July 5, 2020 – The Great Railroad Strike of 1877 and the Long Depression – Arsenal For Democracy Ep. 315

Description: Bill, Rachel, and Kelley discuss the legacy of the Great Railroad Strike of 1877 and the stagnant U.S. economic conditions of 1873-1893 during the Second Industrial Revolution.

Links and notes for ep. 315 (PDF): http://arsenalfordemocracy.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/AFD-Ep-315-Links-and-Notes-The-Great-Railroad-Strike-of-1877-and-the-Long-Depression.pdf

Theme music by Stunt Bird.

Feb 2, 2020 – French Strikes – AFD 294

Description: Back on the air at WVUD, we discuss recent French strikes over reactionary pension reforms and what lessons it holds for the rising American left. Bill, Rachel, Nate.

Theme music by Stunt Bird.

Links and notes (PDF): http://arsenalfordemocracy.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Ep.-294-Notes-and-Links-French-Strikes.pdf

April 30, 2019 – Arsenal For Democracy Ep. 268

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Topic: The recent Stop and Shop strike. People: Bill, Rachel, Nate. Recorded: Apr 28, 2019.

Episode 268 (27 min):
AFD 268

Related links

AFD 268 Links and Notes (PDF)

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Music by friend of the show Stunt Bird.

Aug 28, 2018 – Arsenal for Democracy Ep. 239

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Topic: Codetermination and Elizabeth Warren’s bill to put workers on the boards of major corporations. People: Bill, Nate. Recorded: Aug 26th, 2018.

Episode 239 (31 min):
AFD 239

Related links

AFD 239 Links (PDF)
AFD March 2015: “Corporate borrowing diverted to shareholders, not investment”

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Music by friend of the show Stunt Bird.

The fall and possible rise of labor coverage in US media

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Longtime labor reporter Steven Greenhouse (now retired) wrote a piece for The Atlantic earlier this year headlined “Why the Media Started Caring About the American Worker Again,” with some of his reflections on the recent shifts in the media’s coverage of labor issues. Here are a few selected highlights:

I’m still worried about the state and fate of labor coverage—it’s mostly absent on television news, and, as media organizations continue downsizing, it may be one of the first things to go. Nonetheless, I am considerably less concerned than I was eight or so years ago.
[…]
But ever since the Great Recession began in late 2007—thank you, Wall Street—the news media have devoted far more attention to workers. More and more reporters and editors concluded it was important to cover what was happening to workers—how they were being thrown out of their jobs, foreclosed upon, forced into part-time work, strong-armed into accepting wage freezes, relegated to long-term unemployment. The media’s interest in issues like these has remained high long after the recession ended, partly because the downturn opened the eyes of many reporters and editors to the plight of the American worker—and their eyes remain open. (Of course, it doesn’t hurt that editors see that these stories often attract a lot of readers.)

Beyond that, three recent movements have helped ensure more coverage of worker issues. Occupy Wall Street pushed the issue of income inequality into the national conversation…

More recently, the Fight for 15 movement has pushed the issue of low-wage work onto center stage…

The other movement that has spurred more coverage of labor is the Republican Party’s offensive against public-sector unions.
[…]
Despite all this, many labor stories remain badly undercovered. To name just a few: how the increasing use of volatile, ever-changing work schedules creates havoc in employees’ lives; the crazy, exhausting, and often dangerous hours that the nation’s truck drivers work…

 

Oct 21, 2015 – Arsenal For Democracy Ep. 147

Posted by Bill on behalf of the team.

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Topics: American unions for the Millennial generation; Fortune 500 tax avoidance. People: Bill, Persephone, Nate. Produced: October 18th, 2015.

Episode 147 (49 min):
AFD 147

Discussion Points:

– What is the future of American unions as Millennials come to the fore?
– Fortune 500 firms may have avoided $620B in recent taxes

Related Links

The Atlantic: “Can Millennials Save Unions?”
AFD: “Fortune 500 firms may have avoided $620B in recent taxes”
CTJ/PIRG report: “Offshore Shell Games 2015: The Use of Offshore Tax Havens by Fortune 500 Companies”

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And don’t forget to check out The Digitized Ramblings of an 8-Bit Animal, the video game blog of our announcer, Justin.

Key win for workers in the subcontract/franchise economy

Arsenal Bolt: Quick updates on the news stories we’re following.

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Vitally important National Labor Relations Board ruling last week — “NLRB ruling could be boost for contract and franchise employees” (Minneapolis Star Tribune):

The National Labor Relations Board on Thursday expanded its joint-employer standard, potentially making it easier for unions to organize employees of franchisees and subcontractors by dragging large corporations to the bargaining table.

The new standard is also significant because corporations could now be held legally liable for workers if franchisees or subcontractors violate labor law.

In a 3-2 decision, the five-member board said that the old standard no longer kept pace with the current workforce where the diversity of workplace arrangements has significantly expanded. For example, in 2014, 2.87 million workers were employed through temporary agencies, more than double from the 1.1 million in 1990.

 
Much more analysis on this is coming in tomorrow’s episode of the Arsenal For Democracy radio show.