Labor Briefing for June 2017

By BILL ONASCH Off the Job Training—Of the 700,000 members of the Communications Workers of America, 150,000 work for AT&T—making them second only to UPS as the biggest unionized private sector employer in the U.S. But since deregulation “broke up” the virtual telephone monopoly of Ma Bell in the 1980s, a single national contract has…

Fight for 15 confronts McDonald’s stockholders meeting

By ANN MONTAGUE This is the fifth year that Fight For 15 made the trek to Chicago and then to suburban Oak Brook, Ill., where the annual McDonald’s shareholders meeting was taking place. The first day, May 22, started with showcasing the leading role of women of color. A panel of activists expressed their message…

Labor Briefing for May 2017

By BILL ONASCH Movers Become Shakers In D.C.—The motto of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689 is We Move This City. Their 9000 members keep the second biggest (in mileage) subway system in the USA running—as best they can with the Metro’s austerity budget—in addition to dozens of usually standing-room-only bus lines and paratransit services. Their contract…

NYC immigrants strike against union busting

By MARTY GOODMAN — NEW YORK — B&H Photo, the nation’s largest non-chain photo store, announced during contract negotiations plans to shut down two warehouses in Brooklyn and move facilities 75 miles away to Florence, N.J., by the end of the year. For 330 immigrant B&H warehouse workers who belong to the United Steel Workers…

Chicago workers take to the streets on May Day

By MARK UGOLINI — CHICAGO — Nearly 10,000 workers, immigration rights activists, and supporters took to the streets on May Day to demand legalization of undocumented workers; an end to terrorizing immigrant communities with raids on homes and workplaces; and an end to criminalization, mass incarceration, and deportations. (See a full list of demands at…

Women activists came together on May Day

By ANN MONTAGUE The organizers of the International Women’s Day Strikes issued a comprehensive statement encouraging women to support the May Day actions this year. It was entitled, “No Ban, No Wall, No ICE,” and said in part, “We come together with the understanding that our exploitation as waged and unwaged workers have a common…

May Day marches: A show of unity

By MICHAEL SCHREIBER Millions of people around the world took part in demonstrations on May Day. Actions included a general strike and mass march, backed by the major unions, to protest government austerity measures in Puerto Rico. This followed a huge general strike in Brazil two days earlier. The May 1 international day of working-class…

Help defend Gaël Quirante!

Sign the Petition! Stop the relentless repression against French postal worker and union representative Gaël Quirante! Gaël, departmental secretary of SUD Postal Activities in the Hauts-de-Seine region of France (more commonly known by its post code 92), faces multiple legal and disciplinary charges, which could result in dismissal from work. In the span of his…

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,…