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.
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