company:walmart

  • Sikh drivers are transforming U.S. trucking. Take a ride along the Punjabi American highway - Los Angeles Times
    https://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-col1-sikh-truckers-20190627-htmlstory.html

    By Jaweed Kaleem, Jun 27, 2019 -
    It’s 7:20 p.m. when he rolls into Spicy Bite, one of the newest restaurants here in rural northwest New Mexico. Locals in Milan, a town of 3,321, have barely heard of it.

    https://www.trbimg.com/img-5d12f8d2/turbine/la-1561524431-z6kcx6gnzm-snap-image
    Punjabi-operated truck stops

    The building is small, single-story, built of corrugated metal sheets. There are seats for 20. The only advertising is spray-painted on concrete roadblocks in English and Punjabi. Next door is a diner and gas station; the county jail is across the road.

    Palwinder Singh orders creamy black lentils, chicken curry and roti, finishing it off with chai and cardamom rice pudding. After 13 hours on and off the road in his semi truck, he leans back in a booth as a Bollywood music video plays on TV.

    “This is like home,” says Pal, the name he uses on the road (said like “Paul”).

    There are 3.5 million truckers in the United States. California has 138,000, the second-most after Texas. Nearly half of those in California are immigrants, most from Mexico or Central America. But as drivers age toward retirement — the average American trucker is 55 — and a shortage grows, Sikh immigrants and their kids are increasingly taking up the job.

    Estimates of the number of Sikh truckers vary. In California alone, tens of thousands of truckers trace their heritage to India. The state is home to half of the Sikhs in the U.S. — members of a monotheistic faith with origins in 15th century India whose followers are best recognized by the uncut hair and turbans many men wear. At Sikh temples in Sacramento, Fresno, Bakersfield and Riverside, the majority of worshipers are truck drivers and their families.

    Over the last decade, Indian Americans have launched trucking schools, truck companies, truck washes, trucker temples and no-frills Indian restaurants modeled after truck stops back home, where Sikhs from the state of Punjab dominate the industry.

    “You used to see a guy with a turban and you would get excited,” says Pal, who is in his 15th year of trucking. “Today, you go to some stops and can convince yourself you are in India.”

    Three interstates — the I-5, I-80 and I-10 — are dotted with Indian-American-owned businesses catering to truckers. They start to appear as you drive east from Los Angeles, Reno and Phoenix, and often have the words “Bombay,” “Indian” or “Punjabi” on their storefront signs. But many, with names like Jay Bros (in Overton, Neb.) and Antelope Truck Stop Pronghorn (in Burns, Wyo.) are anonymous dots on a map unless you’re one of the many Sikhs who have memorized them as a road map to America.

    The best-known are along Interstate 40, which stretches from Barstow to North Carolina. The road, much of it alongside Historic Route 66, forms the backbone of the Sikh trucking world.

    It’s a route that Pal, 38, knows well. Three times a month, he makes the seven-day round trip between his Fontana home and Indiana, where he drops off loads and picks up new ones. Over his career, he’s driven 2 million miles and transported items as varied as frozen chickens and paper plates. These days, he mostly hauls chocolate, rice and fruits and vegetables from California farms. Today, it’s 103 containers of mixed produce, with mangoes, bell peppers, watermelons, yellow onions and peeled garlic among them. All are bound for a Kroger warehouse outside Indianapolis.

    Across the street from Spicy Bite, dozens of arriving drivers form a temporary village of 18-wheelers in a vast parking lot by the interstate. Most are white. Nearly all are men. More are older than younger.

    But every now and then there are Sikhs like Pal, with long salt-and-pepper beards, colorful turbans and thick Indian accents. They head straight toward Spicy Bite.

    Lines can form out the door at the restaurant, which opened two years ago outside the Petro Stopping Center, a longtime mainstay for truckers headed east.

    Pal makes a point to stop by the restaurant — even just for a “hello” — when he sleeps next door. The Sikh greeting is “Sat sri akaal.” It means “God is truth.” In trucking, where turnover is high, business uncertain and risk of accidents ever present, each day can feel like a leap of faith and an opportunity to give thanks.

    Punjabi Americans first appeared on the U.S. trucking scene in the 1980s after an anti-Sikh massacre in India left thousands dead around New Delhi, prompting many Sikhs to flee. More recently, Sikhs have migrated to Central America and applied for asylum at the Mexico border, citing persecution for their religion in India; some have also become truckers. Estimates of the overall U.S. Sikh population vary, placing the community’s size between 200,000 and 500,000.

    In recent years, corporations have pleaded for new truckers. Walmart kicked up salaries to attract drivers. Last year, the government announced a pilot program to lower the age for driving trucks from 21 to 18 for those with truck-driving training in the military. According to the American Trucking Assn., the trucker shortage could reach 100,000 within years.

    “Punjabis are filling the gap,” says Raman Dhillon, a former driver who last year founded the North American Punjabi Trucking Assn. The Fresno-based group advises drivers on regulations, offers insurance and tire discounts, and runs a magazine: Punjabi Trucking.

    Like trucking itself, where the threat of automation and the long hours away from home have made it hard to recruit drivers, the Punjabi trucking life isn’t always an easy sell. Three years ago, a group of Sikh truckers in California won a settlement from a national shipping company after saying it discriminated against their faith. The drivers, who followed Sikh traditions by wrapping their uncut hair in turbans, said bosses asked them to remove the turbans before providing hair and urine samples for pre-employment drug tests despite being told of the religious observance. The same year, police charged a man with vandalizing a semi truck at a Sikh temple in Buena Park. He’d scribbled the word “ISIS.”

    Still, Hindi- and Punjabi-language newspapers in the Eastern U.S. regularly run ads promising better wages, a more relaxed lifestyle and warm weather as a trucker out West. Talk to any group of Sikh drivers and you’ll find former cabbies, liquor store workers or convenience store cashiers who made the switch.

    How a rural Oklahoma truck stop became a destination for Sikh Punjabis crossing America »

    “Thirty years ago, it was hard to get into trucking because there were so few people like us in the business who could help you,” says Rashpal Dhindsa, a former trucker who runs Fontana-based Dhindsa Group of Companies, one of the oldest Sikh-owned U.S. trucking companies. When Pal first started, Dhindsa — now a close friend but then an acquaintance — gave him a $1,000 loan to cover training classes.

    It’s 6:36 a.m. the next day when the Petro Stopping Center switches from quiet darkness to rumbling engines. Pal flips on the headlights of his truck, a silver ’16 Volvo with a 500-horsepower engine. Inside the rig, he heats aloo gobi — spiced potatoes and cauliflower — that his wife prepared back home. He checks the thermostat to make sure his trailer isn’t too warm. He takes out a book wrapped in a blue cotton cloth that’s tucked by his driver’s seat, sits on a bed-turned-couch and reads a prayer in Punjabi for safety on the journey: There is only one God. Truth is His name…. You always protect us.

    He pulls east onto the highway as the sun rises.

    Truckers either drive in pairs or solo like Pal. Either way, it’s a quiet, lonely world.

    Still, Pal sees more of America in a week than some people will in their lives. Rolling California hills, spiky desert rock formations, the snow-dusted evergreens of northern Arizona, the fuzzy cacti in New Mexico and, in Albuquerque, hot air balloons rising over an orange sky. There’s also the seemingly endless fast food and Tex-Mex of Amarillo and the 19-story cross of Groom, Texas. There’s the traffic in Missouri. After hours of solitude on the road, it excites him.

    Pal’s not strict on dogma or doctrine, and he’s more spiritual than religious. Trucking has shown him that people are more similar than different no matter where you go. The best of all religions, he says, tend to teach the same thing — kindness to others, accepting whatever comes your way and appreciation for what’s in front of you on the road.

    “When I’m driving,” Pal says, “I see God through his creation.”

    His favorite sights are the farms. You spot them in Central California while picking up pallets of potatoes and berries, or in Illinois and Indiana while driving through the corn and soybean fields.

    They remind him of home, the rural outskirts of Patiala, India.

    Nobody in his family drove trucks. Still, to Pal, he’s continuing tradition. His father farmed potatoes, cauliflower, rice and tomatoes. As a child, Pal would ride tractors for fun with Dad. Today, instead of growing food, Pal transports it.

    He wasn’t always a trucker. After immigrating in 2001 with his younger brother, he settled in Canoga Park and worked nights at 7-Eleven. After he was robbed at gunpoint, a friend suggested trucking. Better pay, flexible hours — and less dangerous.

    Three years later, he started driving a rig he didn’t own while getting paid per mile. Today, he has his own company, two trucks between himself and his brother — also a driver — and bids on shipments directly with suppliers. Nationally, the average pay for a trucker is just above $43,000. Pal makes more than twice that.

    He uses the money to pay for the house he shares with his wife, Harjeet Kaur, 4-year-old son, brother and sister-in-law, nieces and parents. Kaur threads eyebrows at a salon and video chats with him during lunch breaks. Every week before he leaves, she packs a duffel bag of his ironed clothes and stacked containers of food for the road.

    “I love it,” Pal says about driving. “But there are always two sides of the coin, head and tail. If you love it, then you have to sacrifice everything. I have to stay away from home. But the thing is, this job pays me good.”

    The truck is fully equipped. From the road, you can see only driver and passenger seats. But behind them is a sleeper cab with a bed that’s 6-foot-7 by 3-foot-2.

    Pal likes to connect the TV sitting atop a mini-fridge to his phone to stream music videos when he’s alone. His favorite songs are by Sharry Maan, an Indian singer who topped charts two years ago with “Transportiye.” It tells the story of a Sikh American trucker who longs for his wife while on the road. At night, the table folds down to become a bed. Pal is just missing a bathroom and his family.

    The life of a Sikh trucker is one of contrasts. On one hand, you see the diversity of America. You encounter new immigrants from around the world working the same job as people who have been truckers for decades. All transport the food, paper and plastic that make the country run. But you also see the relics of the past and the reminders of how you, as a Sikh in 2019, still don’t entirely fit in.

    It’s 9:40 a.m. on Saturday when Pal pulls into Bowlin’s Flying C Ranch rest center in Encino, N.M., an hour past Albuquerque and two from Texas. Here, you can buy a $19,999 stuffed buffalo, Baja jackets and fake Native American moccasins made in China in a vast tourist stop attached to a Dairy Queen and an Exxon. “God Bless the U.S.A.” by Lee Greenwood plays in the background.

    It reminds Pal of the time he was paying his bill at another gas station. A man suddenly shouted at customers to “get out, he’s going to blow up this place!” “I will not fight you,” Pal calmly replied. The man left. Those kinds of instances are rare, but Pal always senses their danger. Some of the most violent attacks on Sikhs this century have been at the hands of people who mistook them for Muslims or Arabs, including the case of a turban-wearing Sikh man in Arizona who was shot dead by a gunman four days after the Sept. 11 attacks.

    For Pal, suspicious glances are more common. So are the truckers who think he’s new to the business or doesn’t speak English. None of it fazes him.

    “Everybody relates to us through Osama bin Laden because we look the same,” he says, driving across the plains toward the Texas Panhandle. “Or they think because my English sounds different that I am not smart. I know who I am.”

    Every day, he wears a silver bracelet that symbolizes a handcuff. “Remember, you are handcuffed to God. Remind yourself to not do bad things,” Pal says. It reminds him to be kind in the face of ignorance and hatred.

    At a Subway in Amarillo a few hours later, he grabs his go-to lunch when he’s taking a break from Indian food: a chicken sandwich on white bread with pepper jack, lettuce, tomato and onion. At home, the family is vegetarian. Pal relishes chances on the road to indulge in meat. He used to depend solely on his wife’s cooking. Today, he has other options. It’s a luxury to switch from homemade meals to Punjabi restaurants to fast food.

    Trucking has helped Pal find his faith. When he moved to the U.S., he used to shave, drink beer and not care much about religion. But as he got bored on the road, he started listening to religious sermons. Twelve years ago, he began to again grow his hair and quit alcohol; drinking it is against the faith’s traditions. Today, he schedules shipments around the temple calendar so he can attend Sikh celebrations with his family.

    “I don’t mind questions about my religion. But when people say to me, ‘Why do you not cut your hair?’ they are asking the wrong question,” Pal says. “The real question is, why do they cut their hair? God made us this way.”

    It’s 4:59 p.m. when he arrives in Sayre, Okla., at Truck Stop 40. A yellow Punjabi-language billboard advertises it as the I-40 starts to bend north in a rural region two hours from Oklahoma City.

    Among the oldest Sikh truck stops, it has a 24-hour vegetarian restaurant, convenience store, gas station and a housing trailer that functions as a temple — all spread over several acres.

    Pal has been coming here for more than decade, since it was a mechanic shop run by a Sikh former trucker who settled on the plot for its cheap land. When he has time, Pal lingers for a meal. But he’s in a rush to get to Joplin, Mo., for the night so he can make his drop-off the next day.

    He grabs a chai and heads to the temple. Resting on a small pillow upon the altar is the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy book. An audiotape plays prayers on a loop. A print of Guru Nanak, the faith’s founder, hangs on the wall.

    Pal prostrates and leaves a few dollar bills on the floor as a donation for upkeep. He prays for God to protect the temple, his family and himself on the 891 miles that remain until he hits the Indianapolis suburbs.

    “This feels like a long drive,” Pal says. “But it’s just a small part of the journey of life.”

    #USA #LKW #Transport #Immigration #Zuwanderung

  • Walmart Pleads Guilty After a Decade of Bribes (https://www.nytimes...
    https://diasp.eu/p/9241668

    Walmart Pleads Guilty After a Decade of Bribes

    HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20238651 Posted by rrego (karma: 212) Post stats: Points: 159 - Comments: 110 - 2019-06-20T23:55:22Z

    #HackerNews #after #bribes #decade #guilty #pleads #walmart HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 142 - Loop: 94 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 54

  • Une rasade de Perlimpinpin ?
    https://www.dedefensa.org/article/une-rasade-de-perlimpinpin

    Une rasade de Perlimpinpin ?

    Walmart, la grande chaîne de distribution étasunienne, est poursuivie en justice pour fraude. Le Center for Inquiry,organisation à but non lucratif fondée en 1991 sur les bases d’un humanisme séculier pour lutter contre la superstition et les fausses sciences représente l’institution plaignante.

    Le CFI accuse Walmart de tromperses clients et de mettre leur santé en danger en présentant dans la même rubrique et sans les différencier des médicaments et des traitements homéopathiques dénués d’efficacité en dehors de leur effet placebo.

    La confusion est manifeste aussi bien dans les rayons des magasins que sur les boutiques en ligne. Cette indistinction est préjudiciable à la santé quand les patients ont besoin de médicaments réellement actifs. Cette mise en danger est (...)

  • Beating Amazon with #blockchain
    https://hackernoon.com/beating-amazon-with-blockchain-f46fa240c3e8?source=rss----3a8144eabfe3--

    …and a shared Supply Chain and an #ecommerce SystemDr. Drew MillerManaging Director, Blockchain Business Consultantsdrmiller@bchainconsult.comAn article, “The Shrinking Middle Class: How We Got Here, And Why” in the December 2018 issue of Fortune magazine reported how many urban neighborhoods have no small stores left, and residents must travel miles to get groceries.[i] Walmart decimated small retailers, and Amazon is now finishing the job. Mega retailers also raise competitive barriers for small manufacturers and shape an economy favoring mega firms, not small town, neighborhood businesses. Great for the richest family in the world, the Walton heirs, and the richest man in the world, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, but not the rest of us. Tech giants like Amazon don’t just abuse small manufacturers (...)

