Working In These Times

Friday, Oct 12, 2018, 9:54 am  ·  By David Dayen

Thousands of Amazon Delivery Drivers Won’t Be Eligible for the $15 Wage delivery contractors like this one won't be eligible for Amazon's new $15 base wage, and many report wage theft and poor working conditions. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)  

Amazon’s announcement raising its entry-level wage to $15 an hour for all employees has been lauded as an inspiring example of corporate responsibility. In response to sharp criticism and threatened legislation from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) over low pay and horrid conditions at Amazon warehouses, CEO Jeff Bezos said: “We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead.”

But thousands of workers delivering your Amazon packages won’t be eligible for that $15 entry-level wage. Across the country, thousands of workers wear Amazon uniforms, use Amazon equipment, and work out of Amazon facilities, but are not classified as Amazon employees. They work for third parties known as delivery service partners (DSPs). It’s just one way Amazon manages the burden of getting billions of packages each year into the hands of its customers.

Amazon has confirmed that these third-party DSPs are not covered by its new wage standard.

Not only will drivers delivering for Amazon be deprived the pay levels of other Amazon employees, but in one notable instance, they were cheated out of wages by a DSP that violated state and federal labor laws.


Wednesday, Oct 10, 2018, 4:36 pm  ·  By Michael Arria

The Trucking Industry Is a “Sweatshop on Wheels.” Here’s How Kavanaugh Could Make It Worse.

Brett Kavanaugh is sworn in before testifying during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on his nomination be an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, on Capitol Hill September 27, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo By Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images)  

While the nation was focused on Brett Kavanaugh’s contentious confirmation process, the Supreme Court began hearing arguments in New Prime Inc. v. Oliveira, a major labor case that could impact thousands of workers throughout the country. The Court will determine whether workers in the hyper-exploitive trucking industry can sue their bosses for breaking the law. Kavanaugh wasn't present for oral arguments and new Justices often recuse themselves from such cases, but there’s nothing but an unwritten rule preventing him from casting a vote. If Kavanaugh's vote were to prove decisive, he could choose to participate or the justices could decide to re-hear the case.


Wednesday, Oct 10, 2018, 4:30 pm  ·  By Amelia Diehl

Trombones on the Picket Line: Lyric Opera Orchestra on Strike For the First Time in 50 Years

All 74 members of the Chicago Lyric Opera orchestra are out on strike. (Photo by Del Hall)  

On Tuesday, the music stopped for the Lyric Opera of Chicago just as the company began its 64th season. Orchestra members walked out on strike over a new proposed contract that would cut pay, reduce membership and performances, and cancel radio broadcasts.


Tuesday, Oct 9, 2018, 2:01 pm  ·  By Bryce Covert

Why We Should Take Weight Discrimination Seriously As a Workers’ Rights Issue

(Photobank gallery/  

Nearly 80 percent of American adults are either clinically overweight or obese. And yet the medical establishment by and large has subscribed to the idea that the best solution is to simply make people lose weight. In a recent article in HuffPost Highline, journalist Michael Hobbes hit back at this conventional wisdom, pointing out that obesity and health can coexist and that 95 to 98 percent of attempts to lose weight fail. Skinny people, if they aren’t engaging in healthy activities, are also at risk of poor health.


Monday, Oct 8, 2018, 1:58 pm  ·  By Julianne Tveten

Kavanaugh Is Terrible on Workers’ Rights—And That’s Anti-Woman, Too

Brett Kavanaugh appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee during his Supreme Court confirmation hearing in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill September 4, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)  

On October 6, the Senate voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, the Republican federal appellate judge accused by multiple women of sexual assault, to the Supreme Court.


Friday, Oct 5, 2018, 5:00 pm  ·  By Andrew Schwartz

The Hidden Message of Amazon’s $15 Wage: ‘You Don’t Need a Union’

Jeff Bezos, chief executive officer of Amazon, arrives for the third day of the annual Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference, July 13, 2017, in Idaho.   (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty)

Earlier this week Amazon announced a $15 an hour minimum wage for its employees in the United States. As Amazon's founder and CEO Jeff Bezos acknowledged in a statement, the decision was at least in part an address to “critics”: The company “thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead."


Thursday, Oct 4, 2018, 8:05 pm  ·  By Jeff Schuhrke

Hyatt Workers Win 4-Week Strike, Hours After Third Coast Audio Festival Refused to Cross Picket Line

Hyatt hotel workers in Chicago won a fair contract after 28 days out on strike. (UNITE HERE Local 1 / Facebook)  

Twenty-eight days into the largest hotel strike Chicago has seen in a century, about 1,000 workers with UNITE HERE Local 1 have won a new contract at the Hyatt—the last major holdout after several other hotels in the city already settled with the union in recent weeks.


Thursday, Oct 4, 2018, 5:16 pm  ·  By Micah Uetricht

Jeff Bezos Is Very Afraid of Bernie Sanders. The $15 Wage Victory Is Proof.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos participates in an event hosted by the Air Force Association September 19, 2018 in National Harbor, Maryland. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)  

Last month, Bloomberg columnist Noah Smith argued that Sanders’s recent agitation against Amazon and its CEO Jeff Bezos, specifically his “Stop BEZOS Act,” “seems to be much more about grandstanding and pointing fingers than about actual solutions to help vulnerable American workers.”


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."


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.