September 3, 2018

Labor’s Challenge in the Gig Economy as Big Tech Gets Bigger and Bezos Gets Richer
Hopeful Signs for Labor From Popular Teacher’s Strikes
Beating Back the Plutocracy
Program Notes

We begin on this Labor Day and assess the damage Donald Trump is doing to the lives of working Americans with his recent assault on unions and his corporatist takeover of the judiciary. As Trump recites right wing idiocy speaking out against big tech, albeit in a dangerous and cynical defense of Alex Jones’ right to spew out his conspiracies and hate speech online, we speak with Stacy Mitchell,the co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.  She joins us for an update on the real issues facing labor and the threats posed by the gig economy from companies like Google and Amazon, whose founder Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world with a net worth is over $155 billion, can’t even conceive of paying his workers better wages or his fair share of taxes and instead would prefer to erect a giant rocket ship to Mars as a monument to his wealth.

Then we go to West Virginia, where the recent wave of teacher’s strikes have shown hopeful signs on the ground of what can be accomplished when workers come together and demand economic justice. Anne Marie Lofaso, a Professor at West Virginia University College of Law where she teaches labor and employment law, joins us to discuss how in her red state where super-rich political leaders have conned the electorate into voting for a plutocratic agenda veiled in faux populism, just like in the case of our President’s election, West Virginians are becoming activated as they see the fruits of victory from these massively popular wildcat strikes.

Then finally we speak with Sam Pizzigati, a veteran labor journalist and an associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies whose latest book is “The Case for a Maximum Wage”. He joins us to discuss his article at inequality.org “Would You Recognize a Plutocracy If You Saw It?” and give us an update on the state of organized labor in our country which appears to becoming less of a democracy and more of a plutocracy. But on a cheery note, a century ago Americans faced a plutocracy just like ours today and they beat it back just as we can today.

Stacy Mitchell | Ann Marie Lofaso | Sam Pizzigati