    #cryptocurrency #supply-chain #internet

  • The Era of Data Sovereignty is upon us!
    https://hackernoon.com/the-era-of-data-sovereignty-is-upon-us-7b9f447cf211?source=rss----3a8144

    But who is going to be the ‘Amazon of Data’?If this is the information age, where is the information getting traded?Fifty Years of Commerce in Three SentencesBoxstores like Walmart had their heyday in an era when it was convenient to shop for all manner of goods in a common marketplace. Similarly, the successes of Amazon and Upwork was to create common (virtual) marketplaces for disparate goods and services. Today, where data is so highly valued, there is a wide open need for a common data marketplace.Data is Already Being SoldData is already being bought and sold. However, it’s largely happening in an opaque way. This is tied up with the complications of who owns the data. Indeed, recent years have seen increasing concerns about #privacy violations such as the New York Times report of the (...)

    #data-sovereignty #internet-of-things #blockchain #unification

  • *À travers des salles sans fin

    Wolfgang Streeck
    Behemoth : Une histoire de l’usine et de la construction du monde moderne de Joshua Freeman
    Norton, 448 pages, £ 12.99, mars, ISBN 978 0 393 35662 5
    LRB Vol 41 n°3 - 7 feb 2019

    C’était au début des années 1960, je pense que notre classe d’un gymnase d’une petite ville a fait un voyage dans le sud-ouest de l’Allemagne, accompagnée de plusieurs enseignants. Nous avons visité Heidelberg et Schwetzingen et des endroits similaires sans vraiment les voir ; Les garçons de 17 ans ont d’autres préoccupations. Mais nous sommes aussi allés à Rüsselsheim, près de Francfort, pour visiter l’usine de voitures Opel. Je n’avais jamais imaginé qu’un tel lieu puisse exister : le bruit assourdissant, la saleté, la chaleur et au milieu de tout cela, des personnes effectuant stoïquement de petites opérations prédéfinies sur les voitures en construction qui étaient lentement mais sans relâche passer devant leurs postes de travail. Le point culminant de la visite a été la fonderie du sous-sol - qui, comme je l’apprends maintenant du livre merveilleux de Joshua Freeman, était l’endroit habituel pour les fonderies dans les usines automobiles de cette époque. Ici, là où la chaleur semblait insupportable et qu’il n’y avait presque pas de lumière, des hommes à moitié nus transportaient le métal en fusion, chauffé au rouge, du four aux postes de coulée, dans de petits seaux remplis à la limite du poids. Formé aux classiques plutôt qu’au monde réel, j’ai eu le sentiment d’entrer dans l’atelier d’Héphaïstos. Avec le recul, je pense que c’est ce jour-là que j’ai décidé d’étudier la sociologie, ce qui, à mon avis, pouvait alors aider d’autres personnes à améliorer la vie de ceux qui étaient esclaves dans les sous-sols des usines du monde entier.

    Plus tard, quand j’étais jeune spécialiste en sciences sociales, l’industrie automobile est restée une obsession. Dans la mesure du possible, j’ai inclus la construction automobile dans mes travaux empiriques, et j’ai pris le soin de visiter les usines pour me rappeler comment elles étaient et reconstituer mon stock d’images imaginaires de ce que j’essayais, souvent en vain, de convaincre mes collègues. Cathédrales gothiques du 20ème siècle. C’était incroyable à quel point ils changeaient et à quelle vitesse. À chaque visite, il y avait moins de bruit, de saleté et de poussière ; beaucoup meilleur air ; pas de soudure à la main ou en hauteur ; ateliers de peinture automatique hermétiquement fermés ; soulever des objets lourds par des machines et plus tard par des robots. Et au stade de l’assemblage final, c’étaient maintenant les travailleurs qui étaient assis sur des plates-formes mobiles qui les transportaient avec les portes ou les sièges ou tout ce qui leur convenait. Ma dernière visite à l’usine Volkswagen de Wolfsburg, il y a plus de trente ans, s’est terminée comme à l’accoutumée lors du montage final, où les seuls sons entendus étaient de la musique douce et le premier tir des moteurs à la fin de la ligne lorsque les nouvelles voitures ont été chassés. Les ouvriers étaient principalement des femmes, vêtues de jeans et de t-shirts. Avec un grand sourire et le chauvinisme masculin qui fait peut-être toujours partie de la culture de la construction automobile, mon guide, issu du comité d’entreprise tout puissant, a déclaré que je regardais le « marché du mariage de Wolfsburg » : « Les gars passent ici quand ils ont une pause pour voir ce qui est proposé. habillé en jeans et t-shirts. Avec un grand sourire et le chauvinisme masculin qui fait peut-être toujours partie de la culture de la construction automobile, mon guide, issu du comité d’entreprise tout puissant, a déclaré que je regardais le « marché du mariage de Wolfsburg » : « Les gars passent ici quand ils ont une pause pour voir ce qui est proposé. habillé en jeans et t-shirts. Avec un grand sourire et le chauvinisme masculin qui fait peut-être toujours partie de la culture de la construction automobile, mon guide, issu du comité d’entreprise tout puissant, a déclaré que je regardais le « marché du mariage de Wolfsburg » : « Les gars passent ici quand ils ont une pause pour voir ce qui est proposé.

    Nombre des changements résultent des progrès technologiques, ainsi que des contraintes du marché du travail - en particulier de la nécessité de féminiser la main-d’œuvre. Mais la politique et les relations industrielles comptaient au moins autant. Dans les années 1970, après la vague de grèves de 1968 et 1969, les gouvernements, les directions et les syndicats des pays manufacturiers européens ont commencé à prendre au sérieux les demandes d’humanisation du travail industriel. En Allemagne, sous la direction de Brandt et Schmidt, une campagne nationale de recherche et développement, dirigée par un département spécial du ministère de la Recherche et de la Technologie, a largement financé des projets universitaires et industriels dans les domaines de l’ingénierie, du management et de la sociologie industrielle. L’objectif était de mettre fin au taylorisme et certains travailleurs et leurs représentants ont acquis le droit, et pas seulement d’être informés et consultés,

    Freeman, dont l’histoire est centrée sur le Royaume-Uni, les États-Unis, l’URSS et la Chine, contourne en grande partie le continent européen, ce qui est regrettable étant donné le succès durable de la fabrication dans des pays comme l’Allemagne et la Suède. Il est certain que la participation des travailleurs et l’antitorayisme avaient leurs inconvénients, de même que la cogestion des travailleurs. En Suède, les réformes ont abouti à des méthodes de production d’avant-garde chez Volvo et Saab, qui étaient non seulement chères, mais étaient également détestées par les travailleurs qu’elles étaient supposées bénéficier : un "travail de groupe" sur des "îlots de production", par exemple, où des voitures étaient placées. quasiment de rien par une équipe et les travailleurs ont été encouragés à signer le produit fini. Saabs et Volvos ont été pendant un temps les voitures préférées des intellectuels européens, car on les croyait fabriquées

    En Allemagne, dans l’intervalle, la coopération entre la direction et le comité d’entreprise chez Volkswagen s’est peu à peu transformée en collusion et en cooptation. Les scandales comprenaient des paiements de plusieurs millions d’euros au président du comité d’entreprise et à sa petite amie, autorisés par le directeur du personnel de l’entreprise, Peter Hartz. (En 2002, alors qu’il était chez VW, le chancelier Gerhard Schröder a nommé Hartz au poste de président d’une commission sur le marché du travail, ce qui a finalement débouché sur les réformes « Hartz-IV », qui ont réduit les prestations pour les chômeurs de longue durée.) Cela importait plus à la presse qu’au magasin et, quels que soient les programmes élaborés par la direction, les syndicats et les comités d’entreprise, les travailleurs appréciaient au moins leurs nouvelles conditions de travail.

    Le livre de Freeman raconte une histoire longue et élaborée qui commence en Angleterre à la fin du 18e siècle, puis aux États-Unis - du textile à l’acier, en passant par l’automobile - puis à la victoire mondiale du taylorisme et du fordisme dans la première moitié du 20e siècle . Cette victoire s’étendit à l’Union soviétique sous Staline et atteignit son apogée dans la production de masse de la Seconde Guerre mondiale. La guerre froide s’ensuit, puis la montée de la Chine et sa propre version du capitalisme. Tout au long de son récit, Freeman exprime une profonde ambivalence vis-à-vis de l’industrialisation moderne : d’une part, expulsion de la terre, prolétarisation, exploitation, répression et discipline cruelle ; d’autre part, émancipation par rapport aux modes de vie traditionnels, nouvelles solidarités, syndicats capables de lutter pour des salaires plus élevés et de meilleures conditions,

    Freeman ne prête pas attention à l’organisation interne des usines, mais également à leurs relations avec la société et à leurs effets. Le fait que les usines nécessitent des schémas d’établissement particuliers - nouvelles villes ou grands logements d’entreprise - ne figure pas toujours en bonne place dans les comptes de l’industrialisation. La planification de l’arrivée soudaine d’un grand nombre de personnes dans un espace auparavant peu peuplé était attrayante pour les urbanistes, avec leurs visions d’une nouvelle société et d’un nouvel ouvrier industriel ayant besoin de divertissement, d’éducation et de culture : un contraste frappant avec la vie dans les villages où la première génération de travailleurs industriels ont été recrutés. Les architectes ont souvent conçu de nouveaux bâtiments d’usines, non seulement pour répondre à des besoins utilitaires, mais également pour faire des déclarations esthétiques sur la valeur de ce qu’ils produisaient. Architecture d’usine,

    Le récit de Freeman sur « la construction du monde moderne » nous ouvre les yeux sur le degré de fertilisation croisée internationale, en particulier dans les années 1930 et 1940, lorsque la fabrication à grande échelle commençait à prendre toute son ampleur. Henry Ford était une icône mondiale qui comptait Hitler parmi ses admirateurs. Dès son arrivée au pouvoir, Hitler s’était efforcé, mais en vain, de faire abandonner aux constructeurs automobiles allemands leurs méthodes de production à petite échelle au profit de la production en série d’une voiture simple "pour le peuple" - une Volkswagen.L’exemple de Ford a inspiré Hitler à installer une usine automobile sur son modèle dans un endroit qui sera appelé plus tard Wolfsburg (il existait déjà deux usines beaucoup plus petites de Ford et de General Motors en Allemagne, à Cologne et à Rüsselsheim), qui auraient été importées de Dearborn, Michigan. En 1938, Hitler décerna à Ford la plus haute décoration du régime nazi réservée aux étrangers, la grande croix de l’ordre allemand de l’aigle.

    Un autre trait inhabituel de l’histoire de Freeman est l’espace qu’il consacre à la représentation artistique de l’usine, à commencer par le futurisme. La photographie et la cinématographie, les toutes dernières branches de la production artistique, reproductibles en tant que produits de masse, ont été particulièrement importantes. Photographes et cinéastes ont bien documenté la corvée de la production en série et la misère de l’exploitation, mais ils étaient également fascinés par la promesse de progrès que représentent les nouvelles voitures sortant du tapis roulant, les turbines et les moteurs d’avions polis, design avant-gardiste, comme le siège social Johnson Wax de Frank Lloyd Wright à Racine, Wisconsin.

    Une question récurrente dans la longue histoire de Freeman est de savoir si la souffrance des travailleurs au cours des premières années d’industrialisation était vraiment nécessaire. Ce débat commence par la discussion d’Adam Smith sur la division du travail, l’augmentation de la productivité et la négation de l’humanité qu’elle entraîne - de sorte que ses avantages sont annulés à un moment donné par les dommages causés aux capacités mentales humaines et à l’estime de soi. Les capitalistes ont insisté sur le fait que le gaspillage de quelques générations dans l’enfer des usines de Manchester était un sacrifice nécessaire pour assurer un meilleur avenir à tous. Mais où finit le sacrifice si l’impératif du capitalisme est l’accumulation infinie de capital ? Ce n’était pas vraiment un problème sous le socialisme : Staline et Trotsky considéraient tous les deux que l’utilisation de la force brute était indispensable à une version socialiste de l’accumulation primitive. une confiance sans faille dans le taylorisme et une discipline de type militaire pour faire avancer la création d’une classe ouvrière socialiste. L’avènement du communisme, disait-on dans le récit, signifierait la libération de la société du travail par le biais d’une combinaison de capital socialisé et de pouvoir soviétique. Les sociaux-démocrates européens, pour leur part, ont opté pour la libérationen ne de travail : ils se sont installés, en d’ autres termes, pour moins de contrôle de gestion, les possibilités pour les travailleurs à élargir leurs rôles, des chaînes plus courtes de commandement, et pour tirer profit de l’ augmentation de la productivité pour ralentir le rythme de travail.

    Sans surprise, le conflit entre le travail et le capital - ou la direction - sur l’organisation et la discipline des usines est un thème prédominant dans le récit de Freeman. Une attention particulière est accordée à la lutte pour la division du produit résultant de la productivité supérieure résultant de la coopération dans la production à grande échelle. Le travail en usine est un travail d’équipe : il est impossible de concevoir une formule simple pour diviser ses avantages, ouvrant ainsi la porte à la négociation entre des parties ayant des intérêts divergents. Ici, un paramètre crucial est le pouvoir relatif, tel qu’il est influencé par et affecté par les institutions nationales et locales chargées des relations professionnelles. Le pouvoir façonne fondamentalement l’organisation de la production. Par exemple, Freeman raconte qu’aux États-Unis après la guerre, les usines géantes ont commencé à se démoder et ont été remplacées par des sites de production beaucoup plus petits et très dispersés géographiquement. Les nouvelles technologies de transport et de coordination ont contribué à rendre cela possible, de même que la désintégration verticale et la livraison des pièces juste à temps. Selon Freeman, toutefois, la force motrice était la réaction de la direction face au pouvoir que les travailleurs organisés avaient été autorisés à exploiter dans le cadre du New Deal, le plus efficacement possible dans les grandes usines. Pour éviter des concessions coûteuses à leur main-d’œuvre nouvellement habilitée, les entreprises se sont réinstallées dans de nouvelles installations, là où il n’y avait pas de tradition de syndicalisation. Dans ce cas, la « gestion des ressources humaines » pourrait être en mesure d’examiner cent mille demandes d’emploi pour sélectionner 1 500 personnes. Elles pourraient ainsi s’assurer que les travailleurs qu’ils ont embauchés sont antisyndicaux,

    De son côté, Freeman note que l’abandon des grandes usines n’était pas universel. Cela n’a pas été le cas dans les pays et les entreprises dotés d’une démocratie industrielle efficace, où les représentants des travailleurs avaient le droit de veto sur la délocalisation des emplois, garantissant en retour la paix industrielle. Un exemple parfait est, encore une fois, l’usine principale de Volkswagen à Wolfsburg, où l’effectif déjà important de 44 000 personnes en 2007 est passé à 62 000 personnes dix ans plus tard (un peu moins que ce que prétend Freeman). Cela a été possible principalement parce que le syndicat a pu obtenir des garanties d’investissement et de maintien de l’emploi dans l’usine, en échange de ses services dans la gestion du mécontentement des travailleurs. Un autre facteur est que l’état de la Basse-Saxe, où se trouve Wolfsburg, est un actionnaire privilégié de Volkswagen et suffisamment puissant pour que des emplois y soient conservés.

