Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

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Alan Maki

Alan Maki
Doing research at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

A program for real change...


What we need is a "21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity" which would make it a mandatory requirement that the president and Congress attain and maintain full employment.

"Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens"

- Ben Franklin

Let's talk...

Let's talk...

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Protesters target St. Cloud temp agency office



Protesters gathered at the St. Cloud office of a temporary-employment agency Tuesday morning to decry what they call its shoddy treatment of local workers.
More than 40 protesters lined 25th Avenue South outside the St. Cloud office of The Work Connection, a St. Paul-based agency. They said the agency uses what they call an unfair practice of paying workers with debit cards, has fired workers without just cause and treats many workers, particularly Somali workers, with disrespect.
The event was organized by the Greater Minnesota Worker Center, a new St. Cloud-based group that aims to help low-wage workers get better pay and working conditions.
Some concerns voiced at the protest were leveled at temp agencies in general. Protesters say employers’ increasing use of the agencies creates another hurdle for low-income workers to find reliable employment.
The Work Connection was targeted because protesters said it’s widely recognized by area workers as the most difficult to work with among local temp agencies.
Protesters also called on St. Cloud-based GNP Company, which they said contracts with The Work Connection, to halt that practice and begin hiring workers directly.
The protesters compiled a list of their concerns and delivered it to The Work Connection staff. Jeff Wold, vice president of the company, said it will review the complaints and take action if needed.
We’re committed to fairness; we’re committed to treating people with respect,” Wold said.
Follow Mark Sommerhauser on Twitter @msommerhauser.

My "Letter to the Editor" submitted to the St. Cloud Times for publication.

I read with interest your article about people protesting the treatment of workers by a temp agency.

Mistreatment of workers seems to have become the "new normal" during these tough economic times when employers seem to think they have the upper hand because of the huge pool of unemployed workers they can hire from.

The issue of what the Minimum Wage should be has come up all across the state as the Democrats have thumbed their noses at workers without providing any increase in the present miserly Minimum Wage.

We need a Minimum Wage legislatively tied to all cost of living factors. Why should any worker have to work for less than what it cost to live--- and this is substantially more than $9.50 an hour.

The increase is needed now; not in 2015.

And these temp agencies raise another important issue: part-time employment.

If production in this country is going to continue using part-time workers than it is high time we consider providing all workers a guaranteed annual income providing a standard of living substantially above the poverty level.

What we really need is a full-employment economy and we aren't going to get that unless the politicians who campaign on a platform of "jobs, jobs, jobs" are forced by legislative mandate to be responsible for attaining and maintaining full employment.

If these Wall Street bribed politicians in Washington would put as much effort into creating jobs than the time they spend getting us into these dirty wars we would have a pretty decent country to live in.

What we need is a "21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity."

Fact: Workers paid poverty wages are going to be poor.

Fact: Workers without jobs are going to be poor.

The solution is simple: Put American workers to work at real living wage jobs.

Since the "free market" can't solve this mess the government is going to have to figure out a way to put people to work solving the problems of people and society.

A good "make work" project would be to create a National Public Health Care System providing the American people with free health care. Fifteen million jobs. We kill two birds with one stone and we finance the entire thing by ending this insane militarism and these dirty wars.

Alan L. Maki
Director of Organizing,
Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council

Re: Attention Dave Hill, Editor... Letter to the Editor submitted exclusively for publication to Northern Watch

We have many people living in poverty here in northern Minnesota.

Some people live in poverty because they have no job; workers without jobs are going to be poor.

We all know that most wages paid by employers in our area are poverty wages. Workers paid poverty wages are going to be poor.

Poor people require food stamps in order to feed their families. Food stamps are miserly to begin with and they have been cut.

I am under the impression that one of the primary goals of government is to improve the living standards of the people. Yet here we are with a government doing this at a time when people need this help to get through this economic crisis; a mess which they had no part in making...

On November 1 of this year, the country's food stamp program (referred to as "SNAP," which stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) took a big hit when its funding was cut by $5 billion or roughly 7% a person. This occurred when part of the 2009 economic stimulus package, which included a 13% boost for SNAP, expired.

Wall Street got its profits from the stimulus packages and now the people hurt have their standard of living cut; this is neither fair nor just.

There are many ways to fund increases in food stamps:

Cut the military budget.

Tax the rich.

Tax corporate profits.

Tax Wall Street transactions.

Cut subsidies to big-agribusiness.

Cut the pay of politicians.

And here is a novel idea--- roll back, and freeze, food prices.

Increase the Minimum Wage to a real living wage based on all cost-of-living factors and pay those without jobs a real living income for the duration of their unemployment.

Fixing this Food Stamp problem is a very simple issue; if these politicians in Washington can't solve a problem like this, how can we expect them to solve any problems working people are experiencing?

Here we are living in one of the most productive agricultural regions of the world and kids are going to bed hungry because we have a government in Washington with twisted priorities.

Perhaps our two U.S. Senators whose staff members tell me they read the Northern Watch would like to respond.

Alan L. Maki
Director of Organizing,
Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council
58891 County Road 13
Warroad, Minnesota 56763

Phone: 218-386-2432
Cell: 651-587-5541

Primary E-mail: amaki000@centurytel.net