Today, the top one-tenth of 1 percent owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent. 

The top one-hundredth of 1 percent makes more than 40 percent of all campaign contributions.

In the workplace, pregnancy should be seen as normal—not as a burden to an employer. Photo via Creative Commons.

More than 35 years after the Pregnancy Discrimination Act was passed, the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission enforcement records show that some employers still don’t know that openly refusing to hire a woman because of pregnancy (or terminating her for becoming pregnant) is illegal. And, of course, we’re the only industrialized country in the world that doesn’t have universal paid maternity leave. 

Continue reading “Pregnant Workers Shouldn’t Have to Fight for Their Rights—But They Do” on BitchMedia.org.

It’s 3am and I’m in my hospital bed and I can’t really move coz of the c-section. The morphine keeps waking me up with a start every time I drift off though so I’m on tumblr. Yesterday started off well. Cervix was encouraging from the start. Contractions started straight away after the prostaglandin gel and quickly became regular. I was dealing with the pain fine and walking around.

Doc came and checked me and I was 4cm so he broke my water. Shit got a bit more real after that. Because I was stuck on my back for monitoring for a while I started having a lot more difficulty dealing with contractions. Finally they moved me into the birthing suite and right when I was having a nasty one the midwife who had been cold from the start reached over and said “another thing you can do is express.” and just grabbed my nipple and squeezed super hard. Then she tried to do it again. And all I could do was like wimper “no no” and move away from her. was definitely the weirdest part of the whole thing.

She finished her shift then thank God and I got a nice midwife who put me in the shower. I spent hours in there, pretty much on all fours the whole time. I was doing fine and feeling calm, just with a bit of gas and air.

Baby’s heart rate started dropping and even though my pain had increased I had dilated only 1cm so they put me back on the bed for monitoring. Things went downhill fast. First of all I stopped coping with the pain. I basically had to beg for an epidural. The first midwife had been telling me repeatedly how much better for the baby it would be if I didn’t have any drugs. The second one gave me the gas but she turned me off the epidural 3 times before finally saying she’d organise it once I’d told her emphatically that I was in fact sure.

I got the epidural and immediately baby’s heart rate plummeted. I now know it was a coincidence not the drugs. She had disengaged and turned and her head was sideways. It hit 39. I was freaking.

Doc came and checked me and I hadn’t progressed and her heart rate was scary so he said it was surgery time. I pretty much bawled my eyes out the entire time they prepped me and during the surgery. I was scared and exhausted. I also got massive shakes. I couldn’t control my body for a few hours afterwards.

But c-section went well and baby is just under 8 pound. We’ve managed to have a big long breastfeed which is great. She is beautiful but I only have surgery pics atm. She has heaps of hair and it looks ginger/blonde!!

What a scary but amazing day. It’s not quite real yet.

anonymous asked:

w/r/t that valenti column, and all web #content really, do you think it's fair to say that the conditions the writing is produced under (the writer must earn ad revenue for the publisher based on clicks to justify her salary, the audience is largely disengaged yet inundated with #content & conditioned to respond to certain keywords/tropes) promotes a facile approach?

yeah, I do. and that’s why it is always unethical to be a professional feminist writer.

While you’ll always see viral videos of dramatic back-of-the-car or side-of-the-road emergency births, they are the exception, for sure. The average labor for first-time mamas lasts around 20 hours and about eight hours for second-timers. So unless you live a few states away from your hospital, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll arrive in plenty of time. Instead of biting your fingernails about the impending commute, remember this: Call your midwife or OB as soon as you experience the signs of labor she indicates: usually when you experience contractions that don’t go away when you lie down or change positions (they’ll continue regularly every five minutes) for two hours, or if your water breaks. She’ll give you the lowdown on if and when you should head to the hospital. If you follow that rule, the odds are overwhelmingly in your favor of arriving at the hospital in time.

there is sort of a constellation of bad feminist content production and in a less-dangerous zone I guess there is the sad stupid unpaid planned parenthood intern but in another region there is the production of feminism (of content about feminism and therefore of feminism) whose function is to generate not only your paycheck* but revenue for a corporation; making decisions to reproduce for example racist anti-woman mythologies in service of a tight argument toward this end is never feminist and is always unethical and evil.

