In 36 States, 21,000 AT&T Mobility Workers Vote to Strike

CWA Local 9408 - Unity at AT&T Mobility

By Dan DiMaggio for Labor Notes – Pennsylvania AT&T Mobility activists are using Facebook Live, which allows users to create live videos for a Facebook audience, to talk to members about their rights, how to fill out a grievance form, and managerial misconduct during observations. In Stiffey’s unit, managers were refusing to allow union reps to sit in on observations, in which store managers grade workers on their performance on the sales floor. So he made a video explaining to members how to demand their legal right to union representation at an investigatory interview, or “Weingarten rights.” “We suggested anytime that there’s a conversation with management, ask: Is this conversation going to be recorded in any way? Is it going to be placed into my employee file? Can or will it be used for discipline in the future? Is discipline going to be handed out in this conversation?” If the answer to any of those questions is yes, the union urges members to demand a union rep. “As a result, the number of sales reps who have really stepped up and pushed for their Weingarten rights has increased dramatically,” said Stiffey.

Which Way To The Barricades?

1933 Dressmakers' Union strike demonstrators take a break in a diner. Kheel Center / Flickr

By Steve Fraser and Nelson Lichtenstein for Jacobin Magazine – Shelly’s “Masque of Anarchy” has been a spectral presence for nearly two hundred years, summoned at climactic moments of civil warfare. Composed to memorialize the 1819 Peterloo massacre, the poem commemorates the sixty thousand people who gathered at the very dawn of the industrial revolution to demand a radical expansion of suffrage, especially to those laboring in England’s dark satanic mills. Dozens died, hundreds were wounded. The poem wasn’t published for over a decade, until the Chartist movement took it up in 1832. Another ten years after that, it became the anthem of an almost nationwide general strike. Participants referred to the time leading up to that moment and the strikes that preceded it as “holy days.” Since then “Ye are many—they are few” has inspired rebellion, resistance, and liberation again and again. The New York garment worker strikes of 1911, the sit-down strikes of the 1930s, May 1968 in Paris, and, most recently, the pro-democracy congregations during the Arab Spring and the Occupy uprisings of 2011 are all etched in our collective memory. There are also largely unknown, but hardly less remarkable, general strikes: not just those that shut down Winnipeg and Seattle in 1919…

Meet Organizers Behind The Next ‘Day Without An Immigrant’ Strike

Activists carry a banner for the strike at a march on February 16 in New York City. (Facebook/Cosecha)

By Sarah Aziza for Waging Nonviolence – When 26-year-old Catalina Adorno hit the road on March 28, she knew it would be at least six weeks before she’d sleep again in her own bed. Since that day, Adorno, a Mexican-born New Jersey resident with a strong voice and bright laugh, has criss-crossed from Pennsylvania to Maine as part of a regional support team for Movimento Cosecha, a national immigrant rights coalition. Her stops have included major cities and small towns, as she and her three teammates work to mobilize Cosecha’s vast network of “local circles” ahead of a massive day of coordinated action slated for May 1. On April 3, Adorno’s team stopped off in Washington, D.C. to hear Cosecha spokesperson Maria Fernanda Cabello make the formal call for a May 1 nationwide strike. The planned action, billed as “A Day Without an Immigrant,” is set to be the largest immigrant rights action for at least a decade, with hundreds of thousands already pledging to stay home from work for a day in protest of systemic discrimination towards the immigrant and undocumented communities. At the press conference, Cabello pointed to the massive labor and capital power represented by the immigrant community, including 11 million undocumented residents.

Hundreds Of Thousands Of Workers Will Strike May 1

Patrick Fallon / Reuters

By Cora Lewis for BuzzFeed News – Members of SEIU United Service Workers West protest during May Day demonstrations at Los Angeles International Airport in 2012. Gus Ruelas / Reuters Since Donald Trump’s election, there has been no shortage of wildcat strikes by groups disproportionately affected by his administration’s policies. But this time around, organized labor is driving the effort. According to a coalition of groups leading the strike, more than 300,000 food chain workers and 40,000 unionized service workers have said they will walk off the job so far. Huerta’s union chapter represents tens of thousands of workers, including janitors, security officers and airport staff, while the Food Chain Workers Alliance, which represents workers throughout the food industry, says hundreds of thousands of its non-unionized members have committed to striking.

