Archives

September 12, 2013

DC Mayor Vetoes Living-Wage Bill, Endorses Walmart Poverty Wages

Walmart won another battle in its war on workers this morning as Washington, DC Mayor Vincent Gray vetoed the Large Retailer Accountability Act. With Walmart planning its entry into the DC market, the legislation would require the company and other big-box retailers to pay a minimum of $12.50 an hour in wages and benefits.

January 15, 2013

Retail Rebellion: Reinventing Organized Labor in the Walmart Economy

Workers and labor organizers know that Walmart has mastered the process of cutting down traditional union organizing drives; now they are attempting to apply a different model of workplace organizing that circumvents the typical roadblocks built in to U.S. labor laws.

November 20, 2012

Labor Needs a Different Kind of “Ground Game”

After suffering almost two years of ramped up union-busting, the labor movement came out swinging in the recent elections. So now the 400-million-dollar question: what does organized labor get in return for its effective ground game to reelect a president who has so often been a disappointment for unions?

November 5, 2012

Decision 2012: Austerity vs. Austerity

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.

October 1, 2012

Winning the Strike: How Chicago Teachers Made History

Last month, the Chicago Teachers Union did something that no one thought possible a few years ago when the Great Recession took hold. The teachers stared down the mayor and an entire political establishment bent on privatization – and they won.

September 26, 2012

European Austerity Deepens, Workers Strike Back

Plutocrats in Europe are continuing their march against workers. Their efforts to bleed workers dry has once again pushed unions in Greece to declare a nationwide general strike.

August 15, 2012

DHL’s Attack on Turkish Workers’ Rights

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.

July 18, 2012

Solidarity is a Wildfire: Houston Janitors’ Strike Spreads

The one percent is catching fire in the form of an expanding strike by the janitors who clean the buildings of some of the largest corporations in the U.S. Hundreds of janitors in Houston who walked off the job last week are being joined by hundreds more this week as picket lines extend to eight cities across the country.

June 28, 2012

Solidarity Strikes, a DREAM Decree and “Obamacare” – June in Review

There is no doubt that there are positive elements of “Obamacare” and today’s Supreme Court decision to uphold it. Constitutional or not, the individual mandate is a boon for private health insurance companies and a real loss for single-payer.

May 28, 2012

Unionizing the New Jim Crow?

Dozens of people recently gathered outside of a supermax prison in Illinois demanding that the facility be shut down. They held signs that read “I am a mom,” a spin on the iconic “I am a man” signs held by striking sanitation workers in Memphis in 1968. But these protesters were directing the repurposed slogan in part against the very same union that represented those African-American strikers as they marched alongside Dr. Martin Luther King more than 40 years ago.

April 21, 2012

Historic Union Victory and New Promise for Port Drivers

A rare election victory earlier this month by port truck drivers at the Port of Los Angeles signals a big step forward in the fight to organize a deregulated industry that is rife with worker abuse.

March 29, 2012

The One Percent Targets D.C. Schools

The corporate school reform agenda is threatening to close or “turnaround” 38 schools in Washington D.C., targeting schools in the poorest neighborhoods where more than 90 percent of residents are African American. An aggressive community-wide fightback is the only hope for stopping this city’s apartheid plan for D.C. schools.

March 23, 2012

The Meaning of Trayvon Martin

If the murder of Trayvon Martin is going to be any different from the countless other cases of violence and abuse committed against Black men in this country, it will only happen if a movement comes together to fight back and organize for the longhaul.

March 14, 2012

Labor Politics and the Captive Electorate of 2012

Sometimes there are tactical reasons for unions to engage in electoral politics, but trade unionism is not about electing Democrats. And like other social justice movements, labor cannot attribute much of its success to voting within the corporate confines of the two-party system.

February 29, 2012

Workers’ Power from Puget Sound to Goose Island

Two must-read articles tell the story of two crucial labor battles in February – one involving 500 non-union port truck drivers who struck for two weeks in Seattle and the other bringing a swift victory for workers after a factory occupation at the same facility that was the site of the historic Republic Windows and Doors occupation in 2008. 

January 21, 2012

Military Intervention vs. Maritime Union Power

In the long dispute between International Longshore Workers Union (ILWU) Local 21 and EGT Development, the international conglomerate is now poised to make its first grain shipment. But it may take an army to cross the picket line.

December 15, 2011

Remembering Pittston: 99 Strikers who Occupied before Occupy

When it comes to breaking the rules of the one percent, a natural yet complicated alliance between Occupy and the labor movement offers today’s new struggle against economic inequality historical lessons written by the organized working class. The parallels between the Pittston Strike of 1989 and Occupy may be instructive for the struggle of the 99 percent.