*I begrudge you a paycheck and my personal philosophy might be get your $$$$ but this only extends so far and probably the least acceptable blabbering I witness daily in my mediated life is “I have to work, we all have to put a roof over our heads, I personally have to work as a writer and I need that validated by all workers globally every second of my sad life”

8

Look, Ma! New Acquisitions!

We sought out fiction novels concerning Labor and Socialism in early 20th-century America.  This topic is especially significant at Lehigh University.  We are located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.  Our history is closely linked with Bethlehem Steel’s (which is now closed).  To this day, the Bethlehem Steel Stacks provide an important backdrop for our campus.

 “Big Steel” by Leslie Swabacker

This is a novel of the steel industry from the late 1800s to the Great Depression, shown through the eyes of a man who rose from being a common steel worker to a steel magnate. This book is uncommon, especially in the pictorial dust-jacket.  It was published in New York by the Macaulay Company in 1934.  This is a first edition.

“Bread and Fire” by Charles Rumford

This book is about the editor of a New York socialist newspaper who becomes a worker in a Pennsylvania steel mill and participates in the 1919 steel strikes.  It was published in Boston by Houghton Mifflin Company in 1927. This a first edition.  

“Riot” by W.E. Trautmann and P. Hagboldt

This is a very uncommon radical novel of unrest in the Pennsylvania and Ohio steel regions.  It was written by W.E. Trautmann, the Founding General Secretary of Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).  The events in the novel take place between 1902 and 1909. It was published in Chicago by the Chicago Labor Printing Company, though the year of publication is unclear. It is predicted to be 1922.  

Our new acquisitions are the three novels pictured above.  To complement the subjects, we provided old photographs and postcards of the Bethlehem Steel Stacks. 

1) Low pay

In 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported average wages of $10.29 per hour for retail workers. This above federal minimum wage but still below the minimum wages in some areas, like Seattle and San Francisco, both of which have approved $15 minimum wages; San Francisco is gradually escalating until it reaches $15 in 2018. However, this falls far below the so-called “living wage,” the amount of money workers need to survive comfortably in a given region.

2) Part-time scheduling

The abuse of part-time employment and scheduling practices is a perennial problem in the retail industry. Hiring multiple part-time employees tends to be less costly than hiring full-timers, especially if a company offers benefits; keeping hours just below the part-time limit ensures that an employee isn’t entitled to health care subsidies, sick days, and other benefits options. In regions where municipalities haven’t moved to aggressively promote employee benefits—San Francisco’s mandatory health care for employees is an example—retail employees are often forced to spread themselves thin across several workplaces to make ends meet.

3) Anti-organizing practices

Many major corporations are involved in union suppression and anti-organizing practices, such as misleading employees about what can happen under unionization and intimidating organizers. Walmart is one major offender, and the company is in the news not just because of the Alameda County suit, but because during the years Hillary Clinton sat on Walmart’s board, she said little on the subject of its anti-union activities. Instead, she watched the company suppress labor organizing. That could become a contentious issue in the election, as Democrats have historically relied on union support.

4) Wage theft

In Walmart’s case, the firm is avoid paying part-time workers by shifting additional work onto assistant managers, thus depriving part-timers of pay. Because these workers are paid on a salaried and not hourly basis, they accrue overtime without receiving overtime wages, representing a significant savings to the corporation. This is just one among many tactics used to squeeze unpaid hours out of workers, and as Steven Greenhouse reports at the New York Times, workers are fighting back. Critically, he noted, regulatory agencies “assert that more companies are violating wage laws than ever before, pointing to the record number of enforcement actions they have pursued.”

