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Dunkin' Donuts Worker's Death Reveals The True Cost Of Our Low-Wage, Part-Time Economy

Business  (tags: economy, working poor, low-wage, multiple jobs, & shifts, minimum wage, poverty, retail, service, Maria Fernandes death, Debra Harrell arrest, , 20M low-wage earners:, 2/3 women, living wage )

- 1235 days ago -
NJ woman, 32, died in a car park this wk catching a few hrs sleep between (4) jobs, chilling reminder of the struggle low-wage workers, esp women, face in absence of a living wage, cobbling together a patchwork of low-wage jobs with unreliable schedules

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LucyKaleido S (82)
Tuesday September 2, 2014, 4:07 am
The posted article is from The Huffington Post - Dunkin' Donuts Worker's Death Reveals The True Cost Of Our Low-Wage, Part-Time Economy
Excerpt (without the onsite links) :

"“It is a very sad story and really tragic, and it shines a light on what is a real problem, particularly for low-wage workers, today,” said Elizabeth Watson, senior counsel and director of workplace justice for women at the National Women’s Law Center.

Fernandes’ death is one of many recent examples of the extreme lengths to which low-income women must go to make a living these days. Shanesha Taylor was charged with felony child abuse in March after she left her two children in the car while she went on a job interview. Debra Harrell was arrested in July after leaving her 9-year-old daughter to play in a park alone while she worked at McDonald’s. Jannette Navarro told The New York Times of the difficulty of her erratic schedule at her $9-per-hour job at Starbucks, which prompted the company to change its scheduling policy.

Low-wage and part-time work has proliferated in the post-recession economy. While jobs in fast food and retail are booming, the middle-wage jobs that disappeared during the recession have been slower to return. Meanwhile, the costs of child care, health care, education and other services have kept rising, adding to the burden on low-wage workers.

These trends have hit women particularly hard, contributing to an “ongoing and growing problem” of women being concentrated in low-wage work, Watson said. Women make up about two-thirds of low-wage workers. Between 2009 and 2013, 35 percent of women's job gains were in low-wage sectors compared to just 18 percent of men's, according to data from the NWLC. Even in these low-wage jobs, women make 90.4 cents to every man's dollar, on average. "

NY Daily News - New Jersey woman who worked multiple jobs dies while napping in her car, according to the police:
"Maria Fernandes, 32, worked at Dunkin' Donuts shops in Harrison, Newark, and Linden, taking naps in her car in between shifts. She succumbed to carbon monoxide and gasoline fumes after pulling in to a Wawa parking lot Monday, cops say. "

“.../... She used to work like three shifts every day,” Parth Patel, who worked with Fernandes at Newark Penn Station, told “Sometimes she wouldn’t sleep for five days.”

One of her managers, Sophia Paches, said that Fernandes had been an excellent employee during her four years at the Linden store. The woman would sometimes finish an overnight shift at 6 a.m., sleep in her car for a few hours, and then move on to her next shift.

Despite the grueling schedule, Monday was the first time Fernandes missed a day of work. ..."

Summary of the National Women's Law Center July, 2014 report, "Underpaid & Overloaded: Women in Low-Wage Jobs", including an agenda (recommendations & policy changes) to address the needs of women in low-wage jobs.

Excerpt from "Key Facts":
◾Women make up two-thirds of the nearly 20 million workers in the low-wage workforce—though they make up less than half of all workers.

◾Even in low-wage jobs that typically pay $10.10 per hour or less, women working full time, year round face a 13 percent wage gap—and the gap is even larger for African American and Hispanic women when compared to white, non-Hispanic men.

Teresa W (782)
Tuesday September 2, 2014, 4:16 am

LucyKaleido S (82)
Tuesday September 2, 2014, 4:40 am
Act Online: See & Sign the petitions on the National Women's Law Center's online action page, including:

--> Tell Congress to Support the Fair Minimum Wage Act - "At just $7.25 an hour, today's federal minimum wage leaves a full-time working mom with two children thousands of dollars below the poverty line. The Fair Minimum Wage Act would give millions of workers a much-needed raise, including more than 1 in 5 working mothers, by gradually increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour. It would also increase the minimum cash wage for tipped workers — which has been stuck at $2.13 an hour for more than 20 years — to 70 percent of the regular minimum wage, and index both wages to inflation to keep up with the rising cost of living."

--> Urge Your Members of Congress to Co-sponsor the Schedules That Work Act / End Unfair, Unpredictable Work Schedules -
"This bill is an important step toward providing baseline labor protections from abusive scheduling practices and giving workers a say in their schedules. This bill would make our economy work better for everyone. Please urge your Members of Congress to sign on as a co-sponsor."

