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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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).
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.”