Alexandra Bradbury

In the Age of Trump, Can Labor Unite?

“In the Age of Trump, Can Labor Unite?” asks Labor Notes Editor Alexandra Bradbury in her May 2017 cover story for In These Times magazine. Here’s how it begins:

“You know you’re getting the short end of the stick as a worker, but you don’t really know why,” says Joe Tarulli, a Staten Island Verizon tech who’s put in 17 years with the company. “They make it seem like these rich people are just lucky they got the right chances, and these poor old working folks, nothing ever goes right for them. No! These corporations are doing it on purpose.”

The Staples boycott is over, and the union won. The Postal Workers (APWU) announced January 5 that the Postal Service will terminate its deal with Staples, closing down the 540 “mini-post offices” inside stores by the end of February and nixing plans to expand them to all 1,600 locations.

The union fought for three years against the deal, which amounted to contracting out post office work to the low-wage, non-union office retailer.

For the first time in nearly two decades, reformers have won seats on the Teamsters’ international executive board—and come within a hair’s breadth of unseating the incumbent administration led by President James P. Hoffa.

At last, November’s election deadline is almost here—clinching a dramatic race that featured a nail-biter of a nomination contest, a raucous convention, and an email scandal. Few undecided voters are left. The candidates have painted starkly different visions for the future of jobs, health care, retirement, and democracy itself. Now the outcome depends on how effectively each side can turn out its votes.

Trump vs. Clinton? Nope—I’m talking about the battle for the top seats in the Teamsters union. Ballots hit the mail October 6, and the vote count begins November 14.

As of July 1, the challengers for Teamster leadership are officially nominated. Now their supporters are out seeking votes among the union’s 1.3 million members.

Ballots will be mailed October 6 and counted November 14. The result will depend on how many hours volunteers spend leafleting at workplace gates—and how many phone numbers and email addresses they collect.

They didn’t end three-tier in a single blow. But in a new contract covering 200,000 members, the American Postal Workers Union made serious headway and fended off most concessionary demands, including the Postal Service’s effort to create yet another tier.

Twin Cities Unions Respond to Police Violence

“You learn how small your town is when something like this happens,” said Bernie Hesse, director of legislative and political action at Food and Commercial Workers Local 1189. “Everybody seems to know everybody else. In fact, a number of our members either went to school with Phil, or knew him, or their kids went to school with him.”

Philando Castile, an African American man who was shot and killed by a police officer at a traffic stop July 6, was a member of Teamsters Local 320.

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