Recent labor protests have been staged nationwide amid rising labor unrest. Above, a protest at a Wal-Mart store in Oklahoma earlier this month.

Credit: Garett Fisbeck / AP

Unionizing the Working Poor

December 18, 2012

Though we haven’t heard a lot about it lately, the story of the 99 percent hasn’t gone away. Things are really hard for those at the lower end of this demographic- the working poor. People working in fast food jobs are the lowest paid workers in the country. If they are lucky enough to get a full time schedule, they’ll make around $18,000 a year, according to the New York Times.  

Boston Public Radio looks at efforts to unionize those the working poor and whether organized labor can tip the scales to sway employers to take more responsibility for the welfare of their workers.


  • Joe Defrancesco: Providence-based labor activist and former hotel worker
  • Robert Forrant: professor in the UMass Lowell Department of History
  • Marshall Ganz: community organizer and lecturer at Harvard University

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