November 24, 2011

Occupying Picket Lines as the Shock Doctrine Goes Postal

On Saturday the Maryland and DC AFL-CIO Biennial Convention voted on a resolution in support of Occupy encampments in Washington, DC and Baltimore, declaring that the local labor movement considers Occupy Wall Street a picket line not to be crossed by affiliate unions. Two days later, Fredric Rolando, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), did just that.

November 4, 2011

The One Percent Scrambles to Maintain Profits – and Order

After decades of unbridled class warfare against the 99 percent, soaring profits and relative calm in the streets, workers and the poor are saying something to the one percent: you can’t have it all.

October 14, 2011

Amid Possible Strike, D.C. Labor and Occupy Movements March Together

Like Wall Street, K Street is now home to an occupation of activists against corporate greed. This week, K Street was also part of a march route for building cleaners fighting for a fair contract. Workers marched shoulder to shoulder with “Occupy DC” protestors. The looming prospect of a walkout among janitors will be an important test of solidarity for the local Occupy movement.  

October 4, 2011

Look for Working-Class Warriors at Picket Lines, Not Podiums

Should the “class warrior” title be worn as a badge of honor? Obama says that the charge that he is a “class warrior” – a warrior for the working class – is a charge he wears as a badge of honor. But the real working-class warrior badge of honor belongs to the workers, students, unemployed and the poor around the country who are standing up and fighting back with protests, pickets and strikes.

September 21, 2011

The Fight for Troy Davis Does Not End Tonight

Today we are all Troy Davis. This fight for Troy and everything this case represents will not end tonight. No matter the outcome today, we must all fight this execution and this system of death – as Troy has – until we draw our last breath.

September 8, 2011

The Fight for Jobs and Justice, Then and Now

It’s not everyday that the president of the United States talks about the last fight that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. waged at the end of his life. But there is a touch of irony in President Obama’s otherwise commendable telling of King’s true legacy regarding economic justice.

August 21, 2011

Unions End the Biggest Strike in Years – But the Battle for Verizon Workers Continues

The nation’s longest and largest strike in the age of austerity ended this weekend. But the labor standoff continues as 45,000 Verizon landline technicians and customer service employees on the east coast will return to work without a new contract.

August 11, 2011

From Landlines to Picket Lines: Verizon Workers Strike

The first mass labor strike in the age of austerity has hit the United States. In the climate of budget cuts and union-busting, the impact of the strike at Verizon could transmit far beyond the company’s networks, redrawing the battle lines in the war on workers.

August 6, 2011

The Revolution is Live

Echoes of a visionary poet and his revolutionary voice shook the room at Busboys and Poets in Washington, DC last Sunday.

August 1, 2011

Raising the Roof on the Backs of Workers

The manufactured “crisis” around raising the debt limit is reaching its conclusion and it is now clear that a national default will be averted by employing the misery of workers and poor families to prop up the ceiling.

July 3, 2011

The War on D.C. Taxi Drivers (Washington Post Op-Ed)

The D.C. Taxicab Commission recently expanded its war on D.C. taxicab drivers by going after the journalists. After two independent journalists were arrested by U.S. Park Police officers at a June 22 public hearing held by the commission two weeks ago, dozens of angry drivers walked out in protest.

June 30, 2011

Activists to Confront Georgia’s Juan Crow Racism this Weekend

The anti-immigrant police-state racism that began haunting immigrant communities in Arizona last year has arrived in Georgia – and it’s rotting the Peach State, both figuratively and literally.

June 13, 2011

Taxicab Takeover: D.C. Drivers Organize to Defend Jobs

Amid the sweltering humidity at dusk in Washington D.C., taxicab drivers line up their cars at a gas station on the corner of 15th and U Street. They circulate flyers and discuss the need to organize against a proposed restructuring of the city’s cab industry that would leave 4,000 drivers jobless.

May 23, 2011

Attacking the Memory of Workers’ Struggle

If you thought the bipartisan crusade against workers to roll back union rights would be enough to soften the saber rattling of corporate class warfare, think again.

May 10, 2011

D.C. Nurse Militancy Leads to Victory Against Union-Busting

As working-class people around the country brace for more budget cuts that, among other things, will further restrict their access to health care, the people providing that care have also been feeling the wrath of austerity – and its attendant national offensive against unions.

April 18, 2011

US Uncut: The New Movement against Austerity and Corporate Tax Cheats

By Monday April 18th most Americans will have finished filing their taxes, but a large pack of corporate citizens will probably not be worrying about paying their dues; tax day, like any other day for them, will be strictly devoted to growing their bloated profit margins.

April 1, 2011

Fighting for Justice at Giant – DC Labor Organizes Against Food Outsourcing

As the labor movement nationwide has been stirred by an onslaught of anti-union legislation, some workers are finding that the crusade of union-busting politicians is emboldening union-busting employers in the private sector as well.

