How hedge funds, Goldman Sachs, and corrupt executives used Gymboree's chaotic bankruptcy to cash out while destroying the careers of loyal employees

Gymboree is one of the many companies acquired by Mitt Romney's Bain Capital, through a "leveraged buyout" through which the company was loaded up with debt so that the hedge fund could cash out; the company was left with massive debts and cycled through a succession of incompetent, inexperienced grifter CEOs who eventually ran the company into bankruptcy. Read the rest

Kickstarter employees want to unionize under OPEIU and have formed Kickstarter United to make that happen

Kickstarter United is organizing Kickstarter employees under the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) Local 153, joining other tech startups like Gimlet and Vox in a bid to unionize. Read the rest

From prisons to factories to offices: the spread of workplace surveillance and monitoring tech

A new report from Data & Society (previously) goes into depth on the ways that employers are increasingly rolling out workplace surveillance and monitoring technologies that "exert greater control over large workforces, rapidly experiment with workflows, detect deviant behavior, evaluate performance, and automate tasks." Read the rest

Massive study finds strong correlation between "early affluence" and "faster cognitive drop" in old age

A paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science reports on new analysis of the Survey of Health, Aging, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), which tracks outcomes for 24,066 people aged 50-96 with a good balance of genders (56% female), and reports a strong correlation between "early affluence" and "faster cognitive drop" in "verbal fluency" (measured with an animal naming challenge). SHARE is the largest study of its kind, with more than double the subjects of similar projects. Read the rest

Striking West Virginia teachers won swift and decisive victory; Oakland next?

2019 has seen a string of bold and successful teachers' strikes that built on last years' #RedForEd strikes: the new wave of strikes goes beyond paychecks and funding, though, and takes aim at charter schools as a system for the stealth privatization of public education. Read the rest

Artists against Article 13: when Big Tech and Big Content make a meal of creators, it doesn't matter who gets the bigger piece

Article 13 is the on-again/off-again controversial proposal to make virtually every online community, service, and platform legally liable for any infringing material posted by their users, even very briefly, even if there was no conceivable way for the online service provider to know that a copyright infringement had taken place. Read the rest

AFL-CIO open letter to game devs: things won't get better until you unionize

In the wake of Blizzard/Activision's announcement of mass layoffs following record profits, Liz Shuler of the AFL-CIO has published an open letter on Kotaku addressed to workers in the notoriously abusive video game industry, calling on them to unionize as the only path to a fair deal. Read the rest

India's e-waste recycling "markets" are toxic nightmares filled with child laborers

Millions of tons of e-waste -- much of it from rich countries like Australia -- are recycled in India, in "markets" with terrible, dangerous working conditions and equally awful environmental controls. Read the rest

LA Times demands that reporters sign away rights to books, movies and other works they create while working at the paper

The LA Times Guild has been negotiating a new contract with the newspaper, but has hit a wall thanks to an unprecedented demand from the paper's owners: they want writers to sign away the rights to nonfiction books, novels, movies and other works they create separate from their reporting for the paper. The newspaper is also demanding the right to use reporters "byline, biography and likeness" to market these works. Read the rest

Burning Man purges one-percenter camp that charged up to $100K, littered like crazy, and ripped off its attendees

Burning Man has long struggled with the tension between its commitment to "radical decommodification" and grifters and their ultra-high-net-worth marks who organize "turnkey camps" where you can pay giant sums to pretend to be a Burning Man "participant" while being looked after by paid "sherpas" (including, rumor has it, sex workers), in luxury settings designed to repel non-paying attendees (sometimes guarded by private security guards). Read the rest

Blizzard/Activision celebrates record revenues by laying off 800 employees

Blizzard/Activision posted $7.5b in net revenues for 2018, and announced that it would lay off 800 of the employees who made those revenues possible, but fear not! The last time the company did a mass layoff (600 people in 2012), it generously rehired those people as temps, doing the same jobs for less pay, with no security or benefits. Read the rest

Trump's properties routinely employed (and abused) undocumented Latinx workers, including dozens from a single Costa Rican town

The Washington Post tracked down workers from Santa Teresa de Cajon in Costa Rica, who say that they and their neighbors were part of a "pipeline" from Central America to Trump properties in New Jersey and elsewhere, where they worked doing construction, groundskeeping, and cleaning, with the full knowledge of their supervisors and Trump Organization managers (a claim verified by a police report detailing a warning from local officials to Trump Organization bosses about the number of undocumented workers on Trump's property). Read the rest

Swedes are entitled to six months' leave to start a business, look after a sick relative, or study

Sweden consistently ranks as one of Europe's most innovative and entrepreneurial nations, and one of the most obvious explanations for this is the country's generous leave policy, which entitles salaried, full-time workers to six months' unpaid leave to start a (noncompeting) business, look after a sick relative, or go back to school. Read the rest

Harvard Humanists troll the elites who fund the Harvard endowment by awarding Anand Giridharadas a prize

Anand Giridharadas (previously) is the Aspen Fellow/McKinsey consultant turned anticapitalist gadfly whose brilliant book Winners Take All exposes the "philanthrophy" of the ultra-rich as a form of reputation-laundering with the side benefit of allowing some of history's greatest monsters to look at themselves in the mirror. Read the rest

If you work for a living, America taxes you at double the rate of wealthy investors with "unearned income"

Starting in the early 1990s with a Democratic Congress (and continued by other congresses, Republican and Democrat, since), the rate of tax on "passive, unearned income" has been in decline, but someone has to pay to keep Uncle Sam's lights on, so the tax on workers' wages have diverged, until today, when the tax bite out of a worker's wage is double the tax taken on wealthy investor with the same amount in "passive income." Read the rest

Why charter schools are the flashpoint for the LA teachers' strike

When teachers from the largest school district in America walked off the job this week, they were not campaigning for wages: rather, they were demanding smaller classes; more librarians, counselors, aides and special-ed teachers; and to rein in the Charter school movement, and that last demand is the key to understanding the whole thing. Read the rest

In LA, the teachers of America's largest school district are on strike

LA teachers are on strike today, fighting against privatization, standardized tests, giant classes, and clawbacks of in-class teachers' aides. Read the rest

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