Past Member (0)
Tuesday September 2, 2014, 8:57 am
This was a sad tragic story. No one should have to work 4 jobs and basically overwork to death. The min wage must be at least $12-15 and even then many will still be struggling. Thanks

Past Member (0)
Tuesday September 2, 2014, 8:58 am
And peititions signed-thanks

Abby N. (0)
Tuesday September 2, 2014, 12:24 pm
what is going to happen when all those low-wage jobs are replaced with automation? then the shit will really hit the fan.

LucyKaleido S (82)
Tuesday September 2, 2014, 1:39 pm
I agree with you, Natasha, the National Women's Law Center petition I linked to calling for the federal minimum wage to be increased from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour doesn't go far enough: like you said, the minimum wage should be at least $12, & $15 wouldn't be too much.

Roger G (154)
Tuesday September 2, 2014, 1:47 pm
noted, thanks

Phil P (94)
Tuesday September 2, 2014, 2:00 pm
Working 4 jobs is outrageous and an indictment of America. And this poor woman is not alone, there are thousands like her. Makes my blood boil when I hear the excuses of CEO w/ their multi-million dollars salaries and politicians on the corporate and taxpayer dole against a living wage or wanting to cut social programs. What has happened to this country?

Mary Donnelly (47)
Tuesday September 2, 2014, 2:03 pm
Perhaps many Americans should migrate.

Lois Jordan (63)
Tuesday September 2, 2014, 2:26 pm
Sadly noted. I agree that the asking price should be $15 an hour. It leaves room to negotiate, at least. If we only ask for $10.10, we will be lucky to get that much of a raise. But, I guess we have to start somewhere....
I've already sent those messages. My House member is pro-women; but my 2 GOP Senators are stuck in the mud. Neither have a heart.

Bonnie Lynn M (1)
Tuesday September 2, 2014, 7:59 pm
Petitions signed. After college, my daughter was working 2 part time jobs in the same shopping center. Her schedules changed every week. Thank goodness one of the jobs was pretty flexible for her. She would have to get her schedule, sometimes at the last minute from the one job and then work out her schedule with the other. I don't know how people do it.

Katie & Bill D (107)
Tuesday September 2, 2014, 8:46 pm
Thank You

Kathleen M (230)
Tuesday September 2, 2014, 8:58 pm
Noted with outrage. Thank you for posting. Am quite ready to show up to corporate headquarters with pitchforks and torches. Not that i own either. Hopefully my cane will due.

Athena F (131)
Wednesday September 3, 2014, 1:27 am
what have we been reduced to? so very sad. so many people barely getting by, or not getting by. when will it end? please get out and vote, get these jerks out of office. keep trying to educate people and change their hearts.

Past Member (0)
Wednesday September 3, 2014, 5:13 am
There's nothing more important than life

LucyKaleido S (82)
Wednesday September 3, 2014, 5:51 am
This story is considered to be typical of the post-recession economy, but the 'working poor' existed long before, even if the term hadn't yet been invented. It struck a painful chord in my heart because I grew up in the 50s & 60s with an overworked father, slaving at two jobs to give us a better life. He could have died early, too - from a stroke or something like that - given the grueling schedule he forced on himself.

My father worked two jobs from the time I was a child, after my brother was born. He had a factory job Mondays to Fridays, and worked in a restaurant weekday nights and all weekend long, every weekend, getting home at 2 or 3 AM. We never saw him - on Monday evenings, the only weekday evening he didn't go straight to the restaurant from the factory, he was exhausted & worse than grumpy, poor man. We had to keep very quiet Monday evenings, as he went straight to bed after dinner.

Yet, this was a father who revelled in taking me to the zoo or the Botanical Gardens at the weekend for the first 5 years of my life before he took that 2nd job... who loved taking the whole family out for a meal, every time he didn't have to work on a holiday. He took me to Rockefeller Center for my very first ice-skating lesson!

But a better life included getting together a down payment for a house & he never made it .. at least, not until his retirement!

How different our lives would have been if he'd had a decent living wage from his daytime job!

Bryan S (105)
Wednesday September 3, 2014, 10:37 am
The US minimum wage is a sick joke. Of course it should be higher, at least $12/hr, so that people can afford the very basics needed to live, but i think another point that needs to be constantly hammered is that raising the minimum wage will create jobs. Simple supply and demand.

We've had to listen to the bulls**t for decades how giving the wealthy more money through tax breaks or financial deregulation will create jobs, when in fact it creates more poverty and inequality. It's far past the time to end voodoo economics.

LucyKaleido S (82)
Wednesday September 3, 2014, 12:43 pm
We get the same bulls**t here in France! Our 'theoretically' Socialist Party government hatched a new plan to give over I don't know how much money to "help businesses" which they think or hope (or pray) will bring in a return in the form of job creation! Of course, it won't happen! All they want is to be able to hire & fire people with no strings attached, at the lowest possible wage & whatever hours suit them whenever that might be.
And any government that doesn't agree to those terms is, of course, instantly labeled 'anti-business.'

