Republicans are hell-bent on returning the country to the Gilded Age, with the richest 1 percent making extraordinary gains in the last decade that have created a huge wealth disparity in the country, so it’s only fitting that voting has begun for Jobs with Justice’s 12th Annual Scrooge of Year contest.
The annual contest highlights the greediest, most cold-hearted, anti-worker company or person of the year. Michigan has seen plenty of anti-worker sentiment this year, and it would be a hard choice between Gov. Ricker Snyder, Speaker James Bolger and Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville for Michigan Scrooge of the Year with all of the anti-worker Legislation that was signed into law in 2010. It will take years to undo all of that damage and mend the social safety net.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch “Yertle the Turtle” McConnell, R-KY., was named Scrooge of Year last year, thanks to Republicans aggressively blocking almost all legislation from passing in 2010 under his “leadership,” especially laws that would help working people. Past winners include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce,Wal-Mart, George W. Bush, Goodyear Tire & Rubber, Smithfield Chairman Joseph Luter III and Wall Street.
There is another fine crop of Scrooges to choose from this year:
Rob Walton, Chair of Walmart’s Board of DirectorsDeemed a “billionaire bully” by Brave New Films, Rob Walton is the Chair of Walmart’s board of directors. His estimated net worth is around $21 billion. As a family, the Waltons control 49% of Walmart stock, and are predicted to gain a controlling share in the next 12 months. The Waltons are the richest family in the United States, with a combined net worth is $93 billion. Even with all of this money, Walmart only pays an average of $8.81/hour to store associates. And the company has yet to meet with and address the concerns of those who work for them such as scheduling (especially during the holiday season). Just last month Walmart, under Rob’s leadership, slashed health care coverage for hundreds of thousands of Walmart employees and their families—right before the holidays.
PublixPublix is the largest corporation in Florida and the eighth-largest private corporation in the United States, with $5.5 billion dollars in profits in the past three years alone. For several years, Publix has refused to join a growing list of corporations — nine to date, including McDonald’s, Subway, and Whole Foods — who have committed to work with the farmworker-led Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) to improve wages and working conditions for the farmworkers who pick their companies’ tomatoes. Publix refuses to pay a tiny premium for its tomatoes to increase workers’ pay, and to support a code of conduct that will ensure basic rights for workers in the fields. At the same time, the company recently launched its own brand of Fair Trade coffee that “[helps] small farmers provide employees with livable wages and work conditions.” How much longer will Publix — a quintissentially ” Florida” company — continue to skirt responsibility for the systematic exploitation and poverty of farmworkers in its own home state?
American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)ALEC has been nominated because of the voter suppression laws that have been a direct attack on students, youth, seniors and historically disenfranchised communities. These state laws have been some of the most repressive voting laws since the Jim Crow era. It’s through relationships like the one ALEC has with Governor Walker that these laws have taken affect. Students around the country came together this past summer and voted to run a yearlong campaign to fight voter suppression and ensure that students and youth have their voices heard at the ballot. ALEC is an example of Scrooges trying to keep the 99 percent out of sight and out of mind by keeping them out of the ballot box.
Eddie Hull, UMass Director of Housing and Residential LifeStudents at the University of Massachusetts Amherst received an early Christmas gift from their esteemed Director of Housing and Residential Life, Eddie Hull… the loss of their jobs. In a move even the Scrooge would find wicked, Eddie sent an email to 73 undergraduate employees informing them they would be unemployed at the end of the school year, just two weeks before the end of the semester because, what better time to tell students they are fired than when they are too stressed with finals to organize against such a vicious attack. When asked to justify the cuts, Eddie replied they were part of “restructuring of Residential Life at UMass.” Asked why no students were present in conversations, Eddie said there was more than one way to hear student concerns and “sometimes, students don’t need to be at the table to do this.” Now Eddie is saying the cuts will open up some “flexibility” in the budget, and by flexibility he means to replace 54 student jobs with 2 highly paid associate directors for the exact same cost of $200,000.
Jobs with Justice is a national organization with the vision of lifting up workers’ rights and struggles as part of a larger campaign for economic and social justice and worker‘s rights.