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Protestors converge on Cambridge Whole Foods, attacking CEO's comments on health care reform

Cambridge —

“People
die while we wait! Tomorrow is too late!” Cries for health care reform
rang out as a crowd formed in front of Whole Foods Market on Prospect
Street on Friday afternoon. Around 4:30 p.m., a couple dozen people
gathered outside the Cambridge market to protest Whole Foods CEO John
Mackey’s recent opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, one that they felt opposed health care changes and ultimately, human rights.

In the op-ed piece, Mackey responded to Obama’s call for
constructive ideas regarding health care reform by outlining his own
suggestions for alterations to the system. In contrast to Obama’s
interest in government-funded care, Mackey emphasized the development
of high-deductible health insurance plans coupled with health savings
accounts.

His statement shocked some, who feel that health care is a necessity
for all. “He basically said: ‘If you can’t afford health care, then I
guess you can’t afford to be healthy,’” said Jake Williams, a member of
Massachusetts Jobs with Justice, which organized the protest.

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Labor and the Conventional Wisdom

By DAVID MACARAY

When regular people (and by “regular” I mean theater people—actors,
actresses and directors who do Equity Waiver-type theater in and around
Los Angeles) learn that I used to represent an industrial labor union,
they’re tempted to sidle up to me and ask labor questions.

Oddly,
over the years the two most common questions have been:  (1) Why are
labor unions so corrupt?  And (2)  Do you think unions have become too
powerful?  Because they sense that these questions could be taken as
insulting or offensive, they usually preface their queries with a
cheerful, “Don’t take this the wrong way,” or “Be honest with me now.”

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Six Ways to Reinvigorate Labor

By DAVID MACARAY

If
America’s working people are going to make any meaningful progress,
they’ll need something more promising than having the recession end. 
After all, they were disadvantaged before the recession hit (during the
so-called “boom” years), and, unless things change, they’re certain to
remain disadvantaged after we climb out of it.

Because
the government can’t or won’t do it, and because management will never
voluntarily give employees one dime more than it absolutely has to,
it’s up to organized labor to lead the charge.  Unfortunately (and for
a multitude of reasons), it’s been a while since labor has been a
significant factor in the economy.

Here are six ways unions can help themselves.

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Open letter to the University of Massachusetts

to scoop@admin.umass.edu

As a UMass graduate, I would like to like to raise my objection to your
support of a radio station, WTKK 96.9 Boston, that has refused to fire a
broadcaster, Jay Severin, after he called Mexicans primitive and stated
that their number one export was women with venereal disease. He is
currently suspended but I as decent human don’t feel that a radio
company should support indecent comments that are blatantly racist. This
is disgusting and your support of a radio station like this is just as
disgusting. To see what was said, you can watch this link.
http://www.youtube.com/watc h?v=Mh3dR5QxB5U
<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mh3dR5QxB5U>

I will be contacting other alumni to encourage them to withhold any
financial contibutions to UMass until this situation is resolved.

Thank you for your time,

Bill Bumpus '06

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Alcohol as Metaphor

By DAVID MACARAY

Some
years ago, when I was a union rep with the West Coast papermakers, I
was called in on a DOJ case (drunk on the job) to represent an employee
who was facing termination.  While DOJs were by no means common, they
weren’t exactly rare, either. 

Alcohol
cases vary dramatically in how they’re perceived.  If a professor or
judge shows up drunk, it’s amazing how sympathetic people can be.  They
become almost maternal in their concern.  Someone this
accomplished, this educated, doing something this disgraceful can mean
only one thing: the man is “fighting personal demons.”  A drunken
judge?  Oh my god, there has to be some tragic human story to explain
it.

But
let it be a factory worker who’s been drinking, and the guy is regarded
as a low-class degenerate who needs to be fired immediately.  But what
about this man’s “personal demons”?  Screw his personal demons.  He’s
fired.  Get him the hell out of here.

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Recessions and Labor Unions

 

By DAVID MACARAY

"With a
world recession, the collapse of the U.S. housing bubble, and
twenty-five years of unsound, unscrupulous and unregulated financial
policy coming home to roost, organized labor leaders knew they were
going to be in for a bumpy ride.  They weren’t wrong.  Not only are
labor unions being punished by the recession, in many instances they
are, predictably, being blamed for it." 

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