Upcoming Events 🗓
Join us this evening, Monday, March 14, at 8 p.m. ET, for our Building Power for Healthcare Workers event! EWOC is teaming up with DSA Health Workers Collective and DSA Medicare for All for a panel discussion on how we can build worker power in the healthcare sector and why doing so is important to bring about the changes socialists want to see in the world. RSVP here!
We are in a potentially unique moment in American labor history. The pandemic working conditions of the last few years have led to a surge of worker militancy. We saw it in the strike waves last year, and we’re seeing it in new organizing this year. Last week brought good news, as workers at REI and NYT voted to unionize. Meanwhile, the stunning wave of Starbucks Workers United continues to spread, with well over 100 stores now seeking union recognition. These victories have been won through creative organizing, and strong worker solidarity, in the face of intense union busting efforts from management.
Union-busting is a serious thing. Facing it is a frightening and confusing experience, designed to weaken and break the bonds between co-workers. But to workers with strong solidarity, even the most vicious union busting campaigns can be beaten. At Starbucks, for example, workers across active shops have sustained an exchange of experiences with and approaches to the union-busting campaign. Armed with the insights of their co-workers, they have been able to prepare for the union-busters at their locations, inoculating themselves to the experience and building solidarity. With thoughtful preparation, captive audience meetings can backfire completely, and actually end up strengthening workers’ resolve.
Organizing for power in the workplace is always a struggle. But the bosses want us to believe that they are more formidable than they really are. Even the richest and most powerful companies in the world are not invincible, and even the hardest fights can be won with the kind of strong, militant organizing that Starbucks workers and so many others have been demonstrating for us.
World of Work 🌍
TX: After four years of underfunding transit, the new rage in transit privatization showed up in Denton, Texas. The union activists have decided to fight back. A cross-union group called Denton Worker renamed itself “No Bus Cuts Denton” and decided to bring the fight to the public. Organizers identified the Denton County Transportation Authority Board and the city council as targets.
CO: The Political Workers Guild set out two priorities for the next legislative session: full-time employment status for aides, followed by a wage increase. Negotiations with members of Senate and House leadership have resulted in the inclusion of both provisions in their legislative budget.
FL: Local workers with the Hillsborough Regional Transit (HART) are calling on their employer to “have a heart” and provide them with a fair contract. After rejecting management’s “best and final offer” last month, workers plan to make their appeal to HART’s board on Monday. The union plans to launch what it’s calling a “Where’s the Fairness?” (WTF) campaign.
Ukraine: Trade unions quickly mobilized at an international level to lend help to people in Ukraine. The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) condemned the invasion, demanding that all Russian forces leave Ukraine immediately.
Week in Labor History 📚
March 7, 1937: United Steelworkers Union signs first contract, with Carnegie-Illinois Steel, for $5 a day wage and benefits. “Big Steel” companies agreed to recognize the unions rather than face strikes. Smaller companies led by Republic Steel, Bethlehem Steel, and Youngstown Sheet & Tube, however, refused to such an agreement, and a bitter strike ensued.