The growing swell of American unions demanding a cease-fire in Gaza is heartening. But labor will have to take its antiwar commitments further than issuing statements to stop Israel’s wanton slaughter.
Jeff Schuhrke is a labor historian, journalist, and union activist who teaches at the Harry Van Arsdale Jr School of Labor Studies, SUNY Empire State University.
The US labor movement has a decades-long history of supporting Israel wholeheartedly, punctuated by moments of pro-Palestine actions by rank-and-file activists. As Israel wages its war on Gaza, those pro-Palestine moments are becoming increasingly common.
While some US unions and many labor activists are calling for a cease-fire in Gaza, most union officials are keeping silent. They’re forgetting the old labor adage: “an injury to one is an injury to all.”
International Workers’ Day traces its roots to the 1886 Haymarket affair, when labor radicals in Chicago were unjustly executed. Ever since, reactionaries have tried to tarnish their legacy — and leftists have honored them as working-class martyrs.
Despite high-profile victories in the 1960s and ’70s, farmworkers in the US have been poorly paid and heavily exploited for generations. They deserve the power of a union.
The union organizing upsurge in the United States has reached Trader Joe’s. Two stores, one in Massachusetts and one in Minneapolis, have unionized. We talked to a Minneapolis worker about why.
The union-busting campaign carried out by Starbucks indicates that the company will not stop until they destroy Starbucks Workers United. The rest of the labor movement has a duty to support the Starbucks union drive — before it’s too late.
US labor law is designed to prevent railroad strikes like the kind that shook America in the past. But the constant cuts to staffing levels and erosion of conditions for rail workers could produce a national rail walkoff by September.
Despite slogging through the difficulties of teaching during a pandemic, graduate workers at the University of Illinois Chicago say they continue to face low pay and disrespect at work. On Monday, they went on strike.
The relationship between American and Mexican trade unions has been characterized both by US labor officials carrying water for US imperialism in Mexico and by militant, democratic cross-border unionism.
Ed Asner was an immensely talented actor. He was also an uncompromising union militant who fought for lower-paid actors and against Ronald Reagan’s murderous interventions in Central America.
The American labor movement’s leadership has long sided with the state of Israel’s war crimes and apartheid over the Palestinian people. That has to change.
Bosses like management at the Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, where workers are trying to unionize, love to bring up union dues as part of their union-busting. But union organizers shouldn’t shy away from talking about why dues are important: they allow workers to pool the resources needed to fight the boss and win.
The barriers to organizing a general strike in the United States in response to the myriad miseries American workers are facing are massive. But we can’t move toward such a strike without at least putting the possibility on the table and discussing it — something the AFL-CIO has shown no interest in doing.
The United Electrical Workers was once one of America’s mightiest unions. But because many leaders were leftists who challenged corporate power, UE was decimated by McCarthyism. The union managed to survive, though, and UE’s model of militant, democratic unionism is exactly what we need to revive labor in the 21st century.
In 1973, Arab-American workers in Detroit auto plants walked off the job in protest of the UAW’s investment in bonds from the state of Israel. The incident is little-remembered today, but it shows how workers can organize against racism and colonialism — including against the labor movement’s investment in the Israeli occupation of Palestine today.
Despite the coronavirus outbreak, the University of Illinois has jacked up health care premiums for graduate workers and refuses to grant additional sick days to those who test positive for COVID-19. This is what workers have to deal with in the corporatized university.
The Canadian union Unifor is currently blockading an oil refinery in Regina, Saskatchewan. It’s an important example of what democratic, militant, and solidarity-based unionism can look like.
The US labor movement has a long history of aiding US imperialism. By adopting a strong internationalist strategy, making solidarity with the global working class a top priority — including on fighting climate change — the AFL-CIO can reverse that history.
Over the past century, the US government repeatedly disrupted leftist movements and supported or carried out coups around the world — aided by American labor leaders. A full reckoning with the AFL-CIO’s collaboration with US imperialism can help us forge a truly internationalist, left-wing unionism in the twenty-first century.