DECEMBER 10, 2021
Kuttner on TAP
A Good Day for Labor
As the EU provides rules for gig workers, young people foul up Kellogg’s strikebreaking plans.
The certification of one Starbucks out of the thousands in the U.S. is getting an appropriate amount of attention—the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single latte. My colleague Harold Meyerson has further thoughts on how to organize fed-up workers who haven’t been reached before. But that wasn’t the only interesting development in worker organizing this week.

After 1,400 striking workers at four Kellogg plants rejected the latest contract offer, the company made plans to hire replacement scabs. There was just one problem: organized discontent. A poster on the popular Reddit community r/antiwork, which has 1.3 million members, got members to surge fake applications to the online hiring portal. Then a young TikTok user created a code to automatically fill out fake applications for the jobs perpetually. Kellogg may find it impossible to distinguish the real applications from the bogus ones. The kids are all right.

Meanwhile, in Brussels, the EU has proposed regulations that will give gig workers, an estimated four million in the 27-nation federation, most of the same rights as payroll workers. That would include minimum-wage protections, vacation pay, unemployment benefits, and protections against misclassification.

If it can happen there, it can happen here. Biden’s Labor Department has begun a major offensive against employers who try to classify regular workers as contractors to deny them benefits and the right to unionize. And if the platform model of exploiting workers can be shown to be vulnerable in Europe, that makes it easier to restore worker rights here.

Europe, incidentally, is not experiencing a Great Resignation, because workers there are treated better to begin with. Credit the pandemic or credit a shift in consciousness, but we are seeing definite gains to worker power on both sides of the Atlantic.

Just How Exceptional Are the Buffalo Baristas?
They’ve unionized one Starbucks. They symbolize a fed-up proletariat. But does their victory portend anything further? BY HAROLD MEYERSON
The Danger of Discussing ‘Maker and Taker’ States
When Democrats talk about ‘moocher’ red states receiving more federal benefits than they give in federal taxes, they reveal their elitism and reinforce ‘welfare queen’ rhetoric. BY JUSTIN H. VASSALLO
Altercation: Understanding Tucker Carlson
The only plausible explanation for his descent into racism and absurdity is that he plans to run for president. BY ERIC ALTERMAN
The born-again tech giant would like a word. BY FRANCESCA FIORENTINI
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