Unions are in trouble. Short of a giant meteor crashing on top of the nation’s union headquarters emblazoned with the words, “warning, you will soon be crushed by right-to-work laws,” few things could be clearer from the Supreme Court’s Harris v. Quinn ruling.
Harris v. Quinn unites some of the most toxic trends in American labor tradition. It resurrects the worst of the 1935 National Labor Relations Act, the racially motivated, sexist concept of “excluded workers,” and then joins it with one of the worst provisions of the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act, the so-called “right-to-work” legal framework which attempts to gut unions from the inside-out. (Although “right to work” has historically been a state’s rights concept, Harris v. Quinn effectively nationalizes it.)
In the hours since the ruling came down, labor has reacted much as it has to other assaults of the last few years: with a mix of head-scratching and denial. But as challenging as any solution might be, figuring out what to do is not astrophysics. To beat Harris v. Quinn and similar measures being thrown at workers and their unions, the labor movement must address what is happening to it internally.
To read the full article in The Nation magazine, click here.
There’s a terrific new review of Raising Expectations (and Raising Hell) in the current issue of New Labor Forum.
The signal strength of Jane McAlevey’s bracing, provocative, fantastic-read of a book is that in the act of reading it, you begin to feel the power that strong organizing can help create. For union members (and those aspiring to union membership), Raising Expectations (and Raising Hell) does just that: raises expectations of what good organizing can do, and what good unions can be.
Many sections read as pithy how-to guides: what you need to do a sticker-up; how to identify leaders in the workplace, what to do to keep momentum going in a campaign. In reading this comprehensive and gripping narrative of the blow-by-blow, you can imagine how tight the corners you are forced into can become, and she gives you many escape routes.
You can read a PDF copy of the full review after the jump Continue reading