Labor

Thu
21
May

Wobblies Reclaim May Day in Chicago

Image Credit:  Ianthe M. Belisle Dempsey

by the Chicago IWW GMB May Day Committee

Friday, May 1 - Chicago - Over 400 people took to the streets in Chicago for the IWW-headed Radical Coalition’s March, Rally, and Noise Demonstration this May Day. The event was the largest distinctly anti-capitalist local showing in recent memory.

Called by the Chicago GMB in late 2014, the Chicago May Day Radical Coalition brought together 10 organizations in an effort to facilitate collective decision making and revitalize the historical working class spirit of International Workers’ Day in the holiday’s birthplace. The Coalition members, consisting of unions, leftist organizations, and affinity groups, agreed to a set of principles, including refraining from sectarianism, appealing to reformist legislative solutions, and agreeing to to the promotion of direct action.

Fri
08
May

The AFL-CIO Organizing Workshop: A New Mask On An Old Face

by FW Martin
Industrial Worker
Issue #1774, May 2015

The National Organizers Workshop of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) presented a distinct menu of strategy and tactics in Washington, D.C. on March 6 and 7. Union organiz-ers joined with community organizers in workshops to share experiences and develop a mutuality that has clearly been missing over the past decades. Issues such as mass incarceration and immigration were put on the table. There was an overarching theme of unity. This collection of AFL-CIO unions has clearly paid the cost for the focus on government employees. The reputation of unions collaborating with the National Secu-rity Agency (NSA), promoting super-maximum security (supermax) prisons, covering up militarization of police and facilitating repression has cost the AFL-CIO.

Sun
03
May

Killers of IWW member Frank Teruggi sentenced in Chile

In February 2015, two former Chilean military intelligence officers were convicted of the murder of IWW member Teruggi and another American, Charles Horman. Teruggi and Horman were kidnapped, tortured and murdered during the military coup in Chile in 1973.

Sun
03
May

Fighting For Our Own: Working-Class Resistance in Appalachia and the South

Jeremy K. Galloway
toward an anarchist appalachia

Birth of the US Labor Movement

International Workers Day (May Day) is a celebration of worker contributions to our society and the struggles of past workers who fought, and sacrificed their lives, for many of the benefits we enjoy today. May Day is a national holiday in many countries and is especially associated with Communist states like the Soviet Union and Cuba. Many US workers, however, don’t realize the holiday’s origins are firmly rooted in the labor struggles of our own country.

Wed
22
Apr

Iceland: Workers Overwhelmingly Approve General Strike

by Paul Fontaine
April 21, 2015
The Reykjavik Grapevine?

Some 10,000 workers will go on strike for an increase in the minimum wage, as nearly 95% of them approved the action.

Kjarninn reports that workers within the Federation of General and Special Workers in Iceland (SGS) have voted in favour of beginning a series of work stoppages next week, culminating in a general strike on May 26. Voter turn-out was just over 50%, but 94.6% of those voted in favour of the measure.

The proportion of workers voting is significantly higher than worker voter participation has been in the recent past, SGS chairperson Björn Snæbjörnsson told reporters, especially those working in the fishing industry. This may have been due to recent news that the board of one of Iceland’s largest fishing corporations, HB Grandi, planned to award itself billions in bonuses, while offering their own workers free popsicles.

Mon
20
Apr

On RailCon15: the Future of Railroads

By Tom Wetzel
Ideas & Action

More than 120 people attended the Future of Railroads Conference (RailCon15) in Richmond, California, March 14th, organized by Railroad Workers United, with support from local environmental groups and others.

Ron Kaminkow of Railroad Workers United talked about the history of railway worker attempts to build industry wide solidarity and unity, going back to the American Railway Union of Gene Debs in the 1890s. These efforts were stymied by the persistence of the conservative craft unions. The railroads are able to play one craft union off against the other to the detriment of rail workers. Railroad Workers United is an effort to build solidarity and unity of the workers across occupations and unions.

Tue
24
Mar

Meet the new workers' movement that is terrifying the wealthy and the powerful

by Jeff Spross
The Week
March 23, 2015

On Thursday, Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) re-introduced legislation to torpedo "micro unions," the latest labor movement to terrify business management, right-wingers, and capitalists in general.

They aren't actually anything new, just a variation on long-standing labor-organizing practices that have come back into prominence. "Micro union" is a recently coined term of art for bargaining units that encompass one category of workers at a business — the cosmetics workers at a Macy's, for example — instead of the more traditional model of organizing all the workers for the business into one single bargaining unit.

Tue
17
Mar

Money Sucks, Poverty’s Worse: Join the fight for a $15 an hour Minimum Wage

By Helena Bla-Latchkey
Slingshot, Issue #116: Summer Bummer 2014

Minimum wage struggle is something that most people can agree on. It is a populist class struggle. Not only do many workers have minimum wage jobs — most of us know somebody who does. We know that they don’t get paid less because they are somehow lesser. The inequity and tragedy of poverty is structural. Raising the minimum wage is something straightforward to ask for, and feasible to accomplish.

Wed
04
Mar

The Demolition of Workers’ Comp

by Michael Grabell, ProPublica, and Howard Berkes
Pro Publica
March 4, 2015

Dennis Whedbee’s crew was rushing to prepare an oil well for pumping on the Sweet Grass Woman lease site, a speck of dusty plains rich with crude in Mandaree, North Dakota.

It was getting late that September afternoon in 2012. Whedbee, a 50-year-old derrickhand, was helping another worker remove a pipe fitting on top of the well when it suddenly blew.

Oil and sludge pressurized at more than 700 pounds per square inch tore into Whedbee’s body, ripping his left arm off just below the elbow. Coworkers jerry-rigged a tourniquet from a sweatshirt and a ratchet strap to stanch his bleeding and got his wife on the phone.

“Babe,’’ he said, “tell everyone I love them.”

Sat
14
Feb

RNs to Join Martinez Refinery Workers on Picket Line Thursday

From Indybay

By California Nurses Association

2.11.15 - In a show of support for striking refinery workers and their fight for stronger health and safety standards, registered nurses will hold a press conference with them Thursday in Martinez, Ca. Environmental organizations are also expected to join.

Members of the United Steel Workers have been walking picket lines at the Tesoro Golden Eagle refinery in Martinez, part of a major national strike, in large part over unsafe conditions that affect the workers and local communities. The RNs are members of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United.

Nurses will also be joining USW refinery workers on picket lines in Southern California at the Tesoro refinery in Carson Thursday, and at other national sites where the refinery workers are on strike in the coming days.

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