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Author Archive | Steve Early

Chirlane McCray and Bill de Blasio

A tale of many cities: potholes in the road to municipal reform

As a growing number of groups on the left have begun dabbling in local electoral politics—most notably via the Democratic Socialists of America (or DSA-backed candidacies)—we would do well to heed the warning of Juan Gonzalez about the “consultant class” (currently in the employ of Mayor de Blasio). The allure of corner-cutting political consultants, corporate […]

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The Spirit of Tony Mazzocchi Is Haunting Big Oil Today

Twelve years ago, America’s leading advocate of occupational health and environmental safety succumbed to pancreatic cancer. In the U.S., where the influence of organized labor has long been contracting, the death of a former trade union official is often little noted.  Yet Tony Mazzocchi was no ordinary labor leader.  His passing from the scene, at […]

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Hawaiian Workers Fight Kaiser Pension Takeaway

Mary Ann Barnes, the newly arrived president of healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente in Hawaii, recently informed hospital workers that the world figure she most admires is the late Mother Teresa — because of “her humanity and selflessness.”  Pictured wearing a lei around her neck, Barnes explained in KP’s employee newsletter that her top management priority […]

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Wisconsin Uprising

Open Shop Trend Makes Organizing the “Organized” Top Union Priority

For many years, American unions have been trying to “organize the unorganized” to offset and, where possible, reverse their steady loss of dues-paying members.  In union circles, a distinction was often made between this “external organizing” — to recruit workers who currently lack collective bargaining rights — and “internal organizing,” which involves engaging more members […]

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Dial 1-800-Unionism Is Not the Answer

When the history of public sector de-unionization in the Midwest is written, its sad chroniclers will begin their story in Indiana.  That’s where Governor Mitch Daniels paved the way, six years ago, for more recent attacks on workers’ rights in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Michigan. Daniels, a right-wing Republican, was elected in 2004.  He got plenty […]

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The Bipartisan Assault on Home-based Caregivers

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is not alone in bashing public employees these days.  In the view of his fellow GOP governor, Mitch Daniels from Indiana, a possible presidential candidate next year, collective bargaining has transformed civil servants into “a new privileged class.”  For right-wing Republican governors and legislators, the solution to state and local government […]

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TDU in Chicago

Chicago. During the 1970s, a small slice of the trade union left was able to tap into working-class discontent and workplace militancy in a very enduring way.  The result, in the unlikely venue of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), was an on-going “Tea Party” in the best and original sense of that Boston-based organizing […]

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Scoundrel Time at Kaiser

The stereotypical union battles of the past were fought by burly working-class heroes, on the picket line and the proverbial “shop floor.”  Think of tough-looking guys, wearing scally caps (and wielding baseball bats, when necessary), while marching through the streets of the San Francisco in 1934.  Their enemies were many — the long-shore bosses and […]

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