Category Archives: Immigrant Rights
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
July 18, 2012
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.
The janitors – employed by contractors to clean office buildings for companies like Exxon Mobile, Shell Oil, and JP Morgan Chase – are striking against unfair labor practices. They are also demanding an end to poverty wages in a city recently named by Forbes as the number one city for millionaires. Read the rest of this entry
June 28, 2012
A new writing job in the labor movement has kept me from writing my own material more frequently both here at Subterranean Dispatches and other publications.
While I hope to produce a new piece in the near future, for now I’d like to feature some outside anaylsis on important developments in the month of June - including inspiring solidarity pickets that spread around the country among Teamster sanitation workers and some insights on Obama’s recent executive order protecting 800,000 undocumented youth from the threat of deportation.
But first my take on healthcare reform…
Stepping Away from Single-Payer
In one of the most high-profile Supreme Court cases in recent history and a fever-pitched media event, the country’s highest court closed out the month of June with a decision on the Obama administration’s healthcare reform law. The decision is understood as being hugely historic on both the right and the left. But there was a lot of confusion about the substance of the verdict that the Supreme Court finally handed down on the Affordable Care Act. Read the rest of this entry
April 21, 2012
Published at CounterPunch.
In an era of defeat and decline for the labor movement, pathbreaking organizing victories are rare. Union activity in these times is more likely to revolve around defensive battles than conquering new territory or reclaiming ground that was lost decades ago.
Earlier this month, a rare election victory by port truck drivers at the Port of Los Angeles signaled a big step forward in the fight to organize a deregulated industry that is rife with worker abuse.
The 46-to-15 vote by Toll Group drivers in favor of joining the Teamsters was the first of its kind in nearly 30 years. And Toll, an $8.8 billion Australia-based logistics company, fought the workers every step of the way.
But the workers’ historic victory has given new hope to other drivers throughout the industry. Read the rest of this entry
For anyone wondering where I’ve been lately, I apologize for my literary absence at Subterranean Dispatches. A combination of day-job work, organizing in the local Occupy movement and other preoccupations have prevented me from finding sufficient time to write a solid dispatch column worthy of publication here or elsewhere. February has been a busy month.
But it’s also been a busy month for organized labor and workers’ struggle in general. The following articles are highly-recommended essential reading on two crucial battles in labor in the month of February – one that may set the stage for a larger union rights struggle in an industry that desperately needs it; and the other, a swift and salient reminder of the possibilities that exist when workers come together and take bold action. The first article discusses the two-week strike among 500 non-union port truck drivers in Seattle. The second chronicles a factory occupation last week led by the same workers at the same facility who occupied their Republic Windows and Doors plant back in 2008. In their own terms, workers were victorious in both cases, though their long-term battles continue. In an era in which workers are under the gun, from teachers in public education to manufacturing workers across the board, the lessons from these two recent struggles are profound. Read the rest of this entry
October 14, 2011
If Wall Street has become the symbolic nerve center for greed and inequality, its political traffic merges onto K Street, Washington DC’s Broadway for deep-pocketed corporate lobbyists.
But like Wall Street, K Street is now also home to activists who are fed up with a system that rewards the wealthy while delivering nothing but cuts to the rest of us. Part of the general Occupy Wall Street movement that has spread around the country, “Occupy DC” activists are camped out in MacPherson Square where they are working to replicate the kind of occupation that has rocked the streets of New York’s financial district for the last month.
This week, K Street was also part of a march route for building cleaners fighting for a fair contract. The workers – who are preparing for a possible strike in the coming days – marched shoulder to shoulder with Occupy DC protesters. Read the rest of this entry