Mission Statement: Labor Pains is an independent news source dedicated to covering the stories of workers and the policies that impact them through a pro-worker lens.

Why subscribe to Labor Pains?

Because labor deserves our attention. We’re doing it all the time anyway. We spend so many of our waking hours at work, commuting to/from work or trying to decompress from work. And that's just the formal economy!

Labor Pains is a newsletter looking into how we got here, what we can do to make work suck less and what it all means as we deal with late-stage capitalism on a burning planet.

If you sign up, you’ll get original reporting, interviews, commentary and analysis of the labor situation in America. It’s not all strikes, and it’s not all misery. It’s what we do every day. And if we have to do it, we have every right to critique it.

Why you?

I got my first job when I was 17 years old: a day camp counselor for 5- and 6-year-olds. It was supposed to be fun, but it was the polar opposite. I was paid less than minimum wage, my commute was over an hour and a half one way every day and I had to spend all day outside in the blazing Georgia sun. But I was young and naïve and thought I was lucky to land that position. The money I got from that job paid for a digital camera, my senior class dues and not much else.

In the intervening years, I’ve had many other shitty jobs, and with time I’ve come to realize that that 17-year-old kid taking two buses and two trains one way on MARTA deserved better.

So did the 23-year-old who got laid off on New Year’s Eve.

And the 24-year-old who was told she should be grateful to work in a place that had never experienced layoffs even as she could barely meet her expenses.

And the 27-year-old who had to sit through staff training (read: indoctrination) to memorize the script of how to talk about her workplace.

And every iteration of myself before and since who has been backed into a proverbial corner by people who were more interested in exerting their power than being decent human beings.

I’ve had many years to think about it and gripe about it in any number of group chats. Now I’m writing about it.

Why now?

The short answer: There’s never a bad time to examine and dissect systems of power. If we wait until it’s convenient to have difficult conversations, we’re never going to have them.

The long answer: Right now, the American labor movement is experiencing a surge in interest the likes of which we haven’t seen in my lifetime. There's no shortage of business reporters out there talking about the stock market and our “too big to regulate” technofascist overlords and what it all means for “the economy.” (And that’s no shade to those business reporters. I went to school with some of them and they’re good at what they do.) I’m interested in what movements and policies mean for people. Actual people, not three mega corporations in a human skin suit and a trench coat. So I’m here. Reporting, editing, transcribing, dialing, loathing the act of transcribing, typing, typing and typing some more. I hope you stick around.

Google News Initiative

Labor Pains was selected as one of 25 projects for the 2023 Google News Initiative Pre-Launch Lab, a program that supports the development of independent news organizations. A few months after completing the Lab, cohort members were offered 1 free year of membership to LION Publishers, a trade group for independent digital news outlets based in the United States and Canada.

Tiny News Collective

Labor Pains is a fiscally sponsored project of the Tiny News Collective. Fiscal sponsorship allows Labor Pains as a for-profit entity to accept charitable and tax-deductible donations through a 501(c)(3) organization.

Labor Pains creative assets were designed by Adriana Lacy Consulting.