19 Feb 2014

Teachers & Children Last: California Trial Showcases the Corporate War on Public Education

Are job protections for teachers to blame for educational underachievement among low-income students of color in California? That’s the provocative question ostensibly at the heart of Vergara vs. California, which seeks to invalidate the tenure, due process and seniority rights of hundreds of thousands of educators. Astute observers of the

27 Nov 2013

The Truth About California’s Pension Slashers

In 2011, the UC Berkeley Center for Labor and Research and Education put out a study that should have sparked mass rallies up and down the Golden State. The report found that nearly half of California workers will retire in or near poverty. In other words, a state once synonymous

30 Oct 2013

Hurricane Sandy and the Human Cost of Utility Deregulation

This week marks the first anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, which one year ago tore a path of destruction through much of New York and New Jersey. While media coverage will no doubt focus on the images of nature wreaking havoc on the Eastern Seaboard, we would do well to look

12 Sep 2013

McViolation: How American Fast Food Operators Break the Law

Labor Day may be over, but if the recent strikes in 60 cities are any indication, fast food workers intend to keep turning up the heat on a vast American industry built around poverty wages. For the first time, this mega-sector that grosses $200 billion a year is under serious

20 Aug 2013

Can Immigration Reform Rebuild the American Middle Class?

As Labor Day approaches, here’s a question that many opponents of immigration reform don’t want to answer honestly: Can you be for the middle class and against comprehensive immigration reform? The answer is no — a fact that creates all kinds of problems for those lobbying to stop legislation that

05 Jun 2013

Walmart’s War Against Unions — and the U.S. Laws That Make It Possible

  For several years, Walmart’s annual shareholders meeting has been the staging ground for high-profile protests against the retail giant’s treatment of its employees. As Walmart workers from across the country — many of whom are on strike — once again converge this week on the corporation’s headquarters in Bentonville,

15 May 2013

America’s Killer Jobs

  The horrific collapse last month of a Bangladeshi garment factory, which claimed the lives of 1,127 people, has sparked appropriate global outrage, with advocates, pundits and politicians calling for tougher laws to protect exploited workers in Third World countries. While this tragedy, like many before it, seems far removed from

07 Mar 2013

The Freedom To Be Impoverished: Matt Yglesias’ Perverse Logic on the Minimum Wage

When President Obama proposed an increase in the federal minimum wage last month, you could almost hear conservative economists and pundits smacking their lips in anticipation. After all, there’s nothing that gets this crowd going like mandating a wage increase, even if it’s from the downright Dickensian $7.25 currently required