• The Agonizers

    Eric Mann.  Playbook for Progressives: 16 Qualities of the Successful Organizer.  Beacon Press, 2011. “Agonizer” was the term an old girlfriend of mine from my vanguard organization days used to describe the branch organizer for the party.  An apt description for someone tasked to do the thankless job of running meetings, setting schedules, and seeing […]

  • US Postal Service Crisis? Two Postal Workers Speak Out

    An interview with postal workers Jim Kaufman and Jeff Levitt from Albany, New York, about the alleged financial crisis of the Postal Service Jeff Levitt: It is an artificially created crisis.  It’s created by the Congress. . . .  In 2006, the Postal Service became an institution that is required to pre-fund future retiree health […]

  • Interview with Sandy Pope, Candidate for General President of the Teamsters Union

    Sandy Pope: For twelve years Hoffa has promised to restore the power of the union, and we have done nothing but go backwards.  We have lost thousands of members, thousands of good union jobs.  We’re not organizing [non-union] companies that are going up against our union competition. The members don’t have faith that the union […]

  • Postcards?  No Thanks!

    In the past year or two it seems as if I have been signing or getting signed more postcards, letters, and petitions to Congress than at any time in my personal history. Most likely this was the result of the 2008 election, which put the Democrats completely in power, holding the Presidency, House, and Senate. […]

  • Signs of the Beginning of the End of the Long Retreat of Labor

    Six years ago, I organized a bus from the Albany area to attend the “Million Worker March,” which was an attempt by longshore local ILWU Local 10 and some activist African-American union leaders to present labor’s demands during the 2004 election year.  That rally was not supported by the AFL-CIO and of course fell far […]

  • Reading Railroad Noir

    Linda Grant Niemann.  Railroad Noir: The American West at the End of the Twentieth Century.  Photographs by Joel Jensen.  Indiana University Press, 2010.  Pp. 168.  ISBN-13: 978-0-253-35446-4. Linda Niemann worked for twenty years as a railroad brakeman in the western US.  I have worked for twenty years in a railroad diesel shop in the eastern […]

  • Over a Hundred Momentive Workers, Labor Leaders, and Activists Attend a Discussion of Tactics and Strategy with Author and Labor Activist Steve Early

    Momentive Performance Materials stewards and workers represented by IUE/CWA Local 81359 were joined by labor leaders and activists from around the Capital District of Upstate New York in a wide-ranging discussion of labor strategy and tactics on Wednesday, March 31 in Waterford, New York. Momentive workers, formerly employees of General Electric, suffered 25 to 50 […]

  • GlobalFoundries Wants $300 Million More from NYS Taxpayers While Paying Down Debt for Singapore Chip Fab Plant

    When it comes to scamming workers in the name of “JOBS,” big multinational corporations have few peers.  Case in point: GlobalFoundries, the chip fab company set up by AMD, now majority-owned by Abu Dhabi’s Advanced Technology Investment Company (ATIC). GlobalFoundries has already hit up New York State taxpayers for a cool 1.2 billion to build […]

  • How Did the Democrats Pass a Republican Health Care Bill?  My Response to E.J. Dionne

    “Here is the ultimate paradox of the Great Health Care Showdown: Congress will divide along partisan lines to pass a Republican version of health care reform, and Republicans will vote against it.” — E.J. Dionne, 20 March 2010 Here is where the true beauty of the two-party capitalist political system kicks in. Spiraling health care […]

  • Fighting for a Union at Latham Holiday Inn Express

    As a winter blast roared into Albany, New York, the workers who have been fighting for a union at the Latham Holiday Inn Express turned a support rally into a victory celebration.  They were joined by labor supporters, politicians, and notably a busload of workers from IUE/CWA Local 81359, who are fighting their own battle […]

  • Is a New Chip Fab Plant Fabulous for Workers?

    Good 21st-century jobs will be built on the basis of high-tech computer-based industries — this is a narrative that we have been told many times in the corporate press. The construction of a new computer chip fabrication plant just north of the Capital District of upstate New York by GlobalFoundries is touted by the business […]

  • The Campaign to Stop Single-Employee Railroad Crews

    Labor productivity soared in the United States in 2009.  According to the Transport Times of December 3, 2009, productivity increased by 6.4% in the second quarter and leaped by 8.1% in the third quarter. Labor costs fell at a 2.5% rate in the third quarter of 2009, capping the biggest 12-month drop in seven years. […]

  • Momentive Workers Protest Pay Cuts

    Braving freezing temperatures not far from the shore of the Hudson River, members of IUE/CWA 81359 picketed outside the Waterford, New York Momentive plant on Tuesday, January 12, protesting the anniversary of drastic unilateral pay cuts imposed by Momentive Performance Materials in late 2008. Business Week describes Momentive as follows: “Momentive Performance Materials Inc., together […]

  • A Victory for Single Payer at AFL-CIO Convention

    It started with a Single Payer caucus at 8 in the morning where Mark Dudzic, Rose Ann DeMoro, and others brought us up to date on how they saw the day unfolding. The two-resolution agreement was holding up.  The resolutions would be discussed after the Obama speech.  The general sentiment of the meeting was that […]

  • Ode to Black Friday

    God rest ye merry Walmart Shoppers Let nothing you dismay Remember Sales our Saviour Was born on Black Friday To save us all from inflation’s power When we were gone astray O tidings of TVs and Toys, Consumption and Toys O tidings of Consumption and Toys In Nassau, in New York State, Thus tragedy was […]

  • Interview with Linda Niemann, Author of Boomer, Railroad Memoirs

    Linda Niemann‘s Boomer: Railroad Memoirs is one of a handful of outstanding books, like Ben Hamper’s Rivethead, that have documented industrial working-class life in the United States, as experienced by the children of the sixties. Boomer vividly illuminates how a generation of railroad workers faced the receding standard of living for workers in the seventies […]

  • Obama, Afghanistan, and the Anti-War Movement

    Nine US soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan this week in a major attack attributed to the Taliban. More US troops have been killed in Afghanistan than Iraq in the past several months. We can expect as a result that the Democrats and their Presidential candidate Obama will intensify their calls for shifting the “war […]

  • Notes on the 2008 Labor Notes Conference

    The left press is buzzing about the SEIU disruption of the 2008 Labor Notes Conference in Detroit.  Perhaps lost, as a result, is the significance of this  event. This bi-annual labor activist conference has been taking place for almost 30 years now, and it provides a space for labor activists to meet and discuss all […]

  • The Man Who Hated Work and Loved Labor

    THE MAN WHO HATED WORK AND LOVED LABOR by Les LeopoldBUY THIS BOOK I just finished reading Les Leopold’s biography of Tony Mazzocchi, The Man Who Hated Work and Loved Labor.   I finished it in about a day.  It’s that kind of a read, an old-fashioned page turner for anyone interested in the working class […]

  • Illegal Aliens Responsible for the Mortgage Crisis!

    “O there are times, we must confess To harboring a whim — we Like to picture old Karl Marx Sliding down our chimney” — Susie Day “Help fund the good fight.   By contributing to MR, you help reinforce the left and reclaim the future.” — Richard D. Vogel “To do my part, I just […]