Today's Top Stories

Uncle Sam Does(n’t) Want You

America's Reserve Army of Labor Marches Through Time

Long gone are the times when unemployment was so shocking and traumatic that it took people back to the basics. We don’t, for instance, even use that phrase “the reserve army of labor” anymore. It strikes many, along with “class struggle” and “working class,” as embarrassing. It’s too “Marxist” or anachronistic in an age of post-industrial flexible capitalism, when we’ve grown accustomed to the casualness and transience of work, or even anointed it as a form of “free agency.”

Newspapers Are Messing Up Their Mobile Strategies, Researchers Say

Regional newspaper publishers are blithely shovelling their expensive content to mobile channels with no hint of a business model, according to new research. Publications in 66 UK cities have mostly abandoned experiments with chargeable SMS delivery and have instead created free mobile websites. But, out of the 23 papers with mobile sites, only three sell display advertising against their pages.

Trumka: Anti-labor board bill would gut worker protections, hurt economy

Worker protections would be gutted under a GOP bill expected to be voted on in the House this week, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka charged Monday. The labor chief said the legislation, which would curb the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) legal authority, was part of a concerted campaign to undermine the labor movement this year. Unions, which are traditional allies of the Democratic Party, have come under frequent attack in and outside Washington since the 2010 elections.

Portland Press Herald plans 15% workforce reduction

The Portland (Maine) Guild was notified yesterday of a company plan to reduce the number of employees at the Portland Press Herald, starting with a voluntary severance program, followed by layoffs. The company plans to cut approximately 40 people, including represented employees and managers, although the final number will vary depending on who takes the buyout. All job classifications will be eligible for the severance program.

Phone hacking: News International finds 'large caches' of documents

The publisher of the News of the World has found "many tens of thousands" of new documents and emails that could contain evidence about the scale of phone hacking at the paper, it has emerged. It also emerged today that lawyers acting for phone-hacking claimants have been a handed a 68-page document by police which lists the names of those who asked Glenn Mulcaire to engage in hacking, based on notes seized from the private investigator's home in a 2006 raid.

Median Income Down, Poverty Up

Running counter to the American tradition of ever-rising prosperity, real median household income in the United States declined by 2.3% from 2009 to 2010, and now stands at $49,445. Moreover, the nation’s official poverty rate in 2010 was 15.1%, up from 14.3% in 2009 -- the third consecutive annual increase in the poverty rate. There were 46.2 million people in poverty in 2010, the largest number in the 52 years for which poverty estimates have been published.

Little Love for Labor

I didn’t learn much about the labor movement in high school. At best, it was taught like suffrage -- a long-ago response to long-ago problems. At worst, it was taught like prohibition -- curious, misguided, and painfully anachronistic. Most of the time, my history classes didn’t discuss the labor movement at all. Turns out I wasn’t the only one.

No Delivery: USPS Woes Compounded By Email, Junk Mail

As lawmakers in Washington, D.C. battle over fiscal policy, one of the nation's largest and oldest public corporations, the United States Postal Service, is rapidly approaching financial collapse, according to Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe. He warned Congress the USPS could default on its pension obligations as early as Sept. 30, followed by a total shutdown (resulting in interruption of mail delivery) as early as July 2012.