Magazine Stories

Syndicate content
Updated: 11 hours 16 min ago

Contracted Hospital Workers Win Job Security

Mon, 2018-04-16 10:43
Contracted Hospital Workers Win Job Security April 16, 2018 / Laurel Albina<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

For the first time in 15 years, 4,000 subcontracted hospital housekeepers and dietary workers in British Columbia have job security. They won that peace of mind by pulling off a series of escalating actions on the job.

Between 2002 and 2005 the provincial government, headed by the Liberal Party, fired 10,000 hospital support service workers—mostly women and people of color—and subcontracted their jobs to multinational corporations including Aramark, Compass, Sodexo, and Acciona.

Categories: Labor Notes

Indiana Teachers ‘Go Green’ To Track Member Sign-Up

Fri, 2018-04-13 09:45
Indiana Teachers ‘Go Green’ To Track Member Sign-Up April 13, 2018 / Samantha Winslow<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

What will happen to public sector unions after the Supreme Court rules on the Janus v. AFSCME case this spring? Indiana teachers are already there. Slammed by a “right to work” law in 1996 and a new barrage of attacks in 2011, the teachers experienced what many unions are afraid of—a big drop in membership.

But the Indiana State Teachers Association didn’t roll over and give up after that. The union developed a tracking system called “Go Green” to help local leaders get membership back up.

Categories: Labor Notes

The Special Status of Union Stewards

Fri, 2018-04-13 08:44
The Special Status of Union Stewards April 13, 2018 / Robert M. Schwartz<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

Standing up to bosses is essential to being a steward. On the shop floor and in grievance meetings, you must defend the actions of members and contest those of management.

In many cases you should be able to make your points temperately, practicing “quiet diplomacy.” But occasions will undoubtedly arise when you will want to raise your voice, challenge a supervisor's credibility, or argue your case in other vigorous ways.

Categories: Labor Notes

50 Years after Memphis: Black Jobs Crisis Continues

Wed, 2018-04-04 22:10
50 Years after Memphis: Black Jobs Crisis Continues April 04, 2018 / Steven Pitts<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

On February 1, 1968, Echol Cole and Robert Walker left their homes for their jobs as Memphis sanitation workers. They never returned alive. They were crushed by a malfunctioning garbage truck. Their deaths sparked a strike by their 1,300 union brothers.

The strike was victorious only after months of protests, strong community support, the intervention of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.

Categories: Labor Notes

Interview: Reviving the Poor People's Campaign

Tue, 2018-04-03 09:55
Interview: Reviving the Poor People's Campaign April 03, 2018 / Rev. Nelson Johnson and Joyce Johnson<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

The Poor People's Campaign was born out of the Moral Mondays movement in North Carolina, a clergy-led drive that beginning in 2013 united faith leaders, union members, LGBT activists, and immigrant rights advocates in mass marches and civil disobedience.

Their goals were broad because a right-wing state legislature was moving on all fronts to strip away rights—labor, voting, education, abortion, environmental, unemployment benefits—and the Governor was refusing to accept federal money to expand Medicaid.

Categories: Labor Notes

The Only Way to Survive Janus

Fri, 2018-03-30 15:04
The Only Way to Survive Janus March 30, 2018 / Alexandra Bradbury<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

The snows were still flying, but for unionists, spring came early this year. West Virginia’s teacher uprising burst onto the scene like rhododendrons opening: first one walkout, then another, and before you knew it a statewide strike was in full bloom.

The strikes were born at the grassroots, and that’s how they spread. Classroom teachers passed the word on Facebook, organized school votes, and rallied at the capital. Union leaders followed their members, but never took the reins.

Categories: Labor Notes

Book Review: Wobblies of the World: A History of Globetrotting Troublemakers

Fri, 2018-03-30 10:35

Despite the “World” in its name, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) has largely been viewed as an American or North American union. Indeed, the proposed name “Industrial Workers of America” was considered and rejected at its first convention.

Categories: Labor Notes

West Virginia Teachers Learned from 1970s Miners

Wed, 2018-03-28 16:18

As rank-and-file teachers waged their audacious strike in my home state, lots of people cited West Virginia’s stirring labor heritage: the epic mine wars in the 1920s, including the Battle of Blair Mountain, when planes dropped bombs on striking miners, fighting to unionize and end the dictatorship of the coal barons. Teachers proudly wore the miners’ red bandanas as a nod to that history.

Categories: Labor Notes

Book Review: From Mission to Microchip: Rethinking California's Labor History

Tue, 2018-03-27 12:38

A recent New York Times article detailed the ways California as a state has become the Trump administration's bête noire. According to reporter Tim Arango, the morning after Trump was elected, "Kevin de León, the State Senate leader, and his counterpart in the Assembly, Anthony Rendon, said they 'woke up feeling like strangers in a foreign land.'"

