Today's Liberal News

Laura Clawson

From fake customer accounts to fake job interviews, Wells Fargo is just the worst

Wells Fargo is once again making headlines for being a terrible, unethical company even by the poor standards of the financial industry. Just over two years after the bank paid a $3 billion fine for opening millions of fake accounts in the names of actual customers, current and former employees are alleging that they were told to conduct fake interviews to fulfill Wells Fargo’s diversity policies.

April jobs report shows continuing strong job creation

The April jobs report was strong, with 428,000 new jobs and unemployment holding steady at 3.6%. Black unemployment ticked down to 5.9%, which, while it’s far above white unemployment the Economic Policy Institute’s Elise Gould notes is the first time it’s been under 6% in the pandemic recovery.

That’s the good news. There are key areas of weakness:

The private sector has now gained back 97.

Two bills could crack down on abuses by New York employers, this week in the war on workers

Workers in New York could gain new protections through separate bills in New York City and in the state legislature—but the New York City measure was delayed Thursday for five more months, despite having been passed by lawmakers four months ago. That bill would require many job listings to include salary information, a move that could help crack down on pay inequities. It would apply only to employers with four or more employees.

Trevor Reed’s parents say Biden saved their son’s life. Why can’t McCarthy give credit where due?

Wednesday brought news of a surprise prisoner exchange between the U.S. and Russia, with Russia releasing former Marine Trevor Reed as the U.S. released Konstantin Yaroshenko. The decision to make the exchange came amid the relentless advocacy of Reed’s parents and news of his deteriorating health, with President Joe Biden ultimately making the decision to trade Yaroshenko, who was convicted of drug trafficking in 2010.

Starbucks executives rail against union effort in leaked call, this week in the war on workers

Top Starbucks executives are really butt-hurt about the so-far overwhelmingly successful union organizing drive in their stores. In a leaked video call with managers, CEO and founder Howard Schultz included the company’s own employees in a list of “obstacles and challenges” the company has “managed to overcome,” describing them as “a new outside force that’s trying desperately to disrupt our company.

Vote on naming a federal courthouse shows just how extremist House Republicans have become

Even in the worst of times, Congress can usually get its act together to name federal buildings. It’s kind of a joke about Congress, actually. But House Republicans just got to the point of divisive extremism where they won’t even reliably do that.

Every member of Florida’s congressional delegation had co-sponsored a bill to name a federal courthouse after Justice Joseph W.

NLRB official moves to ban captive audience meetings, this week in the war on workers

Captive audience meetings are one of the major tools of corporate union-busting efforts, in which management intimidates workers in person, on the clock, with the knowledge that their responses are being watched. Now, Jennifer Abruzzo, the general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board, is asking the board to classify most captive audience meetings as an unfair labor practice based on coercion in violation of workers’ rights.

‘Prestige doesn’t pay the bills,’ unionizing Condé Nast workers say, this week in the war on workers

Four of Condé Nast’s publications—Ars Technica, Pitchfork, Wired, and The New Yorker—have already unionized. But this week brought big news, in the form of a companywide union at the publishing giant’s other brands. That’s more than 500 workers, which is very small compared to the Amazon warehouse that unionized this week, but very big compared to, say, a Starbucks store.

Ivermectin doesn’t work as a COVID-19 treatment, but the believers aren’t going to stop believing

A large study confirms it: Ivermectin is not an effective treatment for COVID-19. If you have parasites, the drug might be a good choice—follow your doctor’s advice on that. But a double-blinded study of 1,300 patients in Brazil, half of whom got ivermectin and half of whom got a placebo, found no benefit from the drug.

Ivermectin does not reduce the risk of hospitalization from COVID-19, the study found.

Why hasn’t the Justice Department indicted Mark Meadows nearly four months after contempt vote?

The House voted to hold Mark Meadows in contempt of Congress back in December. But the Justice Department has not yet taken action on that criminal referral, and members of the Jan. 6 select committee are getting irritated. The committee only has so much time to investigate a violent insurrection, given that it is a midterm election year, and yet the Justice Department, under Attorney General Merrick Garland, does not appear to consider this an urgent issue.

Ginni Thomas wanted to overturn the election. About Clarence Thomas’ Jan. 6 documents dissent …

From now on, every Supreme Court decision on which Justice Clarence Thomas is the deciding vote comes with a giant asterisk: This matter was decided by a man whose wife advocated for the overthrow of the government. Those aren’t the only Thomas votes that require the asterisk, though. Take the Supreme Court’s January rejection of Donald Trump’s attempt to block the Jan. 6 select committee from getting White House documents. Thomas was the only dissent on that.

