Labor Notes #393, December 2011

How does a union win a public relations war in the mainstream media? An Ontario union trained members, emphasized internal mobilizing, and communicated directly with the public to spread a campaign that communities need good jobs.

Wisconsin teachers are feeling the pinch as the consequences of Governor Scott Walker’s anti-union bill set in. Unions are using the struggle to recertify and press a recall vote for Walker.

“The problem is privatization,” says Toronto-area transit union leader Bob Kinnear, so bus drivers are on strike to bring the problem to the public. Passengers north of Toronto pay the highest fares in the area, but workers get the lowest wages.

As many as 2.5 million public sector workers will strike across Britain on November 30. The one-day action contests the government’s plan to make public employees work longer, contribute more to pensions, and receive less.

Taking advantage of contracts that allow members to honor picket lines, Teamsters spread short, rolling sympathy strikes to nine states at the nation’s second-largest food service company.

At colleges around Illinois, faculty are under siege and looking to their unions for support. They're organizing, striking, resisting cuts, and defending contingent adjunct professors. “It’s the ripple effect,” said a faculty union president.

Where does our food come from? “Farm to fork” may sound like a doctrine for foodies, but for workers in food production and service, struggling for decent jobs, it’s an organizing goal, as they attempt an alliance to take on the food mega-corporations.

Ohio’s unions won a tremendous victory November 8 when they turned out voters to defeat an anti-union law by 22 points. Why'd they win so big, and what can unions in other states learn from their success?

After months of member-to-member organizing, a group of AFSCME Local 3299 rank and filers swept October elections in the 20,000-member union on University of California campuses.

As tens of thousands celebrate the two-month anniversary of the Occupy phenomenon, why has Occupy's message—so similar to labor's—resounded more forcefully than unions' words and deeds?

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