Work Stoppage
Overtime Episode 6 PREVIEW - Saul Alinsky & The Fall of Effective Organizing

Overtime Episode 6 PREVIEW - Saul Alinsky & The Fall of Effective Organizing

September 20, 2021

If you’re not a patron you can get the full episode by visiting patreon.com/workstoppage and support us with $5 a month.

In this Overtime Episode Lina goes over some of the legacy of Saul Alinsky, who is often credited with creating the organizing model that is still used by many people and unions today. All quotes from this episode are from the book No Shortcuts: Organizing for Power in the New Gilded Age by Jane McAlevey. We encourage anyone who wants to get a better understanding of how to do labor organizing to read this book. Look out for the sequel to this episode were we will go over the effective alternative to this organizing model.

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Ep 68 - Sweatshop Shutdown

Ep 68 - Sweatshop Shutdown

September 16, 2021

Every week’s a busy week in the world of Labor, and this one’s no different.  First we follow up with Starbucks Workers’ United (@SBWorkersUnited) and their quest for recognition of their union, as Starbucks management has pulled out all the stops to fight them.  Then we cover several Amazon related stories, from California passing a bill to regulate algorithmic work quotas, to the company’s fake offer of “Free College”, to investigations of discrimination against pregnant workers.  Then we check in on a big recent conference of farmers organizations in India to coordinate the movement against the neoliberal farm laws.  Finally, we discuss a California bill aimed at stopping some of the most egregious labor exploitation in the US, garment workers forced to work in sweatshop conditions in Los Angeles.

More Perfect Union’s Video on the sweatshop conditions:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEid6y3wP0M

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Ep 67 - Investigate Labor Day

Ep 67 - Investigate Labor Day

September 10, 2021

The regular gang is back together this week and we start out discussing the cruel irony of the government allowing unemployment benefits to run out for millions of workers on Labor Day. Also this week, major hotel chains like Marriott and Hilton are using the crisis of the pandemic to consolidate their market position and attacked unionized workforces. We also cover the harsh conditions faced by tobacco pickers here on H2-A visas, as well rampant union busting at a couple of the biggest logistics companies you’ve probably never heard of. Finally, teachers at Oakland University (Michigan not California) responded to demands that they take benefit cuts with a 2 day strike that successfully forced the University back to the bargaining table.

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Ep 66 - Collectivize Colectivo feat. Ethan (Invent the Future/Red Game Table)

Ep 66 - Collectivize Colectivo feat. Ethan (Invent the Future/Red Game Table)

September 1, 2021

Our rotating cast continues this week as Lina is back but John is out and we have our first recurring guest, Ethan from Invent the Future and Red Game Table, back on the show. We start out covering the NLRB dismissing complaints from striking Warrior Met coal miners about vehicles striking their picket lines for “lack of evidence” despite numerous videos. Then, we cover a couple international stories with workers in Colombia returning to the streets to protest proposed austerity measures as well as sugarcane farmers in India blocking highways and railroads to win higher purchase prices for their crops from the government. Also this week, after a nearly 5 month delay workers at Colectivo Coffee have won their election to become the largest café workers union in the country, and a new union drive at Starbucks has started with Starbucks Workers United aiming to organized over 20 stores in the Buffalo area. Finally, window washers in Minneapolis have successfully struck for higher wages and state certified safety training for their vital, dangerous jobs.

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Follow the pod @WorkStoppagePod on Twitter, John @facebookvillain, and Lina @solidaritybee. Check out Invent The Future at anchor.fm/InventTheFuture and follow them @ProletarianInfo.

Ep 65 - No Contracts No Snacks!

Ep 65 - No Contracts No Snacks!

August 27, 2021
It’s just John and Dan as Lina is off this week, and we start with a dire warning to never trust a man in a cravat after Nathan J Robinson responded to the staff of Current Affairs’ desire to form a co-op by firing everyone. Then, after a brief check-in with the Teamsters in Indiana who have reached an agreement with Pepsi to end their strike, we hit some of the big news this week as a judge in California has ruled Prop 22 unconstitutional. However, this hasn’t stopped gig companies trying to expand their misclassification schemes across the country as a Prop 22 clone is being pushed in Massachusetts. We also cover a strike by nurses in Worcester, MA that has stretched into its sixth month, as Tenet Healthcare brings in scabs rather than hiring more nurses. Also this week, Nabisco workers across the country are on strike after their parent company Mondelez, enemies of the show, have recently closed two facilities in the US and attempted to force remaining workers to work 12 hours shift or up to 70 consecutive days without paying overtime.

