Working In These Times

Wednesday, Mar 20, 2019, 1:42 pm  ·  By Hannah Steinkopf-Frank

“We Demand Food for Thought”: UIC Grad Workers On Strike for Living Wages and Respect

Graduate employees at the University of Illinois at Chicago began an indefinite strike on March 19, demanding livable wages and better working conditions as part of a national wave of educator-lead organized labor efforts. (Photo: Hannah Steinkopf-Frank)  

In front of the historic Jane Addams Hull-House Museum on March 19, University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) graduate workers began an indefinite strike. The union is joining a national movement of higher education employees demanding livable wages and better working conditions in the often-unstable field of academia.


Tuesday, Mar 19, 2019, 4:06 pm  ·  By Michelle Chen

6 Years After Rana Plaza Collapse, an Accord to Improve Bangladesh’s Worker Safety Is in Jeopardy

Workers at a garment factory work at MB Knit garment factory in Narayanganj, near Dhaka. (Photo by Mushfiqul Alam/NurPhoto via Getty Images)  

Today’s clothing retail industry is driven by “fast fashion”—a business model of break-neck production, frenzied trend cycles and ravenous consumption. But the factories producing the clothes are mired in old-fashioned industrial drudgery, and cleaning up dirty working conditions has been a slog. For several years, however, an innovative system for reforming one of the world's bastions of sweatshop labor has slowly plodded ahead, auditing and remediating some of the world's most dangerous factories. Yet, after about half a decade of a steady evolution in workplace safety and protections for workers, activists say the Bangladesh Accord is now at risk of unraveling under political pressure.


Monday, Mar 18, 2019, 5:02 pm  ·  By Carrie Weisman

When Sex Workers Do the Labor of Therapists

(Photo: BlurryMe/  

Sky is a professional escort. She’s been working at Sheri’s Ranch, a legal brothel located in Pahrump, Nevada, for a little under a year. A few months back, a man came in asking for a group session with Sky, who prefers to be identified by her professional name, and one of her colleagues. He had come around a few times before. He made it a point to keep in touch through Twitter. This time, however, the session took a dark turn. He came in to tell them he was planning on killing himself.


Monday, Mar 18, 2019, 2:17 pm  ·  By Sarah Lazare

What It Will Take to Build Union Support for the Green New Deal—Despite the AFL-CIO

Members of the Laborers International Union of North America stood with members of the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition and members of the National Immigration Attorney Association during a news conference in front of the Federal building in downtown Los Angeles April 28, 2010. (Photo by Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)  

On March 8, the AFL-CIO’s Energy Committee sent an open letter to Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) blasting their Green New Deal resolution—a plan for a “new national, social, industrial, and economic mobilization” to tackle climate change and “achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through a fair and just transition for all communities and workers.”


Monday, Mar 18, 2019, 1:41 pm  ·  By Julianne Tveten

Your Favorite Podcast May Soon Be Union as Gimlet Media Becomes First in the Industry to Organize

Staff at Gimlet Media have made history by becoming the first at a podcast company to unionize. (THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images)  

Last week, the 83-member production staff of audio media company Gimlet Media announced its unionization with the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE). The move marks the first instance of unionization at a podcasting company. 


Wednesday, Mar 13, 2019, 4:49 pm  ·  By Jeremy Mohler

Privatization Is Fundamentally An Attack on Democracy. The Teachers Strikes Show Why.

Charter schools are anti-democratic by nature. (Ray Chavez/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images)  

One key feature of the Trump era is a renewed public focus on the issue of democracy.

Last year’s congressional elections had the highest midterm voter turnout since 1966. Americans across the country have poured into the streets and packed the halls of Congress to protest President Trump’s power grabs. Over one million people convicted of felonies have regained the right to vote in Florida, thanks to a successful statewide ballot measure. New York City residents pushed their elected officials to all but force the world’s richest person, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, to walk away from $3 billion in tax breaks. 


Tuesday, Mar 12, 2019, 1:09 pm  ·  By Nato Green

Why Unions Must Bargain Over Climate Change

Teachers at The Accelerated Schools, a community of public charter schools in South Los Angeles picket outside the school on second day of the Los Angeles school teachers strike on January 15, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Al Seib / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)  

Union contract negotiations include mandatory and permissive subjects of bargaining. Employers are required by law to negotiate over mandatory subjects—wages, benefits and working conditions. Permissive subjects, such as decisions about which public services will be provided and how, have historically been the purview of management. We only negotiate over how managerial decisions affect members’ jobs. Employers may voluntarily agree to negotiate permissive subjects, but unions can’t legally strike over them.


Friday, Mar 8, 2019, 4:16 pm  ·  By Kelly Candaele

Sherrod Brown Is Out for 2020, But the Fight for Workers’ Rights Is Not

Sherrod Brown will not run for president in 2020.(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)  

Over the 13 years I worked as a union organizer, I used the phrase “dignity of labor,” most every time I met with workers. When it came to risking the wrath of their bosses by joining a union, I found that workers cared as much about pride as they did about pay.      


Wednesday, Mar 6, 2019, 1:29 pm  ·  By David Goodner

Will 2020 Be the Year Presidential Candidates Actually Take Labor Issues Seriously?

2020 candidates back sweeping labor reform, but will they talk about it on the stump? (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)  

Call it a sin of omission, but the historic decline of labor union power was on full display during recent CNN town hall meetings with 2020 Democratic presidential aspirants Sens. Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar.


Friday, Mar 1, 2019, 5:25 pm  ·  By Lois Weiner

The Oakland Teachers Strike Isn’t Just a Walk Out—It’s a Direct Challenge to Neoliberalism

The Oakland teachers strike represents a watershed moment. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)  

Though at first glance, the Oakland teachers’ strike, now in its seventh day, may seem simply yet another in the wave of teacher walkouts this year, it in fact represents a watershed in resistance to neoliberal economic policy. The strike in Oakland simultaneously mirrors and advances popular resistance across the country to austerity and “accumulation by dispossession”—the capitalist elite’s conscious transfer of wealth and power from us to them.