Imagine 100,000 Organizers and 1,000,000 Organizing Discussions


The AFL-CIO plans to send 100,000 volunteers to knock on one million doors for Hillary Clinton in key battleground states, the federation announced Tuesday. […] The AFL-CIO will also continue to contact voters through phone banks and direct mail.

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What’s Wrong with the Modern Mainstream Labor Movement in One Tweet

Pick a class, assholes. Also, stop worrying about politicians and start organizing workers.

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Closed Shop vs. Union Shop

Many people in the labor movement and adjacent to it throw around terms like closed shop, union shop, open shop, union security clause, etc., without always using these terms correctly. There are subtle differences, and a passage from The Industrial Workers of the World: Its First 100 Years provides an example of getting closed shop and union shop wrong:

In November 1940 an 11-day strike at American Stove ended with the trading of a demand for a closed shop for the settlement of an accumulation of grievances. This was what the bargaining committee wanted, for they saw that a closed shop (unless accompanied by hiring through the union) ends up in the company personnel office eventually selecting the membership for the union.

A closed shop is not one where all employees have to become union members after being hired. That is a union shop. A closed shop is one where the employer can only hire employees through the union.

Closed shops have been illegal in the United States since 1947.

Though the above passage is technically wrong on definitions (at least in today’s usage), its implication about the difference between closed shops and union shops is significant: a great shift in the balance of power between unions and employers.

Right to work goes a step further and outlaws union shops.

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The Problem with (Non-Anarchist) Socialists

I’m sorry, but what’s the implication here? That capitalism is good, because people are forced to work because of the threat of starvation? Or that government is good, because people are forced to work against their will by threat of violence?

Tell me please, Bhaskar. Why don’t you trust the working class?

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Protesting Trump

The Black Rose Anarchist Federation / Federación Anarquista Rosa Negra posted a “Fuck Trump Reportback” about protesting Trump in Richmond, VA. I see how this is useful for organizing experience and getting people involved, but I don’t necessarily understand the point or see the strategy of these protests. Trump’s talking. So what? The protests just bring more attention to it and I don’t understand the immediate goal. Get into a fight? Prevent the event? To what end? He’s going to be the Republican nominee, let the asshole talk and his asshole supporters listen to him. We’re not going to prevent politicians from being elected, so why focus on the one we dislike more? If this is not going to be repeated ad nauseam going forward, fine. But it seems like that might be the case.

Let’s not let the presidential election eat up all activity.

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Class Does Not Depend Upon Your Education Level

The Economic Policy Institute, a progressive economic policy think tank, released a new report today titled “People of color will be a majority of the American working class in 2032.” It’s too bad their definition of working class is complete horseshit: “working people without a college degree.” If you have to modify “working people” with something further, you should realize you’ve gone astray.

Professor Louie can explain more:

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Union Presidents Shouldn’t Make More Than Their Members

I can’t decide if the Stern Burger with Fries blog is an anti-union front or legitimate rank-and-file criticism, though I lean towards the latter. In either case, it seems to be run by a (former?) member who holds a personal grudge and is willing to stretch the truth to make a valid point. For instance, this post wrongly calls reserves “profits” and says SEIU-UHW practices “for-profit unionism” and has a higher profit margin “than Fortune 500 companies like Coca-Cola,” but at the same time it deserves credit for calling out the union’s over-paid officials. (It’s hard to call them “labor leaders” when it seems most of the elected positions at SEIU are filled by former staffers, like its president Mary Kay Henry who started off as a researcher for the union in 1980.) Also, it is interesting to hear that the constitution of the National Union of Healthcare Workers (which split from SEIU) apparently “blocks the union’s president and staff from earning more than the union’s members.” This is something that every union should do.

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