Portland Nabisco workers’ strike fund: https://www.gofundme.com/f/bctgm-local-364-strike-support

Richmond Nabisco workers’ strike fund: https://www.gofundme.com/f/bctgm-local-358-strike-support

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Ep 64 - Robo-Union Trojan Horse

Ep 64 - Robo-Union Trojan Horse

August 18, 2021

On this week’s episode of Work Stoppage we start by checking in on the Teamsters strike at a Pepsi plant in Indiana, where workers have gotten a surprising show of support from the local government of the nearby town of Hammond.  Then we take a look at how a Wisconsin healthcare company is giving bonuses only to non-union workers, and discuss a new app called Unit which claims it can help workers unionize without any of the resources of an actual union.  We also cover a walkout by tech workers at the New York Times and the revelations of the Times’ anti-union strategy to try and force as small a bargaining unit as possible.  Finally, we talk about a weeklong strike by contract sanitation workers in India demanding equal pay for equal work, and the inspiring success of workers in Venezuela who seized a Kellogg cereal factory when the company abandoned it.

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Overtime Episode 5 - The Nature of The State Pt 3 PREVIEW

Overtime Episode 5 - The Nature of The State Pt 3 PREVIEW

August 16, 2021

If you’re not a patron you can get the full episode by visiting patreon.com/workstoppage and support us with $5 a month.

On the third and final part of our series on the nature of the state, we examine the work of two theorists of the modern capitalist state, Antonio Gramsci and Louis Althusser.  Starting with Gramsci’s understanding of the concept of hegemony, we look at the arms of the state that extend beyond the traditional public sphere, how state ideology influences and is reproduced by “civil society”.  We then go over Althusser’s development of Gramsci’s concepts into his formulation of the arms of the state into two distinct groups, the repressive state apparatuses and the ideological state apparatuses.  Both of these theorists help expand our understanding of how state ideology works even with the “private” sphere to reproduce and reify the ideological superstructure on top of the economic relations of exploitation fundamental to capitalism.  We discuss Gramsci’s imperative for revolutionaries to work to build a counter-hegemony, a new proletarian understanding of how society can be restructured away from capitalist relations of exploitation.  We wrap up with some examples of how this all affects workers organizing on the shop floor, and how a solid understanding of the state reproduces its own ideology can help us build competing models for society, and fight back against capitalist hegemony in all its manifestations.

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Overtime Episode 4 - The Nature Of The State Pt 2 PREVIEW

Overtime Episode 4 - The Nature Of The State Pt 2 PREVIEW

August 12, 2021

On the second part of our Overtime series on The Nature of the State, John brings us through some of the core aspects of the Anarchist theory of the state.  Taking a look at the analysis of Kropotkin and Malatesta, we examine how the early Anarchist conception of the state is similar to the Marxist definition, and also where it differs.  With a bit of a looser structure than the first episode of the series, perhaps befitting the subject matter, we wrestle with some of the complexities of power structures, hierarchies, and the difficulties of trying to build radical new societies within the harsh material realities of the world.  We also touch on how the broader definition of the state from the early Anarchist perspective anticipates later developments in the Marxist theory under thinkers like Gramsci, which we will discuss in Part 3.

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Ep 63 - No More Overdraft Fees

Ep 63 - No More Overdraft Fees

August 11, 2021

This week’s episode starts by following up with the striking UMWA workers at the Warrior Met coal mine in Alabama who have recently picketed in NYC in front of Blackrock and also held a large solidarity rally drawing union workers from across the country.  We also cover the declaration of one NLRB official that Amazon made a fair election in Bessemer “impossible” and therefore the election should be rerun.  We discuss an excellent piece by friend of the show Sam Knight on Walmart and its associated banks’ predatory practices targeting poor workers, illegal anti-union actions taken by both Elon and Kimbal Musk, and how agricultural workers are bearing the brunt of the burden of dealing with climate change.  Finally, over 800 auto mechanics are on strike in Chicago, where dealerships are attempting to slash contributions to healthcare funds and cut pay.  

