Jane Slaughter

If there were ever a time to say, “I'll fight for someone I don't know,” this is it. If we ever meant it when we said “an injury to one is an injury to all,” now we're seeing why that's so.

The labor movement's cherished values of solidarity and siblinghood are our only chance if we don't want to see our elders die before their time.

The Auto Workers' strike against General Motors came to a close this weekend after six weeks on the picket lines, with workers voting to ratify a contract that was clearly unloved but accepted with a yes vote of 57 percent.

“They always say it will take multiple agreements to reach equality—we can’t win it all in one go,” said Sean Crawford, a second-tier worker at Flint Truck Assembly in Michigan.

For Crawford, the GM strike, the longest at a Big 3 company in 50 years, was the best chance the union had to put an end to the many tiers that have fractured the workforce.

Voices from the GM Picket Lines

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The GM strike jumped off suddenly September 16. At the start, it wasn't clear what the bargainers were going for—including to members themselves. Since then, judging by dozens of interviews on the picket lines, a remarkable consensus has developed among the Auto Workers rank and file: their top priority is wage equality, for second-tier workers and especially for the misnamed “temps.” Temps may work for years doing the same work as Tier 1 and Tier 2 workers, but with low pay and almost no rights.

Forty-nine thousand auto workers are on strike at General Motors in the largest private sector strike since the last time union and company clashed, in 2007.

(Ready to lend a hand? Click here for a list of picket line locations.)

The Auto Workers' bargaining for 150,000 blue-collar workers at the Big Three auto companies was further complicated August 28 when the FBI raided the homes of UAW President Gary Jones and former President Dennis Williams. The FBI had search warrants for six locations in Wisconsin, Missouri, Michigan, and California.

Toledoans Rally behind Hospital Strikers

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Being on strike is “kinda scary,” said one picketing nurse in Toledo, Ohio—but “kinda empowering,” broke in another. “We’re doing this for nurses across the board.”

After 58 bargaining sessions totaling 450 hours since last summer, nearly 1,900 hospital workers at Mercy Health St. Vincent walked off the job Monday, marching from union headquarters to line the street in front of the hospital.

VIDEO: 40 Years of Troublemaking in the Labor Movement

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Since 1979, Labor Notes has been home to the troublemaking wing of the labor movement. The pages of our magazine are filled with the stories of workers who are working to transform their unions, to take on the boss, to fight for racial justice.

We believe that working people's best bet is on ourselves. That's why our trainings, and national conference, focus on connecting workers to one another across unions and industries and provide rank-and-file organizers with the tools they need to get the job done themselves.

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