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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 128: Walking The Stop & Shop Picket Line; A Pilot’s View of The 737 Max

Episode 128: Another day, another profitable corporation trying to skim more dough from the pockets of workers. Thousands of workers are striking Stop & Shop in the Northeast—I’m joined by Julie Sabo, one of those workers and a 38-year veteran of the company. Then, a top official of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), First Officer James Belton, chats with me about the 737 Max and the crucial role the pilots and their union play in airline safety. Our Robber Baron of the week is the CEO...


Episode 127: Sacramento and Florida Teacher Uprisings!

Episode 127: Everyone measures the morality or immorality of society based on different criteria. For some, it’s the huge numbers of people who pay outrageous amounts for prescription drugs or just go bankrupt because of health care costs. For others, it’s racism permeating our economic and social fabric or the permanent war economy the country has had for generations, wasting trillions of dollars on behalf of the military-industrial complex. Today, I hone in on the immorality of how the...


Episode 126: Equal Pay For Women…Long Way To Go; Government Workers Under Attack; J.D. Scholten

Episode 126: Yesterday was Equal Pay Day—not a celebratory day but a time, again, to raise a stink that there is still a significant pay gap between men and women in our country: on average in 2018, women were paid 22.6 percent less than men. I talk more about gender pay discrimination with economist Elise Gould. I, then, speak with Jacque Simon, policy director for the American Federation of Government Employees, about the relatively under-the-radar full-scale Trump attack on the rights of...


Episode 125: It’s A Trap Handcuffing You To A Job; NAFTA Is Still A Bad Deal

Episode 125: So, you want another job? That’s a pretty normal kind of desire for millions of people. Maybe there’s a better job out there that pays more money. Maybe the place you work just stinks, it’s abusive or you’re the target of sexual harassment. So, ok, off you go to polish up the old resume and start looking…well it isn’t that easy. You, and millions of people like you, may be trapped by a bad contract clause. I’ll talk about that wrinkle today with an expert leading a campaign to...


Episode 124: Here’s How We Fund “Medicare For All” & The Rest; Work Is Not Safe

Episode 124: I offer a public service to progressives—and to those, like me, who are irritated by progressive leaders who don’t know how to talk about specifics when it comes to policy, and just spew out sloganeering, even when they get caught making mistakes. It’s embarrassing. So, today, Matt Gardner, a leading expert on tax policy, comes back to the show to talk with me about five specific things we can do to raise close to $5 trillion over the next decade. Jot these down—and send them to...


Episode 123: Bangladesh Workers Under Attack; Wage Theft in Houston

Episode 123: If you are looking for a place to see the scourge of free market capitalism at work, you don’t have to look further than Bangladesh. I talk with Monika Hartsel of the Solidarity Center about the thousands of workers in Bangladesh who have been recently fired for protesting and demanding better wages. I, then, welcome back Marianela Acuña Arreaza of the Houston-based Faith and Justice Worker Center to discuss the widespread wage theft her organizations has uncovered. Our Robber...


Episode 122: A Union Fights Corporate Greed in Erie, PA; Kimberly Ellis Runs Again!

Episode 122: A classic workers versus corporate greed battle is underway right now in Erie, Pennsylvania. Just about 2,000 workers who make locomotives are walking the picket lines in freezing weather—and I talk with Scott Slawson, the president of the union, to get the details on their struggle against, Wabtec, a union-busting company. Kimberly Ellis is back on the show to give us an inside look at her new bid to become chair of the California Democratic Party—and she’s the front-runner!...


Episode 121: Amazon Turns Tail and Bolts; Strange Demands by The LATimes Owners

Episode 121: Here’s one thing we learned in recent days about Jeff Bezos—like all CEOs, he’s a bully and quite uninterested in engaging in a give-and-take with community leaders where Amazon does business. I talk to union leader Dave Mertz about the decision by Amazon to back out of the deal to build part of its new headquarters in New York City, mainly because Bezos was unwilling to yield an inch on union rights and other demands to alter the bad terms of the original agreement. Then, I...


Episode 120: Bernie Talks

Episode 120: In case you hadn’t heard…Bernie Sanders has entered the race for the 2020 presidential Democratic nomination. I devote the entire podcast this week to a re-airing of my in-depth conversation with Bernie just before the 2016 general election—what he had to say then is still quite relevant today. Enjoy!


Episode 119: The Corporate Grab For Your Mailbox; The Peoples’ Scientist Talks Climate Change

Episode 119: They are back—and trying to get their hands on your mailbox. Big money interests have tried for a very long time to make a ton of money by privatizing the postal service, and now the danger is ramped up with the ideologues in the White House. Mark Dimondstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union, is back on the show to explain the threat to universal, affordable mail service—and to the security of your information. I, then, chat with Katharine Hayhoe, a leading...


