Working In These Times

Friday, May 11, 2018, 2:12 pm  ·  By Donnie Killen

I Work with Mark Janus. Here’s How He Benefits from a Strong Union.

AFSCME protesters waved signs in the sight-line of the speakers at the inaugural ceremony of Maryland Governor Martin J. O' Malley at the Maryland State House on January 19 in Annapolis, Md. (Photo by Mark Gail/The Washington Post via Getty Images)  

Like everyone else in the labor movement, I’m nervously awaiting the Supreme Court ruling in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31, which would weaken public sector unions by letting workers receive the benefits of representation without contributing toward the cost.


Friday, May 11, 2018, 10:23 am  ·  By Rachel M. Cohen

Colorado Teachers Are Mad as Hell—And Now They’re out on Their First Strike in Decades

Teachers and supporters strike outside East High School on May 7, 2018 in Pueblo, Colorado. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)  

Teachers in Pueblo, Colorado have been on strike for the past five days in a historic work action. They’re calling for 2 percent cost-of-living increases—a demand supported by a neutral fact-finder who determined that the school district could afford such raises.


Thursday, May 10, 2018, 5:35 pm  ·  By Donnell Alexander

Cynthia Nixon Was Right: New York Needs To Get with the Cannabis Equity Program

New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon speaks at the 47th annual NYC Cannabis Parade and Rally May 5, 2018. Nixon has draw fire for supporting cannabis equity as a "form of reparations." (Photo by Erik McGregor/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)  

Programs like Oakland’s are a first step toward—yes—reparations.

One night back in the late 90s, I smoked a joint with Sex and the City author Candace Bushnell. We were on the balcony of an expensive East Side Manhattan apartment. Spin magazine founder Bob Guccione, Jr.—boss of my then-wife—was there. Nobody was getting busted for smoking pot. The idea was ludicrous, not even a consideration. Meanwhile, up the island in Harlem or, for that matter, down the avenue in Alphabet City, dudes my age were getting cuffed up for the exact same outdoor enjoyment. It was Giuliani Time.

That night popped back into my head upon seeing New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon’s tweet on the need for cannabis equity.


Thursday, May 10, 2018, 3:26 pm  ·  By Larry Cohen

What Today’s Anti-Trump Resistance Can Learn From a Progressive Who Won in Reagan Country

Former Michigan House Rep. David Bonior’s new autobiography serves as a playbook for taking on Trump and corporate Democrats. (Douglas Graham/Roll Call/Getty Images)  

Since the 2016 presidential election, many progressives have set their sights on moving from resistance to Trump to building a lasting political movement capable of bringing together Black, Brown and White working-class voters and their allies.

For instruction on how to achieve this lofty undertaking, we can turn to David Bonior, a 13-term House member from Michigan who spent his political career fighting for progressive policies in a district that in the 1980s voted for Ronald Reagan and most recently went for Donald Trump.


Thursday, May 10, 2018, 1:22 pm  ·  By Dayton Martindale

Is Your Job Bullshit? David Graeber on Capitalism’s Endless Busywork

(Naya Cheyenne)  

David Graeber had a hypothesis. The anthropologist grew up working-class in New York, and while his scholarship garnered accolades, he’s never felt at home in the world of academia. From his time as a professor at Yale (ended prematurely, he believes, due to his anarchist activism) to his current gig at the London School of Economics, he kept running into professional managers who didn’t seem to do much. Over drinks, some confessed they actually didn’t do much; they spent a few hours a week working and the rest browsing cat memes.


Thursday, May 10, 2018, 11:07 am  ·  By Shane Burley

Workers Just Organized the First Federally-Recognized Fast Food Union in the U.S.

(Photo: Burgerville Workers Union/Facebook)  

As a crowd of 100 protesters surrounded a Burgerville fast-food restaurant in Portland, Oregon on April 26, management simply watched from a distance as a familiar scene played out. The demonstration marked the two-year anniversary of a Burgerville workers’ unionization campaign across the Portland-Metro region, targeting a company with a reputation for locally sourced ingredients.


Wednesday, May 9, 2018, 6:27 pm  ·  By Sarah Lahm

50,000 University of California Workers Are Still on Strike. One Key Reason: Outsourcing.

In mid-April, 97 percent of AFSCME Local 3299 members voted to authorize the strike. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)  

On the heels of public sector union walkouts in West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Arizona,  University of California employees are now out on a three day strike, citing concerns over outsourcing as well as insufficient pay and benefit increases. The striking UC employees are members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 3299. 


Wednesday, May 9, 2018, 3:44 pm  ·  By Miles Kampf-Lassin

Bernie Sanders Has a Sweeping Plan to Expand Union Rights and Workplace Democracy

On Wednesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced the Workplace Democracy Act to expand labor rights in the United States. (William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)  

The fight to expand democratic control over the workplace just received a major shot in the arm.

Today, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced sweeping legislation that would dramatically expand labor rights, making it easier for workers to join unions, speed up contract negotiations, roll back “right to work” laws and clamp down on union-busting tactics by employers. 


Friday, May 4, 2018, 12:34 pm  ·  By Bruce Vail

A New Model for Progressive Politics in the Heart of Deindustrialization

Aerial view of wheat fields and farm near Peoria, Illinois. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)  

It’s startling when your hometown is labeled the worst city in the United States for African Americans. 

That’s what happened in Peoria in late 2016 when a survey by the online publication 24/7 Wall St. rated the central Illinois city at the top of its list of the “Worst Cities for Black Americans.”


Thursday, May 3, 2018, 4:16 pm  ·  By Tanner Howard

Homeownership Is Dead. The Future Lies in Public Housing.

Now may be the perfect time to create something never before seen in the United States: robust, well-maintained, class-diverse public housing. (Flickr)  

In 1948, as he planned the first Levittown developments in New York, which would provide homes to thousands of returning white World War II veterans, real estate developer William Leavitt promised U.S. government officials, who sought to contest the growing global influence of the Soviet Union, that “No man who owns his own house and lot can be a Communist. He has too much to do.”