    Bien sûr, il n’ya pas que la direction qui trouve effrayantes usines énormes ; les travailleurs peuvent aussi, surtout s’ils n’ont pas voix au chapitre. À la fin des années 1970, j’ai emmené un responsable syndical britannique visiter l’usine de Wolfsburg. Habitué aux petites usines Leyland britanniques de l’époque, condamnées, dispersées géographiquement et jamais vraiment intégrées, qui étaient ravagées par les conflits industriels et dépendaient de subventions publiques, le fonctionnaire devint de plus en plus déprimé alors que nous traversions les halls de fabrique apparemment sans fin commencé à se plaindre de l’inhumanité de serrer autant de travailleurs dans un même espace. Sa frustration a augmenté seulement après qu’il ait demandé combien de fois, en moyenne, l’usine atteignait ses objectifs de production : ses homologues allemands n’ont pas compris la question car ils ne pouvaient pas concevoir que les objectifs de production ne soient pas atteints. Le soir, autour d’une bière, il trouva un soulagement en violant leCommandement de Fawlty Towers et mention de la guerre ("À l’époque, ces hommes ne se comportaient pas") : en tant que membre d’une petite unité spéciale de marines, il avait atterri à Flensburg pour aider à arrêter Großadmiral Dönitz, un acte d’héroïsme pour lequel, À sa grande surprise, nous avons exprimé notre profonde gratitude.

    Le dernier chapitre de Freeman porte sur les « usines géantes » de l’Asie, en particulier les usines Foxconn appartenant à des Taiwanais et situées en Chine continentale. Ici aussi, les problèmes de taille sont minimisés - par le biais de la répression. En tant qu’historien, Freeman situe les relations de travail actuelles de la Chine dans le contexte de son histoire récente, en particulier la révolution culturelle, lorsque la direction était subordonnée à la volonté des masses et que la discipline d’usine était remplacée par une ardeur révolutionnaire. Il ne reste que peu de cela aujourd’hui, à moins que le régime sévère du secteur privé en forte croissance du secteur manufacturier chinois ne soit en partie compris comme une suite dialectique des catastrophes économiques et politiques des années 1960 et 1970.

    En Europe en particulier , il semble y avoir une connexion encore plus sinistre entre la politique de libération sinon de puis entravail et le nouveau « mode de production asiatique ». En tant que consommateurs satisfaits des jouets électroniques, des chaussures de course colorées et des t-shirts bon marché qui nous parviennent grâce à l’industrialisme asiatique moderne, nous avons tendance à oublier la manière dont ils sont fabriqués en Chine, au Vietnam, à Taiwan, en Indonésie, au Cambodge et au Myanmar - en usines non possédées mais utilisées par des entreprises comme Apple, Disney, Adidas et Walmart. Le Manchester infernal des débuts de l’industrialisation existe toujours, mais à la périphérie mondiale, trop loin pour les voyages scolaires. Après avoir externalisé en Asie la misère des longues heures de travail et des bas salaires, nous pouvons, en tant que consommateurs, récolter leurs bénéfices sans en supporter les coûts en tant que producteurs (en négligeant pour le moment ceux qui, dans une version ironique de la libération du travail, ont perdu leur emploi du fait ce processus).

    Une grande partie de ce que Freeman a à dire à propos de l’Asie est peut-être familière grâce aux reportages dans les médias, mais rassemblés dans un seul endroit, les informations sont vraiment bouleversantes. Une usine employant 350 000 personnes produisant des iPhones et rien d’autre ; permis de séjour pour les travailleurs migrants conçus pour les empêcher de s’organiser ; les dortoirs des travailleurs à la discipline quasi militaire quasi stricte. Ici, pas de villes du futur : seulement des barbelés, des gardes de sécurité en uniforme et des caméras de surveillance. Et les suicides : en 2010, 14 jeunes travailleurs ont été tués du toit d’une usine de Foxconn produisant des iPhones et des iPads. Freeman rapporte que Apple a réprimandé poliment Foxconn, et que Foxconn a réagi en prenant des mesures préventives pour éviter à son client le plus embarrassé,

    Pourquoi ces usines asiatiques sont-elles si grandes ? Les grandes usines impliquent que les patrons fassent de nombreux efforts pour contrôler leurs travailleurs. Selon Freeman, il ne s’agit pas d’économies d’échelle : les processus de production impliqués ne sont pas assez complexes pour cela. Plus vraisemblablement, ils répondent aux demandes de clients tels que Nike et Hewlett-Packard, pour lesquels la « flexibilité » est primordiale. Lorsque Apple a mis à disposition son iPhone 6 tant attendu disponible, il devait pouvoir vendre 13 millions d’unités au cours des trois premiers jours du téléphone sur le marché. Puisque la fraîcheur, selon Tim Cook, PDG d’Apple, est la propriété la plus importante d’un gadget moderne, il doit être possible d’apporter des modifications au design jusqu’à quelques semaines avant sa mise en vente. Ce type de production « juste à temps » nécessite d’énormes usines avec une énorme main-d’œuvre stockée, pour ainsi dire, dans des dortoirs appartenant à la société à proximité, prêt à être appelé à tout moment et à travailler 12 heures ou plus pendant plusieurs semaines d’affilée. Nulle part le sale secret de notre mode de vie prospère - la façon dont nous sommes épargnés de produire ce que nous avons été amenés à croire que nous avons besoin à des prix abordables - mis à nu plus clairement qu’ici.

    Ce n’est pas que Freeman laisse ses lecteurs sans espoir. Les salaires ont récemment augmenté en Asie, mais le taux de rotation du personnel reste extrêmement élevé, ce qui indique un degré d’insatisfaction des travailleurs qui pourrait devenir trop coûteux pour être maintenu par les employeurs. Le nombre et la taille des grèves dans les usines chinoises semblent considérables, ce qui dément l’idée du travailleur chinois soumis. Même la vie dans une usine Foxconn semble avoir eu certains des « effets civilisateurs » sur ses travailleurs qui, selon Freeman, ont toujours été associés à l’usine. En s’éloignant du village et en gagnant leur propre argent, même dans le pire des cas, les fils et les filles de paysans échappent à ce que Marx et Engels ont appelé « l’idiotie de la vie rurale ». La modernisation, malgré ses multiples mécontentements, pourrait-elle se propager de l’usine à la société chinoise,

    Freeman ne spécule pas sur ce qui pourrait suivre dans la longue histoire du travail organisé et de la production. Les « usines sataniques » de Foxconn créées à la demande, entre autres, de la plus grande entreprise capitaliste de tous les temps, constitueront une partie importante du tableau. Cependant, un type d’usine ou de quasi-usine tout à fait nouveau où le gros du capital productif n’est pas centralisé et où la discipline de l’usine est remplacée par la discipline du marché est tout aussi important. Dans le monde de la nouvelle entreprise de plate-forme - Uber, TaskRabbit, Deliveroo, ce genre de chose - ce n’est pas le capital capitaliste qui possède les moyens de production, mais l’ouvrier qualifié, une fois qu’ils ont remboursé le prêt qu’ils ont pris pour acheter leur équipement. La production est locale, proche du client, voire personnalisée. Il n’y a plus d’agglomération, pas de production, ou des travailleurs et de leurs espaces de vie. Seule la gestion est centralisée au niveau mondial. Mais, à l’instar des projets utopiques des années 1970 qui visaient à restaurer la dignité du travailleur d’usine, la direction émet désormais des conseils et non des commandes : cela aide les travailleurs à faire leur travail et sert les travailleurs au lieu de les pousser. Les travailleurs, à leur tour, travaillent quand ils veulent, et l ’« aliénation » de leur travail de leur vie, si caractéristique de l’usine de l’ère industrielle, est pour toujours une chose du passé.

    Ou alors c’est fait pour apparaître. En fait, la séparation taylorienne de la planification et de l’exécution n’est nulle part plus rigide que dans les nouvelles sociétés de plate-forme, où les outils de planification sont détenus exclusivement et incontestablement par la direction, souvent intégrée dans une société distincte. L’exécution, quant à elle, est laissée aux sous-traitants, qui sont contrôlés non seulement par des incitations matérielles, mais aussi par les dernières technologies comportementales, telles qu’incarnées par des algorithmes exclusifs stockés dans les derniers équipements, également propriétaires et télécommandés. des espaces dans la sphère de la production. Dans des cas extrêmes, la vie peut être transformée en travail sans que les travailleurs eux-mêmes en prennent conscience : les « utilisateurs » de Facebook, par exemple, produisent par inadvertance la ressource la plus importante de la plate-forme,

    Les catégories analytiques traditionnelles telles que le travail salarié ou le marché du travail atteignent ici les limites de leur utilité. Dans la gigantesque usine de services décentralisée, vous ne signez plus de contrat de travail mais bénéficiez d’une occasion de travailler en réseau social. Ce travail peut inclure ce que nous produisons pour Apple, Google, Facebook, Tinder, etc. Nous pensons que nous les « utilisons » alors qu’en réalité, nous sommes utilisés. Existe-t-il un rôle dans ce monde pour le droit du travail, pour la protection sociale, pour la protestation collective - en d’autres termes, pour la politique ? Pouvons-nous espérer le retour d’artisans indépendants, prêts à s’organiser en guildes modernes et en syndicats ressuscités, ou du système de gangs des quais ou de l’industrie aéronautique, tel qu’il existait encore il ya un demi-siècle en Grande-Bretagne et, dans une moindre mesure, les États Unis ? Ou le droit civil pourrait-il remplacer le droit du travail dans la réglementation des nouvelles usines ? Si nos sociétés considèrent toujours que leur tâche est de civiliser le monde de la production organisée, elles feraient mieux de continuer.

  • Hundreds sacked after Bangladesh garment strikes - Channel NewsAsia
    https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/hundreds-sacked-after-bangladesh-garment-strikes-11130318

    The country’s US$30-billion clothing industry is the world’s second-largest after China. Its some four million workers at 4,500 factories make garments for global retail giants H&M, Walmart and many others.

    Protests by thousands of employees over low wages began earlier this month, prompting scores of manufacturers to halt production.

    One worker was killed and more than 50 injured last week after police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at protesters in a key industrial town outside the capital Dhaka.

    The demonstrations died down this week after the government agreed to raise salaries, but many returned to work on Wednesday to discover they had been laid off.

    A top union leader said at least 750 workers at various companies in the manufacturing hub of Ashulia had found notices hanging on factory gates informing them of their dismissal along with photos of their faces.

    “This is unjust. The owners are doing it to create a climate of fear so that no one can dare to stage protests or demand fair wages,” the leader said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

    “Police told me not to create trouble. Otherwise I’ll be disappeared.”

    Police and a senior factory manager gave a lower total of around 400 workers fired for damaging equipment during the strike - with more than half from one Ashulia plant called Metro Knitting and Dyeing.

  • Cheap Words | The New Yorker
    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/02/17/cheap-words

    Amazon is a global superstore, like Walmart. It’s also a hardware manufacturer, like Apple, and a utility, like Con Edison, and a video distributor, like Netflix, and a book publisher, like Random House, and a production studio, like Paramount, and a literary magazine, like The Paris Review, and a grocery deliverer, like FreshDirect, and someday it might be a package service, like U.P.S. Its founder and chief executive, Jeff Bezos, also owns a major newspaper, the Washington Post. All these streams and tributaries make Amazon something radically new in the history of American business.

    Recently, Amazon even started creating its own “content”—publishing books. The results have been decidedly mixed. A monopoly is dangerous because it concentrates so much economic power, but in the book business the prospect of a single owner of both the means of production and the modes of distribution is especially worrisome: it would give Amazon more control over the exchange of ideas than any company in U.S. history. Even in the iPhone age, books remain central to American intellectual life, and perhaps to democracy. And so the big question is not just whether Amazon is bad for the book industry; it’s whether Amazon is bad for books.

    According to Marcus, Amazon executives considered publishing people “antediluvian losers with rotary phones and inventory systems designed in 1968 and warehouses full of crap.” Publishers kept no data on customers, making their bets on books a matter of instinct rather than metrics. They were full of inefficiences, starting with overpriced Manhattan offices. There was “a general feeling that the New York publishing business was just this cloistered, Gilded Age antique just barely getting by in a sort of Colonial Williamsburg of commerce, but when Amazon waded into this they would show publishing how it was done.”

    During the 1999 holiday season, Amazon tried publishing books, leasing the rights to a defunct imprint called Weathervane and putting out a few titles. “These were not incipient best-sellers,” Marcus writes. “They were creatures from the black lagoon of the remainder table”—Christmas recipes and the like, selected with no apparent thought. Employees with publishing experience, like Fried, were not consulted. Weathervane fell into an oblivion so complete that there’s no trace of it on the Internet. (Representatives at the company today claim never to have heard of it.) Nobody at Amazon seemed to absorb any lessons from the failure. A decade later, the company would try again.

    Around this time, a group called the “personalization team,” or P13N, started to replace editorial suggestions for readers with algorithms that used customers’ history to make recommendations for future purchases. At Amazon, “personalization” meant data analytics and statistical probability. Author interviews became less frequent, and in-house essays were subsumed by customer reviews, which cost the company nothing. Tim Appelo, the entertainment editor at the time, said, “You could be the Platonic ideal of the reviewer, and you would not beat even those rather crude early algorithms.” Amazon’s departments competed with one another almost as fiercely as they did with other companies. According to Brad Stone, a trash-talking sign was hung on a wall in the P13N office: “people forget that john henry died in the end.” Machines defeated human beings.

    In December, 1999, at the height of the dot-com mania, Time named Bezos its Person of the Year. “Amazon isn’t about technology or even commerce,” the breathless cover article announced. “Amazon is, like every other site on the Web, a content play.” Yet this was the moment, Marcus said, when “content” people were “on the way out.” Although the writers and the editors made the site more interesting, and easier to navigate, they didn’t bring more customers.

    The fact that Amazon once devoted significant space on its site to editorial judgments—to thinking and writing—would be an obscure footnote if not for certain turns in the company’s more recent history. According to one insider, around 2008—when the company was selling far more than books, and was making twenty billion dollars a year in revenue, more than the combined sales of all other American bookstores—Amazon began thinking of content as central to its business. Authors started to be considered among the company’s most important customers. By then, Amazon had lost much of the market in selling music and videos to Apple and Netflix, and its relations with publishers were deteriorating. These difficulties offended Bezos’s ideal of “seamless” commerce. “The company despises friction in the marketplace,” the Amazon insider said. “It’s easier for us to sell books and make books happen if we do it our way and not deal with others. It’s a tech-industry thing: ‘We think we can do it better.’ ” If you could control the content, you controlled everything.

    Many publishers had come to regard Amazon as a heavy in khakis and oxford shirts. In its drive for profitability, Amazon did not raise retail prices; it simply squeezed its suppliers harder, much as Walmart had done with manufacturers. Amazon demanded ever-larger co-op fees and better shipping terms; publishers knew that they would stop being favored by the site’s recommendation algorithms if they didn’t comply. Eventually, they all did. (Few customers realize that the results generated by Amazon’s search engine are partly determined by promotional fees.)

