Please support our programs

radio stories and voices to take action

Labor Desk

Rite Aid workers, protesting the chain stores union busting. Courtesy AFL-CIO

Rite Aid workers, protesting the chain stores union busting. Courtesy AFL-CIO

The Labor Desk at National Radio Project highlights the struggles of everyday people for healthcare, childcare, livable wages and more. This Desk challenges the false image people have of organized labor and the broader labor movement. The Labor Desk also provides training opportunities for independent journalists and individuals involved in community building activities.

Supported by independent funding sources, the Labor Desk is free to explore and expose government and corporate roles in labor issues. Please support the Labor Desk.

Shows from the Labor Desk

A Look at Labor Organizing, and Worker and Immigrant Rights
Demographic Danger: A Look at Maternity Wards and Segregation in Israel
Invisible Workers, Laboring in the Shadows
Coffee: Trouble Brewing?
Caring Relationships: Negotiating Meaning and Maintaining Dignity
The true cost of fast fashion: a look inside Los Angeles sweatshops
Unstoppable: The Fight for 15
Invisible Workers, Laboring in the Shadows
Global Taxi Driver
Full time Struggle, Part time Work: Making a living post recession
Why We Owe: David Graeber on the Origins of Debt
Returning Home: From War Fighter to Student
The Controversial Nicaragua Canal
Coffee: Trouble Brewing? (see list for free coffee below)
Women Rising 27: Ann Lopez on the reality of farm workers in the US and Mexico
Pesticides on the Playground
All the Presidents' Bankers
The Non-Violent Path of Cesar Chavez
The Life, Death, and Rebirth of ACORN

The Life, Death, and Rebirth of ACORN

It took 40 years to build ACORN, but just a few months to bring it down. Local organizers are trying to rebuild, but how is ACORN’s absence affecting elections, poverty, and the continuing housing crisis?[...]

Making it Our Business: Co-ops on the Rise

Making it Our Business: Co-ops on the Rise

The global economic situation is causing more people to consider worker owned businesses. We go from Chicago, where workers are trying to take over the factory to save their jobs, to the Basque country in Spain, where an entire region[...]

Ban the Box! The Campaign for Post-Prison Employment ENCORE

Ban the Box! The Campaign for Post-Prison Employment ENCORE

It’s not even the crime that counts sometimes. It’s that little box on an application that asks you to reveal if you have a criminal history. Checking that box can mean the difference between failure and success. We look at[...]

Justice in the Home: Domestic Workers Re-define the Labor Movement

Justice in the Home: Domestic Workers Re-define the Labor Movement

With the passage of New York’s Domestic Workers Bill of Rights in 2010, workers are now organizing in California and other states to win basic rights and protections long denied to this labor force. On this edition, we look at[...]

Ban the Box! The Campaign for Post-Prison Employment

Ban the Box! The Campaign for Post-Prison Employment

It’s not even the crime that counts sometimes. It’s that little box on an application that asks you to reveal if you have a criminal history. Checking that box can mean the difference between failure and success. We look at[...]

Massachusetts Leads the Way in CORI Reform

Massachusetts Leads the Way in CORI Reform

In the United States, an estimated 65 million people have had a brush with the law that resulted in a criminal record. And every year, about 650 thousand of them are released from prisons and jails—reemerging into society with one[...]

Looking Back, Moving Forward: 2011 Year in Review

Looking Back, Moving Forward: 2011 Year in Review

A look back at some of the most important issues of 2011: Attacks on organized labor, the Egyptian revolution, and the struggle to address climate change. We’ll hear highlights from some of our best programs of the year, and get[...]

The Toxic Truth About Nail Salons (Encore)

The Toxic Truth About Nail Salons (Encore)

We take a look at the health impacts of chemical exposure, the shoddy regulation of cosmetics, and the movement towards greener nail salons.[...]

Who Won the Egyptian Revolution?

Who Won the Egyptian Revolution?

Hosni Mubarak’s dictatorship is gone, but a military council now rules Egypt, and has kept much of Mubarak’s repressive apparatus. Meanwhile, extremist Islamist groups want to adopt undemocratic, right-wing policies. Producer Reese Erlich goes to Cairo to ask: “Who Won[...]

