Articles from Working In These Times

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.

The Power of the NYC Teachers Union’s Rank-and-File Caucus MORE Is Growing

Elections in the New York City's United Federation of Teachers (UFT) have revealed a growing challenge to the union leadership from rank-and-file teachers demanding a more militant stance against corporate education reform. Union president Michael Mulgrew was re-elected with 76 percent of the vote. 

But the dissident union group Movement of Rank-and-File Educators (MORE), of which I am a member, earned our first seats on the union's executive board since forming in 2012—an important foothold for an emerging rank-and-file challenger.

New Survey Reports Uber Drivers Are Investing Big in the Company But Get Little Stability

Don Creery had been driving for Uber in Seattle for several months when in May 2014 the clutch wore out on his Kia Soul. A former music teacher, Creery had enjoyed his work for Uber and said he made enough to live comfortably. So, anticipating much more driving in the future, he took out a $10,000 loan to purchase a brand new Soul with an automatic transmission—a smart investment, he judged, for his career as an Uber driver.

“I never go into debt,” Creery told me, “but this seemed totally logical.”  

New Study Reveals Just How Brutal Meat and Poultry Work Is for Workers

The meat and poultry industry remains exceptionally dangerous, despite a decline in reported injuries and illnesses over the past 10 years, according to a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report. Further, says the report, the injury and illness rates reflected in Department of Labor numbers are significantly underreported. As a result, these figures do not fully represent what is actually happening within this industry that employs about 526,000—including many recent immigrants and noncitizens.

Washington, D.C., Teachers Union Wrestles with the Legacy of Michelle Rhee

It’s been five years since self-styled education reformer Michelle Rhee left her job as head of the District of Columbia Public Schools under a cloud of bitterness and controversy, but she is still throwing shade over the Washington city school system.

Rhee’s open hostility to unions was a hallmark of her tenure in D.C. and of her subsequent career as an executive of the education reform group StudentsFirst. That hostility continues to darken relations between city officials and the teachers union, labor advocates say.

Union Members Don’t Oppose Environmental Protections. They’re Actually More Likely To Support Them.

Union workers attacking environmentalists—it has become a trope of our time. But what do union members actually think about the environment?

In a study soon to be published in Labor Studies Journal, we report our findings on workers attitudes and behaviors regarding a variety of environmental issues. In particular, we examine the attitudes and behaviors of unionized workers to see how they may differ from the non-union respondents. The results might surprise those whose images of worker attitudes come only from the mainstream media.

Progressive Nonprofits That Oppose the New Overtime Rules for Low-Income Workers Are Hypocrites

Last week, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of Labor Tom Perez revealed the final version of the Obama administration’s updated overtime rules to great fanfare. The new regulations are an update to outdated rules that specify which salaried employees are (or are not) legally entitled for time-and-a-half overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours per week.