Alexandra Bradbury

Mike Parker, the author of four Labor Notes books and a close supporter and key strategist throughout our 43-year history, died January 15 of pancreatic cancer. He will be hugely missed—remembered as a brilliant thinker, a humble and dedicated movement-builder, and a moral compass and mentor to generations of activists.

UPS Drivers Stage a Walk-in to Defend a Fired Co-Worker


To protest the unfair firing of a co-worker, on the morning of Tuesday, December 21, 150 UPS drivers in Chicago took a simple action: they didn’t go into work early.

Instead, they gathered outside with an inflatable fat cat. They grilled food, played music, and then walked in together, right on time.

This departure from routine was enough to throw their management into a panic.

2021 reminds me of a riddle: What’s worse than finding a worm in your apple? Finding half a worm in your apple. What’s scarier than a year of pandemic? A second year of pandemic.

We’re on new terrain, but labor is finding its footing. This was the year of a sudden “labor shortage,” the year everyone learned the phrase “supply chain problems”—and also the year that many who had been called “essential” saw how quickly they went, in the words of Kellogg’s striker Trevor Bidelman, “from heroes to zeros.”

Supply Chain Snafus Give Santa's Elves New Leverage


A new spirit of defiance is spreading on the wind that whips through the North Pole workshop complex. Elves are chafing against long hours and discovering their increased leverage—both resulting from a labor shortage that has jammed up critical points in the supply chain.

Polar warehouses are stacked to the rafters with gingerbread men no one has frosted and headless nutcrackers awaiting a delayed shipment from the parts plant.

This article was updated November 19 to reflect the final election results.

A new administration will soon take the helm of the 1.3 million-member Teamsters union. The Teamsters United slate swept to victory in this week's vote count, beating out their rivals 2 to 1.

It’s the first time in almost a quarter-century that a coalition backed by Teamsters for a Democratic Union has taken the driver’s seat in the international union.

Once upon a time, a nip in the air and the crunch of leaves underfoot meant peak season for shipping—an annual onslaught of catalogs and Christmas cards and online shopping. Those were the old days; since Covid hit, peak season never stops.

This was a Teamsters convention like no other—and not just because it was held online, avoiding the usual Las Vegas spectacle where a few brave reformers run a gauntlet of booing red-vested delegates.

Even in person, the 2021 convention wouldn’t have gone down that way. The opposition slate didn’t just squeak past the 5 percent of delegates required to get on the ballot, as it often has before.

This time it pulled half the votes—reflecting a power shift in the union.

Employers Are Using the Crisis to Push Concessions They Don't Need


Employers never let a crisis go to waste. Like clockwork, after this awful year, here come the demands for concessions.

Steelworkers at Allegheny Technologies are on strike to defend their benefits. The company wants them to start paying more, though it’s flush with cash. If you ask why, you’re not thinking like an employer.

The mountain climber George Mallory, when asked why he wanted to climb Mt. Everest, supposedly answered, “Because it’s there.”