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The lines stopped at Tennessee’s Volkswagen factory today as workers were forced to attend an all-plant captive audience meeting with the state’s Republican governor, Bill Lee.
A recording of the governor’s speech, obtained by Labor Notes, reveals a raucous meeting in which the Governor tried to praise workers while encouraging them to vote against the union.
Workers at Volkswagen’s sole U.S. plant filed for a union election with the Labor Board earlier this month. This will be the third union election there in the past five years.

Federal Workers Pivot from Shutdown to Defeat Childcare Cuts

April 29, 2019 / Ben Beckett<?
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?>How do you springboard organizing momentum from one issue fight into another? Federal workers in New York City did it when they harnessed members’ energy from a government shutdown solidarity campaign to push back against cuts to their own childcare subsidies.
The 35-day government shutdown began in December 2018, locking out hundreds of thousands of federal employees and contractors and forcing others to come to work without pay.

“The anti-union campaign has begun,” said a Volkswagen worker, who asked to not be identified due to fear of being targeted by management.
Before each shift, the 1,700 workers at the company’s Chattanooga, Tennessee factory attend mandatory meetings where they do stretches while supervisors read updates from the company’s “JumpStart” newsletter.
This morning, the supervisors read something new: anti-union talking points.

Labor Notes has been busy across the country, organizing four big Troublemakers Schools already this spring, with more to come. These schools are unique opportunities for workplace activists from various unions and sectors to build organizing skills and swap strategies.
Two hundred hospital workers, school staffers, farmworkers, and baristas packed the Plumbers Local 267 hall in Ithaca, New York, on March 23 for our first Troublemakers School of the year.

A general strike in Poland’s education sector that began on Monday, April 8 continues with no end in sight. According to organizers from the two unions that initiated the strike—the Polish Teachers’ Union (ZNP) and the Trade Union Forum (FZZ)—on the first day of the strike 14,000 schools and kindergartens out of 20,400 such institutions joined the walkout. Teachers at 2,000 of those schools have since returned to work, but there are strong indications that this will be a longer protest, comparable in scope to the mobilizations by the country’s teachers between 1991 and 1993.

International Student Workers Key To Chicago Grad Strike Victory

April 22, 2019 / Zukhra Kasimova<?
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?>Of the 1,600 members of University of Illinois at Chicago Graduate Employees (GEO) Local 6297 who struck for three weeks in March and April, almost half were international workers. Though we often feel vulnerable, given that we’re in the U.S. on visas, we were fed up with the UIC administration ignoring our financial needs and grievances.


Under the bright lights, on the big stage is usually where the headliners play, and at the IBEW Construction and Maintenance conference that’s true as well. The two conference workshop sessions are where attendees learn new ways of doing business. This year, members came together to learn about new programs within the industry, reflected on organizing efforts, and reviewed the political landscape. As tradition, the Outside Construction and Line Clearance Tree Trimming meeting started everything off and the big topic of discussion: growing the IBEW workforce.
IBEW International President Lonnie Stephenson said, “We’re trying to get more people engaged and into our programs by educating people. There are a lot of opportunities in line clearance and tree trimming. We’ve got an opportunity to organize and bring a lot more people to line clearance.”
The workshops always provide attendees with a wealth of knowledge about legal issues and duty of fair representatives. They also help inform local union leader about the obligations imposed by the DFR and how to avoid breaching them. Sessions held by the Electrical Training Alliance focused on new programs, like the...

A Hotly Contested Race for NewsGuild President

April 18, 2019 / Alexandra Bradbury<?
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?>A flagging union has found new hope in a flurry of organizing victories. Now in the union’s presidential election, members are mulling what’s the best way to keep growing—stick with the incumbent, or replace him with a young leader from last year’s biggest organizing drive?
Jon Schleuss, 31-year-old challenger to head the 20,000-member NewsGuild, led the 2018 drive at the Los Angeles Times. The landslide there was a breakthrough for the union, kicking off a banner year of growth.

The gloves are off in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Employees showing up to work this morning at the country's sole Volkswagen plant were read a letter from the company's top management expressing their opposition to unionization.

Every year as the cherry blossoms bloom in the Monument Park scattered across Washington D.C., so too are the bright lights shining on the IBEW’s annual Construction and Maintenance conference.
This year, business managers, representatives, and rank and file members from across North America gathered to focus on how to construct a better future.
On day one of C&M 2019, President Lonnie Stephenson addressed a packed house, starting by reflecting on the IBEW’s successes and growth in the last year.
President Lonnie Stephenson, “Since our last convention we’ve added more than 18,000 new construction members. We’re working more hours than ever before. We continue to nurture strong relationships with some of the biggest customers in the world, companies like Facebook and Google.”
While it’s common for challenges to face any organization, the IBEW has always taken a proactive step to finding solutions. While growth is necessary to combat a shortage of workers, there is one workforce made up of individuals with core values that align with the IBEW.
President Lonnie Stephenson, “Folks who already know something about working with their hands, and...