new site graphic2

Archives by Tag 'unions'
Domestic Cold War Casualties
EVAN JONES
In 1981 I read an article by Noam Chomsky that I have never forgotten. The article was published in the British Guardian, 15 June 1981. The title tells it all: ‘The cold war is a device by which superpowers control their own domains. That is why it will continue...
Viva Mexico! Vivan Los Maestros!
PAUL IMISON
Mexico City While President Enrique Peña Nieto gave the annual Viva Mexico! from the National Palace Sunday night, alternative “cries of independence” rang out around the country, not least at the capital’s Revolution Monument where striking public ...
The Economy, Labour and the 2015 Canadian Election
MURRAY DOBBIN
With the formation Unifor, a “new kind of union” and the country’s largest private sector union, there is at least a chance that the long slumber of the labour movement is over. An organization that big, with a radically new mandate, cannot help but influence develo...
What Contingent Faculty Can Learn From Fast-Food Workers
BRIAN HAMAN
It has become a truism in American higher education: seventy-five percent of undergraduate courses at U.S. colleges and universities are taught by contingent faculty1, most of whom lack health insurance,...
A “New Idea” From 1980s
STEVE EARLY
In the run-up to their convention next month in Los Angeles, top AFL-CIO officials have welcomed closer ties with non-labor groups and associations of workers’ who lack bargaining rights. In an interview with USA Today this summer, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka claim...
Teamsters Make a Run at the Transport Workers
DAVID MACARAY
There are two ways to look at a so-called “raid” of one union by another. We can see it as treachery, as an unwarranted assault, as a selfish attempt to undermine already fragile working class “solidarity” in return for increased revenue or power, or we can see it...
Labor’s “Southern Strategy”
DAVID MACARAY
Not counting all the other bad things that have happened recently (e.g., Wisconsin public workers denied collective bargaining, Michigan becoming a right-to-work state, Obama’s NLRB appointees hanging in limbo, the Democrats’ betrayal of EFCA legislation, etc.), two a...
An Open Letter to the Evergreen State College and Beyond!
PETER BOHMER
I urge everyone to honor the Tuesday, May 28th 2013 strike of the Student Staff Support Services Union.  These Evergreen workers have bargained for more than 16 months for a just contract, where they would be treated with respect. They are requesting a small i...
Colombia’s Peasants and Workers Under Fire
JAMES JORDAN
There has been an alarming escalation of repression against rural populations in Colombia.  Much of this is focused against the National Unified Federation of Agricultural Workers Unions, or Fensuagro–the country’s largest labor organization representing rura...
Bill Maher’s Union-Bashing
DAVID MACARAY
What person smokes a ton of marijuana, loves animals but doesn’t like kids, digs girls and sex but never wants to get married, rejoices in using dirty words, hates fat people, likes the beach, and enjoys shocking us with wisecracks about religion and hillbillies?  It...
A New Era for Labor?
LAURA FLANDERS
What a difference five years make! In 2008, when a few hundred union workers at the Republic Windows and Doors factory in Chicago voted to occupy their plant instead of submitting meekly to being laid off, theirs was a rare act of courage in a cold winter of crisis for o...
Even in Bankruptcy, Airlines Cash In
CARL FINAMORE
Only a few years ago there were six major US airlines. All of them went bankrupt and all of them received financial relief off the backs of employees amounting to billions of dollars. As it turns out, the funds generated in bankruptcy courts resulted in a buying sp...
How Occupy Builds Popular Resistance
KEVIN ZEESE and MARGARET FLOWERS
Yesterday, a media outlet contacted us to be on a show about how Occupy had “fizzled coming into this year’s May 1.” The media keeps looking for encampments or last year’s protests and is missing how popular resistance is growing and demonstrating all over the...
What’s the Matter With That Union Boss?
YVES ENGLER
“I am not here to take marching orders from union bosses,” said Mr. Poilievre. “I represent taxpayers and frankly taxpayers expect us to keep costs under control so that we can keep taxes down. It is for those taxpayers that we work. Not union ...
Different Seasons of the Arab Spring
CARL FINAMORE
In northern Africa, winters are usually mild and summers normally dry and hot. The glorious Arab Spring revolts in this part of the world can also be measured in this same way – sometimes hot, in fact, blazing hot; sometimes warm; sometimes mild and sometimes just p...
The Best Union in the World Goes on Strike
DAVID MACARAY
Why is it easier to respect (maybe “respect” isn’t the right word) a self-confessed racist (“I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t like black people.”) than an obvious racist who goes around sanctimoniously pretending he has no prejudices?  Dante was awar...
