Tony Rohr managed a Pizza Hut Restaurant. He worked for the company for more than 10 years. When the corporate office ordered him to open on Thanksgiving, Rohr refused, arguing that his workers deserved to have the holiday off. Corporate didn’t agree, and they fired Rohr. Asked if he has regrets about his actions, Rohr answered, "No, not at all," he said. "I'm glad I did that."
Tony Rohr should be an example and hero for us this Thanksgiving. Pizza Hut is a turkey.
Good advice? Once upon a time, American society offered mobility, especially to those who made the sacrifice to get a good education. Writing in Daily Kos, Laura Clawson finds that things are different now in the U.S. If you want to get ahead, there’s one path to success: Be born rich.
College graduates still have better prospects than those with less education. But the research Clawson cites has found that a person without a college degree born to rich parents is 2.5 times more likely to be wealthy than the college grad who is not born to rich parents. As Ed Schultz puts it, its all about membership in the “lucky sperm club.”
Several articles on two of my favorite websites, Daily Kos and Common Dreams¸ are reporting on or reflecting on worker actions against Walmart. I call what’s going on “worker actions” because Walmart employees have no union or rights. Hopefully worker actions will turn into consumer conscience and citizen action. We need to understand that we are all in this soup together. Exploitation of one worker demeans all of us.
Laura Clawson of Daily Kos gives us Rush Limbaugh’s take on the protest. Naturally, it’s not positive. Limbaugh whines about an assault on “capitalism and the private sector.” He never mentions how Walmart treats its employees, or how the Walton family has benefited from changes in the tax code, which makes them the biggest “Takers” of all time, beneficiaries of corporate welfare.
Meteor Blades, also from Daily Kos, covers the protests and offers links to follow the action. What I found most inspirational is that the protest are shouting, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, slave wages have got to go.” The problem is not that these good people aren’t working or working hard. The problem is that Walmart and so many other employers want to keep every damn dime, nickel, and penny. Who makes up for their miserliness? We do when our taxes pay for supplemental rent, food vouchers, and health care. We help Walmart keep its employees housed, fed, and healthy. That’s corporate welfare.
In Common Dreams, Adbusters aims its Buy Nothing Day cannon at Walmart and blows apart a company whose sole mission seems to be profit based on exploitation of workers (let’s not forget our Chinese brothers and sisters that do so much to keep the Walton Family so rich). Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich adds to a historical viewpoint to this critique. He also points out that a 1% increase in prices at retailers like Walmart would lift 700,000 people out of poverty. But that would not be fair to “Job Creators” like the Waltons. I guess freedom requires poverty and misery.
I don’t shop at Walmart or Sam’s Club or Target. I try to buy local and find new ways to shop for American-made products. Our choices can bring real freedom to many people who live poor lives so a few can be rich beyond reason or morality.
On today’s Ed Schultz radio program, Senator Bernie Sanders did a very odd thing. The most “liberal” senator quoted conservative icon Ronald Reagan: “Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit.” Senator Sanders is rallying his allies to oppose any change in benefits. He argues that Social Security is paid for by a fund that is outside the normal budget. Therefore, it should not be part of the current budget debate.
Working people need to pay attention to this debate. As fewer people have pensions and as those with 401K have less to contribute and get smaller employer matching funds, we need to think about how we will fund the years when we can no longer work. Bernie Sanders is a hero to working people. We need to stand with him and fight against big money interest that want to privatize social security so they can profit from fees. We need to have a guaranteed pension that keeps seniors out of poverty.
There is no louder or more passionate voice supporting American workers and unions than radio and TV host Ed Schultz. Ed’s been off the air for over a week, and now we’ve learned why: His wife Wendy has ovarian cancer.
As Ed has said many times on his show, Wendy “changed his heart.” Ed was a conservative. Wendy ran a social service agency, I think it was a homeless shelter or food pantry. She gave Ed a different way of looking at life and caring about people.
Now he will care for her, putting the love of his life before the cameras or the microphone. And that’s the right thing to do. We wouldn’t expect anything less from Big Eddie.
My thoughts and best wishes are with Wendy, Ed, and their family. Be well.
On his TV show, Ed Schultz interviewed Mike Daisey who traveled to investigate conditions at Apple’s manufacturing plant in 2010. He found workers as young as 12-14 years old. Daisey returned to America, wrote, and performed a monologue entitled The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,” which is he is now releasing with a common use license (the opposite of copyright), allowing anyone to perform his work.
Apple has decided to let investigators audit their plant because of consumer complaints. Daisey was a big force in their decision. His action is proof that people of conscience – including consumers – can change the lives of working people. Somewhere, Harriet Beecher Stowe is smiling.