Archive | Labor

All posts that are primarily about labor

The Disconnects in the Minds of Workers

Clarity of thought is rare in the United States. This is not surprising given the constant barrage of propaganda to which we are subjected during every waking hour. Nowhere are systematic falsehoods presented as truth more than with respect to the nature of our economic system. I have discussed this before, but here I want […]

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Work is Hell

Economists never say much about work. They talk about the supply of and the demand for labor, but they have very little to say about the nature of the work we do. Like most commentators, they seem to believe that modern economies will require ever more skilled work, which will be done in clean and […]

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Indianapolis Hotel Workers Rising Up

At the request of an organizer from the union, UNITE/HERE (see comment on last post), I am posting this interesting video. Hotel workers are notoriously overworked and underpaid. Karen and I have talked to many motel workers in our years of travel, and I can say from experience that this is the case. We both […]

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What if the United Auto Workers Owned a Car Company?

The troubles in the U.S. automobile industry have taken an interesting turn. In return for considerable concessions to Chrysler and General Motors, the United Auto Workers may become a majority shareholder in Chrysler and a large stakeholder in General Motors. The federal government will also own a large fraction of the shares of the two […]

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The Blighted Groves of Academe

The more I read about the state of our colleges and universities, the more thankful I am that I quit my job at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown (UPJ) in 2001, after thirty-two years of teaching. I wrote the following essay a dozen years ago, and since then, matters have gotten progressively worse, not […]

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A Nation of Immigrants: Part Two

Since the publication of Part One of this post a few days ago, President Obama has decided not to nominate immigrant-rights advocate and attorney, Thomas Saenz, to head the Civil Rights division of the Justice Department.  Saenz is currently Los Angeles mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa’s chief legal advisor, and he has a long history of commitment […]

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A Nation of Immigrants: Part One

Every night on CNN, Lou Dobbs bashes immigrants.  No matter what the subject, he manages to turn it into a horror story about the evils of people he calls “illegal aliens.”  They steal; they cheat; they use drugs; they murder innocent people; they transmit diseases; they have filthy habits; they take jobs from decent hardworking […]

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The Employee Free Choice Act

The Employee Free Choice Act

Note: Parts of this are taken from the new edition of my book, Why Unions Matter, which will be published by Monthly Review Press next month.   Labor unions have been on the ropes in the United States for many years. In 2007, union density (the share of employed workers in unions) was around 12 […]

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Tom Colicchio: Top Chef or Top (Wage) Thief?

Tom Colicchio: Top Chef or Top (Wage) Thief?

We have watched hundreds of cooking shows on television. One of our early favorites was Top Chef, in which a group of talented cooks compete in an elimination format for a large monetary prize and designation as “Top Chef.” The chief judge on the show is Tom Colicchio, a noted chef who has won five […]

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The injuries of class

One of the themes of Cheap Motels and a Hot Plate is work. More specifically the theme is dead-end work, how there is so much of this in the United States. Work has always been something that has interested me; I taught about, and for years I scrutinized my own labor. Now for a few […]

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