Justin Miller

Justin Miller is a former Prospect writing fellow and is currently covering politics for the Texas Observer

Recent Articles

Randy Bryce, Working Man Gone Viral, on His Bid to Beat Paul Ryan

A Wisconsin union ironworker’s plan to oust the House speaker: “I don’t need a law degree. I don’t need a doctorate. I have ears to listen.”

I n late June, an ironworker from southeastern Wisconsin made waves when he released a video announcing his campaign to oust Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan, one of the country’s most powerful and influential conservatives, from his seat in Wisconsin’s First Congressional District in the 2018 election. In the video, Wisconsin Democrat and longtime union activist Randy Bryce squarely criticized the American Health Care Act, which Ryan co-authored and steered to passage in the House. Bryce talked about his mother’s struggles with multiple sclerosis and his own battle with cancer. He pledged to be a voice for working people like him, and challenged Ryan to trade places with him and come work the iron while Bryce goes to Washington. The internet blew up. Bryce’s campaign video quickly went viral, with many commentators calling it one of the most effective political messages in years. People flocked to his Twitter account, fawning over his handle (@IronStache)...

Has American Airlines Abandoned Its Promise to Airport Workers?

Amid the threat of a high-profile strike one year ago, the airline vowed to clear the path for its contractors’ low-wage employees to unionize. Now, the workers’ union says the company is backtracking. 

One year ago, American Airlines publicly promised to encourage its service contractors not to oppose their workers’ campaign to unionize, in order to avoid an impending publicity disaster if Philadelphia airport workers went on strike during the Democratic National Convention. But now that those workers have voted overwhelmingly to unionize with the Service Employees International Union—and the contractors have refused to recognize their employees’ vote—the union claims the airline giant is turning a blind eye to its contractors’ resistance, and reneging on its promise. “We have seen that promise broken,” Hector Figueroa, president of the SEIU Local 32BJ, told The American Prospect . The expectation that President Trump’s appointees to the National Labor Relations Board will fashion a more pro-management interpretation of federal labor law, Figueroa says, has emboldened corporations like American and its contractors to oppose workers...

Kansas, Sam Brownback, and the Trickle-Down Implosion

The Kansas governor’s attempt to create supply-side nirvana in Middle America not only failed to grow the economy—it created a crippling crisis of government that led to a statewide rejection of his politics.

AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
Before the teachers' strikes in red states, we had the parents' strike in Kansas—compelling the Republican legislature to override the vetoes of Republican Governor Sam Brownback, thereby rescinding some tax cuts and using the additional money to better fund the schools. The Kansas Parents Revolt was a harbinger, of a kind, of the current West Virginia-Oklahoma-Arizona-Kentucky Teachers Revolt, and Justin Miller chronicled it in the Summer 2017 issue of the Prospect . Subscribe here . trickle-downers_35.jpg Near midnight on Tuesday, June 6, a number of Republicans in the Kansas legislature did something that few other elected Republicans had done in years: They acted responsibly. Joining with Democrats, they voted to roll back the huge tax cuts that Republican Governor Sam Brownback had inflicted on the state, which had devastated schools and other essential services while also depressing the state’s economy. But after five years of this exercise in trickle-down, the...

The Fight to Organize Port Drivers -- Modern-Day Indentured Servants

Drivers in ports around the country are literally paying to work in an exploitative industry. We spoke to the union trying to organize them.

E arlier this month, USA Today released a big investigative story on the plight of port truck drivers—particularly those in the Los Angeles area—who transport cargo from the docks to warehouses in the surrounding area. These workers, many of them immigrants, got into the trucking business to make a living. But there’s a steep price to getting into the business. Shipping companies pressure drivers to finance the purchase of new trucks, immediately putting them under a mountain of debt. These companies then force drivers to work hours that go far beyond the legally mandated limit. Despite all the hours logged, drivers often bring home just a tiny portion of their wages, since the companies deduct payments for the truck, insurance, and maintenance. The port truckers are quite literally paying to work. If drivers complain about their hours or working conditions, they are given fewer and less desirable routes. If they try to quit, the companies will repossess the truck...

Senate Health-Care Bill: Tax Cuts for Rich, Skimpy Coverage for Everyone Else

Instead of moderating the GOP House’s version, the Senate health-care bill doubles down on cuts in coverage and tax cuts for the rich.

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
trickle-downers_35.jpg In the wake of House Republicans’ May passage of the American Health Care Act, a proposal that would throw 23 million more people off their health care coverage in order to pay for fat tax cuts for several thousand wealthy people, many pinned their hopes on the Senate, where moderating forces, they hoped, might prevail over the harsh austerity measures offered by the House. Almost two months later, those hopes were dashed when Senate Republicans released their own health-care bill . Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell kept the main policy goal of the AHCA intact: paying for massive tax cuts for the wealthy with deep health-care cuts for the poor. The Senate version, as expected, retains the House’s Affordable Care Act tax cuts, which by 2025 will save millionaires nearly $55,000 each year. To put a finer point on it, the richest 400 households in the country would receive tax cuts worth $33 billion between 2019 and 2028. For some perspective, that...