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Labor Movement

The Strike Is Our Most Powerful Weapon, Use It Against The Police!

So many of us have been marching against the police, challenging them in the streets and organizing massive demonstrations. In 2020, cop cars were set ablaze. A police station burned with an approval rating higher than the U.S. Congress! The consciousness of millions of people was deeply changed in the U.S. and around the world. As the movement waned, our class enemies attacked us. As self-appointed leaders became millionaires, they led the movement to the Democratic Party, a party of police itself, as a backlash against the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement mounted. Both Democrats and Republicans whipped up fear of a non-existent “crime wave” and posed increased policing as the solution. President Biden called for more money for police. The Republicans actually increased police budgets and are currently fighting against any discussion of racism in schools.

Stop US Interference: Interview With The Labour Party Of Taiwan

The Labour Party of Taiwan was founded in March 1989 by three groups of people. First, the veteran political prisoners of the martial law period in Taiwan who persisted in their struggle while they were imprisoned for a long time. Second, a collection of progressive intellectuals who were united by the well-known magazine “China Tide” (夏潮) in the 1970s and the equally prominent publication “The Human World” (人間) in the 1980s, including Chen Ying-zhen (陳映真), Su Qing-li (蘇慶黎), Wang Li-xia (汪立峽), and others. Third, there were some leaders of the labour and social movements at that time, such as Luo Mei-wen (羅美文) (now a member of the Hsinchu County Council), Ngan Kun-chuan (顏坤泉), and others. The establishment of the Labour Party of Taiwan initiated the third period in the history of the Left in Taiwan. The first period, from the early 1920s to 1931, was defined by the resistance against the Japanese Empire’s colonial rule;[i] the second period, from 1945 to the 1950s, was marked by the participation of the “Old Classmates” in the New Democratic Revolution[ii] in Taiwan; and the third period, from 1988 onwards,[iii] has been characterised by the re-uniting the labour movement with the movement for the reunification of China.

What Nurses And Teachers Won By Withholding Their ‘Feminized Labor’

At the intensive care unit at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, nurse Kelley Anaas has cared for a lot of people who have gotten sick with Covid-19 during the pandemic. “I took care of plenty of people who got sick at their work,” said Anaas, who has been a nurse for 14 years and is a steward with the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA). “I remember taking care of a woman five years older than me, who didn’t make it, who got her job working in a liquor store. Her family’s not gonna get a dime for the sacrifice she made and the choice she didn’t have. I saw the ramifications of that in a much more real way than, you know, lawmakers.” The surge of collective actions by workers in 2022 indicates momentum in the labor movement. Much of this resurgence has been led by workers on the front lines of the pandemic, who have been most at risk when it comes to health and safety.

It Was The Workers Who Brought Us Democracy

Democracy has a dream-like character. It sweeps into the world, carried forward by an immense desire by humans to overcome the barriers of indignity and social suffering. When confronted by hunger or the death of their children, earlier communities might have reflexively blamed nature or divinity, and indeed those explanations remain with us today. But the ability of human beings to generate massive surpluses through social production, alongside the cruelty of the capitalist class to deny the vast majority of humankind access to that surplus, generates new kinds of ideas and new frustrations. This frustration, spurred by the awareness of plenty amidst a reality of deprivation, is the source of many movements for democracy. Habits of colonial thought mislead many to assume that democracy originated in Europe, either in ancient Greece (which gives us the word ‘democracy’ from demos, ‘the people’, and kratos, ‘rule’) or through the emergence of a rights tradition, from the English Petition of Right in 1628 to the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen in 1789.

A New Worker Movement From The Shell Of The Old

In this third decade of the twenty-first century, the U.S. and global working class confront conditions unique both in their potential for advancing justice and in their ability to deepen already gaping economic and racial inequality and planetary peril. Especially since 2020, workers have engaged in protest and organizing in ways that inspire great hope. Workers are angry, organizing, striking, and challenging their bosses and the systemic racism they face. From Red for Ed and teacher strikes, to the strikes at John Deere and Kellogg, and the organizing at Amazon and Starbucks, there are growing examples of workers organizing, standing up, and fighting on a level we have not seen in a long time. And hopeful strategies are emerging too. Workers are organizing in the automobile industry as it transitions to electric vehicles, and innovative organizing initiatives are emerging in tech, retail, banks, and other key sectors of the economy.

Why I’m Not Running Again For City Council

This is now the tenth year I’ve had the honor to serve as an elected representative of Seattle’s working people. Workers in Seattle, through getting organized alongside my socialist City Council office, and my organization, Socialist Alternative, have won historic victories, from the $15/hour minimum wage to the Amazon Tax to landmark renters’ rights. These victories have set a powerful example that has had a national and even international impact. In our four election victories and in every struggle, we’ve had to overcome the combined might of big business, the corporate media, and the political establishment. Each time, working people refused to back down, and we have prevailed again and again. This is the most important lesson from our example of socialist politics in Seattle. That when workers and young people get organized and fight, we can win. That no meaningful progressive change can be won under capitalism without the vicious opposition of the rich and their political servants.

Teachers Join Wave Of Strike Action After An ‘Overwhelming’ 90% Yes Vote

Industrial action looks set to intensify after Britain’s largest teaching union announced walkouts over pay. Meanwhile, the government is seeking to limit strikes with a controversial bill. The National Education Union (NEU) said its members “voted overwhelmingly” to strike on 1 February, with more than 90% voting yes. Its demands call for an above-inflation pay rise to meet soaring prices and energy bills. Following the day of national strike action at the start of February, the union will also hold a series of more-regional strikes over six other days in February and March. The NEU said strikes will impact each school for up to four days. It will affect state school teachers in England and Wales, support staff in Wales, and sixth-form teachers in England. The NEU’s leaders will meet with education minister Gillian Keegan on 18 January.

