4/24 “Liberal” Companies Union Bust; Saving Rent Stabilization w/ Jeremy Gantz, Leah Goodridge

April 24, 2024

It’s Hump Day! Emma speaks with Jeremy Gantz, contributing editor at In These Times, to discuss the recent unionization efforts at Trader Joe’s. Then, she speaks with Leah Goodridge, Commissioner on the New York City Planning Commission and former member of the New York City Rent Guidelines Board, to discuss efforts to support rent stabilization in the city. First, Emma runs through updates on the incumbent victories in yesterday’s PA primaries, Trump’s legal woes, the Senate’s Ukraine-Taiwan-Israel aid package, new mass grave reports coming out of Gaza, Biden’s new labor regulations, Elon Musk’s desperate Tesla promises, a DOJ settlement, the Supreme Court’s anti-labor agenda, and fascist legislation coming out of Idaho, Tennessee, and North Carolina, before watching Summer Lee’s phenomenal speech in the wake of her massive victory against a Pro-Israel challenger. Jeremy Gantz then joins, diving right into the major recent developments in the bargaining process between Starbucks and Starbucks Workers United, with Atlanta hosting the first genuine sit-down bargaining session in almost a year, before stepping back to walk through the two years of hardline union-busting, despite consistent pushback from both the NLRB and the general public, with only the negative change to their public image pushing them back to the table. Next, Gantz expands to the greater context of the retail industry, with major companies like Trader Joe’s and REI operating their own en-masse union-busting campaigns, exploring why the decentralized nature of the industry, as well as the high employee turnover rates, make these particularly difficult organizing efforts. Wrapping up, Jeremey walks Emma through the role of the ongoing suit sponsored by SpaceX and joined by Starbucks attempting to undermine the NLRB, and what the future of these unionization drives will likely entail. Leah Goodridge then joins, first bringing Emma through her own experiences working with New York’s housing industry, and the major issues facing the affordable housing sector, both in its policy and access, and in the greater construction and maintenance it requires. Expanding on this, Goodridge explores the ever-present power struggle with developers and landlords on one side, and tenants and homeowners on the other, tackling how the former group can both manufacture the public rhetoric and villainize their opponents, often presenting their domination over the industry as heroic or necessary for a functioning of society. After touching on some of the major issues in what makes up the affordable housing market (unaffordable, single-bedroom units), Leah and Emma look to the role of the Faircloth Amendment in killing federal investment in the expansion of the affordable housing market, and pushing the responsibility for constructing and maintaining the infrastructure almost entirely onto the private sphere. Next, Goodridge touches on the major factors of the broker system and the epidemic of vacant units (often used as speculative assets) in driving up housing costs, before she and Emma dive deep into the topics of rent control and Tenant’s Rights, unpacking what these terms entail and how the media completely misrepresents the role they play in equalizing the power dynamic between landlords and renters, before wrapping up with a brief assessment of Squatter’s Right’s minor (yet unsurprisingly overblown) role in the conversation.

And in the Fun Half: Emma covers Elon Musk’s unsurprising response to Tesla’s cratering profits and stock price (make unachievable and absurd promises), Garrett from VA on the growing extraction of profits from medical clinics by insurance companies, Rick from Baltimore explores how he came to MR, and Kowalski from Nebraska gives his takes on the rent control and Big Tech conversations from the day. The MR Team also watches the harrowing footage of (content warning) a Zionist counter-protester getting bonked by a flag, listens to some powerful reflections from a Columbia University anti-zionist Jew, and gives some much-needed aesthetic advice to Trump’s attorney. Newt Gingrich has a stunning parallel for the ‘persecution’ of Donald Trump, plus, your calls and IMs!

Check out Jeremy’s work at In These Times here: https://inthesetimes.com/authors/jeremy-gantz

Find out more about Leah’s work here: https://www.leahgoodridge.com/

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