On the Rose Aguilar show, “Your Call,” I challenge unions and environmentalists to unify, see the attack on each other as an attack on both, reject KXL and start building a stronger progressive movement (Feb. 2013, KALW)–CLICK HERE.
In the aftermath of Michigan going right-to-work, I discuss what unions need to do to beat the attack!
Jane McAlevey talks about her new book “Raising Expectations (and Raising Hell)” about how to organize the right way and how big labor gets it wrong.
“Raising Hell” is what the title of Jane McAlevey’s new book says she spent her time in the labor movement doing, and she isn’t joking.
In the book, Raising Expectations (and Raising Hell): My Decade Fighting for the Labor Movement, out now from Verso, McAlevey names names and shares secrets about organizing within the AFL-CIO and the Service Employees International Union. The book ranges from the mess that was the 2000 election in Florida, to winning battles for public housing with workers in Connecticut, to her years in Las Vegas fighting for healthcare workers, to battling her own higher-ups and union members in the power struggle that eventually drove her out of SEIU. But what she really wants to talk about is organizing: how to do it right, how the Democratic Party gets it wrong, and why there’s no substitute for face-to-face conversations with workers.
No one wants to dwell on the faults of a successful campaign. Featuring mass celebrity arrests and dramatic images of thousands encircling the White House, last year’s struggle to halt the Keystone XL pipeline has come to be regarded as a model of progressive activism in the Obama era. But the Keystone campaign also holds a sobering lesson for progressives: The “blue-green alliance” between labor and environmentalists is on life support, and unless it can be revived, this fight may yet be lost—along with many other climate battles down the road.
At the height of the Keystone debate, four unions stood with the titans of the fossil fuel industry to lambaste progressive environmentalists as extremist job killers. The Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) president, Terry O’Sullivan, went so far as to describe unionists who opposed the climate-destroying pipeline as being “under the skirts of delusional environmental groups which stand in the way of creating good, much needed American jobs.”
This January, when President Obama again rejected the expedited construction of the pipeline, O’Sullivan doubled down, saying, “We’re repulsed by some of our supposed brothers and sisters lining up with job killers like the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council to destroy the lives of working men and women.” Read the rest of this entry »
Jane has penned another piece for The Nation titled “Labor’s Last stand“ …
Emboldened by November’s election results, corporations and their right-wing allies have launched what they hope will be their final offensive against America’s unions. Their immediate target is government workers’ unions. While New Jersey’s Republican Governor Chris Christie has gained national fame by beating up on public school teachers, the threat to unionized workers is playing out in all fifty states, to the drumbeat in the media about states going broke because of government workers’ wages, pensions and benefits. By late January, with the swearing-in ceremonies complete in the twenty-one states where Republicans have a “trifecta,” controlling the governor’s office and both statehouses, hundreds of bills had been introduced seeking to hem in unions if not ban them altogether.
Check out the piece in its entirety at http://www.thenation.com/article/158640/labors-last-stand or check out Jane’s or The Nation’s Facebook presence.
Jane recently published a piece in The Nation title “Making Unions Matter Again”
Union organizers—paid staff and rank-and-file workers—should begin to take to the doors and begin to meet hundreds of thousands of workers and galvanize a movement to demand economic justice. If unions do this with unorganized workers and together they win campaigns, it’s more likely these same workers will consider unionization to be a good option in their work life. With a ratio of one organizer for 1,000 organizing conversations in neighborhoods nationwide, just 2,000 union organizers could engage 2 million people—and that’s plenty to create an untenable crisis that the elite will have to deal with.
You can check out the full article here.