    In late 2007, at a press conference in New York, Bezos unveiled the Kindle, a simple, lightweight device that—in a crucial improvement over previous e-readers—could store as many as two hundred books, downloaded from Amazon’s 3G network. Bezos announced that the price of best-sellers and new titles would be nine-ninety-nine, regardless of length or quality—a figure that Bezos, inspired by Apple’s sale of songs on iTunes for ninety-nine cents, basically pulled out of thin air. Amazon had carefully concealed the number from publishers. “We didn’t want to let that cat out of the bag,” Steele said.

    The price was below wholesale in some cases, and so low that it represented a serious threat to the market in twenty-six-dollar hardcovers. Bookstores that depended on hardcover sales—from Barnes & Noble and Borders (which liquidated its business in 2011) to Rainy Day Books in Kansas City—glimpsed their possible doom. If reading went entirely digital, what purpose would they serve? The next year, 2008, which brought the financial crisis, was disastrous for bookstores and publishers alike, with widespread layoffs.

    By 2010, Amazon controlled ninety per cent of the market in digital books—a dominance that almost no company, in any industry, could claim. Its prohibitively low prices warded off competition.

    Publishers looked around for a competitor to Amazon, and they found one in Apple, which was getting ready to introduce the iPad, and the iBooks Store. Apple wanted a deal with each of the Big Six houses (Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin, Random House, and Simon & Schuster) that would allow the publishers to set the retail price of titles on iBooks, with Apple taking a thirty-per-cent commission on each sale. This was known as the “agency model,” and, in some ways, it offered the publishers a worse deal than selling wholesale to Amazon. But it gave publishers control over pricing and a way to challenge Amazon’s grip on the market. Apple’s terms included the provision that it could match the price of any rival, which induced the publishers to impose the agency model on all digital retailers, including Amazon.

    Five of the Big Six went along with Apple. (Random House was the holdout.) Most of the executives let Amazon know of the change by phone or e-mail, but John Sargent flew out to Seattle to meet with four Amazon executives, including Russ Grandinetti, the vice-president of Kindle content. In an e-mail to a friend, Sargent wrote, “Am on my way out to Seattle to get my ass kicked by Amazon.”

    Sargent’s gesture didn’t seem to matter much to the Amazon executives, who were used to imposing their own terms. Seated at a table in a small conference room, Sargent said that Macmillan wanted to switch to the agency model for e-books, and that if Amazon refused Macmillan would withhold digital editions until seven months after print publication. The discussion was angry and brief. After twenty minutes, Grandinetti escorted Sargent out of the building. The next day, Amazon removed the buy buttons from Macmillan’s print and digital titles on its site, only to restore them a week later, under heavy criticism. Amazon unwillingly accepted the agency model, and within a couple of months e-books were selling for as much as fourteen dollars and ninety-nine cents.

    Amazon filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. In April, 2012, the Justice Department sued Apple and the five publishers for conspiring to raise prices and restrain competition. Eventually, all the publishers settled with the government. (Macmillan was the last, after Sargent learned that potential damages could far exceed the equity value of the company.) Macmillan was obliged to pay twenty million dollars, and Penguin seventy-five million—enormous sums in a business that has always struggled to maintain respectable profit margins.

    Apple fought the charges, and the case went to trial last June. Grandinetti, Sargent, and others testified in the federal courthouse in lower Manhattan. As proof of collusion, the government presented evidence of e-mails, phone calls, and dinners among the Big Six publishers during their negotiations with Apple. Sargent and other executives acknowledged that they wanted higher prices for e-books, but they argued that the evidence showed them only to be competitors in an incestuous business, not conspirators. On July 10th, Judge Denise Cote ruled in the government’s favor.

    Apple, facing up to eight hundred and forty million dollars in damages, has appealed. As Apple and the publishers see it, the ruling ignored the context of the case: when the key events occurred, Amazon effectively had a monopoly in digital books and was selling them so cheaply that it resembled predatory pricing—a barrier to entry for potential competitors. Since then, Amazon’s share of the e-book market has dropped, levelling off at about sixty-five per cent, with the rest going largely to Apple and to Barnes & Noble, which sells the Nook e-reader. In other words, before the feds stepped in, the agency model introduced competition to the market. But the court’s decision reflected a trend in legal thinking among liberals and conservatives alike, going back to the seventies, that looks at antitrust cases from the perspective of consumers, not producers: what matters is lowering prices, even if that goal comes at the expense of competition.

    With Amazon’s patented 1-Click shopping, which already knows your address and credit-card information, there’s just you and the buy button; transactions are as quick and thoughtless as scratching an itch. “It’s sort of a masturbatory culture,” the marketing executive said. If you pay seventy-nine dollars annually to become an Amazon Prime member, a box with the Amazon smile appears at your door two days after you click, with free shipping. Amazon’s next frontier is same-day delivery: first in certain American cities, then throughout the U.S., then the world. In December, the company patented “anticipatory shipping,” which will use your shopping data to put items that you don’t yet know you want to buy, but will soon enough, on a truck or in a warehouse near you.

    Amazon employs or subcontracts tens of thousands of warehouse workers, with seasonal variation, often building its fulfillment centers in areas with high unemployment and low wages. Accounts from inside the centers describe the work of picking, boxing, and shipping books and dog food and beard trimmers as a high-tech version of the dehumanized factory floor satirized in Chaplin’s “Modern Times.” Pickers holding computerized handsets are perpetually timed and measured as they fast-walk up to eleven miles per shift around a million-square-foot warehouse, expected to collect orders in as little as thirty-three seconds. After watching footage taken by an undercover BBC reporter, a stress expert said, “The evidence shows increased risk of mental illness and physical illness.” The company says that its warehouse jobs are “similar to jobs in many other industries.”

    When I spoke with Grandinetti, he expressed sympathy for publishers faced with upheaval. “The move to people reading digitally and buying books digitally is the single biggest change that any of us in the book business will experience in our time,” he said. “Because the change is particularly big in size, and because we happen to be a leader in making it, a lot of that fear gets projected onto us.” Bezos also argues that Amazon’s role is simply to usher in inevitable change. After giving “60 Minutes” a first glimpse of Amazon drone delivery, Bezos told Charlie Rose, “Amazon is not happening to bookselling. The future is happening to bookselling.”

    In Grandinetti’s view, the Kindle “has helped the book business make a more orderly transition to a mixed print and digital world than perhaps any other medium.” Compared with people who work in music, movies, and newspapers, he said, authors are well positioned to thrive. The old print world of scarcity—with a limited number of publishers and editors selecting which manuscripts to publish, and a limited number of bookstores selecting which titles to carry—is yielding to a world of digital abundance. Grandinetti told me that, in these new circumstances, a publisher’s job “is to build a megaphone.”

    After the Kindle came out, the company established Amazon Publishing, which is now a profitable empire of digital works: in addition to Kindle Singles, it has mystery, thriller, romance, and Christian lines; it publishes translations and reprints; it has a self-service fan-fiction platform; and it offers an extremely popular self-publishing platform. Authors become Amazon partners, earning up to seventy per cent in royalties, as opposed to the fifteen per cent that authors typically make on hardcovers. Bezos touts the biggest successes, such as Theresa Ragan, whose self-published thrillers and romances have been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times. But one survey found that half of all self-published authors make less than five hundred dollars a year.

    Every year, Fine distributes grants of twenty-five thousand dollars, on average, to dozens of hard-up literary organizations. Beneficiaries include the pen American Center, the Loft Literary Center, in Minneapolis, and the magazine Poets & Writers. “For Amazon, it’s the cost of doing business, like criminal penalties for banks,” the arts manager said, suggesting that the money keeps potential critics quiet. Like liberal Democrats taking Wall Street campaign contributions, the nonprofits don’t advertise the grants. When the Best Translated Book Award received money from Amazon, Dennis Johnson, of Melville House, which had received the prize that year, announced that his firm would no longer compete for it. “Every translator in America wrote me saying I was a son of a bitch,” Johnson said. A few nonprofit heads privately told him, “I wanted to speak out, but I might have taken four thousand dollars from them, too.” A year later, at the Associated Writing Programs conference, Fine shook Johnson’s hand, saying, “I just wanted to thank you—that was the best publicity we could have had.” (Fine denies this.)

    By producing its own original work, Amazon can sell more devices and sign up more Prime members—a major source of revenue. While the company was building the Kindle, it started a digital store for streaming music and videos, and, around the same time it launched Amazon Publishing, it created Amazon Studios.

    The division pursued an unusual way of producing television series, using its strength in data collection. Amazon invited writers to submit scripts on its Web site—“an open platform for content creators,” as Bill Carr, the vice-president for digital music and video, put it. Five thousand scripts poured in, and Amazon chose to develop fourteen into pilots. Last spring, Amazon put the pilots on its site, where customers could review them and answer a detailed questionnaire. (“Please rate the following aspects of this show: The humor, the characters . . . ”) More than a million customers watched. Engineers also developed software, called Amazon Storyteller, which scriptwriters can use to create a “storyboard animatic”—a cartoon rendition of a script’s plot—allowing pilots to be visualized without the expense of filming. The difficulty, according to Carr, is to “get the right feedback and the right data, and, of the many, many data points that I can collect from customers, which ones can tell you, ‘This is the one’?”

    Bezos applying his “take no prisoners” pragmatism to the Post: “There are conflicts of interest with Amazon’s many contracts with the government, and he’s got so many policy issues going, like sales tax.” One ex-employee who worked closely with Bezos warned, “At Amazon, drawing a distinction between content people and business people is a foreign concept.”

    Perhaps buying the Post was meant to be a good civic deed. Bezos has a family foundation, but he has hardly involved himself in philanthropy. In 2010, Charlie Rose asked him what he thought of Bill Gates’s challenge to other billionaires to give away most of their wealth. Bezos didn’t answer. Instead, he launched into a monologue on the virtue of markets in solving social problems, and somehow ended up touting the Kindle.

    Bezos bought a newspaper for much the same reason that he has invested money in a project for commercial space travel: the intellectual challenge. With the Post, the challenge is to turn around a money-losing enterprise in a damaged industry, and perhaps to show a way for newspapers to thrive again.

    Lately, digital titles have levelled off at about thirty per cent of book sales. Whatever the temporary fluctuations in publishers’ profits, the long-term outlook is discouraging. This is partly because Americans don’t read as many books as they used to—they are too busy doing other things with their devices—but also because of the relentless downward pressure on prices that Amazon enforces. The digital market is awash with millions of barely edited titles, most of it dreck, while readers are being conditioned to think that books are worth as little as a sandwich. “Amazon has successfully fostered the idea that a book is a thing of minimal value,” Johnson said. “It’s a widget.”

    There are two ways to think about this. Amazon believes that its approach encourages ever more people to tell their stories to ever more people, and turns writers into entrepreneurs; the price per unit might be cheap, but the higher number of units sold, and the accompanying royalties, will make authors wealthier. Jane Friedman, of Open Road, is unfazed by the prospect that Amazon might destroy the old model of publishing. “They are practicing the American Dream—competition is good!” she told me. Publishers, meanwhile, “have been banks for authors. Advances have been very high.” In Friedman’s view, selling digital books at low prices will democratize reading: “What do you want as an author—to sell books to as few people as possible for as much as possible, or for as little as possible to as many readers as possible?”

    The answer seems self-evident, but there is a more skeptical view. Several editors, agents, and authors told me that the money for serious fiction and nonfiction has eroded dramatically in recent years; advances on mid-list titles—books that are expected to sell modestly but whose quality gives them a strong chance of enduring—have declined by a quarter.

    #Amazon

  • Universal Basic Income Is Silicon Valley’s Latest Scam
    https://medium.com/s/powertrip/universal-basic-income-is-silicon-valleys-latest-scam-fd3e130b69a0
    https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/focal/1200/632/51/47/0*pksYF4nMsS3aKrtD

    Par Douglas Rushkoff

    To my surprise, the audience seemed to share my concerns. They’re not idiots, and the negative effects of their operations were visible everywhere they looked. Then an employee piped up with a surprising question: “What about UBI?”

    Wait a minute, I thought. That’s my line.

    Up until that moment, I had been an ardent supporter of universal basic income (UBI), that is, government cash payments to people whose employment would no longer be required in a digital economy. Contrary to expectations, UBI doesn’t make people lazy. Study after study shows that the added security actually enables people to take greater risks, become more entrepreneurial, or dedicate more time and energy to improving their communities.

    So what’s not to like?

    Shouldn’t we applaud the developers at Uber — as well as other prominent Silicon Valley titans like Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, bond investor Bill Gross, and Y Combinator’s Sam Altman — for coming to their senses and proposing we provide money for the masses to spend? Maybe not. Because to them, UBI is really just a way for them to keep doing business as usual.

    Uber’s business plan, like that of so many other digital unicorns, is based on extracting all the value from the markets it enters. This ultimately means squeezing employees, customers, and suppliers alike in the name of continued growth. When people eventually become too poor to continue working as drivers or paying for rides, UBI supplies the required cash infusion for the business to keep operating.

    Walmart perfected the softer version of this model in the 20th century. Move into a town, undercut the local merchants by selling items below cost, and put everyone else out of business. Then, as sole retailer and sole employer, set the prices and wages you want. So what if your workers have to go on welfare and food stamps.

    Now, digital companies are accomplishing the same thing, only faster and more completely. Instead of merely rewriting the law like colonial corporations did or utilizing the power of capital like retail conglomerates do, digital companies are using code. Amazon’s control over the retail market and increasingly the production of the goods it sells, has created an automated wealth-extraction platform that the slave drivers who ran the Dutch East India Company couldn’t have even imagined.

    Of course, it all comes at a price: Digital monopolists drain all their markets at once and more completely than their analog predecessors. Soon, consumers simply can’t consume enough to keep the revenues flowing in. Even the prospect of stockpiling everyone’s data, like Facebook or Google do, begins to lose its allure if none of the people behind the data have any money to spend.

    To the rescue comes UBI. The policy was once thought of as a way of taking extreme poverty off the table. In this new incarnation, however, it merely serves as a way to keep the wealthiest people (and their loyal vassals, the software developers) entrenched at the very top of the economic operating system. Because of course, the cash doled out to citizens by the government will inevitably flow to them.

    Think of it: The government prints more money or perhaps — god forbid — it taxes some corporate profits, then it showers the cash down on the people so they can continue to spend. As a result, more and more capital accumulates at the top. And with that capital comes more power to dictate the terms governing human existence.

    To venture capitalists seeking to guarantee their fortunes for generations, such economic equality sounds like a nightmare and unending, unnerving disruption. Why create a monopoly just to give others the opportunity to break it or, worse, turn all these painstakingly privatized assets back into a public commons?

    The answer, perhaps counterintuitively, is because all those assets are actually of diminishing value to the few ultra-wealthy capitalists who have accumulated them. Return on assets for American corporations has been steadily declining for the last 75 years. It’s like a form of corporate obesity. The rich have been great at taking all the assets off the table but really bad at deploying them. They’re so bad at investing or building or doing anything that puts money back into the system that they are asking governments to do this for them — even though the corporations are the ones holding all the real assets.

    Like any programmer, the people running our digital companies embrace any hack or kluge capable of keeping the program running. They don’t see the economic operating system beneath their programs, and so they are not in a position to challenge its embedded biases much less rewrite that code.

