Amazon, Jamea Michener, Twenty Twenty discussed on The Ezra Klein Show

The Ezra Klein Show
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Automatic TRANSCRIPT

A general strike. But in terms of the kind of level of connection organizing. That's happening among themselves. You know my nephew works at an Amazon warehouse in Queens. Actually because a few people there came down with the virus and there was lots going on and when I talked to him about these things. He's super aware of the strikes and of the discussion around striking. And he's not someone who's very political and who thinks these things outside of this context in normal life so the fact that workers are recognizing not just that the public is recognizing their important but they're recognizing their own importance that they're recognizing that in order for Americans to be able to live the lives that they wanna live. They need people packing their Amazon boxes and delivering their food and etc that self recognition of their importance I think is the first step towards continuing to build beyond this pandemic. So there's the question of do we think a strike can happen right now during all of this and I think that's that's a high calling and one that is probably not quite possible but then there's another question of do. We think that some foundation can be laid now in terms of altering the way that worker see themselves and altering the way that the public sees workers so that a year from now or two years from now after some work has been done some organizing his happen we might see something closer to a general strike. I think if we stretch the time horizon that way than than there is much more that it's possible. Is it too late though? Is it too late in two years when people have maybe even forgotten how grateful they were to their grocery store workers back in pandemic and in the spring of Twenty twenty? It may be. I mean if there if there's a real possibility now I wouldn't say way right but if it doesn't look like things are going to move in that direction now I. I don't know that I would say that. The moment will have passed two years from now. We're looking at a long road of economic struggle ahead of us and that doesn't go away even when the most intense part of this pandemic Wayne's and I think people are going to continue to have deep needs. I think people are going to continue to recognize you know that. They're not getting a lot from their employers that they're very insecure economically that their families are not cared for in the way that they should be given. How much work they're doing. And these issues are going to continue to like percolate and be a part of the public conversation whether or not it will be too late. Two years from now is going to depend on what happens between now and then you know. The strike in Seattle. Didn't bubble up just out of nowhere. There were people on the ground working for years beforehand to make something like that possible to connect different unions to each other to connect workers to each other who previously didn't understand their fates as linked. I think if this moment can spark that kind of activity then two years from now might exactly when those things have built up to the point that the capacity is there to really organize people to push back. Jamea Michener is a professor in the government department over Cornell University in Ithaca New York. She's got a book. It's called Fragmented Democracy Medicaid federalism and unequal politics. Maybe see if there's a way to find your local bookstore and tell your essential workers how much you appreciate them. And you know maybe ask if they're accepting tips if you can afford it in the immortal words of Kanye West if you admire somebody you should go ahead and tell them. People never get the flowers while they can still smell them. I'm Sean Ramos Forum. This is today explained.

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