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Karen Lewis, the Chicago Teachers Union president who led the landmark 2012 strike, died February 7. Her generosity, charisma, and indomitable strength of purpose were gifts to labor organizers across the country who watched, learned, listened, and stepped up themselves.Karen Lewis Lit the Spark

February 10, 2021 / Labor Notes Staff

Part 2 of a series on Amazon's delivery drivers. Part 1, “Building Its Own Delivery Network, Amazon Puts the Squeeze On Drivers,” is here.
The Amazonification of logistics has created a new group of highly exploited workers: delivery drivers. Amazon itself increasingly relies on an expanding network of subcontracted drivers and independent contractors to deliver packages to customers’ doors.Surveillance, Stress, and No Bathrooms: Life as an Amazon Driver

February 09, 2021 / Jake Alimahomed-Wilson

Blog: BlogAuthor(s): Alexandra BradburyThis week the U.S. labor movement lost its best-known and best-loved troubadour: the great folksinger-songwriter Anne Feeney. She died of Covid on February 3, at age 69, with her children at her side. With her fantastic songs and feisty spirit, she made an incalculable contribution to the movement. She is irreplaceable, and gone too soon.

Blog: BlogNew York City fast food workers will now have legal protections against unjust firings, after the City Council passed a package of bills prohibiting fast food employers from terminating employees or cutting workers’ hours without “just cause.”
Just cause requires employers to provide workers with due process in disciplines. It’s typically found only in union contracts. The default in nonunion workplaces in the U.S. is “at-will” employment, where workers can be fired for nearly any reason.

Blog: BlogMore than 100 nations are urging the World Trade Organization to waive its “intellectual property” rules so that countries can start producing generic Covid-19 vaccines and treatments to increase global supplies. Unfortunately, the United States under Trump was one of just a handful of countries to block that waiver—putting Big Pharma profits ahead of ending the pandemic.

Your union contract isn’t expected to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. But it does matter if it’s well written.
The goal is a contract that members can read. Member participation in enforcement starts with a contract which is reader-friendly. Don’t blindly include language without a critical review just because it was used for the previous contract.
So, if your local is holding a proposal meeting and you are on the bargaining committee, what is the first step in making your contract readable and easier for members to enforce?Steward's Corner: Drafting Good Contract Language

February 02, 2021 / Richard de Vries

Blog: BlogAuthor(s): Joe DeManuelle-Hall
Fights for union demands such as safe staffing and struggles against privatization have taken on even more significance during a dire public health crisis.
In this webinar on January 29th, we heard from worker leaders who organized with their co-workers to use their ultimate weapon—the strike—to fight for what they need not just during the pandemic, but beyond.

Author(s): Joe DeManuelle-HallWorkers at an auto parts factory in Norwalk, Ohio, are reviving a classic tactic—they’re eight days into a walkout to demand that their employer recognize their union.
The strikers work for Borgers, a German-owned Tier 1 auto parts supplier, meaning they supply parts directly to auto manufacturers. The factory produces wheel well and trunk liners for companies like General Motors, Ford, Volvo, BMW, and Tesla.Ohio Auto Parts Workers Are on Strike to Unionize

January 29, 2021 / Joe DeManuelle-Hall

Blog: BlogAuthor(s): Barbara MadeloniDemocracy is on everyone’s mind, after the presidential election and transition we’ve just weathered.
There’s the democracy we had to defend. Union members participated in all kinds of ways—from postal workers making sure the ballots were delivered, to UNITE HERE members canvassing Arizona and Georgia, to central labor councils calling for the results to be respected.
Then there’s the democracy we don’t have yet. The struggle to vote and have your vote counted has a long legacy in this country.

Blog: BlogThe feminist movement sometimes gets derided as ignoring working-class women, but in fact it was the source of urgent demands for equal pay and childcare as well as some of the most creative labor organizing of the 1970s. A new documentary, 9to5: The Story of a Movement, premiering February 1 on PBS, captures a vibrant part of this movement: the pioneering organizing of clerical workers starting in 1972.