Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

Please note I have a new phone number...


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...

Saturday, April 19, 2014

It's time for grassroots and rank-and-file activists to step forward and take control on the movement for making the Minimum Wage a real living wage.

The movement for a real living Minimum Wage continues to run into snags---

Politicians, employers and unions have banded together in Seattle just like the Democrats, unions, foundation-funded outfits and church groups here in Minnesota joined with the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce (the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party's "Business Caucus" or Summit Hill Club) to rob workers of a real living Minimum Wage that was promised in return for workers voting for these Democrats... workers have been the victims of an elaborately concocted "bait-and-switch" scheme.

Since this Democratic Party coalition is now insisting that any employer paid compensation packages like health care, dental care, eyes and hearing, child care and higher education subsidies be considered part of the Minimum Wage we need to talk about the need for all of this to become legislation for government universal social programs rather continuing to be ripped off by the for-profit sectors providing these services to workers while gouging workers thus turning this struggle for a living Minimum Wage into a farce and a sham where employers continue to reap super-profits from poverty wages as these other service providers also reap super-profits from this trough of poverty wages--- what a scam these employers are scheming to plan.

It would seem to me that this would be a good time to bring forward the need for universal social programs as the way to counter what the employers (and apparently unions?) are demanding in the way of health, etc. care being considered part of the Minimum Wage.

For example, there is no way a Public Health Care System--- socialized health care should cost any more a month than Social Security. A Public Child Care System, too. Both working just like our public schools--- publicly financed, publicly administered and publicly delivered. Way cheaper than the present for profit health care system.

So, you tell them to institute public universal social programs (everyone in) for each type of "compensation package" they want deducted from the $15.00.

But, this is where the "$15.00" movement has been very short sighted. This movement is working with a false figure derived from the U.S. Census Bureau (which only use four cost-of-living categories) instead of the Consumer Price Index of the United States Department of Labors' Bureau of Labor Statistics (which monitors EIGHT categories and 200 sub-categories).

It won't surprise me if all the union "leaders" don't agree with the employers on this because they have worked hand-in-hand with these same employers to force concession contracts down their own member's throats and SEIU has engaged in the practice of offering employers sweetheart contracts in return for union dues.

Here in Minnesota, ALL of the AFL-CIO and Change To Win affiliated unions supported the switch pulled by the Democrats for $9.50 an hour and they were even going to bring in Richard Trumka to support this but Trumka backed out when he knew there was going to be resistance at the rally they had planned for the Humphrey Center at the university of Minnesota where he was going to be greeted by demonstrators exposing the "bait and switch" pulled by the Democrats, the foundation-funded outfits, labor leaders and the churches... most likely the "$15.00" movement will face the exact same coalition in Seattle and elsewhere.

To win a real living Minimum Wage is going to take a campaign that is willing to educate workers about what the real "cost-of-living" actually is based on the fact working class families are experiencing a "cost-of-living crisis" and that the Minimum Wage needs to be tied to both increases in the "cost-of-living" and to inflation which are not the same... monopoly price-fixing is the main reason prices rise and the spending on militarism and wars is the main reason for inflation.

The prices of the basic necessities of life are now under the pretty much complete control of the monopolies.

Obviously the Democrats and their partners, the coalition mentioned above, with their wars on the one hand and "economic populism" full of "bait-and-switch" (single-payer deliver Obamacare; living wage deliver poverty wages, etc.) on the other hand don't want to talk about "cost-of-living," "cost-of-living crisis" or militarism and wars which are making us all poor as austerity measures are being shoved down our throats to pay for all this militarism and wars instead of Public Health Care and Child Care Programs, CCC, WPA and CETA as well as a Conyers type job creation program.

Not coincidentally, this same Democratic Party coalition which stood opposed to single-payer and smashed the single-payer movement is now using the same strategy to smash the $15.00 movement.

Notice that the people's movements were sucked into supporting half-measure reforms in both situations when the demands should have been very clear--- a National Public Health Care System and a Minimum Wage legislatively tied to the "cost-of-living" automatically increased for rising prices and inflation with periodic increases providing for an improved standard-of-living.

We have also failed to define small business as distinct from big-business and family owned businesses like the mom-and-pop convenience store--- there is no way an employer of 15 or more people can't afford a real living wage of between $22.00 and $26.00 an hour which the Minimum Wage would be if using the BLS' CPI. The solution should be obvious for the legitimate small business which employs mostly family members--- just eliminate Minimum Wage enforcement; if someone wants to pay their spouse, children, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandpa and grandma $1.00 an hour let them. But all this crap with wealthy people buying franchises and then claiming they can't pay a living wage is a bunch of bullshit. Here in Minnesota, the main opponent to raising the Minimum Wage was State Senator Tom Bakk, a building trades union official in his past life, who cried big crocodile tears for the group homes, hotels, motels bars and restaurants.

What is a small business? Does anyone really know except the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (LOL!):


A little sarcasm to make a point:

If any industry or business legitimately can't pay the Minimum Wage, certainly no union has any business trying to organize them--- using the logic being pushed by the AFL-CIO. If Target and Wal-mart along with McDonald's and Taco Bell can't afford to pay employees real living Minimum Wages this means unionization would kill them, too--- and this of course is the argument used by big business all the time. So, hey; just phase out unions and implement a government social contract covering all workers except those employed in legitimate family operated small businesses of under 15 employees.