Just saw a brief report on a similar plan enacted by the 1980s Socialist Party govt under Mitterand which he'd expected & hoped would reduce some of the 1 million unemployment figure. A few years later, unemployment had gone up to 3 million!

Ellen Kent (0)
Wednesday September 3, 2014, 1:05 pm

Dandelion G (367)
Wednesday September 3, 2014, 3:31 pm
Poor woman but as Phil P said, there are many more like her, maybe still alive, but living a working hell on Earth.

I signed Petitions......will follow this article.

Mary D. I suspect a lot of people would like to migrate but without money one is lucky they have gas to get to work let alone out of the Country. As it is, that is what killed this woman, the gas fumes trying not to run out of gas.

Raising the minimum wage only does one thing......cuts people off of their Food Stamps. So they get no further ahead, the raise just replaces food stamps, they are still just as poor. The raise will take away any rental help and as soon as they get a raise, like happened at my job, the Health Insurers know this so they raise premiums on everyone. In fact, only going to $10.10 could be worse, for if one looses their help with Food Stamps, rent help, they may have to move to another place causing them to pay higher rents, and this on top of higher for medical........well they may go backwards into the hole.

If the minimum wage had grown at the same rate as the earnings of the top one percent of Americans the federal wage floor would be more than triple the current hourly minimum of $7.25. Instead, the minimum wage has been lower than a poverty wage ever since 1982.

Here in Florida we had a young Mother working 3 part time jobs and died because she couldn't afford health care and our State Republicans refuse to accept the extended Medicaid portion of the Affordable Care Act.
Here is the link if anyone would care to view......32 years old with 3 young children left behind now. Just due to the fact that these rich SOB's don't want to level the playing field but rather shout from their high horses all are poor because they are lazy.
Charlene Dill, a 32-year-old mother of three was uninsured and she went years without the care she needed to address her chronic conditions because she could not afford it died on a stranger’s floor working one of the three part time jobs that she worked to try to make ends meet for her family

3 jobs, 4 jobs, both women called lazy by the Greedy Heartless Ones.........both are dead at at the age of 32.

“You work three jobs? Uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic that you're doing that."
President George Bush said To a divorced mother of three, Omaha, Nebraska, Feb. 4, 2005”

followed by ha ha ha ha........

yes, real funny........NOT.

I've also placed on a couple of articles that are informative as to how we got here, going from Stakeholder to Shareholder.
Shareholder vs Stakeholder
The Moaning Moguls
Tensions Between the Affluent and the Exceptionally Rich May Spur on a Progressive Movement
Be sure to click on the read full article.....

I'll send this around on my next send out. It's a good reminder that this uneven economic playing field isn't just a hardship, or not any fun, or causes pain and suffering, it is also DEADLY to far too many.

Leanne B (46)
Wednesday September 3, 2014, 3:50 pm
Sadly noted. Thanks.

Joanne D (38)
Wednesday September 3, 2014, 4:05 pm
I read this yesterday, and this was not the first I had heard toe story, but I was still too angry to comment. There is a lot to be angry about here, and a lot of questions unanswered. And I am really still to angry even to start on them.

Bryan S (105)
Wednesday September 3, 2014, 7:33 pm
Jill, i guess at least in France people won't go bankrupt (or die) because of medical need. But i also understand that most of Europe has embrace austerity even more than the US. Like you say, it's all a matter of increasing profits for business (helping smaller local businesses is another thing). They either want to use labor where working people have no rights or power, or decrease the rights/wellbeing of working people where they are.

When the hell are governments going to fear being labelled 'anti-person'??

Sheryl, that is true about raising the minimum won't help the people who then lose benifits, unless it is raised substantially. This also speaks to the need to eliminate the insurance vultures and operate like a civilized society.

That is also a very sad story about Charlene Dill. The quote from Bush was also my first thought when i saw this story. I think the quote from Romney, and many many others of his ilk, is even much worse in outright condemning so many in desperation who would like nothing more than to support themselves and their families. Like a vampire complaining about people needing too much blood!


