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Happy Labor Day! Today's edition of the OptOut general newsletter focuses entirely on news about workers and organized labor. Numerous outlets in our independent media network cover labor in-depth, and with the nuance and understanding of workers' issues that many corporate outlets lack.

This newsletter is longer than usual, as there is so much important coverage of this pivotal issue I want to share with you. If you think reducing income inequality is a good thing, you'll enjoy plenty of positive news below.

I hope you have a meaningful Labor Day and enjoy our selection of news content!

The State of Labor

A lot has happened recently in labor movements in the U.S. and around the world. After the COVID-19 lockdowns, workers were empowered, and a strikewave began. Here's the state of labor from the OptOut network.

Labor History

First, let's get into the history of Labor Day and the labor movement.

PENNSYLVANIA CAPITAL-STAR has a short primer on the holiday.

Happy Labor Day, Pa. Here are five things to know about the holiday | Monday Morning Coffee - Pennsylvania Capital-Star
Good Monday Morning, Fellow Seekers. Today is Labor Day in Pennsylvania and nationwide. It’s a time to gather with family and friends to mark the end of summer, to honor and celebrate the contributions of the America worker and labor movement, and … because ’Murica … a time for markdowns and sales.…
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JACOBIN republishes, for the first time, socialist Eugene V. Debs' 1903 Labor Day message, in which he declares, “The struggle in which we are now engaged will end only when every day is Labor Day.”

Eugene V. Debs: In a Just Society, Every Day Would Be Labor Day
On Labor Day, there’s perhaps no one better to read than Eugene V. Debs. Here’s his 1903 Labor Day message, never before republished, in which he declares, “The struggle in which we are now engaged will end only when every day is Labor Day.”
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In the early to mid-20th century, Black socialist and trade unionist Frank Crosswaith "never wavered in his belief that a strong interracial labor movement and democratic socialist policies were the best antidote to the fundamental problems facing black people."

Even more importantly, Crosswaith—dubbed the “Negro Debs,” after socialist trade unionist Eugene Debs—was an embodiment of the need to put these ideals into practice by building robust working-class institutions.
Black Socialist and Trade Unionist Frank Crosswaith Should Be a Household Name
Dubbed “the Negro Eugene Debs,” Frank Crosswaith was one of the great socialists of the early to mid-20th century. And his message was unwavering: only a vigorous labor movement and democratic socialist policies can deliver a better life for black workers.
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MICHIGAN ADVANCE writes about John F. Kennedy's 1960 visit to Detroit two months before his defeat of Richard Nixon in the presidential election. The publication notes how pivotal Black voters were to JFK's win of Michigan.

Some Detroiters point to a little known June 1960 private meeting that pushed Kennedy over the top with the growing African American demographic in Michigan and throughout the Midwest. A group of Detroit Black Democratic leaders that included UAW official Horace Sheffield Jr., business owner Forrest Green, longtime Democratic stalwart Joseph Coles and Detroit Common Council member William Patrick Jr. met with Kennedy at his home.
On this day in 1960: JFK lands in metro Detroit ahead of Labor Day parade ⋆ Michigan Advance
On Sept. 4, 1960, U.S. Sen. John F. Kennedy (D-Mass.) arrived in metro Detroit to participate in the city’s annual Labor Day that was held the following day. After his flight arrived at Metro Airport in Romulus, he was greeted by Democratic Gov. G. Mennen “Soapy” Williams. “… Tonight we are in Detro…
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THE MAJORITY REPORT's Labor Day special features speeches by Bernie Sanders (reading Eugene Debs), FDR, John L. Lewis, and Mario Savio, as well as a mineworkers song.


On WORKING PEOPLE, host Max Alvarez interviews workers from UPS, whose business model has left warehouse and delivery employees sick, and even dead, from excessive heat.

But at the end of the day, the way that this job functions does not work for human beings. Working in 107 degree heat does not work for human beings. Working in a truck that does not have AC or ventilation in the back where it gets to over 130 degrees doesn’t work for human beings.
Heat waves are literally killing UPS workers
Package deliverers and mail carriers aren’t just suffering from capitalist-induced climate change. They’re also often forced to work in vehicles without air conditioning.
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Also catch Max on LEFT ANCHOR's Labor Day podcast episode about his new book, The Work of Living: Working People Talk About Their Lives and the Year the World Broke.

The book is a collection of interviews of various working-class folks, from a gravedigger, to a sheet metal worker, to a nurse, and many more. Rebecca is one of those interviewees; she speaks about her work as a teacher and organizer in the Phoenix area, and how they’ve fought to keep themselves and their students safe from both the pandemic and right-wing austerity.
Working in a Pandemic
The American working class suffered terribly from COVID-19. Here are some of their stories.
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PRISM reminds us of the major contributions undocumented workers have made to the U.S. labor movement.

For decades now, migrant workers have created innovative labor organizing models outside of federal labor law, successfully increasing wages, benefits, and working conditions for segments of the working class that Londoño said have historically been deemed “unorganizable.”
It’s past time to celebrate migrant-led labor organizing
For decades, the labor movement has treated undocumented workers as “unorganizable.” Now these workers are doing some of the most innovative labor organizing in the U.S.
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COUNTERPUNCH shows that for young workers, unionizing means higher wages and better benefits.