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Ep 62 - OSHA Won’t Save Us

Ep 62 - OSHA Won’t Save Us

August 5, 2021
We’re back to the regular news format this week and it’s a heavy one. First we follow up with the Frito-Lay workers, who have won some concessions from the company after being on strike for almost 3 weeks. Then we cover a major truck drivers’ strike across Puerto Rico that has resulted in a confrontation between the local government and the colonial “oversight board” installed by the US. We also discuss OSHA issuing paltry fines for a liquid nitrogen leak that killed 6 workers at a food processing plant in Georgia, and US politicians doing nothing to prevent the shutdown of one of the largest generic pharmaceutical plants in the US and the loss of its 1500 jobs. The past week has seen a flurry of organizing activity around revelations of major misconduct and a pervasive culture of sexual harassment at Activision Blizzard specifically and across the games industry generally. Finally, we cover California Dr. Pepper workers voting to unionize with the Teamsters, threatening to shut down the whole region’s production if the company doesn’t bargain in good faith.
 
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Ep 61 - Iran Oil Strike Interview

Ep 61 - Iran Oil Strike Interview

July 28, 2021
On this week’s episode of Work Stoppage we were lucky enough to be joined by a guest, Ida Nikou, a PhD student studying labor relations in Iran to discuss the recent strikes among temporary and contract workers in Iran’s oil industry. We learn some of the background on the situation for workers in Iran across various industries, what kinds of unions exist, what level of labor rights (or lack thereof) most workers have in Iran, and generally discuss the parallels and differences between the conditions workers face in both Iran and the US. We go over the specific conditions faced by the oil workers that lead to this wave of strikes and the impact they’ve had in Iran. Finally we discuss the ways US imperialism has exacerbated this situation, and the importance of workers within the US standing against US imperialism in solidarity with workers around the world.

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Overtime Episode 3 - The Nature of the State Pt 1 PREVIEW

Overtime Episode 3 - The Nature of the State Pt 1 PREVIEW

July 28, 2021

If you’re not a patron you can get the full episode by visiting patreon.com/workstoppage and support us with $5 a month.

On this Overtime episode, the first in a series, John, Lina, and Dan take some time to dig into the fundamentals behind our understandings of the nature of the state: what it is, its historical development, how it functions, and how it can be changed. During this first part of our discussion, Dan takes us through the theoretical work and historical analysis on the state by Marx, Engels, and Lenin, how they defined the state, how they foresaw it being abolished in the future, and how we could get from where we are under the domination of the capitalist ruling class, to a real democracy where workers would have state power instead of a tiny rich ruling class. We talk about how their theories apply today, how we see their historical materialist analysis reflected in the US state today, and why their theories remain vital for workers struggles for control of their own lives.

In the next episode(s) in this series, John will bring in analysis of the state from the Anarchist perspective, and we will take a look at how later theorists like Gramsci and Althusser expand on these concepts based on modern historical developments.

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EP 60 - Let Public Workers Strike

EP 60 - Let Public Workers Strike

July 21, 2021

After a bit of a detour talking about Cuba, this week’s episode starts with a follow up on the striking SEIU Local 73 Cook County workers who have ended their strike after securing several key victories.  Then we take a look at the surge in support for rank and file democracy at the latest Teamsters convention and the prospects for a major win for the Teamsters for a Democratic Union slate.  We discuss a new report documenting the obscene ratio between average executive pay and average worker pay, and also cover workers in India who have gone on hunger strike to protest the closure of the yarn factory they worked at and how the local government is using rules nominally designed to protect people from covid to crack down on them.  Also this week, public workers in Massachusetts are pushing to repeal a law banning them from striking, and workers at Great Lakes Brewing Company have organized a union to try and ensure that they actually have a voice in the operation of their “employee owned” brewery.

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EP 59 - Scab Bullies

EP 59 - Scab Bullies

July 15, 2021

Dan is back from vacation and this week’s episode starts with a follow up on the striking Cook County Health workers and nurses, where the nurses won major concessions from the county but the other healthcare workers remain on strike. Next we cover some of the evolving tactics the UMWA workers have been using during their ongoing strike at Warrior Met coal, as well as recent revelations that Amazon has been instructing its managers not to tell employees when they’ve been placed on “performance improvement plans” which could result in their termination.  We also cover a week-long strike by workers at the Chicago-based Portillo’s chain, a bizarre dual contract situation at a Pepsi plant in Indiana, and finish up discussing Iceland’s move to a 4 day work week.  

