EWOC Newsletter: Persistence pays

Image

Upcoming Events 🗓

  • Foundational Training Series

Join the Emergency Workplace Organizing Committee’s Foundational Training Series, starting TOMORROW, Wednesday March 8th, and running weekly on Wednesdays until March 29. If you want to organize your workplace but don’t know where to start, this training is for you.

Learn how to approach your coworkers, build a team of organizers among them, and develop a campaign. You will meet other workers who are organizing; you’ll learn tools, skills, and principles to help you and your coworkers achieve a voice in a more democratic workplace and win the changes you want to see.

 

In four 90-minute sessions, we will discuss how workers can unite to address issues at the workplace, and how to begin the process of unionization. Participants will practice connecting with coworkers and engaging in collective decision-making around common concerns. You will learn how to prepare yourself and your coworkers to take collective action. You’ll learn how to build a democratic organization with your coworkers, from scratch, that can negotiate with the boss over your working conditions.

Space is limited to 200 participants, so sign up now! Register here today. 

  • EWOC Train-the-Trainers

Are you interested in facilitating trainings for EWOC? Or running trainings in your community? Sign up for Train the Trainers on Saturday, April 22nd at 1pm EST / 10am PST!The course will cover the principles of EWOC’s Foundational Training series, as well as adult learning and popular education methodology. We will work on our facilitation skills with some of the most experienced EWOC facilitators, learn how to talk through organizing skills and worker rights, and cover how to lead powerful group discussions.The session is four hours long, all on zoom, with a thirty minute break in the middle. Spots are limited, so sign up today! 

Winning change starts and ends with solidarity channeled into action. But organizing doesn’t happen in a vacuum: the terrain on which we fight is non-neutral and constantly changing. With that in mind, here’s a few recent federal developments worth noting.

 

1. Late last year, the NLRB issued a decision modifying regulations used to determine appropriate bargaining units—in other words, what groups of workers can form unions and bargain together. The updated guidelines affirm that bargaining units should be “readily identifiable as a group” sharing a “community of interest,” but will make it easier for smaller unions to form by increasing the burden a party must meet to argue that a proposed bargaining unit must be expanded.

2. Last week brought big news in the Starbucks organizing movement, as an NLRB judge found Starbucks guilty of hundreds of labor violations in Buffalo alone. The ruling also ordered the company to bargain, to reinstate seven employees, to reopen a closed store location, and to take several measures to apprise workers of their rights (including disseminating a recorded message from CEO Howard Schultz explaining the rights Starbucks has been ordered to respect). These are major victories which remind us that while relief through our institutions shouldn’t be counted upon and will often be a long time coming, it can be achieved when pursued in conjunction with persistent, militant organizing.

3. Also of note is a changing of the guard at the Department of Labor. Sec. Marty Walsh will be leaving his post by the end of this month; Deputy Secretary Julie Su has been nominated by the administration to replace him.

 

These developments—in particular, the first two—bode well for worker organizing: they reflect a labor board facing structural obstacles but largely attempting to support workers’ right to organize freely.

 

So, it’s good news! We don’t always get much of that out of a federal government owned by the bosses. Let us celebrate this— but remember that our institutions will often remain hostile to worker organizing and working interests, and regardless, our power arises organically, from within the structures we organize together, in our workplaces and communities. 

When we get good news from the NLRB, or for that matter, when we get bad news, our mandate is unchanged: organize. Talk to each other, help each other. Keep fighting back by relying on each other to build and wield power. 

World of Work 🌍

US – Norfolk Southern and other rail carriers have struck sick leave agreements with a growing number of unions, including TCU, BRC, and BMWED. “We intend on securing paid sick leave on all the Class I railroads,” said Clark Ballew of BMWED. 

 

AL – The longest-running strike in the country came to an unexpected end when the United Mine Workers of America sent a letter to the CEO of Alabama-based Warrior Met Coal offering to send its members back to work.

 

CA – The Writers Guild of America will begin negotiations on a new contract on March 20, with the possibility of a strike looming if no agreement is reached before the current contract expires on May 1st. Workers are seeking increases to basic wages, compensation from streaming residuals, and improved staffing. 

WA Dozens of corporate workers addressed an open letter to the Starbucks board and executives, demonstrating solidarity with union baristas by protesting the company’s aggressive union busting. Workers also cited abrupt return-to-work orders from the company.

New From Our Blog 📧

We explain the problems with police unions, and why they ultimately have no place in the labor movement. Read the post here.

EWOC In The Media🎙

Listen in on a panel of EWOC volunteers and workers discussing how EWOC is changing the game, on the latest episode of “Class,” the official podcast of the National Political Education Committee of the Democratic Socialists of America. Featuring: Elce Redmond, Gabe Winant, Teagan Harris, Olivia Prager, and Daphna Thier.

Week in Labor History 📚

March 7, 1860 – Several thousand shoemakers in Lynn, Massachusetts begin a strike that soon spreads to 20,000 shoe workers all over New England. The strikers, who include men and women, eventually win higher wages, but not the recognition of their union. Abraham Lincoln tells a newspaper reporter that he is “glad to see that a system of labor prevails in New England under which laborers can strike when they want to.”

Solidarity,

Team EWOC

EWOC is a collaboration between the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE). We depend on small-dollar donations to provide frontline workers with the support they need to fight for what they deserve. Click here to make a contribution that will help fund our work.

Talk with an Organizer

An EWOC organizer is ready to help you and your co-workers get the benefits and respect you deserve.

Recent Posts
November 2023 Newsletter

Solidarity has no borders Calls for a ceasefire heighten amid intense suppression of free speech. A growing movement of peace activists, labor unions, and ordinary

Read More »