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The Working Life Podcast with Jonathan Tasini

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Jonathan Tasini's ruminations on work, the economy, and politics.

Jonathan Tasini's ruminations on work, the economy, and politics.
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Jonathan Tasini's ruminations on work, the economy, and politics.






Episode 104: Traister Talks “Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger”

Episode 104: I am devoting the entire podcast this week to Rebecca Traister’s new book, “Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger”. I rarely do books on this show because, once you start, where do you draw the line on what I *have* to read? But, this is an important topic—I had the chance to record Rebecca’s talk at one of the nation’s absolute best bookstores, Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon. In keeping with the topic, our Robber Baron of the week is the CEO of...


Ep 103: Progressive Ideas In A Conservative District; Riggers Taking on Anti-Union Rhino Gone Wild

Episode 103: I’ve been featuring dozens of progressive candidates running at all levels. Many of them have not won their races, largely primaries. But, as I’ve said before, the conversation that such progressive bring to a race is so key—especially in more conservative areas. So, I talk to Mike Ellison, a working class union member, who is running for the relatively conservative Oregon’s 19th House District on a strong progressive platform. Then, I dig into a campaign by unionized riggers...


Episode 102: NEW Data Show It: Women Will Power November Wave; The New Republican Treasury Robbery

Episode 102: It doesn’t matter where a woman sits on the political spectrum—solid majorities of Democratic, Independent and Republican women support policies you could term “progressive”. I talk with Celinda Lake, a long-time national pollster who conducted a just-released survey, which points to a powerful wave of women voters who will shape the coming election. And they are at it again: the Republicans are, under cover of other controversies, pushing through yet another robbery of the...


Episode 101: Shocker! Drug Companies Scam The People; D.C. Tipped Workers Shafted By Pols?

Episode 101: I know--you're shocked, shocked to hear that major drug companies are dodging taxes & stashing billions in tax havens around the world. Oxfam's Robbie Silverman joins me to talk about the organization's blockbuster report, and how Big Pharma's Gang of Four is hurting millions of people. Then, it's over to the nation's Capitol where the local politicians think they know better than voters--after the people voted to require higher minimum wages for tipped workers, the mayor and...


Episode 100: The Human Pain In Every Morsel You Eat; NY Progressives Chalk Up Big Wins

Episode 100: A quick "birthday" promo: you are listening to the 100th episode of the podcast. Make today the day you become one of our small financial supporters--go to, click on the Patreon link and sign up to be a monthly contributor. Every bite of food you take has a lot of sweat and tears of agricultural workers around the world. I welcome back our good friend and global organizer Shawna Bader-Blau, executive director of the Solidarity Center, to talk about the tens of...


Episode 99: Anonymous Tells Unintended Truths; Cutting Off The Prison Industry; Bank Workers Woes

Episode 99: Anonymous did, in fact, do us a great favor—but probably not in the way he or she (most likely a “he”) thinks. I ruminate a bit on the point I have made for a long time—Anonymous simply showed us that Donald Trump and the Republican Party, as a whole, are one and the same. I, then, turn to a discussion with American Federation of Teachers leader Jay Rehak about his union’s efforts to use its large pension fund holdings to undercut the private prison industry’s role in tearing...


Ep.73: WV Teachers Walk The Line; Climate Change Gets Real in Washington; Hawaii Progressive Runs

Episode 73: Nine days striking isn't the longest walk-out you will see. But, when you do that in defiance of the law, whoa, now that's showing some spine. Jonathan kicks off the podcast with a chat with the president of the West Virginia Education Association, Dale Lee, to get a read on what we can learn from the teachers' victory. Jonathan, then, takes up the topic of climate change "just transition" with the president of the Washington State Labor Council, Jeff Johnson, who is among the...


Episode 72: Political Roadtrip Through Kansas, Illinois & California

Episode 72: Jonathan continues his deep-dive series interviewing scores of progressives candidates running all across the country with three new segments with three Congressional candidates: James Thompson in Kansas, David Gill in Illinois and Rico Franco in California…all regular people jumping into the electoral world. Our Robber Barons of the week are the U.S. Senate fools—including 12 Democrats—who are supporting a rollback in banking regulations put in place to prevent another financial...


Ep 71: The Cockroaches In The Axis of Bigots-Supreme Court Justices-Greedy Billionaires

Episode 71: The attacks against public sector unions—an attack on all working people—reached their legal pinnacle Monday when the Supreme Court heard the case, Janus v. AFSCME. But, something else is exposed in the case: the links between the conservative right-wing ideologues on the Supreme Court, greedy billionaires and piles of money that have funded bigots, racists and a general assault on a progressive society. Jonathan looks at the whole terrain in talks with three national leaders and...


Episode 70: Forget ISIS. Amazon Is The (Economic) Terrorist To Fear

Ep. 70: ISIS poses virtually no threat to you in your home. The same can’t be said for Amazon. Amazon really is an economic terrorist. That's what Jonathan spends most of the podcast this week digging into—after laying out the picture of the sorry spectacle of cities and states begging Amazon to locate its new headquarters in one of their communities, Jonathan turns to economic and tax experts who explain the fraudulent claims Amazon repeatedly makes about what a great job creator the...


