Belabored Podcast #169: Shutting it Down, with Sara Nelson

Belabored Podcast #169: Shutting it Down, with Sara Nelson

We’re joined by AFA President Sara Nelson, whose leadership of flight attendants and calls for a general strike helped end the government shutdown.

Sara Nelson, the International President of the Association of Flight Attendants, at a press conference on aviation safety during the shutdown (ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)

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It’s been a week of labor whiplash as federal workers returned to work, but remained wary of more chaos ahead amid ongoing gridlock on Capitol Hill. We talk to Sara Nelson, the flight attendant and union advocate whose leadership and call for a general strike helped end the shutdown, and George Faraday of Good Jobs Nation, about the impact of the shutdown on federal subcontracted workers and the ongoing privatization crisis in government.

In other news, we discuss the Colorado teacher strike and aftermath, Honduran farmworkers mobilizing for union rights under the Fair Trade label, the track record on corporate abuses and civil rights lawsuits, and a new bill for fast food workers’ rights in New York—with additional comments from NYC Council member Brad Lander on the victory against Amazon (more to come on that in future episodes). With recommended reading on the challenge of the Green New Deal and the problems with Alfonso Cuarón’s celebrated movie Roma.

This week’s show was supported by our monthly sustaining members. If you think our work is worth supporting as we soldier on through Trumplandia, please consider becoming a member today. If you’re interested in advertising on the show, please email And as always, if you have any questions, comments, or tips, email us at


Michelle: Corporations Have Paid Out at Least $2.7 Billion in Civil-Rights and Labor Lawsuits Since 2000 (The Nation)

Michelle: The Supreme Court’s War on Class-Action Lawsuits (The Nation)

Denver Public Schools, union reach tentative agreement to end city’s first teachers strike in 25 years (Denver Post)

Denver teachers “elated” to be back in classrooms following deal to end strike (Denver Post)

Denver Students Stage Their Own Walkout in Solidarity With Striking Teachers (Splinter)

Why we fight. DCTA Strike (Colorado Education Association)

Michelle: Labor Unrest Is Erupting on Honduran Plantations—And Rattling the Global Supply Chain (In These Times)

After Winning a $15 Minimum Wage, Fast Food Workers Now Battle Unfair Firings (New York Times)



Sara Nelson, International President of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO

General Strike 2019

George Faraday: Over 1 million federal contract workers may be jobless Because of Trump Shutdown (Good Jobs Nation)

Argh, I Wish I’d Written That!

Michelle: Paul Mason, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal is radical but it needs to be credible too (New Statesman)

Sarah: Sophie Lewis, I Like Being Dead (Blind Field)