Belabored Podcast #130: Retail Warriors

Belabored Podcast #130: Retail Warriors

In this special episode on the retail industry, organizers and workers from around the country talk about their fights to win fair wages and scheduling.

At Seattle City Council's first hearing on fair workweek legislation, 2013 (Center for Popular Democracy)
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Retail remains one of the fastest-growing and most common jobs in the United States, despite recent doom and gloom headlines. But when people think of the working class, they still tend to picture a hard hat or an assembly line. This week, we dig into the world of retail, talking to organizers and workers from around the country who have been focused on raising wages, securing schedules, and winning power for the workers who sell, stock, and clean the stores where we buy our clothes and goods. We speak with Carrie Gleason of the Center for Popular Democracy, Stuart Appelbaum of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, and Kelby Peeler, Kwame Grant and Anya Svanoe of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment.

In a related story, we hear from a Walmart worker on the latest fight for medical leave, and the (good) news on the impact of Seattle’s $15 minimum wage. We also get updated on the moves of the Senate to pass Trumpcare, and hear from Randy Bryce, a union ironworker who is running to beat Paul Ryan. For Argh, we consider the new working class, and return to one of our favorite topics: port truck drivers.

If you think our work is worth supporting as we soldier on through Trumplandia, please consider becoming a sustaining member of Belabored or donating or subscribing to Dissent. Help keep us going for the next 130 episodes!


Senate Health Bill in Peril as CBO Predicts 22 Million More Uninsured (New York Times)

What the Republican Healthcare Holdouts Want (The Atlantic)

Michelle: No, Seattle’s $15 Minimum Wage Is Not Hurting Workers (The Nation)

Sarah: Challenging Paul Ryan on his home turf

Pointing Out: How Walmart Unlawfully Punishes Workers for Medical Absences (A Better Balance)


Sarah: America’s Massive Retail Workforce is Tired of Being Ignored (Racked)

Argh, I Wish Id Written That!

Sarah: Gabriel Winant, The New Working Class (Dissent)

Michelle: Brett Murphy, Rigged: Forced into debt. Worked past exhaustion. Left with nothing. (USA Today)