If Labor Dies- What is Next ?

David Rolf. SEIU.

[if you see Tefere Gebre either watch the entire panel or  go to the playlist tab, and click on video 3. I have been unable to change this]

The American Labor Movement at a Crossroads. – Session 1

Co sponsored by the Albert Shanker Institute, the AFT, the Hillman Foundation and others.

The American labor movement is at a critical juncture. After three decades of declining union density in the private sector and years of all-out political assaults on public sector unions, America’s unions now face what can only be described as existential threats. Strategies and tactics that may have worked in a different era are no longer adequate to today’s challenges. The need for different approaches to the fundamentals of union work in areas such as organizing, collective bargaining and political action is clear. The purpose of this conference is to examine new thinking and new  initiatives, viewing them critically in the light of ongoing union imperatives of cultivating member activism and involvement, fostering democratic self-governance and building the collective power of working people. Jan.15, 2015.

Sit down, watch, educate yourself. Prepare DSA and working families for the coming conflicts.

The conference has a number of leaders, including major DSA activists and former DSA leaders, to understand the reality of unions today and organizing the working class.

http://www.shankerinstitute.org/labor-conference/

Additional resources: From Harold Meyerson

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/harold-meyerson-democrats-new-faith/2015/01/22/89fe0470-a26b-11e4-903f-9f2faf7cd9fe_story.html?hpid=z6

On Thursday January 15, the Albert Shanker Institute, the Prospect and the Hillman Foundation put on a conference looking at possible directions for a labor movement that’s in, at minimum, serious trouble (the annual unionization figures came out today from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, showing that the rate of unionization had dropped to 11.1% — 6.6% in the private sector). Partly inspired by my Prospect piece in our fall issue on SEIU leader David Rolf’s efforts to incubate new worker organizations, the conference had presentations of some notable new and good ideas. Here’s a link to the event:

http://www.shankerinstitute.org/labor-conference/

The Prospect has also been running articles by some of the conference panelists. A good opener is this piece by Sejal Parikh, who heads the (successful!) Fight-for-15 campaign in Washington state:

http://www.prospect.org/article/labor-crossroads-how-we-know-we-havent-yet-found-right-model-worker-organizations

A provocative piece by UC Irvine law professor Catherine Fisk on how to build members-only unionism (of the sort the UAW now has at the Chattanooga Volkswagen plant):

http://www.prospect.org/article/labor-crossroads-defense-members-only-unionism

Another provocative piece by Rick Kahlenberg and Moshe Marvit on amending the Civil Rights Act to include non-discrimination against workers seeking to form a union:

http://www.prospect.org/article/labor-crossroads-can-broadened-civil-rights-law-offer-workers-true-right-organize

And a piece by Rich Yeselson on how a coming together of the post-Ferguson movement with the Fight for 15 campaign — and their respective spawn 00 — could invigorate labor:

http://www.prospect.org/article/labor-crossroads-will-diversity-foster-new-solidarity-and-save-movement

And my L.A. Times piece from December that tries to sum up a number of labor’s new directions:

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-meyerson-labor-organizing-20141208-story.html

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