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Updated: 2 hours 53 min ago

Review: No Shortcuts: Organizing for Power in the New Gilded Age

7 hours 37 min ago

Jane McAlevey’s No Shortcuts is an exciting book. It tells the stories of important struggles and it tackles the big questions facing the labor movement. McAlevey is a former staffer, organizer, and national leader of the Service Employees (SEIU) on the losing side of a power struggle, then an academic and now a consultant.

Canada GM Workers Strike, but Can’t Get Guarantee on Jobs

Wed, 10/18/2017 - 13:44
Canada GM Workers Strike, but Can’t Get Guarantee on Jobs October 18, 2017 / Gerard DiTrolio and Doug Nesbitt<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

As negotiators from Canada, the U.S., and Mexico carry out secretive talks aimed at fixing NAFTA, a strike at an Ontario auto plant shows how difficult it can be to challenge the power amassed by corporations thanks to the trade deal.

The 2,800 members of Unifor Local 88 walked off the job September 17 at the CAMI assembly plant in Ingersoll seeking contract language to secure their jobs.

No Casting Couch for Low-Wage Women, But Lots of Sexual Harassment

Fri, 10/13/2017 - 15:18
No Casting Couch for Low-Wage Women, But Lots of Sexual Harassment October 13, 2017 / Jane Slaughter<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

Sexual harassment doesn't happen just to glamorous women in glamorous industries. Since sexual harassment is about power, not sex, it’s not surprising that low-wage women in lousy jobs get a lot of it.

Labor's Stake in the Fight for Veterans' Health Care

Thu, 10/12/2017 - 11:20
Labor's Stake in the Fight for Veterans' Health Care October 12, 2017 / Suzanne Gordon and Ian Hoffmann<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

In January President Trump delivered on his promise to shrink the federal government: he announced a hiring freeze, despite thousands of federal job vacancies.

As a candidate, Trump campaigned as a great friend of veterans. He pledged to make big improvements in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), the arm of the Veterans Administration (VA) that operates the largest health care system in the country.

But Trump’s hiring freeze deepened an already existing staffing crisis at VHA hospitals and clinics throughout the U.S., where there are 49,000 vacant positions.

New York Teamsters Block Union-Busting Move

Tue, 10/10/2017 - 09:25

New York City-area movers packed up the inflatable rats—all three of them—and declared victory in late August. For two months, while members of Teamsters Local 814 were locked out of their jobs, they had mobilized in the streets to protest a local company’s decision to drop its unionized movers and warehouse workers.

Public Sector Right to Work: Gateway to Combating All Unions

Fri, 10/06/2017 - 10:50

Corporations are making the most headway on their anti-worker agenda by buying state legislatures, argues Gordon Lafer in his new book, The One Percent Solution: How Corporations Are Remaking America One State at a Time.

An excerpt from Chapter Two of the book, “Deunionizing the Private Sector,” is provided below. For more, see the full interview with Lafer on the Labor Notes website.

The Billionaire Battle Plan

Fri, 10/06/2017 - 10:16
The Billionaire Battle Plan October 06, 2017 / Gordon Lafer<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

It's national politics that get the headlines, but corporations are making the most headway on their anti-worker agenda by buying state legislatures. So argues Gordon Lafer in his new book, The One Percent Solution: How Corporations Are Remaking America One State at a Time.

You may think you know how pervasive corporate money is in politics, but Lafer, a labor educator at the University of Oregon, reveals a nationally coordinated, corporate-funded strategy that's gained steam since 2010.

Building Power before Janus–And After: Lessons from CUNY

Tue, 10/03/2017 - 13:01

As recently as 2014, just 22 percent of my co-workers were members of our chapter in our big wall-to-wall union. The rest—some 1,242 employees—paid the “agency fee,” which for us is the same as membership dues. The chapter had been defunct for several years. Few bothered to explain to new employees why it mattered to join and what power might come from engagement.

Review: The Big Rig: Trucking and the Decline of the American Dream

Mon, 10/02/2017 - 10:41

Truck drivers seem to have re-entered the public consciousness in 2017—but today our understanding of the occupation is far from the freewheeling “cowboy of the highway” image of the 1970s. It’s also no longer synonymous with “Teamster” or even seen as a desirable job.

Bring the Union Meeting to the Members

Thu, 09/28/2017 - 09:08
Bring the Union Meeting to the Members September 28, 2017 / Joe Fahey<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

How many members attend your union meetings? And how do you feel about that?

Whether it’s just a handful or a hundred, no activist is ever satisfied.

