We cover a lot of important worker struggles on this show, but it’s important to cover worker victories as well — and workers in South Dakota just landed a huge victory! After suffering one of the worst COVID workplace outbreaks in the country last year, leading to four deaths and over 1,000 infections, workers at the Smithfield pork processing plant in Sioux Falls refused to back down on demands for better pay and for a 15-minute break during the second half of their shifts.
When negotiations with Smithfield stalled, UFCW Local 304A members voted overwhelmingly (98%) to authorize a strike, and the company backed down. On this extended mini-cast, we welcome back beloved friend of the show and president of the South Dakota Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, Kooper Caraway, to discuss this important victory and what lessons the labor movement should take away from it.
Many nonprofits have seen a big dip in support in the first part of 2021, and here at In These Times, donation income has fallen by more than 20% compared to last year. For a lean publication like ours, a drop in support like that is a big deal.
After everything that happened in 2020, we don't blame anyone for wanting to take a break from the news. But the underlying causes of the overlapping crises that occurred last year remain, and we are not out of the woods yet. The good news is that progressive media is now more influential and important than ever—but we have a very small window to make change.
At a moment when so much is at stake, having access to independent, informed political journalism is critical. To help get In These Times back on track, we’ve set a goal to bring in 500 new donors by July 31. Will you be one of them?
Maximillian Alvarez is a writer and editor based in Baltimore and the host of Working People, “a podcast by, for, and about the working class today.” His work has been featured in venues like In These Times, The Nation, The Baffler, Current Affairs, and The New Republic.