Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 16 Share on Twitter 1 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 9/2/19

Linking Popular Movements And Unions Is A Winning Strategy For Workers

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     (# of views)   11 comments
Author 690
Message Kevin Zeese
Become a Fan
  (62 fans)

Reprinted from popularresistance.org By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers

After years of declining power and stagnant wages, workers in the United States are awakening, striking and demanding more rights. A Bureau of Labor Statistics report shows the number of striking workers is the highest since 1986. In 2018, 485,000 people went on strike, a number not exceeded since the 533,000 people in 1986, and 2019 will be even larger. Workers should be in revolt, as the Economic Policy Institute found workers have had stagnant wages for three and a half decades even though productivity is increasing.

This week we look at the origin of Labor Day, how workers are returning to those roots and the future for workers in the United States.


(
Image by Unknown Owner)   Details   DMCA

From the Economic Policy Institute.

Labor Returns To Its Roots: Strikes Escalate

This is the 125th anniversary of Labor Day, which was declared in 1894 after the nationwide Pullman railroad strike led by the American Railway Union under Eugene Debs when 260,000 workers in 27 states participated. Federal troops were used to stop the strike and 26 people were killed. Six days after the more than two-month-long strike ended, President Grover Cleveland pushed legislation through Congress creating Labor Day as a conciliatory gesture to the workers.

Near the end of the strike, on July 4, Debs described the strike as the beginning of a conflict where "90 percent of the people of the United States will be arrayed against the other 10 percent." Six days later, Debs was arrested and, after his conviction was upheld by the Supreme Court, he served six months in prison for violating an injunction against the strike. When released, Debs started the Socialist Party, which built worker power in elections, resulting in many changes to the laws.

The Pullman Strike was part of a growing labor movement that won reforms such as ending child labor, the 8-hour workday, the right to unionize and Depression-era New Deal laws, which included many laws demanded by workers, the Socialist Party and the Progressive Party.

Since the 1947 Taft-Harley Act, which restricted worker rights, unions have been in decline with reduced members and rights. The Janus decision, which some saw as a fatal attack on public-sector unions, might be the low point, perhaps the darkness before the dawn, for workers in the United States. Workers are realizing that democracy requires unions and now 64% of people say they approve of unions, a dramatic increase of 16 percent over a record-low figure registered in 2009.

Janus seems to have focused unions on the need to rethink their approach, and so far unions who have moved to an organizing culture have not been hurt by Janus. In recent years, there has been an awakening with a wave of strikes such as the teachers' strikes in multiple states (California, Colorado, Michigan, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Washington, West Virginia, among others). There have also been recent strikes by healthcare and hotel workers in ten cities, grad students, farmworkers and Stop and Shop, National Grid and Steelworkers, as well as the largest strike of manufacturing workers in the Trump era, McDonald's, and even prisoners on stike in 17 states. WalMart workers threatened to strike and won increased wages.

Workers in the new gig economy also face challenges. When Uber and Lyft went public, it was bad news for drivers. While investors made billions of dollars, it created new "demands from investors for fare increases and further attacks on drivers, already grossly undercompensated." These drivers are contractors, not employees subject to minimum wage laws or the benefits of being an employee. The effective hourly wage of an Uber driver is less than what 90 percent of US workers earn. Drivers have begun to organize and strike to demand better wages and benefits.

It is time for a new era of worker rights, union organizing, higher wages, and worker ownership. Decades of mistreatment of workers are boomeranging and could make the next decade one of massive advancement by workers.

Govt Shutdown Shuts Out Striking Bestway Workers
Govt Shutdown Shuts Out Striking Bestway Workers
(Image by UFCW400Local)
  Details   DMCA

Transformation Requires More Than Wages

Next Page  1  |  2

 

Supported 2   Must Read 1   Well Said 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Kevin Zeese Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Kevin Zeese is co-chair of Come Home America, www.ComeHomeAmerica.US which seeks to end U.S. militarism and empire. He is also co-director of Its Our Economy, www.ItsOurEconomy.US which seeks to democratize the economy and give people greater (more...)
 
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Why I Was Among Eight Health Care Advocates to Get Arrested in the Senate Yesterday

The Seeds of Rebellion Are Taking Root, and Protests Against Injustices Are Blooming Across the Country

BREAKING NEWS: BIG BREAKTHROUGHS FOR SINGLE PAYER HEALTH CARE

Ron Paul Press Conference Unifies Third Party and Independent Candidates Around Four Key Positions

Paperless Electronic Voting Machines Flipping Votes from Obama to McCain in West Virginia

Max Baucus Should Not Be Deciding Health Care for America

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

6 people are discussing this page, with 11 comments


Mark Sashine

Become a Fan
Author 451

(Member since Apr 11, 2006), 60 fans, 255 articles, 27 quicklinks, 8505 comments, 341 diaries
Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


