Amazon retaliated against Chicago warehouse workers during Covid, NLRB finds

Utah bail reform and a guest panel on telecom in prisons

Good morning! I hope where you are is starting to get warm. It’s a been a very welcome change here this month.

Tomorrow night I’m going to be speaking on a virtual panel as part of public education series Worth Rises has been organizing about profit motive in the prison system. Tomorrow night’s session is on telecom, and I’m going to be joining to talk about my past reporting on the high cost of prison phone calls and efforts to change that. Worth Rises is led by Bianca Tylek, who I quoted in my New York Times oped earlier this month. She’s just an incredibly formidable person. (Her twitter bio is: “The prison industry hates me. It’s mutual. Comfortable in conflict.”) I’m also excited about the other guests who will be speaking. You can watch the livestream here if you’re interested. This is Week 8 of 15 for them, and past segments from this programming have covered everything from prison equipment to information data systems. Future sessions will be looking at topics like prison healthcare, transportation, and investors.

A few stories from last week to share:

The NLRB in Chicago investigated complaints filed by workers at an Amazon warehouse in April following their Covid-19 “safety strikes” and found the claims of retaliation and intimidation were merited. Now the NLRB is trying to get to Amazon to settle. I talked to some of the workers involved in Chicago about what this means to them, and I also looked at why the worker organizing they’re doing there looks different from the high-profile Amazon union drive ongoing in Bessemer, Alabama. You can read that Intercept story here.

At The Appeal I looked at how some of Utah’s hard-won bail reforms might fall by the wayside, depending on what the GOP governor Spencer Cox decides later this week. I talked with prosecutors, public defenders, academics, lawmakers and advocates about how Utah’s bail reforms came to be in the first place, and how just after four months of being in place, they are in a very vulnerable spot. You can read that here. There’s been some major advances in bail reform nationwide over the last few years, but this wouldn’t be the first state to then roll back some of their new reforms. It happened last year in New York.

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