Alexandra Bradbury

Update, June 18: Last night in a roll call vote, the Martin Luther King County Labor Council expelled the Seattle Police Officers Guild. Delegates' votes are weighted by the number of members for whom their unions pay per capita fees to the labor council; the vote was 45,435 yes, 36,760 no. Hundreds of supporters of the expulsion rallied last night awaiting the results of the virtual meeting.

Marchers with signs including "IBEW Against Oppression" and "No KKKops"

The marches are sweeping every state. Hundreds of thousands of people have braved the pandemic to protest the murder of an unarmed Black man, George Floyd, by Minneapolis police.

Like the teacher strike waves of 2018 and 2019, today’s protests against police violence have the support of a majority of Americans. A Monmouth poll showed 78 percent think protesters’ anger about the killing of George Floyd is wholly or partially justified.

caravan of cars to support USPS in Detroit

The U.S. Postal Service is in deep trouble. The postal Board of Governors has asked Congress for $75 billion to keep the agency afloat; without it, the outgoing Postmaster General said, USPS could “run out of cash” by September.

A big drop in letters during the emergency shutdown has intensified the budget crunch, but the underlying crisis predates the pandemic. The good news is, the problem is mostly artificial—Congress created it with the stroke of a pen, and could fix it the same way. If it wanted to.

This pandemic creates openings for privatizers and budget-choppers to make their plays. But it also creates some new openings for workers to build power.

At the same time that we’re all sprinting to meet the urgent challenges of the present, workers and unions should take time to analyze the new threats and opportunities that our workplace movements will be facing in the coming months.

Can I Get Fired for Talking about Virus Risks?

Many workers still on the job during this pandemic are upset about their working conditions. But can you get in trouble for talking about your concerns—to your co-workers, on social media, or to the newspaper?

In a word: no. Not legally, anyway.

Below is a short run-down of your legal right to organize around wages, hours, and working conditions, even if you don’t have a union—and if you do have a union, your additional protection under your contract.

Why We Throw Stones

Covers of four issues of Labor Notes from 2019

Everyone loves a good story about an Amazon walkout. But when Labor Notes wades into more controversial waters—the pros and cons of a contract, for instance, or a race for union office—we can expect some angry letters.

“Let’s not criticize each other,” is a common refrain. “We get enough attacks from the boss! Airing disagreements gives ammo to union-busters.”

Five people stand on railroad tracks, with a cornhole game at their feet. Some wear "pay us what we are owed" shirts.

Harlan County, Kentucky, is probably best known for the hard-fought strikes in its coal mines in the 1930s and 1970s. Today the remaining mines are nonunion. But evidently the local spirit of militancy and solidarity is still kicking.

For three days now, miners and their families have occupied a railroad track, blocking a train that’s loaded up with coal that these workers dug out of the earth and never got paid for.

L.A. Times employees gather as NewsGuild members wearing bright yellow shirts around a plaque that says LA Times.

A flagging union has found new hope in a flurry of organizing victories. Now in the union’s presidential election, members are mulling what’s the best way to keep growing—stick with the incumbent, or replace him with a young leader from last year’s biggest organizing drive?

Jon Schleuss, 31-year-old challenger to head the 20,000-member NewsGuild, led the 2018 drive at the Los Angeles Times. The landslide there was a breakthrough for the union, kicking off a banner year of growth.

VIDEO: 40 Years of Troublemaking in the Labor Movement

Since 1979, Labor Notes has been home to the troublemaking wing of the labor movement. The pages of our magazine are filled with the stories of workers who are working to transform their unions, to take on the boss, to fight for racial justice.

We believe that working people's best bet is on ourselves. That's why our trainings, and national conference, focus on connecting workers to one another across unions and industries and provide rank-and-file organizers with the tools they need to get the job done themselves.

Pages