Tuesday 21st of May 2024

gettin' that old "aspirational prosperity" ......

"I have a message for the people of Australia who are
enjoying the enhanced benefits of AWAs - the leader of the opposition is after
your aspirational prosperity."

John Howard

Didn't have to wait long

From the ABC

James Hardie CEO reaps 60pc pay rise
The top executive at James Hardie Industries has received a pay rise of more than 60 per cent in the past year.

The information is contained in the company's annual report, which also reveals that the company has spent $45 million so far dealing with the scandal arising from its provisions for asbestos victims.

The report shows the pay packet of CEO Louis Gries grew to $4.7 million, including bonuses and other benefits.

James Hardie Industries says the chief executive's pay reflects an increase in the company's profit.

Asbestos sufferer Bernie Banton has told AM it does not sound right.

"I think it's obscene that anybody should be paid that sort of money over 12 months - I think it's just obnoxious," he said.

John Shields from the business faculty at the University of Sydney says a pay rise of more than 60 per cent does appear high for Australia.

"The average increase is probably between 20 and 35 per cent," he said.

"So using that as a benchmark I'd say it's pretty much above the median and the mean for Australia, also I'd say it was pushing the top end of increases in total for US-listed CEOs."
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Meanwhile, Gus garners that the pay-packet for workers in general in this sunny country has thinned by at least 5 per cent on average, up to forty per cent in some cases, all under the auspices of Industrial Relations reforms introduced by our not-so-green-grocer and his rotten vegetable-senate...

Anyone who is pleased with this can go and join the Nazis...

smoke that

From Al Jazeera

Victory for cigarette makers

Friday 07 July 2006, 0:26 Makka Time, 21:26 GMT

A US court has backed a decision to overturn a ruling that awarded $145 billion in damages against cigarette makers who had been found liable for selling a dangerous product.

The Florida supreme court upheld the key part of a ruling from the appeals court three years ago that overturned the punitive damages.

The court said the award was "clearly excessive" and would "result in an unlawful crippling of the defendant companies".

Tobacco companies' stocks rose sharply following the ruling.

The court also upheld key findings in the 12-year-old case known as Engle versus Liggett - among them, that cigarette smoking causes cancer, heart disease and other ailments, and that tobacco companies marketed "defective and unreasonably dangerous" products.

Cancer patients

Individual damage awards were reinstated to two cancer patients - $2.9 million to Mary Farnan and $4 million to the estate of Angie Della Vecchia, who died in 1999. But it agreed that smokers would have to sue tobacco companies individually, not as a group.

William Ohlemeyer, vice-president of tobacco company Philip Morris USA, said: "As numerous trial and appellate courts have held, tobacco cases cannot be treated as class actions because liability must ultimately be decided on a case by case basis.Joe Martyak, from the anti-smoking group American Legacy Foundation, said the ruling could prove a death knell for class action against cigarette makers.

"I think it's bad news for public health and it's even worse news for smokers," he said. "The ruling underscores that Big Tobacco will literally be able to litigate to death a smoker's claim for justice."

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Gus preaches: Go and smoke your lungs out, my son... then die in morphine-induced peace... Yes, justice will come tomorrow, always tomorrow... and tomorrow never comes because when it could be here it's already today.

workchoicing aspirational prosperity in amerika .....

from the Centre for American Progress ….. 

Doing Harm to America's Workers

October 5, 2006

‘Workers' rights have been severely crippled. On Tuesday, President Bush's National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) — "easily the most anti-worker labor board in history" — issued a decision that will deny the right to organize to as many as 8 million workers in 200 occupations. Under the Taft-Hartley Act, "supervisors" in an organization are prohibited from joining unions. In a party-line vote of the five-member NLRB, the three Bush appointees voted to broadly interpret who can be called a supervisor, extending to someone who "spends as little as 10 to 15 percent of his or her time overseeing the work of others." AFL-CIO President John Sweeney noted, "The rights of anyone who spends 7 hours and 10 minutes a day on routine duties and 50 minutes on 'supervisory functions' are at risk." In a blistering dissent, the two board members appointed by former President Clinton warned that the ruling "threatens to create a new class of workers under Federal labor law: workers who have neither the genuine prerogatives of management, nor the statutory rights of ordinary employees."

The decision is far out of step with the reality of the workplace. The 1947 Taft-Hartley amendments to the National Labor Relations Act were never meant to exclude professional workers who have no power to hire, fire, or discipline employees. But that's exactly what the NLRB ruled on Tuesday. In 2001, Supreme Court — with Justice Antonin Scalia writing for the majority — forced the board to reexamine the definition of "supervisor," ruling that the definition set by the then-Clinton appointee-dominated board was too strict. But as the AFL-CIO's Stewart Acuff points out, Tuesday's Oakwood Healthcare, Inc. ruling goes "far beyond the clear intent of Congress, far beyond NLRB precedent, far more than necessary to comply with the Supreme Court's 2001 Kentucky River decision that gave rise to the ruling, and far out of step with workplace reality."

This ruling will also exacerbate the care crisis in America. By 2015, all 50 states will experience a shortage of nurses. Already the shortage has affected medical treatment. A recent study in the Health Affairs medical journal "found 6,700 patient deaths and 4 million days of hospital care could be avoided each year by increasing staff of registered nurses." The NLRB's ruling in Oakwood will directly affect nurses, classifying more as supervisors ineligible for union protection. The NLRB determined that less unionization definitely won't help recruit more nurses or improve healthcare. Acuff notes, "Nurse unions lead the way in advocating for lower patient-to-nurse ratios and limits on mandatory excessive overtime, both of which have major consequences for patient care.” 

There are major consequences to eliminating workers’ rights. "Middle class families are struggling to pay for a home, health insurance, transportation, and their children's college education due to a weak labor market and sharply higher prices, despite an economic recovery well into its fifth year," concludes a new report by the Center for American Progress. In the first quarter of 2006, families had to spend 13.9 percent of their disposable income — the largest share since 1980 — to service their debt. A majority of today's workers say the number one issue they face is that the wages they are paid are not keeping up with the cost of living. Yet productivity — as Bush likes to frequently point outremain high. De-unionization accounts for 15 percent of the increase in wage inequality among men over the past quarter-century, according to David Card of the University of California at Berkeley. Today, the vast majority of union members — 84 percent — live in only 12 states, leaving workers with little organized power in much of the country. But despite internal struggles in the past, union leaders are now making moves to unite and mobilize workers around "pocketbook" issues.

Tell Congress to support the Employee Free Choice Act, which would establish harsh penalties for employers who harass workers while they are attempting to organize.’