Working In These Times

Friday, May 25, 2018, 4:59 pm  ·  By Kate Bronfenbrenner, Chris Brooks, Shaun Richman

After Janus, Should Unions Abandon Exclusive Representation?

The SCOTUS Janus decision could have far-reaching consequences for the labor movement. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)  

The Supreme Court is set to issue a ruling on Janus vs. AFSCME, which could have far-reaching consequences for the future of public-sector unions in the United States. The case has sparked a wide-ranging debate within the labor movement about how to deal with the “free-rider problem” of union members who benefit from collective bargaining agreements but opt-out of paying dues. We asked three labor experts to discuss what’s at stake in the case and how they each think unions should respond.

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Thursday, May 24, 2018, 1:33 pm  ·  By Kate Aronoff

Elon Musk Is as Obsessed with Fake News as Donald Trump

Musk's attacks on the media and workers’ rights show that he has a whole lot in common with President Trump. (Photo by FilmMagic/FilmMagic for HBO)  

Facing mounting criticism over various parts of his electric car manufacturing business, Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Wednesday floated the possibility of creating a website for the public to “rate the core truth of any article,” and track the “credibility score” for journalists, editors and publications. “Thinking of calling it Pravda,” he tweeted, potentially a reference to the identically-named former Soviet Russian state newspaper. 

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Thursday, May 24, 2018, 12:42 pm  ·  By Varshini Prakash and Sarah Meyerhoff

It’s Time for the Climate Movement to Embrace a Federal Jobs Guarantee

A climate jobs guarantee might be the last, best hope to quickly marshal public support and resources behind climate action. (Photo by In Pictures Ltd./Corbis via Getty Images)  

With global temperatures rising and midterm elections approaching, 2018 is the year the climate movement must take bold action towards a fossil-free future.

Across the country, young people face daily reminders that our society doesn’t serve our futures. We suffer from unemployment and underemployment that is well beyond the national average, with young people of color struggling disproportionately to find work and economic opportunity. We are straddled with historic student loan debts. And in a moment when we should be working quickly to avert climate catastrophe and transition to an inclusive, fossil-free economy, many of our elected officials remain passive as the Trump administration attacks our air, water and land. 

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018, 4:15 pm  ·  By Moshe Z. Marvit

Stop Calling It an Arbitration Agreement—Employers Are Forcing Workers to Give Up Their Rights

Mandatory arbitration agreements allow bosses to impose their will on workers. (Getty)  

Trump-appointee Justice Neil Gorsuch begins his decision for the majority in Epic Systems v. Lewis, the landmark arbitration case decided Monday at the Supreme Court, with a simple set of questions: “Should employees and employers be allowed to agree that any disputes between them will be resolved through one-on-one arbitration? Or should employees always be permitted to bring their claims in class or collective actions, no matter what they agreed with their employers?” Justice Gorsuch and the rest of the five-Justice conservative majority answered the first question in the affirmative and the second question in the negative. In so doing, the Supreme Court has ushered in a future where almost all non-union private sector workers—nearly 94 percent of the private sector workforce—will be barred from joining together to litigate most workplace issues, including wage theft, sexual harassment and discrimination.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018, 2:58 pm  ·  By David Dayen

The Surprising List of Democrats Who Just—Gratuitously—Bowed to Big Finance

Rep. Rick Nolan (D-Minn.) was a surprising vote in favor of bank deregulation. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)  

In a win for amnesia, Congress advanced a bipartisan bill on Tuesday deregulating the banking industry, just a decade after Wall Street triggered a financial crisis that caused millions to lose their jobs and their homes. S.2155, known as the Crapo bill both for its co-author, Senate Banking Committee chair Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), and its general quality, was pitched as a narrow measure to provide relief for salt-of-the-earth community banks and credit unions. But anyone making that claim is either misinformed or trying to spin the truth.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2018, 1:34 pm  ·  By Rima Parikh and Tanner Howard

The Supreme Court’s Latest Anti-Worker Decision Deals a Major Blow to the #MeToo Movement

Brenda Gutierrez and Tarana Burke march at the Take Back The Workplace March and #MeToo Survivors March & Rally at Producers Guild of America on November 12, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Gabriel Olsen/WireImage)  

After months of sustained public pressure targeting sexual harassment in workplaces across the United States, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday significantly undermined the power of workers to collectively challenge discrimination and abuse at the hands of their employers. In a 5-4 decision on the Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis casethe Court ruled that private-sector employees do not have the right to enter into class-action lawsuits to challenge violations of federal labor laws.

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Friday, May 18, 2018, 9:39 am  ·  By Lois Weiner

Inside the Closed Facebook Groups Where the Teacher Strikes Began

"Facebook is ultimately a business, making it a flawed organizing tool for workers ... But in the meantime, I’ll be helping teachers on Facebook." (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)  

When Detroit teachers organized their January 2016 “sickout” to protest “abominable” neglect of their schools and classrooms, they created a Facebook group to organize. Teachers have done the same throughout the wave of protests and strikes that have swept West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Arizona, providing needed advice, support and encouragement in trying to change their national and local unions.

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Thursday, May 17, 2018, 3:48 pm  ·  By Michael Arria

Police Union Is Lobbying To Expand Powers To Tase People Who Don’t Pose a Threat

A Baltimore Police officer aims his taser at a demonstrator outside the Mondawmin Mall following the funeral of Freddie Gray April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)  

The San Francisco Police Officers Association is aggressively pushing a ballot measure that would allow police to use tasers on members of the public even if they aren't violently resisting. If passed, the city’s police officers would be able to electrocute people who pose no physical threat or resist arrest as a result of mental illness.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2018, 12:59 pm  ·  By Cathy Albisa

From The Women’s March to The Poor People’s Campaign, A Call for Economic Human Rights

(Photo courtesy of Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival)  

Teachers in Kentucky marching for health care and students organizing against the school to prison pipeline have a core value in common: They are fighting for human rights. Yet, an elite framing of human rights has consistently ignored the people on the frontlines. This week, a new Poor People’s Campaign is engaging in direct action in communities across the United States for the rights to housing, education, healthcare, decent jobs and more. It’s time to recognize that these grassroots struggles for a social safety net and a decent standard of living add up to a larger and meaningful demand for a society that recognizes the human rights and dignity of everyone.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2018, 2:04 pm  ·  By Daniel Moattar

Seattle Just Showed How to Rein In Amazon—And the Company Is Going to War

The Seattle City Council just hit Amazon with a new tax meant to fight homelessness and fund affordable housing. (Getty / Macduff Everton)  

While cities across the country line up to shower Amazon with billions of dollars in tax breaks and free office space, the Seattle City Council just hit the tech and retail giant—and the city’s biggest firm—with a new tax meant to fight homelessness and fund affordable housing.

At a packed and at times combative meeting on Monday, after multiple rounds of last-minute negotiations, the Council unanimously passed an amended version of the Employee Hours Tax (EHT), which will effectively serve as a payroll tax on Seattle’s megacorporations. The passage is a major victory for progressives in the city, including councilmember Kshama Sawant, who strongly backed the corporate tax.

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