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Organize!

organize-iconWhether we are engaging in acts of resistance or creating new, alternative institutions, we need to create sustainable, democratic organizations that empower their members while also protecting against disruption. This section provides articles about effective organizing, creating democratic decision-making structures, building coalitions with other groups, and more. Visit the Resources Page for tools to assist your organizing efforts.

Colombia: Groups Launch Electoral Mission To Monitor Human Rights

Cali, Colombia - AfroResistance and Grassroots Global Justice Alliance have launched an international electoral expert mission to monitor human rights processes during the upcoming Colombian presidential election. The delegation consists of human rights experts, racial and gender justice activists, grassroots organizers, cultural workers, attorneys, and journalists, gathered to assess and monitor the safety, fairness and human rights protection in the upcoming Colombia primary elections taking place Sunday, May 29th, 2022. AfroResistance, an advocacy and solidarity building organization focused on the human rights of Black Women and Girls throughout the Americas and Grassroots Global Justice, **a multi-racial, multi-sectoral alliance building a grassroots movement for peace, democracy and a sustainable world, has assembled a team of experts that have all been accredited by the Colombian electoral authorities.

Graduate Student Workers Across The Country Help Each Other Unionize

As a first-year master’s student and associate instructor in the School of Music at Indiana University (IU), Chelsea Brinda was forced to sell her blood plasma to survive. Her stipend of just $9,000 was far below Bloomington’s living wage. Eventually, she stopped selling her biofluids, got her first credit card and took out student loans. Brinda, now a Ph.D. student at IU earning just $16,500 a year for teaching one or two courses a semester, told Truthout that she struggles to balance her own hefty workload as a student with her personal life, the courses she teaches and her part-time job as a COVID tester on campus. “I feel like I’m shortchanging my students. I’m not giving them the best that I could,” Brinda said.

Dollar General Workers Refuse To Be Silenced

Dollar General workers from across the country will be rallying at Peay Park on May 25 near its headquarters in Goodlettsville, Tennessee, during the company’s 2022 annual shareholders’ meeting. After years of being ignored, Dollar General workers are making their voices heard—by the retail chain’s executives, shareholders, and the public. Mary Gundel, thirty-three, started working as a store manager at a Dollar General store in Albany, Georgia, in February 2019. After working there for a year, she relocated to Florida to manage a store in Tampa with her husband and three children. Gundel, in an interview with The Progressive, describes the “horrible working conditions” that existed when she started working for Dollar General , such as mold in the cooler and a broken air conditioner when it was hot outside.

Bloomington Faculty Vote In Support Of Graduate Student Employee Union

An electronic vote of all Bloomington faculty has expressed overwhelming support for efforts of the Indiana University graduate student employees to seek union recognition. Between April 13 and the end of the spring semester, graduate student employees at Indiana University Bloomington, organizing with the United Electrical Workers, struck for campus recognition. The strike was temporarily suspended on May 10th for the summer, with plans for broader and deeper participation should the strike resume in the fall. Faculty on the Bloomington campus were galvanized to support graduate employees by the anti-union response by the campus administration which refused any dialogue with representatives of the union, the Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition-United Electrical Workers (IGWC-UE). 

Lessons From The Starbucks Union In Chile

The Starbucks union was founded in Chile in 2009, at the same time as big student mobilizations. These mobilizations were part of the seed that made it possible to form a union at Starbucks and in an area like fast food, which is very difficult to organize. The corporate culture of Starbucks is profoundly anti-union. Howard Schultz, who was the CEO of the company [he returned to that role in April —Eds.], is a megalomaniac who cannot bear to see his workers organizing and deciding for themselves what is right. Starbucks is one of the companies in Chile with the most fines for anti-union practices. All of that was conceived in Seattle, not in Chile. It was devised in the headquarters, where they are devising the tough campaign that you are experiencing now.

Call For ‘Workers Summit Of The Americas’

The Workers Summit of the Americas meeting, in Tijuana, Mexico, offers a space to join with all the peoples of “Our Americas.” We will counteract the OAS Summit of the Americas organized by the U.S. Department of State in Los Angeles. The countries of the continent besieged by the USA (Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba, among others) will not participate in the OAS farce.  The Workers’ Summit gives us the opportunity to invite our comrades in struggle from North America who want to participate. Tijuana is a meeting place with the progressive forces of the South and the North at a moment when the working class is facing the most unprecedented challenges in the history of humanity. 

The Amazon Labor Union Victory Shows That Jurisdiction Is Dead

When news spread April 1 that the independent Amazon Labor Union (ALU) had won its union election at an Amazon warehouse on Staten Island in New York, the initial response from anyone who supports the labor movement was exultation at this unprecedented — and unexpected — victory for the working class. The secondary response was a collective “In your face!” to mega-billionaire Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who was shown that all the money in the world can’t crush the will for a union. Now, we can all move on to what should be the next response: Forcing the union establishment to take a long, hard look at what it needs to change. The ALU — a project of current and former Amazon workers as well as committed volunteer organizers — succeeded in organizing Amazon before any big, well-funded union could.

