Justin Miller

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

Recent Articles

Nissan Union Loss Underscores Labor’s Big Dilemma

(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) Nissan employee Morris Mock, left, consoles colleague Antonio Hoover as he expresses his disappointment at losing their bid to form a union at the Nissan vehicle assembly plant in Canton, Miss., Friday, Aug. 4, 2017. Late Friday night, the American labor movement was dealt yet another body blow—an increasingly common occurrence in the Trump era—as it became clear that the United Auto Workers had lost its long-shot bid to establish a union at a Nissan manufacturing plant in Canton, Mississippi. Workers at the factory voted 2,244 to 1,307 against unionization, a devastating landslide defeat for the Detroit-based union and worker activists who had been trying to organize since the plant first opened nearly 15 years ago. “We’re disappointed but not surprised by the outcome in Canton,” said Gary Casteel, secretary-treasurer of the UAW, in a statement. “Despite claiming for years to be neutral on the question of a union, Nissan...

Gutting Health Care Not Enough? Trump Moves to Undercut Overtime for Millions

As a thank you to his working-class supporters, the billionaire takes the next step toward eviscerating the Obama-era overtime expansion. 

If the millions of voters—most prominently, workers in the Rust Belt—who switched their loyalties from Barack Obama in 2012 to Donald Trump in 2016 were crying out for anything, it probably wasn’t for the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division to submit a Request for Information about the Obama-era rule that was supposed to expand overtime pay to millions of workers last year. But that’s precisely what happened Tuesday as Trump’s Labor Department gave its clearest signal yet that it intends either to considerably weaken or simply eliminate the Obama overtime update that would greatly increase the number of salaried workers who would qualify for overtime. The move is a swift kick in the teeth to those forgotten men and women who voted for Trump—as well as the millions of workers who didn’t. The last time the overtime salary threshold was substantially heightened was in 1975, when President Gerald Ford set it at $23,660—about $...

The Perils of $7.25

Reflections on eight years of a minimal minimum wage

On July 24, 2009 the federal minimum wage was increased from $6.55 to $7.25 an hour, the third and final increment of a bipartisan-backed law passed in 2007. In the eight years since, the United States’ wage floor has remained stuck at that level, the prospects of an increase stymied by congressional inaction and hostile corporate influence. For decades, the federal minimum wage was a rather effective tool for ensuring that workers could earn enough to support a family. Now, its power has been all but eroded. At the minimum’s peak value in 1968, a full-time minimum-wage worker earned about $19,500 in today’s dollars, enough to keep a family of three above the poverty line. Through the early 1980s, the minimum wage remained strong enough to keep a family of two out of poverty. Since then, the minimum wage’s value gradually fell even as worker productivity levels have continued to rise. Workers haven’t shared in these gains as shareholders and executives...

House GOP Budget Comes Straight from the Trickle-Down Playbook

The Republicans’ budgetary blueprint paves the path for tax cuts for the wealthy, a military buildup, and spending cuts for entitlement programs. 

(Photo: AP/J. Scott Applewhite) House Ways and Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady, House Budget Committee Chair Diane Black, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Greg Walden participate in a news conference on Capitol Hill on March 10, 2017. trickle-downers_35.jpg Fresh off Senate Republicans’ botched attempt to deliver tax cuts to the rich by gutting Obamacare and Medicaid, House Republicans have unveiled their 2018 federal budget —a plan in the best reverse-Robin Hood tradition of the Republican Party. Overall, House Republicans are proposing to balance the budget by 2027 through more than $5 trillion in spending cuts, chiefly to programs that help low- and middle-income Americans, which would allow them to finance a huge military buildup and deliver tax cuts to the wealthy and to corporations. Even with those cuts, their budget requires deliriously rosy economic growth forecasts to come up with numbers showing a budget in...

Trump’s National Anti-Labor Relations Board

The president’s NLRB nominees portend a bleak future for American workers.

(Wikimedia Commons) In his first seven months in office, President Trump has made quick work undoing a host of Obama-era labor regulations. Now that he finally got around to making two nominations to the National Labor Relations Board, he’s beginning the pernicious, though slow-moving, assault on worker and union rights that typically plays out when the board has a Republican majority. It’s at the NLRB, the independent agency charged with enforcing and interpreting the nation’s labor laws, where Trump will be able to most forcefully reverse President Obama’s workers' rights legacy—a highly vulnerable legacy given that it was confined to leveraging the power of executive-branch departments and agencies. Trump’s NLRB nominees are longtime Republican lawyer Marvin Kaplan and management-side labor lawyer William Emanuel. If they’re confirmed, Republicans would have a 3-to-2 majority. The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee is...

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