Current Event February 16, 2021
Recently a group of more than a thousand produce market workers in New York went on strike for higher wages. Banding together and organizing into labor unions can give workers more power to advocate for their rights. Especially during the pandemic, when providing essential services often means risking their own health, more workers are joining with others to demand the pay and working conditions they feel they deserve. Listen to learn more about why workers are organizing and what gives them more, or less, bargaining power.
Current Event April 10, 2020
Workers at big companies are demanding paid leave, among other protections, as the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread. Amazon workers in New York, where some employees have COVID-19, want their warehouse to be deep cleaned while they continue to be paid. Instacart workers, contractors who do not receive benefits, are asking for paid leave if they get sick or are exposed to illness. Workers at both companies say these benefits are necessary and fair, given the risks they are facing, though the companies do not normally offer extended paid leave. Listen to learn more about the workers’ demands and then debate: Should companies offer paid leave during the pandemic?
Current Event April 18, 2018
Fifty years ago Martin Luther King, Jr. flew to Memphis to support sanitation workers during a strike. In 1968 the working conditions were so dangerous for trash collectors that two men were killed on the job. The workers organized to demand better working conditions and higher pay. In a climate of racism they demanded to be treated with humanity and respect as men. When King traveled to Memphis, he was assassinated. Listen to this story to hear how Memphis has changed in the last 50 years.
Current Event May 9, 2017
The number of people diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder is growing in the United States. Unfortunately, many individuals with autism struggle to find work. In fact, 40% of people with autism are unemployed. As people with autism enter adulthood, they lose a lot of their services and many struggle through socially challenging one-on-one interviews. However, some corporations are creating recruiting and training programs in an effort to employ people with autism. Listen to learn more about the challenges faced by people with autism as well as the unique strengths that they bring to the workplace.
Current Event June 5, 2015
The Los Angeles City Council has voted to increase the city’s minimum wage from the current $9.00 to $15.00 by 2020. The move has workers cheering and critics making predictions about how it will hurt local businesses. Listen to learn more about this increase and its potential impact.
Current Event February 13, 2015
American high school students are going to college at some of the highest levels in history. This increased emphasis on college readiness has meant a loss of focus on vocational education programs. As a result it’s created a void of skilled trade workers, such as mechanics, plumbers and electricians. As a generation of tradesmen retire, the U.S. education system might have to rethink how they approach teaching skilled trades. Listen to learn more about this debate.
Current Event September 11, 2014
The success of workers at the Massachusetts supermarket chain, Market Basket, is making labor movements across the country rethink their strategies. In this labor dispute, workers walked off the job to protest the CEO of the company being fired. They didn’t come back to work until he was reinstated by the board of directors. All this was accomplished without a union. This public radio story looks at the ways the Market Basket strike is unique and how it can and can’t be duplicated by other labor movements or unions. Listen to learn more about the power of using technology to organize and the importance of management joining collective action.