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Just added to my radio archive (click on date for link): August 12, 2021 Mia Jankowicz, author of this article, on anti-vaxxers, notably Sherri Tenpenny • Sanford Jacoby, author of Labor in the Age of Finance, on unions’ weird alliance with Wall Street during the shareholder revolution

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Just added to my radio archive (click on date for link): June 24, 2021 Sam Gindin, author of this review, on competition, labor, and solidarity • Leslie London, director of the Observatory Civic Association, on the fight against Amazon in Cape Town, South Africa • Tana Ganeva, author of this article, on the prevalence and horrors of solitary confinement

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Just added to my radio archive (click on date for link): April 29, 2021 Donna Murch on why this is a fruitful moment for labor organizing (Guardian article here) • Ben Burgis, author of Canceling Comedian While the World Burns, on why cancel culture is bad

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Just added to my radio archive (click on date for link): February 18, 2021 Forrest Hylton on Bolsonaro’s Brazil: disease, chaos, and creeping military dictatorship • Luis Feliz Leon on organizing Amazon workers in Alabama (Gainesville article here; Bessemer, here)

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Just added to my radio archive (click on date for link): June 18, 2020 Eric Reinhart on jails as COVID-19 spreaders (article here, AER article on pretrial detention here) • Erin Hatton on “coerced” workers, from prisoners to grad students [back after vacation break]

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Just added to my radio archive (click on date for link): September 19, 2019 Sam Gindin on the UAW’s strike against GM, and the possibilities for the green repurposing of a plant GM is abandoning • Robin Einhorn on the role of slavery in shaping tax politics in the early US (article here)

Union density hits record low

Union density—the share of employed workers belonging to unions—fell to 10.5% in 2018, the lowest since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began reporting the data in its modern form in 1964, down from 2017’s 10.7%. (See graph below.) After rising 0.1 point in 2017, private sector density fell back to match 2016’s 6.4%, the lowest since stats began in 1929. Republican governors’ war on public sector unions is having a visible effect: just 33.9% of government workers belonged to unions last year, the lowest since 1978, when membership was on an upswing—an… Read More

Fresh audio product

Just added to my radio archive (click on date for link): July 19, 2018 Rebecca Gordon explains why Nicaraguans are protesting the Ortega government (article here) • Alex Gourevitch on how the workplace is authoritarian, and why strikes are essential (article here)

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Just posted to my radio archive (click on date for link): July 5, 2018 Chris Maisano, author of this article, on the effect of the Supreme Court’s Janus decision on public employee unions • Forrest Hylton, co-author of this article, on Colombian politics after the June presidential election

Contingency: almost every demographic is down

Someone on Twitter, reacting to my last post on contingent employment, wrote this: “Contingent workers were more than twice as likely as noncontingent workers to be under age 25.” Profitable corporations are putting lots of young people in incredibly exploitative jobs and making it normal. For the young work is a new hell, and it’s not temporary. Workers under the age of 25 are less likely to be contingent than they were 22 years ago. Here’s the detail by demographic group. The share for workers in the 20–25 age group declined more than the… Read More

The disappearing strike

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics figures released this morning, last year saw the second-smallest number of major strikes in recorded history: seven. This is close to the record low set in 2009, five—in the depths of the Great Recession, when the unemployment rate was approaching 10%. Last year’s average unemployment rate was less than half that, 4.3%. Here’s the grim history of the decline of labor’s most powerful weapon in two graphs: The number of days of “idleness”—a curiously moralizing word for an instrument of class struggle—wasn’t as close to a… Read More

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Just added to my radio archive (click on date for link): December 7, 2017 Jane McAlevey on power, strange alliances, and serious threats to workers • Jane McAlevey and Liza Featherstone on sexual harassment, capitalism, and power

Strikes?

The strike—labor’s most powerful weapon against capital, except maybe sabotage—is disappearing even more rapidly than unions, which is saying a lot. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning that there were 15 work stoppages involving 1,000 or more workers in 2016. That’s 1 above the average of the past five years, and down 96% from the average of the late 1940 and 1950s. (Stoppages include both strikes and lockouts—the data series doesn’t distinguish between the two. The overwhelming majority are strikes. Notable exceptions in recent years have been in professional sports,… Read More

Unions continue to fade

After four years of relative stability, union membership resumed its decline in 2016, with overall and private sector membership at record lows, and public sector membership continuing to tumble. The glum story is told by the graph below. Stats released Thursday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that 10.7% of wage and salary workers were union members in 2016, down 0.4 point from 2015. Union density (the term of art) fell 0.3 point to 6.4% in the private sector, and 0.8 in the public, to 34.4%. Overall density is the lowest ever,… Read More

Fresh audio product

Now up in my radio archive: March 12, 2015 Gene Nichol on North Carolina’s war on poor people and on academic freedom • Eilyanna Kaiser and Brendan Michael Conner, respectively co-editor and contributor to $pread: The Best of the Magazine that Illuminated the Sex Industry and Started a Media Revolution, on the perils and delights of running a magazine by and for sex workers March 5, 2015 Mark Ames, author of this article, tells us who Boris Nemtsov, the dissident shot on the streets of Moscow last week, was • David Kotz, author of The Rise and Fall of Neoliberal… Read More