Labor Notes #391, October 2011

The Labor Board, under attack since it investigated Boeing for retaliating against union workers, could be soon crippled. That would shut one of the last avenues for expanding workers’ legal rights.

Reformers inside the New York State Nurses Association are one step closer to taking power in the 37,000-member union after a federal judge ordered the outgoing leaders to seat the winners of an August election.

How do stewards resist relentless speed-up, fight to keep contractual breaks, and build support to protect activists when the inevitable retaliation comes? Start by “inoculating” members about the retaliation that is sure to follow bold actions.

Three years into a staggering recession, Washington is finally talking about jobs. Unfortunately for 25 million people who can’t find full-time work or have given up looking, Congress is stuck on pea-sized proposals. Where are new engines of economic growth?

As the clock ticks down to a midnight Thursday strike deadline, railroaders aren’t holding their breaths despite a 97 percent strike vote by the Engineers union. President Obama will likely order a “cooling off period.”

A nearly two-week strike by teachers in Tacoma, Washington, defied state laws against public sector work stoppages—and showed that when much-vilified public workers take bold action, they can win public sympathy.

Protesters united under the banner of "We are the 99 percent" have occupied the Wall Street area for two weeks. Now several New York unions are planning rallies in support, taking a stand against runaway corporate power.

The story line from Postal Service management is simple and apocalyptic: The public is emailing and paying bills online, bankrupting the post office. Postal unions say that's dead wrong: They say the bosses are manufacturing a crisis to push a union-busting privatization agenda. The unions are rallying nationwide today.

At a time when most union action is perceived as press-ganging members to get out the vote or get to a rally, the Longview protests look like something out the ILWU’s origins in the tumultuous 1930s.

A grain exporter's attempt to operate a new facility without longshore labor has met stiff resistance in the Pacific Northwest. Police responded by breaking up protests and arresting about 135 unionists, prompting the union to sue to stop “ongoing police brutality."


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