Is Traditional Union Organizing a Lost Cause?

The Most Successful Union Organizer in America Thinks Traditional Organizing Is a Lost Cause

On the latest episode of “The Bottom Line” podcast, David Rolf of the SEIU explains why worker advocates need to move to a different model.


UFW- Please Support DACA & TPS

Join today’s national call in day to support the Dream Act,operation

Today, December 19th, is a national day of phone action to support the Dream Act and we are asking you to help flood your representative’s phone lines to demand that Congress pass a Clean Dream Act  and protect the 800,000 young lives that were left in limbo when President Trump rescind DACA. This is the only home most of these young people have ever known.
More than 11,000 young people have already lost their DACA protections and 122 young people lose their DACA status every day! We need to get Congress to pass a Dream Act before they go home in December!
The farm worker movement has stood by Dreamers time and time again in the fight for a clean Dream Act. UFW President Arturo Rodriguez got arrested supporting Dreamers in a massive demonstration earlier this month. In addition to countless delegations led by our farm worker movement, we have taken the lead in the San Joaquin Valley showing up at the doors of Congressman David Valadao’s offices in Hanford CA, Bakersfield CA  and Washington D.C. only to find his doors closed. Most recently, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the farm worker movement organized to dedicate national masses for Dreamers on the day of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
We will continue to be persistent and do all we can to ensure Congress acts and passes a clean Dream Act before the year ends. 
Here’s how to join in the national day of action phone campaign:
1. Dial 1-888-778-6856 and wait for the “Welcome” message.
2. Get connected to the switchboard.
3. Enter your zip code.
4. Wait for your call to be connected to your Representative or Senator and demand a #DreamActNow!
Below please find a sample script you can use to make your call:
Hi, my name is ____________ and I live in ___________ (city in district). I’m calling to urge you Congressperson/Senator ____________ to pass a clean Dream Act before you go home for the holidays. Every day that Congress fails to act, 122 Dreamers lose their DACA status and become deportable. Not taking action on the Dream Act is a vote to deport Dreamers. Please pass a clean Dream Act this December. Thank you for your time.

If you are on Twitter, join us in participating in a Twitterstorm today at 3PM EST/ 12 PM PST. Let’s join together and raise our voices in support for a #DreamActNow!
To make it easy, here is a sample tweet to send or you can just click below at 3 pm EST/12 pm pst: 

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Strong Unions, Stronger Communities

Several major unions have released a report and graphics Strong Unions, Stronger Communities and we hope you will amplify it via social media using the accompanying toolkit and that you’ll talk about it with your respective communities.

The report details several cases around the country in which strong unions have led to positive outcomes for entire communities, making them stronger and safer. Whether it’s EMS workers negotiating for better staff ratios that decrease emergency response times, or teachers speaking up together for smaller class sizes, the report underscores that strong unions are needed now more than ever.

We need your help to create momentum and focus renewed attention among our friends and elected officials about the value unions currently bring to our country. This issue is particularly important in light of the Supreme Court case, Janus v. AFSCME, which is an unprecedented attack on the freedom of working people to join strong unions.

Thank you for your support!

Here are some things you can do to help:

  • Post to social media using the toolkit we have prepared
  • Reference and share the report with allies in speeches and at conferences and meetings
  • Write an op-ed or LTE, referencing one of the cases in the report or another in your community
  • Ask your elected officials to speak about the value of unions to their communities
  • Hold an event or rally in your community to highlight the value of unions to everyone

The Dreamers Were Created by NAFTA

By David Bacon
Working In These Times, 9/8/17

Dreamers and supporters march in San Francisco defying the announcement by Attorney General Jeff Sessions that the government will rescind DACA.  More photographs –

The DACA youth, the “dreamers” are the true children of NAFTA – those who, more than anyone, paid the price for the agreement.  Yet they are the ones now punished by the Trump administration as it takes away their legal status, their ability to work, and their right to live in this country without fearing arrest and deportation.  At the same time, those responsible for the fact they grew up in the U.S. walk away unpunished – even better off.

We’re not talking about their parents.  It’s common for liberal politicians (even Trump himself on occasion) to say these young people shouldn’t be punished for the “crime” of their parents – that they brought their children with them when they crossed the border without papers.  But parents aren’t criminals anymore than their children are.  They chose survival over hunger, and sought to keep their families together and give them a future.

The perpetrators of the “crime” are those who wrote the trade treaties and the economic reforms that made forced migration the only means for families to survive.  The “crime” was NAFTA.   Continue reading

How Today’s Unions Help Working People


Graphic from Portside

How today’s unions help working people
Giving workers the power to improve their jobs and unrig the economy
Report • By Josh Bivens, Lora Engdahl, Elise Gould, Teresa Kroeger, Celine McNicholas, Lawrence Mishel, Zane Mokhiber, Heidi Shierholz, Marni von Wilpert, Ben Zipperer, and Valerie Wilson • August 24, 2017

Americans have always joined together—whether in parent teacher associations or local community organizations—to solve problems and make changes that improve their lives and their communities. Through unions, people join together to strive for improvements at the place where they spend a large portion of their waking hours: work.

The freedom of workers to join together in unions and negotiate with employers (in a process known as collective bargaining) is widely recognized as a fundamental human right across the globe. In the United States, this right is protected by the U.S. Constitution and U.S. law and is supported by a majority of Americans.1

Over 16 million working women and men in the United States are exercising this right—these 16 million workers are represented by unions. Overall, more than one in nine U.S. workers are represented by unions. This representation makes organized labor one of the largest institutions in America.2
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Dealing With Federal Lay Offs

For federal readers, the defense you need is joining your agency’s union NOW. If you are too afraid to sign up for dues withholding, know that in some agencies you can pay quarterly by check. Your second line of defense is to get you coworkers to join too. Without the involvement of most of your staff the union’s response might be limited. Below is an example of a Reduction in Force (RIF i.e. layoffs) during the Reagan administration.

When Reagan became president there were RIFs in many parts of the government in addition to the smashing of the air controllers’ union. In the Department of Energy, the RIFs were organized by 1st tier organizations (sub agencies). This article is a brief story of the RIF in the Energy Information Administration (EIA). It also gives a comparison with Trumps potential RIFs.

In DOE as a whole there was great concern about job stability. There was an anecdotal story that some DOE researchers were so upset that we had a suicide although I cannot confirm that. However, keeping tabs on you coworkers is a good idea. If they are troubled seek assistance.
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$1.4 Trillion With Earned Income Tax Credit

Paul Krugman: ” … we can limit the human damage when they do happen. We can guarantee health care and adequate retirement income… We can provide aid to the newly unemployed. And we can act to keep the overall economy strong — which means doing things like investing in infrastructure and education, not cutting taxes on rich people and hoping the benefits trickle down.”

We can rebuild union density so half the workforce isn’t getting paid way less than they would be paid if we had, say, German union density.

If McDonald’s can pay $15 an hour with 33% labor costs, Target pay pay $20 with 10-15% labor costs, Walmart can pay $25 an hour with 7% labor costs. At least that’s the hope — and labor being able to flex its bargaining muscles in the (truly) free market is the only way we are going to find out.

Labor unions are the only way to end punishing just-in-time work scheduling. Continue reading