Jenny Brown

Beware the Time Thieves


French workers have shut the country down with general strikes three times in the last month to defend their time.

They’re protesting a proposal to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64.

It’s enough to make you cry. Here, the Social Security retirement age was ratcheted up to 67 by bipartisan agreement during the Reagan administration. But because the oldest people affected were in their 40s at the time, few people noticed that everyone would soon be losing two years of paid time off.

In a few days Austin Locke will walk back into the Queens, New York, Starbucks store he was fired from seven months ago. He’ll also get a wad of back pay, and money from civil penalties.

Race to the Top


When Amazon workers at a St. Louis fulfillment center walked out on Black Friday demanding $30 an hour, the Twitter trolls came out, too: They’re wimps, they’re whiners, they’re making inflation worse. Quit if you don’t like the job!

But it’s not just trolls. Many people are confused about how when one set of workers stands up, it raises the standards for all working people. They assume that if someone demands a bigger piece of the pie, the rest of us will get less.

Was it the pandemic? Was it new disasters from climate change? Was it the fact that employers are still begging for more workers?

Whatever it was, workers were ready to throw down this year. In the face of inflation and short-staffing we demanded more money in our paychecks, and more time for our lives outside of work. We organized; we even exercised our strike muscles. And crucially, union members stood up to demand more from their unions and their leadership.

Workers overturned a lot of conventional wisdom in 2022.