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Weekend Picks: Stand With Workers

Here's what our media partners have been up to this week.

Dear OptersOut!

We’re busy working on our nonprofit application, so today’s news roundup is going to be a little shorter than normal. First, a quick update: We secured pro bono legal assistance from Lawyers for Reporters, a joint project of the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice and the Press Freedom Defense Fund. They’re advising us and have connected us with law firms to help get our nonprofit application over the finish line and comply with nonprofit requirements going forward. We’re very grateful for their help.

Today’s theme is labor. Many of the great outlets in our independent media network (support them!) cover workers’ issues, and there’s been a lot of news on that front recently.

As always, thank you for following our project at OptOut. Please consider supporting us as we get closer to launching the app (limited beta release is set for April, with a full release in summer) by becoming a paid subscriber to this newsletter.

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FAIR: ‘To Fight Back, Workers Are Going to Need Access to Data Rights’

Janine Jackson interviews Open Society’s Bama Athreya about defending gig workers in this episode of CounterSpin, FAIR’s podcast.

Uber, Lyft and DoorDash spent some $205 million on California’s Prop 22, the most money ever spent on a ballot initiative. For big money, these so-called gig economy companies won themselves a big prize: the continued ability to evade labor laws by deeming their drivers independent contractors rather than employees.

Listen to the episode


The American Prospect: Warehouse Workers Wage Historic Fight for Union Recognition at Amazon

via Tony Webster/Flickr
Amazon is no stranger to doing everything it can to defeat workers’ efforts to win some say in the conditions of their work. At Bessemer, it has mounted an assault on the workers’ attempts to form a union. It continually texts anti-union messages to its workers; it has created an anti-union website, DoItWithoutDues.com, and has compelled workers to attend “captive audience” meetings with managers to hear yet another anti-union message. And it hasn’t stopped there.

Read the article


Daily Poster: Lies, Damn Lies, And Fact Checking

via Seattle City Council

Speaking of Amazon—well, the newspaper owned by Amazon’s chairman—you have to read this brutal takedown of WaPo’s comically bad fact checker, Glenn Kessler.

The newspaper owned by a man worth $180 billion is deploying fact checking to try to revise the entire history of the tax cuts that enriched his retail conglomerate. And what a coincidence — the revision is happening just as the tax policy may be revisited by a new Democratic president.

Read the piece


Gravel Institute: The Man Who Exposed Amazon

This video focuses on Chris Smalls, an Amazon warehouse employee who exposed their deeply unsafe working conditions, and includes an interview with Tim Bray – who played a key role in building Amazon Web Services, the key profit engine in Jeff Bezos's machine.

Tech Won’t Save Us: Amazon’s Vigorous Opposition to Unions

In case you aren’t already sick of hearing about Amazon’s horrible practices, here’s Tech Won’t Save Us with an interview of Vice labor reporter Lauren Kaori Gurle‪y‬.

Listen to the episode


Jacobin: On the Picket Line at Hunts Point

via Charlie Baker/Twitter
We should all cheer on strikes like the recently ended Hunts Point Teamsters walk off in the Bronx. But there’s no substitute for socialists actually showing up on the picket lines to provide tangible material support and engage with striking workers.

Read the article


District Sentinel: Teachers Fight Back in Chicago, Again

Check out this District Sentinel interview with Chicago Teachers Union’s Kenzo Shibata.

Chicago teachers are on the verge of their second strike in 15 months thanks to the city's mayor and her plans to reopen schools during a pandemic.

Listen to the episode


Katie Halper: "Suck It Up!" - Bloomberg to Public School Teachers

Billionaire Michael Bloomberg, who helped ruin New York City's public school system, tells public school teachers to "suck it up," and go back to work. He tries really hard to pretend that he cares about kids, but his contempt for the poor, teachers, and teachers unions is palpable.

Discourse Blog: The Shameless Greed of Kroger, Our New Capitalist Supervillain

CBS Los Angeles/YouTube

Move over, Publix.

The [store] closures were in direct response to a new city law mandating an extra $4 an hour for grocery workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision immediately prompted a backlash.

Read the article


The Jacobin Show: Organizing Higher Ed, Working for a Union, & Rebuilding Labor

The Jacobin Show's Paul Prescod answers viewers' questions on labor, including how to organize professors and researchers in higher ed, how to work full-time as a union organizer, and how we can start to rebuild the labor movement under neoliberalism.