Mississippi’s Low Income Workers

There is a movement taking hold that would try to protect low income workers….and Mississippi has it fair share of those, as well as day workers and such.

Original source: civilrights.org

Organizations that advocate for working-class Americans, such as the Institute for Policy Studies and Jobs with Justice, recently formed a coalition called the Inter-Alliance Dialogue to address the needs of low-income workers, minorities, domestic workers, day laborers, and other groups most affected by the recession.

In recent months, employers have been eliminating jobs at a rate of about half a million per month, causing many people to lose their homes and healthcare, especially low-income workers and minorities.

The groups that make up the Inter-Alliance Dialogue are urging Congress to address the needs of low-wage workers, by:

* passing the Employee Free Choice Act to expand workers’ right to organize and improve working conditions;
* enhancing worker protection laws to prevent wage theft and workplace abuses;
* preventing the lending and credit industries from taking advantage of minorities and low-income people;
* implementing fair immigration reform that protects workers and their families; and
* providing equal opportunities for jobs for all workers in the emerging green economy.


Student Workers Unionize

Original source: unionreview.com

First student school bus drivers, monitors and mechanics in West Point, Mississippi, are now Teamster members, after an overwhelming 21-6 vote in favor of representation by Local 891 in Jackson. The workers united in order to secure fair pay, affordable and decent health insurance, respect and a say on the job.

“We’re going to start bargaining the second week of June, and look forward to negotiating the first contract in the state of Mississippi for bus drivers,” said Willie Smith, President of Local 891 and Secretary-Treasurer of Joint Council 87.

There are 42 workers in the bargaining unit, who are now part of the more than 400 First Student workers in Mississippi who have joined Local 891 since September.

Since the Teamsters national Drive Up Standards campaign to improve safety, service and work standards in the private school bus and transit industry began in 2006, more than 17,600 drivers, monitors, aides, mechanics and attendants have become Teamsters.

Did Company Mistreat Its Workers?

CNN recently did a report on the mistreatment of immigrant workers and two Mississippi companies are faced with lawsuits concerning the immigrants.

Two Mississippi companies deny allegations they lured foreign workers to the United States with false promises of good jobs then housed them in storage buildings.

Twelve Brazilians are suing Moss Point-based Knights Marine and Industrial and a subsidiary, Five Star Contractors LLC, alleging racketeering, breach of contract and fraud.

The workers, who came to Mississippi on temporary work visas, allege they spent thousands of dollars in travel expenses, but the high-paying jobs they were promised didn’t materialize.

Brian Knight, president of Knights Marine, denied the allegations in a statement to The Associated Press.

He calls the allegations false and the lawsuit frivolous.

Biofuel Comes To Mississippi

A Canadian company said Thursday it had selected a northeast Mississippi site for its first U.S. plant to turn solid waste, wood residues and other feedstock into biofuel.

A spokeswoman for Montreal-based Enerkem Inc. said the company had been in discussions with officials in Pontotoc since early last year. The plant is expected to create up to 450 jobs.

Enerkem has signed a letter of intent with the Three Rivers Regional Solid Waste Management Authority, which owns and operates a regional landfill for the counties of Calhoun, Itawamba, Lafayette, Lee, Monroe, Pontotoc, and Union.

Three Rivers has agreed to supply Enerkem with approximately 189,000 tons or 60 percent of its solid waste annually as feedstock for the plant.

Enerkem has operated a pilot plant in Sherbrooke, Quebec, since 2003. Its first commercial plant was in Westbury, Quebec, and the company will start construction on a third plant in Edmonton, Alberta. The Mississippi plant will be a $250 million project and is expected to produce 20 million gallons of ethanol a year

The project is expected to create 150 long-term direct and indirect jobs and 300 jobs during the construction and startup phase, officials said.

It will be fascinating to see what the governor and his cronies have offered this company as compensation for locating in Mississippi.