Ep 69: A 28 Hour Work Week? Plus: Progressive Candidates Running in California and North Carolina

Episode 69: In Germany, the most powerful union in the country just secured the rights of workers to opt for a—get this!--28-hour workweek. Jonathan gives us the details. And, then, Jonathan talks with two progressive candidates—Michael Bracamontes who is running for governor in California and Jenny Marshall who is looking to capture a House seat in North Carolina. Our Robber Baron is the CEO of PG&E.


Episode 68: Exposing The Political Termites At Work; Mental Clinicians Beat Back Kaiser

Episode 68: We love this description of the people burrowing deep inside government agencies to screw the people: political termites. And it comes courtesy of investigative journalist David Cay Johnston who returns to the podcast to discuss with Jonathan his new book, "It's Even Worse Than You Think: What The Trump Administration Is Doing To America". Jonathan also chats with two union organizers—Sal Rosselli and Clem Papazian--who have helped tame hospital giant Kaiser Permanente in an...


Episode 67: The Global Super-Wealthy Motto--Get Rich While Millions Die.

Episode 67: The super-wealthy keep getting richer and, while they are human beings, they just don't seem to care how many people die or go hungry while billionaires party on. That's the only conclusion you can come to after reading a new stunning report about global wealth and inequality out from Oxfam--and Jonathan delves into the report with Oxfam's Paul O'Brien. Jonathan also chats with Katie Hill, a progressive candidate running for the House seat in California's 25th District. Our...


Episode 66: Uber & Lyft Are Bad, Bad Companies; Big Union Win At The LATimes!

Episode 66: Yeah, we get it: you like Uber and Lyft because it's the "new thing" in the app-centered corporate world. But, know this: Uber and Lyft are very bad corporate actors, stomping around the country, using right-wing, anti-consumer, anti-union tactics, to trash fundamental rights in every state—as Jonathan learns from Rebecca Smith, co-author of an incredible study about the nefarious tactics the two companies use. Jonathan also circles back to hear the voice of joy of Carolina...


Ep 65: 50 Years Later, Racism Is Deeply Embedded In The System; Michigan/California Progressives

Episode 65: Fifty years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, just after he had marched on behalf of striking sanitation workers. Today, racism is still a defining characteristic of the economic system, which is what Jonathan and Janelle Jones of the Economic Policy Institute discuss in our lead segment. Jonathan then visits with two progressive Congressional candidates, one in California and the other in Michigan. Our Robber Baron is—once again—Wal-Mart and the Walton family.


Episode 64: Progressives Reach For the Governor's Mansion, And a Heartland Seat in Congress

Episode 64: Jonathan continues his on-going chats with solid progressive candidates all across the country. He chats with Abdul El-Sayed, who is vying in Michigan to be the first Muslim-American elected as governor in the history of the country. And from south-eastern Indiana, Dan Canon tells Jonathan why he jumped into a congressional race despite being, in his words, the most non-politician you could find. Our Robber Baron of the week is Big Pharma CEO Jeffrey Marrazzo.


Ep. 63: Putting A Hole In GOP Tax Scam; A Union Rising At The L.A. Times; A Progressive Runs in Iowa

Episode 63: Republicans tried all sorts of tricks in their tax scam bill to target taxpayers in Democratic states, including messing with the deduction for local and state income and property taxes…except we're smarter than they are—at least Dean Baker is. Because he's found a way to keep the deductions in a round-about way—and he explains the idea that is catching fire around the nation. For decades, the Los Angeles Times has been viciously anti-union when it came to journalists who might...


Episode 62: West-to-East, Arizona to New Hampshire, Progressives Put On Candidate Hats

Episode 62: We're not resting in the low-key week between Xmas and the New Year. Jonathan chats up Marcus Ferrell, who was Bernie Sanders' main man organizing African American voters, who is now in the fray himself, running for a state house seat in Arizona. And across the country from sunny Arizona, over in the much chillier temps of New Hampshire, Jonathan hears from progressive union leader and Bernie delegate Mark MacKenzie who is vying in a Democratic primary in the 1st Congressional...


Episode 61: IronStache! The Man Who Will Take Down Paul Ryan; The Billions Stolen From Workers Pay

Episode 61: Even Paul Ryan, the odious Speaker of the House, is in the electoral crosshairs and has a good shot at losing in the 2018 midterm elections. The man who is up to the task is Randy Bryce, better known in the Twitterverse as @ironstache. Randy joins Jonathan for a talk about politics, his campaign and the people he is seeking to give a voice in Wisconsin's First Congressional District. Looked at your paycheck recently? There is a decent chance the boss has stolen some money from...


Episode 60: BP Killed Katherine's Dad, A Colonel Runs For Office on Progressive Ideas

Episode 60: It's been 13 years since Ray Gonzalez was killed in an explosion at a British Petroleum facility in Texas. Jonathan has a searing conversation with his daughter, Katherine, who keeps his memory alive by campaigning for safety and health in the workplace. Out in California, Colonel Doug Applegate is taking another shot at unseating the odious Darrell Issa in the 49th Congressional District—Jonathan has a chat with Doug as he campaigns in a key 2018 race, and promotes a progressive...