April 3, 2018 – Arsenal for Democracy Ep. 220

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Topics: Radical unions and liberal conservationists in Idaho history; Voting reforms in Washington and felon disenfranchisement in Texas. People: Bill, Rachel. Produced: April 1st, 2018.

Episode 220 (53 min):
AFD 220

Related links

AFD 220 Links (PDF)

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Music by friend of the show Stunt Bird.

March 27, 2018 – Arsenal For Democracy Ep. 219

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Topics: Demonstrations for gun control in Boston and Springfield at the Smith and Wesson factory; Historical radicalism in New England and what old-school anarchist labor organizing might teach us today. People: Bill, Nate. Produced: Mar 24th, 2018.

Episode 219 (54 min):
AFD 219

Related links

AFD 219 Links and notes (PDF)

Pre-release clarification: The IWW was established in 1905. Late 19th century efforts along similar lines were of course not IWW, but undertaken by other organizers. I can’t remember if I muddled it a bit while speaking off the cuff. -Bill

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March 20, 2018 – Arsenal For Democracy Ep. 218

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Topics: The growing movement for teachers’ strikes in West Virginia and beyond; the issue of anti-homeless architecture and technology. People: Bill, Rachel, Nate. Produced: Mar 18th, 2018.

Episode 218 (56 min):
AFD 218

Related links

AFD 218 Links and notes (PDF)

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Oct 19, 2016 – Arsenal For Democracy Ep. 156

Posted by Bill on behalf of the team.

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Topics: The Harvard strike and other campus organizing news. Plus, Bill goes viral. People: Bill, Persephone, Jonathan, and Greg. Produced: Oct 17th, 2016.

Episode 156 (56 min):
AFD 156

Discussion Points:

– Why are Harvard dining hall staff’s union on strike?
– What constitutes a living wage?
– What else is going on in campus organizing right now?

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Collective

Massachusetts has historically been at the forefront in the United States on worker safety and labor rights, compensation, activism, and organizing. Organized labor has been and must remain a fundamental component of our economic structure. Without it, there is no significant force representing our workers on an equal level with management and owners.

Our courts must uphold the rights of workers – including state and municipal workers – to organize themselves and bargain collectively and cooperatively for compensation and benefits proportionate to their productive work, as well as safe workplaces and fair scheduling.

Our courts must uphold contracts signed with workers’ unions, particularly by the state or municipal governments. It is the responsibility of employers to negotiate contracts they can actually execute.

We cannot achieve economic justice without securing the rights of organized labor to fight for fair and living wages in our society.

Humphrey For Massachusetts: Organized Labor

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.