so places like the the the place in west texas blows up blows up an entire town sixty homes and and all of that i'll never forget as long as i live the young man whose father was killed in the sago mining disaster and the morning after they declared everybody dead he said the worst thing that ever happened to mine workers was when they chased the union and the same case with the upper big branch mt mine where everybody knew twenty nine workers were killed everybody knew there was too much coal dust in the air everybody knew it was ready to explode and one front line supervisor took the rap for the company but we saw the same thing with b.p.
you know yeah all of my favorite headline by the way that came out of the was to mention the boston thing it was a tongue in cheek headline over democratic underground big letters union thaw gives a rest boston terror. group who was not always right with their knives and. i love that there was no you are as no way to believe but nobody noticed nobody mentioned that on the news nobody says you know the unionized police department of boston just solved a crime the unionized f.b.i. just solved a crime i don't get care and you see you mention that there are some some new forms of organizing some new things that are coming about that might have some impact on these issues of worker safety and worker pay i agree with stuart that people need to feel. they need to know what their rights are they need to have a little bit of information and then they need to feel like they're covered someone's got their back and that's what an organization is about i think there's a stirring out there among workers so does working america that's why we're putting
out just in a couple of days on friday we're launching fix my job dot com it's a place where you can go online and the worker can find out how to fix their job most importantly they can get the tools for how do you organize how do you talk to your coworker what kind of tactics should you use we want to arm millions of people to learn how to take action on their own and to create that. that bubbling up that's going to be essential for rebuilding our labor movement but it's coming good on you yet luck with that and build we have about a minute left what what's what do you see happening with the a.f.l.-cio and other unions around the united states going forward what's the what's the good news for some christians well i mean everyone understands the urgency of this declining membership in that we have to address it we have to find new ways like karen's organization and other ways to reach communities and workers are doing some of this
on their own that the next from labor relations act would reach taxi drivers but they won't demised on their own we have a national taxi alliance but there are a number of workers who are outside the scope of the national labor relations act domestic workers who are not included under the right to or who are specifically excluded yes and so there they are they are responding as well i want to texas is a state in which we have been seen union membership going up a right to work state even for less great working less call of i am one that doesn't allow public sector workers to actually collectively bargain but workers are expressing themselves in texas and louisiana so while we know the numbers are down and we need to respond to them and we're trying to find new ways to reach people there are people out there working hard together and unexpected places to make that happen great story thank you all for being with a key tom thanks very much happy may day there happy made. i
am i am i am i am am i. pleasure since the focus nuclear disaster first began back in march of two thousand and eleven there have been near daily updates on the condition of that stricken plant uptick dates which have been getting worse and worse pain a very dire scene at the daiichi nuclear power plant from the moment the earthquake in the tsunami devastated the plant officials have been struggling to contain the levels of radioactive waste fuel and cooling water in february for example of officials discovered a fish in a nearby water intake station for the plant that contained more than seven thousand four hundred of the recommended safe limit of radioactive cesium and now officials
are concerned that because of all the leaks power outages and glitches that have occurred the daiichi nuclear power plant could begin to break apart and cause an even worse nuclear disaster when the decades long cleanup process finally begins but despite all the chaos in japan and the continued fears of more nuclear disasters down the road here in the united states we're still rely heavily on nuclear power and to make matters worse there are twenty three general electric mark one nuclear reactors across our country the same kind of nuclear power plants that failed so miserably at fukushima these mark one reactors are located all across america from vermont to minnesota to new york to nebraska if just one of these reactors were to fail in the level of the fukushima dai ichi mark mark korda reactor it would be an unprecedented disaster but don't tell that to government officials lawmakers or nuclear power proponents who continually argue that not only
is nuclear power one of the safest forms of energy but it's also one of the cleanest in green as forms of energy events like focus noble and three mile island disprove the safety claims about nuclear power pretty well but what about the claims that it's one of the cleanest and greenest forms of energy out there proponents of nuclear power love to claim that nuclear power is a carbon free solution to climate. even obama's new energy secretary is a nuclear power lobbyist claim that the production of energy via nuclear power doesn't emit any c o two and as a result it's one of the cleanest forms of energy out there it's nonsense there is nothing clean carbon wise about nuclear power and the only thing green about it is the glowing radioactivity the nuclear power advocates argue that it's a carbon free form of energy they're failing to realize that whenever a power play is built whether it's a solar plant a wind plant or a nuclear plant so we see o two emitted as you're making the stuff that makes the
plant every form of energy production produces some amount of carbon dioxide in order to accurately calculate just how much c o t two is produced from the power plant you have to look at the entire lifecycle of the plant as well as the production of the raw materials that produce the energy that it produces with nuclear power for example that means looking at the construction of the plant the operation of the plant the maintenance and refurbishing efforts and the decommissioning and dismantling of the plants nuclear reactor and you must look at the nuclear fuel used and the process for mining refining and transporting. janwillem storm van leeuwen and philip smith nuclear energy consultants at sea data consultancy in the netherlands carried out a life cycle analyses of nuclear power plants and found on average they produce anywhere from ninety to one hundred forty grams of c o two per kilowatt hour of electricity by comparison solar power wind power and hydro electric produce
anywhere from ten to forty grams of c o two per kilowatt of electricity while gas burning power plants emit thirty thirty two three hundred sixty grams of c o two in other words nuclear energy does produce carbon dioxide and it certainly isn't the solution to curbing the devastating effects of global warming and climate change it's less than gas oil or coal but far far more than solar the fact that government officials in japan are continuing to struggle with the crippled fukushima nuclear power plants more than two years after they initially failed should be all the proof needed that nuclear power is far too volatile a form of energy to safely go. all the myths about nuclear power been to debunked it's time to shut down reactors and put an end to nuclear power worldwide and let's start that process right now right here in the u.s. no nukes and that's the way it is tonight wednesday first two thousand and thirteen and don't forget democracy begins with you get out there get back to your it.
potentially deadly blizzard taking aim for the northeast it's expected to hit stunning in a few hours from new york to maine we have team coverage of the storm. but what we're watching is the very heavy snow moving into boston proper earlier today it was very sticky you can see it start to become much more powdery down the line there's still a lot of snow out here a good place for snowball fight. jason it is kind of pretty incredible day there and even record snowfall throughout much of it might feel this long to be driving listens to the emergency vehicles there are exceptions.
good afternoon oh welcome the prime interest i'm perry and boring here and washington d.c. and here's the issues that we're tracking today. maybe we buy more maybe why i'm talking about bonds ben bernanke and the f.o. and c. announced today that the pace of q.e. purchases would depend on labor market and price inflation developments the vague new way would you give the fed up with central exit later in the year something that it's been hinting at but an employment report this morning missed expectations so it looks like the fed maintains considerable wiggle room to keep the printing presses growing for now both about our previous monetary regime under or in wave with author ben steel and a bit.