220 episodes

The weekly Working Life podcast hosts in-depth political, economic and labor conversations and analysis heard through the voices of workers, leaders and experts.

Working Life Podcast Jonathan Tasini

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    • 4.1 • 57 Ratings

The weekly Working Life podcast hosts in-depth political, economic and labor conversations and analysis heard through the voices of workers, leaders and experts.

    Ep 220: Inside The Amazon Union Vote Count!; Yemen Is “Hell On Earth”

    Ep 220: Inside The Amazon Union Vote Count!; Yemen Is “Hell On Earth”

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    I have discussed a number of times the union organizing campaign at Amazon’s warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama. So, as the ballot counting is now underway, I thought today we could add two aspects to the conversation, while we await the final results which could take a number of days.

    First, people don’t really know how the hell the ballot count happens, what’s the process, what does it look like so I thought it would be worth checking that out a bit. And, then, second what happens if the union wins? That second one is a doozy—because the fight just begins even after a union victory: the road to getting a first contract is torturous because a company like Amazon will fight tooth and nail to obstruct, delay and undercut the union at every turn, all in an effort to frustrate workers who want to see tangible results from their vote.

    We all need to know that, if the union wins, everyone supporting this campaign needs to keep the mobilization going after the final ballot is counted. So, to wrestle with these thoughts, our friend Dave Mertz is back. Dave is a vice president at the Retail, Wholesale and Department Stores Union and he joined me for a chat from Bessemer, Alabama which took place late at night after he finished meeting with the core organizing committee members.

    So, why is Yemen a place that even a top United Nations official calls “hell on earth.” Consider: Yemen is a country of 30 million people, 81 percent of whom make less than $5.50 a day and are facing a historic deadly famine; a place where, in 2021, 2.3 million children will face malnutrition, and 40 percent of households have poor to borderline access to food; a nation in which 20.5 million people, two thirds of the entire country, are without safe water and almost as many are without adequate health care, leaving millions at the mercy of cholera and, of course, COVID-19. Add to that a vicious war—fueled by U.S. arms and aid to Saudi Arabia—that has displaced millions of people from their homes, making every aspect of what I just recounted even worse. Scott Paul, who is a lead humanitarian policy expert with Oxfam America, lays out the crisis in Yemen, and whether a small ray of hope beckons.

    -- Jonathan Tasini

    Follow me on Twitter @jonathantasini

    Subscribe to the YouTube show, Working Life at: https://www.youtube.com/WorkingLifewithJonathanTasini Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jonathan.tasini.3

    • 55 min
    Ep 219: A Social Fund For The Planet’s Poor; Challenging A Corporate Mouthpiece

    Ep 219: A Social Fund For The Planet’s Poor; Challenging A Corporate Mouthpiece

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    I’ve spent a lot of time on the crisis facing workers around the world who before the pandemic even hit us faced some pretty dire economic realities. Tomorrow, a high-level group will convene, virtually naturally, to talk about creating an international social fund to assist lower income countries to come out of the year-long pandemic economic shutdown. Cathy Feingold, director of the AFL-CIO’s international affairs department and deputy president of the International Trade Union Confederation, which represents 200 million unionized workers worldwide, gives us the scoop.



    Rick Larsen has been a useless member of Congress. You can’t find a single initiative that he championed in the 20 years he’s represented the 2nd Congressional District in Washington. His best claim to fame might be that there isn’t a corporate dollar he hasn’t been willing to pocket, from defense contractors to health care companies to big tech companies like Amazon and Google to planet polluters like big oil companies. Jason Call, a longtime progressive activist, is taking on Larsen in the Democratic primary for the seat in 2022. He joins me to talk about the campaign to, as he says, “rein in the undue influence of giant corporations and directly challenge their power.”





    -- Jonathan Tasini

    Follow me on Twitter @jonathantasini

    Subscribe to the YouTube show, Working Life at: https://www.youtube.com/WorkingLifewithJonathanTasini Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jonathan.tasini.3

    • 36 min
    Ep 218: There Is No Debt Crisis; Taking Down A California Corporate Democrat

    Ep 218: There Is No Debt Crisis; Taking Down A California Corporate Democrat

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    It’s those zombie voices again. The ones who rise up from the dead, or from a hidden policy corner, to start the drumbeat of fear about “debt” and “deficits”, all in order to block progress for the people.

