The state of Michigan is well-known for many things (cherries, sand dunes, and its famous mitten shape), but economically, Michigan is probably most distinguished by its connection to the automobile industry and, with that, its steeped history in the labor movement. In 2022, 14% of Michigan workers were part of a union, above the national average of 10.1%. Among all 50 states, Michigan boasts the 12th highest unionization … Continue reading Right-to-work is out-the-door in Michigan »
In case you hadn’t noticed, there is very little that US employers won’t do to save a buck or two. As of late, that even includes breaking the law and hiring children as young as 12 to work dangerous jobs. Last Friday, news broke that Packers Sanitation Services, one of the country’s largest food sanitation service providers, paid $1.5 million in penalties for illegally employing 102 children to clean … Continue reading Child Labor is Not a Thing of the Past in America »
Just a few hours ago, the Senate sided with billionaire rail owners over rail unions in their ongoing contract dispute. After urging from President Biden, Congress passed a bill that legally forces rail unions to accept an agreement that many of them have voted against, saying it is inadequate and does not provide enough paid sick leave. This is a massive blow to the tens of thousands … Continue reading The Fight for Union Rights Is Heating Up »
Last week, Greg Jaffe of the Washington Post penned an excellent exposé on Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and his efforts to stop the recent wave of unionization at his franchise. (You can read the piece HERE.) The Starbucks unionizing campaign began in Buffalo in August 2021 and has since spread to more than 225 Starbucks cafés across the country. Like thousands of other workers in … Continue reading Howard Schultz should be in favor of Starbucks workers organizing »
It’s only Tuesday, but there have already been two big pieces of positive news for American workers this week. It’s not all good – CEO pay is on the rise, recent wage gains for workers have not kept pace with inflation, and billionaire Ken Griffin is bankrolling Republicans to the tune of $100 million in the 2022 midterms – but, for this week’s Closer Look, we want to focus … Continue reading Two positive developments for American workers »
America is writing a new chapter in its history books that could be entitled: “A Tale of Two Billionaires.” On one side of the story is Yvon Chouinard, the founder of the popular outdoor apparel company Patagonia. Chouinard made headlines this week when he did what most billionaires would consider unthinkable: he gave his entire fortune away. Chouinard transferred ownership of Patagonia, valued at $3 billion, to … Continue reading A Tale of Two Billionaires »
Although many do not realize it, pride doesn’t end in June–it rolls right into July with Disability Pride month! With more than 61 million Americans living with a disability, and many more likely to develop some form of disability throughout their life, this month is desperately needed. Unfortunately, this significant minority is often overlooked by society and grossly discriminated against in the labor field. Workers … Continue reading Understanding the Ableist Subminimum Wage During Disability Pride Month »
In recent months, employees at a number of big-box corporations – most notably Starbucks, Amazon, Apple, REI, and Trader Joe’s – have taken historic first steps in organizing unions. For far too long, these and other companies in the service industry have treated their employees poorly, so it’s great to see workers all over the country join forces to fight back. As it happens though, these brave employees leading unionization efforts … Continue reading Gig workers deserve better »
On Friday, a group of Congressional staffers announced that they are organizing a union for employees that work for members and committees on Capitol Hill. This push for unionization comes on the heels of the rise of an Instagram account, Dear White Staffers, that exposes the extremely low pay and poor working conditions that junior employees experience in legislative chambers. Every worker deserves to be paid fairly and … Continue reading Congressional Staffers Deserve A Union »
Yesterday, The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales, a documentary-style film co-directed and co-produced by one of our very own members, Abigail E. Disney, premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. While the film isn’t available for public consumption (yet!), we wanted to take some time to discuss its contents along with the broader worker empowerment movement that is taking place in America today. The … Continue reading Economic justice starts with workers’ rights »
This week, an unprecedented number of workers around the country have gone on strike. Over 100,000 workers across a variety of industries have voted to vacate their positions and join picket lines, demanding better wages, hours, and working conditions from big-box corporations and their C-suite executives. In light of this, the AFL-CIO cheekily renamed this month “Striketober” on Twitter. Striketober is just one of many … Continue reading American Workers Are Fed Up and Fighting Back »
This year, the incoming chill of fall is carrying more than just autumn leaves – it’s bringing with it the winds of change. Workers across America are saying enough is enough in response to stagnant wages, brutal working conditions, and mistreatment of workers in the midst of a recession, global pandemic, and skyrocketing corporate profits. Over 100,000 organized workers from across the country have authorized … Continue reading Striketober »
As we come out of Labor Day weekend, let’s talk about labor. More specifically, let’s talk about the way the law treats labor. You’ve likely heard dozens of politicians talk endlessly about how American workers are the backbone of our country, and how the value their labor creates for their communities is what makes America great. But talk is cheap. When it comes to what … Continue reading The Value of Labor »
The federal minimum wage has remained at a deplorable amount of $7.25 an hour since 2009, despite the substantial increase in worker productivity and costs of living across the country. Luckily, The Raise the Wage Act of 2021 was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on January 26th to remedy this injustice. As President Joe Biden pushes for the increase of the minimum wage … Continue reading 13 Senators Oppose Helping Their Very Own States »
As an American who has benefited immensely under our system of capitalism, I so want to believe the purpose of capitalism is to increase happiness for all. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, is prompting me to ask questions that challenge that belief. Questions like: who do we take for granted in our society, when the reality is that our society depends on them? The Coronavirus has … Continue reading Undocumented Workers Are Essential. Let’s Treat Them Like It. »
In the midst of an unprecedented crisis, Congress is failing the American people.
This week, as the Coronavirus pandemic spread in the US and stock market volatility sparked flashing red alarms for the national economy, the Trump administration floated several proposals for stimulating the markets and staving off a recession. The problem is that none of the proposals thus far adequately address the needs of the most vulnerable group amid this pandemic – low-income workers. Right now, 6 … Continue reading How Can the US Contain Coronavirus and Rescue the Economy? Start with Helping Low-Income Workers. »
As 2019 comes to a close, let’s take a moment to look back at the major events that impacted the state of the economy – and the national conversation around our three core issues – as we enter the new year, and the many policy developments this year that are giving us hope for better, brighter decade to come.
There are loopholes in the laws that allow employers to take advantage of their workers and avoid paying them or giving them benefits that they by rights are owed. As our economy changes in the face of automation, the gig economy, and new corporate employment schemes, we need to focus not just on how employees are treated, but on who counts as an employee at all.
This week, barely noticed amidst all other, bigger headlines in Washington, the Senate confirmed a Labor Secretary who will be a disaster for working people. A corporate lawyer by the name of Eugene Scalia, with an anti-labor, anti-worker record longer than the list of labor complaints against the Trump organization, will be the country’s top authority on protecting workers and fighting for labor rights. In … Continue reading Meet the New (Anti) Labor Secretary »