The New Labor Forum has launched a bi-weekly newsletter on current topics in labor, curated by the some of the most insightful scholars and activists in the labor world today. Check out some highlights from the latest edition below.
This year, International Women’s Day (March 8) is being celebrated in the U.S. at a higher pitch than usual. The election of Donald Trump has led to an upsurge in organizing and activism. In the last few months, we’ve witnessed the massive Women’s Marches in cities all over the country and, indeed, the world; a February 16th Day Without Immigrants and a less successful call for another general strike on February 17th; and the current call for a global women’s strike on International Women’s Day.
This newsletter opens with an informative and lucid overview by Diane Elson of the current global state of gender inequality, as well as policy recommendations to remedy the crisis. Elison’s article is provided here as a coming attraction to the May 2017 issue of New Labor Forum. The issues she raises form part of the animating spirit of the call for a Women’s Strike on March 8., organized by a coalition of women working closely with the venerable Global Women’s Strike, an international organization that has existed since 1972. Here we also offer the link to the promotional video for the strike.
General strikes, or days of action that are meant to resemble a strike, are gaining in currency. An example of recent experimentation with a general strike was the February 16th ‘Day Without Immigrants’, described here by Dan DiMaggio and Sonia Singh in Labor Notes. NLF editorial board member Nelson Lichtenstein addresses the meaningful difference between ‘weekend protest’ vs. ‘weekday strike action’ and why it matters, in No More Saturday Marches, published this week in Jacobin. We also include Francine Prose’s essay in The Guardian, offering a full-throated argument for the general strike as a tactic. And we close with Alexandria Neason’s meditation in the Village Voice – Is America Ready for a General Strike?
Table of Contents
- Recognize, Reduce, Redistribute Unpaid Care Work: How to Close the Gender Gap by Diane Elson
- Women of America: we’re going on strike.
- Video: International Women’s Strike US – Promotional Video
- Tens of Thousands Strike on Day without Immigrants by Dan DiMaggio, Sonia Singh
- No More Saturday Marches by NLF editorial board member Nelson Lichtenstein
- Forget protest. Trump’s actions warrant a general national strike by Francine Prose
- Is America Ready for a General Strike? by Alexandria Neason
Photo by Garry Knight via flickr (CC-BY)
Since the Trump administration’s immigration ban was issued last Friday night barring entry to the United States for citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, protests have erupted at airports and in cities across the United States. Demonstrators are loudly showing their rejection of the xenophobia, racism and bigotry inherent in the ban’s sweeping impact and disregard for the lives of those it affects.
On Saturday night, while protests raged at JFK and other airports around the country, the resistance was bolstered by action from the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, which represents 19,000 drivers in New York City. At 5pm, the Alliance announced that it would stop pickups from JFK airport from 6-7pm in solidarity with the protests.
Today, the city’s Yemeni grocers are on strike for eight hours as a response to the ban as well.
Yemen is one of the countries affected by the ban. Between 4000 and 6000 grocery stores and bodegas are owned by Yemeni immigrants in NYC.
Photo by Shawn Hoke via flickr (CC-BY-NC-ND)
This morning, Harvard dining service workers walked off the job and went on strike. This marks the first walk out at the University since 1983.
Today’s strike saw 700 workers rallying in Science Center Plaza and marching to Massachusetts Hall. From the Harvard Crimson:
Over the course of the months-long bargaining—which began mid-June—Harvard and union negotiators have faced a stalemate over wages and health benefits.
University spokesperson Tania deLuzuriaga wrote in an emailed statement that Harvard has “proposed creative solutions to issues presented by the union, and hoped union representatives would contribute to finding creative, workable solutions at the negotiation table.” Continue reading Harvard Dining Service Workers Commence Strike
After 45 days on strike, nearly 40,000 Verizon workers have agreed to head back to work. Having reached a tentative agreement with the communications giant, the workers state that they have achieved their goals: raising working families’ standard of living, creating over 1,300 new union jobs and achieving a first contract for retail store workers.
The largest strike in recent history, this Communications Workers of America (CWA) action marks a significant display of the strength of collective action.