  New Content

kevin I wrote the same thing on popular front. Write to me Mark Sashine

Submitted on Monday, Sep 2, 2019 at 4:02:52 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (1+)
Help
 
Indent

Kevin Zeese

Become a Fan
Author 690

(Member since Apr 11, 2006), 62 fans, 274 articles, 193 comments, 1 diaries
Not paid member and Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


Reply to Mark Sashine:   New Content

My email is KBZeese@gmail.com

Submitted on Monday, Sep 2, 2019 at 4:36:30 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (0+)
Help
 

Michael Dewey

Become a Fan
Author 11470
Follow Me on Twitter
(Member since Feb 15, 2008), 18 fans, 20 articles, 6 quicklinks, 3547 comments, 17 diaries
Facebook Page Twitter Page Linked In Page Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


  New Content

The worker ownership of the $20 billion a year Mondragon Cooperative is a working model for better way to work. With it owning it's own collage and bank, would like to see, say, a 33% community ownership with public city and state banks involved. As an IBEW Wirenut in 1994, when first hearing of Mondragon of the Basque in Spain saw right away how Unions could work out the details of setting them up. Things have gone backwards since. Though the USW did have a collaboration with Mondragon for Union styled Coops, guess the funding nver took hold for have heard nothing of it for years. US Notes to Public City and State Banks, backed by removing the whole SS cap, and of course pensions invested into worker and combo of community ownership. Let farmers grow hemp for the paper, plastics, textiles and bio-fuel we can produce from the industrial male hemp plant.


(Image by Unknown Owner) Details DMCA

Submitted on Monday, Sep 2, 2019 at 4:52:25 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (3+)
Help
 
Indent

shad williams

Become a Fan
Author 63282

(Member since Apr 13, 2011), 22 fans, 60 articles, 1 quicklinks, 2752 comments, 2 diaries
Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


Reply to Michael Dewey:   New Content

A very interesting aspect of the meaning of liberty is = to F.U.C.K. WAR

Submitted on Monday, Sep 2, 2019 at 7:30:51 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (0+)
Help
 
IndentIndent

Michael Dewey

Become a Fan
Author 11470
Follow Me on Twitter
(Member since Feb 15, 2008), 18 fans, 20 articles, 6 quicklinks, 3547 comments, 17 diaries
Facebook Page Twitter Page Linked In Page Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


Reply to shad williams:   New Content

Just looking for a better way to work that would benefit communities. Some Pope from around the 1880's said how worker ownership, or such, as better way to work would benefit society overall. Could dig through and find the exact quote but probably was lost or stolen with hard drives and last original news letters of it, going broke sending out.

Submitted on Tuesday, Sep 3, 2019 at 12:44:14 AM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (1+)
Help
 
IndentIndentIndent

Eddy Schmid

Become a Fan
Author 512386

(Member since Nov 12, 2018), 2 fans, 272 comments
Not paid member and Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


Reply to Michael Dewey:   New Content

Michael, concur with your posts. There IS a BETTER way of living and for our societies to prosper. However, to initiate or install any such system would mean DESTROYING the current system. Something that will not be done easily without major bloodshed.

As a retired union President myself, ( Railroad/enginemen ) I do have a little experience with Unionism. My findings during that period, lead me to believe the MAJORITY of people, have no idea of what Unionism is, or how it's supposed to work. Let's face it, the establishment is not going to teach the finer points of Unionism at Uni, or any other education establishment. No corporate entity will do so either. Schools certainly do not teach anything in that regard. So, the question remains, how do communities become educated in Unionism ???

Once upon a time, in my country, we have such a facility that the Labor Party established in Canberra. Any aspiring Union representative, once voted into a position democraticly, was sent off to this college to educated in the finer points of Representing their fellow members. IMHO, such a facility is neccessary, as Union Reps are confronted daily with University educated corporate NGO's who have Industrial lawyers in their pockets and know the legal rights thoroughly.

Submitted on Tuesday, Sep 3, 2019 at 3:44:50 AM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (3+)
Help
 
IndentIndentIndentIndent

Eddy Schmid

Become a Fan
Author 512386

(Member since Nov 12, 2018), 2 fans, 272 comments
Not paid member and Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


Reply to Eddy Schmid:   New Content

Michael, PART 2,

Unfortunately, with the introduction of Globalisation and the election of one Bob Hawk to power, (Bob Hawk was the leader of the Labor party at the time) he wasted no time in DISMANTLING that afore mentioned college, a DISASTER for the Union movement setting them back decades, and done by the same party that initiated the college in the first place. A very traitorius action indeed. From that moment onwards a war was declared against the Unionism of Australia by the very same party that was supposed to be representing the workers. These were FORCED to sign INDIVIDUAL WORKPLACE AGREEMENTS. Which were not AGREEMENTS at all, workers were told if you want the job, sign on the dotted line, if you won't sign, there's no job for you. Later on it was realised there was a major flaw with their idea. As the AGREEMENTS were only valid from year to year, that meant work contracts did not last longer than a year, banks and lending institutions began to refuse to loan funds for anything. Something the establishment in all it's alleged intelligence failed to recognise during their planning stage. Everything went quiet for a couple of years whilst they tried to work out how to resolve the situation. They then came up with a new creation, COLLECTIVE WORK PLACE AGREEMENTS with an OPEN ENDING. Banks and lending institutions were again happy, now they could again lend funds. Keep in mind, this was done by a LABOR Government, who historicly was supposed to be representing the people.

