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It’s a common refrain that “we just don’t make things in the US anymore.” Implied in this refrain is the notion that practically all manufacturing jobs have been outsourced overseas as we’ve transitioned to a full-blown “service economy,” and that unions (and the industrial working class they grew out of) are a remnant of the 20th century. “To be sure, offshoring of jobs is a real phenomenon, and has been responsible for the loss of millions of manufacturing jobs,” as co-host of The Jacobin Show Paul Prescod notes. “But the losses in these jobs were partly offset by new job growth related to the reorganization of production, mainly in logistics. Logistics workers are the new core of the US industrial working class.” What do these changes mean for the economy and the labor movement? Can workers in the logistics industry leverage their critical position in the production supply chain to advance labor’s cause?

As part of a special collaboration with Jacobin magazine, TRNN Editor-in-Chief Maximillian Alvarez joined hosts of The Jacobin Show Jen Pan and Paul Prescod for an extended episode examining the past, present, and future of the American labor movement. In this segment from the show, Prescod examines the current state of the industrial working class in the US and the opportunities for rebuilding a battered labor movement. We are sharing this segment with our TRNN audience with permission from Jacobin.

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Paul Prescod

Paul Prescod is a co-host of The Jacobin Show, a high school social studies teacher, and member of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers.

Jen Pan

Jen Pan is a co-host of The Jacobin Show and has written for the New Republic, Dissent, the Nation, and other publications.

Maximillian Alvarez

Ten years ago, I was working 12-hour days as a warehouse temp in Southern California while my family, like millions of others, struggled to stay afloat in the wake of the Great Recession. Eventually, we lost everything, including the house I grew up in. It was in the years that followed, when hope seemed irrevocably lost and help from above seemed impossibly absent, that I realized the life-saving importance of everyday workers coming together, sharing our stories, showing our scars, and reminding one another that we are not alone. Since then, from starting the podcast Working People—where I interview workers about their lives, jobs, dreams, and struggles—to working as Associate Editor at the Chronicle Review and now as Editor-in-Chief at The Real News Network, I have dedicated my life to lifting up the voices and honoring the humanity of our fellow workers.
Follow: @maximillian_alv