Manuel Madrid

Manuel Madrid is a writing fellow at The American Prospect

Recent Articles

Puerto Rican Refugees and the Elusive Blue Wave

Emigres from the island could be recruited to the Democratic camp, but will progressive organizing defeat right-wing money that ties relief to recruiting?

AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File
AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File Thousands of people evacuating Puerto Rico line up to get on a cruise ship in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in San Juan This article will appear in the Spring 2018 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . B attered and bruised by Hurricane Maria and mired in a power crisis, Puerto Rico remains in shambles. While economic strains on the island led to a painful, decade-long increase in migration to the mainland, the hurricane made the exodus spike, landing tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans in the perennial swing state of Florida. As U.S. citizens, Puerto Ricans can vote as soon as they register in their new homes. Initially framed as a potential boon for Democrats in 2018, the new Puerto Rican arrivals are not firmly in either political camp. What’s unfolding is a high-stakes duel between progressive organizers and corporate money. Puerto Ricans reliably vote for Democrats in states like New York, Connecticut, and Illinois, but not...

Welfare Work Requirements Won’t Help Puerto Rico’s Shattered Labor Market

The Puerto Rican governor’s plan to implement work requirements for welfare recipients is a cruel political ploy, not a policy solution.

JUAN LUIS MARTINEZ/GDA via AP Image Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló speaks in San Juan trickle-downers_35.jpg I n his annual State of the Commonwealth speech this month, Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló announced a highly anticipated and in many ways conventionally conservative package of policy proposals to address the island’s ongoing economic and energy crises: privatizing the island’s battered energy grid, cutting corporate and individual taxes, and reforming the education system through charter schools and educational vouchers. Tucked away near the end of the governor’s speech and overshadowed by such front-page proposals was a call to enact work requirements for welfare recipients on the island. “It’s important that we protect and strengthen programs for the most vulnerable,” said Rosselló. ”Likewise, we must incentivize those that can work to find dignified work and insert themselves in the economy.” Puerto Rico’s unemployment rate was almost 11 percent in January...

Democratic Senators Denounce Federal Indifference Toward Puerto Rico

To mark the 101st anniversary of Puerto Ricans gaining U.S. citizenship, members of Congress and advocates for the territory met to explore its serious, persistent problems.

(Andre Kang/AP Photo)
(Andre Kang/AP Photos) Senator Bernie Sanders visits San Juan, accompanied by Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, on October 27, 2017.(GDA via AP Images) D espite being granted U.S. citizenship by President Woodrow Wilson more than a century ago, Puerto Ricans continue to be treated as second-class Americans—especially in the wake of Hurricane Maria. With Puerto Rico’s economy in tatters and hundreds of thousands of residents still without power, business leaders, progressive leaders, academics, and members of Congress gathered at a Capitol Hill conference to assess the disaster and propose solutions to revive the commonwealth. Democratic Senators Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, warned against recent attempts to privatize large parts of the island’s educational system and denounced the federal government’s shambolic response to the worst natural disaster to ever hit Puerto Rico. “...

The Happiest Place On Earth? Not For Disney Employees

Disney employees in Florida and California cry foul as the entertainment giant uses promised one-time bonuses as a bargaining chip against higher pay raises.

spatuletai/Shutterstock The entrance to Disney World in Orlando, Florida trickle-downers_35.jpg F or a scenic view of America’s corporate-captured economy, just take a vacation to Disney World, where it appears that someone forgot to tell employees that they work at the Happiest Place On Earth. More than 35,000 Disney employees in Orlando had little to smile about on Monday as ongoing union contract negotiations with the entertainment giant took a turn for the worse. The Services Trade Council, a coalition of unions representing the Disney World Resorts workers, has accused Walt Disney Co. of throwing cold water on employee demands for higher wages, by turning a promised $1,000 one-time bonus into a bargaining chip. On Tuesday, nearly 2,500 miles away at the other “Happiest Place on Earth,” a union representing more than 2,700 Disneyland Resort employees in California filed their own federal charge to the National Labor Relations Board. The entertainment giant’s January announcement...

Amazon Warehouses May Leave Cities Worse For Wear

A new report finds that localities with Amazon warehouses haven’t seen an overall boost in employment.

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky Myrtice Harris packages products for shipment at an Amazon fulfillment center in Baltimore. trickle-downers_35.jpg T he battle between cities to host Amazon’s second headquarters continues to dominate headlines, but the new HQ remains only the latest and largest prize in the tech giant’s long history of masterfully soliciting public subsidies. In Amazon’s quest to control same-day delivery, its network of almost 100 fulfillment centers—where products are sorted, packaged, and shipped—has now spread across 25 states. Lured by the prospect of hundreds or even thousands of new full-time warehouse jobs with competitive pay and benefits, local government officials crawl over each other to land the world’s largest online retailer in their backyard. But according to a new report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), many of these policymakers might really be selling their constituents short. The report found that, on average, counties that are home to Amazon...