Articles from Working In These Times

The War on Workers’ Comp

For nearly a century, millions of workers have endured punishing jobs in construction, mining and factory work—jobs with high levels of work-related disability and injury. As a tradeoff for the dangers, they’ve had the assurance of workers’ compensation if injured permanently on the job. Employers accepted this deal, albeit sometimes grudgingly, because it  removed the possibility of being sued over work-related injuries. 

But as labor has weakened and Republicans have won control of more and more statehouses, states have slowly chipped away at workers’ compensation benefits.

In the UAW, Rising Academic Worker Unionism Is Haunted By the Ghost of Walter Reuther

First published at Jacobin.

Things are looking up for student worker unionism. For decades, the legions of graduate and undergraduate teaching and research assistants whose labor is critical to the daily functioning of universities have fought to establish a basic claim: the work they do is, in fact, work—it’s not just part of their education.

New Labor Board Ruling Restricts Bosses’ Ability To Hire Permanent Replacements for Striking Workers

This aricle originally appeared at Labor Notes.

A game-changing interpretation from the Obama-appointed National Labor Relations Board has narrowed the allowable reasons why an employer may hire permanent replacements during a strike.

Last week’s ruling reinterprets the 1938 Supreme Court decision Mackay Radio & Telegraph, widely reviled by labor. That case affirmed employers’ right to hire permanent replacements.

Are Software Engineers the Latest Exploited Migrant Workers?

Before Elton Kent ever set foot in New York, his career was going swimmingly. A son of India’s upper-middle-class, he had cut his teeth at a start-up, and finagled that into a prized job offer as a software engineer at the most prestigious firm in India: Accenture. Then, he says, in 2012, another stroke of good fortune came: Management was going to transfer him to New York City.

To bring him to the United States, Accenture applied for an L-1 visa, one of two visas for workers with knowledge or skills deemed to be in short supply among Americans.

Illinois College Faculty Say Continued Cuts Have ‘Ripped the Guts Out’ of Public Higher Ed

When David Cochran arrived at John A. Logan College (JALC) in 2001 to teach history, the first thing he noticed was the quality of the faculty at the Carterville, Illinois community college. He remembered reading a 1999 study published in an issue of Rolling Stone that ranked the small institution in the top 10 of community colleges nationally. The 7,000 student-strong school punched well above its weight, and in his view, the faculty was the chief reason why.

How Can We Make Restaurant Jobs Into Good Jobs?

Over 14 million Americans work in the restaurant industry, making it the nation’s second-largest private sector employer. But it is the worst place to work by many measures: 90 percent of restaurant workers in the U.S. don’t have access to health care or paid sick days, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics seven of the 10 worst-paying jobs are in food services. The 3.7 million employees in the fast food sector constitute the lowest-paid workers in the entire U.S. economy.