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.
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?”
By Steven Rosenfeld for AlterNet – Jitu Brown: The Journey for Justice Alliance is a national network of grassroots communities and organizations in 24 cities. We also have a member in Johannesburg, South Africa. These are primarily black- and brown-led organizations with a constituency of low-income families, the people who are actually targeted for school privatization or what they call school choice. Building unity with the Journey for Justice Alliance was actually pretty easy because we all had the same pain. When the press conference ends, when local politicians finish their spin, what they leave in their wake are parents and communities who are suffering. Not only with schools but who have been failed as taxpayers. Parents and communities who have been ignored, who lost their voting rights and have suffered through a system that is gleefully inequitable.
By Anne Meador for DC Media Group – Immigrant workers around the country on February 16 flexed their economic muscle with a strike called “Un Dia Sin Inmigrante,” or “A Day Without Immigrants.” Planned at a three-day conference in Boston on February 10, the series of boycotts and strikes are intended to gain leverage for foreign-born immigrants, visa holders and undocumented immigrants at a time when migrant communities are scapegoated and discriminated against. Recently, Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids have swept through cities, detaining and deporting many people who allegedly lack proper documentation to reside in the U.S. “Now more than ever, it is important for the immigrant rights movement to have an offensive strategy,” said Maria Fernanda Cabello, a spokesperson for Movimiento Cosecha, in a press release.
By Ed Childs for Workers World – Well in advance of the Harvard University Dining Service strike, we knew we would need to build a solidarity coalition to take on the Harvard Corporation. We spent months laying the groundwork. (For Part 1, about strike preparations, go to tinyurl.com/z3goecw.) Once the strike began the coalition was critical. Harvard Medical School students staged two walkouts in support of the striking HUDS workers. The Student Labor Action Movement played a big role; they organized a dinner for us on campus where faculty, administrators, deans, parents and our workers spoke. Campus environmentalists saw worker health as necessary for a healthy campus environment. The Jewish group Hillel hosted meetings and fed us, and rabbis spoke at our rallies.
By Linda Martín Alcoff et al for Viewpoint Magazine – The massive women’s marches of January 21st may mark the beginning of a new wave of militant feminist struggle. But what exactly will be its focus? In our view, it is not enough to oppose Trump and his aggressively misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic and racist policies; we also need to target the ongoing neoliberal attack on social provision and labor rights. While Trump’s blatant misogyny was the immediate trigger for the massive response on January 21st, the attack on women (and all working people) long predates his administration. Women’s conditions of life, especially those of women of color and of working, unemployed and migrant women, have steadily deteriorated over the last 30 years, thanks to financialization and corporate globalization.
By Moshe Marvit and Leo Gertner for the Washington Post. Though often overlooked in America, the workplace can be as much a focal point of resistance and protest as the streets, the ballot box or the halls of Congress. Our standard workplace regime of at-will employment — where one can be fired for good cause, bad cause or no cause — combined with weak baseline workplace rights leaves many vulnerable at the workplace. But since jobs and trade were the policy centerpieces of his campaign, Trump has brought the fight to the workplace, and workers need to respond in kind. Workplace resistance can take many forms. The most obvious one could come from within the federal government itself. Just after last weekend’s protests, for example, career Foreign Service officers and diplomats began drafting a dissent memo against Trump’s executive order on refugees, in a “major bureaucratic uprising” against the president. Writing for Politico about Trump’s attack on federal employees, Nancy Cook and Andrew Restuccia explained that “disgruntled employees can leak information to Capitol Hill and the press, and prod inspectors general to probe political appointees. They can also use the tools of bureaucracy to slow or sandbag policy proposals — moves that can overtly, or passive aggressively, unravel a White House’s best-laid plans.”
