Articles from Working In These Times

Second City Has Been a Comedy Mecca for Decades. Now Its Workers Are Voting to Form a Union.

The past decade at Chicago’s historic Second City comedy club has been a good one for the business. Along with its range of comedy shows, the company has opened a film school dedicated to comedy, produced a number of high-profile film and television projects, and set up a corporate arm that uses comedy techniques in job training across the country.

How Business Unionism Got Us to Janus

In September, the Supreme Court agreed to hear Janus vs. AFSCME, a case that has the potential to undermine public sector unions by curtailing unions’ right to charge non-members an “agency fee.” This fee covers the protection and services the union is obligated to provide all employees in the bargaining unit.

When Unions Lead Education Reform

In the summer of 1995, Adam Urbanski, president of the Rochester Teachers Association, and Helen Bernstein, former president of the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA), organized a group of union leaders from 21 locals across the country to discuss how teacher unions might mobilize their resources to strengthen and improve public education.

For Women Restaurant Workers, Sexual Harassment Starts with the Day You’re Hired

Anyone who has ever scanned Craigslist for a restaurant job knows the boilerplate “will train the right person,” code for, among other things, “Be young and have a nice ass.” I have two (attractive, blonde) female colleagues who got their first serving jobs at 19 on the supposed basis of their scores on the restaurant giant Darden’s infamous personality test. The first guy who ever hired me to wait tables said he liked my writing in my personal statement.

The Untold Story of How Immigrants Turned the Wobblies into a Global Force

Declaring, “an injury to one is an injury to all,” the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) upended and forever changed the labor movement a little over a century ago. The Wobblies’ commitment to organizing workers on an industry-wide basis, their cynicism about legislative action and electoral politics, their aversion to signed contracts and their preference for sudden strikes remain fascinating subjects for labor studies. Their multiculturalism, anti-racism and pioneering bohemian approach to God, country and sex remain a rich vein to be mined for cultural studies.

Calif. Just Passed Landmark Law to Stop Bosses From Discriminating Against People with Convictions

In an important victory for formerly-incarcerated workers fighting employment discrimination, Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1008 into law on October 14, establishing some of the strongest “Ban the Box” legislation in the country. Brown’s signature can be attributed to tireless organizing on the part of formerly incarcerated individuals and their advocates. 

Joe Ricketts Is a Walking Case for a $1 Million Maximum Income

Late Thursday afternoon, multi-billionaire Trump donor Joe Ricketts shuttered the Gothamist and DNAinfo media empire he conglomerated in March. Ricketts closed the sites a week after staffers voted to unionize. In the process, he also made a stellar case for a $1 million maximum income.

How Trump’s Anti-Immigrant Hate Is Galvanizing Hotel Workers to Fight Back

No friend of labor or working-class immigrants, President Donald Trump is nevertheless providing a back-handed boost to the hotel workers’ union UNITE HERE by helping it sign up new members at its union locals around the country. Trump’s threats to punish immigrants has prompted more and more workers to look to the union as a way to protect themselves in an uncertain political climate, UNITE HERE leaders say.  

Pages