Belabored Podcast #57: Organizing the South, with Ben Speight

Belabored Podcast #57: Organizing the South, with Ben Speight

This week, Belabored talks to Ben Speight, a veteran organizer with Teamsters 728 in Georgia, about building the labor movement in the South. Plus: transgender discrimination at Hobby Lobby, teachers supporting postal workers, and why workers should have a say in who runs the company.

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In the wake of the defeat of UAW in Chattanooga, the spread of anti-worker “Right to Work” laws and the warped Tea-Party politics of Red State America, you might wonder whether the labor movement has a future in the South. Well, this week, we ask a Southerner. Ben Speight is a veteran organizer with Teamsters 728 in Georgia and has been on the front lines of a number of successful campaigns, scoring major victories with unionization drives in traditionally non-union sectors, grassroots advocacy for low-wage workers, and coalition-building with myriad civil rights and progressive groups. He talks to us about the oft-overlooked potential of Southern workers to seed new alliances between labor and community.

Our news round-up looks at the White House’s new executive order on LGBT discrimination and transgender equality at work, why workers should have a say in who runs the company, the anti-privatization showdown between the post office and the Office Superstore, and Subway Sandwich workers savoring a union victory. Plus, recommended reading on auto-parts workers getting sick in Alabama and World Cup migrant laborers dying in Qatar.


White House Says No Religious Exemptions Will Be Included In Administration’s New Anti-Discrimination Order (ThinkProgress)

Michelle: Hobby Lobby Is Now Discriminating Against a Transgender Employee (The Nation)

The case for employees to pick their CEO (Fortune)

Postal union workers to protest at Staples in Loop (Chicago Tribune)

Michelle: National Teachers’ Union Expected To Join Staples Boycott (Huffington Post)

Why Your Local Postal Workers Hate Staples (The Motley Fool)

Workers At a Subway Sandwich Shop Vote To Unionize (Huffington Post)

Conversation with Ben Speight

Teamsters Local 728

Coca Cola captive audience meeting recording

Another Teamster organizing victory in Georgia!

Sarah: Port Trucking Companies Steal More Than $1 Billion in Wages From Drivers

Sarah: Forever Temp?

Michelle: Temp Nation: How Corporations Are Evading Accountability, at Workers’ Expense

Sarah: New Georgia Bill Includes $10,000 Fine, Felony for “Conspiracy” for Picketing, Protest

Sarah: 6 Ways to Juice Up the Labor Movement

Sarah: Sharecropping on Wheels

Argh, I Wish I’d Written That!

Michelle: Priyanka Motaparthy, ‘It’s Like Jail Here’: Watching the World Cup finals
in the labor camps of Qatar
(Foreign Policy)

Sarah: Seth Freed Wessler, What’s Making These Selma , Alabama Auto Parts Workers So Sick? (NBC News)