Jane Slaughter

Review: What Chinese Workers Are Learning from Their Strikes

The 15 stories gathered here are meant as an “instruction manual for other workers considering direct action.” Workers can learn, sometimes by negative example—because defeats and partial victories are common—“how to formulate demands and select representatives, the various strategies bosses use to coopt representatives, what to look for as signs that the boss might flee with unpaid debts, and even how to distinguish different categories of police.”

Three big wins for workers in the last nine months arrived where you might least expect them: in the old, blue-collar economy. What enabled our side to kick some ass this year?

Mexican federal police killed a dozen teachers and students June 19 when they opened fire on a demonstration in the small town of Nochixtlan, Oaxaca.

Teachers and supporters were protesting the government’s brand of “education reform,” which they say will not help students and is designed to get rid of teachers and break union power.

An organizer has to learn to recognize the existing networks and natural leaders, who may be hidden in plain sight.

How can you move people from passive to active supporters of the union, and incorporate them into your core group of organizers?

Teamster retirees are rallying by the hundreds and thousands against the Central States Fund’s plan to slash existing retirees’ pensions by 50 to 60 percent.

They thought their pensions were secure—but now they’re fighting to keep them. Hundreds of retirees are packing town hall meetings to protest Central States Fund cuts.

While the Big Three rake in profits, union bargainers have quietly given up on pensions and cost-of-living raises. Workers are asking, “If we don’t get our concessions back now, when will we ever get them?”

Longshore Local 1422 is spearheading “Days of Grace” September 5 and 6: a march in downtown Charleston and a strategy conference. Themes include policing, wages, union rights, voting rights, and Medicaid.