Tennessee Republicans single out unions with anti-picketing bill

by Laura Clawson

McDonald's worker Keyana McDowell, 20, (L) strikes outside McDonald's in Los Angeles, California, December 5, 2013. Organizers say fast food workers will strike in 100 U.S. cities, and there will be protests in 100 more, to fight for $15 an hour wages and

It seems unions are having a little too much success in Tennessee for the comfort of Republicans there, so the state legislature is planning to do something about it. Spurred by the fact that Tennessee added 31,000 union members last year, state Rep. Jeremy Durham has introduced a bill that would create a new “mass picketing” misdemeanor specifically aimed at labor activists: Continue reading

Mercy, Justice, and the Strikebreaker

Dmitri Iglitzin

Dmitri Iglitzin

That the hearing occurred at all was a surprise to the elected executive board of the union. No one had heard from the member since the day notice of the charges had been mailed to him; no one expected him to show up in person to face the executive board, which was acting as a trial committee hearing the charges that had been brought.

But he did show up – a big man, calm but unsure of what was in store for him. The union’s representatives were, to tell the truth, equally unsure.

The union’s vice-president invited the accused to sit down at one of only two vacant seats at the conference table, which he did. The VP then formally opened the hearing. “Brother M., will you please present the charges?”

Brother M. looked straight at the accused. “On the date in question, that you knowingly violated your oath of membership in this union by continuing to perform your duties as an employee of a company against which a lawful primary strike had been authorized by this union.” Continue reading