Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for May 2nd, 2022

Starbucks Workers Are Demanding Management Stop Acting Like Petty Dictators

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Nelson Lichtenstein reports in Jacobin:

Something close to panic has set in among top Starbucks executives as baristas at some 233 coffee shop locations (and counting) have filed for union certification votes with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). As of this writing, thirty-one of those stores have voted to unionize, often by overwhelming margins; on Monday, the votes at stores in New Jersey and Baltimore were unanimous in favor of the union.

All of this has prompted Starbucks founder Howard Schultz to leave retirement — for the second time — and take a hands-on role as CEO and high-profile union adversary. The release last week of a leaked video call to thousands of store managers offers a revealing glimpse of the Schultz mentality, the Starbucks anti-union strategy, and the challenges Workers United, the barista union, will face in the weeks and months ahead.

Schultz bought a small Seattle coffee chain in the 1980s, rebranded it, and successfully expanded it to more than 17,000 company-operated locations worldwide. A billionaire and philanthropist, Schultz has a big ego. He has written four books (most business memoirs) and explored a run for president, as either a Democrat or an independent, three times. Schultz thinks Starbucks has a unique corporate culture, for which he is largely responsible.

He is the classic example of the proprietary capitalist who sees any threat to his authority as a personal affront. As Schultz told store managers in the leaked video, he “knows in his heart that I have always put partners first.” (“Partners” is the corporate name for Starbucks workers.) He therefore expects deference and applause. If that is not forthcoming, it must be because of “an outside force that is trying to disrupt the future of our company.”

Of course, anti-unionism is not limited to billionaire founders of iconic companies. But when outsize egos become engaged in the fight, they often let the cat out of the bag in terms of both corporate vulnerabilities and strategies. 

The first thing that became clear in the leaked video is that  . . .

Continue reading. And you can see the leaked video at that link.

Authoritarian companies (like Amazon, for example) are terrified of their workers having any sort of power at all. I wrote about that.

Written by Leisureguy

2 May 2022 at 6:56 pm

Posted in Business, Daily life, Unions

Simple 24-hour ferment: carrots, apples, dried fruit — update: Didn’t work for me.

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I just made a quart of the recipe shown below, except instead of raisins or dates, I used dried barberries (because). Another change is that I tossed the carrots, apples, and barberries with the salt (coarse grey sea salt for me). I also used the juice from half a lemon.

No starter culture, and it should be ready in 24 hours. We’ll see.

UPDATE: I have seen. Nope. Not for me. Salty carrots and apples and barberries, no trace of ferment. I would rate this as a learning experience (aka “failure”). /update.

Written by Leisureguy

2 May 2022 at 2:25 pm

What Democrats Don’t Understand About Rural America

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Heather Cox Richardson’s post on the history surrounding the election of 1890 discusses how progressives achieved wins because they worked with the increasing number of those who felt the current situation was not working. That is also what brought Trump to office, though he betrayed the trust he had been given (or was simply not competent or not interested in delivering solutions).

Democrats have a chance to benefit from the current dissatisfactions with the current situation in the US, but only if Democrats learn how to listen and work with those who are dissatisfied. Chloe Maxmin and 

NOBLEBORO, Maine — We say this with love to our fellow Democrats: Over the past decade, you willfully abandoned rural communities. As the party turned its focus to the cities and suburbs, its outreach became out of touch and impersonal. To rural voters, the message was clear: You don’t matter.

Now, Republicans control dozens of state legislatures, and Democrats have only tenuous majorities in Congress at a time in history when we simply can’t afford to cede an inch. The party can’t wait to start correcting course. It may be too late to prevent a blowout in the fall, but the future of progressive politics — and indeed our democracy — demands that we revive our relationship with rural communities.

As two young progressives raised in the country, we were dismayed as small towns like ours swung to the right. But we believed that Democrats could still win conservative rural districts if they took the time to drive down the long dirt roads where we grew up, have face-to-face conversations with moderate Republican and independent voters and speak a different language, one rooted in values rather than policy.

