Episode

5/11 Workers Organize Against “Organic Food Pioneer”, And Fighting The Myths Of Student Debt Cancellation w/ Tony Delorio & India Walton

May 11, 2022

Sam and Emma host Tony Delorio, Secretary-Treasurer of the Teamsters Local 665, to discuss the recent organizing efforts at Amy’s Kitchen in Los Angeles. Then Sam and Emma are joined by India Walton, former mayoral candidate in Buffalo and Senior Strategic Organizer at Roots Action, to discuss the push to cancel student debt in the U.S. Tony, Sam, and Emma dive right into the Teamsters Local 665’s work with food processing workers at Amy’s Kitchen, famed frozen food provider, after responding to calls from workers and being met with some of the harshest working conditions that they’d seen, with a near 50% rise in production with no additional workers, and “benefits” that were frankly driving workers deeper in debt. Central to this, as Tony explores, was the relationship to medical benefits, as the factory had a working relationship with a nearby medical center that sent workers right back to work before, in the wake of the first unionization attempts, Amy’s granted workers a generous $2/hr wage, only for medical premiums to go up by $400, thus the “raise” meant workers were losing up to $80 per month. Next, Tony, Emma, and Sam dive into how this abuse came to be from a company that espouses an organic, community-based, family working culture, telling a story that is all too similar with a slow-but-steady development of Amy’s Kitchen into a large-scale corporation, with the founding family stepping to the side in favor of the executive board, and looking away as working conditions dwindled. Tony then gets into the work between the Teamsters and workers, as the initial unionization attempts were quickly followed by a realization that what was really needed was a large-scale media push, which came alongside a worker-supported boycott by coops across the US, filing B Corp complaints, and drawing attention to the union-busting attempts going on. They wrap up the interview by looking deeper into the state of labor in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, with Biden’s NLRB actually stepping up for workers as massive corporations like Starbucks and Amazon crackdown on dissident workers. Then, Sam and Emma are joined by India Walton as they cover her perspective on the Biden Administration’s internal student debt relief, from quantity to means testing, and why she holds hope for a full 50k in relief, before diving deeper into how the student debt crisis came to be, how it impacts everyday folks, and why this policy would be a massive win for Democrats.

And in the Fun Half: Sam and Emma dive into the issue with many economists’ self-presentation as non-ideological scientists, rather than social scientists, Susan Collins is attacked by chalk, no word yet on policy regarding Maine hopscotch courts, and Big Al from Long Beach calls in to explore sports talk radio, College Athletes’ rights over their own identities, and the importance of personal connection in bridging ideology. Nick from (slightly south of) Long Beach discusses being arrested for chalking a neighborhood sidewalk, Ryan from northern VA discusses family planning in the wake of the Roe decision, and the crew dives into Israel’s murder of a Palestinian-American journalist. Gal from Israel expands on the common genocidal feelings amongst conservative Israelis, Dinesh D’Souza dives into Tucker blue balling him, I mean shadowbanned, Sam and Emma cover the Police’s role in cracking down on trans kids who are shut out of school for apparent “truancy,” and the Weinsteins discuss Muskicide, plus, your calls and IMs!

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Check out what’s going at Amy’s Kitchen here and BOYCOTT their products-it hurts the brand, not the workers!: https://www.sfgate.com/food/article/A…

Check out Roots Action here: https://rootsaction.org/

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