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Chicago Teachers Win First Charter Strike in History

Fri, 2018-12-14 17:59
Chicago Teachers Win First Charter Strike in History December 14, 2018 / Barbara Madeloni<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

This article, originally published on December 4 as the strike began, has since been updated. --Editors.

Chicago teachers are leading the way again. They have declared victory in the first charter school strike in U.S. history.

The four-day strike included 550 teachers and paraprofessionals who work at all 15 Chicago charter schools in the Acero charter chain.

Categories: Labor Notes

Support Labor Notes: A Special Message from West Virginia and Arizona Teachers

Fri, 2018-12-14 08:44
Dear fellow Labor Notes supporter,

We made headlines with our spring strike wave... but did you know that Labor Notes played an essential behind-the-scenes role?

Two of us are writing to you together. Jay is a teacher in West Virginia, Rebecca is a teacher in Arizona. Our lives changed this past year when we helped organize statewide strikes and spark a national uprising that’s still unfolding.

Categories: Labor Notes

Viewpoint: What’s Good for the Country? New Owners for GM

Thu, 2018-12-13 15:21
Viewpoint: What’s Good for the Country? New Owners for GM December 13, 2018 / Toni Gilpin<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

Move over, Mr. Grinch: the executives at General Motors have you beat.

Just after Thanksgiving, GM declared that in 2019 it will close three major assembly and two smaller transmission facilities in North America. The bombshell announcement, which came despite GM’s recent robust profit reports, ensures unhappy holidays for some 6,000 production employees and their families, along with the communities where the assembly plants are located: Detroit-Hamtramck; Lordstown, Ohio; and Oshawa, Ontario.

Categories: Labor Notes

Swept Up in France's Yellow Vest Protests

Fri, 2018-12-07 13:14

I’ve never been tear gassed before. The smell is similar to fireworks and the effect is explosive—and effective. I immediately wanted to get as far away as I could from the noxious source of burning eyes and throat.

I was in Paris when France’s “yellow vest” (gilet jaune) movement shut down the center of the city.

There were thousands of demonstrators, all wearing the bright yellow safety vests drivers are required by law to have in their cars.

Categories: Labor Notes

Here's the Secret to Getting Young Workers Involved

Thu, 2018-12-06 17:50

“How can we get young workers involved?”

That’s the question on everyone’s lips, with union density at near-record lows. Many unions have begun holding summits for young members or forming local committees, which is great.

But too often they’re missing a step that’s more essential: don’t sell young workers out.

When you settle a two-tier contract that puts new hires on a lower wage scale or trades away their pension, it sends a message: “This union is for us, not for you.”

Categories: Labor Notes

Labor Notes Turns 40! Send Us Your Memories

Thu, 2018-11-29 11:43

The Troublemakers Union turns 40 next year! We’re planning a whole series of events to commemorate the occasion, from special magazine features to speaking tours and more.

As part of our celebration, we’re gathering memories of Labor Notes history, and we’d appreciate if you shared yours.

When was the first time you came across Labor Notes?

What role have Labor Notes and our supporters played in your organizing?

Categories: Labor Notes

Jasic Detainee #4: Liu Penghua: We Need a Union, Not Just Rights Defense

Mon, 2018-11-26 13:00

Liu Penghua, along with Mi Jiuping, was one of the three workers who took the lead in trying to form a union at the Jasic welding equipment factory in Shenzhen, China. Liu was the first to face retribution for his actions, suffering a beating by factory thugs on July 16. He is now among the four worker activists being tried for participation in the Jasic organizing.

Categories: Labor Notes

University of California Workers Strike for Racial Justice

Tue, 2018-11-20 17:09
University of California Workers Strike for Racial Justice November 20, 2018 / Chris Brooks<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

University workers across California hit the streets October 23-25 in their latest strike aimed at confronting racism in the state’s higher education system.

A longer strike could be ahead. “Like Malcolm X said, by any means necessary,” said bargaining committee member Luster Howard, a truck driver at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

The University of California is the state’s third-largest employer, and AFSCME Local 3299 is its largest union, representing 24,000 patient care and service workers across 10 campuses and five university hospitals.

Categories: Labor Notes

Viewpoint: Where Are Union Auto Workers' Voices in Scandal Reporting?

Tue, 2018-11-20 11:22

A Detroit News article published in October revealed that our union, the Auto Workers (UAW), is building a luxurious three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath “cabin” as a permanent residence for retired President Dennis Williams at Black Lake, the union’s educational retreat center in Northern Michigan.

The article implied that this wasteful project had the full support of delegates like us at the recent UAW Constitutional Convention. But if this project was before the delegates, it was hidden in obscure language and therefore not apparent.

Categories: Labor Notes

Jasic Detainee #3: The Story of Yu Juncong: Always Standing Against Injustice

Mon, 2018-11-19 11:35

Yu Juncong—the author of the first open letter to Jasic Technology and one of the first Jasic workers to openly protest the company’s policies—was fired in May 2018 for his actions. On July 27, he attempted to re-enter the factory along with other fired workers who had raised their voices against the company and, along with his wife and younger brother who were there in support, was arrested. Yu is one of the four workers being officially tried in the Jasic incident.

The following is Yu’s story, based on his wife Huang Lanfeng’s recollections.

