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What Is The State Of Organized Labor?

Last year was a good year for organized labor. At least that’s the popular perception. And that perception has some real basis. Major strikes, including ones that led to substantial victories for workers, marked a positive surge of the labor movement in 2023—and perhaps on into 2024. (See sidebar, “Some Major Strikes of 2023.”) The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 2023 saw an increase of 139,000 in labor union membership following an increase of 273,000 the year before. What’s more, according to Gallup polling, public approval of unions was higher in 2022 (71%) and 2023 (67%) than it has been since the mid-1960s.

Union Power Can Change Campus Protests Forever

Strikes are different from protests. Though protesters frequently say that they are making ​“demands,” it is more accurate to say they are making requests. Protests rely on persuasion. Their persuasion may be gentle, or it may be aggressive. It may rely on moral shaming to get its point across, or it may rely on the elevation of awareness, or it may rely on the pure intimidation of numbers. But protests, for all of their righteous fury and necessity, lack the legal ability to shut things down until change is achieved. Strikers, on the other hand, can truly make demands. Their proposition is simple: No work will get done until a change is made.

University Of California Workers Vote To Authorize A Strike

On May 15, United Auto Workers Local 4811, which represents 48,000 student workers across the University of California campuses, voted to authorize a strike following police and administrative repression of pro-Palestine students staging Gaza Solidarity Encampments.  Strike authorization votes took place from May 13 to May 15. Workers voted in favor of striking by a landslide of 79%. There is currently no fixed date for a strike, but the vote empowers the union’s executive board to call a strike at any time.  Were Local 4811 to strike, it would be the first strike in history to be called for Palestinian liberation.

Unions Support Student Protestors Against Administrators And Police

As campus protests—and violent police repression—continue to roll across the country, some unions are getting involved. More than 2,700 protesters have been arrested on 64 college campuses since the initial arrests at Columbia University in New York on April 18. Encampments have appeared at 184 campuses worldwide. The protesting students are calling for full disclosure of their universities’ finances and divestment from all financial ties to weapons manufacturers and Israel’s war on Gaza. Unionized academic workers are demanding decision-making power over their work and what it’s used for. For instance, academic workers in the astronomy department of the University of California Santa Cruz have organized to refuse to apply for or accept funding from the U.S. Department of Defense, weapons manufacturers, and military contractors.

The Principle Of Landless Solidarity And The Recent Rains In Brazil

The Landless Rural Workers’ Movement (MST) this past week launched the Landless Solidarity Campaign in Rio Grande do Sul to help the more than 1.3 million people affected by the heavy rains and floods in the state. More than 90,000 Brazilian reais have already been raised for the campaign. In addition to cash donations, the Movement has also converted the Galpão Elza Soares and the Casa dos Movimentos Carlito Maia, both in São Paulo’s Campos Elíseos neighborhood, into collection points for clothes, hygiene products, medicines, and non-perishable food. “Our beloved people of Rio Grande suffered from the heavy rain that occurred last weekend, which destroyed our settlement areas, our cooperatives, our crops and, above all, the people’s dream of producing healthy food, which we were just making a reality.

University Of California Office Of The President Attacked

With the Aurora Borealis above us and the martyrs in our hearts, we attacked the UC Office of the President in solidarity with the Palestinian Resistance. Using a fire extinguisher filled with red paint we covered the facade and smashed seven windows. Then, with access to the building, we released 500 cockroaches inside and emptied a second fire extinguisher onto the interior. We finalized the act by leaving a water jug inscribed with "Bonk" at the scene - an homage to the militants of Cal Poly Humboldt and the international student encampment movement.

University Workers Could Strike To Reject Repression Of Student Protests

From May 13 to May 15, members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 4811 will be holding a strike authorization vote for a potential strike, in response to the University of California’s crackdown on peaceful pro-Palestine student protesters. On May 3, the union local filed Unfair Labor Practices (ULP) charges against the University of California (UC) system, in response to various UC campuses sending police officers to brutalize student protesters staging Gaza Solidarity Encampments. Last week, administration at the University of Los Angeles- California sent in the Los Angeles Police Department to clear out the Gaza Solidarity encampment staged by student protesters, peacefully demanding that their university divest from Israel.

