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Tort “Reform” (Deform)

  • Federal laws, SCOTUS decisions, and laws in 38 states impede consumers’ ability to seek punitive remedies and limit corporate liability
  • Number of suits low, despite public perceptions
  • Liability costs (lawsuits and insurance) $4-5/$1,000 revenue
  • Corporate lawyers, as sworn “officers of the court” (as are all lawyers), have a professional duty to look out for the overall administration of justice and not arbitrarily block the courtroom door

Corporate Crime

  • 1,288 whistleblower lawsuits 2002-2008; government ruled for whistleblower in only 17
  • US Supreme Court (Garcetti v. Ceballos, 2006) sharply restricted rights of public employee whistleblowers
    • Congress passed Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (2011)
    • Obama has pursued more whistleblowers than any U.S. president


  • 9-12% unemployment rate
    • True percentage likely higher (approximately 16%)
    • Only 1/3 of the unemployed are eligible for unemployment insurance
    • Women slightly more likely to be unemployed than men
    • Black women 2X white women
  • Under-employment rate approximately 10%

The Rise of the Permatemp

  • Rise of the “permatemp”
    • 94% of all new jobs added between 2005 and 2015 were either temporary or contract-based
    • Temporary agency workers
      • 1989 - 1.2 million
      • 2011 - 2.8 million
  • 40% of US jobs part-time or seasonal

Expatriation of jobs

  • 2000-2011: U.S.-based multinational corporations cut 2.9 million jobs in U.S. while increasing foreign employment by 2.4 million
  • Overseas factories often lack adequate occupational health and safety and environmental standards

Job Loss and The Decline of Labor

  • Results: millions of jobs lost, early (sometimes forced) retirements, job insecurity, fewer benefits, no retirement savings, more uninsured, etc.
  • 50% of U.S. households have no retirement savings

Job Loss and The Decline of Labor

  • Labor union membership declining since 1950
  • Employers generally anti-union
  • Employee Free Choice Act would make it easier for workers to unionize

Labor Unions

  • Unionized workers earn more; have better health benefits, retirement, and disability portfolios; and have safer working conditions,
  • Industrialized countries with a greater fraction of workers in unions invest more in social welfare
  • Corporate class turns U.S. laborers against their natural advocates (workers in other countries, undocumented immigrants, etc.)

Political Spending Corporations vs. Labor

  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent $139 million on 2012 Congressional elections
  • AFL-CIO and SEIU (two largest labor unions) spend $6 million combined

Abraham Lincoln

  • “Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital; that, in fact, capital is the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital and deserves much the higher consideration.”

Railroad magnate Jay Gould

  • “I can hire one-half of the working class to kill the other half.”

Overseas Labor Markets

  • Currently made overseas:

Overseas Labor Markets

  • Overseas factories often lack adequate occupational health and safety / pollution controls (e.g., maquiladoras)
    • Even in U.S., up to 80% of occupational illnesses and injuries missed
      • 2/3 of workers fear disciplinary reaction for disclosing
      • 1/3 of physicians asked to undertreat to avoid triggering an incident report

Value of Workers to Society

  • Tax accountants destroy $47 for every $1 in value they generate
  • Advertisers destroy $11 for every $1 they generate
  • Bankers destroy $7 for every $1 they generate

Value of Workers to Society

  • Waste recycling workers generate $12 in value for every $1 they are paid
  • Hospital cleaners generate $10 in social value for every $1 they are paid
  • Childcare workers generate $7-$9.50 for every $1 they are paid

Worker Health and Safety

  • ILO: 2.2 million die of work-related injuries and diseases worldwide each year
    • Considered vast underestimate, due to poor reporting in many developing countries
  • Almost 4700 U.S. workers die each year due to job-related injuries
    • Highest numbers: construction, transportation and warehousing, forestry, fishing and hunting
    • OSHA inspections rare, fines/jail time minimal

Worker Health and Safety

  • Workplace Violence
    • Over 2 million victims in U.S. each year
    • Health care industry leads all other sectors
    • Costs $120 billion/yr


  • 2 million U.S. jobs lost to outsourcing since 1983
    • Exact numbers difficult to obtain, companies do not have to report
  • Over the last few years, compared to other firms, CEO compensation has increased five times faster at the 50 U.S. firms that do the most outsourcing of jobs

Asian Sweatshop

Violations of Employment and Labor Laws

  • 26% of low-wage workers paid less than legally-required minimum wage
  • 25% of workers had put in overtime
    • Avg. 11 hrs, 75% not paid overtime rate
  • Off-the-clock, meal break, pay stub, tipped job violations common

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