    There is no debt or deficit crisis. We have plenty of money in the richest nation in human history—and we should be spending big right now, especially with interest rates at rock-bottom lows. So, today is your antidote of information to combat the claim of a debt crisis (by the way, I wrote a book about this topic a decade ago—you can download it for free).

    Shervin Aazami, a progressive activist, is running for the Democratic nomination for the 30th Congressional District in California. He’s challenging a long-time corporate Democrat, Brad Sherman, who, among other horrendous positions, voted for both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and opposed the Obama Administration’s nuclear deal with Iran. Shervin joins me for a chat about his campaign.

    -- Jonathan Tasini

    Follow me on Twitter @jonathantasini
    Subscribe to the YouTube show, Working Life at: https://www.youtube.com/WorkingLifewithJonathanTasini Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jonathan.tasini.3

    • 32 min
    Ep 217: It’s All North Carolina—The Fight for 15 and The Campaign For A Progressive U.S. Senator

    Ep 217: It’s All North Carolina—The Fight for 15 and The Campaign For A Progressive U.S. Senator

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    Episode 217:

    It’s all about North Carolina today—the fight for better wages and the campaign to get a progressive person in the U.S. Senate, all of which is connected to my two guests today who represent the theme of the just-marked International Womens Day.

    The sad outcome of the push to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour tells us two things. First, there is a big house cleaning needed to make way for politicians who actually care about workers. Second, no matter what happens in elections, we need to keep up the street heat to mobilize millions of people to stop the immorality of people working full-time but getting paid poverty wages while billionaires get even richer.

    First up, then, is Precious Cole. Precious lives in Durham, North Carolina and works at Wendy’s. She has been working minimum wage jobs for half her life and, like millions of other workers, has, year after year, not been able to meet her monthly bills earning what is a poverty wage. Which is one reason Precious has become a key activist and leader in North Carolina Raise Up, the state branch of the national Fight for 15 and a Union network. She chats with me about her life and her activism.

    Then, you may remember state Senator Erica Smith—she was a progressive who jumped into the 2020 North Carolina race for the U.S. Senate to challenge incumbent Republican Thom Tillis. But, the D.C. insiders shoved her aside, handpicking the most uninspired, dumb-as-a-brick candidate Cal Cunningham who, with piles of corporate and party-directed money, won the primary—and, then, proceeded to crash and burn, handing Tillis his re-election.

    The 2022 election is a barometer for whether lessons have been learned. As the results of the Florida minimum wage ballot initiative showed—it passed overwhelmingly even as Joe Biden was losing the state—people are saying pretty clearly: give me a policy that puts money in my pocket and isn’t about supporting the rich over regular people, and I’ll vote for it whether you call it “progressive” or “a loaf of bread.” Erica is back for another Senate race, competing for the party primary nod for the seat that is opening up in 2022 with the retirement of Richard Burr. I talk with her about her campaign and the mood in North Carolina.

    -- Jonathan Tasini

    Follow me on Twitter @jonathantasini

    Subscribe to the YouTube show, Working Life at: https://www.youtube.com/WorkingLifewithJonathanTasini Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jonathan.tasini.3

    • 42 min
    Ep 216: Wealth Tax On The Table; Two Trillion for The Global Poor; Joe Biden and Union Organizing

    Ep 216: Wealth Tax On The Table; Two Trillion for The Global Poor; Joe Biden and Union Organizing

    Episode 216:

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    The number that sticks in my mind today, and has since I heard it, is 40 percent. While over half a million people in the U.S. have died of COVID in one year, while millions of people have become sick, while millions of people have lost their jobs, savings and homes, and many people have been forced to wait in long food lines to get enough to feed their families—while all that was happening, the billionaires—the top 0.05 percent in the country, the Waltons, the Jeff Bezos’ of the world—saw their collective wealth go up 40 percent. Which is one good reason to have a wealth tax.