The Wisconsin Workers Uprising (Part 2)

The Wisconsin Workers Uprising (Part 2)

Was the occupation of the state capital in Madison, Wisconsin a resurgence of organized labor in the United States, or the last gasp for unionized workers as they face continual erosion of their rights? This week, we hear Part 2[...]

The Wisconsin Workers Uprising (Part 1)

The Wisconsin Workers Uprising (Part 1)

Was the occupation of the state capital in Madison, Wisconsin a resurgence of organized labor in the United States, or the last gasp for unionized workers as they face continual erosion of their rights? This week, we hear Part 1[...]

No thumbnail available

The Toxic Truth About Nail Salons

We take a look at the health impacts of chemical exposure, the shoddy regulation of cosmetics, and the movement towards greener nail salons.[...]

How We Survive: The Recession Generation

How We Survive: The Recession Generation

If you’re a young person looking for a job, it looks pretty dismal out there, and it may not brighten up anytime soon. On this edition of How We Survive, we look at how the economy is hitting the “millennial[...]

Working Beyond Unions [Labor Day Special Encore]

Working Beyond Unions [Labor Day Special Encore]

It’s been decades since the U.S. has had a powerful labor movement and recent efforts to revive it have mostly fallen flat. But there is hope for a new labor movement that goes beyond the unions.[...]

Immigrant Families Behind Bars (encore)

Immigrant Families Behind Bars (encore)

In a special collaboration with Feet in Two Worlds, we hear about an immigrant family torn apart after an immigration raid in Arizona. Also, grassroots efforts help change policies at a detention center in Texas.[...]

Working Beyond Unions

Working Beyond Unions

It’s been decades since the U.S. has had a powerful labor movement and recent efforts to revive it have mostly fallen flat. But there is hope for a new labor movement that goes beyond the unions.[...]

Immigration Reforms: How a Broken System Breaks Communities

We go to two communities sorting through the aftermath of Bush-era federal immigration raids, and to Los Angeles, where American Apparel became the first test case of the Obama administration’s new approach to workplace hiring violations.[...]

Trade Shifts: Reflections on the Seattle WTO Protests

Trade Shifts: Reflections on the Seattle WTO Protests

Ten years ago this week, thousands of people shook the streets of Seattle in protest of the World Trade Organization. On this edition, we revisit the voices from that week and find out how global economic forces have shifted in[...]

Immigrant Families Behind Bars

Immigrant Families Behind Bars

In a special collaboration with Feet in Two Worlds, we hear about an immigrant family torn apart after an immigration raid in Arizona. Also, grassroots efforts help change policies at a detention center in Texas.[...]

How We Survive: Predatory 'Mending'

How We Survive: Predatory 'Mending'

Activists have been setting up community-run check-cashing and community loan funds as an alternative to predatory lending practices which led to our current foreclosure crisis.l[...]

Still Looking for the Union Label

Still Looking for the Union Label

In a special collaboration with “Public Eye Magazine,” correspondent Abby Scher takes a look at the EFCA. We also hear from Amy Dean, a longtime union leader who talks about the future of labor unions and tells us what’s up[...]

How We Survive: The Deepening Homeless Crisis (encore)

How We Survive: The Deepening Homeless Crisis (encore)

We visit with a family who lost their home and now lives inside their cramped trailer in a city parking lot. And we’ll hear how two different communities are dealing with the economic crisis by taking matters into their own[...]

How We Survive: The Deepening Homeless Crisis

How We Survive: The Deepening Homeless Crisis

We visit with a family who lost their home and now lives inside their cramped trailer in a city parking lot. And, how two different communities are dealing with the economic crisis by taking matters into their own hands.[...]

Looking Back, Moving Forward 2007

Looking Back, Moving Forward 2007

As the year 2007 ends, we reflect on three key issues we covered this past year and hear the voices of: the immigrant labor force in post-hurricane New Orleans, domestic workers in the United States, and Iraqi refugees on the[...]

Women Rising XIII: Enterprising Women

Women Rising XIII: Enterprising Women

We profile four women entrepreneurs, bravely starting businesses where no one else has ventured and who are leading a worldwide grassroots movement to create micro-enterprise.[...]