5) Unpredictable scheduling

In addition to putting workers in an awkward position with part-time scheduling, companies also create an even more troubling dynamic in the workplace by making schedules highly unstable. They’re often issued week by week without notice, and employees may find that they don’t work a steady, predictable schedule from week to week—which makes planning ahead very difficult. Sometimes changes are made even after a schedule is issued, and employees are required to accommodate them or take unpaid days off if they need to attend doctor’s appointments or meet other obligations.

6) Racism and sexual harassment

Cases of racism, sexual harassment, transphobia, religious discrimination, and more regularly crop up in the news. In 2013, Target was called out for a racist training document that made disparaging comments about “Mexicans” and “Cubans.” Samantha Elauf made headlines for being one of many employees or applicants to Abercrombie & Fitch who was rejected on the basis of not fitting in with the company’s “look”—in her case, because she was a hijabi and she refused to remove her scarf for work.

7) Little to no benefits

Many retail firms don’t offer benefits at all, even to full-time employees, unless they are required to do so. Employees may not be eligible for health care, paid sick days, vacation time, and other benefits; consequently, many feel under pressure to work every day because they can’t afford to take time off and they don’t want to be fired for needing to be out of the workplace.

Read the full article.

10

2007 - Gifs from an 18-minute documentary on the Ssangyong Motors factory occupation, produced by militant railroad workers from Doro Chiba in Japan.

The Ssangyong strike and factory occupation in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, ended on August 5, 2009, having lasted 77 days. It began when 1700 workers seized the small auto plant on on May 22. Yet 976 workers were able to successfully defend it to the end – against repeated military assaults by riot cops, company-hired goons, and scabs.

The settlement, signed by Ssangyong court receivership management and the Korean Metal Workers’ Union local president, was a negotiated defeat for the workers; the surrender of the factory was followed by felony charges and heavy sentences against occupiers, as well a massive lawsuit against the KMWU.

Despite this, the workers fought valiantly and uncompromisingly for over 2 months, demonstrating a militancy and class consciousness sorely lacking in the world today. The Ssangyong struggle is an inspiration to workers everywhere – especially as the current crisis has been used as a pretext to further attack the working class. It’s about time we turned the class war back on its feet; the Ssangyong struggle offers many lessons for fighting back.
[part 1] / [video]

11 things no one tells you about giving birth

#1 Delivery doesn’t end when the baby is born

You still have to deliver the placenta after the baby emerges, so don’t be surprised when you still have more pushing to do. Luckily, it can be delivered quite quickly and painlessly.

#2 Due dates are overrated

Women like to have a finish line to look forward to. It helps them get through nine months of pregnancy when they feel like there is a deadline on their discomfort. The truth, however, is only 5 percent of women give birth on their due dates. So don’t be surprised if your human bean doesn’t sprout right on schedule.

#3 Having an epidural doesn’t mean you’re completely numb

An epidural is a form of pain management that can deaden the pain in a woman’s lower body. It’s administered through a needle placed in her back. But just because you have an epidural doesn’t mean you’ll have no feeling. Some women have uneven numbing in their legs, others can still lift their legs and lower body, others have feeling in their legs but none in their stomachs. Talk to your doctor if you feel a lot of contraction pain, but you don’t have to be completely numb for the epidural to work.

#4 You can’t eat or drink with an epidural

This is a tough fact, because it takes an enormous amount of effort to give birth, epidural or not, but doing so on an empty stomach makes it even harder. So eat a good meal before heading to the hospital if you plan on getting an epidural. Some hospitals may allow you to chew on flavored ice chips during labor, but those will do little to satisfy your hunger.

#5 You might defecate during delivery

This is an especially unsavory possibility that happens far more often than most women will admit. If it happens to you, don’t feel embarrassed. It’s nothing the nurses haven’t seen before.

#6 Babies can look like they’re covered in cottage cheese

No, your baby’s skin isn’t falling off and it won’t always be coated by a sticky, cheese-like white substance. More common in babies born before 40 weeks, this covering, known as vernix caseosa, was what protected your baby’s skin in the womb.

