Belabored Podcast #88: Dismantling Two-Tier

Belabored Podcast #88: Dismantling Two-Tier

Recent contract negotiations at Fiat Chrysler are signaling an end to the infamous two-tier wage system. We speak with Chrysler worker Alex Wassell and Professor of Industrial Relations at Clark University Gary Chaison about the new deal.

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Back at the start of the Great Recession the U.S. auto industry was crashing and the United Auto Workers were scrambling to stop the bleeding. Out of the turmoil came the infamous two-tier wage system. But the recent contract negotiations at Fiat Chrysler are signaling an end to the two-tier system, with a large majority of workers opposing the policy. We speak with Alex Wassell, a skilled trades worker who has been at the Chrysler FCA Warren Stamping Plant for twenty-two years, and longtime auto labor observer Gary Chaison of Clark University, about what the new deal means, the potential outcome of the contract talks, and the future of the UAW.

We also look at the latest organizing battles in digital media and Teach for America, intern oppression in China, and dirty labor practices at famed photo gear retailer B&H. With recommended reading on the history of the Labor Party’s awkward experiment in electoral politics, and the failure of working-class politics in Washington today. A special thanks this week to our friends at Labor Notes for their help.


Photo retailer B&H faces unwanted exposure over worker safety (Al Jazeera America)

Michelle: Workers Fight Back Against Racism, Wage Theft, Toxic Hazards, and Chronic Overwork at Brooklyn B&H Warehouse (The Nation)

Michelle: This Is What It Takes to Unionize a Newsroom (The Nation)

Michelle: The Unionization of Digital Media (The Nation)

Sarah and Michelle: Belabored Podcast #82: Labor Rising in New Media, with Justin Molito (Dissent)

NLRB: Teach for America corps members have a right to unionize (Detroit Metro Times)

NLRB Rules Teach for America Members Have a Right to Unionize (The American Prospect)

Michelle: The Secret Weapon for Cutting Costs at Chinese Factories? Interns (The Nation)

Servants of Servers (Danwatch)


Alex Wassell,  UAW member and employee at Chrysler FCA Warren Stamping Plant

Gary Chaison, Professor of Industrial Relations, Clark University

Fiat Chrysler Union Contract Faces Hurdles (New York Times)

Chrysler Workers Vote 2 to 1 to Reject Two-Tier Pact (Labor Notes)

Are those detested two-tiered UAW contracts finally on the way out? (Los Angeles Times)

Argh, I Wish I’d Written That!

Sarah: Hamilton Nolan, The White House Can’t Win the Class War (Gawker)

Michelle: Mark Dudzic and Derek Seidman, Looking Back at the Labor Party (New Labor Forum)