Mothers, Migrants and Maids of Honor (encore edition)

Mothers, Migrants and Maids of Honor (encore edition)

They’re mothers, their migrants and they’re caregivers to our children and our elders. Domestic workers are the backbone of many American families, their own families and their communities.[...]

Two Years After Katrina: Still Weathering the Storm

Two Years After Katrina: Still Weathering the Storm

It’s been two years since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit the Gulf Coast. Two years since the levees broke and changed the face of an entire city, state and region. And despite hopeful signs of renewal, New Orleans and many parts of[...]

Musicians, Migrants and All That Jazz

Musicians, Migrants and All That Jazz

On this edition, correspondent Reese Erlich talks with musicians to learn how the historic New Orleans music scene endures and how new influences are bringing hope to the struggling city.[...]

New Orleans Now: Immigrants, Labor Rights and the Human Cost of Rebuilding an American City - Part 3

New Orleans Now: Immigrants, Labor Rights and the Human Cost of Rebuilding an American City - Part 3

On this edition, part three of our immigration series, we hear from two people who have affected countless lives by providing a basic necessity: health care.[...]

New Orleans Now: Immigrants, Labor Rights and the Human Cost of Rebuilding an American City - Part 2

New Orleans Now: Immigrants, Labor Rights and the Human Cost of Rebuilding an American City - Part 2

On this edition, part two of our immigration series, we hear from the people on the ground making a difference in the lives of these workers and from the workers themselves.[...]

New Orleans Now: Immigrants, Labor Rights and the Human Cost of Rebuilding an American City - Part 1

New Orleans Now: Immigrants, Labor Rights and the Human Cost of Rebuilding an American City - Part 1

On this edition, we hear from the immigrants themselves and from the people on the ground trying to help them.[...]

Women Rising IX: International Changemakers - Honoring Elder Women Activists

Women Rising IX: International Changemakers - Honoring Elder Women Activists

Women are gaining influence as leaders throughout the world fighting for peace, justice, the environment and civil society. In this program we profile three courageous women elders honoring their lives of dedication to far reaching social movements.[...]

The Color of Wealth

The Color of Wealth

Income generation is one indicator of power differences between racial groups in the United States. But accumulated wealth, not income alone, may be the most revealing index of inequality.[...]

Border Stories: On the Frontlines of the Immigration Debate

Border Stories: On the Frontlines of the Immigration Debate

On this edition, people who've risked their lives to enter the U.S. undocumented share their personal stories of why they came, and what they hope for their futures and the future of immigrants in this country.[...]

Chile's 9/11

Chile's 9/11

As US citizens observe the 4th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, few realize the dark significance of that day in Chilean history. On this edition, a group of Chilean Exiles in the US reflect on the coup, and[...]

Daze of Labor, Days of Change

Daze of Labor, Days of Change

On this edition of Making Contact, we focus on the root of the American holiday, Labor Day: the contemporary condition of American labor.[...]

Big Box Nation

Big Box Nation

On this edition, we take you inside the walls of the infamous big box retailer to hear how the company is responding to withering criticism from activists, what Wal-Mart's financial success means for workers and small business owners, and a[...]

No thumbnail available

Social Security "Reform": Rolling Back the New Deal

On this edition, we'll explore the importance of the program to those often overlooked in the current debate over Social Security, like young people, and the disabled.[...]

No thumbnail available

From Cradle to Grave: The Impact of Electronics (encore edition)

On this week's edition we take a closer look at what our gadgets are doing to our environment.[...]

No thumbnail available

Working Democracy: Participatory Movements in Latin America

On this edition of Making Contact, we take a look at workers movements in Argentina and Bolivia and investigate how residents of Montreal are using a citizen-based model of democracy from Porto Alegre, Brazil.[...]

No thumbnail available

Striking Back: Organized Labor and Solidarity

On this special edition from the Labor Desk of the National Radio Project, we take a look at successful efforts by hospital workers in Bronxville, New York, meatpackers in Omaha, Nebraska, and dockworkers in Charleston, South Carolina.[...]

No thumbnail available

Job Security: Labor Rights and the U.S. War on Terrorism

On this edition of Making Contact, we take a look at national security and labor rights.[...]

No thumbnail available

Temp Work: Full-Time Insecurity

On this program, we take a look at how the temporary work industry can offer some opportunities, but can also perpetuate job insecurity.[...]