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Peter Winkels, a Hormel Strike Leader, 1948-2017

Tue, 05/09/2017 - 16:23

Peter Winkels, the former business agent for Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local P-9—which gained worldwide fame for its 1980s strike against the highly profitable Hormel Co.—died on April 23. Winkels, who had suffered from diabetes and other illnesses, was 69.

How Black Lives Matter Came to Philadelphia’s Schools

Mon, 05/08/2017 - 12:13

When teachers in Seattle planned a Black Lives Matter action in response to an incident of violent racism last October, our caucus of teachers in Philadelphia got inspired.

Seattle’s John Muir Elementary had received bomb threats after planning a motivational event where elementary students on their way into school would be greeted by hundreds of African American men. After the threats, the union’s representative assembly voted to support the event, and thousands of educators wore Black Lives Matter T-shirts to support their students of color.

Beyond $15: New Book Shows Why Community Allies Are Crucial

Fri, 05/05/2017 - 12:04

Editors’ note: The nation’s first successful fight for a $15 minimum wage ordinance was won in the small city of SeaTac, Washington, in 2013. A new book by one of the campaign’s leaders, Jonathan Rosenblum, tells how they did it.

Philadelphia Union Wins Equal Pay for Immigrant Nurses

Fri, 05/05/2017 - 10:03
Philadelphia Union Wins Equal Pay for Immigrant Nurses May 05, 2017 / Samantha Winslow<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

It started when a few nurses at Temple University Hospital told stewards that they weren’t being paid for their experience.

One of the first to speak up was Jessy Palathinkal, who had become a nurse in India in 1990. She got her U.S. nursing license when she moved here in 1995. But when she started working at Temple, her placement on the pay scale was as though those five years of nursing never happened.

She asked why. Human Resources told her the hospital didn’t count years of experience in foreign countries.

Union Meeting Exercise: The 'Right to Work' Stress Test

Wed, 05/03/2017 - 09:17
Union Meeting Exercise: The 'Right to Work' Stress Test May 03, 2017 / Labor Notes Staff<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?> */ /*-->*/

As the labor movement stares down the threat of national “right-to-work” legislation, we’ve been getting more requests for resources to help union activists get ready. To bring our new Labor Notes “Preparing for Right to Work” workshop to your local, email training[at]labornotes[dot]org. Meanwhile, here is a short exercise you can try in your next union meeting.

Toilets Go Mobile at AT&T Mobility

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 10:52
Toilets Go Mobile at AT&T Mobility April 27, 2017 / Dan DiMaggio<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

Ever wanted to graffiti your boss a message in the toilet stall? AT&T Mobility workers put their own twist on that idea. They’re bringing the bathroom to the boss—carrying toilet seats to retail stores and call centers to demand that the company stop flushing their sales commissions and incentive pay down the toilet.

The Union Goes Live:

Phone Workers Learn Their Rights

In the Age of Trump, Can Labor Unite?

Wed, 04/26/2017 - 12:01

“In the Age of Trump, Can Labor Unite?” asks Labor Notes Editor Alexandra Bradbury in her May 2017 cover story for In These Times magazine. Here’s how it begins:

“You know you’re getting the short end of the stick as a worker, but you don’t really know why,” says Joe Tarulli, a Staten Island Verizon tech who’s put in 17 years with the company. “They make it seem like these rich people are just lucky they got the right chances, and these poor old working folks, nothing ever goes right for them. No! These corporations are doing it on purpose.”

Ramping Up for May Day around the Country

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 13:28
Ramping Up for May Day around the Country April 24, 2017 / Fernando Garcia and Sonia Singh<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

We've written about May Day 2017 plans shaping up in L.A. and Seattle, in the Twin Cities, and nationally. Here's what's cooking in a few other places:

Taking It to the Streets in the Twin Cities on May Day

Thu, 04/20/2017 - 12:20
Taking It to the Streets in the Twin Cities on May Day April 20, 2017 / Steve Payne<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

On May Day in the Twin Cities, janitors, bakers, university workers, teachers, and bank workers will team up with students, renters, and immigrant rights groups to confront the powerful corporations that control Minnesota’s economy.

