In the past year, we’ve seen large, militant strikes by autoworkers, Hollywood writers, and others. It’s a promising sign that, after decades of weakness, the US labor movement is ready to take the fight to the boss.
Railroad workers bargaining for better pay and working conditions are at an impasse with their employers, causing the federal government to intervene to ward off a disruptive strike. But railworkers should be allowed to strike if and when they want to.
We really, really need unions. But not all unionism is created equal. We need unions that are willing to fight the bosses rather than cozy up to them. We need class-struggle unionism.
Talk of Joe Biden as a transformational president is getting ahead of itself. Historically, labor law reform has triggered some of the fiercest battles from business — and Joe Biden has shown no evidence he’ll go to the mat for the PRO Act, the most transformative piece of labor legislation in decades.
The teachers’ strikes of the past year and a half have been an inspiration. But we haven’t seen a revitalization of successful worker militancy where it’s desperately needed: in the private sector.
In the wake of Janus, it’s tempting for some trade unionists to give up on representing all workers in a given workplace. This is exactly what the boss wants.
Janus is an assault on unions, full stop. But worker militancy can overcome bad labor law.
The West Virginia teacher strike represents a return to public worker unionism’s radical roots.
It’s time to reintegrate radical ideas into the labor movement.
For unions, the most important question isn’t who will replace Scalia. It’s how to knock down the barriers labor law imposes.
Two thousand workers are now on strike at a Wisconsin plant. It’s the kind of fight labor must win if it has any chance at reviving.
The strike is still labor’s strongest weapon.