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Rep. Tim Scott spent this afternoon in a Charleston restaurant to talk with patrons about taxes and energy.
Scott should have taken advantage of the opportunity to speak directly with that restaurant’s employees, however, says his Democratic opponent Bobbie Rose.
“So Scott has decided to be ‘server for a day’ at a local restaurant,” Rose says. “While it’s a flamboyant way to tout his concerns about ‘federal tax policies’ and ‘energy strategy,’ it’s a more appropriate venue to talk about the issues restaurant workers face daily.”
Rose cites a recent report compiled by Restaurant Centers Opportunities United that points out the struggles that hospitality industry workers face, and not only in income and employee rights, but even gender equality, as well.
“These issues,” Rose notes, “include:
Rose’s concerns for South Carolina women employed in this field are well-founded, too.
In South Carolina, almost 125,000 citizens are employed in food service and preparation occupations, and a large majority (57.3 percent) are female.
Those South Carolina female workers in this industry only earn an average of $10,916, however – more than $2,000 less than the men employed in these same positions.
Today’s campaign event only further indicates that the incumbent congressional representative is only in tune with corporations and not with the public, Rose finds.
“Does Tim Scott really believe that cutting corporate taxes is the first thing that comes to mind when these workers think about improving their futures?” she asks.
“We can do better for our working class!”
Scott holds only a 14-percent approval rating on his year-to-date votes on issues relevant to common American households, according to The Middle Class organization.
Before the badly-informed public continues use of the “right to work” term in a positive light, they should take a look at the true impositions the far-right’s anti-labor sentiment imposes on them.
For example, check out this recent graph created by Think Progress. The United States is the only country listed that does not offer a guaranteed right of paid maternity leave from the workplace.
And before anyone yells out “socialist!” take a good look at that list of countries featured on the graph – Germany, Italy, South Africa and almost all of the others are republics with governments elected by the people (and that have solid capitalist economies with profitable companies and corporations).
Ones with paler economies (Mexico, Venezuela) have it, and even a country with a much stricter, male-dominated social structure (Pakistan) guarantees that right to its women workers, too.
And there are many, many more than just those 14 countries listed on the graph that offer this basic benefit. In fact, aside from the United States, only Papua New Guinea (which has only five medical doctors for every 100,000 citizens) and Swaziland (which has a life expectancy of only 32 years) don’t guarantee this medical benefit.
That’s right – we’re one of only three countries on the planet that does not provide its citizens with a guaranteed right of paid maternity leave.
But it doesn’t stop there; 74 countries offer paid paternity leave, too, with 31 of those nations guaranteeing 14 weeks to new fathers.
We’re also notably absent from the list of 48 countries that guarantee paid time off to parents who need to care for sick children.
It gets a lot worse for U.S. workers, too; 163 countries have paid sick leave, not limited to maternity, as a basic right – but not the United States. Even though 86 percent of the population says it should be guaranteed – even 81 percent of those who self-identify as conservative – we’re still far behind the rest of the world.
Federal government employees have that right (and so does the state of Connecticut recently, due to campaigns by that state’s Working Families Party), but everyone else in the private sector is left at the mercy of their employers.
That mercy ain’t much, either – 16 percent of American workers say that they or at least one of their relatives has been punished by employers, reprimanded, or even fired because of missing work due to an illness.
In this election year, let’s keep basic labor rights included in the questions we ask candidates. Make sure they defend these rights and freedoms in the Land of the Free, and help the United States join the rest of the modern world.
And if the candidates you speak with disagree? Tell them there’s plenty of room for their kind over in Papua New Guinea and Swaziland.
The latest attack on organized labor isn’t as open and blatant as the battles in Wisconsin, Ohio and other places. This time, the attack is on the sly.
And while it may be of national impact, South Carolina’s own Tim Scott has his hands on it.
Terms buried deep in a bill he recently co-sponsored would block a family from receiving food stamps if any member of its household was on strike.
Scott is one of five co-sponsors of H.R. 1135, titled the “Welfare Reform Act of 2011.” Its stated goals are “to provide information on total spending on means-tested welfare programs, to provide additional work requirements, and to provide an overall spending limit on means-tested welfare programs.”
A layman’s translation of this premise is that it wants to ensure all food stamp users are actually qualified for their receipt.
But there’s that hidden term against labor unions, though. Buried in Section 202, the bill reads, “no member of a family unit shall participate in the food stamp program at any time that any able-bodied work eligible adult member of such household is on strike(.)”
Note that “no member of a family unit” term; that means you, your wife and your 18-year-old son and daughter. The in-law you let stay in your home. The cousin occupying your spare room. If any one of you went on a labor strike, then all of you could be forced to go on a hunger strike of sorts, too.
Most importantly, it means that exercising legal rights afforded to you by the government would block you from receiving other legal rights the government is supposed to provide – and which you paid for all along during your work prior to any strike.
Of course, we already knew Scott was anti-union. He cosponsored the bill that wound up putting Amendment 2 on the ballots in the last election. That amendment, which would eliminate one method of union formation in South Carolina, is now being challenged by the National Labor Review Board, which threatened to sue the state.
In late 2009, he sponsored H. 2453, which aimed to acquire federal funding to promote South Carolina as an anti-union state.
Cosponsoring the Welfare Reform Act along with Scott are Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Rep. Dan Burton (R-Indiana), Rep. Scott Garrett (R-New Jersey) and Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-Texas).
All five as well as Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) also cosponsored H.R. 1167, the “Welfare Reform Restoration Act.” H.R. 1167 also includes the exact same terms to prevent an entire household from receiving food stamps if any member is participating in an organized labor strike.
First introduced on Mar. 16, H.R. 1135 was forwarded to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where it was last updated on Mar. 23. H.R. 1167 was introduced on Mar. 17, and was forwarded to the same committee.