Veterans Support Students Protesting Genocide In Palestine

Veterans For Peace applauds the students who are protesting against the US/Israeli genocide in Palestine.  These courageous young students are doing the right thing at the right time.  “The students are absolutely right, and they may actually be saving our humanity,” said Veterans For Peace president Susan Schnall. “Peace-loving people should applaud them, help them and join them. We are grateful that many people – including veterans – are doing just that. Nonviolent student encampments on hundreds of college campuses in the U.S. and around the world are providing a light of hope in an otherwise hopeless and shameful moment in human history.

Students Of Venezuela March In Support Of Palestine

University and high school students from Venezuela took the streets of Caracas to demand an end to the genocide of the Palestinian people carried out by the Zionist state of Israel. The Venezuelan students’ rallies coincide with a similar student movement in the US that is facing police repression by a government that allegedly is the beacon of democracy. More than 34,500 Palestinians have since been killed since October 7, 2023, most of them women and children, and over 77,700 are reported as injured amid mass destruction and severe shortages of basic necessities caused by the indiscriminate and criminal Israeli bombings.

Colleges And Universities Collaborate With The State To Silence Protests

As we have seen over the past few months, colleges and universities across the United States have shown a dangerous willingness to punish their students for speaking out for Justice for Palestine on their campuses. The very institutions that claim to be the centers of intellectual rigor, freedom of thought and expression, and developers of critical thinking skills for America’s post-secondary school development, even claiming to be the groomers and shapers of America’s future generations of leaders, are today the institutions that call the police on student protesters.

Faculty At University Of Texas Austin Strike In Solidarity With Students

Faculty from universities across the country have begun to mobilize in solidarity with the student movement for Palestine. From NYU, where faculty linked arms to protect students from police; to Columbia University, where faculty engaged in a solidarity walkout with the Gaza Solidarity Encampment; to Barnard College, where faculty planned a sick-out in defense of their students — faculty are rising up in defense of their students. At the University of Texas Austin, faculty have announced a 24-hour work stoppage as part of the fight against student repression.

Quds Day Rallies In Yemen Intensify Amid Biden’s Strategic Shift

On International Quds Day, when protests are held around the world to show solidarity with Palestinians, Yemenis are once again at the forefront of worldwide solidarity with Gaza. Yemenis of all stripes took to the streets in unprecedented numbers on Friday to demonstrate their support for Palestine as well as Ansar Allah’s (Houthis) Red Sea operation against Israeli, American and British ships until the war in Gaza is stopped and the blockade is lifted. This year’s protests came as the Biden Administration embarked upon new moves aimed at Yemen’s Central Bank in a bid to pressure Ansar Allah to stop targeting Israeli ships.

As The US Starves The Cuban People, Activists Launch Solidarity Campaign

In the wake of the US’ deliberate starvation of the Cuban people through sanctions, solidarity activists with the People’s Forum, a New York-based political education space, has organized a massive campaign to send 800 tons of wheat flour to the island. The United States policy of continuing the over 60-year-long blockade of the island, as well as maintaining the socialist nation on the “State Sponsors of Terrorism” list, has engineered severe shortages of vital goods on Cuba, including food. The People’s Forum is soliciting donations to help provide much-needed wheat flour to Cuba.

Please Launch Workers United Against Mass Layoffs

It’s time for a new organization to protect working people from the plague of mass layoffs. Let’s call it, for now, Workers United Against Mass Layoffs. Given the United Autoworkers’ growing prestige, this seems like the ideal moment for the union to lead the fight against needless mass layoffs everywhere and for everyone. The United Autoworkers know all about mass layoffs.  Currently,  GM is laying off 1,314 workers across two plants in Michigan, and another 322 UAW members are losing their jobs at Missouri Central School Bus. They are not alone. 

In Palestine, Healthcare Is Also A Form Of Resistance

When we talk about the strength of the health system, we are talking about these highly educated and dedicated professionals who are also a sort of resistance. If you need to exterminate a population because you want to take its lands, healthcare workers are the first ones to be attacked. We see that not only in the case of health care, but also in the case of cultural and intellectual figures, journalists, professors, and scientists, who have been murdered. They represent part of people’s needs; if you have a tactic of extermination, they are the first targets. That’s what we have seen during all Israel’s attacks on Gaza. It’s not new.
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