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This was a big week for organized labor and protest movements around the U.S. and beyond.

As the COVID-19 pandemic progressed, workers became empowered. Some were told that their work was "essential." Others got to experience, however briefly, what it was like to be paid to stay home for the greater good. Now we're seeing the biggest strikewave in the U.S. in a generation.

This should be good news if you want our economy to be more equal or you're more concerned about the GDP. Higher unionization, and, thus, more collective bargaining, leads to higher average income and improved health, quality of life, and democracy. Unionization can even raise worker productivity and spur overall economic growth.

It's a win-win, right? Well, despite the data, apparently not if you're part of the management of most major corporations, corporate media companies, and even left-wing liberal arts universities.

Part-time faculty at The New School, a New York City-based arts university known as an intellectual hub for progressives, just ended a three-week strike for better wages. A shocking 90% of the university's faculty are adjuncts. To me, the whole business model is wrong: to boost its revenue, The New School hired mostly part-time, underpaid professors and increased its enrollment. It's not surprising that the workers revolted.

Parents threatened a lawsuit. A mediator got involved. New School administration cut off pay and health coverage for striking faculty, and students and faculty occupied the school in response. Finally, the parties came to an agreement that gave the faculty what it wanted regarding health insurance benefits and increased their compensation. "Power concedes nothing without a demand," folks.

Read more about the strike and other New York City and state news in our special newsletter, "It's Not You, It's the Subway," from OptOut New York editor Samira Asma-Sadeque. Sign up for free here.

Meanwhile, over 1,100 New York Times employees went on an historic 24-hour strike to protest meager salary increases and health benefit cuts in spite of big profits and hefty paychecks for executives, reports THE REAL NEWS.

New York Times workers take the ‘Paper of Record’ to task
Over 1,000 New York Times workers walked off the job on Dec. 8 after nearly two years of bargaining failed to produce a contract.
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Two prominent journalists didn't join their colleagues in solidarity, however. Top White House correspondents Peter Baker and Michael Schear opted to side with the bosses, seemingly happy with a lopsided pay structure they benefit from. Jack Mirkinson of DISCOURSE BLOG wasn't pleased.

The Traitors at the New York Times
Peter Baker and Michael Shear scabbed during a staff walkout. There is no more vile betrayal than that.
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The Times' IT specialists, security guards, and sales coordinators struck alongside their editorial comrades, as THE CITY reported.

The Other New York Times Workers On Strike
The newspaper’s IT specialists, security guards and sales coordinators — some of whom earn as little as $52,000 a year — strike alongside reporters for better wages.
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Other strikes are ongoing, including at the University of California. Read OptOut network coverage of the massive strike.

CAPITAL & MAIN: In Its Fourth Week, the Massive University of California Strike Reaches a Pivot Point

KNOCK LA: Inside UCLA Student Workers’ Fight for a Truly Public University

And regarding the potential rail worker strike, which President Biden managed to crush, check out THE LEVER's podcast episode, "Why Biden Betrayed Railroad Workers." Listen on the OptOut News app (Android or iOS), Apple, Google, or wherever you get your 'casts.

Please Help OptOut Empower Independent News!

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🚨 OptOut depends on your support to run our free app, send this newsletter, and a lot more. We've raised over $21,000 since we announced our end-of-year fundraising goal, but we need to get to $50,000 to hold corporate and legacy media accountable and maintain our free app and newsletters next year! Can you donate today to support independent media?

All donations are tax-deductible. Thanks so much to those who have already supported us in this fundraising drive!

Workers weren't the only ones protesting this week.

In Southern Arizona, protesters blocked the construction of Arizona's illegal border wall, as documented by UNICORN RIOT.

Since Nov. 29, a loose collection of locals, environmental activists, hippies and migrant solidarity workers have been putting their bodies in the way of the machines. They have successfully delayed the work crews for a week and a half, who had been rushing to drop as many shipping containers into the wilderness as possible before Arizona Governor Doug Ducey leaves office in early January.
​​Blockaders Halt Border Wall Construction in Southern Arizona - UNICORN RIOT
Cochise County, AZ – Seventeen feet above the ground, towering over the native Sonoran grasses and oak saplings of the surrounding bajadas, a group of young people stretched out languidly in the sun, chatting and laughing and playing guitar. In a line to their east, the double-stacked shipping conta…
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At the U.N.'s biodiversity conference in Montreal, Indigenous people are fighting to prevent the U.N.'s 30x30 policy from evicting them from huge amounts of land around the world.

How Indigenous people are fighting to stop ‘the biggest land grab in history’
At the United Nations biodiversity conference, known as COP15, Indigenous leaders fight to be included in 30x30 talks.
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THE INTERCEPT looks at the recent U.N. climate conference, COP27, in Sharm-al-Sheik, Egypt, and how environmentalists managed to come together in the country's repressive regime.

Egypt’s Climate Summit Was a “Rehearsal” for COP28 in Dubai
Even in a police state, climate justice and human rights advocates found ways to come together and make their voices heard, but some worry about what comes next.
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For more on COP27 and regular independent climate coverage, sign up for OptOut Climate, a newsletter by editor Cristian Salazar.

Quick Hits

Here's some more important news from around the OptOut network.

POPULA: What Is On the Bookshelves at Puck? Maria Bustillos examines the fairly barren bookshelves at the corporate news outlet.

FAIR: Media’s Crime Hype and Scapegoating Led to Crackdown on Unhoused People. Julie Hollar explains how corporate media have hurt some of society's most vulnerable.

ECONOMIC HARDSHIP REPORTING PROJECT: Many Nursing Homes Are Poorly Staffed. How Do They Get Away With It?

CENTER FOR MEDIA AND DEMOCRACY: CMD Launches Insurrection Exposed Website. The investigative reporters and researchers at CMD have released an informative website that holds numerous people and groups accountable for the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

SLUDGE: Leonard Leo-Tied Group Pushing Radical Election Theory Got $66 Million Recently From ‘Dark Money’ Hub

ARIZONA MIRROR: Kyrsten Sinema has left the Democratic Party, registered as an independent

JEWISH CURRENTS: The Unbearable Ignorance of the ADL

PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY INITIATIVE: DHS Open for Business: How Tech Corporations Bring the War on Terror to Our Neighborhoods

THE MAJORITY REPORT: Elon Musk Accidentally Exposes Twitter's Preferential Treatment For Hate Account Libs Of TikTok. Musk's Twitter has been shielding a notorious anti-trans account from censorship.

For more on anti-trans hate and other LGBTQ+ news, sign up for OptOut LGBTQ+, a newsletter by editor Liana DeMasi.

Project Mushroom

Speaking of the hostile and imploding Twitter, our friends at weather and climate news site CURRENTLY have set up an alternative social media hub, Project Mushroom. It's a community-led effort to build a safe place on the internet, and we wholeheartedly support it.

Project Mushroom is now the largest Mastodon project with climate justice as a priority — and one of the fastest growing in the English language. More than 10,000 people signed up for our waitlist in our first 48 hours.
Keeping our creators safe is our utmost priority. We will be working with the Project Mushroom community to develop moderation protocols with strict bans on behavior like harassment, racism, and climate denial.

It costs money to set up a server, host content, and moderate a large community, so we hope you'll consider helping fund the space.

As always, thank you for following the important work of the 175+ independent news outlets from the OptOut network. See you soon!

The OptOut Media Foundation (EIN: 85-2348079) is a nonprofit charity with a mission to educate the public about current events and help sustain a diverse media ecosystem by promoting and assisting independent news outlets and, in doing so, advance democracy and social justice.

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