It worked for us. As a 25-year-old climate activist with unabashedly progressive politics, Chloe was an unlikely choice to be competitive — let alone win — in a conservative district that falls mostly within the bounds of a rural Maine county that has the oldest population in the state. But in 2018, she won a State House seat there with almost 53 percent of the vote. Two years later, she ran for State Senate, challenging the highest-ranking Republican in state office, the Senate minority leader. And again, in one of the most rural districts in the state, voters chose the young, first-term Democrat who sponsored one of the first Green New Deal policies to pass a state legislature.

To us, it was proof that the dogmas that have long governed American politics could and should be challenged. Over the past decade, many Democrats seem to have stopped trying to persuade people who disagreed with them, counting instead on demographic shifts they believed would carry them to victory — if only they could turn out their core supporters. The choice to prioritize turnout in Democratic strongholds over persuasion of moderate voters has cost the party election after election. But Democrats can run and win in communities that the party has written off — and they need not be Joe Manchin-like conservative Democrats to do so.

This isn’t just a story about rural Maine. It’s about a nationwide pattern of neglect that goes back years. After the 2010 midterms, when the Democrats lost 63 House seats, Nancy Pelosi, then the House minority leader, disbanded the House Democratic Rural Working Group. Senator Harry Reid of Nevada later eliminated the Senate’s rural outreach group. By 2016, according to Politico’s Helena Bottemiller Evich, the Clinton campaign had only a single staff person doing rural outreach from its headquarters, in Brooklyn; the staffer had been assigned to the role just weeks before the election. And in 2018, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Tom Perez, told MSNBC, “You can’t door-knock in rural America.”

We saw this pattern for ourselves. In 2019, the Maine Senate Democratic Campaign Committee told us that it didn’t believe in talking to Republicans. (The group’s executive director did not respond to a request seeking comment by press time.)

That blinkered strategy is holding the party back. When Democrats talk only to their own supporters, they see but a small fraction of the changes roiling this country. Since 2008,  . . .

Continue reading. (gift link, no paywall)

Written by Leisureguy

2 May 2022 at 2:14 pm

Green-lentil tempeh done: 72 hours is plenty

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That weird whiteness of the upper left quadrant is the strange lighting in my kitchen from my new lighting fixture that uses 150-watt-equivalent (14 watt actual) LED bulbs. The actual appearance is the lower right quadrant.

I probably could have stopped after 48 hours, but I like to have the mycelium robust and pervasive.

Here is the first cut:

More weird lighting at bottom right. I’m going to have to do something about that.

Written by Leisureguy

2 May 2022 at 11:26 am

Chiseled Face makes excellent shaving soap

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I’ve not used one of my Chiseled Face shaving soaps for a while, and I was struck this morning by the excellence of the lather i got from his Sherlock shaving soap. With the WSP Prince shaving brush, I easily got a profoundly satisfying lather. The soap’s ingredients — “Stearic Acid, Aloe Vera Juice, Beef Tallow, Coconut Oil, Castor Oil, Glycerin, Fragrance, Mango Butter, Avocado Oil, Silk Powder” — are straightforward, and the result is …  well, I think I’m going to augment my Chiseled Face collection. And the price is reasonable: $15. I’ve been missing Midnight Stag, anyway.

Three passes with the iKon X3, here mounted on one of my favorite handles: the RazoRock Barber Pole. I have a few in use, but perhaps I should get a spare…

A splash of Sherlock aftershave with a squirt of Hydrating gel, and the job’s done — a perfectly smooth result to greet a rainy Monday morning.

The tea this morning is Murchie’s Storm Watcher: “This full-bodied traditional black tea is a selection of tea terroirs blended for a mellow, satisfying mug on a stormy day. With toasted malty notes and slight smokiness, this brew is strong enough to stand up to the addition of milk and sugar, yet nuanced enough to be enjoyed neat.”

Written by Leisureguy

2 May 2022 at 10:34 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

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