Working In These Times

Wednesday, May 1, 2019, 10:59 am  ·  By Raechel Anne Jolie

Why May Day Continues to Capture the Hearts and Imaginations of Workers

People gather to mark the May Day, International Workers' Day in Chicago, Illinois, United States on May 1, 2018. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)  

May 1 has an energy that is palpable across the globe. On this day, every year for more than a century, workers across the world gather for International Workers Day, also known as May Day. These marches have inspired everyone from retired mechanics to immigrant fast food workers to high school students to take the streets in honor of labor—and in a show of respect for the power of a strike. Amid the Trump administration's egregious assaults on the lives of workers and immigrants, showing up for a day that asserts the dignity of workers from all backgrounds is more important than ever.


Tuesday, Apr 30, 2019, 4:21 pm  ·  By Michael Arria

Will the Teacher Strike Wave Hit Mississippi?


The Mississippi Association of Educators (MAE), the state affiliate of the National Education Association, has polled educators across the state to gauge interest for potential protests or walkouts. The move comes on the heels of  the Mississippi legislature approving a paltry $1,500 pay increase for the state’s teachers, a move perceived by many workers as a slap in the face. Mississippi teachers make the second-lowest salary in the country behind South Dakota, at an average of $42,925 annually. The fact educators are even mulling the possibility of a strike is a huge development in a state that hasn’t seen a teacher work stoppage in over 30 years.


Thursday, Apr 25, 2019, 4:46 pm  ·  By Rebecca Burns

Black Workers Say Walmart’s Background Checks Are Racially Discriminatory

(Photo courtesy of Warehouse Workers for Justice)  

When Walmart announced in January that it was “in-sourcing” its Elwood, Illinois, distribution center, workers were cautiously optimistic.


Monday, Apr 22, 2019, 10:46 am  ·  By Rachel M. Cohen

Maine AFL-CIO Becomes First State Federation to Support a Green New Deal Bill

Members of the Maine State Employees Association, SEIU Local 1989, and members of the Maine AFL-CIO Protest outside the Holiday Inn By the Bay, to raise the federal minimum wage. (Photo by Carl D. Walsh/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)  

On Tuesday, Maine lawmakers will hold a hearing for “An Act to Establish a Green New Deal for Maine”—a new climate and jobs bill that has the notable support of Maine’s AFL-CIO, the first state labor federation to endorse a Green New Deal-themed piece of legislation. The bill calls for 80 percent renewable electricity consumption by 2040, solar power for public schools, the creation of a task force to study economic and job growth, and a commission to help facilitate a just transition to a low-carbon economy. Its backing from a coalition of over 160 labor unions offers an instructive lesson for other states looking to build union power to tackle a warming planet.


Tuesday, Apr 16, 2019, 3:45 pm  ·  By Michael Arria

The Stop & Shop Strike Is Showing There’s Still Power in a Union

Stop & Shop workers maintain a picket line while on strike on April 12, 2019 in Somerville, Massachusetts. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)  

Roughly 31,000 employees of the northeastern grocery chain Stop & Shop have been on strike for nearly a week across more than 240 stores in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. The workers, represented by the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW), walked out on April 11 after voting to authorize the strike in March. During what is reportedly the largest private sector strike in three years, talks continued Tuesday, with neither side able to make an agreement.


Monday, Apr 15, 2019, 6:07 pm  ·  By Chris Brooks

As Tenn. Workers Gear Up for Another Union Campaign, Local Media Shows Anti-Union Bias

The Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee pictured in January, 2015. ( assembly plant with the introduction of the new Cross Blue SUV. (James R. Martin/  

In the lead-up to another United Automobile Workers (UAW) vote at Volkswagen in Tennessee, the region’s paper of record is once again providing tacit aid to anti-union efforts.


Thursday, Apr 11, 2019, 5:12 pm  ·  By Chris Brooks

Volkswagen Workers in Tennessee Won’t Give Up the Fight for Unionization

For the third time in five years, auto workers will vote on whether to form a union at the country’s sole Volkswagen plant, located in Chattanooga, Tennessee. (UAW)   Labor Notes

For the third time in five years, auto workers will vote on whether to form a union at the country’s sole Volkswagen plant, located in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

On Tuesday, the United Auto Workers (UAW) filed for an election to represent all 1,709 of the plant’s hourly employees, requesting that the election be held on April 29 and 30.

The union’s first attempt in 2014 failed after a slim majority of workers voted no, following a barrage of threats by politicians and business-backed anti-union groups.

In the second attempt, a group of 160 skilled-trades workers in the plant in 2015 voted to join UAW Local 42. But that smaller unit has yet to secure a first contract.


Thursday, Apr 11, 2019, 3:11 pm  ·  By Sarah Lahm

McDonald’s Retreat on Fighting Wage Increases Shows the Tide Is Turning

McDonald's has surrendered on the issue of wage increases. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)  

In March, the McDonald’s Corporation announced that it would no longer actively lobby against local, state and federal efforts to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. The move comes as Democrats in the U.S. House have thrown their weight behind a bill to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 per hour by 2024.


Friday, Apr 5, 2019, 8:13 pm  ·  By Brian Wakamo

Why the NCAA Should Pay Student-Athletes—And Let Them Unionize

Zion Williamson of the Duke Blue Devils dunks the ball against the Virginia Tech Hokies during the 2019 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament on March 29. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)  

When Zion Williamson’s foot broke through the sole of his Nike shoe on Feb. 20, the sporting world stood still.

The consensus number-one player in college basketball was playing in the biggest game of the season—North Carolina versus Duke—and suffered his startling injury in the opening minute. Williamson’s sprained knee cost Nike $1.1 billion in stock market valuation the next day.​


Wednesday, Apr 3, 2019, 6:00 pm  ·  By Christian Addai-Poku and Michael Galant

Education Privatizers Have Gone Global. So Must We If We Want to Stop Them.

Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, speaks during the Politico 'Lessons from Leaders' series at the Bank of America offices September 29, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)  

In February 2018, West Virginia teachers launched a strike that reawakened a movement. Tens of thousands of teachers from around the country have taken part in what is now the largest strike wave in decades, demanding better public education in the face of years of austerity.