Category Archives: Organizing

Why Public Sector Union Members Support Their Unions: Survey and Experimental Evidence

Source: Alexander Hertel-Fernandez, Ethan Porter, Social Forces, Advance Articles, Published September 7, 2020
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Despite their decline, unions, and especially public sector unions, remain important civic and economic associations. Yet, we lack an understanding of why public sector union members voluntarily support unions. We report on a field experiment conducted during a 2017 Iowa teachers union recertification election. We randomly assigned union members to receive emails describing union benefits and measured effects on turnout effort (N = 10,461). Members were more likely to try to vote when reminded of the unions’ professional benefits and community—but not legal protections or political representation. A follow-up survey identified the specific aspects of professional identity and benefits that members most valued and why. In a context where union membership and support is voluntary among professionalized workers, our findings emphasize the possibility of training for fostering shared identities and encouraging support for public sector unions. Our results have broader implications for understanding the public sector labor movement in a context of legal retrenchment.

The labor-busting law firms and consultants that keep Google, Amazon and other workplaces union-free

Source: John Logan , The Conversation, August 24, 2020

American companies have been very successful at preventing their workers from organizing into unions in recent decades, one of the reasons unionization in the private sector is at a record low.

What you may not realize is that a handful of little-known law and consulting firms do much of the dirty work that keeps companies and other organizations union-free….

“They’re Not Alone”: An Oral History of the Pennsylvania Faculty Strike of 2016

Source: Gordon Mantler, Rachel Riedner, Labor: Studies in Working-Class History, Volume 17, Issue 3, September 2020
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
In 2016, more than five thousand faculty members and coaches in the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties successfully struck in the union’s first ever such action in thirty-five years as an official bargaining agent. Two faculty members active in the union reflect on their experience in a wide-ranging interview about how years of careful, often painstaking organizing made such a success possible. The strike was the product of both ten years of increasingly acrimonious negotiations and considerable tactical work by a new generation of union members who learned a number of lessons from the process, including the necessary work of persuading faculty members that they, too, were workers.

Pathways to Modes of Movement Participation: Micromobilization in the Nashville Civil Rights Movement

Source: Larry W Isaac, Jonathan S Coley, Daniel B Cornfield, Dennis C Dickerson, Social Forces, Volume 99, Issue 1, September 2020
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
We employ a unique sample of participants in the early 1960s Nashville civil rights movement to examine within-movement micromobilization processes. Rather than assuming movement micromobilization and participation is internally homogeneous, we extend the literature by identifying distinct types of pathways (entry and preparation) and distinct types (or modes) of movement participation. Pathways into the Nashville movement are largely structured a priori by race, by several distinct points of entry (politically pulled, directly recruited, or professionally pushed), and by prior experience or training in nonviolent direct action. Participation falls into a distinct division of movement labor characterized by several major modes of participation—core cadre, soldiers, and supporters. We demonstrate that pathways and modes of participation are systematically linked and that qualitatively distinct pathways contribute to understanding qualitative modes of movement participation. Specifically, all core cadre members were pulled into activism, soldiers were either pulled or recruited, and supporters were pulled, recruited, or pushed. Highly organized, disciplined, and intense workshop training proved to be integral in becoming a member of the core cadre but not for soldier or supporter roles. We conclude that social movement studies would do well to pay more attention to variability in structured pathways to, preparation for, and qualitative dimensions of movement participation. These dimensions are critical to further understanding the way movements and their participants move and add insights regarding an important chapter in the southern civil rights movement. The implications of our findings extend to modes of movement activism more generally.

COVID-19 OSHA Complaint tracker

Source: Strikewave, 2020

Workplace health and safety is more important now, than ever. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, essential workers—whether unionized or not—have fought employers to ensure that workers and the public are protected.

One tool available to workers: complaints made to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA. We’ve compiled an interactive map of COVID-19 complaints made nationwide including the names of employers, narrative descriptions of their offenses, and an overall breakdown of complaints by industry.

