Working In These Times

Friday, Mar 23, 2018, 10:05 am  ·  By Sarah Lazare

Farmworkers Fight Back Against Sexual Violence Only to be Accused by Wendy’s of “Exploiting” #MeToo

Members of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) speak out about working conditions in the growing fields—including sexual harassment—at a December 2017 protest outside a Palm Beach, Calif., Wendy's. (Photograph courtesy of CIW)  

The fast food giant Wendy’s provoked outrage on Wednesday when its spokesperson accused the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW)—a farmworker organization that has spent decades fighting sexual abuse and modern-day slavery—of “exploiting” the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements.

Corporate spokesperson Heidi Schauer made the remarks to the Huffington Post in response to a campaign by CIW calling on Wendy’s to adhere to CIW’s Fair Food Program, which is aimed at protecting farmworkers from abuse on the job, including sexual violence. To culminated a five-day “Freedom Fast,” farmworkers and their allies marched through Manhattan on March 15 demanding an end to alleged sexual abuse in the Wendy’s supply chain.

Asked to comment, Schauer told journalist Kari Lydersen, “There’s no new news here, aside from the CIW trying to exploit the positive momentum that has been generated by and for women in the #MeToo and Time’s Up movement to advance their interests.”

Patricia Cipollitti, an organizer with the Alliance for Fair Food, tells In These Times that Schauer’s remarks constitute the company’s first direct response to the latest wave of protests.

Farmworkers responded with incredulity. "Wendy's claim that we are exploiting the positive momentum generated in the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements obscures the 25-plus years the CIW has spent organizing to stop sexual violence and other abuses in the fields,” Nely Rodriguez, a farmworker who has lived in Immokalee for 12 years and organizes with CIW, tells In These Times.


Thursday, Mar 22, 2018, 1:56 pm  ·  By Sarah Jaffe

Keith Ellison: The Time Has Come for Medicare-for-All and a Maximum Wage

U.S. Sen. Keith Ellison (D-MN) speaks during a news briefing December 12, 2017 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)  

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.

On March 9 and 10, the Congressional Progressive Caucus gathered for its strategy summit in Baltimore, Maryland. Members of the caucus and allies from left-leaning organizations and European left parties gathered to talk policy and power for the short, medium and long term. At the conference, I spoke with Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota about the new push for Medicare for All, how to talk about racism and economic justice, and why it might be time to think about a maximum wage.


Thursday, Mar 22, 2018, 12:19 pm  ·  By Michael Arria

Kentucky Teachers Are Protesting and Walking Off the Job to Save Their Pensions—And Winning

Teachers rally at Kentucky's state capitol. (Jefferson County Teachers Association)  

Thousands of teachers across Kentucky have protested against proposed cuts to their pension benefits in recent weeks, and last Wednesday more than 60 of the state’s schools closed while their staff attended a rally at the capitol building in Frankfort. On the heels of the teachers’ strike in West Virginia, Kentucky teachers are effectively beating back an attack on public workers—and they plan to continue to fight.


Monday, Mar 19, 2018, 2:44 pm  ·  By Michael Lighty

Can Medicare for All Be the Next $15 an Hour? It’s Up To the Labor Movement.

This is the strategy that can turn the tide: building a broad movement of workers to demand economic and health justice. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)  

Healthcare is the crossroads where the assault on workers meets the juggernaut of “crony capitalism.” That’s the term used by the mainstream neo-classical and Nobel prize-winning economist Angus Deaton to describe the coziness between the healthcare industry and its government “regulators.” In fact, Deaton argues, how healthcare is financed and delivered is a driver of inequality. 


Monday, Mar 19, 2018, 2:27 pm  ·  By Michael Arria

Prisoners Across Florida Went on Strike. Instead of Fair Wages, They Got Solitary.

Florida prisoners say they face retaliation for participating in a state-wide strike. (Gts/  

On January 15, people incarcerated across Florida kicked off a work stoppage at eight prisons, demanding fair pay for their labor and improved living conditions. They dubbed the coordinated protest Operation PUSH, and two months later, organizers claim that prisoners face retaliation for withdrawing their labor.


Monday, Mar 19, 2018, 11:27 am  ·  By Alex V. Hernandez

The Judges Cops Want: These Candidates Have Been Endorsed By Chicago’s Police Union

Demonstrators confront police during a protest over the death of Laquan McDonald on November 25, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)  

Last month, the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police, the city’s largest police union, released a list of candidates it is endorsing in the March 20 primary election.


Friday, Mar 16, 2018, 4:57 pm  ·  By Sarah Jaffe

Let’s Challenge Corporate Democrats and Fight for a Universal Jobs Guarantee

It's time to lay out a progressive agenda for 2018. (Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)  

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. 

Ady Barkan became somewhat of a household name after he was spotted over and over again at protests against healthcare cuts in Washington during the fight to protect the Affordable Care Act and then against the Republican tax bill. For Barkan, a longtime organizer who was diagnosed in 2016 with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, the fight for healthcare had become very personal. We sat down last week in Baltimore at the Congressional Progressive Caucus strategy summit, where Barkan, who masterminded the Fed Up campaign to challenge the Federal Reserve to adopt pro-worker policies, was being honored with the Tim Carpenter Advocate of the Year award. 


Thursday, Mar 15, 2018, 12:22 pm  ·  By Bryce Covert

The VA Is the Closest Thing We Have to Single Payer. Now Trump Wants to Privatize It.

Unions and veterans' groups came together on March 1 to discuss saving the VA from privatization. (AFGE District 7/Flickr)  

Aaron Hughes, who was deployed to Kuwait and Iraq in 2003 and 2004, now has a serious, very rare lung condition. But he told In These Times he gets “really outstanding care” at the nearby Jesse Brown VA Medical Center. “The doctors are at the top of their class,” he said.


Wednesday, Mar 14, 2018, 1:20 pm  ·  By Sarah Lahm

An Oakland Coal Terminal Is Officially Stalled—Thanks To a Labor-Environmental Alliance

Roughly 200 workers and youth marched on Oakland developer Phil Tagami’s house October 30th, 2017 to demand that he drop the lawsuit and all plans to build a coal terminal in Oakland. (Photo: Sunshine Velasco/Survival Media Agency)  

In Oakland, California, labor and environmental activists have worked together to successfully stop—at least temporarily—a new coal export terminal from being built on the city’s West Side. After residents learned in 2015 that the export site had been added onto a proposed waterfront project by Bay Area developer Phil Tagami, they quickly organized to convince Oakland City Council to block the project. While a judge considers whether or not to allow the plant to move forward, the story exemplifies a growing trend: Labor and environmental movements are overcoming old antagonisms and increasingly joining forces to protect jobs and build a greener, healthier future.


Tuesday, Mar 13, 2018, 3:15 pm  ·  By Shaun Richman

The West Virginia Teachers’ Strike Has Activists Asking: Should We Revive the Wildcat?

Wildcat strikes are still uncommon in the United States, but we could see more of them after the West Virginia teachers' walkout. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)  

The stunning success of the recent statewide West Virginia teachers’ strike makes it one of the most inspiring worker protests of the Trump era.

The walkout over rising health insurance costs and stagnant pay began on Feb. 22 and appeared to be settled by Feb. 27 with promises from Gov. Jim Justice of a 5 percent pay raise for teachers. Union leaders initially accepted that deal in good faith, along with vague assurances that the state would work with them on a solution to escalating out-of-pocket costs for workers’ healthcare.