Working In These Times

Friday, Oct 19, 2018, 2:44 pm  ·  By Jake Johnson, Common Dreams

Sanders and Warren Demand Bezos Answer for Amazon’s “Potentially Illegal” Union Busting

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, founder of space venture Blue Origin and owner of The Washington Post, participates in an event hosted by the Air Force Association September 19, 2018 in National Harbor, Maryland. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)  

"We write to express our alarm at recent reports that your company is distributing anti-union materials to Whole Foods managers that directs and encourages potentially illegal interference with the rights of thousands of workers."


Thursday, Oct 18, 2018, 12:27 pm  ·  By Heather Gies

Unions Can Protect Workers From Deportation. This Coalition of 3.5 Million Is Showing How.

Teamsters, Working Families United, National TPS Alliance, LA County Federation of Labor, CARECEN, National Day Laborer Organizing Network, Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE), Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE) gathered together for a rally'nin Wilmington on Wednesday, October. 3, 2018. This marked the end of a 3-day strike by truckers and warehouse workers. (Photo by Brittany Murray/Digital First Media/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images)  

After more than two decades living, working, and building a family in the United States, Cesar Rodriguez feels his life is in limbo. The driver for the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach from El Salvador is one of more than 300,000 immigrants at risk of losing their temporary legal status in the U.S. after the Trump administration scrapped the program for a handful of countries.


Wednesday, Oct 17, 2018, 11:28 am  ·  By Michael Fox

Brazilian Companies Pressure Workers to Vote for a Fascist Presidential Candidate

Fascist Brazilian presidential candidate for the Social Liberal Party, Jair Bolsonaro, gestures during the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association's Unica Forum 2018 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on June 18, 2018. (MIGUEL SCHINCARIOL/AFP/Getty Images)  

Just off the interstate highway near the Brazilian city of Florianópolis is a large replica of the Statue of Liberty. Behind it the façade of the mega department store is modeled after the White House. Rows of columns beneath a triangular roof. Inside busy shoppers look for bargains on rugs, children’s toys, silverware and everything in between.


Tuesday, Oct 16, 2018, 1:47 pm  ·  By James F. Kelly

When Gig Economy and Fast Food Workers Band Together

Protesters demonstrate outside a McDonald's restaurant in Brixton in support of striking fast food workers on October 4, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)  

October’s “Fast Food Shutdown” will be remembered as a pivotal moment in the campaign to organize hospitality and gig economy workers in the United Kindom. Workers from McDonald’s, TGI Friday’s, JD Wetherspoon, Uber Eats and Deliveroo walked out on their jobs to demand better wages, full employment rights and union recognition. This unprecedented coordinated national strike suggests a new industrial alliance is in the making where many least expected it.


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."