That Supreme Court confirmation hearing was so racist. We can’t ignore it or normalize it

Let me fix that headline for you, Washington Post: It’s not “Race hovered over Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearing.” It’s “Racism hovered over Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearing.” Although, really, racism was so prevalent in the hearing that the way it hovered was, COVID-like, in the air after belching out of the mouths of Republican senators like Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz.

Ginni Thomas wanted to overturn the election. About Clarence Thomas’ Jan. 6 documents dissent …

From now on, every Supreme Court decision on which Justice Clarence Thomas is the deciding vote comes with a giant asterisk: This matter was decided by a man whose wife advocated for the overthrow of the government. Those aren’t the only Thomas votes that require the asterisk, though. Take the Supreme Court’s January rejection of Donald Trump’s attempt to block the Jan. 6 select committee from getting White House documents. Thomas was the only dissent on that.

That Supreme Court confirmation hearing was so racist. We can’t ignore it or normalize it

Let me fix that headline for you, Washington Post: It’s not “Race hovered over Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearing.” It’s “Racism hovered over Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearing.” Although, really, racism was so prevalent in the hearing that the way it hovered was, COVID-like, in the air after belching out of the mouths of Republican senators like Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz.

Equal Pay Day is still relevant, and it’s coming up, this week in the war on workers

Equal Pay Day is coming on March 15. The day represents how long into 2022 the average woman in the U.S. has to work to have been paid as much since January 1, 2021, as the average man was paid in 2021. March 15 is the day we observe Equal Pay Day for women of all races, but for Black and Latina and Native women, the date comes much later—and more so this year, following a recalculation based on pandemic-era employment patterns that pushed many women out of full-time work.

Manhattan REI workers and New York Times tech workers unionized this week

This week saw two winning union votes with big margins and special significance. Workers who’d been organizing at a Manhattan REI store voted to unionize by an 88 to 14 margin. REI has 170 stores, and as we watch Starbucks stores unionizing—with three out of four that have voted so far having voted yes, the most recent one by a big margin—you have to wonder what supposedly progressive retail or food service chain is next.

Starbucks workers keep organizing despite anti-union campaign, this week in the war on workers

Los Angeles. Philadelphia. Tallahassee. Starbucks workers are moving to unionize all across the country following two union victories out of three elections held in Buffalo in late 2021. They’re getting some great community support—if you’re ordering at Starbucks, especially one where there’s a union effort, you can join in by giving your name as “union strong” or another pro-worker message.

REI launches anti-union campaign as Manhattan workers organize, this week in the war on workers

Last week, workers at a Manhattan REI store filed for a union representation election, seeking what would be the first union at the outdoor equipment retailer. It didn’t take REI management long to start churning out anti-union messaging, including anti-union statements read by managers at captive audience meetings and workers being pulled into one-on-one meetings with managers.

Union membership dropped in 2021, this week in the war on workers

Union membership as a percentage of all U.S. workers dropped from 10.8% to 10.3% in 2021, returning to its 2019 level. The bump in 2020 is instructive, since it came because, in the mass job loss of the pandemic, more nonunion workers lost their jobs. But the lousy numbers for union membership are also important to understand in the context of popular opinion and U.S. labor law.

Walmart takes the CDC’s gift to employers, cuts paid leave time for workers with COVID-19

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) confusing, widely panned (and widely mocked) shift from 10 days of quarantine after a positive COVID-19 test to five days for asymptomatic cases was seen by many as a gift to employers eager to keep workers on the job no matter what—an interpretation quickly confirmed by CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, who said the shift was intended to “keep the critical functions of society open and operating.

What would be a life-changing amount of money for you? $20,000? $200,000?

When you hear the phrase “life-changing amount of money,” what is the number that comes to your mind? According to one 2019 poll, the average American named $19,800 as the amount that would change their life—but for millennials, it was just $5,000. On the other hand, in April 2021, an unnamed tech millionaire wrote in New York magazine: “I thought that I’d make a little bit from an IPO, maybe $200,000.

Two books that teach kids how to start changing the world

Animals are a very popular subject with young children—which offers a great opportunity to raise environmentalists, by emphasizing how the survival of animal species is very much in the hands of human beings, and how habitat destruction and climate change threaten animals. And there are a lot of books about what’s wrong.