May Day Mass Action Will Be Historic 'Strike From Below'

Participants in 2006's A Day Without Immigrants protest marched on May 1 in Washington, D.C. That action is part of the inspiration behind a general strike set for May 1 of this year that will focus on immigrants and other marginalized workers. (Photo by Elvert Barnes via Flickr.)

By Sue Sturgis for Facing South – Hundreds of thousands of service workers across the South and the rest of the nation are planning to take part in a general strike for human rights and equality on May Day, which marks International Workers’ Day. Organizers say the May 1 Strike, which aims to express the collective power of the country’s most marginalized workers and to stop attacks by the Trump administration and its corporate allies, is the biggest general-strike organizing effort in the U.S. in over 70 years. “The Trump administration’s dangerous attacks against food worker families and all marginalized people continue a centuries-long history of oppression,” the organizers said in a statement.

May Day: Seattle Educators Moving Closer To Strike

Dimitry B.

By Calvin Priest for Counter Punch – On Monday, March 13, the Seattle Educators Association (SEA) took a big step toward May 1 strike action in voting by an overwhelming majority in favor of a one-day strike at their Representative Assembly. The resolution will now require approval by the union’s full membership. The vote was a response to more than a decade of unconstitutional underfunding of public education in Washington State. But it was also a part of a series of recent moves by Seattle unions preparing to take action on May Day against the vicious right-wing agenda of Donald Trump. In February, WFSE Local 304, representing workers at Seattle community colleges, passed a resolution supporting strike and protest action on May 1.

U.S., March 8, 2017: This Is What Feminism Really Looks Like

Marking International Womens Day 1975, the feminist magazine Spare Rib reported: '4,000 women marched through London's East End.' Photograph: Red Women's Workshop Red Women's Workshop/Public Domain

By Chen Michelle for ESSF – On Wednesday, women around the world gave themselves a day off… from the system. Not that a woman’s work is ever done. But for one day, to mark the International Women’s Strike, women in dozens of cities in the United States and across the world redeployed their productive energies to fighting for gender and economic justice. Women downed their tools on multiple fronts. Mothers outside the waged workforce restructured their schedules to share the burden of care work. Others refrained from shopping, or participated in local direct actions, or undertook the challenge of starting provocative conversations with neighbors about the real value of women’s work.

Women’s Strike Organizers Arrested In NY On A Day Of Protests Worldwide

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By Robert Mackey for The Intercept – In more than thirty countries, women will refuse to do work — any work, paid or unpaid — that they do not wish to do. They will not cook breakfast, lunch, or dinner. They will not clean, watch children, buy groceries, drive carpool, fold clothes, wash dishes, or have sex — at least the kind of sex that feels like work. They will not work the assembly line or the phones, take your order or ring you up. They will skip shifts at hospitals, universities, and labs. They will not send emails (“sorry for the delayed response!”) or schedule appointments, braid hair, paint fingernails, or wax groins.

A Day Without A Woman’ Was A Day Of Activism Across The Country

MAYOREDLEE/INSTAGRAM
At San Francisco City Hall, hundreds gather to honor International Women’s Day on Wednesday.

By Sebastian Murdock , Andy Campbell , Antonia Blumberg , Kim Bellware, and Lydia O’Connor for The Huffinngton Post – Cities across the country were awash in red on Wednesday as thousands gathered to show support for International Women’s Day. The rallies ― which mobilized men and women in New York, California, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., among other states ― was part of “A Day Without A Woman,” which organizers described as a day of “economic solidarity.” Women were encouraged to take the day off and strike to “highlight the economic power and significance that women have in the U.S. and global economies,” Women’s March organizers said.

No More Saturday Marches

A "Day Without Immigrants" rally on February 16, 2017. Lorie Shaull / Flickr

By Nelson Lichtenstein for Jacobin Magazine – The brilliance of strikes and stoppages like the Day Without Immigrants and the Women’s Strike lies in organizers’ willingness to halt business as usual. In mid-February, as thousands of people were pondering what to do about a midweek “Day Without Immigrants,” one of them called up a union office in Chicago to ask if he should call in sick when going on strike for the day. “You can’t say you are calling in sick. You’re on strike!” replied an agitated union official. “If you are calling in sick, you’re just sick.” This little bit of confusion illuminates larger and more important questions facing all those seeking the best way to protest President Trump…

