Today's Liberal News

Laura Clawson

The pandemic has been isolating, but I’ll always be grateful for one moment of community

Do you need to hear a happy story? A “so hundreds of thousands of people have died and large swaths of the country have refused to try to save lives and we’ve seen the Capitol attacked in an attempt to overturn an election but everything isn’t terrible all the time” kind of story?

So my son turned 4 early in this historic, life-altering pandemic, and obviously we had to cancel his birthday party.

Tom Morello and John Oliver give unions a big week on TV, this week in the war on workers

This week, 10,000 John Deere workers ended their strike after six weeks. It was also a really good week for unions on TV, between a typically sharp John Oliver segment explaining union-busting, and a Tonight Show performance by Tom Morello (featuring grandson) in which Morello highlighted workers on strike across the country, offering them high-profile solidarity.

Watch both videos. Share them with your friends and family.

What the school bus driver shortage tells us about the economy, this week in the war on workers

You may have heard about school bus driver shortages this year. Maggie Koerth’s fabulous in-depth look at the job shows why that would be. The headline might give you all you need to know: “Would you manage 70 children and a 15-ton vehicle for $18 an hour?” But the headline leaves out a very important piece: It’s a part-time job, so that $18 an hour might only be for four hours a day, timed so that it’s difficult to have another job.

Retailers are struggling to staff the holiday shopping season, and it could be good for workers

The coronavirus pandemic’s shake-up of the U.S. economy still hasn’t fully resettled, and it’s clearly visible in reporting on businesses looking for workers and workers looking for jobs. On the one hand, top retailers say their industry is heading into its busiest time of the year desperate for more workers—so much so that some top retailers are raising pay or offering signing bonuses or referral bonuses.

Supply chain problems likely to persist into 2022. The best solution? ‘Put the pandemic behind us’

The Biden administration and the state of California are working on a medium- to long-term solution to the supply chain problems affecting the nation, but in the short term—extending well into 2022—problems will persist. 

President Joe Biden announced 24/7 operations at the Port of Los Angeles last month in an effort to ease backups there by moving an addition 3,500 containers a week.

Latina Equal Pay Day brought a litany of dismal statistics, this week in the war on workers

Latina Equal Pay Day fell on Oct.21 this year. That’s the day when, starting on Jan. 1, 2020, Latina women have finally been paid what white men were paid in 2020 alone. It followed Black Women’s Equal Pay Day on August 3 and Equal Pay Day (averaging all women) on March 24. Latinas are paid 57 cents for every dollar paid to white men, and have to work an extra 294 days to earn the same amount of money.

Jen Psaki renders Peter Doocy momentarily speechless with a simple question

Peter Doocy isn’t just a Fox News disinformation peddler. He’s a hereditary Fox News disinformation peddler and, perhaps, the most pathetic failson being publicly promoted by the network. Tucker Carlson is dangerous. Junior Doocy can only try to be so dangerous, but he’s so bad at his job that mostly he just makes White House press secretary Jen Psaki look really, really good.

Women over 40 are being trampled by the COVID-19 economy, this week in the war on workers

Women over 40 have been particularly hard-hit by the COVID-19 economy—and, in this as in just about every other piece of bad economic news, Black and Hispanic women have had it the worst. According to a recent AARP report, 14% of women aged 40 to 65 lost their jobs, 13% had their work hours cut, 9% were furloughed, and 4% had their salary or wages cut. Overall, 41% of women in this age group lost job-based income.

Weak September jobs report busts the unemployment benefits myth, this week in the war on workers

The delta variant of COVID-19 continues to leave its mark on the economy with another disappointing jobs report. Earlier in the summer, job creation rose dramatically, only to sink again as coronavirus cases spiked. Again. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the economy added just 194,000 jobs in September, and labor force participation dropped slightly—yet another piece of evidence that increased unemployment benefits were not keeping people from looking for work.

Two health care worker strikes highlight a broken system, this week in the war on workers

Around 2,000 health care workers at South Buffalo Mercy Hospital are on strike after weeks of negotiations left them without a deal. The workers’ own health care costs are at issue, as are staffing ratios to ensure the best care of patients. There’s an important point made in the tweets below:

My wife gets the travel nurse notices for these kinds of gigs. The pay is insane to scab.

