204 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

    • News
    • 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 204: COVID and Inequality—A Love Story; Landslide Coming!

    Ep 204: COVID and Inequality—A Love Story; Landslide Coming!

    Episode 204:

    The catastrophic failure to shrink global inequality has given COVID-19 the perfect breeding ground: tens of millions of people are at risk of hunger, extreme poverty, sickness and death because, overwhelmingly, most countries do not spend enough on public healthcare, and they have weak social safety nets and poor labor rights.

    Now, this is a feature, not a bug, of the supply chain of global capitalism—keep people poor, enslaved and desperate as a way of making huge profits. To be sure, as I discussed in a recent episode, workers in Haiti, one of the poorest countries on the planet, were barely hanging on before the pandemic—now, they’ve been shoved deeper into the hole of economic deprivation.

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    But, the U.S. ranks last out of the wealthy G7 countries and trails 17 low-income countries like Liberia when it comes to laws that stop anti-unionism or where there is a livable minimum wage. Paul O’Brien, Oxfam’s Vice President and the author of a forthcoming book, “Power Switch: How We Can Reverse Extreme Inequality”, joins the show to discuss the organization’s new data.

    Even though I’m a political junkie, I’ve usually stayed away from too much in-depth electoral politics on the show, mainly to try to use this time to talk about stuff most of my audience is not going to find elsewhere. But since we are just two weeks away from the election, I picked a few thoughts from the vast amount of posts and analysis I’ve been doing in other places for the last year with the bottom line: a landslide is coming (if you want a truly long in-depth analysis you can over to the Working Life website and read it all there).

    -- Jonathan Tasini

    Follow me on Twitter @jonathantasini
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    • 50 min
    Ep 203: Biden Tax Ideas Are Weak Sauce; Give More Power For The Post Office

    Ep 203: Biden Tax Ideas Are Weak Sauce; Give More Power For The Post Office

    Episode 203:

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    When Donald Trump and his minions are eviscerated in less than three weeks so the country can survive, I can’t think of a better illustration of the fight still to come for progressives than taxes. Joe Biden’s tax proposals are, well, meek. Every time Joe Biden made a big deal during the TV mud wrestling verbal sparring with Trump that he wouldn’t raise taxes for anyone making under $400,000, I yelled back, “why the hell not?”.

    Really, you won’t ask people earning, say, $250,000 a year—a quarter of a million dollars—to pay higher taxes? I dig deep into Biden’s tax ideas with one of my favorite guests, Matt Gardner, senior fellow at the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy.

    While millions of people wait, in desperation, for Congress to pass a new stimulus package, a whole lot of other important stuff is also tossed by the wayside including the $25 billion to shore up the United states Postal Service. Way before the pandemic erupted, I’ve talked on this show about saving the post office, giving it not only a financial boost but expanding what it can do.

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    Post offices are everywhere, often literally on Main Streets in towns all across the country. Everyone knows where the post office is. So, why not turn post offices into hubs of financial transactions for people, from pay check cashing, to spots for Postal Service ATMs and, in today’s world, spots to launch mass COVID vaccination efforts? I take up some of these ideas with Max Sawicky, an economist with the Center for Economic and Policy Research who recently wrote “The U.S. Postal Service Is A National Asset: Don’t Trash It”

    -- Jonathan Tasini

    Follow me on Twitter @jonathantasini
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    • 48 min
    Ep 202: Trump Is A Tax Cheat—But Lots Of Rich People Dodge And Cheat Thanks To Both Parties

    Ep 202: Trump Is A Tax Cheat—But Lots Of Rich People Dodge And Cheat Thanks To Both Parties

    Episode 202:

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    For a sliver of time, the political world was talking about how Donald Trump cheats on his taxes. Virtually every rich person does what Trump does: they use the tax code to dodge paying their fair share, which costs the country tens of billions of dollars every year.

    Rich people move their money around, hide cash in trusts, foundations, hard-to-understand complex partnerships, a web of limited liability companies, and, especially for those who run companies, in overseas operations. And they have an army of accountants and lawyers whose sole job is to hide as much income, use the tax laws as aggressively as possible to confuse the under-resourced IRS staff, and, then, to fight in court to keep every nickel the IRS somehow manages to find.

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    All of this is not a huge surprise to David Cay Johnston. David is the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who wrote the 2003 book, “Perfectly Legal: The Covert Campaign to Rig Our Tax System to Benefit the Super Rich—and Cheat Everybody Else”. Alas, it’s all still true and getting worse—as he tells us today in my in-depth conversation with him.

    -- Jonathan Tasini

    Follow me on Twitter @jonathantasini
    Sign up for The Working Life Podcast at: www.workinglife.org
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    • 42 min
    Ep 201: Firefighters Face The Infernos—And The Devastating Long-Term Health Consequences

    Ep 201: Firefighters Face The Infernos—And The Devastating Long-Term Health Consequences

    Episode 201:

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    I’ve been thinking a lot about firefighters these days, what with the jaw-dropping video we see virtually every day of these monstrous wild fires scorching millions of acres of forests in California and Oregon. For the record, these fires are absolutely driven by climate change—so what we see today will be a feature every single year, with all the widespread devastation of communities and the loss of human lives and wildlife.

