Labor Notes #392, November 2011

Workers have the right to organize and take action on the job, even with a contract and grievance procedure in place. But stewards need to know how to bend the rules without getting people in trouble.

The Service Employees' corporate campaign at the food-service giant Sodexo ended September in secrecy. It’s unclear if the agreement includes provisions that organizers say have led to success elsewhere.

The UE launched an organizing committee among the 50,000 warehouse workers southwest of Chicago, who handle a trillion dollars worth of goods every year. The union looks to unite workers from across the dizzying array of contractors that operate in the warehouses.

A visceral example of the disconnect between the 99% and the 1% has been the Sotheby's lock-out in New York, where Teamsters and occupiers are rallying together. It's a powerful one-two punch.

U.S. unions are bitterly split on whether an oil pipeline should be built between Canada and Texas. The conflict has hamstrung the Blue-Green Alliance, which unifies union and environmental efforts, as transit unions argue labor must look beyond its own interests.

Thirty Southern California car wash workers succeeded in their three-year fight for a union and a contract last week, becoming the first car wash workers to organize nationwide. One of their big gains is a regular hourly wage.

Teamsters are voting for national officers, determining whether the union’s leadership is jolted to life—or remains asleep at the wheel. The race pits James P. Hoffa against a former ally, and against Sandy Pope, a longtime reform leader.

Michigan's “emergency manager” bill allowing a state-appointed executive to unilaterally fire city councils and school boards and cancel union contracts is just the beginning. Eighty-five bills blame Michigan’s economic problems on public employees and the poor.

Ford workers ratified a new contract by 63 percent in mid-October. Their deal was patterned after the General Motors agreement, which passed by about 64 percent but contained smaller bonuses.

An all-out attack on immigrant workers, their families, and communities continues in the South and West. In Alabama, immigrant workers met it with a day of wildcat strikes.

Subscribe to Labor Notes #392, November 2011