    Whether its proponents are cynical or simply naive, UBI is not the patch we need. A weekly handout doesn’t promote economic equality — much less empowerment. The only meaningful change we can make to the economic operating system is to distribute ownership, control, and governance of the real world to the people who live in it.

    written by
    Douglas Rushkoff

    #Revenu_de_base #Revenu_universel #Disruption #Economie_numérique #Uberisation

  • Walmart’s Veggie-Tracking B.L.T.: Blockchain Lettuce Technology - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/24/business/walmart-blockchain-lettuce.html

    When dozens of people across the country got sick from eating contaminated romaine lettuce this spring, Walmart did what many grocers would do: It cleared every shred off its shelves, just to be safe.

    Walmart says it now has a better system for pinpointing which batches of leafy green vegetables might be contaminated. After a two-year pilot project, the retailer announced on Monday that it would be using a blockchain, the type of database technology behind Bitcoin, to keep track of every bag of spinach and head of lettuce.

    By this time next year, more than 100 farms that supply Walmart with leafy green vegetables will be required to input detailed information about their food into a blockchain database developed by I.B.M. for Walmart and several other retailers exploring similar moves.

    The burgeoning blockchain industry has generated a great deal of buzz, investment and experimentation. Central banks are exploring whether it would be good for tracking money flows. Eastman Kodak has explored a blockchain platform that could help photographers manage their collections and record ownership of their work, while a group of reporters and investors are using the technology to start a series of news publications.

    “I can’t see how doing this in a blockchain data format will make this magical in any way,” said David Gerard, the author of “Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain.”

    “I think it’s mostly a P.R. move, so these companies can sell themselves as blockchain leaders,” he said.

    Walmart’s embrace of the blockchain highlights how difficult it still is for grocers, including the nation’s largest, to keep track of their food.

    Last year, Walmart conducted an experiment trying to trace the source of sliced mangos.

    It took seven days for Walmart employees to locate the farm in Mexico that grew the fruit. With the blockchain software developed by IBM, the mangos could be tracked in a matter of seconds, according to Walmart.

    “The food chain is not always linear,” said Frank Yiannas, vice president for food safety at Walmart.

    At each stop along the way, people handling produce for Walmart will make an entry on the blockchain, signing off when they receive it and then when they move it onto the next person in the chain. IBM and Walmart say they are already tracking other products like yogurt and poultry on the system.

    Blockchains are supposed to make it possible to keep updated databases without any central authority in charge. But currently, all of the records for the Walmart blockchain are being stored on IBM’s cloud computers, for Walmart’s use. That has led to questions about why a distributed database like a blockchain is even necessary.

    “The idea is right but the execution seems off,” said Simon Taylor, the co-founder of 11:FS, a consulting firm that advises companies on blockchain adoption. “IBM took new tech that doesn’t need a middleman and made themselves the middleman.”

    #Blockchain #IBM #Wallmart #Foutaise

  • Prison inmates will soon be reading ebooks—but that’s not a good thing — Quartz
    https://qz.com/1399330/prison-inmates-will-soon-be-reading-ebooks-but-thats-not-a-good-thing

    Earlier this month, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections announced that inmates would no longer be able to receive physical books from outside organizations or inmate’s families. Instead, the state’s prison system would be switching to ebooks. These will be available on tablets sold by prison telecommunications giant GTL.

    The book ban was part of an announcement about security measures aimed at limiting contraband flowing into Pennsylvania’s prisons.

    • Je retrouve pas l’annonce il y a quelques jours du changement de prestataire pour la musique dans des prisons ricaines. Avec interdiction pour les détenus d’écouter la musique via un autre prestataire. Et toutes les musiques qu’ils avaient achetées en passant par le prestataire précédent, il me semble qu’elles étaient ainsi perdues.

      L’idée que des « mesures de sécurité » dans les prisons se consacrent à « limiter la contrebande » en interdisant des livres, c’est assez symptomatique d’un pays où les élites, de toute façon, ne lisent jamais de livres.

    • Ah, je l’ai : Former Inmates Lose Their Right To Listen | Future of Music Coalition
      https://futureofmusic.org/blog/2016/02/23/former-inmates-lose-their-right-listen

      But some former federal prisoners are now arguing that their access to music has been wrongly compromised after leaving the prison walls behind. In a recent complaint, five former inmates allege that SanDisk Corp. and Advanced Technologies Group LLC (ATG) are taking advantage of an exclusive contract with the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to financially exploit this vulnerable population at a time when their focus should be on successful reintegration into society. In the class action suit, filed in a United States District Court in Michigan, the former inmates assert claims for Sherman Antitrust Act violations, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, unjust enrichment, conversion, unconscionability and violations of state consumer protection laws. 

      Beginning in 2012, federal prisoners have been allowed to purchase MP3 music players with certain features disabled such as the external memory slot and the integrated microphone. They have a limited range of music to choose from—explicit, violent or racially charged songs are not available. Prison officials have hailed this program as potentially helping with safety and reducing recidivism. At $.80- $1.80 per song, inmates can spend as much as $1,200 to $2,700 on music before reaching their MP3 Player’s full capacity. But, the lawsuit alleges, inmates are not informed during their initial purchase is that unless they also purchase a post-release MP3 player from ATG upon their release, they won’t have access to any of the songs or other audio files that they purchased during their incarceration. In addition, the former inmates have a limited period during which they may recover the purchased music collection, thus if a former inmate does not buy a SanDisk post release MP3 player from ATG within one year of release from prison, their purchase amount of possibly $2,700 will be lost, and they can’t transfer their files to another device.

      The former inmates have little choice in the matter, because SanDisk’s Sansa Clip + is their only option; BOP’s contract gave ATG the exclusive right to supply prison-restricted MP3 players and MP3 music and audio files to inmates in BOP facilities. SanDisk is also the exclusive supplier of post-release MP3 player, so the only way the former inmates can retain access to their purchased music after release is to purchase another MP3 player from SanDisk. Imagine being required to buy an iPod twice in order to listen to the possibly several thousand songs you already paid iTunes for or lose them. To add insult to injury, it’s an MP3 player that costs $40 at Walmart, but $110 through this program. That’s predatory pricing that recalls the debate over the shockingly high cost of prison phone calls which recently prompted action by the FCC after years of hard work by a coalition of activists including MAG-Net, Center for Media Justice, and others.

  • Comment l’ogre Amazon digère la concurrence
    https://www.alternatives-economiques.fr/logre-amazon-digere-concurrence/00085493

    Amazon rétrécit le temps et mange la planète. Le 28 juin, il a annoncé l’achat du distributeur de médicaments en ligne PillPack et son intention de se lancer dans le secteur de la pharmacie. L’an dernier, l’ancienne petite librairie en ligne a avalé Whole Foods, la grande chaîne américaine de supermarchés bio. Soit près de 500 magasins en une bouchée. À Paris, l’ogre est en passe d’aspirer la distribution des produits Monoprix. Inutile bientôt de faire la queue à la caisse Livraison ou de naviguer sur (...)

    #Apple #Google #Walmart #WholeFoods #Amazon #domination #concurrence #Diapers.com #PillPack #Quidsi #marketing (...)

    ##Monoprix

  • Thousands of #Amazon workers get food stamps. #Bernie_Sanders wants Amazon to pay for them
    http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-bernie-sanders-food-stamps-20180824-story.html

    Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) wants large employers such as Amazon, Walmart and McDonald’s to fully cover the cost of food stamps, public housing, Medicaid and other federal assistance received by their employees. The goal, he said, is to force corporations to pay a living wage and curb roughly $150 billion in taxpayer dollars that go to funding federal assistance programs for low-wage workers each year.

    #oligarques #Etats-Unis

  • The Opioid Crisis Is Also a Crisis of Speech - Pacific Standard
    https://psmag.com/social-justice/the-opioid-crisis-is-also-a-crisis-of-speech

    Ca ressemble beaucoup à du travail de Public Relation pour contrer la prise de conscience de la crise des opioides. L’American Academy of Pain Medicine est la seule organisation citée... et elle ne semble pas blanc-bleu.

    In particular, chronic pain patients are silenced thanks to the War on Drugs—and, especially in the last few years, in the name of the opioid crisis. Opioid addiction is a serious problem in the United States; 42,000 people died from opioid overdoses in 2016, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. has seen an increase of more than 500 percent in heroin-related deaths since 2002. The understandable desire to reduce America’s number of opioid addicts, though, has had catastrophic consequences for chronic pain patients. Walmart, for example, has limited opioid prescriptions so that patients have to get refills every week, rather than filling them a month at a time. Insurance companies have also placed limits on the amount of opioid medication they will cover. Some pharmacies won’t handle prescriptions over the phone, and sometimes aren’t even allowed to tell patients if the medicine is in stock.

    #Opioides

  • With Greed and Cynicism, #Big_Tech is Fueling Inequalities in America
    https://mondaynote.com/with-greed-and-cynicism-big-tech-is-fueling-inequalities-in-america-b836

    Let’s put this in perspective. In 2017, Amazon collected $5.6 billion in profit, but paid zero federal taxes, thanks to multiples tax schemes. Even better, since 2008, Amazon paid $1.4 billion in taxes when Walmart paid $64 billion. Not only Amazon does not have enough with an effective tax rate of 11 percent for the last five years, but it wants more from American cities widely known for their crumbling infrastructure. New Jersey is ready to cough up $7 billion in tax advantage (think about it next time you drive west of New York City).

    From a pure accounting perspective, this is the equivalent to having taxpayers subsidizing Amazon’s shareholders. Compared to that, the Robber Barons are like Mother Theresa.

    En français le sujet est abordé dans cette émission de Arte à partir de la cinquième minute,

    Les patrons des #GAFAM : rois du monde ? – Le Topo – Tous les internets – ARTE - YouTube
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vBvMnE9cx0

    #inégalités

  • Top 3 Benefits Of #react Native Development
    https://hackernoon.com/top-3-reasons-of-choosing-react-native-for-cross-platform-app-developmen

    If you’re considering taking on a new mobile project, use React Native — you won’t regret it. Following you can find 3 major React Native advantages!1. BIG TECH GIANTS ARE USING REACT NATIVECheck out this detailed post “Migrating To React Native: Top Case Studies From Well-Known Companies” about how did Walmart, Bloomberg, Airbnb and other big brands utilize React Native advantages.Below are the benefits Walmart’s developers (Matt Bresnan, M.K. Safi, Sanket Patel and Keerti) observed with React Native:Productivity:95% of the codebase is shared between iOS and Android;No knowledge sharing required, as each feature is implemented by a single team;Code Sharing:Front-end/Presentation code can be shared between iOS and Android;Business logic can be shared with Web applications as well;Lots of code (...)

    #react-native #react-native-developers #hybrid-app-development #react-native-development

  • Separating children and parents at the border is cruel and unnecessary

    The Trump administration has shown that it’s willing — eager, actually — to go to great lengths to limit illegal immigration into the United States, from building a multi-billion-dollar border wall with Mexico to escalated roundups that grab those living here without permission even if they have no criminal record and are longtime, productive members of their communities. Now the administration’s cold-hearted approach to enforcement has crossed the line into abject inhumanity: the forced separation of children from parents as they fight for legal permission to remain in the country.

    How widespread is the practice? That’s unclear. The Department of Homeland Security declined comment because it is being sued over the practice. It ignored a request for statistics on how many children it has separated from their parents, an unsurprising lack of transparency from an administration that faces an unprecedented number of lawsuits over its failure to respond to Freedom of Information Act requests for government — read: public — records. But immigrant rights activists say they have noticed a jump, and in December, a coalition of groups filed a complaint with Homeland Security over the practice.
    When parents and children cross the border and tell border patrol agents they would like to apply for asylum, they often are taken into custody while their request is considered. Under the Obama administration, the families were usually released to the care of a relative or organization, or held in a family detention center. But under President Trump, the parents — usually mothers traveling without their spouses — who sneak across the border then turn themselves in are increasing being charged with the misdemeanor crime of entering the country illegally, advocates say. And since that is a criminal charge, not a civil violation of immigration codes, the children are spirited away to a youth detention center with no explanation. Sometimes, parents and children are inexplicably separated even when no charges are lodged. Activists believe the government is splitting families to send a message of deterrence: Dare to seek asylum at the border and we’ll take your child.

    http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-immigrants-border-asylum-ice-201802305-story.html
    #frontières #unité_familiale #séparation #enfants #enfance #parents #asile #migrations #réfugiés #USA #Etats-Unis #détention_administrative #rétention #dissuasion

    • Familias rotas, familias vaciadas

      Es delgada y pequeña. No rebasa el 1.60. La habitación en la que duerme —en el segundo piso del albergue para veteranos deportados que creó Héctor Barajas— tiene una cama con un oso de peluche que ella misma confeccionó y una mesa para cuatro personas. La sonrisa que a veces asoma en su rostro nunca llega a sus ojos, oscuros y con marcadas ojeras. Se llama Yolanda Varona y tiene prohibido, de por vida, entrar a Estados Unidos, el país donde trabajó 16 años y donde viven sus dos hijos y tres nietos.


      https://www.revistadelauniversidad.mx/articles/d2c0ac01-e2e8-464f-9d4e-266920f634fc/familias-rotas-familias-vaciadas

    • Taking Migrant Children From Parents Is Illegal, U.N. Tells U.S.

      The Trump administration’s practice of separating children from migrant families entering the United States violates their rights and international law, the United Nations human rights office said on Tuesday, urging an immediate halt to the practice.

      The administration angrily rejected what it called an ignorant attack by the United Nations human rights office and accused the global organization of hypocrisy.

      The human rights office said it appeared that, as The New York Times revealed in April, United States authorities had separated several hundred children, including toddlers, from their parents or others claiming to be their family members, under a policy of criminally prosecuting undocumented people crossing the border.

      That practice “amounts to arbitrary and unlawful interference in family life, and is a serious violation of the rights of the child,” Ravina Shamdasani, a spokeswoman for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, based in Geneva, told reporters.

      Last month, the Trump administration announced a “zero tolerance” policy for illegal border crossings, saying that it would significantly increase criminal prosecutions of migrants. Officials acknowledged that putting more adults in jail would mean separating more children from their families.

      “The U.S. should immediately halt this practice of separating families and stop criminalizing what should at most be an administrative offense — that of irregular entry or stay in the U.S.,” Ms. Shamdasani said.

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      The United States ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki R. Haley, clearly showed American irritation with the accusation in a statement released a few hours later.

      “Once again, the United Nations shows its hypocrisy by calling out the United States while it ignores the reprehensible human rights records of several members of its own Human Rights Council,” Ms. Haley said. “While the High Commissioner’s office ignorantly attacks the United States with words, the United States leads the world with its actions, like providing more humanitarian assistance to global conflicts than any other nation.”

      Without addressing the specifics of the accusation, Ms. Haley said: “Neither the United Nations nor anyone else will dictate how the United States upholds its borders.”
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      The administration has characterized its policy as being about illegal immigration, though many of the detained migrants — including those in families that are split apart — enter at official border crossings and request asylum, which is not an illegal entry. It has also said that some adults falsely claim to be the parents of accompanying children, a genuine problem, and that it has to sort out their claims.

