They thought they were oh so clever. Back in 2011, destroyers of public education bragged that “the unions cannot strike in Chicago.” And yet they did, in 2012 and again starting today, with 32,000 school employees now on the picket lines.
Let's be honest: Picket lines can be tedious, especially if strikers simply repeat the same hackneyed chants over and over again.
But not always. To break up the monotony, workers often make up their own chants, dances and songs.
In the case of the Auto Workers members below, they went so far as to record their own rap tracks and music videos, which are provided here with our immense admiration.
At times it can seem like international solidarity is just a rallying cry, devoid of the oomph that would make it a force to build power among workers across borders. But this past August, we had the chance to witness international solidarity in action.
Chanting in English, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, and Tagalog, a multinational crowd of union activists rallied in the swampy heat of Taiwan’s capital in front of the headquarters of Foxconn, the notorious manufacturer of iPhones.
In the carrot and stick approach to union-busting, Frank Fischer was the carrot.
Fischer, a former plant executive whom many workers remembered fondly, parachuted in as interim CEO of the Chattanooga, Tennessee, Volkswagen plant at the end of May to help sway the plant’s 1,700 hourly workers to vote against unionization.
He replaced unpopular CEO Antonio Pinto. The point was to show workers that the company was listening to their concerns and making changes.
A top employee representative in Volkswagen’s Global Works Council was denied entry into the company’s Chattanooga, Tennessee, factory today as the union election began.
The plant’s 1,700 eligible hourly employees began voting this morning on whether to form a union with the United Auto Workers. The results will be announced Friday night.
According to a statement from the Global Works Council, Johan Järvklo arrived at the plant to be an election observer. Workers confirmed that he was booted.