‘Day Without A Woman’ Strike Is Closing Schools Around The Country

Marking International Womens Day 1975, the feminist magazine Spare Rib reported: '4,000 women marched through London's East End.' Photograph: Red Women's Workshop Red Women's Workshop/Public Domain

By Laura Bassett and Catherine Pearson For The Huffington Post – WASHINGTON ― Dozens of schools up and down the East Coast have announced they will be closed on Wednesday as their teachers, the vast majority of whom are women, participate in the “Day Without A Woman” strike to protest President Donald Trump. All 16 public schools in Alexandria, Virginia, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools in North Carolina, and at least one preschool in Brooklyn, New York, have canceled classes for International Women’s Day on March 8, anticipating staff shortages. The Maple Street School in Brooklyn sent a letter to parents last week explaining that the preschool supports the political statement teachers are making by staying home.

Political Strikes: What Can Workers Do To Protect Themselves?

Workers’ strike in Milwaukee in January of 2014. (Photo: Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association/flickr/cc)

By Leora Smith for On Labor – On January 28, the New York Taxi Workers Alliance called an hour-long work stoppage as a way to express their opposition to President Trump’s Executive Order banning immigration from seven Muslim majority countries and suspending refugee intake. A week later, Yemeni-American bodega owners in New York City protested the Order by closing their businesses and holding a thousands-strong protest in Brooklyn. On February 16, as part of an action called A Day Without Immigrants, thousands went on strike to highlight the contributions of immigrant workers. Each of these demonstrations employed the tactic of work stoppages to send a message. Each was labeled a “strike” in the media.

Day Without Immigrants A Foretaste Of Strikes To Come

Demonstrators take part in the Day Without Latinos, Immigrants and Refugees march in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on February 13, 2017. (Photo: Sue Ruggles)

By Sarah Jaffe for Truth Out – Across the country last week, immigrants went on strike to demonstrate what the country would be like if Donald Trump actually followed through on his promised deportations. The Day Without Immigrants actions kicked off in Wisconsin on Monday, February 13, where Voces De La Frontera and partner organizations held a Day Without Latinos, Immigrants and Refugees to protest Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke’s plans to collaborate with the Trump administration to deport people. We spoke with German Sanchez, one of the workers who went on strike that day. In addition to being a farmworker, Sanchez also volunteers with Voces De La Frontera Milwaukee, United for a Better Future from Fox Cities, and ESTHER (an interfaith social justice group in Wisconsin).

Postal Workers Defeat Staples Privatization Scheme

Postal workers halted a creeping privatization scheme with a three-year boycott. Photo: APWU

By Alexandra Bradbury for Labor Notes – The Staples boycott is over, and the union won. The Postal Workers (APWU) announced January 5 that the Postal Service will terminate its deal with Staples, closing down the 540 “mini-post offices” inside stores by the end of February and nixing plans to expand them to all 1,600 locations. The union fought for three years against the deal, which amounted to contracting out post office work to the low-wage, non-union office retailer. Staples opened its first postal counters in 2013. They offered a selection of the services APWU members provide at post office windows, including stamp sales, first-class domestic and international mail, and priority and express mail. Customers paid the same rates they would in a real post office — but Staples got a discount from the Postal Service, and pocketed the difference as profit.

Planting Seed For Strikes In Trump Era, #Strike4Democracy Sweeps Nation

A sign seen in Brooklyn on Friday, February 17, 2017. (Photo: @LAKauffman/Twitter)

By Deirdre Fulton for Common Dreams – Galvanized in response to the Trump administration’s attacks on immigrants, women, the LGBTQ community, and the environment, Friday’s action “amplifies a new chapter of nonviolent resistance ushered in over the last six weeks by calling for strikes that grow in number and power,” the statement reads, pointing to other strike actions planned for March 8 and May 1, as well as “a heightening resistance throughout the summer.” The #F17Strike, as it was being called, also came on the heels of Thursday’s national “Day Without Immigrants,” as well as more localized walk-out actions in Wisconsin and New York. And in a piece published this week at YES! Magazine, senior editor James Trimarco posited that “Feb. 17 is just the beginning.” While “[i]t’s not the American way for workers across industries to stage a one-day walkout to make a statement,” as columnist Shirley Leung wrote in Friday’s Boston Globe, she wondered: “Could that change in the Trump era?”