june t (66)
Wednesday September 3, 2014, 11:29 pm
thanks for the article

LucyKaleido S (82)
Thursday September 4, 2014, 3:13 am
Mary D's suggestion to that Americans migrate is obviously not the solution! It's a bit easy & such an off-hand reply that I hadn't bothered to respond to it. But perhaps it's worth saying, nonetheless, that the same people in this low-wage, multiple job bind would not fare better in any part of the Western world I can think of - the unemployment figures have been going through the roof in France, Spain & Italy (the languages of which one would have to be able to speak well, in any event) and Germany, which is constantly pointed to as an example of a healthy economy with low unemployment, has in fact NO minimum wage & a high number of people in 'semi-working' conditions, exactly the same kind of part-time, low-wage job bind migrating Americans would want to escape. Some French economists have pointed out that this is how Germany keeps her unemployment figures so low -- by including all the low-wage, part-time workers in their figures. I believe the situation night be better in the Netherlands and/or the Scandinavian countries, but I don't have the figures; and of course, you'd have to master the language first, which does not happen overnight. Unless you have the qualifications & the experience for a well-paid position in a particular field, no present day economy I know of offers opportunities for basically unqualified people to earn a living wage & to improve their lot.

In France, even those qualified with years of experience in good level jobs are considered over the hill by the age of 45! And yet, the age of retirement has been pushed back in an economy where the majority of the over-50s are unemployed!

In any event, Dandelion, you did well to point out the frustrating, tragic truth about raising the minimum wage that I hadn't realized: if it only succeeds in disqualifying low-wage earners from the government aids that kept them (barely) afloat and makes life even more difficult, preventing them from ever coming out ahead, then that isn't the answer either. Only a substantial -& therefore utopian- increase could make any difference.

The story of Charlene Dill is just tragic, terrible! This poor woman lost her life only this past April. Of course, her story is just the one that made the headlines, the visible tip of the iceberg, as is Maria Fernandes.
I read the ThinkProgress article you linked to & also discovered that the Daily Kos also ran a story devoted to her tragic plight & death that was posted to C2NN, but only got 18 notes (19 now with mine). Both articles put the blame squarely where it belongs: GOP governors, for refusing the Medicaid expansion included in an Obamacare provision & the Supreme Court, for providing them with the legal grounds for doing so. What's worse, she was "one of the MILLIONS of Americans living in a state that has refused to accept Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion after the Supreme Court ruled this provision to be optional."

What amazes & disheartens me, & makes me furious, is that it would seem that the Florida lawmakers who have continue to refuse to apply this Medicaid expansion provision are doing so on purely ideological grounds, while totally, heartlessly ignoring the suffering & the health risks that this causes. It would cost the state nothing, it would seem, because, according to the ThinkProgress article, the Federal Government is offering "generous federal funds to expand Medicaid to an estimated 750,000 low-income Floridians like Dill." And these b*st*rds are continuing to refuse the federal money! This is sick! This is inhuman! How can they possibly defend this stance?

Bush's reaction to the divorced mom working 3 jobs is disgusting! But I've come across that type of mentality before. I had an aunt who lived in an affluent suburb of Cleveland and to prove to me just how democratic and egalitarian they were in her community, she cited the example of an African-American father who was able to own a home there, thanks to his income from 3 jobs (& some seasonal work from his older kids)! She said this with a broad smile & couldn't understand my horror.

LucyKaleido S (82)
Thursday September 4, 2014, 4:36 am
I really like your question, "When the hell are governments going to fear being labelled 'anti-person'??," Brian. That's really the crux of the issue!

To reply to your remarks about France:

It's true that once you get a fatal, terminal or serious illness in France, you benefit from 100% reimbursements for any & all treatment related to that illness. (but that illness only)

But France's healthcare system is sadly inadequate for other types of healthcare. The system reimburses everything from doctors' visits & medicine to dental work & eyeglasses at such a partial and often very low rate that people must have complementary insurance that is necessarily private. Now, people who work for the big companies & some small or medium-size ones get very good complementary health insurance plans as part of their job benefits. But loads of others work at jobs where their employer provides either no complementary insurance at all or one that reimburses little. This would include, for example, people in low-paying jobs, like waiters or waitresses. Obviously people in temporary jobs don't have any nor do unemployed people.

France's official July unemployment figures just published on August 27th: 3, 689, 500 people who have no job at all, which corresponds to an increase of 27, 400, the second largest since February's increase of 32, 400. However, if you include the people who are signed up with the national unemployment agency as under-employed (part-time or seasonal), the number goes up to 5, 386, 600 & the increase 43, 500.

I thought that looking into the number of homeless people might offer some valid insight into how much better/worse (or equally desperate) things are in France, but I've had trouble finding recent figures.
The most recent I've found are from a January 20, 2014 article in Le Monde, which says (I'm translating) that there are 3.6 million people who either don't have their own home or who live in precarious, temporary conditions (hotels or trailers), or who live in substandard housing and/or overcrowded circumstances.

The number of homeless has increased by 50% since 2011 to 141,500 people, including 30,000 children as of early 2012. The emergency telephone number that arranges emergency accommodation (mainly one night in a shelter with the obligation to vacate the next morning) is saturated: no temporary bed could be found in December, 2013 for 43% of the Paris homeless who called that number & for 61% who called elsewhere in France.

