Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Friday, June 25, 2010
Monday, June 21, 2010
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Thursday, June 17, 2010
This is a hot button issue among rank-and-file union members from nearly ever mainstream labor organization in the United States. It matters little whether the union is public or private sector, trade union or white collar. Ask your random dues paying member if the International Office staff understands what they are going through on a day to day basis, and the answer is almost always no. This presents a serious problem for a labor community in the Unites States that is already suffering from declining membership and growing apathy within their ranks.
What is the cause of this dilemma?
I believe there are two main factors that have led to the disconnect between the international and the local levels of the labor movement:
- Over the last decade or two, labor unions have all but abandoned the practice of identifying potential leaders from their rank-and-file members and then training them into leaders at the international level. It has become far too common for labor organizations to recruit kids right out of college to become staff members at the national office. Hiring them as organizers is even more common. The problem with this is that your average Yalie has no clue what it's like to work in a steel factory, or to be a housekeeper at a hotel. Chances are, the closest they have ever come to real work is the federal work-study program. I don't mean to disparage education. It is very valuable and important, but it is not more important than real life experience. Members of the working class resent some ivy league kid who's never had his hands dirty insinuating that he feels their pain.
- Labor unions have wasted an obscene amount of money on Political Action Committees that frankly have not yielded results even remotely close to being on par with what has been spent. The fact that has somehow managed to escape the leaders of the labor movement is that the biggest successes that were achieved were not the result of political action funds. They were the result of forcing our will on management(sit-down strikes ring a bell?).
How do we fix the problem?
We need to step up our efforts to recognize rank-and-file members who, given the necessary training, could be effective leaders. I don't think we need to stop hiring recent graduates, but there has to be a healthy balance.
The time for unions to take the fight to the streets is long past due. We need to build another public movement to mobilize our members in real actions that produce real results. In case you were wondering, I'm not talking about canvassing and labor walks here. What I'm talking about is taking large groups of workers to town halls and the halls of congressional office buildings, and corporate offices. We don't need several million dollars to win this fight.
We just have to find the heart to win again.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Stop Bullshitting Them.
Talk to young workers straight and stop spoon-feeding them and only trotting them out for canvassing and PR events.
Here's our message to the Labor Movement:
We're ready to fight.
We want to fight.
Either fight with us, or we'll be fighting you.
Friday, June 11, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Monday, June 7, 2010
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Friday, June 4, 2010
This is a few weeks old, but I feel that this is still important enough to post. When I was in NYC attending the AFL-CIO Organizing Institute, we did an event with an IAM Lodge that is currently organizing Delta employees, and I was struck by their commitment to the rights of their members. The National Mediation Board(NMB) has ruled to change the archaic election laws in the National Railway Act.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Hotel employees at 32 Toronto-area hotels have voted to authorize a strike prior to the upcoming G20 Summit. Unite Here! Local 75 represents the approximately 5,500 affected workers. Read the full press release here:
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Over 300 workers represented by Local 791, UFCW, have been on strike from the SuperValu owned Shaw Distribution Center in Methuen, MA since March 7. They began marching from Methuen on May 23rd, and arrived in Boston to rally in front of the Statehouse on May 27th, before finishing the March at a local Shaw's Market.