#7 Babies can be very hairy — not just on their heads

Some babies resemble monkeys more than humans when they’re first born, and this isn’t just because of the hair on their heads. You might notice hair on your little one’s arms, shoulders and even back, and it can be quite dark. This, too, will rub off in time.

#8 Baby’s head shape will change

If you deliver vaginally, the bones in your baby’s head will have to compress as they squeeze through the birth canal. They don’t immediately resume their round shape. In fact, they may remain rather cone-shaped for several days. This effect can be worse if an intervention was required during birth, such as use of a vacuum or forceps.

#9 Someone is going to give you a massage, and it’s going to hurt – a lot!

Before you’re allowed to go home, your doctor or midwife will want to be sure you’ve stopped bleeding. To do this, a nurse will massage your stomach at regular intervals to be sure your uterus is shrinking back to its normal size. This is possibly the most painful massage you’ll ever have.

#10 You might go home wearing mesh underwear

The bleeding doesn’t stop when you head home, and it could continue for up to 6 weeks postpartum. Some clinics provide a sort of mesh underwear for new moms to wear with thick pads. Other women prefer buying adult-sized diapers. Just do whatever makes you most comfortable.

#11 Belly buttons don’t start out little and cute

Your little one’s umbilical cord will be tied off immediately after birth, but a vestige of it will remain attached for several days, or even weeks, before drying up and falling off. It’ll be black and a little bloody looking and not at all cute, but doctors discourage parents from trying to loosen them or pull on them.

Giving birth can be an incredible experience, and it can be a miserable experience. Just as no two moms or babies are the same, no two births are the same. The moment you think you know all there is about giving birth and new babies is the moment you learn you know nothing at all. So don’t worry about being an expert, take a deep breath, and prepare to be surprised.

Women workers still earn, on average, 78 cents on the dollar compared to men. And the wages for jobs held by women of color reflect both sex and race discrimination. African-American women earn about two-thirds of men’s wages, and Hispanic women earn less than 60 percent. This needs to change. Take action now - tell Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act: http://afsc.me/1JH5dT3

10

By Sahid Fawaz

As we celebrate Earth Day today, we are reminded of a powerful reason to buy American: the out-of-control pollution in China.

It’s not only the cheap, non-union labor in China that is drawing manufacturers to the country. It’s also the lack of environmental protection standards that much of the developed world has set for companies. When a business can destroy the air, land, and water in pursuit of profit, then we all suffer in the long run. Not to mention that it is a completely unsustainable business model.

- See more at: http://labor411.org/411-blog/749-these-photos-of-chinese-pollution-are-even-more-reason-to-buy-american-made#sthash.VBsQLxrs.dpuf

The richest executives are saying they can’t afford to pay $15 now, when what they make in a single day is what they’re paying their workers for a whole year.
—  James Lane, Green Party candidate for District 11 in New York City. Watch Democracy Now! for exclusive video coverage of the “Fight for $15” protests today.
10

2007 - Gifs from an 18-minute documentary on the Ssangyong Motors factory occupation, produced by militant railroad workers from Doro Chiba in Japan.

The Ssangyong strike and factory occupation in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, ended on August 5, 2009, having lasted 77 days. It began when 1700 workers seized the small auto plant on on May 22. Yet 976 workers were able to successfully defend it to the end – against repeated military assaults by riot cops, company-hired goons, and scabs.

The settlement, signed by Ssangyong court receivership management and the Korean Metal Workers’ Union local president, was a negotiated defeat for the workers; the surrender of the factory was followed by felony charges and heavy sentences against occupiers, as well a massive lawsuit against the KMWU.

Despite this, the workers fought valiantly and uncompromisingly for over 2 months, demonstrating a militancy and class consciousness sorely lacking in the world today. The Ssangyong struggle is an inspiration to workers everywhere – especially as the current crisis has been used as a pretext to further attack the working class. It’s about time we turned the class war back on its feet; the Ssangyong struggle offers many lessons for fighting back. [video] / [part 2]