Nail-Biting Time at Kaiser
CAL WINSLOW
We’re now in nail-biting time for workers at California’s huge HMO, Kaiser Permanente. Some 45,000 service and technical employees there received ballots from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) at the beginning of April; the ballots must be returned by May 1, w...
Where are the Eulogies for Thatcher’s Victims?
JOSEPH RICHARDSON
London. No sooner had the news broken of Margaret Thatcher’s death than the glorious tributes came flooding in, a veritable deluge of unreserved praise for the Britain’s first female Prime Minister. ...
Atlanta’s Pitiful Hypocrisy
DAVID MACARAY
By now most of us have heard the gruesome details of how Atlanta’s elementary and middle school teachers (and principals) conspired to falsify the scores on state proficiency tests.  The investigation not only implicated teachers and administrators, it reached all the ...
Without Unions the Bullies Will Win
DAVID MACARAY
It’s impossible to overstate the importance of old-fashioned “resistance.”  Indeed, without resistance (e.g., pushing back, taking an aggressive stand, demonstrating that you’re willing to fight, etc.), things can get out of hand very quickly, whether we’re tal...
Fast Food Workers Super-Size Their Struggle
PETER RUGH
Tianna Smalls had planned on working Thursday, but her colleagues convinced her otherwise. “You’re either with us, or you’re for Wendy’s,” Smalls remembers her co-workers telling her. Her mother also weighed in Thursday morning as Smalls was heading to work at t...
Can Worker-Owners Make a Big Factory Run?
JANE SLAUGHTER
This is the conclusion of a two-part series on the TRADOC worker’s cooperative in Mexico. Click here to read part one. A tire is not just a piece of rubber with ...
A Big Victory for Labor in Mexico
JANE SLAUGHTER
“If the owners don’t want it, let’s run it ourselves.” When a factory closes, the idea of turning it into a worker-owned co-operative sometimes comes up—and usually dies. The hurdles to buying a plant, even a failing plant, are huge, and once in business,...
Starving the Postal Service
BEN TERRALL
On March 18, U.S. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe spoke at a National Postal Forum in San Francisco, prompting picketing by rank and file postal employees and their supporters. Protestors opposed Donahoe’s support for  post office closures and layoffs of USPS worker...
Detroit and the International War of the Rich on the Poor
RICH GIBSON
Every Detroit teacher was fired in the fall of 2012. Apparently, the nation did not notice. Hence, this story. On March 26, 2013, 78% of the voting members of the Detroit Federation of Teachers ratified a contract which DFT president, Keith Johnson, called, ...
Hilton Hotels Look Back to the Future
CARL FINAMORE
All of us at one time or another had things pounded into our heads so often that ultimately a light bulb goes off. Finally, one or more of our experiences, good or bad, influences our behavior. This is not new. The esteemed 19th century philosopher Soren Kierkegaar...
California Health Workers Get a Second Chance
CARL FINAMORE
Except for maybe the famously intractable George Bush and Dick Cheney, it’s pretty common to want to take back something we did in life. American slang celebrates this new opportunity – we get “another swing at the bat,” “another crack at it” or we take...
North Dakota Enters the Political Ice Age
JEFF ARMSTRONG
North Dakota ushered in spring this year with temperatures dipping below zero, but the physical climate was relatively balmy when compared with the political ice age emanating from the state capitol in Bismarck. The state has grabbed national headlines over the leg...
Is It Time For Just Cause?
RAND WILSON and STEVE EARLY
“It’s time for unions to stop being clever about excuses for why membership is declining and it’s time to figure out how to devise appeals to the workers out there. Workers should be looking to unions because of job insecurity and stagnant wa...
Democrats: Masters of Self-Delusion
MICHAEL BRENNER
Democrats are masters of illusion – especially self-delusion. Their abject performance over the past few decades has shorn them of identity and conviction. They have lost on every front against a Republican opponent that has abandoned the mainstream for cloud cuckoo lan...
Bad Romance: Labor, Obama and the Democrats
SHAMUS COOKE
The Democratic Party’s participation in the recent national “sequester” cuts is yet another big dent in their love affair with organized labor. But break-ups are often a protracted process. Before a relationship ends there is usually a gradual deterioration based o...
The Strategic Defeat of Labor
KEVIN CARSON
The decline of organized labor (from more than 30% of non-farm private sector workers in the ’50s to around 6% today) is often presented as something that “just happened” — a spontaneous fact of nature beyond human control, like glaciation or asteroid strikes. Far...
O Labor, Where Art Thou?