They also speak of a " 'halo' of 5 million (additional) people" who've become 'vulnerable' because of the housing crisis. The examples they give include people who own their own apartment in buildings that are chronically behind in their maintenance fees, or unable to pay for essential collective improvements, as well as tenants who are way behind in paying their rent.

Housing is a very big problem in France, with sometimes even working people unable to find permanent housing due to low income & the increasingly demanding guarantees required by owners who are renting. Public housing for low-income earners has for years been notoriously inadequate to meet the demand.

I often watch a current affairs panel talk show & last evening's topic was the recent devastating unemployment figures. Someone said that there are a lot of vacancies in butcher shops in the city of Nice and that the owners are desperate to recruit the addition help they need. A woman in charge of an unemployed people's org of in the South of France was quick to reply that potential butchers couldn't take the jobs because the price of housing in Nice was far too high. No one on a butcher's salary could ever afford to rent an apartment there. Nice is on the Riviera (we say 'la Côte d'Azur') & it is sort of like a mini-Miami in that it's known as a haven for wealthy retired people.

Stardust Noel (38)
Thursday September 4, 2014, 1:23 pm
Thank you, I saw this on TV when it first happened .

Dandelion G (367)
Thursday September 4, 2014, 5:17 pm
It doesn't seem to matter where one lives, if you are on the lower end of the spectrum with no chance to get out then it is pretty miserable. Until we have systems, societies, and leadership that truly cares about it's people and not just lip service then we will have generation after generation suffering poverty. Once born into a position due to the luck of the draw of who one's parents are, it seems to be one's fate. In the USA and some other places there was a potential that one could work their way at least out of poverty. However, here in the USA, since the 80's and got worse, that dream is all it is anymore, a dream.

A few lucky, with some exceptional talents or lucky breaks might break out of the low end of financial birth, but otherwise money is kept within the classes. People marry into the same wealth brackets more or less, education is assured if you are in the wealthier families, after a degree is earned, the well to do have more connections to open doors to begin ones careers that others do not have, even if they do manage to obtain a degree.

As Suze Orman, Financial Advisor said, "There is a highway into poverty but not even a sidewalk to get out."

Aurea Aurea Walker (226)
Thursday September 4, 2014, 9:09 pm
This story broke my heart when I first read it and then it made me furious. The disparity between the hourly wage employees are making is not only egregious but shitty business at best if employees make a decent wage, they will spend more. Greed is rampant in the USA and we have regressed back to where this country was in the 1800's. We now have the 21st century robber barons running and ruining everything. The Koch brothers are a disgusting example and many others in conjunction with corporate CEOs who are trying to destroy all unions. Look at how many protesters were arrested today. It is not enough that we lament amongst ourselves and post our thoughts. We MUST back all employees interests. How? There are so many ways, one small example, whenever possible do not use anything automated. What do I mean by that? Call for your bank info? ask to speak to a person not the automated system, same thing at the grocery store, go to a person at the kiosk not the self serve check out, avoid buying online. All these small steps keep people employed and we must DEMAND fair wages NOW! Enough is enough. Have read all the posts and many are truly touching and very moving. @Mary Donnelly as an Aussie migrating is obviously the route to aye? Isn't it how Australia got populated? By a bunch of English prisoners? And back in the 1960's your country paid for people to immigrate to Australia? Of course they had to be the "right sort" is Australia's immigration quota open? Last I read you were not only impeding people from doing so but were forcing ships back full of refugees to an almost certain death? Convenient lapse of memory you seem to have! By the way the one I wish would immigrate back to you is dear Rupert the shit Murdoch.

LucyKaleido S (82)
Friday September 5, 2014, 4:38 am
Sheryl, your Suze Orman quote really hits home! "There is a highway into poverty but not even a sidewalk to get out." Maybe if the "Fight for $15" movement keeps up the momentum, and it really does look like the movement is growing, that sidewalk will get bigger.

Aurea, you really said it in a nutshell: "We now have the 21st century robber barons running and ruining everything." And I know that we are millions who recognize the truth of that!

But when I read, "Look at how many protesters were arrested today," I wish you'd say which demonstration you're referring to! - Could it be the "Fast-Food Workers Holding National Strike for $15 Wage", reported yesterday by Democracy Now! ? - "Fast-food workers across the country are holding their latest mass strike today to call for higher wages and improved workplace conditions. Strikes and sit-ins are taking place at fast-food chains in around 150 cities to demand a $15-an-hour minimum wage, the right to organize, and an end to wage theft."