By Peter Cole for In These Times. On the day of Donald Trump’s inauguration, many Americans wrung their hands. Some took to social media to express their discontent while others protested. But, perhaps, the most dramatic and important action was taken by dockworkers in Oakland, California: They stopped working. Their strike demonstrated the potential power ordinary people have on the job, when organized. Longshore workers, who load and unload cargo ships, chose not to report to their hiring hall. As a result, “Oakland International Container Terminal, the largest container facility at the Northern California port, was shut down Friday,” according to the Journal of Commerce. It also reported that all other Oakland container terminals were essentially shut down, too.
By Dianne Feeley for Labor Notes – Last week auto workers from Chicago and Detroit made a pilgrimage to the birthplace of auto workers’ sit-down strikes to lend solidarity to workers who’ve been locked out for eight months and counting. Honeywell locked out 320 aerospace workers with Auto Workers (UAW) Local 9 in South Bend, Indiana, on May 9 after they voted 270-30 to reject the company’s offer. Another 40 Honeywell workers with Local 1508 at in Green Island, New York, are also locked out. Honeywell was demanding the power to change health care premiums and deductibles unilaterally. The rejected proposal would also have eliminated cost-of-living increases and retiree health care…
By Bryce Covert for Think Progress – As a working mother who is also a first-generation Muslim immigrant — and who declined to give her full name for fear of President-elect Donald Trump’s plans to create a Muslim registry — she has much to be concerned about. “The recent election and just all the negative commentary and hateful remarks around immigration, immigrants, and Muslims and people of color really has impacted me,” she said. “All the rhetoric around taking away women’s reproductive freedoms, even such basic freedoms as access to contraception, the thought of not having that is frightening.” “Even the thought of the Muslim registry…the thought of registering my child, it gives me goosebumps even just saying it,” she added.
By Philip Guelpa for WSWS – With the strike of 700 workers against Momentive Performance Materials in Waterford, New York, north of Albany, entering its third month and the plant manned with scab labor, it is clear the company is determined to break the workers’ resistance to sweeping concessions. At the same time, the International Union of Electrical Workers/Communications Workers of America (IUE/CWA), Locals 81359 and 81380, have collaborated in the slow strangulation of the strike. The company is seeking major cuts in health care, pensions and other benefits.
By Staff for Tele Sur – Petrobras has decided to go to court with a request for conciliation to continue the negotiation with the unions. Oil workers in Brazil began a strike Friday that has paralyzed all activities at Petrobras’ refineries and maritime platforms, union leaders say. According to the Federation of Petroleum Workers, or FUP, the largest trade union in the sector, workers rejected the salary increase proposed by the state-owned company and affiliated unions have already approved the federation’s calls for the use of strikes. The FUP also called the adjustment in salaries “insufficient,” and said Petrobras is in breach of the 2016/2017 Collective Work Agreement.
By Sam Sacks for The District Sentinel – Low-wage workers across the country walked off the job on Tuesday to agitate for an increase in the federal minimum wage, in what were the first major labor actions launched since the election of Donald Trump. Organized by the “Fight for 15” campaign, McDonalds employees in more than 300 cities rallied for better pay. They were joined by other fast-food workers, home health care workers, and Uber drivers. In addition, baggage handlers and cabin cleaners at nearly 20 airports nationwide, including Chicago’s O’Hare, participated in the day of action.
By Staff of Indutri Global Union – Global unions BWI, IndustriALL, IUF, PSI and UNI will rally then hand deliver a letter to the South Korean mission in Geneva supporting the general strike and condemning the persecution of trade unionists in the country. The strike is being organized by the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU). KCTU’s president, Han Sang-Gyun, is currently serving a five-year prison sentence for his role in organizing a people’s protest of 100,000 people in 2015.
By Staff of Zoom in Korea – The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) and the organizers of the mass protests to oust Park Geun-hye called for a nation-wide strike on Wednesday, November 30. Over 300,000 workers of KCTU-affiliates including the Korean Metal Workers’ Union (KMWU), Korean Public Service and Transport Workers’ Union (KPTU), Korean Federation of Construction Industry Trade Unions (KFCITU) and Korean Government Employees Union (KGEU) are expected to participate in Wednesday’s general strike.