labor

There’s a lot of talk about “dark money” in politics these days. That’s money raised and spent by so-called “social welfare” organizations that don’t have to disclose their donors.

But sometimes these groups will reveal who’s giving them money -- if you ask.

Bill Radke speaks with Subway franchisee owner David Jones about secure scheduling rules passed by the city of Seattle on Monday. Jones says the new rules will make things much harder for businesses like his. 

KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

Seattle’s City Council has passed a measure that will ensure workers' schedules are predictable. It’s the latest in a series of low wage worker protections the council has passed. There’s been the $15 minimum wage, paid sick leave, and restrictions on criminal background checks.

Bill Radke speaks with Josh Feit about the behind the scenes politics of the City Council vote on a new secure scheduling law. Feit is the politics editor at Seattle Met and editor of their local politics blog PubliCola. 

Labor journalist Sarah Jaffe
Courtesy of Julieta Salgado

When it comes to the future of good jobs and a contented workforce in the United States, the outlook is tenuous at best. Workers left in the wake of off-shoring, financial crises and game-changing robotic technology developments know that all too well.

Journalist Sarah Jaffe says community movements are a key to better outcomes. “For the people taking part in them it is not a question of left or right, but of the powerless against the powerful.”

Seattle is one step away from adding worker scheduling rules to its workplace laws. A City Council committee unanimously approved secure scheduling legislation Tuesday, forwarding it to a full council vote next Monday.

KUOW Photo/Caroline Chamberlain

Bill Radke sits down with Seattle University professor Nancy Burkhalter to talk about her experience as an adjunct, or part-time professor, at the university.

More than half of all professors in the U.S. are adjuncts, and they receive far fewer benefits than their tenured or tenure-track colleagues who are essentially guaranteed employment for life. 

Last week, Seattle University adjunct professors voted to unionize, and a union is expected to be certified sometime next week.

The boats are owned by Americans. They fly American flags and work in American waters. The fish they catch — like premium ahi tuna and swordfish — is sold at American grocery stores, on shelves at Whole Foods and Costco.

But the men who catch those fish can't set foot on American soil, The Associated Press reports — and they aren't protected by American labor laws.

At 4.9 percent, the nation's unemployment rate is half of what it was at the height of the Great Recession. But that number hides a big problem: Millions of men in their prime working years have dropped out of the workforce — meaning they aren't working or even looking for a job.

It's a trend that's held true for decades and has economists puzzled.

Productivity, a key measure of the economy's health, has been growing more slowly in recent years — and it has dropped for the past three quarters. Can Facebook and other social media distractions on the job be partly to blame?

Growth in the U.S. economy has been frustratingly slow during the recovery from the Great Recession. And it has fueled a lot of political discussion this year. One characteristic of that slow growth has some economists scratching their heads and others promoting grand theories to explain it.

The city of Seattle has hired a private investigator to find out who leaked a proposed police labor agreement to the press.


Seattle City Hall
Flickr Photo/Daniel X. O'Neil (CC-BY-NC-ND)/http://bit.ly/1OGMTuh

Seattle leaders are pushing for a new level of worker's rights, on top of the city's $15 minimum wage law. The next proposal: predictable scheduling. The City Council will discuss the topic next week and vote on the legislation later in September.

Unionized Washington state employees want a pay raise. They plan to rally Wednesday at the state Capitol.

Washington state's above-average unemployment rate hasn't budged since last December. For July, the state’s Department of Employment Security Wednesday again pegged it at 5.8 percent.

Rebecca Crimmins, 61, spent two years trying to find a job. During that time, her mother died and she got cancer. She must continue working to pay off her medical bills.
KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

Eight years have passed since the Great Recession. It almost seems like a distant event. But older workers haven’t completely recovered despite signs of boom times. 

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