      On Twitter, President Trump has appeared to agree that breaking up families was wrong, but blamed Democrats for the approach, saying that their “bad legislation” had caused it. In fact, no law requires separating children from families, and the practice was put in place by his administration just months ago.

      The Times found in April that over six months, about 700 children had been taken from people claiming to be their parents.

      The American Civil Liberties Union says that since then, the pace of separations has accelerated sharply. Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the group’s immigrant rights project, said that in the past five weeks, close to 1,000 children may have been taken from their families.

      Last year, as Homeland Security secretary, John F. Kelly raised the idea of separating children from their families when they entered the country as a way to deter movement across the Mexican border.

      Homeland Security officials have since denied that they separate families as part of a policy of deterrence, but have also faced sharp criticism from President Trump for failing to do more to curb the numbers of migrants crossing the border.

      For the United Nations, it was a matter of great concern that in the United States “migration control appears to have been prioritized over the effective care and protection of migrant children,” Ms. Shamdasani said.

      The United States is the only country in the world that has not ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, she noted, but the practice of separating and detaining children breached its obligations under other international human rights conventions it has joined.

      “Children should never be detained for reasons related to their own or their parents’ migration status. Detention is never in the best interests of the child and always constitutes a child rights violation,” she said, calling on the authorities to adopt noncustodial alternatives.

      The A.C.L.U. has filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court in San Diego, calling for a halt to the practice and for reunification of families.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/05/world/americas/us-un-migrant-children-families.html

    • U.S. policy of separating refugees from children is illegal, horrific

      Somewhere in #Texas, a 3-year-old is crying into her pillow. She left all her toys behind when she fled Guatemala. And on this day the U.S. government took her mother away.

      When we read about the U.S. administration’s new policy of trying to stop people from crossing its borders by taking away their children, we too had trouble sleeping.


      https://www.thestar.com/opinion/contributors/2018/06/05/us-policy-of-separating-refugees-from-children-is-illegal-horrific.html

    • What’s Really Happening When Asylum-Seeking Families Are Separated ?

      An expert on helping parents navigate the asylum process describes what she’s seeing on the ground.

      Everyone involved in U.S. immigration along the border has a unique perspective on the new “zero tolerance” policies—most notably, the increasing number of migrant parents who are separated from their children. Some workers are charged with taking the children away from their parents and sending them into the care of Health and Human Services. Some are contracted to find housing for the children and get them food. Some volunteers try to help the kids navigate the system. Some, like Anne Chandler, assist the parents. As executive director of the Houston office of the nonprofit Tahirih Justice Center, which focuses on helping immigrant women and children, she has been traveling to the border and to detention centers, listening to the parents’ stories. We asked her to talk with us about what she has been hearing in recent weeks.

      This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

      Texas Monthly: First, can you give us an overview of your organization?

      Anne Chandler: We run the Children’s Border Project, and we work with hundreds of kids that have been released from ORR [Office of Refugee Resettlement] care. We are not a legal service provider that does work when they’re in the shelters. To date, most of our work with that issue of family separation has been working with the parents in the days when they are being separated: when they’re in the federal courthouse being convicted; partnering with the federal public defenders; and then in the adult detention center, as they have no idea how to communicate or speak to their children or get them back before being deported.

      TM: Can you take me through what you’ve been seeing?

      AC: The short of it is, we will take sample sizes of numbers and individuals we’re seeing that are being prosecuted for criminal entry. The majority of those are free to return to the home country. Vast majority. We can’t quite know exactly because our sample size is between one hundred and two hundred individuals. But 90 percent of those who are being convicted are having their children separated from them. The 10 percent that aren’t are some mothers who are going with their children to the detention centers in Karnes and Dilley. But, for the most part, the ones that I’ve been working with are the ones that are actually being prosecuted for criminal entry, which is a pretty new thing for our country—to take first-time asylum seekers who are here seeking safe refuge, to turn around and charge them with a criminal offense. Those parents are finding themselves in adult detention centers and in a process known as expedited removal, where many are being deported. And their children, on the other hand, are put in a completely different legal structure. They are categorized as unaccompanied children and thus are being put in place in a federal agency not with the Department of Homeland Security but with Health and Human Services. And Health and Human Services has this complicated structure in place where they’re not viewed as a long-term foster care system—that’s for very limited numbers—but their general mandate is to safeguard these children in temporary shelters and then find family members with whom they can be placed. So they start with parents, and then they go to grandparents, and then they go to other immediate family members, and then they go to acquaintances, people who’ve known the children, and they’re in that system, but they can’t be released to their parents because their parents are behind bars. And we may see more parents that get out of jail because they pass a “credible fear” interview, which is the screening done by the asylum office to see who should be deported quickly, within days or weeks of arrival, and who should stay here and have an opportunity to present their asylum case before an immigration judge of the Department of Justice. So we have a lot of individuals who are in that credible fear process right now, but in Houston, once you have a credible fear interview (which will sometimes take two to three weeks to even set up), those results aren’t coming out for four to six weeks. Meanwhile, these parents are just kind of languishing in these detention centers because of the zero-tolerance policy. There’s no individual adjudication of whether the parents should be put on some form of alternative detention program so that they can be in a position to be reunited with their kid.

      TM: So, just so I make sure I understand: the parents come in and say, “We’re persecuted” or give some reason for asylum. They come in. And then their child or children are taken away and they’re in lockup for at least six weeks away from the kids and often don’t know where the kids are. Is that what’s happening under zero tolerance?

      AC: So the idea of zero tolerance under the stated policy is that we don’t care why you’re afraid. We don’t care if it’s religion, political, gangs, anything. For all asylum seekers, you are going to be put in jail, in a detention center, and you’re going to have your children taken away from you. That’s the policy. They’re not 100 percent able to implement that because of a lot of reasons, including just having enough judges on the border. And bed space. There’s a big logistical problem because this is a new policy. So the way they get to that policy of taking the kids away and keeping the adults in detention centers and the kids in a different federal facility is based on the legal rationale that we’re going to convict you, and since we’re going to convict you, you’re going to be in the custody of the U.S. Marshals, and when that happens, we’re taking your kid away. So they’re not able to convict everybody of illegal entry right now just because there aren’t enough judges on the border right now to hear the number of cases that come over, and then they say if you have religious persecution or political persecution or persecution on something that our asylum definition recognizes, you can fight that case behind bars at an immigration detention center. And those cases take two, three, four, five, six months. And what happens to your child isn’t really our concern. That is, you have made the choice to bring your child over illegally. And this is what’s going to happen.

      TM: Even if they crossed at a legal entry point?

      AC: Very few people come to the bridge. Border Patrol is saying the bridge is closed. When I was last out in McAllen, people were stacked on the bridge, sleeping there for three, four, ten nights. They’ve now cleared those individuals from sleeping on the bridge, but there are hundreds of accounts of asylum seekers, when they go to the bridge, who are told, “I’m sorry, we’re full today. We can’t process your case.” So the families go illegally on a raft—I don’t want to say illegally; they cross without a visa on a raft. Many of them then look for Border Patrol to turn themselves in, because they know they’re going to ask for asylum. And under this government theory—you know, in the past, we’ve had international treaties, right? Statutes which codified the right of asylum seekers to ask for asylum. Right? Article 31 of the Refugee Convention clearly says that it is improper for any state to use criminal laws that could deter asylum seekers as long as that asylum seeker is asking for asylum within a reasonable amount of time. But our administration is kind of ignoring this longstanding international and national jurisprudence of basic beliefs to make this distinction that, if you come to a bridge, we’re not going to prosecute you, but if you come over the river and then find immigration or are caught by immigration, we’re prosecuting you.

      TM: So if you cross any other way besides the bridge, we’re prosecuting you. But . . . you can’t cross the bridge.

      AC: That’s right. I’ve talked to tons of people. There are organizations like Al Otro Lado that document border turn-backs. And there’s an effort to accompany asylum seekers so that Customs and Border Patrol can’t say, “We’re closed.” Everybody we’ve talked to who’s been prosecuted or separated has crossed the river without a visa.

      TM: You said you were down there recently?

      AC: Monday, June 4.

      TM: What was happening on the bridge at that point?

      AC: I talked to a lot of people who were there Saturdays and Sundays, a lot of church groups that are going, bringing those individuals umbrellas because they were in the sun. It’s morning shade, and then the sun—you know, it’s like 100 degrees on the cement. It’s really, really hot. So there were groups bringing diapers and water bottles and umbrellas and electric fans, and now everyone’s freaked out because they’re gone! What did they do with them? Did they process them all? Yet we know they’re saying you’re turned back. When I was in McAllen, the individuals that day who visited people on the bridge had been there four days. We’re talking infants; there were people breastfeeding on the bridge.

      TM: Are the infants taken as well?

      AC: Every border zone is different. We definitely saw a pattern in McAllen. We talked to 63 parents who had lost their children that day in the court. Of those, the children seemed to be all five and older. What we know from the shelters and working with people is that, yes, there are kids that are very young, that are breastfeeding babies and under three in the shelters, separated from their parents. But I’m just saying, in my experience, all those kids and all the parents’ stories were five and up.

      TM: Can you talk about how you’ve seen the process change over the past few months?

      AC: The zero-tolerance policy really started with Jeff Sessions’s announcement in May. One could argue that this was the original policy that we started seeing in the executive orders. One was called “border security and immigration enforcement.” And a lot of the principles underlying zero tolerance are found here. The idea is that we’re going to prosecute people.

      TM: And the policy of separating kids from parents went into effect when?

      AC: They would articulate it in various ways with different officials, but as immigration attorneys, starting in October, were like, “Oh my goodness. They are telling us these are all criminal lawbreakers and they’re going to have their children taken away.” We didn’t know what it would mean. And so we saw about six hundred children who were taken away from October to May, then we saw an explosion of the numbers in May. It ramped up. The Office of Refugee Resettlement taking in all these kids says that they are our children, that they are unaccompanied. It’s a fabrication. They’re not unaccompanied children. They are children that came with their parents, and the idea that we’re creating this crisis—it’s a manufactured crisis where we’re going to let children suffer to somehow allow this draconian approach with families seeking shelter and safe refuge.

      TM: So what is the process for separation?

      AC: There is no one process. Judging from the mothers and fathers I’ve spoken to and those my staff has spoken to, there are several different processes. Sometimes they will tell the parent, “We’re taking your child away.” And when the parent asks, “When will we get them back?” they say, “We can’t tell you that.” Sometimes the officers will say, “because you’re going to be prosecuted” or “because you’re not welcome in this country” or “because we’re separating them,” without giving them a clear justification. In other cases, we see no communication that the parent knows that their child is to be taken away. Instead, the officers say, “I’m going to take your child to get bathed.” That’s one we see again and again. “Your child needs to come with me for a bath.” The child goes off, and in a half an hour, twenty minutes, the parent inquires, “Where is my five-year-old?” “Where’s my seven-year-old?” “This is a long bath.” And they say, “You won’t be seeing your child again.” Sometimes mothers—I was talking to one mother, and she said, “Don’t take my child away,” and the child started screaming and vomiting and crying hysterically, and she asked the officers, “Can I at least have five minutes to console her?” They said no. In another case, the father said, “Can I comfort my child? Can I hold him for a few minutes?” The officer said, “You must let them go, and if you don’t let them go, I will write you up for an altercation, which will mean that you are the one that had the additional charges charged against you.” So, threats. So the father just let the child go. So it’s a lot of variations. But sometimes deceit and sometimes direct, just “I’m taking your child away.” Parents are not getting any information on what their rights are to communicate to get their child before they are deported, what reunification may look like. We spoke to nine parents on this Monday, which was the 11th, and these were adults in detention centers outside of Houston. They had been separated from their child between May 23 and May 25, and as of June 11, not one of them had been able to talk to their child or knew a phone number that functioned from the detention center director. None of them had direct information from immigration on where their child was located. The one number they were given by some government official from the Department of Homeland Security was a 1-800 number. But from the phones inside the detention center, they can’t make those calls. We know there are more parents who are being deported without their child, without any process or information on how to get their child back.

      TM: And so it’s entirely possible that children will be left in the country without any relatives?

      AC: Could be, yeah.

      TM: And if the child is, say, five years old . . .?

      AC: The child is going through deportation proceedings, so the likelihood that that child is going to be deported is pretty high.

      TM: How do they know where to deport the child to, or who the parents are?

      AC: How does that child navigate their deportation case without their parent around?

      TM: Because a five-year-old doesn’t necessarily know his parents’ information.

      AC: In the shelters, they can’t even find the parents because the kids are just crying inconsolably. They often don’t know the full legal name of their parents or their date of birth. They’re not in a position to share a trauma story like what caused the migration. These kids and parents had no idea. None of the parents I talked to were expecting to be separated as they faced the process of asking for asylum.

      TM: I would think that there would be something in place where, when the child is taken, they’d be given a wristband or something with their information on it?

      AC: I think the Department of Homeland Security gives the kids an alien number. They also give the parents an alien number and probably have that information. The issue is that the Department of Homeland Security is not the one caring for the children. Jurisdiction of that child has moved over to Health and Human Services, and the Health and Human Services staff has to figure out, where is this parent? And that’s not easy. Sometimes the parents are deported. Kids are in New York and Miami, and we’ve got parents being sent to Tacoma, Washington, and California. Talk about a mess. And nobody has a right to an attorney here. These kids don’t get a paid advocate or an ad litem or a friend of the court. They don’t get a paid attorney to represent them. Some find that, because there are programs. But it’s not a right. It’s not universal.

      TM: What agency is in charge of physically separating the children and the adults?

      AC: The Department of Homeland Security. We saw the separation take place while they were in the care and custody of Customs and Border Protection. That’s where it was happening, at a center called the Ursula, which the immigrants called La Perrera, because it looked like a dog pound, a dog cage. It’s a chain-link fence area, long running areas that remind Central Americans of the way people treat dogs.

      TM: So the Department of Homeland Security does the separation and then they immediately pass the kids to HHS?

      AC: I don’t have a bird’s-eye view of this, besides interviewing parents. Parents don’t know. All they know is that the kid hasn’t come back to their little room in CBP. Right? We know from talking to advocates and attorneys who have access to the shelters that they think that these kids leave in buses to shelters run by the Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement Department of Unaccompanied Children Services—which, on any given day there’s like three thousand kids in the Harlingen-Brownsville area. We know there are eight, soon to be nine, facilities in Houston. And they’re going to open up this place in Tornillo, along the border by El Paso. And they’re opening up places in Miami. They’re past capacity. This is a cyclical time, where rates of migration increase. So now you’re creating two populations. One is your traditional unaccompanied kids who are just coming because their life is at risk right now in El Salvador and Honduras and parts of Guatemala, and they come with incredible trauma, complex stories, and need a lot of resources, and so they navigate this immigration system. And now we have this new population, which is totally different: the young kids who don’t hold their stories and aren’t here to self-navigate the system and are crying out for their parents. There are attorneys that get money to go in and give rights presentations to let the teenagers know what they can ask for in court, what’s happening with their cases, and now the attorneys are having a hard time doing that because right next to them, in the other room, they’ve got kids crying and wailing, asking for their mom and dad. The attorneys can’t give these kids information. They’re just trying to learn grounding exercises.

      TM: Do you know if siblings are allowed to stay together?

      AC: We don’t know. I dealt with one father who knew that siblings were not at the same location from talking to his family member. He believes they’re separated. But I have no idea. Can’t answer that question.

