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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 87: Teachers Corral Charter Schools; No Nerds, No Birds

Episode 87: I start off on the West Coast with a conversation with Sylvia Cabrera, a “this is the future” union activist who helped lead winning organizing drives at three schools in Los Angeles owned by the biggest charter school chain in the area. So, yeah, charter schools undermine the public school system but, if they exist, they best be unionized. I, then, go to the final frontier, where no person has gone before…I couldn’t help channel a little Star Trek there to forecast a chat with...


Episode 86: L.A. Ports Ripping Off Their Peeps; Kara Wins, DNC Shrugs

Episode 86: No matter that the Los Angeles Ports moves 40 percent of the containerized goods entering the country, generating billions of dollars in commerce—it’s rip-off time when it comes to treating the truck drivers and warehouse workers fairly. I know, you’re shocked! I recently checked out a big rally, featuring Bernie Sanders, by workers trying to form a union at a number of companies at the L.A. ports. In the big picture, the workers are getting screwed like a lot of workers:...


Episode 85: Workers Storm The Magic Kingdom—With A Guy Named Bernie Sanders

Episode 85: Fantasy is the Magic Kingdom’s product. Yet, life is all too real for the thousands of people who work at Disneyland and Disneyworld, the people who make billions for the huge wealthy corporation but are faced with bad pay, homelessness, debt and hunger. So a few days ago, I went to the mass rally for Disneyland workers where the featured political ally was, of course, Bernie Sanders, who gave a tutorial on the struggle of all workers. The rally also featured a panel of workers...


Ep 84: The Racism in the Tax Cuts; What’s Up In the NAFTA Negotiations; Predicting Blue Wave 2018

Episode 84: The economic system has been built on racism for generations. The recent tax cuts just made things a lot worse—and I talk about that with Michael Linden, co-author of a path-breaking paper about the hidden racism in the system. I, then, ring up Lori Wallach, the peoples’ trade warrior extraordinaire, for an insider look at the recent earth-shaking developments and fights over the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Then, I review the political predictions...


Ep 83: Right-Wing Assault on the VA; Supreme Court Attacks #MeToo; Meatpacker Talks Ugly Hog Speedup

All those flag-waving politicians love their military folks—until it’s time to screw them every which way once they take off the uniform, especially when it comes to funding the Veterans Administration. I look into the attack on the VA by the free-market fanatics in a conversation with union policy expert Jacque Simon. I also chat with legal expert Najah Farley about how the horrendous Supreme Court decision this past week, which puts workers out on their own when it comes to taking on...


Ep 82: Hell Might Be Safer Than A Hog Processing Plant; Teacher Uprising in NC; Mayor Heidi Runs!

Episode 82: Another day, another chapter in the new ways to screw workers. This time, the target is workers inside hog processing plants--who are already doing one of the most dangerous jobs in the country. I talk with expert Debbie Berkowitz about the Department of Agriculture's new proposal to speed up the processing line--so that Big Ag can pile up bigger profits even if workers get hurt and sick at an even higher rate. Today, the next teacher uprising is underway in North Carolina. I...


Ep 81: A Shift In The Air on Tax Cuts? Arizona Uprising Update; Inequality is Worse Than You Think

Episode 81: The teachers’ uprisings around the nation have challenged the bankrupt ideology of supply-side tax cutting—and maybe marks a shift in the public’s view of taxes and public spending. I talk about that with Meg Wiehe, deputy director of the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy. I welcome back Arizona teacher activist Amber Gould for an eyewitness account of the Arizona mass rally, and what it means for politics in the state. I also chat with David Rosnick of the Center for...


Ep. 80: Elon Musk’s Tesla Is Bad For Workers Health; The Corporate Scam Greasing Human Trafficking

Episode 80: The high-tech world is too often made out to be a shiny new toy, all upside. But, it ain’t so—especially at Tesla where workers are getting sick at astronomical rates. I talk to a Tesla worker about the dangers in the plant—and the unionizing drive underway to protect workers lives. I also talk with a leading expert about the scam human traffickers use to enslave women who are forced to perform commercial sex under the cover of massage parlors—the traffickers mask the ownership...


Episode 79: Arizona Teachers Are Lit!; Privatization Is A Bust; Lowe’s Poisons People

Episode 79: The uprising is hitting Arizona. Tomorrow, thousands of teachers will flood the state capitol to demand—like their brethren in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Colorado—fair wages. I talk with the both the head of the union and a rank-and-file union leader. I also take up the silly idea of privatization, inspired by a recent dumb-as-can-be article in The New York Times, with the dude who actually sort of wrote the book showing why privatization is bunk. And as Workers...


Episode 77: The Man Who Will Beat Ted Cruz; A Teacher Can't Pay For Food; GOP Tax Fraud

Episode 77: Beto. He’s the guy who will send Ted Cruz into retirement. I talk with Beto O’Rourke while he’s out driving on the campaign trail in Texas. Have you tried to live on a teacher's salary? In Oklahoma, it means counting on visiting a food pantry to survive, as I learn in my in-depth talk with veteran teacher Jennifer Thorton. And as Tax Day looms, I bring in tax expert Carl Davis to talk about the widening GOP Tax Fraud and Trump’s own personal business tax dodging. Our Robber...


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...


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...


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 Rodriguez 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 Dave Applegate is taking another shot at unseating the odious Darrell Issa in the 49th Congressional District—Jonathan has a chat with Dave as he campaigns in a key 2018 race, and promotes a...