Dan DiMaggio

A Month of Troublemaking

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.

This article has been updated since the original version, first published March 1.

At a sprawling locomotive manufacturing complex a mile long and a mile wide in Erie, Pennsylvania, 1,700 workers struck for nine days and fended off their new employer’s efforts to impose a raft of concessions, including two-tier wages.

Temperatures were below freezing. Strikers stood on a dozen picket lines ringing the plant, feeding wood into burn barrels and making life difficult for any non-union employees who tried to drive through the gates.

Meanwhile, Elsewhere in the Teacher Uprising...

Two people painting signs that say "public schools are the heart of the community"

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.

VIDEO: Labor Notes Q&A With Activists from Biggest Fights of 2018


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.

Labor Notes Turns 40! Send Us Your Memories

The Troublemakers Union turns 40 next year! We’re planning a whole series of events to commemorate the occasion, from special magazine features to speaking tours and more.

As part of our celebration, we’re gathering memories of Labor Notes history, and we’d appreciate if you shared yours.

When was the first time you came across Labor Notes?

What role have Labor Notes and our supporters played in your organizing?

Paraeducators in Port Angeles, Washington, are on strike. In this year’s wave of teacher strikes, it’s the first one led by paraeducators.

Teachers have refused to cross their picket lines, shutting down the district’s schools Thursday and Friday.

What does a renegotiated NAFTA mean for workers in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico? At best, it might stem some of the bleeding.

The presidents of the U.S. and Mexico announced on August 27 that they had reached a deal. A month later, Canada is still out of the agreement, though negotiations are likely to continue over the next few months. Text of the draft deal between the U.S. and Mexico may be published as soon as today.

West Virginia Teachers Launch Rank-and-File Caucus

A group of West Virginia teachers, including rank-and-file leaders of the nine-day strike earlier this year, have launched a cross-union caucus.

WV United aims “to keep people fired up and keep working together,” said Jay O’Neal, who teaches eighth grade in Charleston.

How can building trades unions organize workers in an area where they don’t have much of a foothold? You’ve got to become a fixture in the community, and be in it for the long haul.

That’s the commitment the Painters are making in Nashville, Tennessee, where they just launched the Alianza Laboral (Spanish for “labor alliance”) Worker Resource Center.

Arizona Teachers Pull an All-Nighter to Seal the Deal

Arizona teachers struck statewide April 26 to May 3 over low pay and underfunding due to years of tax cuts.

Governor Doug Ducey had promised 20 percent raises heading into the strike, but teachers were skeptical that money would materialize. Their demands also included raises for other school employees and a return of funding to 2008 levels.

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