Friday, October 5, 2012

Updates 10/5/12

Hello everyone.

Fall break had started for me. Most people have class today, but I don't. I will be catching up on tons of reading and assignments for the past six weeks of missed classes. It's certainly going to be interesting. 


-- [Chuck] Walmart claims to be one of the best places in America to work. (Spoiler: I worked at a Walmart for almost two years. It was the first time in my life that I ever had thoughts of suicide. I wish that was a joke.) Workers are inclined to disagree, and now for the first time in its history, employees from almost a dozen stores walked off the job in protest of their extremely low wages, poor treatment, and safety issues. Walmart pulls in roughly $16 billion dollars a year in profits, yet a large percentage of their employees make so little on their paychecks that they either receive or qualify for welfare. Instead of addressing these issues, Walmart instead pours millions into PR campaigns and damage control, say labor unions.

-- [Chuck] Also concerning strikes, over two million people in Indonesia have walked off the job to fight for higher wages and to stop factories from hiring contract workers. Contract workers are hired on a yearly basis and paid no benefits, in a system called "outsourcing." This hiring practice was determined to be unconstitutional and a violation of workers' rights back in January, but the law has yet to be changed.

-- The famous photo of a young woman in Portland getting pepper sprayed in her open mouth and face has more to it than just being a portrait of the movement. The woman in the photo, Liz Nichols, is now filing suit for excessive force, alleging that the police officer first used his baton to push her back by her throat. She then shouted, and he sprayed her in the face. She is currently facing charges equivalent to a minor traffic violation. Her attorney says that the use of pepper spray was unconstitutional to begin with, as the protest was a peaceful one.

-- The Berkeley Police Department is undergoing some radical changes, as they implement new policies and limits recommended by major groups like the ACLU and due to pressure from community members. They will be limiting their participation with other law enforcement agencies, as well as surveillance and spying techniques. They will have new reporting standards, and will no longer immediately respond to calls for mutual aid, instead going through proper channels to determine if the aid is necessary. Berkeley officials say this will not cause any negative effects for the community.

-- [Chuck] Lastly, this video makes some extremely valid points. It's not a long video, but it truly has a worthwhile message. Now that I've watched it, I'm becoming more introspective by the minute. Take the time to ask yourself; What if money was no object?


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