This is Lever Weekly, a recap of our work from the past week. If you only read one email from us all week, this should be it.
Below you will find a breakdown of our reporting, podcasts, videos, and live events — a feature now open to all subscribers. Following that, we are providing paid subscribers with an original column, written by a member of The Lever, connecting the dots on our coverage to deliver important takeaways.
In this week’s column, exclusively for paid subscribers, Matthew Cunningham-Cook analyzes how a new form of voting shook up recent union elections, with monumental implications for organized labor across the country.
Stuff The Lever Reported This Week:
• How Biden and Buttigieg Could Deliver Sick Leave To Rail Workers — “When he forced a contract on rail workers, the president pledged to continue the fight to provide them paid sick leave — here is how he could do it.”
• “Our Life Only Functions Around The Railroad” — “After Congress imposed a labor agreement on railroad workers, a longtime BNSF conductor explains why he feels betrayed — and how his job has gotten worse.”
• How Retirees End Up Funding The Climate Crisis — “Routing $500 million through a Blackstone fund, the New York State Common Retirement Fund is among the largest investors in a notorious Ohio coal plant.”
• Manchin’s Pipeline Campaign Continues — “The coal baron senator and his fossil fuel allies are still pushing to fast-track the construction of dirty pipelines as a matter of national security.”
• YOU LOVE TO SEE IT: A Fossil Fuel-Free Future For LA — "In Los Angeles, grassroots organizers made history by banning projects that have long harmed the health of millions of residents."
Stuff To Watch & Listen To:
• The Audit Season Two, Featuring Nina Turner! — Dave Anthony and Josh Olson will be joined by a new study buddy: the one-and-only Senator Nina Turner.
• LEVER TIME: Why Biden Betrayed Railroad Workers — We explore why the Democrats sided with railroad barons; dig into a new documentary on the student debt crisis; and engage with a humorous defense of elitism.
• LEVER LIVE: The Railroad Contract & Georgia Runoff Election — David Sirota and The Lever’s reporters discuss how the Democrats betrayed railroad workers and the implications of the Georgia runoff election.
• LEVER TIME PREMIUM: In Defense Of Elitism (w/ Joel Stein) — Joel Warner interviews journalist and author Joel Stein about his recent book, a humorous and self-deprecating defense of intellectual elitism.
State Of The Unions
Two monumental labor developments occurred in recent weeks — and both could have long-lasting implications for the state of the country’s unions.
The first development was that the Democratic Congress failed to pass a paltry seven days of paid sick leave as part of its legislative efforts crushing a proposed strike. This happened after railroad CEOs raked in more than $200 million over the past few years, after President Joe Biden had pledged to support paid sick leave for all American workers, and after paid sick leave would cost the railroads at most four days of recent profits.
(By the way, Biden and his administration could still give rail workers relief if he wanted to.)