'Popular Resistance' reports that "McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s workers among those to walk off their jobs as movement continues to grow; home care workers join as movement spreads to new industry," in a massive mobilization in more than 150 cities that MSNBC’s Chris Hayes says has “entirely changed the politics of the country.”

But I really had to do some serious searching to find any mention of arrests, not to mention the numbers, which I finally found on Huffington Post:

"A 'Fight for $15' spokesperson said that roughly 500 people had been arrested in the demonstrations as of Thursday afternoon, though a portion of those appeared to be citations without arrest.

In instances that HuffPost could confirm, police arrested 47 people in Kansas City, Missouri; 27 in West Milwaukee, Wisconsin; 19 in New York City's Times Square; 30 in Detroit; 11 in San Diego; 8 in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania; seven in Miami; and three in Denver. Police also confirmed 19 citations in Chicago; 10 in Indianapolis; 13 in Hartford, Connecticut; and 10 in Las Vegas. In most cases, the arrests and citations came after protesters were blocking traffic." Huffpost also report 18 people arrested by Charleston, S.C. police, "citing them for disorderly conduct in what were deemed "non-custodial" arrests."

Great news that such vast organizing is going on & the movement building up! The protesters who were arrested will have to appear in court, but there should be provisions in the Constitution that still function to provide judges with the legal grounds for being lenient, given the right to organize & to demonstrate that we must still benefit from.

What a shame that Maria Fernandes missed the chance to see these events that may ultimately change the sort of life she had to lead.

LucyKaleido S (82)
Friday September 5, 2014, 4:40 am
The number of arrests might be small in proportion to the number of people participating in the protests - I didn't get a number for that but maybe someone else has & can tell us.

LucyKaleido S (82)
Friday September 5, 2014, 5:15 am
I didn't know Mary D was Australian, but you're quite right, Aurea, in your criticism of Australian immigration policy towards asylum seekers. Australia's immigration policy is notorious for mandatory detention for asylum seekers arriving without visas. Australia has for years been imprisoning shiploads of migrants on isolated islands far from mainland Australia, including Australia's Christmas Island (2106 miles away), with five detention facilities, and Manus Island (1,243 miles away), which belongs to Papua New Guinea, thereby keeping asylum seekers, imprisoned & isolated, in horrendous conditions, without legal assistance or health care FOR YEARS, with precious little hope of getting out by getting visas to legally enter Australia. "Australia has sub-contracted with other nations to detain would-be immigrants offshore, including Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Nauru," according to the section on Australia from Wiki's 'immigration detention' article. Also from the same Wiki article, I discover that despite the harsh criticism against this policy & practice, "the High Court of Australia has confirmed, albeit by majority, the constitutionality of indefinite mandatory detention of aliens." And despite a 2008 Australian government announcement that it was ending its policy of automatic detention for asylum seekers who arrive in the country without visas, as of 2012, no change has been put into practice. Worse: "Following the Australian federal election, 2013 policies have been toughened and Operation Sovereign Borders has been launched. No immigrant who arrives in Australia by boat will be granted a visa, regardless of the legitimacy or otherwise of their claim."

The mandatory detention policy, besides being a flagrant violation of human rights in itself (just as it is in the US), has also caused quite a bit of controversy for other reasons, such as the detention of children, the lack of proper medical care & the mental torture detainees undergo. I discovered a lot has been happening on these inhumane practices from a "Guardian page of very recent articles on Christmas Island detention, with two in particular catching my attention: August 5, 2014 - "Australia's detention regime sets out to make asylum seekers suffer, says chief immigration psychiatrist" - Guardian Australia exclusive: "Doctor responsible for mental health of people in detention becomes the most senior figure to condemn system from within, saying immigration department deliberately harms vulnerable detainees in a process akin to torture", as well as, from August 8, 2014 - "Australia's 'cruel' asylum regime must end, say 190 experts" - "Array of leading figures sign statement calling for a halt to mandatory detention and ‘unacceptable’ asylum-seeker policy"!!
Not to mention the July 24, 2014 appeal from the Australian Human Rights Commission president for the government to move to the mainland Christmas Island detainees all "plagued by despair & helplessness at the seemingly endless period of detention.":
-> "While I am encouraged that the department intends to set up a school for children, for the past year, children have had no education or structured physical activity";

-> "law firm reports its paediatrician was blocked from visiting the detention centre";

-> “Parents are asking for their children to be moved to the mainland where they will be safe & have access to medical facilities”;

-> "commission inspectors verified that 10 women were placed on 24-hour watch for self-harm & suicide and a total of 13 considered high risk."