Stimulus Cash Comes To Mississippi

Agencies in Mississippi are still cautious about saying exactly what they’ll get from the federal stimulus package or what they’ll do with it, but one group of Mississippians has already benefited — the unemployed.

Beginning the last week of February, the unemployed got $25 more a week.

The money, which runs out in 2010, has no state match, but Gov. Haley Barbour signed an agreement with the Department of Labor to get it rolling. How does that stimulate?

Ed Sivak, director of the Mississippi Economic Policy Center, quoting Department of Labor research, said that for every $1 of unemployment benefit money injected into local economies, $2.15 is generated in economic activity.

The Mississippi Department of Education received new information from the U.S. Department of Education last week and school districts were given solid numbers on what they would receive for Title I and special education, but then they learned Tuesday that the money will be funneled through the state, which could change the totals.

Mississippi will get $132 million for Title I, which funds services for children from low-income families. It will receive a total of $117.8 million for special education and $8.5 million for education technology.

Mississippi will receive $44.3 million through the U.S. Department of Labor for employment and training programs funded by the stimulus package. That’s a portion of $3.5 billion nationwide.

The DOL money will be used primarily through the state’s WIN Job Centers. Some solid figures for Mississippi include $3.6 million for job training, work retraining and working with employees who have been laid off. There will be $18.7 million for youth summer employment and other activities, $7.8 million for adults and $14.2 million for dislocated workers.

And Medicaid?

Dan Turner, spokesman for the governor’s office, said though there are reports that the state has received $137 million in stimulus Medicaid funding, it hadn’t as of Monday, but it’s expected soon.

Turner puts the total for Medicaid for Mississippi at around $414 million.

In the past our governor did not want the cash for the unempoloyed for whatever reason that he could make up, but here is something to think about…..for every $1 of benefits it will create $2.15 of economic activity….why would anyone be opposed to getting a 100% economic bang for the buck spent?  Maybe these are the types of questions people should consider before voting for the next “good old boy” governor.

I Told You So!

Gov. Haley Barbour said today he doesn’t want to accept part of President Barack Obama’s stimulus money because it would mean raising unemployment taxes.

Barbour spoke to the Gulfport Business Council and after the meeting said he will not accept about $50 million of the stimulus money related to unemployment benefits.

If a person is unemployed, he can get unemployment benefits if he is willing and able to work full time. The stimulus money requires that everyone who is unemployed receive benefits, not just people who can work full time.

Barbour said that would have to continue even after the stimulus money is gone. That would require the state to raise $16 million each year to continue paying those benefits.

That means that if you were hurt on the job and cannot work full time…then you do not deserve benefits….workers?  Who needs stinking workers? (sarcasm)

God forbid that the state actually do anything to help its residents.

Is this what you elected a governor to do?  If it is then this state is in sad shape and will NEVER amount to anything.

Assault On The Workers

Do you know what the “Employees Free Choice Act” is?  It is a bill in the US Congress which basically states that workers have the right to employees have the right to join, form or assist labor organizations to provide for injunctions for unfair labor practices.  Does that sound like something that would be objectionable?  Well, it is….and especially in Mississippi a right to work state that gets constipation every time the word union is mentioned.

They are so afraid of unions, by they I mean the paid for politicians in the state legislature, that they have gone so far as to offer a bill to order the Mississippi representation in Washington to vote against it.

That bill is SC 550 which states:


Has anyone in Jackson actually asked any worker in the state of Mississippi what they think of the idea of the Free Choice Act?  I do not think so.  Business in the state does not want it, so they pay these a/holes in Jackson to oppose it…and like good little puppies they do what they are told.

When…just when will the workers in Mississippi wake up and realize that the state is NOT on their side…that the state does all it can to keep them at the bottom of the economic ladder….the Mississippi worker deserves better from their politicians….it is beyiond time to throw these a/holes back into the sewers they crawled out of and start with the governor and go through the entire list…..start over could be no worse than it is now.