The State of Working America Podcast

The State of Working America Podcast

Raising workers' voices to make sure they are heard in the economic policy debate.

Episodes

January 17, 2024 18 mins

In 2023, workers across the country—from Hollywood writers to autoworkers, nurses, and Starbucks baristas—went on strike to improve their working conditions. Heidi Shierholz, president of the Economic Policy Institute and former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, discusses what this surge in labor actions means for workers and the fight for racial and economic justice.

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Sixty years later, policymakers have failed to meet the economic demands of the March on Washington. Policy analyst Adewale A. Maye discusses new Economic Policy Institute research finding that post-civil rights era legislation has largely failed to address disparities in wages, wealth, and homeownership for Black Americans.

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Economist Elise Gould discusses surprising new Economic Policy Institute research showing that the lowest-paid U.S. workers saw historic wage growth between 2019 and 2022, even after accounting for high inflation.

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March 16, 2022 38 mins

Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman discusses her new book, The Black Agenda.

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The State of Working America Podcast is part of EPI’s effort to raise workers’ voices to ensure they are heard in the economic policy debate.

Core topics include workers' rights, inequality, race, gender, labor markets, education and immigration, but we're interested in all things related to social just...

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Nina Banks discusses her new book "Democracy, Race, and Justice: The Speeches and Writings of Sadie T. M. Alexander." Banks, an economist, talks about her journey to unearth the economic insights of the first Black economist, Alexander, who was unable to find work in her field when she graduated in 1921 but went on to influence economics and press for equity for black workers and their families.

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June 8, 2021 32 mins

Dorothy A. Brown discusses her new book, The Whiteness of Wealth: How the Tax System Impoverishes Black Americans—and How We Can Fix It. Brown, a law professor and expert in tax policy, provides a cross-disciplinary analysis exposing the racism of the American tax system.

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The State of Working America Podcast is part of EPI’s effort to raise workers’ voices to ensure th...

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Heidi Shierholz and Josh Bivens of the Economic Policy Institute fact-check current hype around the idea that a labor shortage is holding back U.S. businesses. Heidi and Josh explain that what we are experiencing is just the opposite of a labor shortage—there are vastly more unemployed workers than job openings.

Related work from the Economic Policy Institute
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Hosts Pedro da Costa and Rami Jackson talk to Kayla Blado, President of the Nonprofit Employee and Media Relations Director at EPI, and bargaining chair at The Democracy Collaborative union, Katie Parker, about millennial activism, new sources of inspiration and recent victories for nonprofit union workers.

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Follow EPI on Twitter: https://twitter.com/EconomicPolicy Follow the Nonprofit Professional Employees Union on Twitter: htt...

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January 7, 2020 33 mins

As workers around the country both union and nonunion ramp up their activism, Steven Greenhouse, author of Beaten Down, Worked Up and a long-time New York Times labor reporter, chronicles the recent labor revival.

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Follow EPI on Twitter: https://twitter.com/EconomicPolicy Follow Steven Greenhouse: https://twitter.com/greenhousenyt Follow Pedro da Costa: https://twitter.com/pdacosta

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The State of Working America Podcast is part ...

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Tanya Wallace-Gobern, director of the National Black Worker Center Project, talks about all the ways in which Black Americans’ struggle for civil rights is at the core of the country’s democratic advancement.

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National Black Worker Center Project: https://nationalblackworkercenters.org/

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Follow EPI on Twitter: https://twitter.com/EconomicPolicy Follow Pedro da Costa: https://twitter.com/pdacosta

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The State of Working America ...

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Damion Shade, a criminal justice policy analyst at the Oklahoma Policy Institute, talks about the key challenges and prospects he sees for undoing some of the damage from America's racist and punitive prison system not just on the people whose lives they hurt but also on the U.S. job market more broadly.

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Follow EPI on Twitter: https://twitter.com/EconomicPolicy Follow Damion Shade: https://twitter.com/shade_damion Follow Pedro d...

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Nina Banks, economics professor at Bucknell University and a board member at the Economic Policy Institute, discusses her groundbreaking work on minority women's unpaid collective labor—things like civic and community protests and organizing that ultimately lead to stronger basic rights and a better society for everyone.

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Follow EPI on Twitter: https://twitter.com/EconomicPolicy Follow Nina Banks: https://twitter.com/nina_ebanks ...

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Season 2 of the podcast kicks off strong with Patrice Kunesh, director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis' Center for Indian Country Development. She talks to host Pedro da Costa about the specific challenges facing various Native American communities across the nation, and offers an eclectic range of policy options to solve the most egregious economic problems.

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‘America First’ should start with the plight of t...

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November 19, 2019 25 mins

In the sixth and final episode of the State of Working America Podcast's first season, Rhonda Sharpe, director of the Women's Institute for Science, Equity and Race, talks about why we need to capture data in a way that makes real-world sense of social, economic and racial trends.

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Follow EPI on Twitter: https://twitter.com/EconomicPolicy Follow Rhonda Sharpe: https://twitter.com/rhondavsharpe Follow Pedro da Costa: https://twitt...

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November 12, 2019 25 mins

The ubiquitous nature of ride-sharing makes it easy to forget that much of Uber and Lyft's business model relies on skirting basic regulations in ways that harm drivers and passengers. That's the focus of this episode of the State of Working America Podcast, which features interviews with driver and activist Sergio Avedian and EPI Distinguished Fellow Larry Mishel, who has extensively researched and critiqued Uber's business model.

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The U.S. manufacturing has been shrinking sharply in recent decades, but it’s not an accident or a historical inevitability. In Episode 4 of the State of Working America Podcast, host Pedro da Costa talks to Mickey Ray Williams, a Firestone plant worker in Gadsden, Alabama, about his experience of over two decades in the sector. The second portion of the show is an interview with Rob Scott, EPI’s director of trade policy.

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October 29, 2019 26 mins

EPI Policy Director Heidi Shierholz highlights all the ways that labor laws have been employed against workers over the years to curb their power and influence in the labor market. We talk about the fresh wave of strikes around the nation and the renewed excitement around labor organizing, as well as new legislation aimed at restoring some of the worker power that corporations have gradually chipped away.

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October 22, 2019 27 mins

President Barack Obama’s former deputy labor secretary Chris Lu joins the State of Working America Podcast in Episode 2, which explores the decline of worker power in recent decades, changing workforce demographics and Donald Trump’s destructive anti-worker agenda. __

Follow EPI on Twitter: https://twitter.com/EconomicPolicy Follow Pedro da Costa on Twitter: https://twitter.com/pdacosta Follow Chris Lu on Twitter: https://twitter.c...

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October 15, 2019 25 mins

The State of Working America Podcast’s debut episode features economist Valerie Wilson, from the Economic Policy Institute, discussing the central role race in the American economy.

Wilson debunks the widely-held myth that education is an easy way to narrow the racial wage and wealth gap, explaining that structural racism runs much deeper, defining U.S. economic relations to their core. __

The State of Working America Podcast is pa...

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The Economic Policy Institute will soon launch the State of Working America Podcast, which is aimed at elevating workers’ voices in the economic debate. Communications Director Pedro da Costa breaks down what you can expect—and how to subscribe.

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