Episode 118: Fast Food Workers Have A Union!; A Judge’s Inside View of the Immigration System

Episode 118: Thousands of workers, and supporters, have rallied and marched for several years under the banner “Fight for 15”—a demand that fast food workers, and all workers, be paid at least $15-an-hour, almost double the poverty-level federal minimum wage, and, as important, have the right to form a union. It’s been a hard slog but a bright spot shines: workers who toil for Burgerville in Oregon have won union representation rights at three of the chain’s locations. I talk with two of the...


Episode 117: The Bezos-Style Greed Is On Fire!; Tunisian Workers Revolt

Episode 117: The rich are living the creed of the 1987 film “Wall Street”: Greed is good! Consider this: 26 billionaires now have a collective wealth of $1.4 trillion—equal to the wealth of the bottom 3.8 billion people on the planet. That’s just a smidgen of the immorality I discuss with Oxfam America’s Paul O’Brien, whose organization has a startling report out called “Public Good or Private Wealth?”. Then, I chat with Hind Cherrouk, regional director for North Africa and the Middle East...


Episode 116: Make The Climate Killer Pay; Teachers Win a Good Deal; Professionals Going Union

Episode 116: Just as we were wrapping up the podcast episode, the striking teachers in Los Angeles won a new contract. I review the highlights, and underscore the smart strategy the union used in the campaign that generated overwhelming support for the teachers. Then, I chat with climate warrior Daphne Wysham about “risk bonding”, a demand that the fossil fuel industry stop dumping the costs of environmental damage on us and start paying up, in advance, for the wreckage the industry causes....


Episode 115: Should Bernie Run?; Teachers Striking!; A National Severance Pay Now!

Episode 115: A lot of people are wondering: should Bernie Sanders run? Is Bernie going to run? In today’s episode, I consider the notion that Bernie would become the most powerful politician in the country, and it could be better for the progressive movement, if maybe he sidestepped running for president. Whoa! Then, I check in with the massive and important teachers’ strike in Los Angeles—you will hear from the president of the union, Alex Caputo-Pearl. I wrap up with a conversation with...


Episode 114: How Amazon Dodges Taxes; 22 Million Workers Get A Raise!

Episode 114: I’ve spent a fair amount of time recently on the very bad deal made by New York and Virginia with Amazon to lure the company to build its new headquarters in those two states. Amazon is an important story because of the power it exercises over our economy—a power that grows every day. This week, I talk with Oren Teicher, the CEO of the American Booksellers Association, whose perspective goes beyond the damage Amazon has done to book stores; he and I talk specifically about the...


Episode 113: The Tax Bill Scam—An Anniversary Look Back; Fighting in States For Worker Power

Episode 113: The least surprising thing I might say is: the GOP Tax bill last year was an utter scam. We knew it. But, now we have a full year to look back at the lies and the realities of the tax cuts—where has all that money gone? I discuss all this with Richard Phillips, senior policy analyst at the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy. I, then, pick apart a great report on what can be done to win workers’ rights at the state level. That’s a discussion with Paul Sonn, state policy...


Episode 112: A Con Job—Using Taxpayer Dough To Build A Stadium; A Progressive Economic Roadmap

Episode 112: I’ve loved baseball since I was a kid. But, at the same time, I don’t believe we, the people, the taxpayers, should spend a single dime to help build baseball stadiums, or any sports arena, for the rich people or corporations who own teams. Don’t believe the hype—these projects never pay back the subsidies doled out, and, in fact, the track record has been disastrous for many cities, saddling taxpayers with a pile of debt. Just a few weeks ago, the people of Portland got their...


Ep 111: Amazon Attacks Workers; Patents & Copyrights=Corp Big Bucks; The GOP Racist Tax Cuts

Episode 111: I circle back on the bad deal made by politicians in New York and Virginia with Amazon, honing in specifically on the vicious anti-unionism Amazon pursues—and, despite the hallucinating by the NYC mayor that somehow bringing Amazon to NYC will magically turn it into a fuzzy pro union company, I talk with Dave Mertz of the RWDSU about the global path littered with Amazon’s attacks against unions and against workers. Dean Baker, frequent guest and senior economist of the Center...


Episode 110: NAFTA 2.0—What’s The Bottom Line?

Episode 110: Join me in choking on the following three words: Trump was right. When he criticized the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as a bad deal during the 2016 campaign, he was telling a truth that resonated for many working people—even though, of course, Trump, who defrauded thousands of people who worked for him and would pile lie after lie about workers and unions, was certainly not going to blow up NAFTA on behalf of working people. But, there is now a draft of NAFTA 2.0....


Episode 109: Amazon Robbery Redux—The Bad, Bad and The Really Bad

Episode 109: I’m a dog with a bone. I take on Amazon for the second straight week for its utter highway robbery, with the willing participation of politicians, of the people of New York and Virginia. Greg Leroy, executive director of Good Jobs First, kicks off our episode with a deep dive into the lies about what this deal will cost and, surprise, it’s a whole lot more than Amazon and its political allies are saying. I, then, talk to Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail Wholesale and...