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Dave Jamieson
Dave Jamieson is the Huffington Post’s labor reporter. Before joining the D.C. bureau, Jamieson reported on transportation issues for local Washington news site and covered criminal justice for Washington City Paper. He’s the author of a non-fiction book, Mint Condition: How Baseball Cards Became an American Obsession, and his stories have appeared in Slate, The New Republic, The Washington Post, and Outside. He’s won the Livingston Award for Young Journalists and the Hillman Foundation’s Sidney Award.

Entries by Dave Jamieson

The Walmart Black Friday Protest Ain't What It Used To Be

(0) Comments | Posted November 27, 2015 | 1:53 PM

WASHINGTON -- On the morning of Black Friday, a D.C. cop stood along the brick facade of a downtown Walmart and pulled leisurely on a cigarette. There was an anti-Walmart protest happening on the sidewalk in front of him, but he didn't have much work to...

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Why Retailers Will Inevitably Lose The War On Thanksgiving

(0) Comments | Posted November 24, 2015 | 5:02 PM

In the run-up to Thanksgiving this year, TJX, the parent company to discount chains Marshalls and T.J. Maxx, has been airing an advertisement about its decision to keep its stores closed on the holiday. By bucking the national trend of starting sales on Thanksgiving...

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Hillary Clinton Nabs Another Big Endorsement

(9) Comments | Posted November 24, 2015 | 12:07 PM

Hillary Clinton just locked down another endorsement from a major labor union as she seeks the Democratic nomination for president, solidifying her hold on organized labor's backing in the primary.

The Laborers' International Union of North America, or LIUNA, announced Tuesday that it...

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What A Refugee-Turned-Labor Leader Thinks Of Our Backlash Against Refugees

(1) Comments | Posted November 19, 2015 | 6:23 PM

Tefere Gebre has been following the political debate over Syrian refugees this week from his downtown D.C. office, about a block from the White House. At times, he said, the discourse has turned his stomach.

"It's been a tough week," Gebre, the vice...

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SEIU Endorses Hillary Clinton

(4) Comments | Posted November 17, 2015 | 12:29 PM

The Service Employees International Union endorsed Hillary Clinton for president on Tuesday, giving her candidacy the official backing of yet another huge labor union.

The SEIU represents 2 million workers in the service sector and is one of the most politically powerful unions...

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Papa John's Franchisee Gets Jail Time For Failing To Pay Full Wages

(3) Comments | Posted November 16, 2015 | 12:48 PM

The owner of several Papa John's franchises in New York City will serve 60 days in jail for failing to pay his workers the minimum wage and overtime, New York's attorney general announced Monday.

Two months isn't a particularly long time...

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Jeb Bush: Let's Focus On Helping The Christian Syrian Refugees, Rather Than The Muslims

(22) Comments | Posted November 15, 2015 | 11:57 AM

In the wake of the Paris terror attacks, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) said Sunday...

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Marco Rubio: We Can't Take In Syrian Refugees After Paris Attacks

(16) Comments | Posted November 15, 2015 | 11:19 AM

After saying earlier that he would be open to the idea of allowing Syrian refugees into the U.S., Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said Sunday that "we won't be able to take more refugees" in the wake of the Paris terror attacks.

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Lindsey Graham: 'There's A 9/11 Coming' After Paris

(13) Comments | Posted November 15, 2015 | 10:23 AM

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Sunday that "there's a 9/11 coming" after the Paris terror attacks...

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White House Says No 'Specific, Credible Threat' To U.S. After Paris Attacks

(1) Comments | Posted November 15, 2015 | 9:53 AM

A White House official said Sunday that there is no clear threat to the U.S. in the wake...

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Hillary Clinton Is Pulling Away From Bernie Sanders With Union Endorsements

(15) Comments | Posted November 13, 2015 | 6:52 PM

WASHINGTON -- When it came time to think seriously about endorsing a presidential candidate for 2016, Paul Feeney says it wasn't a hard decision for members of his union.

Feeney is a shop steward for a local union of the International Brotherhood of...

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Bernie Sanders, Senate Democrats Demand Capitol Contractor Let Workers Unionize

(0) Comments | Posted November 12, 2015 | 6:13 PM

Cafeteria workers employed in the U.S. Senate have spent the last several months agitating for higher wages and union representation, taking part in strikes and protests to highlight their demands. Now a group of senators have joined their cause.

In a

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Postal Workers Union Endorses Bernie Sanders

(15) Comments | Posted November 12, 2015 | 8:18 AM

Presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) won the endorsement of the American Postal Workers Union on Thursday, giving the self-described democratic socialist a boost as he seeks more support from organized labor in the Democratic primary.

