Working In These Times

Tuesday, Sep 18, 2018, 9:28 am  ·  By Michael Arria

Fast Food Restaurant Says Union Employees Can’t Wear “Abolish ICE” Buttons to Work

Burgerville workers are demanding the right to wear political buttons on the job. (BVWU/Facebook)  

The Burgerville Workers Union says that the fast-food chain succumbed to right-wing backlash when, earlier this month, it banned its employees from wearing buttons. The ban was enacted after 10 employees were sent home at a Portland, Oregon location last month for refusing to take off pins that read "Abolish ICE" and "No One is Illegal.”

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Friday, Sep 14, 2018, 4:44 pm  ·  By David Dayen

Retrospectives of the Financial Crisis Are Leaving Out the Most Important Part—Its Victims

10 years ago, Lehman Brothers failed. (John Stillwell/PA Images via Getty Images)  

Because I’m a masochist, I’ve read as many retrospectives as I could about the 10th anniversary of the fateful failure of Lehman Brothers, the emblematic event of the financial crisis. And I can’t help but notice a gaping hole in the narratives.

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Friday, Sep 14, 2018, 2:37 pm  ·  By Phil Wilmot

Why Ugandan Farmers Staged a Month-Long Occupation of a UN Office

Local NGOs and market vendors delivered relief items to the occupiers after their initial supply ran low. (Waging Nonviolence)  

After 37 days of occupying a United Nations office in Gulu, Uganda, 234 farmers, youth, mothers with young babies and elderly men packed their gear into trucks and returned to their homes in Apaa — an area of rich farmland and forest in the north of the country. Far from being a quiet and somber event, their departure was marked by an explosion of song and ululation. It was part collective exhale — following a month of cramped conditions, an overflowing pit latrine and daily hostilities from their reluctant “hosts” — and part cry of triumph and hope.

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Thursday, Sep 13, 2018, 2:08 pm  ·  By Bryce Covert

Why Labor Is Holding Its Applause for Michigan’s Latest “Workers’ Rights” Measures

A person walks past the remains of the Packard Motor Car Company, which ceased production in the late 1950`s, November 19, 2008 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)  

On September 5, the Michigan legislature seemed to take bold steps toward improving working conditions for its constituents: It passed legislation that would guarantee workers the right to earn paid sick leave, as well as a minimum wage increase to $12 an hour that mandates the same base wage for both tipped workers and non-tipped workers alike. These measures make the state the 11th in the nation to mandate paid sick days and the eighth to require that tipped workers be paid the same wage as all others.

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Tuesday, Sep 11, 2018, 4:44 pm  ·  By Jeff Schuhrke

Thousands of Chicago Workers Are Out On the First Citywide Hotel Strike In Over a Century

Workers at 26 Chicago hotels are now on strike. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)  

In one of the city’s largest work stoppages in years, thousands of unionized hotel workers across downtown Chicago are on strike to win a new contract.  

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Tuesday, Sep 11, 2018, 2:19 pm  ·  By Eli Day

The Prison Strike Is the Modern-Day American Slave Rebellion

A group of incarcerated firefighters marches from their drop point on Morgan Valley Road to battle the Jerusalem Fire on August 11, 2015 near Lower Lake, California. (Photo by Stephen Lam/Getty Images)  

On August 21, 1971, George Jackson was shot down during an attempted escape from San Quentin State Prison. Jackson, who had authored the highly-regarded prison memoir Soledad Brother the year before, co-founded the Black Guerilla Family and quickly emerged as one of the leading voices for black liberation in the early days of the black power movement. A mere two weeks later, on the opposite end of the country, Attica prison in New York became the site of the nation's most deadly prison uprising. Forty-seven years since the climax of each, the dates were chosen as bookends to prisoner-led protests that swept the country in recent weeks. Out in front were organizations like Jailhouse Lawyers Speak (JLS), a human rights group made up of currently incarcerated individuals.

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Friday, Sep 7, 2018, 2:58 pm  ·  By Thomas M. Hanna

To Stop the Next Financial Crisis, We Need Public Ownership of Banks—Now

The threat of public ownership could serve as a disincentive to financial managers engaging in risky or fraudulent business practices. (HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images)  

In mid-September, a secret party is scheduled to take place in London. The participants will be hundreds of alumni from the defunct global investment bank Lehman Brothers. The occasion? The 10-year anniversary of the bank’s collapse in the midst of the Great Financial Crisis. 

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Friday, Sep 7, 2018, 7:45 am  ·  By Bruce Vail

What Spurred a 98% Strike Vote by LA Teachers? Plutocrats Pushing Charter Schools

(UTLA/Facebook)  

Public school teachers in Los Angeles voted overwhelmingly in late August to authorize a strike over stalled contract negotiations, but the issues really energizing the union membership go far beyond a new contract. Instead, say union leaders and rank-and-file members, the teachers are growing increasingly alarmed at a small clique of billionaires that has won considerable sway over the L.A. school board and is aggressively promoting charter schools as a replacement for public education.

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Thursday, Sep 6, 2018, 4:58 pm  ·  By Scott Remer

Why the Left Should Embrace Debt Forgiveness

Students pull a mock "ball & chain" representing the $1.4 trillion outstanding student debt at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. (PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)  

Barring a major upset in November, proud democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will be heading to Congress in January. Breaking with many Democrats’ cautious triangulation, she ran on an unabashedly progressive platform which included Medicare-for-all, a federal jobs guarantee, the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and housing as a human right. Yet the critical demand for a universal debt jubilee is missing from her slate—and is generally being left out of progressive policy discussions. As transformative left-wing policies move from the margins to the mainstream, we must fix this omission posthaste.

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Wednesday, Sep 5, 2018, 5:21 pm  ·  By April Sims

The Fight Against Racism Starts in the Union

This year AFSCME members marched in Memphis to honor the 50th anniversary of the 1968 strike by Black sanitation workers. Racism still haunts U.S. workplaces. It can even crop up inside our unions unless we confront it directly. (Photo: AFSCME)  

“In your union or workplace, what’s a situation where you’ve observed or experienced racism?” That’s the first question we ask people to discuss, in groups of three, as part of a Race and Labor training that our state labor council has offered for 29 local unions and labor councils so far in Washington state.

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