Labor Notes #475

The landslide victory of Andrés Manuel López Obrador (“AMLO”) in the Mexican presidential election in July has raised workers’ hopes for a revitalized and democratized labor movement.

Independent unions have formed a new federation. They hope to win progressive labor law reform and finally end the reign of corrupt, pro-employer unions.

What does a renegotiated NAFTA mean for workers in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico? At best, it might stem some of the bleeding.

The presidents of the U.S. and Mexico announced on August 27 that they had reached a deal. A month later, Canada is still out of the agreement, though negotiations are likely to continue over the next few months. Text of the draft deal between the U.S. and Mexico may be published as soon as today.

A group of workers in China’s manufacturing hub of Shenzhen tried something very rare this summer—they attempted to follow the legal process to set up a union.

University students lent tremendous support. But their employer and the Chinese government cracked down on both the workers and the students with firings, detention, surveillance, and the threat of jail sentences.

Who’s next to join the strike wave? The nation’s second-largest teachers local, in Los Angeles, kicked off the school year with a strike authorization vote.

With 81 percent of teachers voting, 98 percent backed a strike if mediation fails this fall.

After working hard to get out the vote across L.A.’s 900 schools and 35,000 members, this landslide result was “the best feeling ever,” said teacher and union rep Karla Griego.

For 18 months, bargaining has gone nowhere.

Fifteen districts started the school year on strike in Washington state—the latest to ride the West Virginia wave.

“For my whole life I thought this was just the way it was, that I would have to struggle to have a sustainable life,” said Anna Cockrum, a teacher in Evergreen, out on her first picket line. “I teach students to stand up for themselves, and it is so cool to be living that.”

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