Working & the Economy

Tyson chicken barns, like these in West Tennessee, house more than 624,000 chickens each and produce massive quantities of waste. (Photo: John Partipilo)

In West Tennessee, a group of Black farmers take on Tyson Foods

BY: - December 19, 2022

Brenda Scott’s father came to west Tennessee as a sharecropper. By 1971 — as a result of hard work and government loans — he had 129 acres of his own, some of which his descendants occupy today. His adult children and grandchildren belong to an enclave of Black farming families that have lived in Henderson […]

Jeffrey, who asked that his last name not be used, in his tent near Nashville’s Green Street Church of Christ. (Photo:John Partipilo)

Voters embraced affordable housing initiatives. Advocates say Congress should do the same.

BY: - December 15, 2022

Voters in Colorado approved a statewide affordable housing initiative in November; while voters in nine cities across the country OK’d measures to finance the construction of affordable housing, preserve existing rental properties and support renters. But as housing costs soar, analysts and advocates say more needs to be done and argue that federal action is […]

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Democratic Sen. Pat Leahy of Vermont at the U.S. Capitol going into lunch with Senate Democrats prior to a vote on an agreement to end a looming rail strike on Dec. 1, 2022. (Ariana Figueroa/States Newsroom)

U.S. Senate averts freight rail strike, but bid to include worker sick leave fails

BY: - December 1, 2022

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate on Thursday voted to codify an agreement the White House brokered between rail unions and freight companies in order to avoid a catastrophic rail strike, but fell short of enough votes to include paid sick leave for workers. The Senate backed the rail deal on an 80-15 vote and rejected […]

Photo: U.S. Department of Transportation.

U.S. House votes to avert calamitous rail strike, but Senate prospects murky

BY: - November 30, 2022

The U.S. House moved Wednesday to avoid an economically disastrous nationwide rail strike, voting to codify an agreement that members of some unions had already rejected and separately add paid sick leave that workers had demanded. The two-track approach allows Democrats to avert a strike that could cost the U.S. economy up to $2 billion […]

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 29: Activists in support of unionized rail workers protest outside the U.S. Capitol Building on November 29, 2022 in Washington, DC. President Joe Biden has called on Congress to pass legislation averting a railroad shutdown ahead of the December 9 coordinated strike date. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

U.S. House to intervene in rail workers strike, heeding Biden call

BY: - November 29, 2022

WASHINGTON — U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday said the House will take up legislation to ratify an agreement between rail workers and operators in order to avert a nationwide rail strike. “This week, the House will take up a bill adopting the Tentative Agreement — with no poison pills or changes to the […]

COMMENTARY

Congress knows how to slash child poverty. It just needs to do it.

BY: - November 25, 2022

If you could prevent millions of children from falling back into poverty, would you? Most of us, I imagine, would answer “yes” without hesitation. But not Congress. For nearly a year, lawmakers in Washington, D.C., have dithered as the policy directly responsible for a dramatic decline in poverty last year lapsed. It’s time for Congress […]

CHICAGO, IL - JULY 21: A fleet of Rivian Electric Delivery Vehicles (EDV) are seen connected to electric chargers during a launch event between Amazon and Rivian at an Amazon facility on July 21, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. This unveiling is major milestone towards Amazon's goal of having 100,000 Rivian EDVs on the road by 2030, and Amazon has made a Climate Pledge commitment to reach net-zero carbon by 2040 and has also pledged to guarantee 50% of all shipments reach net zero carbon by 2030. (Photo by Mustafa Hussain/Getty Images)

LG Chem to invest $3.2B in Clarksville battery operation

BY: - November 22, 2022

LG Chem and state officials announced Monday the South Korean company will invest $3.2 billion in a new cathode manufacturing facility in Clarksville to support the production of electric battery vehicles. The project is expected to create 860 new jobs in Montgomery County and represents the largest single foreign direct investment in state history, according […]

As utilities spend billions on transmission, support builds for independent monitoring

BY: - November 21, 2022

An aging electric grid, fossil fuel power plant retirements and a massive renewable electricity buildout are all contributing to a boom in transmission and distribution wire projects by electric utilities across the country.  In 2020, investor-owned electric utilities spent $25 billion on transmission, up from $23.7 billion in 2019, figures that the Edison Electric Institute, […]

Cardboard cutouts of fans and celebrities are placed in seats at Nissan Stadium, current home of the Tennessee Titans. (Photo by John Partipilo.)

How to pay for a football team

BY: - November 16, 2022

(Editor’s note: A previous version of this story misstated the condition of a sales tax related to sales outside the stadium.)  To economists, a $2 billion deal for a new Titans stadium is another egregious example of subsidizing privately-owned teams at taxpayer expense. But to Nashville officials, it’s the way out of an eye-popping renovation bill […]

University of Memphis students photographed in 2021 by Karen Pulfer Focht.

Biden student debt relief plan thrown out by Texas judge; new applications halted

BY: - November 11, 2022

WASHINGTON — Late Thursday a federal judge in Texas struck down the Biden administration’s student debt relief plan, ruling that the program is unlawful, in a blow to 16 million student debt borrowers already approved for relief. The U.S. Department of Education now is no longer accepting applications for the program, according to the student […]

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 02: U.S. Federal Reserve Bank Board Chairman Jerome Powell answers reporters' questions during a news conference following a meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FMOC) at the bank headquarters on November 02, 2022 in Washington, DC. In a move to fight inflation, Powell announced that the Federal Reserve is raising interest rates by three-quarters of a percentage point, the sixth interest rate increase this year and the fourth time in a row at rates this high. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The Fed raises interest rates again, signals more coming despite pressure to slow the pace

BY: - November 3, 2022

The Federal Reserve announced on Wednesday that in its continuing efforts to tamp down inflation, it would raise interest rates yet again by another three-quarters of a point to a target range of 3.75 to 4%. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said during a press conference following the announcement that the “historically fast pace” of […]

(Getty Images)

Tennesseans in Appalachia likely to have higher debt and lower income than state average

BY: - October 27, 2022

Tennesseans living in Appalachia are more likely to have medical debt in collections and carry high-interest, subprime loans while earning significantly less than the state and national average, a report by the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found. More than half of Tennessee’s 95 counties lie within Appalachia, a region that encompasses 13 states and […]