But you can drop a whole load of frustration if you stop expecting a majority of members to travel to the union hall for a two-hour monthly meeting. Thinking about members and meetings in a different way can allow you to bring shorter union meetings to more and more members—at the workplace.

From Indonesia to Honduras: How Anti-Sweatshop Activists and Unions Made Severance Pay Mandatory

Wed, 09/27/2017 - 13:33

In August last year Iris Montoya came to work at the Rio Garment factory in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, where she had worked as a sewing machine operator for 11 years. At 11 a.m., the factory lights shut off and management escorted the workers outside, locking the doors behind them.

Management announced that the factory was shutting down operations that very day. Panic broke out. Workers were told to go home, barred from retrieving their belongings, and left without their last week’s pay.

Big Business, Political Allies Look to Turn Hurricane Crises to Their Advantage

Mon, 09/25/2017 - 17:03

You have to hand it to Big Business and their minions: in every storm cloud they find a silver lining.

The hazards faced by residents of Texas and Florida (and now Puerto Rico) come not just from the flooding but from business interests eager to take advantage of the crisis to toss out the rules—“it’s an emergency”—and squeeze workers.

What We're Reading

Fri, 09/22/2017 - 10:12

Homegoing, a novel by Yaa Gyasi, follows 300 years of history through the stories of the descendants of two sisters torn apart by the African slave trade. One sister stays in Ghana and one is brought to the U.S. One memorable character begins working in a coal mine as a prisoner, in conditions not too different from slavery. When he is released he keeps working alongside white workers in the mines of Pratt City, Alabama, and gets involved in the union during a strike over wages and safety. He eventually becomes a union leader. The heartbreaking stories follow U.S.

How 1,000 Nurses in Northern Michigan Went Union

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 09:19
How 1,000 Nurses in Northern Michigan Went Union September 20, 2017 / James Walker<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

Nurses in rural northern Michigan made history August 9-10 when we won labor’s biggest organizing victory since “right to work” took effect in the state in 2013. By a vote of 489–439, more than 1,000 RNs at Traverse City’s Munson Medical Center, the area’s largest employer, will be represented by the Michigan Nurses Association.

310,567 Signatures Block 'Right to Work' in Missouri

Mon, 09/18/2017 - 09:55
310,567 Signatures Block 'Right to Work' in Missouri September 18, 2017 / Judy Ancel<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

The results astounded everyone who thought they knew the Missouri labor movement: more than 300,000 signatures to repeal “right to work.”

Thousands of union members and allies marched through the streets of the state capital August 18 to deliver 163 boxes of petitions signed by 310,567 Missourians. The signers called for a referendum to repeal the right-to-work law passed by the legislature earlier this year.

Harvard Hopes Trump Will Help It Undermine Unions

Thu, 09/14/2017 - 10:34

The richest university in the world, with an endowment of $36 billion, is asking the National Labor Relations Board to change how union elections are run. Harvard University sees itself in the vanguard of resistance to the Trump administration. So why is the university now courting the support of Trump's appointees by challenging an obscure—but far-reaching—labor relations rule? In order to prevent a fair vote by its graduate student workforce on whether to unionize.

Unions and Medicare for All: An Idea Whose Time Has Come

Wed, 09/13/2017 - 11:04
Unions and Medicare for All: An Idea Whose Time Has Come September 13, 2017 / Mark Dudzic<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

Bernie Sanders is set to introduce a Medicare for All bill today in the Senate, backed by 15 co-sponsors. Jane Slaughter of Labor Notes talked with Mark Dudzic, coordinator of the Labor Campaign for Single Payer, about where things stand in the long fight for health care justice.

Labor Notes: After beating back repeal of the Affordable Care Act this summer, where is the movement to win Medicare for All?

Safe Bet: Your Employer Handbook Contains Illegal Rules

Tue, 09/12/2017 - 08:28
Safe Bet: Your Employer Handbook Contains Illegal Rules September 12, 2017 / Robert Schwartz<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

It sometimes looks like union and non-union employers are competing for the fattest book of employee rules. Handbooks frequently exceed 100 pages. Employees who fail to adhere to a standard—even one that is not explained—can be subject to discipline and possible discharge.

This makes it vital for unions to review National Labor Relations Board cases concerning company handbooks; the Board’s thinking on this topic is known as the Lutheran Heritage doctrine.

What We're Reading

Fri, 09/08/2017 - 14:02

We asked Labor Notes staffers and friends which labor books are on their nightstands these days. Here's a sample.

¡Viva los Troublemakers!

Wed, 09/06/2017 - 12:48

How do you say “troublemaker” in Spanish?

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