Belabored Podcast #71: Building Care, with Ai-jen Poo

Belabored Podcast #71: Building Care, with Ai-jen Poo

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MacArthur Fellow, founder of Domestic Workers United, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, co-founder of Caring Across Generations—Ai-jen Poo has many titles and accolades to her name. She’s now added another one to the list: author, of the new book The Age of Dignity: Preparing for the Elder Boom in a Changing America. In that book, she makes the case that the United States needs to create a new caring infrastructure to deal with its aging population—and that, importantly, that infrastructure needs to ensure that caring jobs are good jobs, paid well, with reasonable hours and the respect that is too often denied to care workers. She joins us this week to talk about her book, her work organizing domestic workers, how care work is undervalued, and how racism and sexism contributed to the crisis in caring labor.

We also bring you an update from the United Steelworkers’ growing oil strike, a look at the labor strife slowing down West Coast ports, the bad news from Illinois, where the new governor is declaring a war on public sector unions, and some good news from right here in New York, where the Cablevision workers have won a three-year-plus struggle for a union. For “Argh,” we revisit the working conditions of home care aides and of freelance journalists.


Managers bunk down at US refineries as United Steelworkers strike enters third week (Reuters)

Nurses join oil workers’ strike at Tesoro refinery (Contra Costa Times)

Labor Network for Sustainability Calls for Support for Oil Strikers (Labor Network for Sustainability)

In Stand for People and Planet Over Profit, Green Groups Back Oil Worker Strike (Common Dreams)

Oil Workers Threaten to Expand Strike to Long Beach Port (Bloomberg)

As strike continues, Exxon Mobil offers a bonus for a five-year deal in Beaumont (Houston Chronicle)

Class Struggle Environmentalism (Jacobin)

Dock workers labor dispute: more cargo ships backed up at west coast hub in US (The Guardian)

Republicans Think They’ve Finally Figured Out How to Kill Unions (The New Republic)

Sarah: How 262 Cable Technicians Defeated A Union-Busting Giant (The Nation)


The Age of Dignity: Preparing for the Elder Boom in a Changing America by Ai-jen Poo

Caring Across Generations

Domestic Workers United

Argh, I Wish I’d Written That!

Sarah: Bryce Covert, Meet The Workers Caring For Our Elderly While Living In Poverty (ThinkProgress)

Michelle: David Uberti, New survey reveals everything you think about freelancing is true (Columbia Journalism Review)