Goodbyes are the worst. Labor Notes writer-organizer Chris Brooks is leaving our staff this month to become the mobilization director for the New York NewsGuild.
Chris joined the staff in 2016, in the run-up to that year’s conference. His first day in the office, as I recall, he helped proof the final manuscript of Secrets of a Successful Organizer. Then he plunged right into devising a system to schedule hundreds of volunteers into jobs and shifts.
This month’s magazine is bittersweet; it’s the last one with Samantha Winslow’s name on the masthead, as she leaves the staff.
It’s hard for me to imagine Labor Notes without Samantha. We started working here at almost the same time, eight years ago. Over those years Labor Notes and I have benefited enormously from her organizing knowhow; her excellent political judgment and insights; her keen mind and creativity; and her warm good humor.
Many workers still on the job during this pandemic are upset about their working conditions. But can you get in trouble for talking about your concerns—to your co-workers, on social media, or to the newspaper?
In a word: no. Not legally, anyway.
Below is a short run-down of your legal right to organize around wages, hours, and working conditions, even if you don’t have a union—and if you do have a union, your additional protection under your contract.
This fall the NewsGuild will rerun its hotly contested presidential election.
In May incumbent Bernie Lunzer narrowly beat challenger Jon Schleuss of the L.A. Times local, 1,282 to 1,081. The NewsGuild, an affiliate of the Communications Workers (CWA), has about 20,000 members in the U.S. and Canada.
Everyone loves a good story about an Amazon walkout. But when Labor Notes wades into more controversial waters—the pros and cons of a contract, for instance, or a race for union office—we can expect some angry letters.
“Let’s not criticize each other,” is a common refrain. “We get enough attacks from the boss! Airing disagreements gives ammo to union-busters.”