Subjects Archives: Labor

  • Western Canada Labor Battles Show Need for Solidarity

    Thirty-eight thousand public school teachers in British Columbia voted on October 23 by seventy-seven percent to end a sixteen-day strike that had brought the province to the brink of a general strike. The teachers, members of the BC Teachers Federation, walked off the job on October 6. Bargaining for a new collective agreement was going […]

  • Let’s Put the Nature of Work on Labor’s Agenda: Part Seven

      Michael D. Yates, “Let’s Put the Nature of Work on Labor’s Agenda,” Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, and Part 6 The reason why work is so unsatisfying is simple.  Work cannot be fulfilling; it cannot allow us to fully use our uniquely human capacities; it cannot be anything but […]

  • Organized Labor to Women: “You’re on Your Own in Reproductive Rights Struggle”

      “You will never solve the problem until you let in the women.” “Women win all strikes!” — Mother Jones Mary Harris (Mother) Jones predicted over 100 years ago that, if organized labor didn’t embrace gender equality within the unions and in society in general, the problems faced by labor would not be resolved. But […]

  • Labor: Engaging the Community and Building Grassroots Legitimacy — a Report from Northwest Indiana

    While I have been critical of developments in the labor movement at the national level for quite a while, there are stirrings at the local levels in some places that are encouraging. I want to report on a recent effort by the Northwest Indiana Federation of Labor. Indiana, as many know, strongly supported President Bush […]

  • Commodity Fetishism: A Concept for Organizing against Sweatshop Labor and Neoliberal Globalization

    Two URPE Insights First, I should start by assuring you that I have not gone round the bend. I am not about to suggest that we dust off our volumes of Capital, corner some poor unsuspecting soul, and then launch into some long-winded exegesis of the concept of commodity fetishism. That sounds more like a […]

  • Labor: Eyeless in America

    Whoopee! The Change to Win Coalition has established itself in the labor movement! Happy Days are here again! Andy Stern’s going to lead us to the promised land! And the overwhelming response by American workers: yawn. At the time when American workers — indeed, US society as a whole — so much need a new […]

  • Protect UAW Retirees: Their Future Is Our Future

      [The UAW New Directions Movement (NDM), founded in the 1980s to challenge the auto union’s policy of “jointness” and lack of internal democracy, is experiencing a new burst of support from the union’s rank-and-file membership. The movement’s revitalization comes as workers in the auto industry are facing unprecedented health care concession demands by General […]

  • An Open Letter to the Labor Movement regarding Katrina

    Brothers and Sisters, The crisis for the working class (whether employed or not, waged or not) continues to grow. Even as the nation, and especially the poor and Black working class of the Gulf states and New Orleans in particular, tries to pick up the pieces after Katrina’s (and Rita’s) devastation, the assault by capital […]

  • Southern Hospitality: Life in a “Right-to-Work” State

      [What follows is an essay written in response to Michael D. Yates’ call for essays on work. — Ed.] My name is Jeremy Evanchesky. I’m originally from Central City, Pennsylvania and now live in Lakeland, Florida. I work as a teacher at the Homer K. Addair Career Academy. When I first came to the […]

  • Let’s Put the Nature of Work on Labor’s Agenda: Part Six

      In the last four parts of this series, I gave many examples of the alienating and degrading nature of work in capitalist societies. Even “good” jobs, such as college teaching and nursing, have lost whatever luster they once had. Part-time teachers teach an increasing fraction of all course while struggling to make ends meet. […]

  • A New Labor Federation Claims Its Space: If Enthusiasm on Display Were Substance, CtW Could Claim a Good Start

    Jerry Tucker The founding convention of the Change-to-Win labor federation held in St. Louis on September 27, 2005 was, if nothing else, filled with enthusiasm and efficiently managed.  The founding unions’ top leaders put forward a lean and specifically organizing-focused agenda, and it was adopted without even a hint of dissent.  The longer-term question is […]

  • Let’s Put the Nature of Work on Labor’s Agenda: Part Five

    [Author’s note: Let me repeat my invitation at the end of Part Four of this series. Readers are invited to submit short essays, about 1,000 words, about their work. What do you do? In what ways is your work satisfying? In what ways is it not? How could it be made better? Send your essays […]

  • John Roberts, Stare Decisis, and the Return of Lochner: An Impetus to Jump-Start the Labor Movement

      There are some things we take for granted, some things that seem so natural we forget that they were the result of long, hard struggle: the forty-hour work week, weekends off, the abolition of child labor, worker safety laws, and the right to collective bargaining — to name a few. But as John Roberts […]

  • US Labor Leaders:

    As one considers developments in and around the main currents of the US labor movement — the recent split in the AFL-CIO, and the reaction of both sides of the split to the ongoing strike by AMFA against Northwest Airlines, most particularly — it is difficult not to get discouraged by lack of leadership. Let […]

  • Waiting to Be Paid

      [What follows is an essay written in response to Michael D. Yates’ call for essays on work. — Ed.] I have a number of jobs. I homeschool a special needs child, I work part-time in a cat shelter, and I work part-time in our family business, a solo CPA practice. My husband works about […]

  • Labor Day Poses Hard Questions

    It’s impossible to celebrate Labor Day 2005 without asking some hard questions: How organized is “organized” labor? How much of a movement is the labor “movement”? The last six weeks have torn away whatever shreds of clothing the emperor might have been wearing.  We can deny the crisis no longer. In late July at the […]

  • Keep the “Labor” in Labor Day: Remembering the Lowell Mill Girls

    “In vain do I try to soar in fancy and imagination above the dull reality around me but beyond the roof of the factory I cannot rise.” — anonymous Lowell Mill worker, 1826 Lowell, Massachusetts was named after the wealthy Lowell family. They owned numerous textile mills, which attracted the unmarried daughters of New England […]

  • Toward an Organized Left in the Labor Movement

    The cold split that just occurred in the AFL-CIO has opened up a new page for US labor. As Bill Fletcher has observed in several excellent articles on the issue, the “debate” leading up to the split took place far over the heads of the members of the unions who pay the salaries of the […]

  • Let’s Put the Nature of Work on Labor’s Agenda: Part Four

      [Author’s note: Let me repeat my invitation at the end of Part Three of this series. Readers are invited to submit short essays, about 1,000 words, about their work. What do you do? In what ways is your work satisfying? In what ways is it not? How could it be made better? Send your […]

  • Let’s Put the Nature of Work on Labor’s Agenda: Part Three

      In Part Two, we examined the rapidly changing nature of post-secondary teaching, one of the two reasonably skilled  jobs among the top ten jobs estimated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to show the highest job growth between 2002 and 2012. The other job is nursing. Job experts claim that there is a […]