Put Workers Back at the Center of Organizing

Source: Jane McAlevey, New Labor Forum, Vol. 25 no. 3, September 2016
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….Whether in eastern Pennsylvania, Chicago and Los Angeles (teachers), Boston (nurses), or Hartford (nursing home and other health care workers)—to name just a few—the hard work of whether unions shrink, expand, or are relevant to anyone (save the national leaders) is determined more by what happens when one pissed-off non-union worker picks up the phone and cold calls a unionized worker asking, simply, “do you like your union?” And, “does your employer get away with anything they want or do you have the ability to stop bad management behavior?” If the answer is a resounding “yes, we’ve built a very powerful union and it’s great!”—there’s a very high likelihood that not-yet-union workers will be motivated to attempt the same. At Temple University Hospital, the nurses waged an all-out 28-day open-ended strike in 2010 and in so doing built one hell of a union and won one hell of a contract…..