      TM: Is there another nonprofit similar to yours that handles kids more than adults?

      AC: Yes: in Houston it’s Catholic Charities. We know in Houston they are going to open up shelters specific for the tender-age kids, which is defined as kids under twelve. And that’s going to be by Minute Maid Stadium. And that facility is also going to have some traditional demographic of pregnant teenagers. But it’s going to be a young kid—and young kids are, almost by definition, separated. Kids usually do not migrate on their own at that age.

      TM: That’s usually teens?

      AC: Teens. Population is thirteen to seventeen, with many more fifteen-, sixteen-, and seventeen-year-olds than thirteen- and fourteen-year-olds. They’re riding on top of trains. You know, the journey is very dangerous. Usually that’s the age where the gangs start taking the girls and saying “you’re going to be my sex slave”–type of stuff. I’ve heard that it’s going to be run by a nonprofit. ORR does not hold the shelters directly. They contract with nonprofits whose job it is to provide essential food, mental health care, caseworkers to try to figure out who they’re going to be released to, and all those functions to nonprofits, and I think the nonprofit in charge of this one is Southwest Key.

      TM: So how long do the kids stay in the facility?

      AC: It used to be, on average, thirty days. But that’s going up now. There are many reasons for that: one, these facilities and ORR are not used to working with this demographic of young children. Two, DHS is sharing information with ORR on the background of those families that are taking these children, and we’ve seen raids where they’re going to where the children are and looking for individuals in those households who are undocumented. So there is reticence and fear of getting these children if there’s someone in the household who is not a citizen.

      TM: So if I’m understanding correctly, a relative can say, “Well, I can pick that kid up; that’s my niece.” She comes and picks up the child. And then DHS will follow them home? Is that what you’re saying?

      AC: No. The kid would go to the aunt’s house, but let’s just imagine that she is here on a visa, a student visa, but the aunt falls out of visa status and is undocumented and her information, her address, is at the top of DHS’s files. So we’ve seen this happen a lot: a month or two weeks after kids have been released, DHS goes to those foster homes and arrests people and puts people in jail and deports them.

      TM: And then I guess they start all over again trying to find a home for those kids?

      AC: Right.

      TM: What is explained to the kids about the proceedings, and who explains it to them?

      AC: The Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement goes through an organization called the Vera Institute of Justice that then contracts with nonprofit organizations who hire attorneys and other specialized bilingual staff to go into these shelters and give what they call legal orientation programs for children, and they do group orientation. Sometimes they speak to the kids individually and try to explain to them, “This is the process here; and you’re going to have to go see an immigration judge; and these are your rights before a judge; you won’t have an attorney for your case, but you can hire one. If you’re afraid to go back to your country, you have to tell the judge.” That type of stuff.

      TM: And if the child is five, and alone, doesn’t have older siblings or cousins—

      AC: Or three or four. They’re young in our Houston detention centers. And that’s where these attorneys are frustrated—they can’t be attorneys. How do they talk and try to console and communicate with a five-year-old who is just focused on “I want my mom or dad,” right?

      TM: Are the kids whose parents are applying for asylum processed differently from kids whose parents are not applying for asylum?

      AC: I don’t know. These are questions we ask DHS, but we don’t know the answers.

      TM: Why don’t you get an answer?

      AC: I don’t know. To me, if you’re going to justify this in some way under the law, the idea that these parents don’t have the ability to obtain very simple answers—what are my rights and when can I be reunited with my kid before I’m deported without them?—is horrible. And has to go far below anything we, as a civil society of law, should find acceptable. The fact that I, as an attorney specializing in this area, cannot go to a detention center and tell a mother or father what the legal procedure is for them to get their child or to reunite with their child, even if they want to go home?

      And my answer is, “I don’t think you can.” In my experience, they’re not releasing these children to the parents as they’re deported. To put a structure like that in place and the chaos in the system for “deterrence” and then carry out so much pain on the backs of some already incredibly traumatized mothers and fathers who have already experienced sometimes just horrific violence is unacceptable.

      https://www.texasmonthly.com/news/whats-really-happening-asylum-seeking-families-separated

      Mise en exergue d’un passage :

      The child goes off, and in a half an hour, twenty minutes, the parent inquires, “Where is my five-year-old?” “Where’s my seven-year-old?” “This is a long bath.” And they say, “You won’t be seeing your child again.”

    • Why the US is separating migrant children from their parents

      US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has defended the separation of migrant children from their parents at the border with Mexico, a measure that has faced increasing criticism.

      The “zero-tolerance” policy he announced last month sees adults who try to cross the border, many planning to seek asylum, being placed in custody and facing criminal prosecution for illegal entry.

      As a result, hundreds of minors are now being housed in detention centres, and kept away from their parents.
      What is happening?

      Over a recent six-week period, nearly 2,000 children were separated from their parents after illegally crossing the border, figures released on Friday said.

      Mr Sessions said those entering the US irregularly would be criminally prosecuted, a change to a long-standing policy of charging most of those crossing for the first time with a misdemeanour offence.

      As the adults are being charged with a crime, the children that come with them are being separated and deemed unaccompanied minors.

      Advocates of separations point out that hundreds of children are taken from parents who commit crimes in the US on a daily basis.

      As such, they are placed in custody of the Department of Health and Human Services and sent to a relative, foster home or a shelter - officials at those places are said to be already running out of space to house them.

      In recent days, a former Walmart in Texas has been converted into a detention centre for immigrant children.

      Officials have also announced plans to erect tent cities to hold hundreds more children in the Texas desert where temperatures regularly reach 40C (105F).

      Local lawmaker Jose Rodriguez described the plan as “totally inhumane” and “outrageous”, adding: “It should be condemned by anyone who has a moral sense of responsibility.”

      US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials estimate that around 1,500 people are arrested each day for illegally crossing the border.

      In the first two weeks of the “zero-tolerance” new approach, 658 minors - including many babies and toddlers - were separated from the adults that came with them, according to the CBP.

      The practice, however, was apparently happening way before that, with reports saying more than 700 families had been affected between October and April.

      Not only the families crossing irregularly are being targeted, activists who work at the border say, but also those presenting themselves at a port of entry.

      “This is really extreme, it’s nothing like we have seen before,” said Michelle Brané, director of Migrant Rights and Justice at the Women’s Refugee Commission, a New York-based non-governmental organisation that is helping some of these people.

      In many of the cases, the families have already been reunited, after the parent was released from detention. However, there are reports of people being kept apart for weeks and even months.

      Family separations had been reported in previous administrations but campaigners say the numbers then were very small.
      Whose fault is it?

      Mr Trump has blamed Democrats for the policy, saying “we have to break up the families” because of a law that “Democrats gave us”.

      It is unclear what law he is referring to, but no law has been passed by the US Congress that mandates that migrant families be separated.

      Fact-checkers say that the only thing that has changed is the Justice Department’s decision to criminally prosecute parents for a first-time border crossing offence. Because their children are not charged with a crime, they are not permitted to be jailed together.

      Under a 1997 court decision known as the Flores settlement, children who come to the US alone are required to be released to their parents, an adult relative, or other caretaker.

      If those options are all exhausted, then the government must find the “least restrictive” setting for the child “without unnecessary delay”.

      The case initially applied to unaccompanied child arrivals, but a 2016 court decision expanded it to include children brought with their parents.

      According to the New York Times, the government has three options under the Flores settlement - release whole families together, pass a law to allow for families to be detained together, or break up families.

      It is worth noting that Mr Trump’s chief of staff John Kelly - who previously served as the head of Homeland Security - said in 2017 that the White House was considering separating families as a means of deterring parents from trying to cross the border.
      What do the figures show?

      The number of families trying to enter the US overland without documentation is on the rise. For the fourth consecutive month in May, there was an increase in the number of people caught crossing the border irregularly - in comparison with the same month of 2017, the rise was of 160%.

      “The trends are clear: this must end,” Mr Sessions said last month.

      It is not clear, though, if the tougher measures will stop the migrants. Most are fleeing violence and poverty in Central American countries like El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras and staying, for many, could mean a death sentence.

      Human rights groups, campaigners and Democrats have sharply criticised the separations, warning of the long-term trauma on the children. Meanwhile the UN Human Rights Office called on the US to “immediately halt” them.

      But Mr Sessions has defended the measure, saying the separations were “not our goal” but it was not always possible to keep parents and children together.
      What is the policy in other countries?

      No other country has a policy of separating families who intend to seek asylum, activists say.

      In the European Union, which faced its worst migrant crisis in decades three years ago, most asylum seekers are held in reception centres while their requests are processed - under the bloc’s Dublin Regulation, people must be registered in their first country of arrival.

      Measures may vary in different member states but families are mostly kept together.

      Even in Australia, which has some of the world’s most restrictive policies, including the detention of asylum seekers who arrive by boat in controversial offshore centres, there is no policy to separate parents from their children upon arrival.

      Meanwhile, Canada has a deal with the US that allows it to deny asylum requests from those going north. It has tried to stem the number of migrants crossing outside border posts after a surge of Haitians and Nigerians coming from its neighbour. However, there were no reports of families being forcibly separated.

      “What the US is doing now, there is no equivalent,” said Michael Flynn, executive director of the Geneva-based Global Detention Project, a non-profit group focused on the rights of detained immigrants. “There’s nothing like this anywhere”.

      Republicans in the House of Representatives have unveiled legislation to keep families together but it is unlikely to win the support of its own party or the White House.

      https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-44503514?platform=hootsuite

    • Les récits de la détresse d’enfants de migrants créent l’émoi aux Etats-Unis

      Plus de 2000 enfants ont été séparés de leurs parents depuis l’entrée en vigueur en avril de la politique de « tolérance zéro » en matière d’immigration illégale aux Etats-Unis. Ces jours, plusieurs témoignages ont ému dans le pays.

      http://www.rts.ch/info/monde/9658887-les-recits-de-la-detresse-d-enfants-de-migrants-creent-l-emoi-aux-etats-

    • Etats-Unis : quand la sécurité des frontières rime avec torture d’enfants mineurs

      Au Texas, dans un centre de détention, un enregistrement audio d’enfants migrants âgés entre 4 à 10 ans pleurant et appelant leurs parents alors qu’ils viennent d’être séparés d’eux, vient de faire surface.

      Cet enregistrement a fuité de l’intérieur, remis à l’avocate Jennifer Harbury qui l’a transféré au média d’investigation américain ProPublica. L’enregistrement a été placé sur les images filmées dans ce centre. Il soulève l’indignation des américains et du monde entier. Elles sont une torture pour nous, spectateurs impuissants de la barbarie d’un homme, Donald Trump et de son administration.

      Le rythme des séparations s’est beaucoup accéléré depuis début mai, lorsque le ministre de la Justice Jeff Sessions a annoncé que tous les migrants passant illégalement la frontière seraient arrêtés, qu’ils soient accompagnés de mineurs ou pas. Du 5 mai au 9 juin 2018 quelque 2’342 enfants ont été séparés de leurs parents placés en détention, accusés d’avoir traversé illégalement la frontière. C’est le résultat d’une politique sécuritaire dite de “tolérance zéro” qui criminalise ces entrées même lorsqu’elles sont justifiées par le dépôt d’une demande d’asile aux Etats-Unis. Un protocol empêche la détention d’enfants avec leurs parents. Ils sont alors placés dans des centres fermés qui ressemblent tout autant à des prisons adaptées.

      https://blogs.letemps.ch/jasmine-caye/2018/06/19/etats-unis-quand-la-securite-des-frontieres-rime-avec-torture-denfants

    • Aux États-Unis, le traumatisme durable des enfants migrants

      Trump a beau avoir mis fin à la séparation forcée des familles à la frontière, plus de 2 000 enfants migrants seraient encore éparpillés dans le pays. Le processus de regroupement des familles s’annonce long et douloureux.


      https://www.courrierinternational.com/article/aux-etats-unis-le-traumatisme-durable-des-enfants-migrants
      #caricature #dessin_de_presse

    • The Government Has Taken At Least 1,100 Children From Their Parents Since Family Separations Officially Ended

      “You can’t imagine the pain,” Dennis said. “If you’re not a dad, you don’t know what it’s like.” I reached Dennis by phone in a small town in the Copán Department of Honduras, where he lives with his wife and three children. For five months this year, the family was fractured across borders. Sonia, age 11, had been separated from Dennis after they crossed into the United States and turned themselves in to the Border Patrol to ask for asylum. Dennis was deported from Texas, and Sonia sent to a shelter in New York.

      The U.S. government is still taking children from their parents after they cross the border. Since the supposed end of family separation — in the summer of 2018, after a federal judge’s injunction and President Donald Trump’s executive order reversing the deeply controversial policy — more than 1,100 children have been taken from their parents, according to the government’s own data. There may be more, since that data has been plagued by bad record keeping and inconsistencies. The government alleges that separations now only happen when a parent has a criminal history or is unfit to care for a child, but an ongoing lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union argues that the current policy still violates the rights of children and families. Border Patrol agents, untrained in child welfare, make decisions that some parents are unfit to stay with their children based solely on brief interactions with them while they are held in custody.

      Dennis picks coffee during the harvest season and works other basic jobs when he can, but he struggles to put food on the table and pay for his kids’ school supplies. In April, unable to find steady work in the coffee fields and receiving regular threats from a creditor, he headed north, hoping to find safety and opportunity in the United States. “We were barely eating. I couldn’t give my kids a life,” Dennis told me. (He preferred that I only use first names for him and his family due to safety concerns.) Thinking that his two boys — ages 2 1/2 and 7 — were too young to travel, Dennis took Sonia and together they left Honduras. They trekked through Guatemala and Mexico by bus, train, and on foot. They were robbed once, terrified the whole way, and had to beg for food. They slept wherever they could — sometimes in the woods, along the tracks, or, when they could scrounge enough money together, in migrant flophouses.

      After about a month of travel, Dennis and Sonia crossed the Rio Grande in a small raft outside of McAllen, Texas, on the morning of May 17. They walked for hours before they turned themselves in to a Border Patrol agent and were taken to a processing center, where they were locked up in one of the freezing-cold temporary holding centers known as hieleras, or iceboxes. Only a few hours later, a Border Patrol agent took Dennis and Sonia and locked them in separate rooms. It was the last time he would see his daughter for five months.

      For the next 11 days, Dennis remained in the hielera, asking repeatedly to see his daughter. Border Patrol officers tried to get him to sign papers that were in English, which he couldn’t read. He refused. “You can’t see her,” a Border Patrol agent told him about his daughter. The agent said that she was fine, but wouldn’t tell him where she was. Border Patrol transferred Dennis to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center in Port Isabel, Texas. They told him that because of a previous deportation and a felony — a 10-year-old charge for using false work authorization papers — he was ineligible for asylum. For the next 30 days of his detention, he knew nothing of his daughter or her whereabouts. Finally, an agent called him over and told him that she was on the phone. The call was brief. They both cried. He told her to be strong. He told her that they were going to send him away. Two weeks later, without talking to his daughter again, he was deported back to Honduras. “I’m a man, but I cried. I cried,” he told me. “Oh, it was so hard.”