Want to fight economic and racial inequality at the same time? Think union

Happy Labor Day, if a Labor Day that represents the cut-off date for unemployment benefits for millions of people and on which the federal minimum wage hasn’t risen for well over a decade offers much to be happy about. But it is a day to celebrate workers—and the labor movement that has built what power U.S. workers have.

So let’s take a few minutes to make clear the difference that unions have made, both to their members and to all workers.

The cruelty in the new Texas abortion ban has layers upon layers

The Supreme Court didn’t just silently overturn Roe v. Wade by allowing a Texas law banning abortion at six weeks to go into effect. The Supreme Court, with its three Trump justices—two of them appointed through precedent-shattering Republican maneuvering—allowed Texas to put a bounty on the heads of anyone involved in any way in an abortion performed after six weeks gestation.

Anti-vaxxers shut down Georgia vaccination event

COVID-19 vaccination rates rose in August after dipping down earlier in the summer. But anti-vaxxers remain a danger not just to themselves but to everyone around them. We see the danger to individual anti-vaxxers in one story after another about their miserable deaths. We see the danger to the population as a whole as the pandemic continues to rage because we haven’t reached the vaccination levels that would tamp it down.

July jobs report exceeds expectations, this week in the war on workers

Good things were happening with jobs in July:

There is still a big gap in the labor market, but even with some slowing from this pace of job growth, we will be back to pre-COVID health by the end of 2022—a recovery *five times* as fast as the recovery following the Great Recession, thanks to the vaccine and to the ARP. 2/ pic.twitter.

26 million workers have gotten a raise thanks to the Fight for $15, this week in the war on workers

The Fight for $15 kicked off in November 2012, with a relatively small—yet also historically large—group of New York City fast food workers making what seemed an audacious demand: $15 an hour minimum pay and a union. The latter goal hasn’t advanced much since then, but $15? That has become solidly mainstream, and has brought big wins. A new report from the National Employment Law Project quantifies just how big.

The federal minimum wage remains just $7.

Vice President Harris breaks tie to confirm key labor appointee, this week in the war on workers

The National Labor Relations Board has a new general counsel after Vice President Kamala Harris broke a tie in the Senate to confirm Jennifer Abruzzo, 51-50. President Joe Biden fired Donald Trump’s NLRB general counsel, Peter Robb, on Inauguration Day after Robb refused to resign.

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions also moved forward with two of Biden’s NLRB nominees this week.

News roundup: Activists have messages to Biden administration; GOP still delaying on infrastructure

In the news today: The Biden-Harris administration faced pushback from activists on more than one front. COVID-19 continued to surge, and Republican politicians continued to say and do some of the worst things imaginable about it. Republicans also maintained their commitment to standing in the way of policy that would strengthen the economic recovery.

Here’s some of what you may have missed.

● Republicans say agreement on infrastructure is close.

When they say it’s a ‘pandemic of the unvaccinated,’ remember that means every child under 12

The new message on COVID-19, as the delta variant spreads, is that this is now “a pandemic of the unvaccinated.” Presumably this message—coming from the Biden administration (I’m definitely looking at you and your Twitter feed, White House chief of staff Ron Klain), the CDC, and the media—is intended to convince people to get vaccinated. Whether it works, I don’t know.

From Carl’s Jr. to a gay club, Oregon workers suffered in the heat, this week in the war on workers

Workers suffered during recent heat waves around the country, and hitting the Pacific Northwest especially hard. We’ve talked about the need for heat protections for farmworkers, but they’re not the only ones.

HuffPost’s Dave Jamieson looks at the heat complaints to Oregon OSHA, finding that restaurant workers were hit particularly hard. According to a complaint from a Carl’s Jr.

‘Hunger is fading back as an unseen issue’ but it isn’t going away, food banks warn

Massive food bank lines became some of the most iconic and disturbing images of the COVID-19 economy. Now, unemployment is dropping and the Biden administration has increased food aid—but advocates are warning that hunger remains a problem.

“Hunger is fading back as an unseen issue,” a spokesperson for the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank told the San Francisco Chronicle. “We’ve seen a drop-off in volunteer numbers.

It’s time to dish. What foods do you hate?

Sure, “hate” is a strong word. But as applied to food, it can be entirely appropriate. Food, after all, is an essential part of life and it can inspire serious physical reactions—for good or bad. You don’t have to be a picky eater to have one food you really, really can’t eat (for reasons other than health).

It’s a holiday weekend, so let’s chat.