Across the globe, workers are taking action in the face of the coronavirus, pressuring employers to boost paid sick leave, suspend punitive attendance policies, and apply safety measures. While some companies have been proactive, too many have reacted only after workers forced them to.
There’s only one living member of Congress who’s ever been invited to speak at a Labor Notes Conference (or for that matter, subscribed to this magazine), and he’s currently leading the polls for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Then-Congressman Bernie Sanders opened the 1993 Labor Notes Conference with his proposed “Workers’ Bill of Rights” to raise the minimum wage, shorten working hours with no loss in pay, divert military spending to create civilian jobs, facilitate union organizing, and create a single-payer health care system.
Labor Notes has been at it for 40 years. But 2019 will go down as one of our busiest and most productive yet.
In addition to putting out our monthly magazine, we crisscrossed the country joining picket lines, organizing Troublemakers Schools, and meeting with workers to help them chart a path forward in their unions and workplaces.
Members of Electrical Workers (UE) Locals 506 and 618 rallied with supporters May 17 in Pittsburgh outside the Wabtec shareholders’ meeting. Wabtec, which completed its acquisition of GE Transportation in February, is still demanding a two-tier contract that would slash the average wage by $12 an hour.
Labor Notes has been busy across the country, organizing four big Troublemakers Schools already this spring, with more to come. These schools are unique opportunities for workplace activists from various unions and sectors to build organizing skills and swap strategies.
Two hundred hospital workers, school staffers, farmworkers, and baristas packed the Plumbers Local 267 hall in Ithaca, New York, on March 23 for our first Troublemakers School of the year.
Who will pay for a 5 percent raise, smaller classes, and more nurses, librarians, and counselors for the Chicago public schools? “Rich people,” Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Stacy Gates told the press.
Their contract expires in June. Meanwhile, fresh off the first charter school strike in history, the union set a February 5 strike date at another Chicago charter network.
Labor might be on the ropes, but it still knows how to throw a punch. 2018 saw thousands of teachers, campus workers, and hotel workers hit the streets in support of bold demands. What does it take to strike and win in the new Gilded Age?
To find out, Labor Notes Assistant Editor Dan DiMaggio spoke with activists on the front lines of some of 2018's biggest labor fights. This event was held on Monday, December 17.