Labor Briefing: March 2017

By BILL ONASCH A Clean Win For Janitors—It took six years of strikes and demonstrations, but the tenacity of 600 Twin Cities janitors, nearly all people of color, many of them immigrants, has secured a first union contract. It was a tripartite struggle. These members of SEIU Local 26 actually clean Big Box retail stores…

Labor Briefing: February 2017

By BILL ONASCH Seeing the Light In Baltimore—At the beginning of the Trump era, an important organizing victory has taken place. After a vigorous campaign that included home visits, phone banking, and twice a day plant gate rallies and leaflet distributions, an NLRB election certified the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers to represent more than…

Labor Briefing: January 2017

By BILL ONASCH Good News, Bad News From SEIU—In recent years, this paper has often had good news to report about the two-million member Service Employees International Union. They have played an exemplary role in championing long neglected low-wage workers. The Fight for 15 Dollars and a Union has become the most important and inspiring…

Labor Briefing: December 2016

By BILL ONASCH The Other Election—There was never any doubt that the working class would lose the election of a new POTUS. That one was a contest between lesser or maximum evils. Heads they win, tails we lose. But while that face-off dominated the press and airwaves ad nauseam, little attention was given to the…

Fight For 15: ‘We’re Not Backing Down’

By ANN MONTAGUE Fight For 15 National Organizing Director Kendall Fells, while helping arrested protesters get out of jail in New York, stated, “We have a tone change. The change is, ‘We’re not going to back down’ and ‘We’re not going to be bullied.’” He was surrounded by signs and t-shirts that gave the same…

Standing Rock: Native American land under siege

By MARTY GOODMAN Mni wiconi (water is life)! The siege at Standing Rock, North Dakota, continues the 500-year rape of Native American land, resources, and culture. Driven by a capitalist system in crisis, oil profiteers have thrown overboard any concern over human rights or disastrous climate change. Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and Energy Transfer Partners…

Trades versus ‘bottom feeders’

By BILL ONASCH Along with multiple other crucial issues at stake in the struggle at Standing Rock Reservation is a growing polarization over climate and environmental issues in organized labor. Some important national unions have condemned the brutality against peaceful protesters and also oppose the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). These include the…

Chicago teachers cancel strike and accept contract

By MARK UGOLINI — CHICAGO, Nov. 3 — On Nov. 1 the nearly 25,000-member Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) announced the results of a ratification vote on a new contract with Chicago’s Board of Education and Democratic Party mayor Rahm Emanuel. With all but 60 schools reporting, 72 percent of voting members accepted the new contract,…

 Labor Briefing

By BILL ONASCH Striking Nurses Vote On New Offer—At our deadline, more than 4000 RN members of the Minnesota Nurses Association were preparing to vote on a new contract offer from Allina Health Care in the Twin Cities area. After an earlier “warning strike,” the nurses began an open-ended walkout on Labor Day. They have…

Taking Sides at Standing Rock

By BILL ONASCH Socialist Action’s vice-presidential candidate Karen Schraufnagel has filed extensive reports to this paper about the confrontations last month in remote Standing Rock, North Dakota. Efforts aiming to halt construction of a pipeline from the Bakken fracking fields to refineries in Illinois drew world attention to several important issues concerning Indigenous People’s rights,…

Chicago Teachers Union sets Oct. 11 strike date

By MARK UGOLINI — CHICAGO — On Sept. 28, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) House of Delegates announced plans to strike on Oct. 11. Negotiations with Chicago Public Schools on a new contract have made little progress since they began over 22 months ago. The union has been without a contract since June 30, 2015.…

Trade Union Report to the Socialist Action Convention

By BILL ONASCH  Below are major portions of the trade-union report that Bill Onasch presented to the Socialist Action National Convention on Aug. 20 in Kansas City, Mo. We’re gathered here in the hometown—or at least home metropolitan area—of James P. Cannon. It’s common to personify important historical trends. Without a trace of hero worship,…

Labor Briefing

By BILL ONASCH Trump Close to White House—The highest profile current real estate project of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee is the conversion of the historic Washington, D.C., Old Post Office, within sight of the president’s residence, into a luxury hotel. Trump does not own the new Trump International Hotel—he is leasing the property from…

Honeywell workers locked out

By MARK UGOLINI — CHICAGO — In South Bend, Ind., on June 30 over 200 members of UAW Local 9, family members, and supporters protested outside the main gate of Honeywell’s aerospace plant to demand the company immediately end its imposed lock-out and other union-busting activities. The protest included supporters from Service Employees International Union…

Chicago teachers union considers strike

By MARK UGOLINI Although a 30-day “cooling-off period” is now expired, and a teachers strike is allowed per state law, the May 4 Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) House of Delegates meeting did not set a strike date. The delegates discussed a new aspect of their campaign to press Chicago’s City Council and Mayor to provide…

Verizon gets a shock

By BILL ONASCH Strikes are the most basic and common expressions of clashes between workers and employers. Cartoonists often illustrate these fights as heavyweight boxers slugging it out in the ring. But within this metaphor there are few knockouts. Winners and losers are usually determined on points for the best punches and most adept footwork.…