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Jump-Start a Weak Union from Below

July 02, 2018 / Labor Notes<?
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?>What if you’re caught in a union that's not doing a good job?
What if your union is mostly invisible, or only reaches out when there’s a crisis, or doesn’t fight for good contracts, or is too cozy with the boss? Perhaps when some rep comes around asking you to recommit, you and your co-workers are saying, “Really? Why should we?”
You might even be tempted to stop paying dues yourself, as a form of protest. Don’t do it. In your heart you know workers need a union to have any shot at building power on the job.

The Anti-Union Game Plan

July 02, 2018 / Labor Notes<?
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?>The open-shop offensive is part of a multipronged plan to ‘defund and defang’ the labor movement. Opt-out canvassers may show up on your doorstep next.

Rebuilding Power in Open-Shop America
A Labor Notes Guidelabornotes.org/openshop

The Racist History of Right-to-Work

July 02, 2018 / Labor Notes<?
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?>“Right-to-work” laws originated in the 1940s as a strategy to maintain Jim Crow in the South.
The biggest pusher of the idea was Vance Muse—a well-heeled corporate lobbyist, white supremacist, anti-Semite, and professional anti-unionist from Texas who saw the New Deal as a Communist Jewish conspiracy.
According to Muse and his followers, the CIO was sending labor organizers to the rural South to inflame a contented but gullible African-American population and to force white workers to join unions together with Black workers and call them “brother.”

We’re introducing a new segment on Hour Power called Band of Brotherhood. We created this segment because we’re always looking to grow the IBEW and looking to hire returning military veterans.
Growing the IBEW isn’t as simple as grabbing people off the streets and putting them on a job site. Part of the challenge is not just anyone can do our work. However, veterans have been have been great workers and valuable assets to our union.
These vets are in great demand and we have to compete with other crafts just to win them over. Band of Brotherhood will highlight these veterans and show different profiles. We’ll show vets who are happy to talk about their new life in the IBEW.
Nothing sells the IBEW like a vet telling his or her story. The best home for a returning vet is right here, with the IBEW. Our challenge to our fellow brothers and sisters to help get the word out. We’re asking you to share the first episode of the Band of Brotherhood with those you know, and stay tuned for episode two featuring brother John Rusnak from IBEW Local 673​.
 
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IBEW Local 134’s recently remodeled a union hall represents the pride the union has in the community and the membership.
Don Finn, Business Manager, IBEW Local 134,“Today is our grand opening of our IBEW 134 union hall and Bronzeville campus. We came from 600 West Washington, which was a great hall, but we outgrew it. Our members deserve a great union hall like they have now. They’ve done an unbelievable job supporting us and we’re going to keep them proud.”
Lonnie Stephenson, IBEW International President, “Local 134 in Chicago recently purchased this property and remodeled it. It’s good for the local union and great for the community.”
Don Finn, Business Manager, IBEW Local 134, “We chose the Bronzeville community to relocate our offices because it’s a jewel that has never been looked into. With us coming here and partnering with the community, it’s a perfect fit. We’re very proud of what has transpired since moving here.
Don said they included the Terry Allen Community Center as part of their union hall to include the Bronzeville community. IBEW 134 wanted them to know they came to this city as a partner, not just a union.
Lonnie Stephenson, IBEW...

How West Virginia Activists Organized a Solidarity Fund for the Uprising

June 19, 2018 / Chris Brooks<?
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?>Strikes are won by workers—often with a little help from their friends.
During their two-week strike, West Virginia’s salaried classroom teachers still got paid, because superintendents closed schools. The days missed were treated like snow days to be made up later. But workers paid by the hour or day—such as substitute teachers, teaching aides, bus drivers, and cafeteria workers—weren’t getting paychecks. Few had much savings to fall back on.

The late 1960s and 1970s gave rise to grassroots movements for union democracy all over the United States. The ones in the Auto Workers and Mine Workers have been written about the most, but Steelworkers Fightback was no less momentous.

Nashville Painters Aim To Build Immigrant Base

June 14, 2018 / Dan DiMaggio<?
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?>How can building trades unions organize workers in an area where they don’t have much of a foothold? You’ve got to become a fixture in the community, and be in it for the long haul.
That’s the commitment the Painters are making in Nashville, Tennessee, where they just launched the Alianza Laboral (Spanish for “labor alliance”) Worker Resource Center.

Five Lessons from the History of Public Sector Unions

June 11, 2018 / Priscilla Murolo<?
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?>As public sector unions contemplate losing key rights under the law, it’s worth remembering that for much of their history, such unions organized with no rights at all.
It wasn’t till 1958 that New York became the first city to authorize collective bargaining for city employees. Wisconsin did the same for state employees in 1959, and federal workers got bargaining rights in 1962.

How They Did It...

Auriana Fabricatore, a shop steward and member of UFCW Local 400, shared how she and her coworkers planned and executed a successful march on the boss, after getting the idea at the 2018 Labor Notes Conference. Read her story here.