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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 134: Presidential and California Progressive Politics—Bernie! & Tulsi + Cory…

Episode 134: As you may recall from last week’s episode, I was at the California Democratic State Party convention recently. I continue bringing you the speeches of the presidential candidates who spoke—this week it’s Bernie Sanders, Tulsi Gabbard and Cory Booker. To give those speeches some context, I chat with Karen Bernal, the outgoing chair of the California state party progressive caucus. We look back at the past few years—and try to be honest about progressive victories and defeats,...


Ep 133: Elizabeth Warren Speaks!; Tefere Talks Union & AFL-CIO Politics; Tax Ideas For The People!

Episode 133: I just returned from the great city of San Francisco which hosted the state Democratic Party Convention. And in my audio bag are most of the speeches of the Democratic presidential candidates who gave their pitches to the delegates—California, with a much earlier primary than usual, will potentially have a decisive say about who will be the eventual Democratic nominee. This week, Elizabeth Warren starts off a mini-series of the speeches, which I will bring to you in the coming...


Episode 132: Murder, Violence and Robbery—Gifts From the Free Market

Episode 132: Murder, violence and robbery—it sounds like a list for a plot of The Wire. But, no, it’s just another standard operating procedure for the free market system—in which people are murdered in Colombia thanks to so-called “free trade”, workers are beat up and sometimes killed at McDonald’s because the company doesn’t care about its workers beyond the bottom line so leaves workers exposed to threats to their lives and, lastly, public sector employees have the money they have saved...


Ep 131: Are The War Hawks Ginning Up A War With Iran?; Flight Attendants and The Future Of Labor

Episode 131: Here we go again: a slow but steady laying of a groundwork for a war, this time against Iran, assisted by the media’s promotion of lies surrounding Iran, reprising the role it played almost two decades ago hyping up the threats posed by Iraq. I talk in-depth with Phyllis Bennis, director of the New Internationalism project at the Institute for Policy Studies, about the Iran war threat. Then, Sara Nelson, the dynamic president of the Association of Flight Attendants, joins me for...


Episode 130: The Corporate Game: Stealing From Us Again; A Political Reporter Chat

Episode 130: Our friends at the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy, my go-to folks when it comes to tax policy, put out another fantastic report called “Corporate Tax Avoidance Remains Rampant Under New Tax Law”. I know—you’re shocked, just shocked that the 2017 GOP tax fraud bill is letting corporations steal from us day after day…steal because tax avoidance by corporations. To dig into this robbery, I turn to a frequent guest, the Oracle himself, ITEP’s Matt Gardner. Then, I...


Episode 129: Oregon Teachers Uprising; The Shame of Kids’ Poverty; Savings Miners’ Pensions.

Episode 129: Just hours ago, 25,000 teachers and their supporters massed in Portland, Oregon to demand a fully-funded education system—it’s another moment in the incredible teacher organizing that has swept the country over the past year. With the energy of thousands of revved up teachers pulsing in the background, I chat at the rally with teacher/union leaders, as well as bring other voices from the mobilization. Then, in the richest nation in human history, 11.5 million children live in...


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...