DAVID MACARAY
It’s astonishing that we have all these people out there—all these wildly opinionated, patriotic folks—who, without any prompting, will spontaneously burst into rhapsodic discourse about how much they admire the “checks and balances” written into the U.S. consti...
What Kind of Unions Will We Have?
CAL WINSLOW
In April, 43,000 Kaiser Permanente workers in California will vote, again, to decide which union will represent them, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) or the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW), the latter now allied with the California Nurs...
Walmart Bares Its Fangs
DAVID MACARAY
By now, everyone knows that the AFL-CIO has spent tens of millions of dollars and thousands of hours trying to get Walmart’s hourly employees to join the union (some union, any union).  Their organizing drive was smart, well-conceived, and timely.  Seemi...
When Labor Supports the Enemy
ARI PAUL
Who is to blame for organized labor’s descent in political irrelevancy? Ronald Reagan? The Koch brothers? Good answers, but maybe we need to look at labor leaders themselves. Consider the case of this year’s mayor’s race in New York City, one of the last bast...
Domestic Fair Trade
RONNIE CUMMINS and DAVE MURPHY
“The union is like having herpes. It doesn’t kill you, but it’s unpleasant and inconvenient, and it stops a lot of people from becoming your lover.” John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market Whole Foods Market (WFM) ...
Obama Silent on Labor
BRETT WARNKE
Women.  Gays.  African-Americans.  All are groups whose historical and contemporary injustices have mobilized America’s liberal base.  President Obama offered acknowledgement in his second inaugural and even a few historical allusions, mentioning “Seneca Falls, Se...
The Real Reason for the Decline of American Labor Unions
KRIS WARNER
Earlier this week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its annual summary of unionization in the U.S. It reports that in 2012, the union-membership rate of wage and salary workers was 11.3 percent, compared with 11.8 percent in 2011. The trend has been downward for so...
How To Defend the Public Sector
ANN ROBERTSON and BILL LEUMER
The attacks on the public domain, particularly public education, social services, and the public sector unions that are linked to these services, are coming in rapid-fire succession, sometimes in an overwhelming barrage where the victims have little time to comprehend wha...
What Would a Country Without Labor Unions Look Like?
DAVID MACARAY
What would a country without unions look like?  Before answering, we should clarify labor’s role, both historically and presently.  The purpose of a labor union is and always has been  to raise the standard of living for working people.  Simple as that.  And by “...
The Crisis for American Labor
ROB URIE
American labor is in crisis. This is no news to people who have been paying attention—the passage of Michigan’s ‘right to work’ bill last week makes it the ...
Losing Michigan
DAVID MACARAY
When you examine the history of organized labor—the birth, growth, trajectory—you have to be shocked and mortified by what just happened to the great state of Michigan.  They went from being one of the strongest, most celebrated union bastions in the country (the UAW...
Who’s to Blame for Michigan’s Right-to-Work Debacle?
JANE SLAUGHTER
Union protesters in front of the Michigan Capitol today knocked down an enormous tent erected by Americans for Prosperity, the Koch-brothers-funded group that helped bring right to work to the state. State troopers arriving on horseback were helpless, br...
Krugman Discovers Marx…and Misses the Point
ANN ROBERTSON and BILL LEUMER
In his recent New York Times op-ed piece, Princeton professor and regular columni...
What the Longshore Union Strike Was All About
DAVID MACARAY
When the story first broke, when those 800 members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 63 Office Clerical Unit walked off their jobs and effectively shut down the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, it was treated by the media as your stereoty...
The Man Who Helped Liberate Baseball
FRANK JOYCE
I long ago rejected the “great man” theory of history.  The people we elevate to heroic status get there mostly because they were in the right place at the right time.  When the planets align just so,  history-making moments arrive: an iconic event like th...
Celebrity Worship Is a Mixed Bag
DAVID MACARAY
It’s such a disappointment when a writer or entertainer we like and admire says or does something that not only disappoints or confuses us, but offends us. His or her personal philosophy shouldn’t enter into it, but it does. Intellectually, we know we shouldn’t mix ...
Was Obama’s Win Really a Victory for Unions?
BRIAN TIERNEY
After suffering almost two years of ramped up union-busting, the labor movement came out swinging in the recent elections. It swung its hardest in swing states like Ohio , delivering the 2012 presidential election to President Obama and propelling other labor-endorsed ca...
The State of the Unions
MICHAEL D. YATES
The AFL-CIO and most member unions went all-out for Obama, doing their usual get-out-the-vote phone banking, canvassing, and radio advertising. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) put 100,000 volunteers in the field the last few days of the campaign. Labor’...