The Guardian also has several pages with all the articles(from most recent to old) on 'Australian immigration and asylum' which are different from those on the 'Christmas Island' section. Most recent, notable & tragic, the Sept 5th 2014 death of Hamid Kehazaei, a young, 24-yr-old Iranian detainee held on Manus Island who "contracted septicaemia from a cellulitis infection (a common, but serious skin infection, that may affect only the surface of the skin but may also affect underlying tissues, and can spread to lymph nodes & bloodstream ) and was flown to hospital in Brisbane. It is understood there were delays in his care." Nice understatement! His poor parents eventually has no choice but to give "doctors permission to switch off his life support machine. ../.. Kehazaei’s grief-stricken mother, Goldone, said through tears: “I want to donate his organs and I’m worried his heart will fail as well if we keep waiting.”

She said the family was “furious” with the Australian government. “No one cared for my child. He was neglected – he kept saying his legs were hurting, and no one did a thing, they let him suffer.”
His brother "Mehei later said his mother was so distraught she was receiving medical attention in a Tehran hospital.

People subjected to the conditions of immigration detention are surely the most wretched of the earth, though this world of ours definitely makes any attempt at establishing a ranking order of misery a daunting if not impossible task.

This is too much sadness & pain for me in one day & I really need a break from everything I've been discovering on The Guardian & reporting here. Bye for now!

Yes, Aurea, let them take Rupert Murdoch back & stick him indefinitely on Christmas Island!

Dandelion G (367)
Friday September 5, 2014, 7:30 am
The minimum wage will have to be at least $15 and as the statement I made above the rate should really be 3x what the minimum wage is today.

The quote that Economist had spoke on "If the minimum wage had grown at the same rate as the earnings of the top one percent of Americans the federal wage floor would be more than triple the current hourly minimum of $7.25. Instead, the minimum wage has been lower than a poverty wage ever since 1982."

So in actuality we should be at about $21 for minimum wage. The $10.10 that was pushed by our President and others would do as I said, only disqualify people on programs for their health care, rental help, and Food Stamps, some single women may throw them off of Child Care subsidies as well. That extra $3 an hour will in fact NOT make up for all those loses.

It would help perhaps those workers without children living at home with parents and on their parents health care to age 26 that the Affordable Care Act passed into law. It would add more taxes into the pot from all with a raise as the more one makes the higher the taxes paid, so a little more would be put into the tax pool. But if history is any indicator I doubt if that extra would go into helping those low wage workers from getting student grants to help them get a degree to move out of low wage work, it most likely will go into buying a few more of the drones or missiles we tend to use almost on a daily bases.

So $15 most likely will kick them off of all programs but perhaps with the extra $5 an hour along with the $3 an hour, that would be $8 it would offset any loses. They will NOT be any further ahead, they will still be right where they are, but at least no further behind. So it is really sort of sad when you think of it that way.

Only by bringing it up to the $21 would they begin to be able to place a few dollars beyond shelter costs and needs to places such as paying for educational classes, or buy a more dependable car to get to work, or pay for Child Care that is quality and not praying each day that where you have them will in fact kill your child.

Then the taxes raised by this higher income, if our Leadership would do the correct thing, would be adequate enough to help those who are disabled on fixed incomes and no way to increase their incomes, also for those lower income Elders, and programs to help others get a leg up in their time of need, be it temporary rental aid or help to train them for a skill.

Also by having the lower end workers have more income that could be used for more than shelter costs and foods, they might be able to themselves have a meal out once in awhile, take in a movie, buy Johnny that ball and bat he wanted and Susan that doll she admired. Maybe the wife could get some roses from her husband now and then.
Bread and Roses

All that would help funnel money into the economy which in turn keeps others employed.

Aurea Aurea Walker (226)
Friday September 5, 2014, 7:39 am
@Lucy, thank you for expanding so eloquently my post. I stupidly assumed everyone knew about the hourly workers being on strike. Having only an iPhone to work with expanding my thoughts is a bit of a challenge. Mary D's cavalier post struck a nerve in me and it reminded me of the supposed quote of Marie Antoinette's about "let them eat cake" kind of thinking, which is exactly what the minimum wage workers are getting.

Nancy M (197)
Friday September 5, 2014, 8:41 am
Such a sad story, and I believe one of many.

When will these CEOs realize that eventually they will run out of people to buy their products. Without customers, they have no market.

This is just so sad. I realize in many ways my statement above may seem callous when a person has died. I can't find the right words.

Dandelion G (367)
Friday September 5, 2014, 10:05 am
The CEO's do not have to realize that what you said Nancy about who is their consumer. Is why they are slow to move or fail to move on this issue.

I placed 3 stories on with the links up above that really explains a lot. I wish that more people would take the few minutes to read them. Great insight.

In any case within the Moaning Moguls an excerpt reads this way:

If today’s corporate kvetchers are more concerned with the state of their egos than with the state of the nation, it’s in part because their own fortunes aren’t tied to those of the nation the way they once were. In the postwar years, American companies depended largely on American consumers.

