We Need Syriza in Illinois

The new governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner, is a hedge fund manager whose salary last year was $60 million. He spent $65.9 million—including $27.6 million of his own money—buying his last election, and he’s about to introduce an austerity program that will make most folks in Illinois think they are living in austerity-wracked Greece, with less idyllic weather. While he’s generating national headlines by trash talking unions, he is quietly taking a scalpel to every important social program in the state, starting with an Illinois’ program which subsidizes high-quality childcare for 160,000 low income kids. Instead of extending a small tax increase that passed the Illinois legislature in 2011, staving off a crisis, he’s letting the increases expire. Rauner is methodically manufacturing an economic crisis for his state, one that will let him do what he has long been set on doing: shrink the government and squeeze the 99 percent.

To read the full story, click here.


Harris v. Quinn: Separate, and not equal

It’d be more than alarming and resoundingly condemned if any institution in the United States tried to take our country back to the days before Dred Scott, or to when people of color in this country fell under the racist and dehumanizing “three-fifths rule.” But the Supreme Court’s decision in Harris v. Quinn smacks of a new three-fifths rule by declaring the fastest growing occupation in the nation — an occupation dominated by people of color and women as made up of “partial” or “quasi” public employees. The Harris decision, which concludes that workers who provide essential government services to the frail and elderly aren’t “full” public employees, is best understood in the context of two other seminal moments when U.S. lawmakers stacked the deck for employers and against people of color and women trying to improve their lot in life by forming strong unions.

This article was published by Waging NonViolence and also by Alternet. To read the full piece, click here.


The Nation: Beating Harris v Quinn and Right-to-Work Attacks from the Inside Out

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.


A Discerning Review of the New Edition of Raising Expectations (& Raising Hell)

Thanks to Canadian Dimensions for re-blogging this review and for this nice graphic.

Sam Gindin wrote a really thoughtful review of Raising Expectations (& Raising Hell). It is hard to pick out any one paragraph, but I keep coming back to a key one near the end of his piece, where he says,

“In this context, McAlevey’s book is timely and desperately needed because it convincingly demonstrates that the problem is not in the stars, but in ourselves. If we as the Left can get our shit together, it is possible to build groups of workers into a social force in spite of the times.”

To read the full review in Jacobin, click here.


A New Interview with Doug Henwood Interview – KPFA

New soft cover book!

New soft cover book!

Doug Henwood and I sat down for a interview in early April, 2014, for his show on KPFA called, Behind the News. Doug wanted to talk about my thoughts on everything from the recent UAW defeat in Chattanooga, TN, to the mobilizing among fast food workers and more. Henwood had recently read the new Afterward for the second edition of my book (the softcover release, just out in softcover!).

KPFA show page


An Evening Discussion I Enjoyed with the Toronto Workers Assembly

This is a four part interview that was filmed in Toronto, Canada during late February, 2014. The interview was conducted in the local Steelworkers Hall and sponsored by the Greater Toronto Workers Assembly, a smart group of trade unionists who meet together in a class-based, community rooted assembly to develop a progressive labor movement, one that can overcome existing union stagnation. Part 1 is an introduction by a terrific organizer named Sarah Declerk who works with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and also features a poem by Greg Shotwell. The interview doesn’t begin until part 2 (directly below). Part 2 & part 3 make up the bulk of the interview and part 4 is the Q & A section.

Continue reading


The UAW defeat in Chattanooga

The UAW defeat in Chattanooga is only the latest exhibit of why Whole Worker Organizing, and, a theory of worker organizing that understands workers are not just workers, they are mothers, fathers, sisters, members of various houses of faith, involved in sports clubs and their kids schools, etc is urgent if US unions want a credible fight back against very powerful forces.


Reviving the Labor Movement By Letting Women Lead, Honored to be in this Line Up

How the Rise of Women in Labor Could Save the Movement


Terrific New Book Review of Raising Expectations in New Labor Forum!

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


Open Democracy: Organizing as Whole People

There are no shortcuts to building the kind of power it takes to win meaningful change. As an organizer in a county with an acute housing crisis, simmering racial tension and little unionization, I learned that I had to help the community to take on the fight themselves. The final article in our “Transformative Nonviolence” series with Waging Nonviolence.

Read the full article at Open Democracy UK