Working In These Times

Thursday, Oct 4, 2018, 1:27 pm  ·  By Jeff Abbott

Soccer Players Are Workers Too. And In Guatemala, They Just Went On Strike.

Rony Flores (C) of Honduras' Real Espana vies for the ball with Marvin Avila(L) and Cristian Jimenez of Municipal from Guatemala during the CONCACAF Champions League at Mateo Flores Stadium in Guatemala city on September 17, 2014. (JOHAN ORDONEZ/AFP/Getty Images)  

Across Latin America, soccer is like a religion for many. Each weekend, fans cram into stadiums to cheer on their teams. Eduardo Galeano, the renowned Uruguayan author and outspoken fan of soccer who passed away in 2015, once declared that soccer was “the only religion without atheists."

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Tuesday, Oct 2, 2018, 1:36 pm  ·  By Jeff Schuhrke

Today Amazon, Tomorrow the Railroad Industry: The Fight for $15 Rolls On

Workers rally in Chicago on September 27 outside a conference of railroad industry executives. (Ike Gittlen/flickr)  

After being called out by labor activists and progressive politicians like Bernie Sanders for paying poverty wages despite receiving tax breaks and raking in billions of dollars, Amazon has caved to the pressure and announced it will offer all its workers a $15-per-hour minimum wage starting next month. Now, a new coalition of workers and community leaders is taking aim at another major player in the logistics industry: the railroads.

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Monday, Oct 1, 2018, 3:00 pm  ·  By Shaun Richman

America’s Great Strike Waves Have Shaped the Country. We Can Unleash Another.

Young workers wear signs supporting the September 1934 textile strike, in which nearly 500,000 workers from Rhode Island to North Carolina struck for 22 days. (Photo by Keystone-France /Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)  

Erik Loomis’ "A History of America in Ten Strikes" is a powerful reminder of the need for worker militancy.

Workers’ power is rooted in the work we do and our occasional refusal to do it. But, until recently, that refusal had become rare: Work stoppages have declined to historically low levels over the past four decades.

There were 187 major strikes in 1980, involving 795,000 workers. In 2017, there were just seven, with 25,000 workers.

How then do we revive the strike when so few workers have seen one, let alone participated?

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Monday, Oct 1, 2018, 2:31 pm  ·  By Hannah Steinkopf-Frank

Why Domestic Workers Are Fighting Like Hell to Stop Brett Kavanaugh

The National Domestic Workers Alliance joined September 27 rallies in support of Dr. Blasey Ford's hearing, and all of the other survivors who have come forward. (Photo courtesy of the National Domestic Workers Alliance)  

​Like many parents, Daniela Contreras woke up last Thursday and helped her daughter get ready for school. But the long-time domestic worker who now organizes with the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) then hopped on a train to Washington, D.C. to take part in the protests against Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

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Friday, Sep 28, 2018, 4:11 pm  ·  By Jim Pugh

The Case for Giving Every American a Share of a Public Wealth Fund

A social wealth fund could help solve the inequality crisis in the United States. (YASIN AKGUL/AFP/Getty Images)  

In late August, the People’s Policy Project, a left-wing think tank run by economist and writer Matt Bruenig, released a proposal for the creation of a social wealth fund in the United States. Dubbed the American Solidarity Fund, the idea behind the proposal is to establish a pool of shared, public wealth that would be invested in the same way that private wealth is. Under this plan, every American adult would own a single “share” of the fund, and while no single person would be able to withdraw their share, they would receive regular universal dividend payments from returns on investments.

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Friday, Sep 28, 2018, 12:24 pm  ·  By Dan DiMaggio

NAFTA Renegotiations Are No Cure-All, But They Might Slow the Bleeding

A protest against the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations at Reforma Avenue in Mexico City, Mexico on August 16, 2017, as the first round of negotiations started in Washington. (Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images).  

What does a renegotiated NAFTA mean for workers in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico? At best, it might stem some of the bleeding.

The presidents of the U.S. and Mexico announced on August 27 that they had reached a deal. A month later, Canada is still out of the agreement, though negotiations are likely to continue over the next few months. Text of the draft deal between the U.S. and Mexico may be published as soon as today.

Workers in all three countries have suffered under a decades-long corporate offensive. Unions and civil society groups have long pushed to amend or scrap the 24-year-old agreement.

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Wednesday, Sep 26, 2018, 5:12 pm  ·  By Barbara Madeloni

Want More Proof Teachers’ Strikes Work? Look to Washington State.

After a series of strikes across the state, teachers in Washington won big raises. (Tumwater Education Association/ Facebook)  

Fifteen districts started the school year on strike in Washington state—the latest to ride the West Virginia wave.

“For my whole life I thought this was just the way it was, that I would have to struggle to have a sustainable life,” said Anna Cockrum, a teacher in Evergreen, out on her first picket line. “I teach students to stand up for themselves, and it is so cool to be living that.

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Thursday, Sep 20, 2018, 9:58 pm  ·  By Michael Arria

In Crosshairs of Right-to-Work, Kentucky Bourbon Makers Go On Strike

View of Four Roses bourbon on display during Rooftop 'Chopped' during the Food Network & Cooking Channel New York City Wine & Food Festival presented by Coca-Cola at Pier 92 on October 15, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for NYCWFF)  

More than 50 workers in Kentucky are on strike due to a contract dispute with Four Roses, a bourbon maker with a distillery in Lawrenceburg and a bottling plant in Cox's Creek. Workers say Four Roses is attempting to adopt a two-tier system that would reduce the benefits for new employees of the company. Members of three different unions walked off their jobs at these sites on September 7.

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Wednesday, Sep 19, 2018, 1:54 pm  ·  By Rachel M. Cohen

Don’t Trust Jeff Bezos’ Preschool Philanthropy Scheme

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos wants children to be "the customer." That's not a good sign. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)  

The CEO of Amazon and the world’s richest man declared this month that he’ll be wading into the waters of philanthropy. In a high-profile announcement, Jeff Bezos described his vision for a “Day One Fund”—a $2 billion investment in organizations that provide homelessness assistance, and a new network of nonprofit preschools in low-income communities. This charitable gift will amount to just 1.2 percent of his net worth.

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Tuesday, Sep 18, 2018, 2:15 pm  ·  By David Dayen

The Washington Post Tried to Penalize a Writer for Criticizing Jeff Bezos. He Fought Back—And Won.

Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos pictured on June 18, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)  

Fredrick Kunkle was upset. A staff writer for the Washington Post’s Metro desk, he noticed Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the owner of his newspaper, musing on Twitter about what to do with his money, which happens to be more than any human being has ever accumulated in modern history. Kunkle had an idea for the funds: reversing the hits Bezos had forced upon Post workers in successive contract negotiations.

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