Working In These Times

Thursday, Aug 2, 2018, 11:55 am  ·  By David Dayen

Trump Appointees Are Pushing a Deregulation Plan That Could Dramatically Erode Consumer Protections

CFPB acting director Mick Mulvaney has argued against his own agency’s regulation. (Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images)  

A year ago, high-cost payday loans that preyed upon at-risk borrowers looked to be under assault.

In October 2017, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau finalized federal regulations to force payday lenders to consider whether borrowers could actually pay back their loans. Those rules, combined with a smattering of state laws that capped interest rates, were set to finally constrain the industry’s reach. Even the time-honored gimmick of using Internet sites or even Indian reservations to make payday loans nationally without abiding by state consumer protections faced resistance from state and federal law enforcement.


Monday, Jul 30, 2018, 3:48 pm  ·  By Michael Arria

California Says Starbucks Has to Stop Stealing Its Workers’ Wages

Employees prepare beverages in the first Starbucks coffee shop in Seattle, 30 September 2006. (GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)  

California’s Supreme Court has ruled against Starbucks in a wage theft case that could have vast implications throughout the state. The July 26 decision established that employees throughout California should be paid for every minute that they work, including any tasks that they do after punching out. Although Starbucks was at the center of the opinion, the ruling applies to all employers and could lead to an increase in wage theft lawsuits.


Friday, Jul 27, 2018, 5:43 pm  ·  By Jake Johnson, Common Dreams

“You Can’t Eat GDP”: Workers Struggle as Trump and Corporate Media Tout Economic Growth

While headlines boast of a surging economy, workers are getting left in the dust. (Erik Mcgregor/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)  

As President Donald Trump and corporate media outlets on Friday enthusiastically touted new GDP figures showing that the U.S. economy grew by 4.1 percent in the second quarter of 2018, many economists and progressive commentators were quick to counter the glowing headlines by pointing out that corporations and the rich are feasting on most of the growth while most workers see their wages fall.


Friday, Jul 27, 2018, 5:03 pm  ·  By Emma Tai and Stephanie Farmer

Elon Musk and Rahm Emanuel’s New Transportation Scheme Is a Privatization Bonanza

Rahm Emanuel and Elon Musk are at it again. (Joshua Lott/Getty Images)  

In June, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration selected Elon Musk’s The Boring Company to build a non-stop express train from downtown to O’Hare Airport. The development is yet another example of Emanuel’s plan to transform Chicago into a city for the wealthy few.


Friday, Jul 27, 2018, 12:38 pm  ·  By Sarah Lahm

On the Disturbing Return of Black Lung

Coal miner Jaden Fredrickson, 26, of Cheat Lake, W.Va., waits prior to the arrival of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt who visited the Harvey Mine on April 13, 2017 in Sycamore, Pennsylvania. The Harvey Mine, owned by CNX Coal Resources, is part of the largest underground mining complex in the United States. (Photo by Justin Merriman/Getty Images)  

The push to revive America’s coal industry has generated alarm because it is almost certain to worsen the climate crisis. But the industry also brings an immediate human cost: black lung disease. Black lung is an often fatal condition contracted by miners who breathe in coal and silica dust on the job. Rates of the disease dropped towards the end of the 20th century, thanks in part to federally mandated reductions in the amount of coal dust miners were allowed to breathe in. Now, researchers at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health have documented a troubling new trend: Black lung disease cases, particularly among younger miners, have risen sharply since the mid-1990s.


Wednesday, Jul 25, 2018, 2:06 pm  ·  By Chris Brooks

Beware the Janus Fix That Relies Too Much on Bosses

Union activists and supporters rally against the Supreme Court's ruling in the Janus v. AFSCME case, in Foley Square in Lower Manhattan, June 27, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)  

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s Janus decision, a new approach to financing unions called “direct reimbursement” is gaining traction with Democratic politicians, academics, and even the New York Times editorial board.


Wednesday, Jul 25, 2018, 12:45 pm  ·  By Rebecca Burns

How European Workers Coordinated This Month’s Massive Amazon Strike—And What Comes Next

Strikers protest on July 16 at one of the warehouse truck entrances during the Amazon strike. (Photo by Lito Lizana/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)  

As Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ net worth topped $150 billion last week, making him the richest man in modern history, thousands of Amazon workers across Europe went on strike.


Monday, Jul 23, 2018, 5:06 pm  ·  By Michael Arria

As the Planet Warms, Can OSHA Protect Workers From Extreme Heat?

Construction workers laying down concrete. (Photo by Phil Starling/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images)  

On July 17, more than 130 groups and individuals petitioned the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in an attempt to establish a nationwide workplace heat standard. The petition cites data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which shows that at least 783 U.S. workers died as a result of extreme heat between 1992 and 2016, while at least 69,374 were seriously injured. Organized by the consumer and health advocacy group Public Citizen, the petition demonstrates how the climate change crisis will inevitably lead to more injuries and deaths, as it increases the amount of days that workers have to endure extreme heat.


Monday, Jul 23, 2018, 4:20 pm  ·  By Sarah Lazare

“Why We Threw Mark Janus a Going Away Party—But Didn’t Invite Him”

Last Friday, AFCME Local 2600 members threw Mark Janus a retirement party. But because it was members-only, Mark Janus was not permitted to attend. (Photo courtesy of Joe Jay, AFSCME Council 31 staff organizer)  

The AFSCME vs. Janus Supreme Court decision is not just the work of its plaintiff, Mark Janus: It’s the product of a well-financed and powerful anti-union machine, bankrolled and politically backed by the likes of the Koch family, billionaire Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, the American Legislative Exchange Council and many, many others.


Friday, Jul 20, 2018, 4:07 pm  ·  By Saqib Bhatti and Molly Gott

These Are the Corporations Behind Trump’s Muslim Ban

A new report looks at the companies that either directly profit off anti-Muslim policies or that finance the politicians who support these policies. (Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)  

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court officially gave its seal of approval to discrimination against Muslims by upholding President Trump’s Muslim ban. With all three branches of the federal government now apparently united in their anti-Muslim animus, it is clearer than ever that we cannot wait for our public officials to see the folly of their ways and right this wrong.