Should a union even be allowed to organize any company defined as a "small business" that can't afford to pay a real living Minimum Wage because using this logic of exempting small business from the full Minimum Wage would lead anyone pushing this notion that unionization of that business would for sure kill the business just like management would surely claim--- and always does; but somehow miracles always happen and the business survives unionization.

I can show you hundreds of businesses with fewer than 25 employees that are unionized--- each of the managements claimed unionization would kill their business; and here they are celebrating 25th and 50 years and longer of being in business.

Unionization of a small business is going to cost that business well over $35.00 an hour and if this doesn't kill a small business how would paying employees a Minimum Wage of $22.00 to $26.00 an hour kill these small businesses?

What we are facing is a union leadership that is demanding dues for raising the living standards of the entire working class--- these union "leaders" in pushing these poverty Minimum Wages of $9.50 and $10.10 are essentially saying, "If we don't get a cut of rising wages, we don't give a fuck if you people stay poor."

Look at who we had pushing the poverty Minimum Wage of $9.50 through the Minnesota legislature and signed into law by the governor:

All Democrats with a Democratic super-majority where Republicans had no say and could only cry:

A corporate/business lawyer in the State House, Representative Paul Thiessen.

A big-shot from the building trades union in the State Senate, Tom Bakk.

And a billionaire Governor, Mark Dayton, whose wealth is derived from the poverty wages of the Dayton-Hudson Company, now Target Stores.

Of course, the millionaire labor leaders of the AFL-CIO's Executive Council and their state counterparts, millionaires like Eliot Seide of AFSCME, wouldn't be able to shove all these concession contracts down their members throats if there was a focus on "cost-of-living" and the true state of affairs where every single working class family is experiencing a "cost-of-living crisis."

Did you ever hear Richard Trumka so much as mention this "cost-of-living crisis" that is a reality for every single working class family?

Are we just supposed to keep our mouths shut in the name of some kind of desired "unity" as to what is really going on as these Democrats and their hacks jerk us around? 

We need to get this all figured out... join the National Conference Call...

Don't forget to check out and join the FaceBook pages, also:


Check out my "Letter to the Editor" on the "Bait-and-Switch" politics of the Democrats:

Did anyone really believe that Seattle's employers would not come back fighting this proposed increase in the Minimum Wage to $15.00 an hour? Is this not the same community where the police were turned loose to savage working people who came out to peacefully protest against these trade agreements and the same city where the police beat the hell out of the Communist-led unemployed demonstrations of the 1930's and sent the police out to viciously attack the IWW soap-box speakers who tried to explain the need for the working class to fight for their rights and livelihoods and the same politicians who tried to have the police beat into submission the longshore workers led by Harry Bridges and the city that turned the HUAC hearings into a vicious attack on the CPUSA, organized labor and students? And isn't Seattle the same city that sent police thugs out to try to bust the organizing efforts of Boeing workers initially led by Wyndham Mortimer who had led the organizing drive that forced General Motors to sign a contract with the UAW?

What was expected from Seattle's ruling class when it was suggested the Minimum Wage should be $15.00?

Isn't it obvious to anyone that this struggle to raise the Minimum Wage to a real living wage is going to have to be a well thought out, coordinated national struggle in which the leadership arises from the grassroots working class communities and rank-and-file activists?

That the struggle for a living Minimum Wage is connected first and foremost to "cost-of-living" and the "cost-of-living crisis" for working class families is the most important aspect of this struggle... what the Minimum Wage dollar figure will be established at follows from this and not the other way around.

In fact, for many cities across this country, cities are not even allowed to enact Minimum Wage legislation.

Already, most of the states with Democratic super-majorities have enacted Minimum Wage "increases" which once again makes government the enforcer of poverty for millions of working class families. This also needs to be exposed that these Democrats, no different from the Republicans are using the levers of government (legislation) to enforce poverty--- thus assuring not only the poverty of millions; but a huge pool of impoverished workers intended to pressure all wages. down.

Going at this rate it won't be long before all workers are in the same boat as workers employed in the loud, noisy, smoke-filled casinos of the Indian Gaming Industry at exclusively poverty wages without any rights or any voice at work.

Of course, all workers in this country are employed under terms of "At-Will Employment except for the 13% employed under union contract although even these workers are finding that these same millionaire union "leaders" who shove concession after concession contract down their throats are finding their contract rights failing to be enforced through grievance procedures. here in Minnesota, where AFSCME shamefully kicked off the drive for a $9.50 Minimum Wage and is now telling members who are victims of discrimination and harassment on the job to "go hire your own attorney we don't go beyond the two step grievance process." And even during the grievance process next to nothing is done by the union grievers who often even go into the grievance process never having talked with the worker they are supposed to be representing--- they simply get the "details" from management.

Is it logical to expect that union "leaders" who refuse to even adequately represent their own members can be expected to lead the struggle for a real living Minimum Wage?

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
E-mail: alan.maki1951mn@gmail.com

Blog: http://thepodunkblog.blogspot.com/