My [UberX] driver turned out to be a Google employee who said he drew the lucky H1-B visa straw to get out of Bulgaria … he told me he works at the company’s Mountain View campus, but started driving for UberX for two hours on Saturdays and Sundays to send money to a family of four kids he met on vacation, who couldn’t afford to go to school or even shoes. ‘I just calculated that if I work four hours of a week, I can clothe all of them,’ he told me. ‘For so little, it’s amazing what you can do.’ —
And then I think about the structures that Google put in place to avoid paying taxes in the United States, and how many schools and shoes those billions could account for.
Like Tiny Little Cracks -
Steve Prefontaine, known simply as Pre to the hordes of teenage runners who idolized him, once said, “Somebody may beat me, but they are going to have bleed to do it.” It’s the type of thing you’d expect from a cocky 21-year-old American at the top of his game, a runner who tried to blaze the…
As a former cross country runner who couldn’t run in the state championship meet my senior year because I was just too injured to try, believe me: read this.
The second-dumbest thing I’ve ever done with MSPaint.
Insomnia Cookies Strikers Win Back Pay
Four workers at Insomnia Cookies’ Cambridge store went on strike on August 19, protesting poverty pay and wretched working conditions, and demanding $15/hr, health benefits and a union at their workplace. The company illegally fired all four. For the next six months strikers, IWW members, allies, and student organizations at both Harvard and Boston University held pickets, marches, rallies, forums, phone blitzes, and organized boycotts, while workers continued organizing at both the Cambridge and Boston locations. The union also pursued legal charges through the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
On March 3, a company representative signed an agreement promising almost $4,000 in back pay to the four strikers (two of whom had given notice before going on strike; and all of whom had moved on to more rewarding jobs or pursuits). The company also agreed to post a notice in the Cambridge store, promising not to fire or otherwise retaliate against workers for taking collective action, including joining the union and going on strike. The company was also made to revise a confidentiality agreement that improperly restricted workers’ rights to discuss their conditions of employment with one another and third parties (including union organizers and the media). All references to the terminations have been removed from strikers’ personnel files.
“Since the first utterance of the word ‘strike’ that late August night, it has been an uphill battle for all of us,” says striker Chris Helali. “The Industrial Workers of the World answered the call when no other mainstream union was interested in organizing a small cookie store in Harvard Square. We picketed, we chanted, we sang. I thank my fellow workers, the IWW and all of our supporters for their continued work and solidarity through this campaign. I am proud to be a Wobbly!”Jonathan Peña says.
The IWW vows to continue organizing efforts at Insomnia Cookies. Helali says, “I am extremely pleased with the settlement, however, it does not end here. This is only the beginning. The IWW along with our supporters will continue to struggle until every Insomnia Cookies worker is treated with respect and given their full due for their labor. There is true power in a union; when workers come together and make their demands unified voices and actions.”
I don’t know anything about Insomnia Cookies or what’s gone on here. But my grandfather was a Wobbly, and I think it’s one of the only reasons he was able to stay alive during a (different) dark period of American labor.
I briefly thought about trying to organize the Gibson factory here, which would have surely involved becoming a Wobbly, but then I started looking into Tennessee’s labor laws and quit my job instead. I’ve always half-felt like I chickened out, but I wouldn’t have won.