If we want a stronger public sector labor movement that engages in militant and broad-based social action on behalf of both its members and the people they serve, then a focus on engaging the community is a must. Joe Burns’ book provides some guidance on how we can do that in a way that remains rooted in the values of justice and equality in the workplace that the labor movement has stood for since those textile workers in Lowell, MA walked off the job in the early 19th century. These are values that my father, who came up as a nuclear marine machinist at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, instilled in me as a young boy, and that my grandmother, a veteran of the Civil Rights Movement, instilled in him all the same.
|By: Douglas Williams Sunday July 20, 2014 1:59 pm|
|By: Michelle Chen Sunday January 5, 2014 1:00 pm|
South Korea may best be known for slick electronics and saccharine pop tunes, but less of that stereotypical effervescence was present in Seoul in December. Instead, the streets were filled with throngs of angry union workers, facing down riot police in a show of defiance against a government plan that they say would lead to layoffs and privatization.
|By: Lisa Derrick Thursday November 7, 2013 8:35 am|
On November 5, 2013 tens of thousands of protestors marched in 477 locations around the globe. There were masks, chants, goofy signs, sincere view points, arrests, beatings, police opening up with non-lethal projectiles on protestors, flag burnings. There was lots of print/online coverage, but where were CNN, MSNBC and Fox News? And why weren’t they giving this global event any play?
|By: David Dayen Monday November 26, 2012 6:53 am|
Walmart workers staged their historic strike on Black Friday. Management tried to downplay it, and given how massive Walmart is, the relative strength of the strike was small in real terms compared to the company’s 1.4 million workers. But it would be silly to just leave it at that without the context of the company witnessing no labor strikes in its 50-year history. The strikes were an expression of human dignity from a segment of their labor force that feels discriminated, retaliated, unappreciated and downtrodden.
|By: David Dayen Tuesday November 20, 2012 11:00 am|
Several sympathizers, seeing a point of weakness for Walmart, have jumped aboard with help in promoting the Black Friday protests. The United Auto Workers, one of the more insular unions as far as activity outside their specific area of interest is concerned, just went out to their members supporting the strikers and encouraging attendance
|By: David Dayen Sunday November 18, 2012 4:00 pm|
Walmart, trying to change the subject in advance of protests and strikes at the outset of the holiday shopping season, has filed an unfair labor practice charge against the United Food and Commercial Workers union, arguing that UFCW is illegally attempting to disrupt its business.
|By: David Dayen Thursday October 11, 2012 4:32 pm|
Low-wage retail jobs have been the source of the labor “recovery,” such as it is. And our system gives so much leverage to giant corporations like Walmart that it becomes very difficult for workers to collectively use their power for better pay and working conditions. There’s no question that a better labor market would help their cause markedly, giving them the flexibility to quit jobs offering low pay with the knowledge that a better one lurks just up the street.
But Walmart employs 1% of the total US workforce (that’s not a typo). This massive size enables them to set a wage, hour, benefit and working condition standard in a way that no other employer can. Furthermore, as stories about a “new normal” for unemployment continue to pop up, as theories about structural unemployment predominate, the idea that we will see a labor market favorable to workers in the near future is remote. This is the world these workers live in right now. And they need to use all their tools to force a better situation for themselves.
|By: David Dayen Wednesday October 10, 2012 1:35 pm|
The wildcat strikes by non-union Walmart associates are approaching a critical mass. The first-ever strikes have now spread to 12 cities across the country – including Chicago, Dallas, Miami, Orlando, Seattle, and various locations in California – with workers joined by labor and community activists. Protests have been held in front of 200 Walmart stores in the US. Another 100 workers traveled to corporate HQ in Bentonville, Arkansas, to protest the retaliatory measures taken against workers who advocate for higher pay and better working conditions.
Now, OUR Walmart, the organization putting together the strikes and protests, have put out a threat for planned actions around the most important retail day of the year, Black Friday.
|By: David Dayen Tuesday October 9, 2012 3:00 pm|
For the second time in a week, workers at Walmart stores, this time in five states, have walked out on the job. While Walmart does not allow unions and the strikes are relatively time-limited, this surge of worker activism at the nation’s largest employer is one of the biggest stories in US labor relations.
|By: David Dayen Thursday October 4, 2012 11:10 am|
Walmart warehouse operators and workers have gone on strike at various locations around America, picketing the most notorious and largest anti-union employer in the country over poor working conditions and persistent retaliation for bringing up areas of needed improvement.
The strikes started at distribution centers and warehouse sites, in protest of unsafe working conditions and low pay. A solidarity protest this week at Elwood, Illinois featured mass arrests of sympathizers with the striking workers.