US Labor Strikes Went Up Almost 50% Between 2021 And 2022

In 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated shortly after speaking with sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee. The workers were on strike to protest their low wages and unsafe working conditions. Union membership and strike activity has fallen in the decades since King’s death. But more recently, that has been changing. The number of strikes in the United States rose almost 50% between 2021 and 2022, according to Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations. That pickup in activity has momentum. In many industries, working conditions have worsened during the pandemic. Cathy Creighton at Cornell said workers are stressed. “And with labor shortages, that exacerbates the stress because you have to do more with a lot less people.” Creighton, who used to be an attorney with the National Labor Relations Board, said going on strike can be risky. In some cases, employers are allowed to permanently replace striking workers.

Virginia Transit Strikers Fight Privatized Race To The Bottom

Loudoun County, Virginia - Around 130 workers who operate, fix, and dispatch buses in Loudoun County, Virginia, went on strike Wednesday morning. They’re up against Keolis, a French multinational and one of the largest private operators of public transit systems in the U.S. The company has challenged the union’s right to strike, its right to a contract, and even its existence. The Loudoun County workers join a movement of bus operators, mechanics, dispatchers, and call center operators striking around greater Washington, D.C. It’s the eighth transit job action in the region in just over three years. Hundreds of strikers have faced down major private contractors—not only Keolis but also Transdev, MV Transportation, and RATP Dev. For Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689, these fights are not just over bad behavior from this or that private operator, they’re about whether buses should be a public service or a source of private profit.

The Higher Education Labor Movement Runs Full Speed Ahead Into 2023

At the end of 2022, workers in higher education had their eyes turned toward the weeks-long strikes at the University of California (UC) and The New School. These strikes were among the largest and longest that higher education in the U.S. has ever seen. In California, the striking unions represented about 48,000 workers. While the total number of striking faculty at The New School in New York was much smaller, they represented 87 percent of all teaching faculty at the university, showing the power of what a near-total shutdown of classes can do. These strikes are part of a much bigger trend in the higher education labor movement, which has grown significantly in the last decade, with 144 new private sector faculty and/or graduate student bargaining units forming just between 2013 and 2019, and many more filing for elections in the public sector and in the years since then.

7,000 New York Nurses Go On Strike

New York City, New York - Over 7,000 nurses across two hospitals in New York City went on strike early Monday morning after contract negotiations broke down over the hospitals’ refusal to meet nurses’ staffing demands. Nurses at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx and Mount Sinai in Manhattan walked out at 6 am, saying they are forced to work long hours with huge workloads that leave them burnt out, which could potentially put patients in danger. The workers “have been put in the unfortunate position of having no other choice than to strike,” said Mario Cilento, president of the New York AFL-CIO, of which the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) is an affiliate.

Junior Doctors Are Preparing For The Fight Of Their Lives

Over 130,000 NHS staff vacancies. 65% of junior doctors actively looking to quit, with 4 in 10 already having plans to do so. Record numbers waiting over 12 hours to be seen in A&E. Hundreds of avoidable deaths every week. The health service as we know it has arguably already collapsed. Anti-trade union legalisation is being quickly drawn up by rattled ministers in a desperate attempt to stifle our movement. This may be our final chance to turn the tide on this increasingly authoritarian government. But our workforce isn’t going down without a fight. Today marks the first day of balloting junior doctors for industrial action. Our demands are simple and modest: we are asking the government to reverse the pay cuts our profession has endured over the last decade and a half. We are not asking for a rise—just for pay to be restored to 2008 levels.

Strikes Are Stronger Than Laws

When people get frustrated and petulant, they lash out. So too do governments. When labor unions are looking a little too powerful, governments often throw tantrums, like spoiled children momentarily denied their lollipops. The natural response of childish governments is to try to pass laws to deny workers the ability to strike, taking away their most powerful weapon. It is important, in the midst of these threats, to keep in mind a simple fact: Strikes are stronger than laws. As we speak, the UK is experiencing its most momentous strike wave since Margaret Thatcher was prime minister in the 1980s. Nurses, transit workers, postal workers, and a slew of other public employees have walked out of work in the past month, and the actions show no sign of letting up.

What Message Does A ‘Vote No’ Campaign Send?

In December, the contract bargaining team for Auto Workers (UAW) Local 2865 brought back a tentative agreement with the University of California and presented it to its membership of teaching assistants, graders and tutors for ratification. A lively “vote no” campaign arose. A vote no campaign sends a very public message. Does it tell the boss that the union is divided, and therefore weak, or does it warn the boss that members are ready to fight for more? What does it say about the union and the union leadership? When members vote on ratification of a contract, the main issue is trust—whether in the contents of the deal, the process, or both.

British Nurses Are Struggling To Save NHS From Privatization

Anthony Johnson of Nurses United UK explains the reasons for the historic strike by nurses in December. He notes that the strike is not just about the cost of living crisis and pay hikes but also about saving the NHS from privatization. He explains how over the decades, successive governments have shrunk the health service, leading to poor working conditions and staff vacancies. He also talks about the impact of the wrecking of the NHS on the British people and health professionals in other parts of the world.
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