The past week brought news of the union election loss in Bessemer and the weeks of hopeful lead-up seem to be temporarily overshadowed by the despondent reality of labor organizing in the US. But perhaps no loss is as prosperous as a labor loss: the collective effort to tip the scale in favor of workers presents better living conditions for all, and the realization that the ask for more prosperity as workers in a workplace is a fight all are entitled to and capable of is one that the future of labor organizing will owe in part to the efforts of Amazon workers in Bessemer.
As any worker-organizer knows, the fight is always far from over. Here at EWOC, we are committed to staying the course, and to consider the gains of each loss. As EWOC volunteer Dawn Tefft acutely points out, “Helping workers take action also signals to the boss that the workers are ready to do whatever’s necessary to win. Workers, professional organizers, and EWOC volunteers can all continue to do our best to help workers adopt “best practices” like these.” For this reason, we’re excited to be launching our new organizing guide, aptly titled “In Case of Emergency, Fight Back!” Adapted from the structure of our ongoing public organizer-training series, the guide, though not a standalone manual, does provide a concise overview of six proven tools that have helped workers win relief from unjust working conditions in their workplace. The gains to be had with the recent Amazon loss are still revealing themselves, and many, EWOC included, are reconciling with how to move forward without moving on. One thing is more certain than ever: the power of the working-class has and will continue to be capable of the seemingly impossible.
World of Work
Myanmar: As repression escalates in Myanmar, at least two union members were confirmed killed by the Myanmar military this week and at least six workers were shot dead at the Xing Jia shoe factory in the Hlaing Thar Yar industrial zone Tuesday after the employer called the police when they demanded unpaid wages.
ME: Maine Med formally launched a unionization effort in January. Recently, instead of addressing these concerns by offering solutions, hospital management have become increasingly aggressive in their union-busting efforts.
MI: Rank-and-file workers in the United Auto Workers (UAW) are seeking support in a once-in-a-generation opportunity to help transform their union, by voting to adopt a “one member, one vote” system this Fall. If this vote passes, they’ll join their comrades in Teamsters, the Laborers, and Postal Workers in being able to directly elect our leaders.
NY: This past Tuesday, the tech workers at The New York Times announced their plans to join the journalists in their union, The NewsGuild. If successful, the union would include everyone from software engineers and data scientists to designers and project managers.
D.C.: Workers at two of the largest, most influential think tanks in Washington, D.C.—Brookings and Urban Institute—are forming a union, adding to a growing trend in white-collar collective bargaining.