Subscribe to the Belabored RSS feed here. Support the podcast on Patreon. Subscribe and rate on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify. Tweet at @DissentMag with #Belabored to share your thoughts, or join the conversation on Facebook. Check out the full archive here. Belabored is produced by Colin Kinniburgh.
Last week, workers at the Grangemouth oil refinery in Scotland walked off the job in a wildcat strike over pay. These subcontracted workers, as well as others at oil industry sites around Britain, are just the latest critical infrastructure workers to realize their power after two years of pandemic, when they were deemed essential—and watched industry profits spike—while they accepted pay freezes. This is all happening against a backdrop of swelling anger across Britain as prices, particularly energy prices, spike and are predicted to go even higher this winter. Unions are calling strikes and organizing protests with community groups to demand action. Ewan Gibbs, a historian of energy, industry, work, and protest, a lecturer in global inequalities at the University of Glasgow, and the author of Coal Country: The Meaning and Memory of Deindustrialization in Postwar Scotland, joins the podcast to talk about the strikes, the history of energy workers’ organizing, new organizing, and renationalizing energy.
We also look at the launch of the Enough is Enough campaign, the return of rail strikes across Britain, the ongoing union drives at Starbucks with Starbucks union activists Ben South and Stephanie Heslop, a new bill in California that could move fast food workers toward sectoral bargaining, and wildcat strikes at Amazon. For Argh, we consider the rise of workplace productivity surveillance, and the labor of the crossword-puzzle industry.
Thank you for listening to our 253rd episode! If you like the show, you can support us on Patreon with a monthly contribution, at the level that best suits you.
Evie Breese, Amazon wildcat strikes enter second week as UK workers protest over pay, Big Issue
Simon Childs & Polly Smythe, Hundreds of Amazon Workers Stage Wildcat Strike Over ‘Kick in the Teeth’ Pay Offer, Novara Media
India Lawrence, Everything you need to know about the tube strike in August, TimeOut
Megan Camponovo, Fast food workers demand FAST recovery act passage at state capitol, FOX40
Benjamin Sachs, California’s FAST Act: A Promising Move Toward Sectoral Regulation, OnLabor
Danielle Wiener-Bronner, Starbucks asks labor board to halt mail-in union ballots, CNN
Abraham Kenmore, Augusta Starbucks union organizer fired for ‘March on Boss’ prior to strike, Augusta Chronicle
Jake Johnson, Store Walkout Over Firing of Starbucks Union Organizer Racks Up 20 Million Views on TikTok, Common Dreams
Itzel Luna, Two more California Starbucks stores go on strike, joining Santa Cruz workers at the picket line, Los Angeles Times
@EwanGibbs on Twitter
Simon Childs, Workers Stage Wildcat Strike at Major Oil Refinery, Novara Media
Joanna Partridge, Workers block road at Ineos Grangemouth oil refinery in pay dispute, Guardian
Andrew Fisher, What nationalising energy companies would cost – and how to do it, openDemocracy
Argh, I wish I’d written that!
Sarah: Jodi Kantor and Arya Sundaram, The Rise of the Worker Productivity Score, New York Times
Michelle: Matt Hartman, Inside the Elite, Underpaid, and Weird World of Crossword Writers, The New Republic