Working People

Working People

Working People: A podcast by, for, and about the working class today (now in partnership with In These Times magazine and The Real News Network). Working People is a podcast about working-class lives in 21st-century America. In every episode, you'll hear interviews with workers from around the country, from all walks of life. We'll talk about their life stories, their jobs, politics, and families, their joys and hopes and frustrations. Overall, Working People aims to share and celebrate the diverse stories of working-class people, to remind ourselves that our stories matter, and to build a sense of shared struggle and solidarity between workers around the country.

Episodes

August 3, 2022 48 min

Last week, Lauren Bianchi and Chuck Stark, two teachers at George Washington High School on the Southeast Side of Chicago, were on the verge of losing their jobs. In what Chicago Teachers Union officers suspect was an act of retaliation from Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Chicago Public Schools recommended that Bianchi and Stark be fired for their involvement in the student-, teacher-, and community-led effort to stop the relocation of the ...

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On June 22 of this year, workers at a Chipotle location in Augusta, Maine, made history by becoming the first store in the US to file for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board. Then, on Tuesday, July 19, Chipotle announced that it would be permanently closing the Augusta location. While spokespeople for the fast-casual dining giant deny that the closure is related to union organizing activity, workers and their s...

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Things are getting very dark in this country, and it's likely going to get worse before it gets better. At every turn—as collective society breaks down, as the ruling class continues to rob us blind, as humanity barrels towards climate catastrophe—working people are being encouraged to turn on each other and to see certain groups of their fellow workers as the enemy. From the demonization and increasingly violent attacks agains...

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Last month, roughly 40,000 UK rail workers with the National Union of Rail, Maritime, and Transport Workers (RMT) went on strike for three days, bringing major portions of the British rail system to a halt in a historic show of collective strength. This week, after receiving a contract offer from state-owned Network Rail that union leaders described as "paltry," the RMT announced that workers at Network Rail and the train o...

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The "Labor On The Airwaves" panel attracted an overflow audience at this year's Labor Notes conference in Chicago. A show of hands revealed that about a third of those in attendance already had shows while another third was interested in finding out how to start their own shows, many of whom stopped by the Labor Radio-Podcast Network's booth after the panel. Working People's Maximillian Alvarez hosted a panel th...

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We wish everyone could have been in Chicago for the Labor Notes 2022 conference! But for those who couldn't make it, we convened this comradely panel with some fan-favorite guests of the show—Tevita 'Uhatafe, McKenna Schueler, and Jacob Morrison—to share our thoughts and reflections on the gathering, and to talk about the lessons and strategies we're taking from Labor Notes and applying in our daily lives. 

Additional l...

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June 29, 2022 62 min
The Amazon Labor Union victory at the JFK8 warehouse on Staten Island was historic, but right now, as we speak, Amazon is currently in court trying to throw out the results of that election, and pro-union worker-organizers keep getting fired. One of those workers is Alicia Johnson, who, as Luigi Morris writes, is "a 56-year-old Black immigrant who lives in the deep Bronx and worked at JFK8 as a Picker Packer. Her commute to wor...

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June 23, 2022 77 min

We all know that, even before the horrific, world-changing event of COVID-19, society would fall apart without hospital workers and medical staff. But as we also know, like so many other fields and sectors of work, the medical field is a very stratified one. Even though we as patients may not see it, many of the folks who make hospitals and medical facilities run are overworked, understaffed, under-protected, and paid way less than...

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From Dollar General and Dollar Tree to Family Dollar, dollar stores are spreading rapidly throughout Louisiana and across the country, but dollar store workers notoriously have to endure low pay, understaffing, and hazardous working conditions. That's why Step Up Louisiana, "a community based organization committed to building power to win education and economic justice for all," is organizing employees, customers, and ...

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We've adjusted our episode publishing schedule to bring y'all an urgent episode about Starbucks' escalating retaliation against pro-union workers and Starbucks Workers United. As Rina Torchinsky writes for NPR, "Starbucks is closing a store in Ithaca, NY, in what Starbucks union organizers are calling an illegal move of retaliation after workers at the location voted to unionize. The coffee giant gave the employees ...

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Adjunct faculty and lecturers at Santa Clara University, a private Jesuit university in Silicon Valley, have been working to organize a non-tenure-track faculty union for five years. Along with navigating the particular challenges that come with worker organizing in higher education, theirs is a historic campaign because it is taking place at a religious institution, which the National Labor Relations Board does not exercise jurisd...

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Caliber Public Schools, a group of charter schools in Northern California, states on its website that its mission is "to achieve educational equity by shifting the experiences, expectations and outcomes for students in historically underserved communities. Our strengths-based educational program validates, affirms, respects and supports students, families and staff members to reach their full potential." But when teachers a...

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May 21, 2022 99 min

If you were following the strikes and labor actions that were happening last year, then you may have noticed that a certain face kept popping up in photos and reports from picket lines all over the country, from the Kelloggs’, Nabisco, and John Deere strikes, to the Warrior Met Coal miners caravan to New York City. Who was this mysterious member of the Transport Workers Union making his way to states all around the US to show solid...

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We'll be back with new interviews next week after Jules has settled in and recovered from moving cross country! Until then, with permission from The Real News Network, we are sharing the audio of Max's recent interview with Arianna Ayala, a Starbucks partner in New York City and worker-organizer with Starbucks Workers United.

The rank-and-file effort to unionize Starbucks stores around the United States is one of the most h...

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This is the final installment in our special series of conversations with teachers, organizers, scholars, and activists in Wisconsin that Max, Cameron Granadino (TRNN), and Hannah Faris (In These Times) recorded in the summer of 2021 as part of a special collaboration between The Real News Network and In These Times magazine. To round out the series, we drive straight into the heart of darkness with an in-depth discussion with vete...

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April 26, 2022 99 min

On Sunday, April 24, the independent Amazon Labor Union held a rally outside the JFK8 fulfillment center on Staten Island, New York, where, just one month ago, workers shocked the world by becoming the first Amazon workforce in the US to successfully vote to unionize. With supporters from organized labor and the surrounding community showing up in full force, along with high-profile appearances from Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Ale...

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Right now, a majority of residential advisers at Kenyon College, organized with the Kenyon Student Worker Organizing Committee, are on an indefinite strike over unfair labor practices. At the same time, over 1,750 graduate student workers at Indiana University with the Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition are on strike, demanding that the university administration formally recognize their union, pay graduate workers a livable wage, a...

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April 14, 2022 42 min

Just over ten years ago, the landscape for workers’ rights and organized labor in the state of Wisconsin changed dramatically with the passage of Act 10 under Republican Governor Scott Walker in 2011. Act 10 was a hammer blow to the labor movement that essentially stripped collective bargaining rights from public sector workers, made it much more difficult for workers to organize, and forced unions to take massive concessions on he...

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April 7, 2022 179 min

Holy cow, this is Working People's 200th episode! Thank you to everyone who has listened to and supported us over the past five seasons—and, of course, thank you to every guest who has ever come on the show to share their story. To commemorate our 200th regular-season episode, we have a special installment of our series of conversations with teachers, organizers, scholars, and activists in Wisconsin that Max, Cameron Granadino ...

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The Southern Poverty Law Center is a historic civil rights organization that, for 50 years, has been advancing social justice through legal, educational, and advocacy efforts primarily in the Deep South. However, after overwhelmingly voting to unionize in 2019, staff at SPLC say the organization has been stalling negotiations over their first union contract and unfairly treating its lowest-paid and most marginalized workers. On Mon...

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