Labor Notes #450

Has your union ever faced an employer that treated bargaining as a sham?

Such employers have no interest in reaching a compromise; they’re intent on forcing concessions or breaking the union. Often they never move off their concessionary proposals. Finally they declare impasse and implement their “last, best, and final offer.”

Winning against an employer like this requires a multi-pronged strategy. Members will need to gather public support and wage a fight that affects the employer’s production or services.

Labor Notes’ new book Secrets of a Successful Organizer is flying off the shelves. Since its release in April we’ve almost sold out our first print run, 5,000 copies, and we’ve just ordered a second printing. That’s record speed for one of our books.

But more exciting than the sales figures is hearing how organizers across the U.S.—and around the world—are putting Secrets to use. Here are a few ways:

The high turnover in retail makes organizing a huge challenge. But a thousand workers at eight Zara stores in Manhattan beat the odds and unionized.

It’s a first for Zara workers in the U.S. The Spanish-owned fashion outlet had agreed to recognize the union after a majority of workers signed cards, a milestone they reached in July. They’ll be members of Retail Workers (RWDSU) Local 1102.

Their win relied on international solidarity, in the form of an agreement between the retailer’s parent company and a global union.

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