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What Happens When Low Wage Workers Suddenly Get a Living Wage?

The other night I was on the train coming home and there was this young girl with three young children, and she had a container of milk, and I heard the middle child of the three ask, "Mom, can I have some milk?" and the mother said, "No, you know we need it for the baby." And I remembered feeling like that.
posted by the young rope-rider on Jun 6, 2014 - 215 comments

The Pity-Charity Complex

"I say “you” deliberately here, because much of the writing about low-wage workers tends to obscure just that fact — that these stories could well be about you. Too much writing on the left and the right has tended to treat the people in some of the nation’s most common jobs as if they are some exotic Other rather than our neighbors, our family members and ourselves. " --Sarah Jaffe on the media's strange ways of talking about low-wage workers.
posted by The Whelk on Mar 20, 2014 - 40 comments

'workers who are "flexible"—that is, dispensable'

"Everyone Only Wants Temps" - My stint doing "on demand" grunt work for one of America's hottest growth industries
It's not a pretty formula, but it works. With 600 offices and a workforce of 400,000—more employees than Target or Home Depot—Labor Ready is the undisputed king of the blue-collar temp industry. Specializing in "tough-to-fill, high-turnover positions," the company dispatches people to dig ditches, demolish buildings, remove debris, stock giant fulfillment warehouses—jobs that take their toll on a body.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on May 20, 2013 - 120 comments

The Paterson Silk Strike

For May Day: The Story of the Paterson Silk Strike Pageant of 1913.
posted by homunculus on May 1, 2013 - 8 comments

'Cause the Union Makes Us Strong

On May 16, 1934, the Teamsters local 574 of Minneapolis, Minnesota called for a strike to stop all truck deliveries in the city not run by union workers. This 1981 documentary tells the story in the workers' own words. Part 1, part 2.
posted by cthuljew on Apr 17, 2013 - 6 comments

Incommensurable values

Economists and the theory of politics - "why unions were often well worth any deadweight cost" [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 25, 2013 - 27 comments

"The company at this point isn’t just a key purveyor of lower labor standards and a globalized and concentrated supply chain, it is a key tell for policymakers."

Wal-Mart legal troubles mount as Black Friday walkout looms [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Nov 4, 2012 - 98 comments

Rubber Rooms Are Still Open, Just Different

Thought the "rubber rooms" where New York City teachers were sent to wait for disciplinary hearings were closed? Not so much. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Oct 16, 2012 - 32 comments

What are the forces that prevent you from doing so?

Is there a man (or woman) among us with pluck enough to wear Big Bill Haywood's workingman's pants? [more inside]
posted by notyou on Sep 3, 2012 - 23 comments

Canadian? Have The Day Off? Thank Some Toronto Typographers.

What Is Labor Day Anyway? (Single Link Comic Post)
posted by The Whelk on Sep 3, 2012 - 30 comments

$20 million ... 'sold to the public as charity work in the service of human rights.'

Mark Ames (of the eXile): The Left’s Big Sellout – How the ACLU and Human Rights Groups Quietly Exterminated Labor Rights (via naked capitalism) [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jul 1, 2012 - 129 comments

"Whereas the left is always in danger of talking itself into the ground."

What's also obvious is that this phase of Occupy, with talk of credit unions and occupying the SEC, while eminently worthy, is also kind of boring, especially when compared to the thrill of Occupy's park phase. Some, though, are ready to move on. "It's easy to go back to the park occupation and fetishize it, in a way," says Occupy Chicago's Brian Bean. "I prefer not to run a mini-society – I want to run society." - The Battle For The Soul Of Occupy Wall Street - Rolling Stone - Mark Binelli.
posted by The Whelk on Jun 30, 2012 - 193 comments

Strike At The Strand

The workers at Manhattan's famous Strand Bookstore are currently in conflict with management over a severe new contract that radically reduces benefits. Bookstore employee and cartoonist Greg Farrell has decided to explain the conflicts and background of the problem via comic book.
posted by The Whelk on Apr 11, 2012 - 63 comments

Spring Awakening

Mother Jones: The 10 'Occupy' candidates vying for seats in the US House Of Representatives and Senate and their prospects.
posted by The Whelk on Mar 14, 2012 - 27 comments

"Such laws would require gyms and health clubs to admit everybody, whether or not he or she pays a cent."