APWU represents 200,000 U.S. Postal Service employees and retirees....

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GOP Candidates Resoundingly Reject The Idea Of A Minimum Wage Hike

(31) Comments | Posted November 10, 2015 | 9:15 PM

The growing calls for a $15 minimum wage have infiltrated not just the Democratic primary campaign, but now...

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Bernie Sanders Calls For '15 Bucks And A Union'

(2) Comments | Posted November 10, 2015 | 2:16 PM

With protests underway in dozens of cities, presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) spoke to a crowd of low-wage workers outside the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, crediting them with raising the minimum wage in cities and states around the country.

“What you are doing and workers all over the United States are doing, you are having a profound impact,” Sanders said to cheers. “People are raising the minimum wage to 15 bucks an hour. And you know who started it? You did. You started the movement.”

“Now we’ve got to finish the job,” Sanders added. “Fifteen bucks and a union.”

The protest outside the Capitol was part of Fight for 15, the union-backed campaign in which service-sector workers are calling for a $15 minimum wage and union recognition. Many of the low-wage employees who showed up to hear Sanders speak work for federal contractors on government property, including the Capitol grounds, and are members of a union-backed group called Good Jobs Nation.

The group has been calling on members of Congress to raise the minimum wage for contract employees. President Barack Obama signed an executive order to bump the wage floor for such workers to $10.10 per hour, but many say that amount is still not enough to live on in the Washington area.

One worker, Warner Massey, 55, said he earns $13.50 per hour doing custodial work inside Senate buildings. “I’m no different than nobody else here. I need more money, too. That’s the bottom line,” Massey said. “I figure if I have a couple more dollars on my check, that will help ease the pain a little bit.”

Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, has been an outspoken supporter of the Fight for 15, which is funded by the Service Employees International Union. Sanders has introduced a bill in Congress that would set a federal minimum wage of $15, compared to the current level of $7.25. Hillary Clinton, the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, has also voiced her support for the Fight for 15 campaign, though she’s backing a rival bill with a more modest hike to $12.

Sanders noted that many workers in the crowd serve members of Congress and their staffers each day.

“They should know that if you are serving them, they have got to start serving you,” he said. “Workers who work for the United States government deserve the right to raise their children in security. They deserve the right to earn enough to live in a decent apartment or a decent house. They deserve the right to bargain collectively.”

After the speech, dozens of protesters went inside the Dirksen Senate Office Building, where they hosted a sit-in protest in the basement cafeteria to call for a living wage....

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Hillary Clinton Shows Her Support For The Fight For 15 Campaign

(4) Comments | Posted November 10, 2015 | 9:05 AM

Fast-food strikers got a boost to their campaign on Tuesday morning, when Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton personally tweeted out her support ahead of a national day of protests:

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Fast Food Strikes Hit Cities Throughout The Country

(23) Comments | Posted November 10, 2015 | 7:25 AM

Nearly three years after launching its first worker strike, the Fight for 15 was reaping the fruits of its labor on Tuesday.

The union-backed campaign aimed at boosting the minimum wage held what organizers described as its largest mass demonstration yet, with fast-food and other service-sector workers taking part in strikes and protests in scores of cities around the country. Some of these protests were no doubt small, but others, in cities like New York, San Francisco and Pittsburgh, had huge turnouts.

The campaign’s startling political success became clear on Tuesday, if it wasn’t already. Hillary Clinton, the leading candidate for the Democratic nomination, offered a message of encouragement directly to the strikers, while another candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), spoke to striking workers outside the U.S. Capitol. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) joined workers at a demonstration in Brooklyn. And both the city of Pittsburgh and the state of New York announced new policies centered on a $15 wage floor.

In Pittsburgh, Mayor Bill Peduto (D) announced that city employees and contract workers would be paid at least $15 per hour by 2021, and in New York, the office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said all state employees would be making $15 by the end of 2018. 

 In a statement, the Fight for 15 described workers paid less than $15 an hour as “a voting bloc that can no longer be ignored.”

"I think that these workers have shown in the past two years that they are a potent political force. They have been changing the debate," Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union, told The Huffington Post. "City councils and states have raised minimum wages as a result of this movement. It’s because of the courage of individual workers to strike and to be joined by other workers all across the service sector." 

SEIU is the roughly 2-million-member labor union that’s been funding the Fight for 15 campaign. Three years in, it is still no clearer where exactly the campaign is headed, or how it plans to become a sustainable model for labor activism. For all its success in embarrassing low-wage employers like McDonald’s and raising local wage floors, the campaign and its strikes have not led to more dues-paying union members to financially support the cause. Meanwhile, SEIU has poured millions of dollars into the effort.

