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Lawmakers across the country are racing to pass so-called “right-to-work” legislation, the euphemistically named union-busting policy that restricts the collection of fees from all workers covered by a union contract. Militating against the principle of the union shop, right-to-work campaigns have pushed bills in various states, coupled with court battles and fierce anti-union rhetoric peddled by politicians like Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. This week, Loyola University historian Elizabeth Shermer speaks with Belabored about the politics and history of right-to-work policies, and what labor can do to fight back.
We also discuss the groundbreaking new student debt strike led by the Debt Collective, the truth about Walmart’s wage hike, the battle in Seattle for fair wages, and catering workers pressuring airlines to beef up their paltry healthcare benefits. With recommended reading about the evils of “workforce management” technology and the broken workers’ compensation system.
Sarah: ‘We won’t pay’: students in debt take on for-profit college institution (The Guardian)
Michelle: What Happens if You Refuse to Pay Off Your Student Debt? (The Nation)
Michelle: What You Should Know About Walmart’s Raise (The Nation)
How Seattle Led the Country’s Wage Revolution (Yes! Magazine)
Elizabeth Shermer: Democracy on the Defensive in Michigan (LAWCHA)
As White House defends unions, states go on the attack (Al Jazeera America)
The Folly of “Right to Work” (Dissent)
Michelle: Despite Exemptions, Police and Firefighters Show Labor Solidarity in Michigan Right-to-Work Battle (In These Times)
Argh, I Wish I’d Written That!
Sarah: Michael Grabell and Howard Berkes, The Demolition of Workers’ Comp (ProPublica)
Michelle: Esther Kaplan, The Spy Who Fired Me (Harper’s)