    Recently, I was sheltering in my home like tens of thousands of other people because the fires in Oregon created air that was off the charts hazardous. I mean that not as hyperbole—the measurements were too high for your average air quality reading to capture.

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    But, damn, if we, regular people just going about our business, can’t venture outside because the air is too dangerous, what do firefighters face? I don’t mean the obvious—the raging fires and flames. I’m talking about the long-term health effects of breathing in smoke and chemicals pouring out from fires that firefighters confront for hours on end with little shelter. Joining me to think about this is Darrell Roberts, a firefighter for 20 years in southern California where he serves as a battalion chief in Chula Vista as well as president of Local 2180 of the International Association of Fire Fighters

    -- Jonathan Tasini

    Follow me on Twitter @jonathantasini
    Sign up for The Working Life Podcast at: www.workinglife.org
    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jonathan.tasini.3

    • 32 min
    Episode 200: Racism at Tesla; China Is Rocking Green Technologies

    Episode 200: Racism at Tesla; China Is Rocking Green Technologies

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    Episode 200:

    CEOs like to play a three-card monte shell game. They want everyone to focus on their rhetoric about all the supposed wonderful things they do—say, creating a “green” friendly product—and, at the same time, when people aren’t paying attention, they run their company using fear, sexism and racism. That sums up the world of Elon Musk—which we talk about today.

    Musk is anti-union and runs an operation that makes workers sick at sky-high rates, as I documented almost more than two years ago on this podcast in Episode 80. And it appears pretty evident he’s a sexist and a racist. He’s facing one federal lawsuit claiming that in 2015 and 2016, at Tesla’s factory in suburban Fremont, CA, black workers were subjected to repeated racial epithets, racist cartoons, and supervisors engaged in, or did little to stop, the racism.

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    The same horrific environment is pretty apparent at the company’s plant in Buffalo, NY, a factory that got almost a billion dollars in taxpayer subsidies to open up shop. To understand the ugly nature of what it’s like to work at the Tesla factory in Buffalo, I’m joined by two people. Sonny worked for Tesla until recently but “Sonny” is a pseudonym and we’ve obscured his face in this discussion because he fears retribution from other potential future employers. Linnea Brett is a community organizer with the Clean Air Coalition, which develops grassroots leaders who organize their communities to run and win environmental justice and public health campaigns in Western New York.

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    I kick off with a short observation about American Exceptionalism: when it comes to moving away from fossil fuels, we are pretty puny compared to the far-reaching industrial policy pursued by China.

    -- Jonathan Tasini

    Follow me on Twitter @jonathantasini
    Sign up for The Working Life Podcast at: www.workinglife.org
    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jonathan.tasini.3

    • 38 min
    Ep 199: We Have A Price For A Worker’s Life: A Few Thousand $; COVID-19 Dangers For Building Workers

    Ep 199: We Have A Price For A Worker’s Life: A Few Thousand $; COVID-19 Dangers For Building Workers

    Episode 199:

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    What’s a worker’s life worth? To you and me, it’s priceless. Capitalism, though, doesn’t see it that way—a worker’s life is a cost of doing business, a life easily disposable when it comes to making profits. And the corporate world has an accomplice in this immoral scam where workers are disposable: the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

    Smithfield Foods, a massive pork processor making billions of dollars every year, did almost nothing to stop workers from getting the virus at its Sioux Falls, South Dakota plant. In just under three months, more than 1,300 were infected, 43 ended up in the hospital and four workers died. OSHA’s response? A fine of $13,494 as part of a single violation OSHA cited the company for—that’s $3,373.50 for each worker killed or a little over $10 bucks for those infected. Jessica Martinez, executive director of National COSH, joins me to talk about this immoral slap on the wrist that is a “green light” to every company to act cavalierly when it comes to workers’ lives.

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    Over the past six months, I’ve brought you the stories of frontline workers and the dangers they face in the pandemic. You’ve heard the stories of poultry workers, teachers, retail workers, subway conductors, and health care workers. Today, I speak with Hipolito Andon, a cleaner and maintenance worker in New York City, who tells us about the risks he faces on the job at one of the premier real estate sites in Manhattan, Rockefeller Plaza.

    Support the Working Life Network here: www.patreon.com/WorkingLifePodcast and at ActBlue: secure.actblue.com/donate/working-life-1

    -- Jonathan Tasini

    Follow me on Twitter @jonathantasini
    Sign up for The Working Life Podcast at: www.workinglife.org
    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jonathan.tasini.3

    • 47 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.

JaneMarieSheehan ,

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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