Labor Notes #421

Our new book, How to Jump-Start Your Union: Lessons from the Chicago Teachers, shows how activists transformed their union. This excerpt tells about the contract campaign that built momentum for the 2012 strike.

Trying to convince your co-workers that things can change? Labor Notes can help you show them that people no different from themselves have organized a union, or taken back their union, or put the boss in his place.

Factory-style methods—including deskilling, micromanagement of work tasks, speed-up, formation of teams, contracting out, and creation of tiers in the workforce—are now being imported wholesale into schools.

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers had been talking to Walmart, but it’s the first company to sign up before any public protests. Organizers say the now up-and-running Fair Food Program made the difference.

We troublemakers keep hoping for the spark that will set a wildfire of workers in motion, like in 1937. But that takes legions of skilled, far-sighted activists. Unions' job is to train them up—through everyday struggles in the workplace.

Usually elected officials are reluctant to buck the biggest employer in town, but in Richmond, California, the mayor and the city council majority have taken a bold approach with Chevron, suing the oil giant for harming local citizens.

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