Globalization has changed that—foreign sales account for almost half the revenue of the S&P 500—as has the rise of financial services (where the most important clients are the wealthy and other corporations). The well-being of the American middle class just does no’t matter as much to companies’ bottom lines.

I'll place the link again to this article below:
The Moaning Moguls

This is why I feel that we need to create our own economy among the people themselves. Global economies to not help the people on a local level or even a National level; these entities have no allegiance to anyone or any Country.......they go after the money.......where-ever that money may be or the resources are.

So people are going to have to begin shopping at Farmers Markets to support their local small farmers, eat at the Mom & Pop places instead of the chains, trade or barter between each other....this can be done in many ways, I'll fix the leak in your pipes if you fix the leaks in my roof, I'll let you use my lawn mower if I can use the snow blower of yours, I'll mow your lawn if you can do my wash. We will have to get back to what it use to be when neighbor helped neighbor instead of this individual attitude of I got mine too bad for you that has been driven into society. Older people can babysit younger children while the parents work, in exchange they could help the Elders with needed repairs around their house, go grocery shopping for them or with them to help. It might turn into many lasting relationships of having each other over for dinners or a cookout now and again.

Screw the Greedy Heartless Ones......the more we take care of each other the less we need them and their crappy system. Some people are doing much of their transactions through Bitcoin. The youth will have to be skirting around this system that isn't going to budge on it's own. For us older ones, we can do the best we can to do as I wrote. When I eat out I seek out the Mom & Pop places, I use the Farmers Markets, I avoid the Big Box stores unless it's absolutely a must.

Bruce C D (89)
Friday September 5, 2014, 11:18 pm
Petitions signed, noted. Thank-you, Lucy. Great to have you back.

I agree, Dandelion; there are things we can all do to improve the situation. One suggestion that doesn't cost anything--it may well save people money--is to join a credit union. Instigating change does involve sacrifice. Shopping at big box stores, fast food restaurants, and online retailers may be more convenient and cheaper, but we'll be better off in the end supporting local businesses, green products, and union-made goods as much as we are able.

Angelus S (125)
Friday September 12, 2014, 6:24 am
Most retail and food workers make so little they have to work multiple jobs and their employers don't care that they have to kill themselves just for basic survival.Home Depot requires managers and supervisors to sleep in their cars if at all sometimes because of the demands they place on them such as inventory and sudden ad changes. One day a Home Depot worker will fall asleep coming from or to work and get killed or injure others and then the company will wake up and realize their own lack of compassion

Dandelion G (367)
Friday September 12, 2014, 7:02 am
This is why people must Unionize at their jobs and the public must support them when they do. As you say, as a public person driving along I could be killed by this tired employee. Until the people stand together and realize it is one for all and all for one, this will continue and grow worse....which it has been doing.

LucyKaleido S (82)
Saturday September 13, 2014, 6:57 am
Hey, folks, just out! =>Friday, 12 September 2014 "Workers Are Constantly on the Edge of the Knife", Truthout / Interview with Congressman George Miller, cochair of the House Education and Work Committee, who initiated the "Schedules that Work Act"

I'm just including part of the intro (sans links) & none of the actual interview for lack of space. Hope this will suffice to whet your appetites!

Intro: ".../... Sometimes, employees have told researchers, workers don't know what hours they are scheduled until they show up to punch in. Or, an employee shows up for a scheduled shift and is told to go home - effectively denying that person their day's pay. The impact is a sense of constant precarious living. "Just-in-time scheduling" deprives employees of the ability to plan their lives, to schedule childcare, attend family events or take care of their own health. It also means many employees don't get to work enough hours at one job to make ends meet. This unpredictability of such employment is especially problematic for the 7.5 MILLION part-time workers who say they wish to have full-time positions.

The most abusive forms of "just-in-time scheduling" reflect a wider trend. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 47 percent of hourly-wage workers aged 26-32 say they get a week or less of advance notice about what hours they have to work.

Workers' rights advocates say we can do better. So does Rep. George Miller, longtime Democratic California Congressperson and cochair of the House Education and Work Committee, who last month cosponsored a bill that would mandate that workers who are summoned to work on short notice be paid extra. It would also require employers to pay a minimum of four hours' pay to a worker who is sent home after coming to work.

Miller and his cosponsors are hoping that, even with the current stalemate in Congress, the bill (dubbed the Schedules that Work Act) will make state and local lawmakers take notice of this issue - and pursue local solutions that can become models for nationwide action. I spoke with Rep. Miller about just-in-time scheduling and the opportunities that he sees for changing the situation low-wage workers face.


Please don't forget to sign the petition in favor of this legislation -- I linked to it in one of my early comments on this thread.
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