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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...

Third Time’s the Charm? UAW Announces New Election at Volkswagen

April 11, 2019 / Chris Brooks<?
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?>For the third time in five years, auto workers will vote on whether to form a union at the country’s sole Volkswagen plant, located in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
On Tuesday, the United Auto Workers (UAW) filed for an election to represent all 1,709 of the plant’s hourly employees, requesting that the election be held on April 29 and 30.
The union’s first attempt in 2014 failed after a slim majority of workers voted no, following a barrage of threats by politicians and business-backed anti-union groups.

Who Controls Our Time?

April 09, 2019 / Dan Clawson and Naomi Gerstel<?
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?>As the bumper sticker has it, unions are “the folks who brought you the weekend.” Unions fought for the 10-hour day, and then the eight-hour day… and then our fight stopped. We never got to a six-hour-day fight.
Instead we started to backslide. We not only lost the weekend; we lost control over our time. This slippage mirrors the decline in real wages over the last generation—both signs that organized labor has gotten weaker.

On Saturday, March 30, 100 union members, labor activists, and allies met in Detroit for a Troublemakers School: a day of skill-sharing and strategizing about workplace organizing.
Though it was gray and drizzling outside, the energy at the Troublemakers School was strong all day, closing out with a call from Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib to keep up the fight. Tlaib is pushing for a Green New Deal that would create millions of jobs by converting our economy to sustainable energy and transportation.

Making Peace with Fellow Union Members

April 02, 2019 / Steve Lawton<?
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?>What’s the role of a shop steward? Traditionally we think of someone who’s knowledgeable about the contract, the law, and how things function in our workplace and union.
But one role often gets neglected: the peacemaker.
I don’t mean someone who makes peace between workers and the boss. A steward has to be a fighter. But I do mean that the steward should foster a culture of solidarity, establish healthy debate, and facilitate collective decisions.

Since 1979, Labor Notes has been home to the troublemaking wing of the labor movement. The pages of our magazine are filled with the stories of workers who are working to transform their unions, to take on the boss, to fight for racial justice.
We believe that working people's best bet is on ourselves. That's why our trainings, and national conference, focus on connecting workers to one another across unions and industries and provide rank-and-file organizers with the tools they need to get the job done themselves.