    This week, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Pramila Jayapal rolled out an “Ultra Millionaire’s Tax”. The tax would only be on the wealthiest 100,000 households in America, or the top 0.05%, who have a net worth of $50 million, and it would raise $3 trillion over a decade. Since, and I’m just spit balling here, I don’t think my audience falls into the over $50 million-net-worth category, I figured it would be safe to engage the always-brilliant Amy Hanauer, executive director of the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy, in a conversation about the great benefits of a wealth tax.

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    Some good news! Last May, I talked about an effort to raise two trillion dollars for poorer countries to battle the pandemic and the economic collapse. The money, so-called Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), can be created by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) but the Trump Administration blocked the move—even though it comes at no cost to taxpayers here. But, now, there’s movement: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen appears to be in favor of some level of the SDRs, if not the full two trillion now in the newly resurrected bills in the Senate and House. Mark Weisbrot, co-director of CEPR and an expert in international affairs who has been leading the campaign since last year, joins us for an update.

    I also have a few thoughts about the video Joe Biden made about the rights of workers to have a union. It’s a good thing—but it also shows how narrow the debate is about true union organizing rights. Check it out—and let me know your thoughts!

    -- Jonathan Tasini

    Follow me on Twitter @jonathantasini
    Subscribe to the YouTube show, Working Life at: https://www.youtube.com/WorkingLifewithJonathanTasini Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jonathan.tasini.3

    • 56 min
    Ep 215: Big Pharma Wants Poor People To Die; Unions Fighting Myanmar Coup—Redux

    Ep 215: Big Pharma Wants Poor People To Die; Unions Fighting Myanmar Coup—Redux

    Episode 215:

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    You aren’t going to be surprised by this news: Big Pharma is killing people. All over the world. And the real kicker here is: after you, the taxpayer, gave billions of dollars to Big Pharma companies to come up with a vaccine for COVID-19, Big Pharma is keeping that vaccine from getting into the hands of millions of people in poorer countries—which will come back to hurt every American as well.

    Under the World Trade Organization rules, Big PHARMA gets *lengthy* monopoly protections for medicines, tests and the technologies used to produce them. Trump wouldn’t join virtually every other country to grant a waiver for poorer countries to get access to the vaccines so lives could be saved. Next week, Joe Biden has a chance to do the right thing. I discuss this urgent effort with two warriors for progressives: Rep. Jan Schakowsky, who has represented the 9th Congressional district in Illinois for two decades, and Lori Wallach, the director of Global Trade Watch.

    Support the Working Life Network here: www.patreon.com/WorkingLifePodcast
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    A couple of weeks ago, I did a segment on the military coup in Myanmar and the specific threat faced by union leaders. Opposition to the coup is being led by union leaders who are facing arrest and violence, forcing many to go into hiding. I have new insights on what is happening in Myanmar from Khaing Zar, Treasurer of the Confederation of Trade Unions Myanmar (CTUM) and the President of the Industrial Workers Federation of Myanmar, the manufacturing and garment worker affiliate of the CTUM and the largest garment worker union in Myanmar.

    -- Jonathan Tasini

    Follow me on Twitter @jonathantasini

    Subscribe to the YouTube show, Working Life at: https://www.youtube.com/WorkingLifewithJonathanTasini Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jonathan.tasini.3

    • 45 min

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5
57 Ratings

57 Ratings

b123g789 ,

Gutsy podcast with a focus on ordinary people

I love this podcast. The focus is on an issue that is overlooked in mainstream media. I appreciate the straight talk and righteous anger. Apologists for Republicans will hate it but it’s what the left needs to hear and care about.

imabeing ,

On point!

This podcast covers the details and I love that.

More than just reciting the “news” he actually is helping his audience understand what the heck is going on. Similar to his books, Johnathan’s podcast is an educational experience. He breaks the topics at hand down yet never expects his audience to take what he has to say at face value.

This podcast strongly encourages the audience to stay active and question everything. A refreshing take in the time of “gurus” and “fake” news.

Siv in the City ,

Insightful and thoughtful

A progressive podcast about workers, labor, the economy and politics from a skilled and knowledgeable interviewer. The world needs more of this.

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