Through successes and setbacks, we will organize

Upcoming Events 🗓

Train The Trainers

Are you interested in facilitating trainings for EWOC, or running EWOC trainings in your community? Sign up for Train the Trainers on Saturday, April 22, at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT)!

The training is recommended for those who have been through the EWOC Foundational Series. You can review the session presentations online, on leadership building, organizing conversations, collective action, and inoculation.

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 30-minute break in the middle. Spots are limited, so sign up today!

Book Discussion: “Labor Power and Strategy”

April 27, 2023, at 8 p.m. ET, join EWOC for a discussion of the timely new book “Labor Power and Strategy,” a rich reflection on how the working class can exercise its mighty power in various industries and sectors. Author John Womack, a renowned labor historian, proposes that unions focus on organizing workers in the strategic “choke points” within the economy that create maximum potential leverage and power. The book also features responses from 10 of the most thoughtful organizers and scholars in the labor movement, who offer a diverse range of ideas on ways forward for labor. Read a review of the book (by an EWOC volunteer).

This discussion will feature Professor Womack, book editor Peter Olney, and respondents Melissa Shetler and Gene Bruskin. The event will be 90 minutes to allow for plenty of time. Register now for this lively and important discussion! 

May Foundational Training Series

May is a big month in the history of the labor movement and a great time to join it! EWOC’s Foundational Training Series is a perfect place to start. Sessions run weekly on Thursdays from May 4 until May 25!

If you want to organize your workplace but don’t know where to start, or if you would like to support others organizing their workplaces, this training is for you. In four 90-minute sessions, we will discuss how workers can unite to address issues at their workplaces and how to begin the process of unionization. You will learn how to approach co-workers, build a team of organizers among them, and develop a campaign.

You will meet other workers who are organizing. You will learn helpful tools, practices, and principles for winning workplace improvements and a voice in your workplace. You will learn how to prepare yourself and your co-workers to take collective action. The course covers how you can build, from scratch, a democratic organization of co-workers that can negotiate with the boss over working conditions.

Space is limited to 200 participants — so sign up now!

Everywhere we organize, we strive to create potent, durable coalitions — big and broad enough to exercise power and strong enough to weather resistance. The bosses have the same goals, and no doubt, when and where the owning classes exert paramount control, it’s because they’ve achieved dominance in our institutions — and the most severe attacks on workers follow.

In Florida, a state in the vice-grip of a virulent reactionary bloc, worker power, and many other targets, are in the crosshairs. Currently, a bill passed by the Florida state senate, SB 256/HB 1445, poses a threat to the basic rights to form a union and collect union dues. The legislation continues efforts to decimate public schools — and teacher’s unions — while exempting police, corrections, and firefighters unions. Patronage and punishment are among its goals. 

The bosses and the politicians they own maintain power ruthlessly, through constant aggression. But workers in Florida are fighting back, and examples of successful resistance are close by. In Michigan, a state with a rich history of labor struggle, workers are stringing together victories. 

Just a few weeks ago, Michigan became the first state in decades to repeal its right-to-work law, passed in 2012. Then, at the very end of March, 2,300 graduate student workers at University of Michigan went on strike, defying the terms of their expiring contract and possibly state law. They have so far been rewarded for their militance after a county judge refused to grant the university an injunction. The strike continues and will soon enter its fourth week.

Fighting on the defensive in Florida and on the offensive in Michigan: These dueling setbacks and successes demonstrate the perpetual ebb and flow of our movements. Battles come and go, but the war between bosses and workers never ends, which is why we never stop organizing.

World of Work 🌍

New Jersey: Rutgers Academic Workers Union has a tentative agreement (TA) after a strike was launched by faculty last week. The TA will now go to a vote from membership, who will decide whether to accept the deal or remain on strike.

New York: Trader Joe’s workers in New York rallied yesterday ahead of a union election vote to be held today and tomorrow. Workers are seeking to win the first Trader Joe’s union in the city.

North Carolina: REI workers in Durham have filed for union recognition with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). They are now the seventh REI location to unionize.

Week in Labor History 📚

April 18, 1941: The New York City Transit Authority agreed to hire 200 Black bus drivers, after a four-week boycott by Harlem residents led by Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. The success of the boycott set a precedent that allowed more Black workers to get jobs in New York and also served as a model for the famous Montgomery bus boycott 15 years later.



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