Solidarity Divided: The Crisis in Organized Labor and a New Path toward Social Justice
They chart changes in U.
Ultimately calling for a wide-ranging reexamination of the ideological and structural underpinnings of today's labor movement, this is essential reading for understanding how the battle for social justice can be fought and won. Bill Fletcher, Jr. The New Deal 3. The Cold War on Labor 4. Whose Welfare Matters, Anyway?go
A CHAMPION FOR WORKING PEOPLE
What's Left for Us? Developing Strategy in Times of Change Globalization: The Biggest Strategic Challenge Restlessness in the Ranks Change to Win: A Return to Gompers? Anger, Compromise, and the Paralysis of the Sweeney Coalition While there have been huge successes for workers through minimum wage increases and new paid family and sick leave policies in many states, the last few years have seen significant challenges to workers.
As more industries implement precarious conditions for their employees, the ability for workers to organize and use collective bargaining strategies to improve these conditions dwindles.
With these challenges in mind, what are the leading edge strategies toward worker and economic justice? How can funders support these efforts? We will develop a shared analysis of the current state of labor unions and worker centers, and discuss strategies to ensure workers are protected as conditions transform.
We will also discuss the opportunities for philanthropy to engage Labor, worker centers, and community groups despite these policy erosions through a funder strategy session. Through their keynote addresses, they will share their thoughts on upcoming issue areas that will inform our strategy session on labor and worker centers in the afternoon.
Click here to read more about them. There are a number of books examining the crisis of trade unionism in USA.
Visualizing Justice for Labor
To do so requires a radical break with existing approaches, tackling the issues of globalisation, the constituency for modern trade unionism, and of the union role in processes of social change. Most important here is the racist form that competition between workers has taken, creating a divide between white and non-white workforces black, asian, latino that ruling elites have fostered to maintain social control. Efforts to organise the masses of unorganised workers, to adopt a class-based perspective on union action, and to engage in political activities beyond electioneering, have all been resisted or diluted into safer forms.
The result is a legacy of intraclass division and disunity. The current crisis of US labour is one the authors see as detonated by the end of the post war boom, and the different responses of class forces to this.
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From above, USA capital and the political Right have elaborated a new model of neo-liberal globalisation, designed to restore profitability and social power at the expense of workers and progressive social movements. Organised labour soon found itself under attack, economic recession and industrial collapse combining with a sustained political assault on its abilities to organise, strike and negotiated pay and benefit increases. Dramatic restructuring of industry and economy further limited its ability to fight back against processes of outsourcing, deregulation and casualisation of labour.
The Left in the labour movement, trapped at the margins, was unable to make any major advances, and saw its remaining organisational bases shrink, leaving activists either as solo operators in mainstream unions or moving outside to try new, experimental forms of labour organising.
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These barriers were compounded by the significant economic constraints now faced by labour movements in the US and beyond. They list a number of factors here: production relocation to non-union sites at home and abroad ; expanded production networks, subcontracting and shifting divisions of labour transforming the organisational terrain for union activity and recomposing its working class constituencies; class stratification along racial and ethnic lines; and structural unemployment in areas of traditional union strength.
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The authors here note that promising attempts to encourage new forms of multi-union and geographically-based organising, in particular through reviving the Central Labor Councils federal bodies operating at state, county and city levels lacked sufficient support. The case of Los Angeles is instructive. Its response to globalisation was restricted to a critique of TNC dominance and free trade, failing to connect the military strategies of US foreign policy to this overall neo-liberal project, in keeping with the historical complicity of business unionism in US imperial adventures.
These options are seen by the authors as oversimplifying the relationships between size and union power, neglecting the impact of economic changes on industrial boundaries implying new organising approaches and marginalising prospects for greater inclusiveness amongst female and coloured labour.