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Liza Featherstone

Contributing Editor

Liza Featherstone is a journalist based in New York City and a contributing editor to The Nation, where she also writes the advice column “Asking for a Friend.” Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Ms., and Rolling Stone, among many other outlets. She is the co-author of Students Against Sweatshops: The Making of a Movement (Verso, 2002) and author of Selling Women Short: The Landmark Battle for Worker’s Rights at Wal-Mart (Basic, 2004). She is the editor of False Choices: The Faux Feminism of Hillary Clinton (Verso, 2016).

  • May 24, 2007

    Campus Unrest

    On some West Coast college campuses this week, students and workers have been outspoken. Tuesday afternoon the Stanford students occupying their presidents office were arrested, as expected. The next day, at UC Davis, fifteen people -- food service workers, students and others -- were arrested while demanding that the university stop subcontracting the university's food services, and allow the workers to join the union. Subcontracting to notorious unionbuster Sodexho Marriott saves the university money but results in shoddy conditions for the workers. Earlier this month, 24 people were arrested in a demonstration on the same issue. It's the end of the school year, and the administrations will probably try to get away with making some nefarious decisions over the summer, while the students are gone. Let's hope this spring's organizing has laid the groundwork for a highly organized fall 2007.

    Liza Featherstone

  • May 22, 2007

    Stanford Students Expect “Moral Integrity” from Prez

    This morning, eleven Stanford University students began occupying the lobby of their president's office demanding humane conditions for the workers who make clothes and hats bearing their school logo. Specifically, the student activists are asking President John Hennessy to take a constructive role in fighting sweatshops by joining the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) by the end of today (if you're reading this on the East Coast, note that he still has a few hours). The WRC was founded by students and labor rights seven years ago as an alternative to the Fair Labor Association (FLA), a far more industry-influenced monitoring group; the WRC, which has 169 collegiate members, has succeeded in improving conditions for some workers, and many observers agree that the competition has improved the FLA. "We know President Hennessy has the moral integrity to take this step," said Bethany Woolman, a sophomore who was occupying the presidential lobby. "But we know he needs the support of students to do it."

    Liza Featherstone

  • May 17, 2007

    More Trouble in Latte-Land

    Today Starbucks faced legal and political trouble from its own workers. On the third anniversary of the founding of the IWW Starbucks Union, baristas in Chicago marched into a shop and told the manager they were signing up. (Starbucks workers have chosen to organize without government-mediated elections, through an interesting model called "solidarity unionism.") Meanwhile, baristas in Grand Rapids, Michigan announced that they were filing a legal complaint against the company for violating their organizing rights through unlawful surveillance and other questionable tactics. All over the world -- Austria, England, Spain and Australia, as well as the United States -- Starbucks workers demonstrated in front of stores to protest the company's union-busting practices.

    Liza Featherstone

  • May 13, 2007

    For Mothers, the US is Not Number One (Not Even Close)

    Last week your humble correspondent learned, over a dry repast of catered chicken with some of our nation's most influential men, that unlike Canada and many other civilized democracies, we cannot have single-payer health care because Dennis Kucinich is short. I wonder what these luminaries would say about a new report from Save the Children showing that the United States compares poorly to other developed countries on an equally basic measure.

    Liza Featherstone

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  • May 9, 2007

    Will Justice Be Served in NYC?

    So much City Council legislation -- whether in New York or other cities -- is essentially performance art, even if its intentions are progressive. You know the genre -- banning the N-word, declaring a "hate-free" or "nuclear-free" zone, or that such and such city -- or small town in Vermont -- is against the war in Iraq. Stuff that makes people feel good, maybe helps raise some "awareness," but doesn't change anyone's life significantly, or even reshape reality in any way. That's why it's refreshing to see New York City Council members Eric Goia and Rosie Mendez introduce the "Responsible Restaurant Act," which will improve compliance with minimum wage and other labor laws in the city's restaurant industry. Better enforcement will also help restaurants who do obey the law remain in business -- by making life more difficult for those who are trying to maintain a competitive advantage by stiffing their workers.

    Liza Featherstone

  • May 8, 2007

    Men of Aahction?

    Today I had lunch with Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott, SEIU president Andy Stern, and the disembodied head of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Let me explain.

    Liza Featherstone

  • May 2, 2007

    DC Sex Scandal: Couldn’t Happen to Nicer Bunch of Guys

    I'm amused that none of my Notion colleagues have commented on the Washington, D.C. sex scandal. Time to break this high-minded code of delicacy. Alleged madam Deborah Jane Palfrey is about to release her client list, and ABC News plans to release her phone records on Friday. To those who think they are are above reveling in something so sordid: hold your high horses. I feel sorry for people whose names are dragged through the mud over personal behavior -- but not if they are right-wing hypocrites who have supported policies interfering with other people's private lives. A couple names have been leaked already, and we shouldn't feel bad for any of them.

    Liza Featherstone

  • Activism February 2, 2007

    Surge for Peace

    Thanks to the efforts of the peace movement and a significant shift in public opinion, we can stop this war. But it's not going to be easy.

    Liza Featherstone

  • Environment December 17, 2006

    Chávez’s Citizen Diplomacy

    Venezuela's controversial program to provide heating oil to impoverished American communities exposes the inability of the richest nation on earth to meet the needs of its poor.

    Liza Featherstone