Southern Workers Gather To Build Workers Assembly Movement

Under the slogan “Build the Workers Assembly Movement! Organize the South!” nearly 80 workers from eight Southern states gathered in Durham, North Carolina, for a Southern Workers Assembly Organizing School over the weekend of April 29 to May 1. Workers came to the School from Atlanta; New Orleans; Charleston, South Carolina; Richmond and Tidewater, Virginia; Charlotte, Raleigh, Durham, Asheville and Eastern North Carolina; northern Kentucky; and elsewhere. Over the last year, the network of areas building Workers Assemblies across the South has grown substantially to include nine different cities, the development of several industry-based councils — including Amazon, health care and education workers — and interest in developing assemblies in additional locations as well. 

Learning From Each Other’s Struggles Is Vital To Long-Term Success

When we’re up against the state or powerful corporations, patriarchal or racial structures, we can’t take success or even survival for granted. What we do and how — our strategy and tactics, our understanding and skill — matters for the outcome. The stakes are high, and the cost of defeat is severe. This makes movement learning an ethical, as well as a practical, necessity. Reinventing the wheel — only learning when we and our movements go through something ourselves — is a recipe for intensified and prolonged suffering. Meanwhile, a “Do something, anything” mentality is often justified by a macho celebration of action for its own sake, a preference for drama over results, or even our own past suffering. After all, if other people have successfully oppressed and exploited us for a long time, we have the moral high ground of having suffered, resisted and survived.

The Rapidly Growing Starbucks Union In Numbers

In the 60 elections that have been run so far, the union has won 90 percent of the time and the average unit size of the unionized stores is 28 workers. If these same numbers hold for the 193 open cases where an election has not yet been administered, then the Starbucks union will soon win an additional 174 elections and thereby add an additional 4,870 workers to their rolls. Combining the numbers from the elections that have been run and these projections for the elections that will be run soon reveals that, based on current filings alone, the Starbucks union is likely to have 6,384 workers at 228 locations in the next few months. If the union continues filing for 2 elections per day, those numbers will of course continue to grow.

Virginia Target Workers Seek To Unionize

Workers at a Target store in Christiansburg, Virginia, have filed for a union election and, if successful, the store would be the first belonging to the retail chain to unionize. Target has long opposed unionization, with anti-union videos to discourage workers from unionizing. Earlier this year, Target training documents for managers to prevent unionization within stores were leaked. Target has already reportedly pushed back on the union organizing effort in Virginia, trying to use union dues as a tactic to deter workers. But workers are seeking to capitalize on a surging energy in the US labor movement after recent union victories at dozens of Starbucks stores and the first Amazon warehouse in the US.

July 30 – March For Medicare For All

Washington, DC - The grassroots, volunteer led activist group March for Medicare for All returns to Washington D.C. on Medicare's birthday for their National Day of Action. March for Medicare for All demands national improve Medicare for All and rejects the privatization of healthcare in America. Last summer, March for Medicare for All launched in 56 different locations all the same day. This year, the primary focus will be on the nation's capital. On Saturday, July 30 at 10:30 am, marchers will meet at the southeastern corner of The Ellipse off of Constitution Ave., NW, between 15th St, NW and 17th St, NW. For those interested in attending the rally, people will start congregating at noon in Union Square off of 3rd St, SW between Madison Dr., NW and Jefferson Dr., SW. Speakers will be announced in the coming weeks.

The New Labor Movement Is Young, Worker-Led And Winning

This year, May Day was celebrated during a historic moment for the American labor movement. Nearly every day, news reports announce another example of workers exercising their rights as nonprofit professionals, Starbucks workers, and employees at corporations like Amazon, REI and Conde Nast announce their union drives. The approval rating for labor unions has reached its highest point in over 50 years, standing at 68 percent, and petitions for new union elections at the National Labor Relations Board increased 57 percent during the first half of fiscal year 2021. Three years ago, we wrote an op-ed about how young workers in historically unorganized occupations — such as digital journalism, higher education and nonprofit organizations — were beginning to rebuild the labor movement.

Apple Retail Workers Attempt To Organize Company’s First US Union

Towson, Maryland - Apple Store workers in Maryland are attempting to form the company’s first U.S. union. They join two other stores, one in Atlanta and one in NYC, in their efforts to unionize. We spoke to the Apple retail workers leading the drive to unionize the Towson Mall store. Below is a full transcript of the video: Kevin Gallagher: We talk about this country as like a place where democracy thrives, but we work 80% of our lives in an environment where we have no democracy. We have no vote in the things that affect us. Christie Pridgen: Apple has all the power, influence, and money to be able to make a significant change in what labor is. It’s an opportunity, like, they didn’t start it, they didn’t begin this initiative—we did. All they have to do is follow up.

Employees At Trader Joe’s In Hadley Look To Form Union

Hadley, Massachusetts - Employees at the Trader Joe’s in Hadley are attempting to form a union, which if successful would make their workplace the first unionized Trader Joe’s in the country. “We feel that a union is the only way to protect the benefits that we have and to improve our pay and to improve our benefits and improve our workplace,” said Maeg Yosef, an 18-year employee of Trader Joe’s and an organizer of the union. The union effort at Store 512 went public on Saturday, with a letter from the union to Trader Joe’s CEO Dan Bane saying that more than half of the workers at the store support forming a union, and asking that he allow a union vote without interference. Their letter also references a letter sent to the workers two years ago by Bane that expressed opposition to employees unionizing.
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