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August 17 2013

06:33

Detroit: Pensions, Racism and Bankruptcy | Economic Policy Institute

… Gov. Snyder continues to shortchange Detroit today. Michigan’s economy has been steadily recovering from the Great Recession, but its revenue sharing with Detroit has continued to decline—from $268 million in 2009 to $239 million in 2010 and 2011. Gov. Snyder cut this revenue stream even further last year, by an additional 28%, to $173 million. In short, as Detroit’s problems worsened, he piled on. Snyder and the state legislature treat Detroit like an unwanted foster child.

It’s really no surprise that the governor who signed so-called “Right to Work” legislation designed to weaken unions and undermine collective bargaining, and who cut unemployment benefits for jobless workers at a time of crushing unemployment would also try to separate employees from the pensions they worked decades to earn. Reducing the wages, benefits and income of working people is a goal Snyder shares with governors in Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, Florida and many other states.

Detroit’s public workers are not overpaid. The average non-uniformed Detroit public employee earns $41,385 per year—less than the 2010 national average annual wage of $43,194. Employee pay was reduced by 10% during fiscal year 2012. And despite a lot of noise to the contrary, the pension benefits under attack in Detroit aren’t exactly gold-plated either.

The average pension for non-uniformed retirees was less than $19,000 a year in 2011, and future benefits were reduced by more than a third in 2012. Previously, a thirty-year employee would receive a pension of 55% of final average pay and the pension would be increased by 2.25 percent of the original pension amount each year as inflation protection. Under the new, lower benefit structure, a 30-year employee would receive a pension of 45 percent of final pay and receives no COLA.

The city’s fiscal problems are not the fault of Detroit’s public employees. Those problems cannot be solved by flouting the constitutional guarantee that pensions cannot be reduced after they have been earned.

September 24 2012

21:23
4255 fc6b

A brawl involving as many as 2,000 workers forced Foxconn to close its Taiyuan plant in northern China late on Sunday, and left a number of people needing hospital treatment.

“The fight is over now … we’re still investigating the cause of the fight and the number of workers involved,” said Foxconn spokesman Louis Woo, adding it was possible it involved “a couple of thousand workers”.

A police statement reported by the official Xinhua news agency said 5,000 officers were dispatched to the scene.

The violence was brought under control after about four hours and 40 people were taken to hospitals for treatment, the Taiwanese-owned company said. It said several people were detained by police.

The violence did not appear to be work-related, the company and police said. …

Yeah, suuuuurrrrre!
(via Foxconn closes China factory after brawl | Technology | guardian.co.uk)

September 16 2012

23:59
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