This week in Las Vegas, the Communications Workers (CWA) experienced a rare contested race for a top officer position. For the first time in many decades, a local leader ran against the consensus candidate of the union establishment, garnering a quarter of the vote.
The union now headed by James P. Hoffa is spending millions of dues dollars this week on the care, feeding, housing, and entertainment of a small fraction of the Teamsters membership, consisting mainly of delegates fond of his leadership (to varying degrees), along with two groups of dissenters whose presence is only grudgingly tolerated.
In 1968 women auto workers in their own sex-segregated department at Ford's Dagenham, England, plant shut down their sewing machines and showed the lads how union solidarity was done. "Made in Dagenham" is their story.
In the last five years, the Service Employees (SEIU) has gone from being a media darling to generating more bad press for itself than any other labor organization. To bolster its fading progressive brand, SEIU has produced a slick $25 dollar coffee table book called Stronger Together: The Story of SEIU. It's a whirlwind of self-congratulatory and factually challenged material.
In the top ranks of SEIU, little time has been wasted on tears over Andy Stern's retirement from the union, and an insurgent campaign to replace Stern's hand-picked successor apparently has succeeded. Who is Mary Kay Henry?
Labor Notes Conference: Home-based Workers Swelling Labor's Ranks, Still Struggling for Dignity and Power
One unique aspect of the Labor Notes Conference is the special meetings that allow far-flung activists to gather and share information on a rare cross-union basis. This year's April 23-25 conference in Detroit will feature a daylong meeting of those involved in organizing and representing home-based workers—challenging work undertaken in the absence of a common workplace.
Former IBEW Local 2222 Vice President Jerry Leary was laid to rest yesterday under the raised and arched booms of two telephone company bucket trucks, with a union banner strung between the two. In the face of the grotesque caricatures of unionism projected today, it’s easy to forget what being a rank-and-file member means in the culture of mutual aid and protection, solidarity and friendship, that exists in the best local unions.
When California health care workers gave up on the project of democratizing the Service Employees (SEIU) and launched a rival organization instead last winter, the road to union recognition didn’t seem so long and hard. Soon after the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) was formed in January, in response to SEIU’s trusteeship of the United Healthcare Workers (UHW) local, the new union displayed enough rank-and-file backing to file election petitions in 350 private and public sector bargaining units covering about 100,000 employees. In many of these workplaces, a strong majority signed cards seeking a vote that would let them switch from SEIU to NUHW.