Submitted on Tuesday, Sep 3, 2019 at 3:55:44 AM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (3+)
Help
 
IndentIndentIndentIndentIndent

Eddy Schmid

Become a Fan
Author 512386

(Member since Nov 12, 2018), 2 fans, 272 comments
Not paid member and Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


Reply to Eddy Schmid:   New Content

Michael, PART 3.

Any individual having aspirations of representing themselves together with their fellow workers via the Union system, is IMHO a very brave and selfless individual. Especially as there are not written down instructions on how do perform the task. My personal experience tells me most such people are genuine, however there are some who simply seek the position to further their own agenda, or in cahoots with the employer, seek to undermine the workers from within for personal gain. There are far more of the latter, than the earlier genuine people. The question is, HOW do you filter out these non genuine people from the real folks ???????????? Once people are elected into a position, it is no mean feat to remove them, and the damage that can be done in the meantime, is massive.

The other issue is, genuine people will feel pretty overwhelmed with what they are faced with, especially if not warned and schooled by more experienced Union people. There is also the FACT, that EMPLOYERS and Government entities will seek every avenue at their disposal to UNDERMINE such representatives, and once they succeed, that individual is forever, the puppet of the employer and incapable of ever truthfully representing their fellow workers again. Who have no idea of what's been done.

Talking about Unionism is easy and cheap, but resolving the handfull of issues I've pointed out on here, clearly displays there's far more involved then simply saying, "let's form a Union ".

Submitted on Tuesday, Sep 3, 2019 at 4:05:32 AM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (2+)
Help
 
IndentIndentIndentIndentIndentIndent

Michael Dewey

Become a Fan
Author 11470
Follow Me on Twitter
(Member since Feb 15, 2008), 18 fans, 20 articles, 6 quicklinks, 3547 comments, 17 diaries
Facebook Page Twitter Page Linked In Page Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


Reply to Eddy Schmid:   New Content

It sure isn't as easy as had thought it would be when first hearing of Mondragon. Us IBEW did know the International had been screwing up in my other life, which enjoyed the work much, feeling almost like worked for-self without the head aches taken home. Do think we got some solid foundations we can build on. Keeping profits local is one thing am after, instead of at midnight they ending up in the Cayman Islands. Am afraid to say that my wife Marie (Passed 5-5-2017) could end up right when she would joke about Jim Page song "Over My Dead Body", worth her saying it would me over mine. But my mission doesn't go much past planted seeds, and let others work out the details. With all the Collage debt can see how more communities only them through private-public setups could help much.

Submitted on Tuesday, Sep 3, 2019 at 6:54:21 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (0+)
Help
 
IndentIndentIndentIndent

shad williams

Become a Fan
Author 63282

(Member since Apr 13, 2011), 22 fans, 60 articles, 1 quicklinks, 2752 comments, 2 diaries
Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


Reply to Eddy Schmid:   New Content

I am under the impression that labor's leadership became compromised. Instead of continuing the fight to level the laying field of class interests, it abetted the capitalist elites by blindly turning an eye away from sexism and racism. Then came the baby boomers who completed the coupe de grace while at the same time believing that the antiwar movement was their hallmark. It wasn't. Consumption was the hallmark and a willingness to allow incremental social justice to creep along.

I am happy to see labor's return, but it will have to be infused with justice and transparency and a recognition that it is economic class that must be continually addressed and give up the games of divide and conquer racism and sexism.

Submitted on Tuesday, Sep 3, 2019 at 4:47:50 AM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (1+)
Help
 

Aleksandar Sarovic

Become a Fan
Author 513600
Follow Me on Twitter
(Member since May 24, 2019), 12 articles, 168 comments
Facebook Page Twitter Page Linked In Page Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


  New Content

This article presents exactly how to fight capitalism and never succeed in it. Unemployment creates the exploitation of workers possible. Eliminate unemployment by shorter work hours and each and every social problem with capitalism will be solved. One fight will make capitalism a decent social system. Here is the explanation: https://www.opednews.com/articles/Full-employment-is-a-turni-by-Aleksandar-Sarovic-Conspiracy_Economy_Employers_Exploitation-190814-944.html

Submitted on Tuesday, Sep 3, 2019 at 1:34:09 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (0+)
Help
 

 
Want to post your own comment on this Article? Post Comment