During the strike, the company scrambled to fill positions with non-unionized and non-specialized personnel. Workers and their allies engaged in frequent rallies and demonstrations, holding space and making their position known. In the end, it more than paid off: besides winning the workers a raise, reversing cutbacks and creating jobs, the successful strike asserted the importance of workers in making communications infrastructure work, and re-asserted the role that organized labor can play in securing rights for workers.
Before the settlement was announced, CWA Local 1101 member, Verizon Striker and Murphy Alum (Cornell-CUNY Labor Relations Certificate, 2014) Christopher Vilardo shared this statement with the blog:
Here we are, over 10 months from when negotiations began and only one thing has changed: we are on the street. Continue reading Reflections from the Verizon Strike
This article was originally featured at the Indypendent.
By Peter Rugh
Hundreds of people swamped 42nd Street one day last November, forcing police to shut down a section of the busy thoroughfare. These weren’t tourists or Broadway ticketholders gone mad, but professors from the City University of New York (CUNY) and their supporters, 53 of whom were arrested for sitting down and blocking the doors of CUNY’s administrative headquarters.
“We took matters into our own hands,” said James Davis, a member of the English Department at Brooklyn College since 2003. “It might seem like an ironic statement given that the cops tied our hands behind our backs, but we were making a strong public statement in opposition to CUNY’s austerity regime.”
With 278,000 degree students enrolled in more than two dozen undergraduate and graduate schools, CUNY is the nation’s largest urban university system. Since it was founded in 1847 as the Free Academy of the City of New York with a mission to “serve the children of the whole people,” CUNY has served as a gateway to opportunity for working-class students. That continues to this day with 75 percent of undergrads being students of color and more than half coming from households earning less than $30,000 per year. Since the 1970s CUNY has been the largest granter of degrees to students of color in the United States. Continue reading Put to the Test: CUNY Faculty Considers Strike Vote As Cuomo Toys With University’s Future
No matter where they might fall on the political spectrum, it seems like everyone’s got something to say about the presidential candidates — and it’s only August. And in the space of it — in no small part due to the tactics of some #BlackLivesMatter activists — people are talking about racial justice. Here’s some of what’s been happening in progressive circles and beyond:
- #BlackLivesMatter activists disrupted a Bernie Sanders rally in Seattle, setting off a progressive firestorm, question of allyship and tactics, and more. Dara Lind gives a good summary of the way it’s all shaken out over at Vox. The upshot, at least in the short-term? The Bernie Sanders campaign has released a racial justice platform.
- Since then, Sanders has pulled ahead of Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire polls. Meanwhile, the National Nurses Union became the first trade union to endorse Sanders.
- The one year anniversary of Mike Brown’s murder by a white police officer in Ferguson, MO came the past week, and with it, demonstrations and arrests — including the arrest of Cornel West — over a “weekend of resistance” to the ongoing assault on black lives in the United States.
- Meanwhile, California has banned secret juries and affirmed the right to film police (via DemocracyNow!)
- More coverage of the toll that unpredictable schedules is taking on the lives of workers, this time in the form of a NYTimes editorial by Teresa Tritch. A choice excerpt: “being on-call, even when one is not called, decreases an employee’s well-being and increases the need for “recovery,” (read: sleep and time off).” Meanwhile, Sabri Ben-Achour at Marketplace.org asks: Will last-minute work soon be history?
- Academic freedom may soon be a memory in the state of Wisconsin, thanks to new policies pushed forward by Gov. Scott Walker and the Wisconsin State Legislature (via the Guardian).
- 4000 workers have gone on an indefinite strike at a GM plant in Brazil in the face of ongoing layoffs (via LaborNotes)
- Verizon contract negotiations continue, with Verizon East contract workers rallying up and down the coast. Meanwhile, AT&T faces a possible strike thanks to the expiration of a contract covering 23,000 of its union workers.
- Ever wonder how Amazon continues to offer those low prices, that quick delivery, that effortless consumer experience? David Golumbia wrote a piece (The Amazonization of Everything) for Jacobin explaining who pays and how.
- In NYC yesterday, protesters demonstrated outside of the offices of Paulson & Co in response to Puerto Rico’s fiscal problems and those who appear to be profiting off of them.