Working In These Times

Tuesday, Jul 10, 2018, 2:13 pm  ·  By Tobita Chow

With Anti-China Protectionism, the Left Is Aiding Trump’s Xenophobic Agenda

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a retreat with Republican lawmakers at Camp David in Thurmont, Maryland, January 6, 2018. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)  

Because China is increasingly seen as a threat to U.S. global hegemony, anti-China nationalism is on the rise in American politics. Late last summer, Steve Bannon spoke at the Council on Foreign Relations and discovered—much to his surprise—that his hawkish approach to China had gone mainstream. Early this year, Defense Secretary James Mattis, who is in what passes as the moderate faction in the Donald Trump White House, released the 2018 National Defense Strategy, stating that “Inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in U.S. national security.” China leads the list of “strategic competitors” cited by the Department of Defense. In May, Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei warned at Axios that “China is the greatest, growing threat to America” and suggested that “a smart politician could turn China into a unifying villain on virtually every topic.” Earlier this month, the pundit Matt Yglesias appeared to agree, tweeting, “I’m sort of coming around to the view that anti-China politics could be the unifying national project we need.”

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Monday, Jul 9, 2018, 5:29 pm  ·  By Sebastián González de León

For Many Undocumented Workers, There’s No Such Thing As Minimum Wage

Immigrants and people of color tend to get more low paying jobs, placing them at more risk of facing any wage violation.(wavebreakmedia / shutterstock.com)  

Wage violations are commonplace in Chicago. They affect low-paid workers in industries like construction, food service and retail. Immigrants and people of color are especially vulnerable because they tend to work in more low-income jobs. David, who requested a pseudonym to protect his safety, told In These Times his story.

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Friday, Jul 6, 2018, 5:14 pm  ·  By Bruce Vail

“No More Racist Bosses”: Why Workers at a Suburban Target Store Are Protesting

Target employees protest outside Target in Cockeysville, Maryland. (Tedd Henn)  

A small group of workers at retailer Target Corporation is demanding accountability from local store managers in the Baltimore area, highlighting issues of discrimination and fair scheduling that affect retail workers nationwide.

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Friday, Jul 6, 2018, 12:45 pm  ·  By Sarah Jaffe

What the Supreme Court’s Week of Hell Means for People of Color

A strong storm front passes over the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, July 8, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)  

Welcome to Interviews for Resistance. We’re now into the second year of the Trump administration, and the last year has been filled with ups and downs, important victories, successful holding campaigns and painful defeats. We’ve learned a lot, but there is always more to learn, more to be done. In this now-weekly series, we talk with organizers, agitators and educators, not only about how to resist, but how to build a better world.

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Thursday, Jul 5, 2018, 1:27 pm  ·  By Rebecca Stoner

Is It Time for Parents to Unionize?

Parents need to stop blaming themselves and start blaming capitalism. (Getty Images)  

Think of Alissa Quart’s new book, Squeezed: Why Our Families Can’t Afford America, as “What to Expect When You’re Expecting Under Late Capitalism.” Of the more than 50,000 books listed on Amazon under “Parenting,” few engage as deeply with the economic pressures today’s parents must navigate: precarious work, a shortage of high-quality, affordable daycare and rising costs of living combined with stagnant wages. 

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Tuesday, Jul 3, 2018, 6:52 am  ·  By Bryce Covert

A Nationwide Campaign to Take Back Cities From the Corporations That Rule Them

A worker makes repairs to a wall at a new Amazon fulfillment center on August 10, 2017 in Sacramento, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)  

On June 20, the Partnership for Working Families, a national network of advocacy organizations, announced the launch of a brand new campaign dubbed “We Make This City.” It consists of 10 cities—Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Los Angeles, New York, Oakland, Pittsburgh, San Diego, San Jose and Seattle—fighting for access to and a say over public infrastructure, from transit to housing to schools to water.

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Thursday, Jun 28, 2018, 12:08 pm  ·  By s.e. smith

Low Wages Are Driving a Shortage of Care Providers. Now Elders and the Disabled Face a Crisis.

Across the United States, a shortage of care providers is creating a crisis for elders and disabled people fighting to live in their own communities. (Getty images)  

According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 14 percent of Americans have developmental disabilities like Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy and autism. The rates of such disabilities are on a steady rise, and some members of these populations need services to develop skills, live independently and accomplish goals. California faces a severe shortage of direct service professionals who offer this assistance due to low wages, high costs of living and demanding working conditions. People like Alyssa Wade, 19, who works with developmentally disabled clients of Strategies to Empower People (STEP) in the Sacramento, Calif. area, are fighting back.

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Wednesday, Jun 27, 2018, 3:47 pm  ·  By Bill Fletcher, Jr.

The Janus Decision Was Never About the First Amendment. It Was About Destroying Labor.

The objective of the Supreme Court majority has always been the destruction of labor unions. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)  

There is nothing about the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in Janus v. AFSCME, overturning 41 years of precedent and declaring that agency fee/fair share is unconstitutional, that surprised me. It would have been a miracle for the conservative majority to have decided otherwise. 

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Wednesday, Jun 27, 2018, 11:59 am  ·  By Miles Kampf-Lassin

The Anti-Union Janus Ruling Is Going to Hit Black Women the Hardest

Public sector unions have long been a source of economic power for African-American women. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)  

Today, John Roberts’ Supreme Court handed down its much-anticipated ruling in Janus v. AFSCME, a decision that is poised to defang public sector unions and curtail the power of an already beleaguered U.S. labor movement. Because public-sector unions disproportionately empower and protect African-American women, this class of hyper-exploited workers is poised to be hit hardest by the anti-union ruling.

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Wednesday, Jun 27, 2018, 9:40 am  ·  By Aaron Tang

There’s a Simple Way To Neutralize Janus—If State Legislators Have the Will

Members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) hold a rally in support of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union at the Richard J. Daley Center plaza on February 26, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)   (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The guillotine has finally fallen. After years of uncertainty, the Supreme Court has invalidated fair share fee arrangements in thousands of public sector collective bargaining agreements across the country through its 5-4 decision in Janus v. AFSCME, Council 31. The result is clear: public-sector workers can choose not to share in the costs of their unions’ collective bargaining. Janus thus jeopardizes the financial vitality of public sector unions. And it does so just as a wave of teacher walkouts in right-to-work states reveals the political risks of policies that give public sector workers little voice in their wages and conditions of employment.

What’s next? It is time for lawmakers in progressive, pro-labor states to get to work. (Note that these are essentially the only states affected by Janus, since red states have already overwhelmingly forbidden fair share fees as a matter of legislative policy.) As I explain in "How To Undo Janus: A User-Friendly Guide", lawmakers have the power to reduce Janus to a mere footnote in the long arc of history for organized labor. To see how, consider the following thought exercise.

Imagine you are a state legislator in a progressive state in the 1950s, before public sector unions are even recognized. You believe that public workers will be more satisfied and productive, and that the quality of public services will improve, if workers have a meaningful voice in their wages and terms and conditions of employment. You believe that the best way to empower this voice is to require public employers to bargain on a range of issues with unions that are accountable to their members and that fairly represent all workers. And you recognize that unions must have adequate financial resources in order to advocate effectively.

So here is the million-dollar question: How should the government ensure the unions’ financial security?

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