Organizing a precarious world

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The work world has changed a lot over 30 years. It used to be the case that most people got a job and stayed there. If not for life, then at least for a long, long time.

That's not the case anymore. Employers don't like to make commitments to employees anymore. The idea of a full-time job with job security and benefits is becoming more and more a thing of the past. And we're all being encouraged to start our own businesses, without the recognition that self employment isn't for everybody. It's an increasingly precarious world.

Today we take a look at the world of precarious work, and specifically, a couple of campaigns that are demonstrating that if we stick together, we can shore up those shaky foundations that so many of our incomes are built on these days.

1. The Street Labourers of Windsor (SLOW) down in Canada's most southern city, the International Workers of the World are organizing people who make their living off the street. This includes street musicians, panhandlers, people who pick up recylables, and even security guards. Andrew Nellis of SLOW talks to Scott Neigh of Talking Radical Radio.

2. We've heard a lot of stories about poor working conditions in the restaurant industry. We've also heard that it's hard to do anything about it for a whole host of reasons. Fred is one person who tried to do something about it by organizing his coworkers to get the overtime pay that they were legally entitled to. But in our next interview, you won't be hearing from Fred because even though he's no longer working in restaurants, he didn't want to broadcast his name, or even his voice. He was afraid of being blacklisted if he identified himself. 

Fred's friend Kvesche Be is now a contributor to the rabble podcast network. So even though Fred (not his real name either) didn't want to talk, he gave Kvesche permission to tell his story.  

3. One of the big trends in post-secondary education these days is internships. But there it's also a practice that is highly criticized because many, if not most of these internships, are unpaid. Zahra Islam is a fourth year nursing student at Ryerson University and is also the director of community services with the Ryerson Students Union. She's involved in a campaign called Stop Paying to Work.

rabble radio contributor Kvesche Be spoke to Zahra about the campaign and why it's needed.


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