Labor Notes #380, November 2010

When you’re running for local union office, good campaign literature can help you tell members what you stand for and why you should you get their votes. But bad lit can make you look weak, defensive, whiny, unqualified, or all of the above. How do you make the most of your election lit?

Members of Transport Workers Union Local 100 in New York voted narrowly to assess themselves $5 a week to pay for medical insurance for laid-off members. But instead of building solidarity, the proposal and has produced a storm of criticism and deepened divisions within the local.

Thousands of health care workers in Texas and Florida have a shot at a union as a result of neutrality deals. SEIU and CNA-NNOC say they gave away no pre-conditions to get the deals. But what kind of unions are they building?

To revive unionism, we must recover labor’s long-lost tools of workplace-based solidarity. That means hitting employers at multiple points in production and distribution chains with secondary and industry-wide strikes.

Around the country, owners are recovering profitability but refusing to share the gains. Nurses and hotel workers are pulling short strikes—just to stay in place—as employers demand givebacks and cut staffing to the bone.

Remember when U.S. workers were promised that trade pacts based on the North American Free Trade Agreement model would boost exports and create millions of jobs? The numbers are in, and they don't look good.

For 40 years anti-union business groups and media bloviators have undermined private sector unions. They're now determined to destroy public workers' unions.

Our tax system is painfully unfair to middle- and low-income people. Laws in the majority of states are rife with dodges that permit large corporations and wealthy people to avoid paying tax.

Teachers laboring under slashed budgets in crowded classrooms, under intense pressure to raise student test scores, now face a fresh challenge—from Hollywood's pro-charter school documentary, “Waiting for Superman.”

Technical and service workers at Kaiser Permanente’s 331 California hospitals and clinics have voted to remain part of the Service Employees’ (SEIU) third-largest local, United Healthcare Workers-West. The vote, counted October 7, was billed as the most expensive union election ever.

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