One Minnesota union's tongue-in-cheek response to a proposal to make Minnesota a so-called "Right to Work" State. [more inside]
posted by univac on Feb 16, 2012 - 73 comments

The Failure of American Schools

Joel Klein wrote an essay in the Atlantic about the reasons for the current problems in the primary educational system.
posted by reenum on Jun 15, 2011 - 79 comments

Support Telepath Local 153

The Washington Post asks: Can Mutants And Humans Really Co-Exist? Metafilter's own Mightygodking responds.
posted by The Whelk on Jun 10, 2011 - 80 comments

Trade Union Poster Design: A Very Mini History

Trade Union Poster Design: A Very Mini History
posted by Fiasco da Gama on Jan 27, 2011 - 3 comments

The German Model & Works Councils

Wondering at the route US vs. German unemployment has taken, I found some clues here and there, but the overriding factor seems to be the German model[1] and works councils.[2] [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Dec 27, 2010 - 34 comments

Bloody Harlan

In 1972, miners at Duke Energy's Brookside coal mine in Harlan County, KY voted to organize with the United Mineworkers of America. When the company refused to accept a contract, the workers went on strike. [more inside]
posted by TrialByMedia on Dec 3, 2010 - 24 comments

The Financial Documents Baseball Doesn't Want You To See

Today, Deadspin leaked financial documents detailing the finances of several MLB teams, including a few that are getting revenue sharing money. They show that several of MLB's "poorest" franchises turned a profit due to these cash infusions. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Aug 26, 2010 - 56 comments

LAUSD's Dance of the Lemons

Want to fire a teacher in the LA Unified School District? Be prepared to spend several years and hundreds of thousands of dollars to do so. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Jul 15, 2010 - 139 comments

I bought my baby a red radio

RadioLabour "presents 'The Solidarity Report', a half hour audiocast of international union news every Sunday morning." Main mover and presenter Marc Bélanger describes the journalistic and educational goals of the new service.
posted by Abiezer on Feb 27, 2010 - 4 comments

Anarchism or Barbarism

Who says anarcho-primitivists have no friends? Anarchist thinker John Zerzan will be the keynote speaker at January 15th's centenary meeting of the 100,000-member Spanish anarcho-syndicalist union Confederaction General del Trabajos. Zerzan, who has previously called syndicalism "self-management of alienation" will speak on the topic "Anarchism or Barbarism?". What will anarchy look like in the future?
posted by parmanparman on Jan 13, 2010 - 108 comments

Crystal Lee Sutton

Crystal Lee Sutton was fired for trying to organise a union. The incident was made into the 1979 film Norma Rae. Last week she died at the age of 68.
posted by Fiasco da Gama on Sep 14, 2009 - 23 comments

“…If you stand up straight, people can’t ride your back. And that’s what we did. We stood up straight.”

When Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated April 4, 1968, he was helping sanitation workers in Memphis form a union. In 1967, SCLC initiated the Poor People's Campaign to unify the African-American civil rights movement with working people's movements more generally. In MLK's words, "It must not be just black people, it must be all poor people. We must include American Indians, Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, and even poor whites." [more inside]
posted by univac on Apr 4, 2009 - 20 comments

Immigrant Workers Occupy Chicago Factory

"You got bailed out. We got sold out." Chicago workers respond to a factory closing by occupying the factory. A flickr set of photos from the site.
posted by jason's_planet on Dec 8, 2008 - 77 comments

The Coming Collapse of the Middle Class

"The Coming Collapse of the Middle Class" [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 1, 2008 - 98 comments

History repeats itself. (NYC transit strike)

Almost exactly 40 years ago, on New Year's Day 1966, 35,000 transit workers walked off the job in New York City, defying the 1947 Condon-Wadlin Act which forbade strikes by government employees. Mike Quill, the TWU's militant founder and president, 'Called an "irresponsible demagogue" and "lawless hooligan" by the press,' 'would not be daunted by politicians' pronouncements and editorial page attacks.' When served with a court order, "Mike Quill tore up the injunction in front of the television cameras." The strike led to the creation of the Taylor Law, which is now being used in attempt to crush the TWU Local 100 strike of today.
posted by Edible Energy on Dec 20, 2005 - 20 comments

The Triangle Factory Fire of 1911

The Triangle Factory Fire of 1911. 'This site includes selected information on a terrible and unnecessary tragedy involving the death of many young working women in a New York City sweatshop at the beginning of the 20th century and the resulting investigations and reforms. '
posted by plep on Jul 22, 2004 - 7 comments

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