Teacher strikes: New beginning for labor?

By JEFF MACKLER North Carolina teachers capped off two months of unprecedented national teacher militancy as they rallied 20,000 strong at the state capitol on May 16. During their one-day “sick leave” strike, the teachers closed down 40 local school districts with one million students. As with the previous five statewide teacher strikes in 2018,…

Teachers’ class-struggle defiance inspires millions

By JEFF MACKLER It’s been a long while since anyone alive has seen working people successfully fight back against capitalist cruelty with winning class-struggle strategies and tactics. Today, teachers, and their allies among state workers and working-class families in West Virginia, Kentucky, Arizona, Oklahoma, and Colorado have set an inspiring example for the entire U.S.…

Walkouts by teachers spread across the United States

By MARK BRUNT When West Virginia teachers walked out over health insurance premiums, few people predicted that, after feeling betrayed by union bureaucrats, the rank and file teachers would rebel and turn the strike into a wildcat action that would substantially increase their gains. Fewer still anticipated that the walkout would spark coordinated labor actions…

Negotiations stall at UConn, graduate employees organize sit-in

By UCONN YOUTH FOR SOCIALIST ACTION  Since Oct. 19, 2017, University of Connecticut’s Graduate Employee Union-UAW Local 6950 has been in negotiations with the university administration for a second collective bargaining agreement. Under the leadership of university President Susan Herbst’s administration and the state appointed Board of Directors, the university has hired the union-busting law…

Virginia poultry workers under attack by Cargill

By HUGH STEPHENSON  While teachers in West Virginia were occupying the state capitol building and continued their wildcat strike for increased wages and better health care, a Cargill poultry processing plant in nearby Dayton, Va., pursued its campaign to deny the right of plant workers to organize a union. Cargill is an international food conglomerate…

Fast food workers strike in the South

By ANN MONTAGUE Activists with Fight For $15 renewed their struggle on Feb. 12 with rallies and strikes throughout the South in remembrance of the 50th anniversary of the Memphis, Tenn., sanitation worker’s strike. Fight For 15 teamed up with civil rights leader William Barber for a day of action in support of racial justice.…

Labor Briefing for March 2018: West Virginia teachers strike

By BILL ONASCH West Virginia “Wildcats”—Technically, public sector collective bargaining is illegal in West Virginia. But practically, governors have negotiated in the past with teachers—and school service employees including bus drivers, cafeteria, clerical, and maintenance workers—for salary and benefit packages passed by the legislature. While perhaps better than nothing, the teachers have been falling behind.…

A surefire plan to address gun violence

By BRUCE LESNICK With 346 mass shootings in the U.S. in 2017 and 34 in the first two months of 2018—including the Parkland, Fla., tragedy that cost the lives of 17 high school students and injured 15 others—many are justifiably angry and frustrated. Mainstream politicians dither, debating how best to treat the symptoms of the…

Labor and climate groups support Transit Equity Day

By BILL ONASCH On Feb. 5, civil rights, trade union, student, church, and environmental activists in communities across North America will come together in a variety of events to call attention to a looming crisis in public transit. The diversity of these groups indicates that they recognize not only the urgent need to save what…

Labor Briefing: January 2018

By BILL ONASCH Overcoming Hang-Ups—A New York Times story about a Communications Workers of America contract settlement after a long, often bitter fight opened: “Stemming the tide of rising economic insecurity for service workers, a major union has won significant job protection and increased pay for about 20,000 AT&T wireless employees, as well as a commitment…

Ontario Federation of Labour opts for political action

By JULIUS ARSCOTT The Ontario Federation of Labour convention, held in Toronto, Nov. 20 to 24, saw several large affiliates that had withheld dues for four years rejoin the House of Labour in Canada’s most populous province. The dues strike by OPSEU, SEIU, and ONA, actuated by a factional battle between conservative union bureaucrats and…

Students confront Stamford hotel management

By CONNECTICUT STUDENTS — STAMFORD, Conn. — On Nov. 27, a delegation of students from across Connecticut arrived to tell management at the Hilton Hotel in Stamford that they stand in solidarity with the workers organizing a union. The union vote will take place Dec. 4 after three weeks of management’s anti-union intimidation campaign. We…

Why Hilton housekeepers need a union

By ERNIE GOTTA In the coming weeks Hilton Hotel workers in Stamford, Conn., will likely face a serious attempt by the bosses to bust their campaign for union recognition. In past union drives the bosses have paid millions of dollars to law firms that specialize in union busting. The owners of the hotel would rather…

Labor Briefing, Nov. 2017

By BILL ONASCH No VIPs in St Louis—The AFL-CIO quadrennial convention to elect officers and pass policy resolutions was held in St. Louis, Oct. 22-25. While many of the biggest unions—the National Education Association, Service Employees International Union, Teamsters, and Carpenters—are not affiliated, the federation still represents 12.5 million workers. In response to police killings…

Tragic construction site murder was avoidable

By a WORKING CARPENTER On Oct. 5, a recently fired carpenter, Samuel Perry, 42, arrived at a Midtown Manhattan job site to pick up his last paycheck. He shot his foreman, 37-year-old Christopher Sayers, twice, killing him. He then turned the gun on himself. Both men were members of Carpenters’ Local 212, a concrete construction…

Labor Briefing: October 2017

By BILL ONASCH Trying to Stop Runaway Train—As recently as a few years ago, the biggest local in the United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers had nearly 6000 members at General Electric’s locomotive works in Erie, Pa. There is strong demand for locomotives and GE’s are most favored. But instead of rewarding their workforce with…