Troublemakers Blog

December 01, 2009 /
As a former staff worker for Service Employees (SEIU) Local 660 (now 721) in Los Angeles from 1998 to 2007, I am appalled by the degeneration of SEIU under the direction of President Andy Stern. Union leaders like to proclaim how SEIU is “bigger,” “stronger,” and “more united” than ever. For member it's a different experience entirely: one member told me he »
November 30, 2009 / Mark Brenner
If you want a glimpse inside the legal maze global corporations have erected to fatten their bottom lines and keep workers off-balance, take a look at this video. Monica Sanchez, a worker at the vacuum-maker Bissell's warehouse in Elwood, Illinois, talks about what happened to her and her co-workers when they tried »
November 25, 2009 / Jane Slaughter
Chris Kutalik reported here recently that there’s something called the “lean community,” which exists to (1) spread the gospel of lean production and (2) make sure the name of lean is not blasphemed. “It’s not about speedup! Workers love lean production!” »
November 23, 2009 /
The sidewalk outside a restaurant in suburban Detroit was packed for the Friday night dinner rush—but it wasn't because the line was out the door. Restaurant workers and supporters were out front protesting a slew of minimum-wage violations, part of a national campaign against employers that steal wages. »
November 20, 2009 / Mischa Gaus
Despite many expressions of support and much advocacy for a single-payer health plan, it hasn't captivated the country in the lengthy health care debate nor moved a bill through Congress. The onus is on single-payer supporters to “take a step back," an AFL staffer argued. »
November 18, 2009 /
Attendees at an NUHW forum in Los Angeles had to pass a demonstration of a few hundred SEIU staffers and members who had arrived on buses. The SEIUers chanted, beat on drums, and threw eggs and water bottles in an unsuccessful effort to intimidate people from attending. »
November 17, 2009 /
One nagging factor in labor's crisis has been its internal culture of silence. Difficult issues are often sidestepped, finessed, or ignored all together. Steve Early says he learned in his early days the first rule of business unionism: “Thou shall not criticize another union.” Thirty years later, he's still banging on this rule with a prose sledgehammer—and »
November 15, 2009 /
Steelworkers at nickel giant Vale Inco’s operations in Sudbury and Voisey Bay in Canada have been on strike since July. After rejecting contracts calling for deep concessions, Steelworkers (USW) members there find themselves in the midst of one of the largest battles in their history. »
November 13, 2009 / Mark Brenner
Forty warehouse workers and their supporters picketed Wednesday in front of the Bissell distribution center in Joliet, Illinois, one of dozens of mammoth buildings that have sprung up off of I-55 south of Chicago. One week earlier Bissell—through their temp agency—dropped the axe on all 70 workers in the warehouse. Their offense? Trying to form a union. »
November 13, 2009 /
The Steelworkers announced a plan October 30 to create worker co-operatives in North America, which overturn the traditional workplace division between workers and bosses by having worker-owners make most decisions on a “one worker, one vote” basis. What's the union up to? »