Working In These Times

Friday, Jan 18, 2019, 5:14 pm  ·  By Saurav Sarkar

Trump’s Shutdown Is Forcing Over 400,000 Federal Employees To Work Without Pay

The shutdown has been a disaster for working people. (Photo by Scott Varley/MediaNews Group/Daily Breeze via Getty Images)  

What would you do if management could force you to work without pay, lock you out with no consequences, and fire you for going on strike?

That’s the situation facing 800,000 federal workers—and their unions—during the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.


Monday, Jan 14, 2019, 10:22 am  ·  By Julianne Tveten

Here’s Why LA Teachers Are Walking Out in a Historic Strike

Venice High School teacher Lisa Thorne, left, joins other teachers, retired teachers and parents as they voice their support for UTLA in front of Venice High School in Venice, Calif., on Jan. 10, 2019. (Photo by Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)  

After nearly two years of bargaining, public-school teachers in Los Angeles have initiated a strike in protest of their district’s policies. Starting today, teachers are picketing outside of their workplaces, underscoring an inveterate lack of investment in public schools made worse by a pro-charter-school “austerity agenda.”


Thursday, Jan 10, 2019, 4:11 pm  ·  By Moshe Z. Marvit

This Is One of the Most Important Legal Battles for Labor in Decades

Employees work the counter at a McDonald's restaurant located inside the company's new corporate headquarters on June 4, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)  

Over the last few decades, a growing number of American workers have effectively lost many of their labor rights because of the way their bosses structure the employment relationship. These workers are contractors who are hired by one company but work for another: the Hyatt Hotel housekeepers who actually work for Hospitality Staffing Solutions, the Microsoft tech workers who actually work for a temp agency called Lionbridge Technologies, and the Amazon warehouse workers who actually work for Integrity Staffing Solutions. These workers often perform the same work at the same place as other workers, frequently on a permanent basis.


Tuesday, Jan 8, 2019, 11:29 am  ·  By Richard Becker

Shots All Around: How Four Roses Bourbon Workers Won Their Strike

After workers at the nearby Jim Beam distillery fought off two-tier, Four Roses workers had confidence they could do it too. (Photo: Richard Becker.)  

Workers at the Four Roses bourbon distillery and bottling plant chose their moment well.

Just as their industry was preparing to welcome thousands of visitors for September’s Kentucky Bourbon Festival, they walked out on strike—in defense of workers they hadn’t even met yet.


Tuesday, Jan 8, 2019, 11:05 am  ·  By Gloria Diaz

From Academic to Assembly Line Worker: My Life of Precarity in Middle America

Crisp conveyor (Getty images)  

What does failure smell like? To me, it reeks of rotten potatoes.


Thursday, Jan 3, 2019, 2:38 pm  ·  By Michael Sainato

When Your Boss Locks You Out for Nearly 6 Months and Cuts Off Your Healthcare

Tim Higgins holds a sign as locked-out workers picket outside the National Grid gas facility yard, at 100 Commercial St. in Malden, MA on Sep. 5, 2018. (Photo by Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)  

Shortly before National Grid locked out 1,250 gas workers across Massachusetts in June 2018, David Monahan, a National Grid residential service technician for more than 9 years, was diagnosed with a cancerous bladder tumor.


Wednesday, Jan 2, 2019, 4:36 pm  ·  By Robert Ovetz

The Forgotten Wildcat Strikes That Swept the Country During WWI

Women working in World War I United States factory. (Getty Images)  

More than a decade before the New Deal, a wildcat strike wave during World War I brought about extensive concessions, including the right to organize, mandatory arbitration for employers, higher wages and shorter work weeks. As we enter the new year, it is critical to reflect on the key lesson from this little-known era of struggle: Class conflict drives reform, not the other way around.


Friday, Dec 21, 2018, 12:02 pm  ·  By Barbara Ehrenreich

Working-Class Journalism in the Age of Oligarchs

Journalist and author Barbara Ehrenreich pictured in 2006. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)  

Barbara Ehrenreich is a journalist and author known for her illuminatingand often searingwriting about poverty in America. On November 27, King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands gave her the 2018 Erasmus Prize in the Royal Palace in Amsterdam. Here are her remarks.

Wow. Amsterdam is completely disorienting to an American. I’ve been here for more than a week and haven’t heard a single gunshot. Even the dignitaries, like the king and queen, are warm, kind people. When I met the Dutch ambassador to the United States last spring, in connection with this prize, he was so pleasant and jolly that I had to question his credentials.


Thursday, Dec 20, 2018, 4:09 pm  ·  By Rebecca Burns

The 8 Most Important Labor Stories of 2018

McDonald's workers are joined by other activists as they march toward the company's headquarters to protest sexual harassment at the fast food chain's restaurants on September 18, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)  

1. Janus dealt a heavy blow to labor—but public-sector unions didn’t crumble overnight.

In June, the Supreme Court issued its long-awaited ruling in Janus v. AFSCME—and it was just as bad as everyone feared. In a 5-to-4 decision, the court found that public-sector unions violated the First Amendment by collecting so-called fair-share fees from workers who aren’t union members but benefit from collective bargaining regardless.


Monday, Dec 17, 2018, 3:33 pm  ·  By Natalie Shure

Why Are These Labor Unions Opposing Medicare for All?

The fate of single-payer healthcare in New York may be imperiled by union opposition. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)  

For seven years, healthcare activists in New York have been pushing the New York Health Act, a single-payer bill that would provide statewide universal health coverage. Hopes for the bill’s chances were buoyed this year, as a new class of Democrats won election to the state legislature. But now the plan’s path forward could be called into question, thanks to opposition from labor unions in the state.