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Updated: 9 hours 36 min ago

Farewell, 'Oil Can': Ed Sadlowski, 1938-2018

Fri, 2018-06-15 12:00

The late 1960s and 1970s gave rise to grassroots movements for union democracy all over the United States. The ones in the Auto Workers and Mine Workers have been written about the most, but Steelworkers Fightback was no less momentous.

Categories: Labor Notes

Nashville Painters Aim To Build Immigrant Base

Thu, 2018-06-14 09:36
Nashville Painters Aim To Build Immigrant Base June 14, 2018 / Dan DiMaggio<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

How can building trades unions organize workers in an area where they don’t have much of a foothold? You’ve got to become a fixture in the community, and be in it for the long haul.

That’s the commitment the Painters are making in Nashville, Tennessee, where they just launched the Alianza Laboral (Spanish for “labor alliance”) Worker Resource Center.

Categories: Labor Notes

Five Lessons from the History of Public Sector Unions

Mon, 2018-06-11 11:19
Five Lessons from the History of Public Sector Unions June 11, 2018 / Priscilla Murolo<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

As public sector unions contemplate losing key rights under the law, it’s worth remembering that for much of their history, such unions organized with no rights at all.

It wasn’t till 1958 that New York became the first city to authorize collective bargaining for city employees. Wisconsin did the same for state employees in 1959, and federal workers got bargaining rights in 1962.

Categories: Labor Notes

Worksheet: Plan Your March on the Boss

Thu, 2018-06-07 15:13
How They Did It...

Auriana Fabricatore, a shop steward and member of UFCW Local 400, shared how she and her coworkers planned and executed a successful march on the boss, after getting the idea at the 2018 Labor Notes Conference. Read her story here.

Categories: Labor Notes

How We Marched on Our Boss

Thu, 2018-06-07 13:09
How We Marched on Our Boss June 07, 2018 / Auriana Fabricatore<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?> March on Your Boss!

Ryan Olds, a labor and community organizer in the East Bay, California, co-taught the March on the Boss workshop at the 2018 Labor Notes Conference, where Auriana Fabricatore got the idea. Ryan developed this worksheet to help you plan a march on the boss in your workplace.

Categories: Labor Notes

Labor's New Terrain: Working On the Supply Chain Gang

Tue, 2018-06-05 14:34
Labor's New Terrain: Working On the Supply Chain Gang June 05, 2018 / Kim Moody<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

A factory fire recently illustrated just how vulnerable are the supply chains at the heart of the global economy. The fire was at a single supplier—yet it forced Ford to temporarily halt production of the nation’s bestselling truck, the F-150.

Think how much leverage workers could have if we acted like the fire.

This is exactly how large-scale organizing happened in the auto industry. In late 1936, members of the newly organized Auto Workers (UAW) struck several General Motors plants to win union recognition. A month later, GM still hadn’t budged.

Categories: Labor Notes

Arizona Teachers Pull an All-Nighter to Seal the Deal

Thu, 2018-05-31 17:57

Arizona teachers struck statewide April 26 to May 3 over low pay and underfunding due to years of tax cuts.

Governor Doug Ducey had promised 20 percent raises heading into the strike, but teachers were skeptical that money would materialize. Their demands also included raises for other school employees and a return of funding to 2008 levels.

Categories: Labor Notes

Colorado Teachers Reach Their Boiling Point

Thu, 2018-05-31 17:44
Colorado Teachers Reach Their Boiling Point May 31, 2018 / Dan DiMaggio<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

Pueblo teachers and paraprofessionals struck from May 7 to 11, the first school strike in Colorado in 24 years.

The teachers had been working without a new contract since the school year began. Their school district was refusing to grant them a 2 percent cost-of-living increase and to increase contributions to their health insurance, even after an independent factfinder recommended those modest improvements.

Categories: Labor Notes

Before It All Melts Away

Wed, 2018-05-30 16:10

Will this spring’s wave of teacher strikes lead to stronger unions? Not if their unions return to business as usual.

The motor force behind the strikes in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Arizona, Colorado, and North Carolina is teachers’ deep frustration. Educators are feeling the pinch from decades of funding cuts that their unions have been unable to stop.

Categories: Labor Notes

North Carolina Teachers Shut Schools and Flood the Capital for a Day

Fri, 2018-05-25 11:54
North Carolina Teachers Shut Schools and Flood the Capital for a Day May 25, 2018 / Michelle Gunderson<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

Thirty thousand educators and supporters descended on Raleigh, North Carolina, on May 16 for a protest that was unprecedented in its size and breadth.

