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The Troublemakers Union turns 40 next year! We’re planning a whole series of events to commemorate the occasion, from special magazine features to speaking tours and more.
As part of our celebration, we’re gathering memories of Labor Notes history, and we’d appreciate if you shared yours.
When was the first time you came across Labor Notes?
What role have Labor Notes and our supporters played in your organizing?

Liu Penghua, along with Mi Jiuping, was one of the three workers who took the lead in trying to form a union at the Jasic welding equipment factory in Shenzhen, China. Liu was the first to face retribution for his actions, suffering a beating by factory thugs on July 16. He is now among the four worker activists being tried for participation in the Jasic organizing.

We have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season. Let’s not forget our coworkers, not only make each day a little more productive, but also a little bit more enjoyable. Let’s not forget our local leaders and administrators who do everything they can to represent us well and keep track of everything it takes to run a local union. Let’s not forget our instructors at the JATC who keep our skills sharp, or the organizers who spend their days hearing, “No” a lot more than they hear, “Yes.”
Most importantly, let’s not forget our families who are always there to support us. There’s nothing like coming home to see our family and realizing you put in a hard day’s work. None of us can do it alone, and because of that, we have a lot to be thankful for.
May your turkey be hot, your beer be cold, and, most importantly, may your football team win. Happy Thanksgiving!
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The post President’s Message: Happy Thanksgiving 2018 appeared first on IBEW Hour Power.

University of California Workers Strike for Racial Justice

November 20, 2018 / Chris Brooks<?
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?>University workers across California hit the streets October 23-25 in their latest strike aimed at confronting racism in the state’s higher education system.
A longer strike could be ahead. “Like Malcolm X said, by any means necessary,” said bargaining committee member Luster Howard, a truck driver at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
The University of California is the state’s third-largest employer, and AFSCME Local 3299 is its largest union, representing 24,000 patient care and service workers across 10 campuses and five university hospitals.

A Detroit News article published in October revealed that our union, the Auto Workers (UAW), is building a luxurious three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath “cabin” as a permanent residence for retired President Dennis Williams at Black Lake, the union’s educational retreat center in Northern Michigan.
The article implied that this wasteful project had the full support of delegates like us at the recent UAW Constitutional Convention. But if this project was before the delegates, it was hidden in obscure language and therefore not apparent.

Yu Juncong—the author of the first open letter to Jasic Technology and one of the first Jasic workers to openly protest the company’s policies—was fired in May 2018 for his actions. On July 27, he attempted to re-enter the factory along with other fired workers who had raised their voices against the company and, along with his wife and younger brother who were there in support, was arrested. Yu is one of the four workers being officially tried in the Jasic incident.
The following is Yu’s story, based on his wife Huang Lanfeng’s recollections.

Note: Li Zhan is a former worker at the Jasic welding-equipment factory in China’s manufacturing hub of Shenzhen. He's been held in Shenzhen Number 2 detention center for over 100 days for supporting the effort to form a union at Jasic this summer. Li is one of four workers against whom charges have been pressed for “disturbing social order” in the course of the Jasic struggle. They have been held in detention and denied access to their lawyers as they await trial.

In the Pacific Northwest, the First Paraeducator-Led Strike of the Teacher Uprising

November 16, 2018 / Dan DiMaggio<?
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?>Paraeducators in Port Angeles, Washington, are on strike. In this year’s wave of teacher strikes, it’s the first one led by paraeducators.
Teachers have refused to cross their picket lines, shutting down the district’s schools Thursday and Friday.
The 115 paradeucators in this small coastal city, just across the water from Canada, assist with everything from reading lessons to recess. Paraeducators play an essential role in today’s schools, offering extra attention and care to students who need it—especially those with disabilities.

Checklist: Are You Organizing Democratically?

November 16, 2018 / Matt Noyes<?
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?>Labor Notes has always emphasized that union power requires democracy. That’s because unions need active members to be strong—and people won’t stay active for long if they don’t have a meaningful say.
But “be democratic” is easier said than done. What does democratic organizing look like in practice? How can your efforts be made more inclusive?

Teacher Strike Threat Backs Off ExxonMobil

November 15, 2018 / Barbara Madeloni<?
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?>Sometimes the boss offers us a fight that directly exposes the destructive effects of corporate power.
In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, that moment came when ExxonMobil asked for yet another handout from taxpayers—property tax exemptions totaling $6 million.
For the ninth-largest corporation in the world, it was a routine request. ExxonMobil is accustomed to receiving such perks from obedient state officials. But teachers saw it differently: as a $6 million theft from the local schools budget.