Yet while its endgame remains murky, the campaign’s growing political muscle is obvious. According to Henry, the campaign aims to “expand the movement and take it to the ballot box.” Tuesday’s protests were scheduled one year ahead of the 2016 elections, and the campaign released a voter agenda, focused on a $15 minimum wage and union recognition, which it hopes to hold candidates to. Organizers said the day would culminate with a protest outside the GOP presidential debate Tuesday night in Milwaukee.

Whether it’s fast food, retail, child care … we’re all being underpaid for our services. Letasha Irby

One of the campaign’s biggest policy victories to date was a July decision by New York regulators to set a $15 minimum wage specifically for fast-food employees. That rate is gradually being phased in throughout the state, after an order issued by the state’s wage board. Meanwhile, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles are all raising their city minimum wages to $15 in the coming years.

In Oakland on Tuesday morning, roughly 50 fast-food workers, union organizers and supporters flooded a McDonald’s, disrupting the tail end of the breakfast rush. Three workers behind the counter walked off the job to join them. The crowd, chanting in English and Spanish, temporarily forced the restaurant to stop serving food.

Fast-food workers at the protest said they’d been deprived of overtime pay and weren’t able to use sick days. One worker, Ernestina Sandoval, 35, who’s worked for three years at a McDonald’s, said her wage has only climbed from $8 to $9.60.

“If I saw [the owner] here, I’d turn my back on him, just like he’s turned his back on us,” Sandoval told HuffPost. “More goes into his pocket than ours. Still, he expects us to sacrifice.”

Until now, the Fight for 15 campaign has focused primarily on industries where SEIU has been organizing workers -- fast food in particular, as well as child care and home care. But on Tuesday, workers affiliated with other unions were taking part in the Fight for 15 demonstrations.

One of them, Letasha Irby, works at a factory in Selma, Alabama, that produces car seats and headrests for Hyundai cars. It’s just the sort of manufacturing job that Americans historically associate with solid, middle-class wages. Yet Irby says she earns only $12 per hour after a decade of service at her plant.

Irby said that on Tuesday she made plans to drive to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, after her shift to join a Fight for 15 protest. Irby is a supporter of the United Auto Workers, who have been trying to organize her plant in Selma and have so far not succeeded.

“I have a whole lot in common with them,” Irby, a 37-year-old Alabama native and mother of two, said of fast-food workers. “Whether it’s fast food, retail, child care … we’re all being underpaid for our services.”

Another worker, Angela Simler, said she would be helping to host a Fight for 15 barbecue outside her place of employment, a T-Mobile call center in Wichita, Kansas. Simler supports a campaign by the Communications Workers of America to unionize her T-Mobile facility. She said she earns $12.43 per hour. As the mother of a 5-year-old and a 7-year-old, she said her wages don’t cut it, and every month presents wrenching decisions over which bills to pay and which to set aside. T-Mobile did not respond to a request for comment.

“Whether it’s fast food, Walmart, child care, T-Mobile, all these people are paid too little to support their families,” said Simler, 33. “The wages have remained stagnant for too long.”

Berta Chacon took part in a protest in New York City on Tuesday. Chacon is not a fast-food worker -- she’s employed at a beauty salon in the city. But she, too, said she faces the same financial struggles as fast-food workers.

“Our salaries are very low,” Chacon said in Spanish. “We are fighting for $15 an hour in order to survive in this city.”

Willa Frej contributed...

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Thousands Of Workers Who Were Shorted On Overtime Pay Are Headed To The Supreme Court

(2) Comments | Posted November 9, 2015 | 9:47 AM

Workers who band together to sue their employers over wage theft or discrimination are about to have their biggest day in court in years.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a crucial case that could tighten the rules dictating...

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Chipotle Ordered To Rehire Fired Worker Who Joined Fight For $15

(0) Comments | Posted November 5, 2015 | 5:28 PM

The National Labor Relations Board ruled in a decision released Thursday that fast-casual chain Chipotle broke labor law when management fired an employee of a Missouri store who'd taken part in fast-food strikes.

The ruling from the board affirms a decision issued against...

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Tacoma, Washington, Passes $12 Minimum Wage

(0) Comments | Posted November 4, 2015 | 5:33 PM

Residents of Tacoma, Washington, are ready to raise the minimum wage -- just not too quickly.

Voters in the city of 200,000 appear to have approved a ballot measure this week that would gradually raise the minimum wage in the city to $12...

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