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EP 58 - Doughnut Workers United Interview

EP 58 - Doughnut Workers United Interview

July 14, 2021
On last week’s episode we discussed the recent strike by workers organizing with Doughnut Workers United at Voodoo Doughnuts in Portland during the recent heat wave. This week we were lucky enough to be able to interview one of the workers illegally fired in retaliation for that strike. We discuss the general conditions at Voodoo Doughnuts, the tactics used by management to combat the union drive, and how the company tried to justify its firing of workers for a legally protected strike action over unsafe work conditions.
 
Listeners can help out the affected workers by donating here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/dwu-strike-and-hardship-fund-june-2021
 
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EP 57 - We See This All The Time feat. @laborkyle

EP 57 - We See This All The Time feat. @laborkyle

July 8, 2021
This week we are joined by @laborkyle as a guest! We start with a follow-up from the Colorado Labor Board on how employers aren't allowed to just put "not hiring in Colorado" on their listings to avoid labor law. We then cover the retaliatory firing of workers for a workplace safety strike at Voodoo Doughnuts, ways in which Trader Joe's is attacking worker rights again, and how Amazon's work conditions are so bad that some of their contractors have had to stop doing business entirely. Finally we end on a strike at a Frito-Lay plant in Tacoma which is also a partial struggle to get democracy in their union, and the repression of Atlanta's Homeless Union by the police.
 
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EP 56 - Fast Food Bank

EP 56 - Fast Food Bank

June 29, 2021

This week’s episode starts with a follow up on the Cedar Point Nursery Supreme Court case we covered in our interview with Sam Knight, where the Court has now made it functionally illegal to do workplace organizing of agricultural workers in California.  Then we cover 2700 Chicago area nurses and other hospital staff going on strike for better wages and to stop plans to double their healthcare costs.  We also discuss a recent series of wildcat strikes by workers for delivery startup Gorillas in Germany, states using facial recognition software to deny unemployment benefits, and the Teamsters recent momentous vote to make organizing Amazon workers their top priority.  Finally, we close with a heartwarming story from Marseille, France, where workers have seized a closed McDonald’s and turned it into a food bank serving hundreds of families every week.  

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EP 55 - Convenience Store Panopticon

EP 55 - Convenience Store Panopticon

June 27, 2021

On this week’s episode of Work Stoppage we start out following up on the BlockTheBoat campaign, which has faced police violence after moving up the west coast to Seattle.  Then we discuss the recent Supreme Court ruling defending Nestlé and Cargill’s use of child slavery in Africa, and workers at the AFL-CIO’s offices filing a labor complaint against the Federation for its plan to force them back into the office.  We also cover union busting at a charter school named for Brazilian labor activist and educator Paulo Friere, major corporations refusing to be transparent about job salaries in Colorado, and a dystopic move to remotely monitor convenience store employees 24/7.  

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EP 54 - Evil Foods Interview

EP 54 - Evil Foods Interview

June 26, 2021

We have a special interview episode this week as we are joined by two former employees of "No Evil" Foods, who tell us what it was like to face a fierce union busting campaign from a company supposedly founded on progressive values.  The anti-union campaign waged by Evil Foods against its employees, followed by the firing of the entire production staff, is one of the starkest recent reminders than no matter how nice your boss is, they will throw you on the street if it will make them more money.

Help out the former Evil Foods employees:  https://givebutter.com/PlVQ64

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EP 53 - Use Your Collective Power

EP 53 - Use Your Collective Power

June 19, 2021

We open this week’s episode with a follow up on the Warrior Met coal miners’ strike, where striking workers have faced repeated car attacks while picketing. We also catch up on the striking ATI steelworkers, who are pushing back on company attacks on their healthcare.  Then we cover the Biden Administration’s recent betrayal of a campaign promise to extend OSHA protections to cover covid, and a fight by pilots in India for protections and fair compensation after hundreds have been hospitalized.  We discuss “No Evil” Foods recent extremely evil move of firing their entire production staff, a successful organizing drive by preschool teachers in Colorado, and finish up with Argentina’s new law to protect the rights of trans workers.  

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