March 17, 2011

The Badger Rebellion Comes to DC

After wiping out 50 years of union rights in Wisconsin, GOP state senators from the badger state made the journey to Washington, DC and were met by a thousand unionists and supporters who greeted them with a Madison-style protest.

March 9, 2011

The Wisconsin Effect: Union Power Rediscovered

Only four months ago the consensus among the political establishment was that of a right-wing resurgence in U.S. politics. Now the picture could not be more different. Suddenly state capitols are being swarmed with protesters and workers are taking action to stop the ideological assault on their union rights.

January 7, 2011

Will Labor Challenge Austerity?

Across the U.S., working-class people are struggling, scraping together meager sums in order to get by. In state and local governments throughout the country, workers are watching public services slashed in the name of balanced budgets.

November 19, 2010

Hotel Workers Lead a New Tide of Labor Militancy

They clean rooms, wash sheets, cook meals and carry luggage for weary travelers the world over. But now they are leading a new wave of militancy and solidarity that could help breathe life back into the labor movement in the U.S.

November 1, 2010

The Struggle of DC’s Nurses: A Battle for Health Care and Unionism

In June, President Obama told a meeting of delegates of the American Nurses Association that “Nurses are the beating heart of our healthcare system.” Unfortunately, when it comes to working conditions and cuts, nurses across the country have more and more become the bleeding heart of our healthcare system.

August 3, 2010

Rhee Ratchets Up the Attack on D.C. Teachers

Another union-busting assault by Washington, D.C., School Chancellor Michelle Rhee rocked D.C. public schools July 16 when Rhee announced the firing of 241 public school teachers and warned another 737 that they would be axed in a year’s time if they failed to show “improvements.”

April 22, 2010

Telling Lies to Attack Teachers in D.C.

Approval of a supposed “breakthrough” teachers’ contract for Washington, D.C., teachers is in doubt after anti-union schools chancellor Michelle Rhee admitted that she kept a $34 million budget surplus hidden during negotiations with the union.

March 26, 2010

A Movement Back in the Streets

In the largest demonstration for immigrant rights since 2006, some 200,000 people came to Washington, D.C., on March 21 to highlight the growing demand for reform among more than 11 million undocumented immigrants and their supporters.

January 22, 2010

Saying No to Arpaio’s America

As many as 15,000 immigrants and activists marched four miles through the city on January 16 to protest the ongoing racist law enforcement practices of America’s most notorious anti-immigrant sheriff.

October 15, 2009

Layoff Ax Falls in D.C. Schools

Anger erupted at Washington, D.C., public schools October 2 after Chancellor Michelle Rhee delivered RIF (Reduction in Force) notices to nearly 400 people, abruptly laying off hundreds of mostly long-tenured teachers and support staff a mere five weeks into the new school year.

September 21, 2009

Standing Up to Immigration Police

Activists and members of the immigrant community gathered on the National Mall on September 12 to demand that the Obama administration abolish the 287(g) program, which deputizes local authorities to enforce federal immigration laws.

August 4, 2009

Speaking Up for Single-Payer in D.C.

Compromise and concessions with the private health industry have been the modus operandi for lawmakers in Washington. But outside of Congress on July 30, the message was quite the opposite.

March 13, 2009

Sending a Message in Arizona

Some 5,000 demonstrators descended on the city of Phoenix on February 28 in a mass mobilization against the anti-immigrant sheriff of Maricopa County.

February 11, 2009

Apartheid for the Undocumented in Arizona

As Barak Obama was ordering the closure of the U.S. prison camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, the sheriff of Arizona’s largest county was busy opening a new Guantánamo inside the U.S.

September 29, 2008

Save D.C.’s Homeless Shelters

While congressional leaders were negotiating a $700 billion taxpayer bailout plan for Wall Street executives on September 25, a few blocks away, D.C.’s homeless community and activists were protesting the mayor’s plan to shut down the Franklin School homeless shelter.

May 15, 2008

Gulf Coast Guestworkers Launch Hunger Strike Against Labor Abuses

A corporate model that puts profit before people is not interested in leaving the brutal practice of human trafficking and slavery to rot in the proverbial dustbin of history. Today that callous model is resurrecting such long-denounced practices through the temporary H2B worker program and stripping the dignity of some 550 Indian guestworkers brought to the U.S. to work in the post-Katrina reconstruction of the Gulf Coast.  

March 11, 2008

Ralph Nader Remains a Friend of Labor

The labor movement owes a debt of gratitude to Nader for his relentless advocacy of issues central to the struggle for worker’s rights. Nader’s service to the movement has been in forcing the subject of labor rights into presidential debates, challenging Democratic candidates to address working-class issues that would otherwise be left untouched.

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