      Sonia was in New York in an Office of Refugee Resettlement, or ORR, shelter, where she was living with a number of other children. In Honduras, after Dennis’s deportation, the rest of the family waited in agony for nearly 5 months, until October 9, when Sonia was released and then flown home. “My wife,” Dennis said, “she didn’t eat, didn’t sleep. You can’t imagine the suffering. And, don’t forget,” he reminded me, “she had two other kids to raise.”

      In 2018, much of the world looked on aghast as U.S. immigration agents separated thousands of children from their parents in an unprecedented anti-immigrant crackdown. In one notorious instance captured on audio, Border Patrol agents laughed and joked at desperate children crying for their parents. The separations, part of a series of policy changes to limit total immigration and effectively shutter refugee and asylum programs, stemmed from the so-called zero-tolerance policy that began in El Paso in 2017 and was rolled out border-wide in the spring of 2018. The administration had announced that it would seek to prosecute all people who illegally crossed the border (despite the fact that, according to U.S. law, it is not illegal for an asylum-seeker to cross the border), but it later emerged that the government had specifically targeted families. A strict zero tolerance policy — prosecuting every individual who was apprehended — was always beyond capacity. The focus on families was part of a distinct effort by the Department of Homeland Security and the White House to try and dissuade — by subjecting parents and children to the terror of separation — more people from coming to the United States.

      After widespread uproar and international condemnation, Trump issued an executive order to halt the separations on June 20, 2018. Six days later, U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw issued an injunction, demanding the reunification of parents with their children within 30 days. For children under the age of 5, the deadline was 14 days. For some, however, it was too late. Parents had already lost custody, been deported, or even lost track of their children. Even for those who were reunified, trauma had set in. In 2018, the number of publicly known separations was 2,800. In fact, as the government revealed this October after pressure from the ACLU lawsuit, that original count was over 1,500 children short. Furthermore, the government has admitted that more than 1,100 additional families have been separated since the executive order and injunction — bringing the total number of children impacted to at least 5,446. That number may still be an undercount and will continue to rise if immigration officials’ current practices continue.

      The grounds for the ongoing separations — the 1,100 new cases — stem from a carve-out in Sabraw’s injunction: that children should not be separated “absent a determination that the parent is unfit or presents a danger to the child.” That language, the ACLU and others allege in an ongoing lawsuit, is being interpreted too broadly by the government, resulting in unwarranted separations. ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt, who has been litigating against the government on behalf of a class of separated families, called the ongoing separation policy “as shocking as it is unlawful.”

      The reason that Dennis and Sonia were separated, for example, goes back to 2008, when Dennis’s wife was pregnant with Sonia, and Dennis came to the U.S. to find work and support his family. He made it to Minnesota and was loaned false papers to get a job, but he was quickly picked up and charged with forgery. He spent three months in a federal prison before being deported. Eleven years later, that conviction led to Sonia being taken from him. “You could call any child expert from anywhere in the country, and they would tell you that these parents are not a danger to the child,” Gelernt said in a September 20 hearing. “The government is simply saying, ‘We are going to take away children because the court said we could.’”

      In a brief filed to the court in July, ACLU attorneys pointed out cases in which children were taken from their parents for “the most minor or nonviolent criminal history.” The reasons for separation cited in those cases included marijuana possession convictions, a 27-year-old drug possession charge, and a charge of “malicious destruction of property value” over a total of $5. An 8-month-old was separated from his father for a “fictitious or fraudulent statement.” A mother who broke her leg at the border had her 5-year-old taken from her while she was in emergency surgery, and ORR did not release the child for 79 days.

      In an example of a dubious determination made by the Border Patrol of a father being “unfit” to care for his 1-year-old daughter, an agent separated the two because the father left his daughter in a wet diaper while she was sleeping. She had been sick and, after caring for her and taking her to the hospital on two separate occasions for a high fever, the father “wanted to let her sleep instead of waking her to change her diaper,” according to the ACLU brief. Nonetheless, a female guard took his daughter from his arms, criticized him for not changing the diaper, and even called him a bad father. The government’s own documents show that the father has no other criminal history.

      In another instance, a 3-year-old girl was separated from her father due to Customs and Border Protection’s allegation that he was not actually her parent. Although the father’s name does not appear on the child’s birth certificate, he presented other documentation showing parentage and requested a DNA test as proof. Officials ignored his request and separated the family. After an attorney intervened, the family took a DNA test and confirmed paternity. Meanwhile, the daughter was sexually abused while in ORR care and, according to the brief, “appears to be severely regressing in development.”

      CBP did not respond to a request for comment.

      The ACLU’s brief received some coverage this summer, but many of the most egregious stories it collected went unmentioned. Overall, even as the separations have continued, media attention has flagged. From a high of 2,000 stories a month in the summer of 2018, this fall has seen an average of only 50 to 100 stories a month that mention family separation, according to an analysis by Pamela Mejia, head of research at Berkeley Media Studies Group. Mejia told me that the issue had “reached a saturation point” for many people: “The overwhelming number of stories that generate outrage has made it harder to keep anything in the headlines.”

      At first, the child victims of the government’s actions were easy to empathize with. There was no “crime frame,” as Mejia put it, to explain away the children’s suffering, in contrast to the way that immigration is often covered. Whether denominating migrants as “illegals,” seeing them as “hordes” or “invaders,” or using a broad brush to associate them with crime or terrorism, politicians and the media alike often wield anti-immigrant or dehumanizing language when discussing immigration. Young children, however, are something different. The broad consensus in 2018 was that the family separation policy was an outrageous and unnecessary cruelty.

      But, despite the outrage, the policy continued and now there’s a sense of “futility that this is going to keep happening,” Mejia said. Gelernt likewise attributed the lack of ongoing coverage to “media burnout,” noting especially that there are more than 200 kids under the age of 5 who have been separated from their families. It’s hard to cover so many heartrending stories, Gelernt said. And now, simply, “People think it’s over.”

      But it’s not. Sabraw, the southern California judge who issued the injunction in 2018, is expected to rule soon on the ACLU’s challenge to the continued separations. But even if he again orders the government to reunify families, or narrows immigration officials’ latitude in carrying out separations, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the government can, or will, comply. CBP, the Border Patrol’s parent agency, has already proven negligent in keeping track of the separated children — calling families who had undergone separation, for example, “deleted family units.” Some children still remain unaccounted for.

      “At this point, no government official can plausibly claim that they are unaware of the damage these separations are doing to the children,” Gelernt told me, “yet they continue to do it.”

      In late November, back in Copán, Sonia graduated from sixth grade. One of her favorite things to do, Dennis told me, is to draw with her younger brothers. She is also teaching the older of the two boys to read, practicing his letters with him. She’ll go into seventh grade soon, but her father worries about her growing up in what he described as a gang-ridden town. Honduras has one of the highest incidence rates of violence against women in the world. He also doesn’t know how he’ll be able to pay for her high school. “I know it’s desperate,” he said, “but I’m thinking of heading north again. I can’t see how else to do it.”

      Sonia doesn’t talk much about her time separated from her family, but Dennis notices that she’s changed, and he and his wife are worried: “She told me she didn’t feel good. She was just crying at first [while in the ORR facility]; that’s all she did.” Now when she goes quiet sometimes, her parents wonder if she’s still affected by the trauma. As Dennis contemplated aloud another potential trip north in search of personal and financial security, he reflected, “I just ask that we have enough food to eat every day. I just want my family to be safe.”

      https://theintercept.com/2019/12/09/family-separation-policy-lawsuit

  • Comment un manque de papier toilette coûte 30 milliards de dollars de capitalisation à Walmart le monde - 21.02.2018 - Philippe Escande
    http://www.lemonde.fr/economie/article/2018/02/21/comment-un-manque-de-papier-toilette-coute-30-milliards-de-dollars-de-capita

    Trente milliards de dollars (24,3 milliards d’euros), voilà qui fait cher le papier toilette. Tout commence à la veille des fêtes dans les entrepôts américains de Walmart, le premier distributeur mondial. En prévision d’un afflux de commandes en ligne de téléviseurs, de jouets et autres cadeaux de Noël, l’entreprise a fait le ménage dans ses rayonnages. Pour caser les cartons de téléviseurs Samsung dernier cri, on a réduit l’espace des petits consommables du quotidien, ceux que l’on marque consciencieusement toutes les semaines sur sa liste des courses : dentifrice, savon, papier toilette…

    Oui mais quand les lampions sont éteints et les bouchons de champagne ramassés, la vie ordinaire reprend, avec ses petites commandes indispensables. Et là, plus de papier. « Notre stock de produits de base était insuffisant » pour répondre à la demande, a reconnu le patron de Walmart, Doug McMillon. Résultat, les ventes sur Internet de Walmart n’ont progressé au dernier trimestre de son exercice fiscal, entre novembre et fin janvier, que de 23 %. Beaucoup se seraient contentés d’un tel score, mais le groupe avait habitué la Bourse à des croissances deux fois plus fortes. Wall Street, qui aimerait que les arbres grimpent jusqu’au ciel, n’a pas aimé la surprise et a fait chuter le cours de la société de près de 10 % en une seule journée, mardi 20 février, soit près de 30 milliards de capitalisation boursière envolés d’un coup.

    . . . . .
    La suite de l’article est payante.
    avec des dollars ou des euros imprimés sur papier toilette ? C’est pour le nomde après tout

  • Exclusive: #Walmart in talks to buy more than 40 percent of India’s Flipkart - sources
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-flipkart-walmart/exclusive-walmart-in-talks-to-buy-more-than-40-percent-of-indias-flipkart-s
    https://s4.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?m=02&d=20180216&t=2&i=1232029344&w=1200&r=LYNXNPEE1F0FY

    MUMBAI (Reuters) - Walmart Inc is in talks to purchase a stake of more than 40 percent in Indian e-commerce firm Flipkart, a direct challenge to Amazon.com Inc in Asia’s third-largest economy, two sources familiar with the matter said on Friday.

    #commerce #multinationales #toujours_plus_gros

  • Facebook hired a full-time pollster to monitor Zuckerberg’s approval ratings - The Verge
    https://www.theverge.com/2018/2/6/16976328/facebook-mark-zuckerberg-pollster-tavis-mcginn-honest-data

    After McGinn left Facebook, he founded a new market research firm named Honest Data. On January 27th, he posted the results of a poll he had conducted regarding opinions of Facebook. The poll, which surveyed 2,000 Americans using Google Consumer Surveys, asked respondents to evaluate a list of companies and mark which ones “are having a negative impact on society.” Among tech companies, 32 percent of Americans said Facebook is harmful. A separate survey, which placed Facebook among other large brands including Walmart, McDonald’s, and Marlboro, found that 27 percent said it is harmful.

    The results largely matched McGinn’s own perception. “I think research can be very powerful, if people are willing to listen,” McGinn says. “But I decided after six months that it was a waste of my time to be there. I didn’t feel great about the product. I didn’t feel proud to tell people I worked at Facebook. I didn’t feel I was helping the world.”

    #Facebook

  • Kimberly-Clark pays for layoffs with Trump tax cuts - Business Insider Deutschland
    http://www.businessinsider.de/kimberly-clark-pays-for-layoffs-with-trump-tax-cuts-2018-1?r=US&IR=T

    Kimberly-Clark — the maker of Huggies and Kleenex — is cutting up to 5,500 jobs.
    The company said it would use savings from the new Republican tax plan to fund the layoffs and restructuring.
    Other companies have pledged to offer bonuses to workers based on their savings — but the result hasn’t always been as positive as it seems.

    While many companies are using President Trump’s tax cuts to give workers bonuses or raise wages, the maker of Kleenex and Huggies is doing the opposite.

    Kimberly-Clark announced on Tuesday that it would cut between 5,000 and 5,500 jobs, or roughly 12 or 13% of the company’s employees.

    The personal care product company also announced plans to shut down 10 manufacturing facilities. The restructuring program is estimated to save Kimberly-Clark $500 to $550 million by the end of 2021.

    The company said it plans to use savings from the Republican tax plan to fund the cuts and other restructuring efforts, The New York Times reported. Tax savings would additionally be used for capital investments and to allocate capital to shareholders, CFO Maria Henry said in a call with analysts.

    A number of companies have announced pay hikes and bonuses in response to the new tax plan. Walmart said that it would give employees bonuses due to the new tax plan — on the same day that it laid off thousands after closing more than 60 Sam’s Club locations.

    #USA #travail #capitalisme #licenciement

  • Amazon’s Latest Way Into Your Life Is Through the Front Door - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/25/technology/amazon-key-home.html

    For many online shoppers, packages often linger for distressingly long hours outside their homes, where they can be stolen or soaked by rain. Now, if customers give it permission, Amazon’s couriers will unlock the front doors and drop packages inside when no one is home.

    What could possibly go wrong?

    The head spins with the opportunities for mischief in letting a stranger into an empty home. There are risks for couriers too — whether it’s an attacking dog or an escaping cat. To allay these concerns, Amazon is asking customers to trust it — buy a package of technology including an internet-connected smart lock and an indoor security camera.

    Amazon isn’t the only business that believes this is the future of internet shopping, as well as other services that require home access, like dog walking and house keeping. This summer, a start-up that makes smart locks, Latch, struck a deal with Jet.com, an online shopping site owned by Walmart, to jointly pay for the installation of its locks on 1,000 apartment buildings in New York City to make deliveries easier. The arrangement offers some of the security of a doorman for people who live in buildings without them.

    Quand les plateformes s’étendent à des relations qui auparavant demandaient une co-présence et une co-connaissance des participants (par exemple avec les employées de maison). Qu’est-ce qui construit la confiance dans le monde numérique.

    Ryan Calo, a law professor at the University of Washington who specializes in legal issues related to technology, said Amazon’s new service relies on the same kind of trust homeowners commonly extend to services to which they hand over their keys. But he said those agreements often involve in-person interactions, which won’t happen when homeowners allow Amazon to unlock its doors.

    “It raises questions about how do you specify and police expectations when the relationship is one mediated almost entirely by technology?” Mr. Calo said.

    #Comerce_électronique #Confiance #Plateformes #Amazon

  • They thought they were going to rehab. They ended up in chicken plants
    https://www.revealnews.org/article/they-thought-they-were-going-to-rehab-they-ended-up-in-chicken-plants

    Across the country, judges increasingly are sending defendants to rehab instead of prison or jail. These diversion courts have become the bedrock of criminal justice reform, aiming to transform lives and ease overcrowded prisons.

    But in the rush to spare people from prison, some judges are steering defendants into rehabs that are little more than lucrative work camps for private industry, an investigation by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting has found.

    The programs promise freedom from addiction. Instead, they’ve turned thousands of men and women into indentured servants.

    The beneficiaries of these programs span the country, from Fortune 500 companies to factories and local businesses. The defendants work at a Coca-Cola bottling plant in Oklahoma, a construction firm in Alabama, a nursing home in North Carolina.

    Perhaps no rehab better exemplifies this allegiance to big business than CAAIR. It was started in 2007 by chicken company executives struggling to find workers. By forming a Christian rehab, they could supply plants with a cheap and captive labor force while helping men overcome their addictions.

    At CAAIR, about 200 men live on a sprawling, grassy compound in northeastern Oklahoma, and most work full time at Simmons Foods Inc., a company with annual revenue of $1.4 billion. They slaughter and process chickens for some of America’s largest retailers and restaurants, including Walmart, KFC and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. They also make pet food for PetSmart and Rachael Ray’s Nutrish brand.