Categories: Labor Notes

Teacher Strike Fever Spreads

Fri, 2018-03-23 14:34
Teacher Strike Fever Spreads March 23, 2018 / Dan DiMaggio and Jonah Furman<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

It started with a few hundred West Virginia teachers and school employees pulling one-day walkouts. It became an unqualified victory in that state, which educators elsewhere were quick to emulate.

Teachers in Oklahoma, Arizona, and Kentucky are now striking, sicking out, rallying, and Facebooking to push officials to raise their salaries and defend their benefits.

Categories: Labor Notes

Inspired by West Virginia, Teachers Spread Red for Ed Movement across Arizona

Thu, 2018-03-15 19:58
Inspired by West Virginia, Teachers Spread Red for Ed Movement across Arizona March 15, 2018 / Rebecca Garelli<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

While Oklahoma teachers and school employees gear up for a possible statewide strike starting April 2, a teacher uprising is also brewing in Arizona. Teacher pay in Arizona ranks last in the country by some measures. Educators there, inspired by their counterparts in West Virginia, are rapidly organizing to change that.

Categories: Labor Notes

A Working Class Mayor Is Something To Be

Wed, 2018-03-14 09:04

Well before the Trump era, U.S. presidents failed to address urban problems, or made them worse. Congress, state legislatures, and governors were the same. The job of fighting poverty, inequality, and environmental degradation shifted to the municipal level, where activist mayors have tried to mobilize the limited resources of local government on behalf of neglected constituents and causes.

Categories: Labor Notes

Striking British Academics Reject Offer: 'No Capitulation!'

Tue, 2018-03-13 17:09

“No capitulation!” That slogan sped around social media and appeared on picket lines Tuesday morning, after 42,000 academics and academic support staff at more than 60 British universities rejected a deal negotiated by their union that would have brought their 11-day strike to an end.

The strike will now continue until March 16, when most universities shut down for four weeks over the Easter break. It may well resume when teaching begins again in mid-April.

Categories: Labor Notes

At Home at Labor Notes

Mon, 2018-03-12 11:54

While I'm excited about seeing many of our regulars, I’m especially looking forward to meeting first-time attendees at what could be the biggest Labor Notes Conference yet, in Chicago April 6-8. Here's how I know they're going to like it.

Categories: Labor Notes

Chicago UPS Drivers Fight to Keep Talking

Thu, 2018-03-08 15:05
Chicago UPS Drivers Fight to Keep Talking March 08, 2018 / Dave Bernt<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

UPS tried to ban its tractor-trailer drivers from using CB radios and hands-free headsets, but Chicago-area drivers were having none of it—and they used the opportunity to draw attention to the real safety problems the company is ignoring.

Managers arriving at the massive Chicago Area Consolidated Hub (CACH) on January 30 were greeted by an inflatable rat and a fat cat 12 feet tall. Teamsters held a banner: “UPS Does Not Care about Employee Safety.”

Categories: Labor Notes

Nearly 50 Years after OSHA, American Workers Are Still Dying to Work

Thu, 2018-03-08 11:10

The outrage is palpable in Dying to Work, the book to read if you want to know what’s happening with worker health and safety in these difficult times.

Categories: Labor Notes

The West Virginia Option

Wed, 2018-03-07 15:18
The West Virginia Option March 07, 2018 / Joe Burns<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

West Virginia teachers declared victory with a 5 percent raise and returned to their classrooms today. Their organizing and their 13-day strike not only forced the legislature to raise their rock-bottom pay; it backed off corporate-linked education “reformers” on a host of other issues: charter schools, an anti-seniority bill, preventing payroll deduction of union dues. The teachers unions say they've seen big upticks in membership.

Categories: Labor Notes

British Academics Strike to Save Pensions

Fri, 2018-03-02 12:19

Snow falls on the picket line by the main entrance to Loughborough University, in the English East Midlands. Those not handing out leaflets are huddled around the brazier (burn barrel), hands in their pockets. They include tenured professors, tenure-track faculty, teachers on short-term contracts, academic support staff, and students there to show support.

Categories: Labor Notes

After 136 Years, L.A. Times Journalists Win Their Union

Thu, 2018-03-01 14:39
After 136 Years, L.A. Times Journalists Win Their Union March 01, 2018 / Kristina Bui and Nastaran Mohit<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

Journalists at the L.A. Times on January 19 received the news we had long awaited—with a landslide of 85 percent, the staff voted to unionize and join the NewsGuild, an affiliate of the Communications Workers.

Categories: Labor Notes

Teachers Organize National Black Lives Matter Week of Action

Wed, 2018-02-28 12:32

What started last year with teachers in Seattle and Philadelphia has picked up steam.

Teachers in Chicago, Newark, Boston, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Milwaukee, and Los Angeles joined this year’s Black Lives Matter at Schools week of action, often organized by a rank-and-file caucus in the local union.

They shared a list of demands:

Categories: Labor Notes