23 Comments
Feb 2Liked by Hamilton Nolan

Thank you for this column!

In Solidarity,

a Newton Teachers Association member (MA)

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Feb 2Liked by Hamilton Nolan

Great article, love your stuff! Only thing is add is that Democrats as well as Republicans are happy to take away workers rights. Our Massachusetts Governor has made it clear that she thinks strikes should be illegal b/c the poor children. Since the passage of Taft-Hartley, opposing labor is one of the few things that Republicans and Dems can agree on- though of course Republicans have been and continue to be worse, generally, on the issue.

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Feb 2Liked by Hamilton Nolan

Bravissimo Hamilton. And for those who hesitate to break the law in defense for what they think is right, dont forget that your employer (privately owned or publicly funded) has no qualms about breaking the law when its expedient for them.

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Feb 3Liked by Hamilton Nolan

Back in the 1970's we called wildcat walkouts "wobbles". There's a very good historical reason for that name.

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Feb 2Liked by Hamilton Nolan

"strikes are exercises of power that exist outside of the boundaries of law."

chef's kiss

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I love it! Beautiful and well said. Thanks Hamilton!

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founding

Newton patent here (who was wondering when you were gonna write about this)

The NTA is doing an amazing job. Our school committee just put out that they are now going after the NTA for $1MM plus in expenses

Really?

How iS THAT legal?

If they dropped it...the kids would be guaranteed to go back Monday.

But no...they can't because...reasons.

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This is the nicest thing you've ever written about Boston

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I've always wondered what my maternal grandfather went through during the '40s in the mines of Cape Breton. I bet the organizing was pretty new to them.

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Feb 2·edited Feb 2Liked by Hamilton Nolan

Thanks for writing about this so promptly! I studied music education at UMass and have a lot of friends teaching in Massachusetts, including in Newton. A friend of a friend posted this article about a strike in the late 70s in Franklin that was pretty brutal that you may find interesting:

https://franklinobserver.town.news/g/franklin-town-ma/n/42230/hometown-history-1-great-teachers-strike-1977?fbclid=IwAR0K-W39VTjvmFkdl38Wv_EVzrhwSicjrVyfx5xwusYLrl9bfWg1-TSFDoc

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Thanks Hamilton. Brave and clear as usual.

I was wondering if you have analised the miner's strike in the UK in the 80's, when the bloody margaret thatcher broke them down badly.

It is an example of how the power managed to divide and destroy the union. The lovely ronald reagan supported his friend maggie.

It is a very sad story. Corruption, persecutions, prosecutions, scabs, infiltrators, police, politicians, bloody press, rupert murdoch as usual, etc, etc, etc, and 20 more etceteras

Silly Question

is it an illustration that, with few exceptions, we can't beat them in "real life"? Can we? The power take it all?

Please let me know if you have written about this. Take care mate.

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As long as we have union leaders who have never really had to fight for anything; who consider themselves a breed apart from their rank and file, who flatter their rank and file that they are a breed apart from the union-less schmucks in the next shop or delivering their lunches or changing their oil in 5 minutes or watching their kids; or even having a "class system" within their very own union itself, it's hard to convince people to fight for their rights to organize. Or be active within a union if they have one.

The unions that still exist have had 50+ years to find ways to relate to working people not fortunate enough to live beneath their umbrellas; even as those have gotten smaller and thinner all the time.

They did almost nothing towards that end, even when they had more power than they do today.

A third thing must be found, but the union leaders are at brunch with the Democratic Party; and they can no longer be trusted to look for it.

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Hey, Hamilton! This is not intended to be a smart-ass question: I thought I had it in the back of my mind that the past tense of “strike” was “striked”. (Kind of like how the past tense of “hang” in the sense of capital punishment is “hanged”.) Then again, if that were the case, you’d know. So I guess I don’t have a question, other than, am I crazy, and why did I think that. Ah, well. I’ll show myself out. Onward, I guess!

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Hamilton, will you be at Labor Notes in April? Please contact the organizers of the author's book presentation session.

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