90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Barbara Ehrenreich on Poverty Now
Jose Rivera, 54, a resident of a homeless encampment in Fresno, Calif., was photographed on Thursday, June 18, 2009. (AP)

Jose Rivera, 54, a resident of a homeless encampment in Fresno, Calif., was photographed on Thursday, June 18, 2009. (AP)

Politicians love to talk about the middle class. Barbara Ehrenreich writes about the poor.

There are a lot of poor in this country. Working poor. The economic crisis of the last year has pushed their lives from hard to harder. And the nation’s response, says Ehrenreich, has been almost cruel. Not help, but the back of a hand.

This hour we’ll sit down with Barbara Ehrenreich — and with two women, hotel housekeepers, recently fired by a national hotel chain that hired replacements at half their wages.

This hour, On Point: life on the edge in hard times, with Barbara Ehrenreich.

You can join the conversation. Tell us what you think — here on this page, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

Guests:

Barbara Ehrenreich joins us from Washington. She’s a journalist and author of several books, among them “Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America” and “Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream.” Her recent four-part series on poverty in America ran on The New York Times Op-Ed page.  Her new book, out next month, is “Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America.”

Joining us in our studio is Lucine Williams, a mother of two, worked for 21 years and eleven months at a Hyatt Hotel in Boston as a housekeeper. She had a full-time, non-union job with benefits. In August, Hyatt Corporation laid off approximately 100 cleaning staff and replaced them with outsourced employees making half their salary. The hotel chain has since extended the health benefits of the laid-off workers and offered job-search assistance.

Also with us in our studio is Angela Norena. She worked at a Hyatt Hotel in Boston for 15 years until she was laid off three weeks ago. She’s the mother of a 14-year old son.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Dec 19, 2014
Alan Gross, waves as he and his wife Judy leave following his statement at his lawyer's office in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. Gross was released from Cuba after 5 years in a Cuban prison. (AP)

Cuba reset. Russia’s rubble troubles. School massacre in Pakistan. Jeb explores 2016. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Dec 19, 2014
Soledad, and from left, Nina Pastori, and Lila Downs perform on stage at the Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year Tribute honoring Joan Manuel Serrat at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014, in Las Vegas. (AP)

From crossover hits to hip-hop to soul, we look at a big year in the wide world of Latin music.

RECENT
SHOWS
Dec 18, 2014
A poster for the movie "The Interview" is carried away by a worker after being pulled from a display case at a Carmike Cinemas movie theater, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP)

A big Sony hack gets weirder and wider. And Hollywood and Homeland Security are on edge.

 
Dec 18, 2014
This handout photo from the Twitter account of Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. shows Alan Gross arriving at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. The US and Cuba have agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations and open economic and travel ties, marking a historic shift in U.S. policy toward the communist island after a half-century of enmity dating back to the Cold War, American officials said Wednesday. (AP)

Following months of secret talks the US will restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba after more than fifty years.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: December 19, 2014
Friday, Dec 19, 2014

Rage, shortlinks and things you people seem to be into, we guess. Also, Putin.

More »
Comment
 
Cosby Accuser Beverly Johnson: ‘He's A Black Man. I Had To Separate The Trayvon Martins, The Michael Browns From What Happened To Me’
Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014

Beverly Johnson accused comedian Bill Cosby of drugging her in a high-profile Vanity Fair column. She tells us why she waited so long to share her story, and why it was even harder to share now.

More »
2 Comments
 
Our Week In The Web: December 12, 2014
Friday, Dec 12, 2014

On listener engagement, the meeting of trans-Atlantic royalty and the elusive origins of the chicken. (We promise this feed hasn’t been taken over the BBC…yet)

More »
Comment