Categories: Labor Notes

Jasic Detainee #2: Li Zhan: Standing with Workers through Thick and Thin

Sat, 2018-11-17 21:09

Note: Li Zhan is a former worker at the Jasic welding-equipment factory in China’s manufacturing hub of Shenzhen. He's been held in Shenzhen Number 2 detention center for over 100 days for supporting the effort to form a union at Jasic this summer. Li is one of four workers against whom charges have been pressed for “disturbing social order” in the course of the Jasic struggle. They have been held in detention and denied access to their lawyers as they await trial.

Categories: Labor Notes

In the Pacific Northwest, the First Paraeducator-Led Strike of the Teacher Uprising

Fri, 2018-11-16 17:25
In the Pacific Northwest, the First Paraeducator-Led Strike of the Teacher Uprising November 16, 2018 / Dan DiMaggio<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

Paraeducators in Port Angeles, Washington, are on strike. In this year’s wave of teacher strikes, it’s the first one led by paraeducators.

Teachers have refused to cross their picket lines, shutting down the district’s schools Thursday and Friday.

Categories: Labor Notes

Checklist: Are You Organizing Democratically?

Fri, 2018-11-16 11:36
Checklist: Are You Organizing Democratically? November 16, 2018 / Matt Noyes<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

Labor Notes has always emphasized that union power requires democracy. That’s because unions need active members to be strong—and people won’t stay active for long if they don’t have a meaningful say.

But “be democratic” is easier said than done. What does democratic organizing look like in practice? How can your efforts be made more inclusive?

Categories: Labor Notes

Teacher Strike Threat Backs Off ExxonMobil

Thu, 2018-11-15 18:07
Teacher Strike Threat Backs Off ExxonMobil November 15, 2018 / Barbara Madeloni<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

Sometimes the boss offers us a fight that directly exposes the destructive effects of corporate power.

In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, that moment came when ExxonMobil asked for yet another handout from taxpayers—property tax exemptions totaling $6 million.

For the ninth-largest corporation in the world, it was a routine request. ExxonMobil is accustomed to receiving such perks from obedient state officials. But teachers saw it differently: as a $6 million theft from the local schools budget.

Categories: Labor Notes

UPS Vote No Activists Take Over Big Dallas Local

Wed, 2018-11-14 16:36
UPS Vote No Activists Take Over Big Dallas Local November 14, 2018 / Alexandra Bradbury<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

Reformers in the Teamsters have the wind at their backs. A rank-and-file slate swept to victory November 10 at Local 767 in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, the largest UPS local in the South.

The 767 Teamsters United for Change won an outright majority in a four-way race. President-elect Brian “Smokewagon” Perrier, a 29-year UPS driver, got nearly twice as many votes as the incumbent president.

Categories: Labor Notes

What Vermont Paraeducators and School Bus Drivers Learned When They Almost Went on Strike

Fri, 2018-11-09 18:08
What Vermont Paraeducators and School Bus Drivers Learned When They Almost Went on Strike November 09, 2018 / Emma Mulvaney-Stanak<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

What do you do when your employer suddenly turns hostile? After years of relatively friendly labor relations, in 2015 the school board in rural Brandon, Vermont, shut down negotiations and imposed its terms: higher health care costs and minimal raises.

Categories: Labor Notes

Election Roundup: A Mixed Bag, But Good Riddance to Scott Walker

Fri, 2018-11-09 14:35

How did states with high-profile union fights fare in the 2018 midterms? The elections were a mixed bag.

Wisconsin union members (and yours truly!) got to vote out the state’s number one union-buster: Scott Walker. He survived a 2012 recall and a 2014 re-election, but the third time was the charm. The governor who rose to the national stage by kneecapping unions was narrowly ousted in a high-turnout election.

Categories: Labor Notes

Hospitals Torch Safe Staffing Limits in Massachusetts

Wed, 2018-11-07 17:57
Hospitals Torch Safe Staffing Limits in Massachusetts November 07, 2018 / Chris Brooks<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

Massachusetts nurses suffered a devastating defeat at the polls yesterday as a union-led ballot initiative, Question 1, lost by more than 2 to 1.

Question 1 would have improved hospital care by limiting the number of patients that bedside nurses could legally be assigned.

The ballot question was shepherded by the Massachusetts Nurses Association, which represents nurses at 70 percent of the hospitals in the state, including 47 private and five public hospitals.

Categories: Labor Notes

In Iowa, Pioneering Undergrad Workers Union Keeps Growing

Tue, 2018-11-06 17:06
In Iowa, Pioneering Undergrad Workers Union Keeps Growing November 06, 2018 / Meghan Brophy<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

At a small liberal arts college in rural Iowa, students who work in the libraries, mailroom, and other campus workplaces have undertaken an ambitious organizing drive.

Two years ago, 350 dining hall workers at Grinnell College made history when they formed the first union of undergraduate workers at a private college. Now hundreds of other student workers on campus are campaigning to join then.

Categories: Labor Notes

Viewpoint: With No Contract Campaign, New York Teachers Wasted the Moment

Tue, 2018-11-06 12:06

My union, the United Federation of Teachers, representing 80,000 active school employees, has reached a new three-year agreement with New York City. It was announced over the weekend that the contract had been approved by an 87 percent vote. The Occupational and Physical Therapists chapter, however, voted it down.

Categories: Labor Notes