Reinventing Organized Labor in the Walmart Economy
January 15, 2013
In 1962, Arkansas businessman Sam Walton opened the first Walmart discount store, setting in motion the rapid ascendance of a corporate giant that would redefine markets around the world. With its focus on competitive prices and vast distribution networks that revolutionized the industry, Walmart grew over the course of the 20th century to become the world’s largest company.
Today, its retail empire covers 15 countries with over 8,900 stores employing 2.2 million people. Like all empires, its success is built on contradictions and exploitation. Read the rest of this entry
November 20, 2012
After suffering almost two years of ramped up union-busting, the labor movement came out swinging in the recent elections. It swung its hardest in swing states like Ohio, delivering the 2012 presidential election to President Obama and propelling other labor-endorsed candidates to office.
Labor’s decisive role in reelecting Obama and boosting dozens of other Democrats in key races was acknowledged in the national press. And it was acknowledged by labor. Read the rest of this entry
November 6, 2012
As this year’s election finally reaches its conclusion, working-class people will soon know who will drive the agenda of austerity over the next four years. Whether it’s Obama or Romney, the underlying priorities remain the same, and at the center of those priorities is a commitment to cut the deficit on the backs of workers and the poor.
Up to this point, the campaigning on either side has sought to lead voters into a state of mind in which substance and style bleed together as one. Because beyond style, both Obama and Romney share more in common on policy than they disagree. Even if Democrats and Republicans differ on how to get there, the goal is the same: safeguard the dominance of corporate power and point to the deficit as reason enough to march forward with the assault on the working class. Read the rest of this entry
October 1, 2012
Last month, the Chicago Teachers Union did something that no one thought possible a few years ago when the Great Recession took hold. Back then, the economic crisis and devastating budget cuts gave corporate-backed school “reformers” the conditions they needed to thrust the war on public education into high gear.
The Chicago teachers strike is a groundbreaking event in the fight to defend public schools and resurrect a fighting labor movement. Months of preperation went into the victorious strike that forced Mayor Rahm Emanuel to back down from his most damaging attacks against teachers. The union knew it needed to build alliances beyond labor and win the support of parents and communities before moving to strike. Its success in doing so was central to winning the standoff. Read the rest of this entry
September 26, 2012
Plutocrats in Europe are continuing their march against the poor and working class. Their efforts to bleed workers dry has once again pushed unions in Greece to declare a nationwide general strike. And in Spain, protests this week turned violent as more austerity measures threaten the lives of workers already hurting from high unemployment and suffocating budget cuts.
Greek workers have endured massive cuts over the last several years and have repeatedly been forced to use the one thing they still have: the power to withhold their labor. Read the rest of this entry
August 15, 2012
In the last year, DHL claims it has fired 24 workers in Turkey for “performance related” reasons. But the express parcel delivery company is fooling no one. TÜMTİS, the Turkey Motor Vehicle and Transport Workers’ Union, has been trying to organize the DHL workers for more than a year. DHL management in Turkey has fired workers for trying to organize and threatened to fire other workers for joining TÜMTİS. The company is also refusing to meet with the union over the firings.
Between last April and November, eight workers were fired for what the DHL called poor performance and endangering worker safety and health. But the workers said managers openly threatened one worker at a time with dismissal for organizing. Read the rest of this entry