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Unionization has always been about labor rights—but is the right to form a union also a civil right? How might the politics and culture of organized labor change if society saw unionization not simply as an exercise of collective power in the workplace, but as an individual entitlement, part of one’s economic citizenship? We explore this question with Moshe Marvit, a Century Foundation fellow who recently helped turn the idea into legislation now pending in Congress. We also discuss minority unionism, technology and labor exploitation, and how our concepts of labor rights are evolving in response to economic shifts and intensifying legal attacks on the labor movement.
In our news round-up, there’s the latest on labor’s role in the movements against police brutality and in defense of Gaza, Starbucks’s lukewarm attempts at reform, and labor unity among Times Square’s costumed characters. And finally, recommended reading on why teaching is not a business, and why the workday should not be eight hours.
NYC teachers union gets behind Eric Garner protest march, rally (Staten Island Advance)
UFT announcement (Facebook)
Michelle: What Would Real Economic Justice Look Like in Ferguson? (The Nation)
“Mike Brown Is Our Son” (LaborNotes)
Israeli ship is blocked from unloading in Oakland for four straight days (Electronic Intifada)
Oakland Activists “Block the Boat” for Three Days Running (In These Times)
Times Square costumed characters band together with goal of forming labor union (New York Daily News)
Michelle: How Starbucks’s ‘Flexible’ Scheduling Is Stretching Workers to the Breaking Point (The Nation)
Conversation with Moshe Marvit
Richard D. Kahlenberg and Moshe Marvit: Why Labor Organizing Should Be a Civil Right: Rebuilding a Middle-Class Democracy by Enhancing Worker Voice (Century Foundation)
Making workers’ rights a civil right (The Hill)
Moshe Marvit: In Order to Grow, Does Labor Need to Shrink? (In These Times)
Argh, I Wish I’d Written That!
Sarah: Nathan Schneider, Who Stole the Four-Hour Workday? (VICE)
Michelle: David Kirp, Teaching Is Not a Business (New York Times)