Michelle Chen

Michelle Chen is a contributing editor at In These Times. She is a regular contributor to the labor rights blog Working In These Times, Colorlines.com, and Pacifica's WBAI. Her work has also appeared in Common Dreams, Alternet, Ms. Magazine, Newsday, and her old zine, cain.

Articles by this author

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Monday, August 17, 2015 - 2:00pm
Prison Education Reduces Recidivism By Over 40 Percent. Why Aren’t We Funding More of It?
P rison isn’t the most intellectually stimulating environment, but the dimmest corners of the criminal justice system may actually be a perfect place to liberate an otherwise wasted mind. A new initiative by the White House to issue Pell Grants to incarcerated students is about to test just how...
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Saturday, August 8, 2015 - 11:15am
 Is the Senate Finally Getting Behind Fair Pay for Government Contractors?
A ugust on Capitol Hill is, like many things in Washington, divided. Lawmakers take a summer break. But Sontia Bailey, a food service worker, doubles up on work, splitting her days between the Capitol, where she serves meals for most of the year to some of the nation’s most influential decision-...
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Monday, August 3, 2015 - 3:15pm
 The War on Planned Parenthood Is Also an Assault on Poor Women of Color
O ur elected representatives have taken to the airwaves to proclaim they are extremely concerned with the fate of discarded fetal tissue; the fate of the health of poor women? Not so much. Conservatives have again vowed to defund Planned Parenthood , now with even more gusto, following a...
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Thursday, July 23, 2015 - 8:30am
 New York Fast-Food Workers Win Their Fight for $15
T hough New York’s lawmakers are infamous for their ethical failings, Albany just did the right thing for once: serve the state’s fast-food workers some long-overdue justice. Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Wage Board , a three-member panel representing business, labor and the public, has for weeks heard...
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Saturday, June 6, 2015 - 9:45am
Here Are All the Reasons Walmart’s Business Is Not Sustainable
You probably paid a cheap price for those groceries at Walmart this week, but you almost certainly didn’t pay a fair price. Walmart is a case study of how the “free market” can distort the value of a basic human need: Every price tag in Walmart’s food inventory—which accounts for a quarter of the...
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Friday, May 29, 2015 - 12:45pm
Will Connecticut Go Robin Hood on Low-Wage Bosses?
As state legislatures across the country buckle down for funding battles, sometimes it seems miraculous that they ever find enough tax revenue to fund anything: Every budget is a litany of imploding pensions, overcrowded classrooms, and dilapidated clinics—never enough money to go around. But...
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Saturday, May 23, 2015 - 10:15am
LA’s Minimum Wage Workers Just Won $15 an Hour—How Many Will Actually Be Paid That?
Nearly half of Los Angeles just gave itself a raise. Following a wave of state and local minimum-wage bills and initiatives, Los Angeles became one of the largest cities to dramatically raise its hourly base pay and join Seattle to hit the magic $15-an-hour demand pushed by labor and community...
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Thursday, May 21, 2015 - 2:30pm
EU Officials Are Considering Bombing Libyan Smuggling Boats. That’s the Last Thing Refugees Need.
Just days after European Union ministers floated a proposal to rescue African migrants on the Mediterranean, the plan is already sinking amid a political impasse on the question of “sharing the burden” of the crisis. Meanwhile, thousands are facing death and torture on the perilous trail to...
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Friday, May 1, 2015 - 2:30pm
Baltimore’s Inescapable Inequality
Freddie Gray died after he tried to run from the police. Some might think he was wrong for provoking a chase, but the thousands of people now protesting across the country know that getting killed as a consequence of running away is like getting killed for trying to breathe: you can’t be blamed for...
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Thursday, February 26, 2015 - 2:30pm
What You Should Know About Walmart’s Raise
Remember when Walmart got panned for running a Thanksgiving food drive for its own employees—overlooking the irony of demonstrating noblesse oblige by asking customers to subsidize the workers the company itself impoverished? The retail giant took a more strategic approach last week when rolling...
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