Cartoon: May Day Strikes

Thu, 04/20/2017 - 00:00

Harvesting Union Rights in the Field

Mon, 04/17/2017 - 15:28
Harvesting Union Rights in the Field April 17, 2017 / Sonia Singh<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

Eli Porras Carmona had been coming to work planting and harvesting sweet potatoes in North Carolina for eight years when he got a call from Mexico. His wife needed emergency surgery and he had to return home.

Carmona works under the H-2A program, where thousands of guestworkers are granted temporary permits to work on farms in the U.S. for up to 10 months per year.

Many return year after year—and since guestworkers are tied to one employer, it’s risky to speak out on the job. The employer can easily send you home, or not call you back the next season.

Health Care Workers Bring Sanctuary Movement into the Union

Thu, 04/13/2017 - 18:53
Health Care Workers Bring Sanctuary Movement into the Union April 13, 2017 / Porfirio Quintano<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

I had no money and spoke no English when I illegally crossed the border into California 23 years ago, but I worked hard and fought for the right to stay here.

Had I made that harrowing journey this year, I’m sure I’d be deported right back into the crosshairs of the Honduran government’s death squads that had targeted me and many other community organizers.

Instead I quickly won a grant of political asylum—and later received full American citizenship.

El conflicto de los docentes argentinos (que decide la suerte del resto de los trabajadores)

Thu, 04/13/2017 - 17:55

Durante cinco semanas, los maestros de Argentina han estado en huelga casi continuamente, usando los días que en que concurren a las escuelas para explicar a los estudiantes y a los padres las razones de su conflicto con el gobierno nacional.Hoy se unen al resto de los trabajadores del país en la primera huelga general del presidente Mauricio Macri. Los huelguistas están protestando por la ola de reformas pro-corporativas incluyendo recortes de subsidios que han llevado a aumentos masivos en las facturas de servicios públicos, exacerbando la creciente tasa de pobreza del país.

Argentina's Teachers Strike, with Fate of Country's Workers in Balance

Thu, 04/06/2017 - 12:48

For five weeks teachers in Argentina have been on strike almost continuously, using the days they do go to school to explain to students and parents the reasons for their conflict with the national government. Today, they’re joined by the rest of the country’s workers, in the first general strike under President Mauricio Macri. Strikers are protesting a wave of pro-corporate reforms including subsidy cuts that have led to massive increases in utility bills, exacerbating the country’s growing poverty rate.

Building Trades Activists Stand Up to Trump

Wed, 04/05/2017 - 14:33

When they heard President Donald Trump would address the Building Trades national legislative conference, activists from Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 569 knew they had to do something.

“We couldn’t let him come and speak to us and just sit there,” said William Stedham, a “workaday Joe” and executive board member of the San Diego-based local. “If we hadn’t, everyone would think that the Building Trades was on board with him 100 percent, and we’re not.”

Building an Army to Fight Runaway Inequality

Tue, 04/04/2017 - 10:30
Building an Army to Fight Runaway Inequality April 04, 2017 / Dan DiMaggio<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

How can unions help create a social movement to take on Wall Street’s economic and political dominance?

Interview: Organizing to Learn, Learning to Organize

Mon, 04/03/2017 - 10:29
Interview: Organizing to Learn, Learning to Organize April 03, 2017 / Chris Brooks<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

If you’ve ever attended a Labor Notes Conference or Troublemakers School or picked up one of our books, you know that everything we do draws on the organizing know-how and creativity of rank-and-file workers.

This style of education is known around the world as “popular education.” In the U.S., it was pioneered at a school tucked away in the hazy Appalachian mountains of East Tennessee.

Special Handout: Organized People Have Power

Fri, 03/31/2017 - 19:00
Special Handout: Organized People Have Power March 31, 2017 / Labor Notes Staff<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

Trump Madness

Fri, 03/31/2017 - 15:33

Let's Make This a May Day to Remember

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 18:50

The remarkable “Day without Immigrants,” when tens of thousands walked out February 16, sprang from the grass roots with little coordination by unions or worker centers. But to their credit, many groups are now looking to build on that momentum with strikes and protests May 1.

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