The New Labor Forum has a bi-weekly newsletter on current topics in labor, curated by the some of the most insightful scholars and activists in the labor world today. Check out some highlights from the latest edition below.
According to a recent report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of U.S. workers involved in work stoppages in 2018 was at a three-decade high. Not since 1986 had as many workers taken up the most potent tool in labor’s arsenal: the strike weapon. The recent, victorious strike by Stop & Shop workers in New England – achieving wage increases and halting the company’s roll back of health benefits − continues this trend, indicative of heightened solidarity and militancy among workers. This labor fight back may be part of the burgeoning national resistance of all kinds to political and economic elites. It’s likely to have taken some inspiration from the heroic red state teachers’ strikes last year. It may also be an outgrowth of a low unemployment rate emboldening workers to demand more from employers. Whatever the cause, labor seems increasingly prepared to dust off the nearly defunct strike weapon, which New Labor Forum author, Joe Burns, has argued is a sine qua non for rebuilding worker power.
Table of Contents
- STRIKE! Why Mothballing Labor’s Key Weapon is Wrong/ Joe Burns, New Labor Forum
- Another Big Victory for Labor/ Lauren Kaori Gurley, The New Republic
- Major Work Stoppages in 2018/Bureau of Labor Statistics
Photo by Revise_D via flickr (cc-by-sa)
If they haven’t won a contract by 3pm today, 40,000 AT&T workers will go on strike. Coming on the heels of last year’s Verizon strike, this marks another potentially historic action for the Communications Workers of America (CWA) — and the workers have much cause for grievance. From David Bacon at In These Times:
In California and Nevada, around 17,000 AT&T workers who provide phone, landline and cable services have been working without a contract for more than a year. Last year, they voted to authorize a strike with more than 95 percent support. And in February, an estimated 21,000 AT&T Mobility workers in 36 states voted to strike as well, with 93 percent in favor.
Workers have issued an ultimatum, giving company executives until 3 p.m. ET on Friday to present serious proposals—or the workers will walk.
It wouldn’t be the first strike at AT&T. Some 17,000 workers in California and Nevada walked off the job in late March to protest company changes in their working conditions in violation of federal law. After a one-day strike, AT&T agreed not to require technicians to perform work assignments outside of their expertise. Nevertheless, the biggest issues for workers remained unresolved.
AT&T is the largest telecommunications company in the country with $164 billion in sales and 135 million wireless customers nationwide. It has eliminated 12,000 call center jobs in the United States since 2011, representing more than 30 percent of its call center employees, and closed more than 30 call centers. Meanwhile, the company has outsourced the operation of more than 60 percent of its wireless retail stores to operators who pay much less than the union wage, according to CWA.
Read the full article at In These Times.
Featured photo by Mike Mozart via flickr (CC-BY).
This International Workers’ Day, celebrate as workers have throughout history: take to the streets. For a guide to the marches, rallies, protest and strikes happening throughout New York City, hop over to Gothamist, where Emma Whitford has compiled an overview of the day’s events. Happy May Day!
Photo by Wally Gobetz via flickr (CC-BY-NC-ND)
The New Labor Forum has launched a bi-weekly newsletter on current topics in labor, curated by the some of the most insightful scholars and activists in the labor world today. Check out some highlights from the latest edition below.
This year, International Women’s Day (March 8) is being celebrated in the U.S. at a higher pitch than usual. The election of Donald Trump has led to an upsurge in organizing and activism. In the last few months, we’ve witnessed the massive Women’s Marches in cities all over the country and, indeed, the world; a February 16th Day Without Immigrants and a less successful call for another general strike on February 17th; and the current call for a global women’s strike on International Women’s Day.
This newsletter opens with an informative and lucid overview by Diane Elson of the current global state of gender inequality, as well as policy recommendations to remedy the crisis. Elison’s article is provided here as a coming attraction to the May 2017 issue of New Labor Forum. The issues she raises form part of the animating spirit of the call for a Women’s Strike on March 8., organized by a coalition of women working closely with the venerable Global Women’s Strike, an international organization that has existed since 1972. Here we also offer the link to the promotional video for the strike.
General strikes, or days of action that are meant to resemble a strike, are gaining in currency. An example of recent experimentation with a general strike was the February 16th ‘Day Without Immigrants’, described here by Dan DiMaggio and Sonia Singh in Labor Notes. NLF editorial board member Nelson Lichtenstein addresses the meaningful difference between ‘weekend protest’ vs. ‘weekday strike action’ and why it matters, in No More Saturday Marches, published this week in Jacobin. We also include Francine Prose’s essay in The Guardian, offering a full-throated argument for the general strike as a tactic. And we close with Alexandria Neason’s meditation in the Village Voice – Is America Ready for a General Strike?
Table of Contents
- Recognize, Reduce, Redistribute Unpaid Care Work: How to Close the Gender Gap by Diane Elson
- Women of America: we’re going on strike.
- Video: International Women’s Strike US – Promotional Video
- Tens of Thousands Strike on Day without Immigrants by Dan DiMaggio, Sonia Singh
- No More Saturday Marches by NLF editorial board member Nelson Lichtenstein
- Forget protest. Trump’s actions warrant a general national strike by Francine Prose
- Is America Ready for a General Strike? by Alexandria Neason
Photo by Garry Knight via flickr (CC-BY)
Since the Trump administration’s immigration ban was issued last Friday night barring entry to the United States for citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, protests have erupted at airports and in cities across the United States. Demonstrators are loudly showing their rejection of the xenophobia, racism and bigotry inherent in the ban’s sweeping impact and disregard for the lives of those it affects.
On Saturday night, while protests raged at JFK and other airports around the country, the resistance was bolstered by action from the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, which represents 19,000 drivers in New York City. At 5pm, the Alliance announced that it would stop pickups from JFK airport from 6-7pm in solidarity with the protests.
Today, the city’s Yemeni grocers are on strike for eight hours as a response to the ban as well.
Yemen is one of the countries affected by the ban. Between 4000 and 6000 grocery stores and bodegas are owned by Yemeni immigrants in NYC.
Photo by Shawn Hoke via flickr (CC-BY-NC-ND)
This morning, Harvard dining service workers walked off the job and went on strike. This marks the first walk out at the University since 1983.
Today’s strike saw 700 workers rallying in Science Center Plaza and marching to Massachusetts Hall. From the Harvard Crimson:
Over the course of the months-long bargaining—which began mid-June—Harvard and union negotiators have faced a stalemate over wages and health benefits.
University spokesperson Tania deLuzuriaga wrote in an emailed statement that Harvard has “proposed creative solutions to issues presented by the union, and hoped union representatives would contribute to finding creative, workable solutions at the negotiation table.” Continue reading Harvard Dining Service Workers Commence Strike