Every year around this time, the union sponsors a lobby day. In the past teachers would take a personal day, come to the capitol, and make an appointment with their legislators. The North Carolina Association of Educators would give members a packet with talking points on pre-determined priorities.

Categories: Labor Notes

Embattled Hoffa Offers Two-Tier, UPSers Push for a Better Deal

Thu, 2018-05-24 17:10
Embattled Hoffa Offers Two-Tier, UPSers Push for a Better Deal May 24, 2018 / Alexandra Bradbury<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

In negotiations over the nation’s largest union contract, a three-way battle is raging. UPS is demanding new givebacks, top Teamsters are offering them up, and rank and filers are organizing a grassroots network to push for better—and getting ready to vote down a bad deal, if necessary.

In February, Chief Negotiator Denis Taylor threw one opposition leader off the UPS bargaining committee; in May he kicked off three more. Their apparent crime was breaking the information “brownout” that keeps Teamsters in the dark about their own contract negotiations.

Categories: Labor Notes

What's Behind the Teachers' Strikes?

Tue, 2018-05-22 13:38

Originally published in Dollars & Sense.

As we watch—rapt—the unexpected teacher insurgencies in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona, Kentucky, and Colorado, we’re also grasping for understanding: Why is this stunning revolt occurring where unions are weak, where labor rights are thin, and where popular politics are considered to be on the right? To understand the insurgency, we need to look at economics, and at political economy specifically. But we especially need a labor-movement analysis.

Categories: Labor Notes

Steward's Corner: Legal Rights in a Contract Campaign

Wed, 2018-05-16 14:36
Steward's Corner: Legal Rights in a Contract Campaign May 16, 2018 / Robert M. Schwartz<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

In today’s dysfunctional economic climate, straightforward bargaining frequently comes up empty. Employers come to the table with lengthy lists of takeaways and refuse to compromise. Claiming impasse at the earliest opportunity, they threaten to carry out their final offer or impose a lockout.

To cope with these realities many unions are turning to militant contract campaigns. Creative and aggressive tactics can demonstrate members’ solidarity, resolve, and willingness to act.

Categories: Labor Notes

Puerto Rico: The Teacher Uprising the Media Is Ignoring

Mon, 2018-05-14 16:13
Puerto Rico: The Teacher Uprising the Media Is Ignoring May 14, 2018 / Meghan Brophy, Jonah Furman<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

You’ve read about the teacher strikes in West Virginia, Arizona, Oklahoma, Colorado… but what about Puerto Rico? Fighting to keep the island’s public schools open in the wake of Hurricane Maria, teachers there are boycotting standardized tests and even teaming up with parents to occupy their schools.

Categories: Labor Notes

I Work with Mark Janus. Here’s How He Benefits from a Strong Union.

Fri, 2018-05-11 11:53
I Work with Mark Janus. Here’s How He Benefits from a Strong Union. May 11, 2018 / Donnie Killen<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

Like everyone else in the labor movement, I’m nervously awaiting the Supreme Court ruling in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31, which would weaken public sector unions by letting workers receive the benefits of representation without contributing toward the cost.

But I’ve got a unique vantage point: I work in the same building as the plaintiff, Mark Janus.

Categories: Labor Notes

Subway Woes? Don't Blame Workers

Wed, 2018-05-09 15:26
Subway Woes? Don't Blame Workers May 09, 2018 / Laura Gabby<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

“Dirty, delayed, and dangerous.” That’s the slogan of a new ad campaign that blames New York City’s subway woes on construction unions.

The campaign plays on New Yorkers’ mounting frustrations with a system roiled by delays and overcrowding. It’s part of a volley of attacks on the city’s building trades unions by powerful developers and corporate mouthpieces.

Categories: Labor Notes

Debate: How Should Unions Deal With Free Riders?

Fri, 2018-05-04 14:29

The U.S. is quickly becoming an open-shop country. A majority of states now have “right-to-work” laws, and the Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME is likely to make right to work the law of the land in the public sector. Many unions are bracing for an immediate exodus of dues- and fee-payers.

Categories: Labor Notes

West Virginia Strikers Headline Biggest Labor Notes Conference Ever

Fri, 2018-05-04 12:32
Troublemaker Awards

Labor Notes handed out five Troublemaker Awards to those who have carried the banner of a fighting, bottom-up labor movement.

Categories: Labor Notes