Labor Notes is a media and organizing project that has been the voice of union activists who want to put the movement back in the labor movement since 1979.
Through our magazine, website, books, conferences, and workshops, we promote organizing, aggressive strategies to fight concessions, alliances with worker centers, and unions that are run by their members.
Labor Notes is also a network of rank-and-file members, local union leaders, and labor activists who know the labor movement is worth fighting for. We encourage connections between workers in different unions, worker centers, communities, industries, and countries to strengthen the movement—from the bottom up.
That movement is needed because workers are being hit hard by their employers. We have lower real wages, less job security, and smaller, weaker unions than our mothers and fathers did.
For the most part, our leaders are doing a poor job of navigating us through the crisis. Some can’t get beyond business-as-usual; others see the need to organize by the millions, but don't believe that workers themselves need to have a say in their unions. Some unions operate only to service their members’ bread and butter needs instead of encouraging their involvement in a movement to fight the employer offensive and transform our society.
With 40 years of movement building behind us, Labor Notes exists as a resource for leaders and union members who want to combat these trends and chart a new course for the labor movement.
What We Do
Labor Notes is best known for our monthly magazine of the same name. We report news about workers that the mainstream media doesn't find worth printing—from workers’ point of view. We explore the trends that are keeping workers on the defensive and analyze labor’s responses: what’s working and what’s not? And as an independent publication, we’re free to include the voices who say we could be doing better—and tell how.
In Labor Notes, you'll find reports on inventive organizing tactics and contract campaigns. You’ll read coverage of the people who are working to kick some life into their unions and put their fellow workers in the driver’s seat. You'll read sometimes shocking stories of workers’ struggles abroad, and inspiring stories of solidarity.
Books and Pamphlets
Labor Notes books and pamphlets are handbooks full of practical guidance on battling the boss. They include best-sellers like A Troublemaker's Handbook 2 and Democracy Is Power, as well as our newest books Secrets of a Successful Organizer and How to Jump-Start Your Union: Lessons from the Chicago Teachers.
Over the years we’ve sold tens of thousands of these strategy manuals to rank-and-file activists hungry to develop new skills and union locals that have worn them out in training classes.
We are now also the publisher of Robert M. Schwartz’s Work Rights Press books, including classics like The Legal Rights of Union Stewards and Just Cause: A Union Guide to Winning Discipline Cases.
Click here to view our book store and purchase books to energize your organizing.
Every two years Labor Notes holds a national conference that attracts thousands of activists, about a tenth of them from other countries. Besides workshops on every conceivable skill and issue, there’s space for meetings of people from the same union and people with the same interests.
For a report on the 2018 Conference, headlined by the West Virginia teachers and attended by a record-breaking 3,000 activists, click here.
Our next conference is scheduled to take place from March 25-27, 2022, in Chicago, Illinois. For more details, visit labornotes.org/2022.
Troublemakers Schools and Workshops
We can bring the troublemaking to you! Labor Notes works with local unions and community groups to organize Troublemakers Schools, bringing labor activists in your city or region together for a day of workshops on grassroots unionism and skills that officers and rank and filers need. Check this site for announcements of dates and locations. Or if you’d like to help build a school in your city, email Barbara Madeloni at barbara[at]labornotes[dot]org.
Labor Notes also has a team of experienced trainers and advisors, called the Labor Notes Associates, available for training, workshops, or ongoing consulting at your local. Click here to learn more.
Donating to Labor Notes
Like what you see? We rely on your support. Please help us out with a tax-deductible donation!
Hundreds of Labor Notes supporters have signed up as monthly donors. For a pledge of $10/month or more, we’ll send you our limited edition “Fight the Boss, Build the Union” T-shirt, plus a free subscription to Labor Notes. Visit labornotes.org/donate to start your pledge.
Writing for Labor Notes
Thinking of sending us an article? Check out our writer guidelines.
We are always happy to see Labor Notes stories reprinted. We just ask that you credit both the author and Labor Notes, and if the reprint will be online, include a link to the original story on our site.
Meet our staff
The people behind Labor Notes.
Working for Labor Notes
We’re now hiring for a full-time staff organizer position, with a focus on trainings and events.