Plenty of union officers are justifiably worried about how many members will quit their unions if Congress or the Supreme Court imposes “right to work” conditions on the whole country.
Number one on the new administration’s anti-union to-do list is “right to work”—or as many prefer to call it, “no rights at work” or “right to work for less.” But whatever you call it, more of us will be faced with new laws that codify freeloading, making it optional to pay for union representation.
S - Election night 2016 was bittersweet for me. I spent most of the day with Oregon legislative candidate Teresa Alonso Leon, a Service Employees (SEIU) member.
Alonso Leon worked for the state as a high school equivalency and GED administrator, helping students find their paths to careers, college, and job skills training programs. I had helped to recruit and train her through the Oregon Labor Candidate School, which offers union members the training and support to run for public office.
In solidarity with a massive protest that erupted at New York’s JFK Airport January 28, the city’s Taxi Workers Alliance organized a one-hour strike at the international terminal.
New Yorkers flocked to protest after President Donald Trump’s Executive Order banned legal immigration from seven predominately Muslim countries and refugees from anywhere.
Hundreds of immigrants were detained that day by border agents upon arrival at international airports across the U.S., including dozens at JFK.
Utility locators in New York City and Long Island are fighting for a first contract with United States Infrastructure Corporation. Members say the company has been stonewalling at the bargaining table, aiming to frustrate them into decertifying the union.
Before utility companies can perform underground excavations, laws require that lines be marked aboveground. Locators induce a signal from underground lines, then spray paint the ground to guide utility workers when they dig.
It’s said that those who go through a strike never forget it. Peter Shapiro took part in a mid-1980s cannery strike as a community supporter, and never forgot it. Thirty years later, retired from a career in the U.S. Postal Service, he wrote a book about that remarkable strike—a rare union victory during an era of union-busting.
When President Donald Trump nominated billionaire Betsy DeVos for Education Secretary, teachers in her home state of Michigan were outraged—again.
In her confirmation hearing, DeVos’s responses to senators’ questions may have made her look uninformed and unprepared. She said schools need guns to protect students from grizzly bears; she didn’t know federal disability laws apply to schools; she couldn’t explain basic education policy; she refused to answer whether charter schools and traditional public schools should be judged on the same accountability measures.
Printing plant workers in Buenos Aires showed up for their 6 a.m. shift as usual last Monday, only to find locked doors, police, and private security blocking their way. Grupo Clarín, the biggest media group in Argentina, had locked them out. The 380 workers were fired, with management planning to replace well-paid union workers with cheaper, non-union replacements.
This morning teachers kicked off the Trump inauguration protests with a day of actions in 200 school districts around the country.
Their top issues include fighting for school funding, defending immigrant students, and opposing Trump’s nomination of billionaire Republican donor and lobbyist Betsy DeVos for education secretary.
With the election of Donald Trump as president and Republican majorities in both the House and Senate, we are entering a period of existential crisis for unions and our organized power. The coming months and years are going to call for a spirit of maximum solidarity.
Adapted from remarks by Rand Wilson on January 16 at the Capital District Area Labor Federation's 20th Annual MLK Labor Celebration in Albany, New York. In the nearby town of Waterford, 700 workers are on strike at Momentive Performance Materials, while in Green Island, dozens have been locked out at a Honeywell aerospace plant for more than nine months.
How much stronger would our unions be if they didn’t rely so heavily on staffers with little or no experience in their industries? What if more organizing was done by the members themselves?
“A lot of people feel that the union is just money coming out of their check,” said Doretta Bowman, a food service worker at a high school in New Haven. “I don’t feel that way. The union is me and my co-workers that I work with every day. We are going to fix problems as they arise.”
Election night 2016 was bittersweet for me. I spent most of the day with Oregon legislative candidate Teresa Alonso Leon, a Service Employees (SEIU) member.
Alonso Leon works for the state as a GED manager, helping students find their paths to careers, college, and job skills training programs. I had helped to recruit and train her through the Oregon Labor Candidate School, which offers union members the training and support to run for public office.
Last week auto workers from Chicago and Detroit made a pilgrimage to the birthplace of the sit-down strike to lend solidarity to workers who’ve been locked out for eight months and counting.
Honeywell locked out 340 aerospace workers with Auto Workers (UAW) Local 9 in South Bend, Indiana, on May 9 after they voted 270-30 to reject the company’s offer. Another 40 Honeywell workers with Local 1508 at in Green Island, New York, are also locked out.
At its monthly meeting this weekend, United Auto Workers Local 42 will be informing Volkswagen workers about their right to strike and access to strike benefits.
The meeting in Chattanooga, Tennessee, is the result of a motion brought by a worker frustrated at Volkswagen’s continued refusal to bargain with the skilled-trades unit.