Younger workers have now endured multiple economic shocks during formative stages in their lives. Unions have the potential to both mitigate some of the damage done by recent economic crises and to provide a mechanism for building worker power to create lasting structural change.
The Union Advantage for Young Workers: Higher Wages and More Benefits
+ Between 2016 and 2021, the median hourly wage for a young worker represented by a union was $23.86 ($2021), substantially higher than the wage for a
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Did you read our latest climate-focused newsletter? OptOut Climate Editor Cristian Salazar rounds up the best independent reporting about climate change, energy, and the environment every other Wednesday.

Fossil Fuel Giveaways in the Climate Deal • California Takes on the Auto Industry • Speaking with Emily Atkin
The best independent coverage of the climate crisis.
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To get next week's climate newsletter in your inbox, sign into your account and click "Manage" to subscribe to OptOut Climate!

Workers Win Against Giant Corporations

Today, Starbucks workers at about 100 stores are hosting "sip-ins," when stores choose "times when supporters of a store are asked to come in, order low-priced drinks or water, and leave big tips. The events provide an opportunity for baristas and their supporters to engage in conversation about labor conditions and build community."

This Labor Day, Starbucks Workers Are Hosting Pro-Union “Sip-Ins” Across the U.S.
To commemorate Labor Day, Starbucks workers are planning actions at stores around the country—part of the growing campaign to organize the coffee chain.
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The ECONOMIC HARDSHIP REPORTING PROJECT, in partnership with Teen Vogue, hears from two Starbucks workers who organized stores in Pittsburgh and Memphis. The company illegally fired a number of organizers, but workers keep fighting for their rights.

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STATUS COUP has covered the Amazon and Starbucks union victories since the beginning. This video compilation starts with an interview of Amazon Labor Union vice president Derrick Palmer.

STATUS COUP is also providing live coverage of a labor rally for Amazon and Starbucks workers in New York City beginning at 3:15pm ET.

MEANS MORNING NEWS ran a segment about happenings in labor organizing this month.

At OptOut, we are committed to bringing you independent news coverage of today's most important issues, including workers' rights. The uncompromising news outlets in our network give you honest reporting and diverse perspectives while critiquing the dominant narratives that the corporate and legacy media produce.

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In the States

Read coverage by outlets that are part of STATES NEWSROOM and based in Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, New Mexico, and Wisconsin:

Nonunion workers turn to federal labor law to challenge employers - Wisconsin Examiner
Federal labor laws protect workers who band together without union representation, not just those in unions or trying to form unions.
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The Connecticut government didn't properly fund pandemic grants it promised to essential workers, and some lawmakers are trying to prevent the checks from being cut down significantly.

Interest in CT essential worker relief vastly exceeds state capacity
CT reserved bonuses for 30,000 workers. About 255,000 want them – so far.
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New York City is leading the country in new union membership, reports THE CITY.

New York City private-sector workers are joining unions at nearly twice the rate as in the next most active city, Seattle, and at five times the rate as in San Francisco or Los Angeles, the study finds.
Boosted by Amazon Workers’ Win, NYC Leads Nation in New Union Organizing
New Yorkers are 10 times likelier than the average U.S. worker to have recently joined a private-sector labor union, a pre-Labor Day analysis finds.
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Around the World

Read about labor movements in Australia, Chile, and the U.K. from JACOBIN.

Britain’s Strikes Aren’t Going to End Anytime Soon
Workers have been striking throughout the summer to demand an end to Britain’s cost-of-living crisis that doesn’t come at their expense. Expect more such strikes in the very near future.
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LABOR NOTES reports that in Mexico, workers at an American auto parts company defeated a notorious, company-friendly union effort by voting to create a union of their own.

Mexican Auto Parts Workers Win a Union of Their Own, Defeating Company Attempts to Impose One
Three miles from the U.S.-Mexico border, auto parts workers in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, voted yesterday to join an independent union, defeating company attempts to usher in an employer-friendly, politically connected union. The independent Mexican Workers’ League (la Liga Sindical Obrera Mexicana)…
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Reimagining Work

In LABOR NOTES, a labor educator makes the argument for thinking radically about the nature of work.

Unions and all labor organizations and political formations should engage in a massive educational campaign—aimed first at union members, who then can spread the word to the unorganized.
Such education should emphasize the history and nature of the relationship between the employing and the working class, and how control and conflict are central to this relationship.
Viewpoint: Confronting the Nature of Work
The word “work” has been associated historically with “compulsion, torment, affliction, and persecution.” Why is this? The answer lies in our economic system. The driving force of capitalism is capital accumulation. Every business seeks to make maximum profits and then grow as rapidly and as large a…
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On ECONOMIC UPDATE, "Dr. Harriet Fraad joins Richard Wolff to discuss the modern problem of loneliness our society and how workers can reconnect with each other against loneliness and injustice."

Check out THE BAFFLER's review of an anti-work novel Diary of a Void by Japanese author Emi Yagi.

Annoyed by the constant expectations that she—the only woman in her workplace—will serve and clean up coffee, answer the phone, and bring little samples from desk to desk, Shibata one day refuses.
Mother Knows Best | Bekah Waalkes
“Diary of a Void” is an anti-work novel of a sort. But it rejects soothing conclusions in favor of something more nihilistic.
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THE NATION writes about the ills of people retiring later in life.

Inequalities loom large in the working-longer landscape. Those without college degrees often face jobs with high physical demands, low wages, unpredictable schedules, and few benefits—jobs that make it hard to keep going. It’s the paradox of working longer: Those who can least afford to retire early are those who are least likely to be able to delay retirement.
The Alternative to Working Ourselves to Death
Investments in better jobs today mean better retirements tomorrow.
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Thanks as always for following the independent OptOut news network! See you soon.

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