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GM Strikers Have One Chance: Vote No

September 16, 2019 / Jane Slaughter<?
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?>Auto workers on strike since midnight at General Motors are between a rock and a hard place—a hugely profitable company making outrageous demands for concessions and a union leadership that made no plan for winning a strike and has not even told members what they’re going out for. Picket signs say simply “UAW on Strike.”
Over the last decades many other unions have taught themselves how to do contract campaigns and strikes, with members on board from the get-go. But to look at the UAW’s confrontation with GM this week, you’d think none of that experience had ever happened.

More than 120 years ago the American Federationist, the newspaper of the American Federation of Labor, printed an editorial denouncing the entry of women into the trades. One of its many nuggets of misogyny was this: “The wholesale employment of women in the various handicrafts must gradually unsex them.”
That term was probably as unclear then as it is today, but if unsexed means women today are declining to pursue “nature’s dearest impulse” (another of the article’s nuggets), then we are indeed unsexed, because there’s a birth strike going on.

To mark our 40th anniversary year, Labor Notes is reprinting occasional selections from our archives. This story was published in issue # 22 in November 1980. --Editors
On October 25 a coalition of labor, religious, civil rights, and civic organizations held a rally in Uniontown, Pa., 60 miles south of Pittsburgh, to protest a recruitment drive and rally by the Ku Klux Klan. The anti-Klan rally, organized by the Pittsburgh-based Ad Hoc Committee to Counter KKK Activity, drew over 500 people.

Steward's Corner: Tips for Helping Members During Investigatory Interviews

September 09, 2019 / Robert M. Schwartz<?
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?>One of the most important jobs of a union representative is to help workers during investigatory interviews over discipline for an alleged infraction. An able rep can help a worker avoid self-incrimination. The rep may also dissuade an employer from imposing a penalty.

You’ve probably noticed that Hollywood doesn’t turn out many movies about unions. But, says film buff and labor historian Toni Gilpin, there are some overlooked movies out there that depict working people and their lives on the job even though they might lack scenes with picket lines. This is her first installment in an occasional series.—Eds.

Corruption Cases in the Auto Workers Complicate Bargaining

September 04, 2019 / Jane Slaughter<?
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?>The Auto Workers' bargaining for 150,000 blue-collar workers at the Big Three auto companies was further complicated August 28 when the FBI raided the homes of UAW President Gary Jones and former President Dennis Williams. The FBI had search warrants for six locations in Wisconsin, Missouri, Michigan, and California.

How Los Angeles Teachers Built Up Our Courage to Strike

September 04, 2019 / Arlene Inouye<?
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?>Teachers in Los Angeles struck and won last January. In the months leading up to the strike, how did we overcome our fears and the school district’s intimidation tactics?
United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) has 34,000 members at 900 schools spread across eight areas of the city, each with its own area meetings. Here’s what we did:
Start early with accurate information.

A lineman’s job is a very dangerous one. They must work during all temperatures, hot and cold, late at night or early in the morning, and in disasters because the power has to be on. They leave their families in the harshest of times, but Terry Riffe, the co-founder of the National Sisterhood United for Journeymen Linemen said, “You accept it, you do what you can, be strong for your family.” As a lineman’s wife you wait until the danger is over, and then get ready for the next one. Families of linemen are faced with this dangerous reality everyday. When a lineman is injured it’s a hard situation for everyone.
The NSUJL is a non-profit organization that supports IBEW Journeymen Linemen and their families in work related accidents that lead to injury or death. The NSUJL is there for families physically or emotionally when they are in times of need. They have the ability to make sure families don’t have to worry about anything.
Every year the NSUJL hold’s a linemen’s rodeo. Locals from all over the country gather to support the fallen. When brothers come together, it becomes a family reunion. Every year they hold a climb for lost linemen where lanterns are hung...

“Hey, Barbara. This is Arne Duncan. I just wanted to congratulate you on your election victory.”
In 2014, as an insurgent candidate from the Educators for a Democratic Union caucus, I won the presidency of the Massachusetts Teachers Association. Duncan, then Obama’s Secretary of Education, was one of the first congratulation calls I got. The message he left on my phone provoked lots of astonished laughter when I shared it at meetings and in bars.

Fifty Years after Stonewall: LGBTQ Workers Seek Equality

August 23, 2019 / Saurav Sarkar<?
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?>This summer marked the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, where police raids on a New York bar led to six days of protests and clashes, sparking the modern lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender movement. We decided to take a look around the country at some of the organizing by LGBTQ workers and allies in the labor movement today. Here’s a flavor of what’s happening in the post-marriage equality era. —Editors
LGBTQ workers continue to face discrimination and unemployment at higher rates than the population as a whole.