We can win all of these strikes and still lose the class war. Unless...
This will warm your heart...The UPS driver who delivers to my workplace is a helluva guy and we have had long conversations on the 'State of the Unions' over the years...He's super savvy on all the deets of the upcoming strike and union interworkings at UPS...Last week they did a 'practice protest' run outside of the hub where he works...Holding signs...doing the chants...Just kind of 'breaking the ice' so to speak for if and when the strike happens it will feel less 'unfamiliar'....
Anyhoo, the hub is in an industrial park area and not on a major thoroughfare...But he said HUNDREDS of cars drove by in those 3 hours, honking their horns and enthusiastically showing their support...Like I say, they had to DELIBERATELY drive into this industrial park so the honking wasn't just from random people who just HAPPENED to be driving by
People are fucking PAYING ATTENTION to this upcoming potential strike...I'm so used to apathy that I have to wonder what happened!
What a lovely turn!
So, this is CLEARLY somthing that has the public's attention and support
Say, remember when Lina Khan observed that it might not be good for "society" to have vertically integrated companies that are worth a trillion or more, and are close to being able to charge consumers whatever they want, and are able to pay workers whatevet they please, and can crush a potential competitor by winking at them?
And remember when Larry Summers wrote a NYTimes editorial calling her a populist simpleton?
I’m a proud Teamster, Hollywood 399. Seems an easy expansion for us would be to include our entry-level folks (in my field that’s casting assistants) in the union instead of only higher-level workers. Certainly worth discussing with leadership.
Out of curiosity, will you still be contributing to 'In These Times'?
I appreciate your writing.Thanks for your work.
Back in the late 90s I read an article in Musician magazine (long since defunct) about a membership drive by the Los Angeles local of the AFM (musician’s union) that was apparently having some success recruiting younger musicians. One member was quoted as saying that prior to the campaign “the average age of our membership was ‘deceased’.” There were glowing descriptions of ventures such as building a low-cost studio for new members to record in, and how new and younger members were the driving force behind the projects, new energy, better-attended meetings, etc.
There were also quotes from skeptical EX-members with tales of how the AFM of prior eras had gone out of its way to be hostile to younger musicians, with sarcastic comments like “I think it’s real swell they’ve figured out that there’s kids with long hair coming over from England.”😅
And that’s sadly been the story I’ve seen of unions in my lifetime (GenX). Yeah, I love what unions have done and continue to do for workers. And yeah, I want very badly to support them in the face of unrelenting attack from greedy bastards. But it seems that too often, younger cohorts of workers have gotten the shaft - either from getting “grandfathered out” of benefits older workers took for granted, or simply being thrown to the wolves.
If labor is to ever truly rise again as a genuine force for the good of all, then ALL need to be included and ALL must be fought for. No half measures.
"We are fighting for the very existence of the middle class." Here I was thinking that the point was to empower the *working* class, or even to abolish class altogether!
Even if the US unions get their way with AI, studios will just run amuck with it abroad in non unionized territories. Theyve already been exploiting cheap
Labor and vulnerable workers abroad, now they will just accelerate it. And as long as US media keeps quiet, most people
In the US have no idea that it is happening. Visit our page to see more @apacha194
"I didn't escape an oppressive regime to put up with this shit" is my favorite strike sign ever.
I also want to comment on the larger point of this article, which concerns organizing. Sweeney asked unions to commit 30% of their budgets to organizing, and in subsequent years, some unions tried to rise to that challenge. In addition to awful labor law (and its administration), they had a big internal problem. At least 80% of their resources are devoted to grievance handling. Workers have an expectation of individual rights under the contract and expect full service support on the job, as opposed to self-advocating at the workplace. This is antithetical to the collective power of unions. Some unions have turned to "internal organizing" to build worker power to handle their own grievances, but that's still organizing money spent within the organization rather than outside.
In the early 2000s, some internationals decided to consolidate locals that were not doing organizing, and to impose lower skilled grievance handling mechanisms, like call centers. The first led to monster internal battles that were damaging and expensive; the second led to workers who felt like their grievances were being outsourced to unskilled customer service agents.
I note this to say that unions have tried many alternatives to their current model in order to free up resources for organizing and it has had the opposite effect of tying up money and staff in bullshit. The actual problem is a political and legal problem: the current system is designed to not only prevent unions but also counter-organize against labor. Unions know that, which is why the PRO Act and Employee Choice Act have had brief turns in the legislature. Until the Dems put it at the top of their to do list, things aren't going to change too much.
I’ve read your old critique of no-strike clauses and generally agree it’s a lot of power to give away in a CBA. This strike summer has me thinking about the issue again and whether no-strike is net good or bad for the overall labor movement. An expiring contract creates a helpful deadline and some leverage, of course, but also frames every union dispute with management as a business negotiation. And obviously no-strike clauses really neuter union power during the term of a contract. Anyway, curious if those thoughts resonate and/or if you have updated thoughts on no-strike.