Walkouts Spread as Workers Seek Coronavirus Protections

Source: Dan DiMaggio, Saurav Sarkar, Labor Notes, March 26, 2020

As the coronavirus spreads, more and more workers who are still on the job are taking action to defend their health and safety and demand hazard pay. Here’s a round-up. (For an earlier round-up, see “Organizing for Pandemic Time-Off,” Labor Notes, March 16, 2020.)

Can I Get Fired for Talking about Virus Risks?

Source: Alexandra Bradbury, Labor Notes, March 31, 2020

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.

Let’s be real—employers have been known to break laws and contracts, and the bureaucratic remedies (court cases, grievances) are slow. But often threats are just meant to silence you. Showing that you know your rights may be enough to get management to back off its threats….

Related:
WEBINAR: Organizing without a Union During the Coronavirus / Organizándose sin sindicato durante el coronavirus
Source: Chris Brooks, Labor Notes, March 27, 2020

A Collection of Materials About Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Portrait of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
From the National Archives and Records Administration.
Resources from The King Center, Atlanta, Georgia
Complete Transcript of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Assassination Conspiracy Trial
Martin Luther King Encyclopedia (via Stanford University)
Digitized: Official March on Washington Program (via NARA)
This program listed the events scheduled at the Lincoln Memorial during the August 28, 1963.
● The Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project at Stanford University
MLK Day Resources (via Infoplease.com)
Includes: History of the Holiday, Biography of Martin Luther King, Civil Disobedience, King Assassination Conspiracy Theories, The March on Washington, Excerpt from the “I Have a Dream” Speech, Martin Luther King Speeches, Quotes from Martin Luther King, Timelines: Martin Luther King, Jr. and Civil Rights Movement
Voices of Civil Rights Online Exhibition (via Library of Congress)
The exhibition Voices of Civil Rights documents events during the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. This exhibition draws from the thousands of personal stories, oral histories, and photographs collected by the “Voices of Civil Rights” project, a collaborative effort of AARP, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), and the Library of Congress, and marks the arrival of these materials in the Library’s collection.
Court Documents Related to Martin Luther King, Jr., and Memphis Sanitation Workers (via National Archives and Records Administration)
tion)
We Shall Overcome, Historic Places of the Civil Rights Movement (via National Park Service)
Online exhibition.
Nobel Peace Prize Materials (via NobelPrize.org)
Presentation Speech Gunnar Jahn*, Chairman of the Nobel Committee, 1964
MLK’s Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech
December 10, 1964
Transcript of MLK’s Nobel Lecture
December 11, 1964
Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement Resources (The Seattle Times)
Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site (via National Park Service)
CNN Student News One-Sheet: Martin Luther King Jr. (via CNN)

Employees Accuse Google of Developing ‘Surveillance Tool’ to Prevent Unions

Source: Ryan Gallagher, Bloomberg, October 24, 2019

Google employees are accusing the company’s leadership of developing an internal surveillance tool that they believe will be used to monitor workers’ attempts to organize protests and discuss labor rights.

Earlier this month, employees said they discovered that a team within the company was creating the new tool for the custom Google Chrome browser installed on all workers’ computers and used to search internal systems. The concerns were outlined in a memo written by a Google employee and reviewed by Bloomberg News and by three Google employees who requested anonymity because they aren’t authorized to talk to the press.

The tool would automatically report staffers who create a calendar event with more than 10 rooms or 100 participants, according to the employee memo. The most likely explanation, the memo alleged, “is that this is an attempt of leadership to immediately learn about any workers organization attempts.”

Alt-Bargaining

Source: Michael M. Oswalt, Law and Contemporary Problems, Vol. 82 no. 3, 2019

….The article proceeds as follows. Part II canvasses evolutions in organizing since the 1970s to show how innovations that start at the unionization phase don’t stay there. Corporate, comprehensive, and social movement advances all became mainstay bargaining strategies. While the present breakthrough, alt-labor, defies easy characterization, Part II tries based on its three exceptional relationships to law. Part III addresses the next question: when and how might alt-labor’s legal insights begin to reverberate in later stages of organizing. After identifying the existing echoes, I argue that time is now.

Part IV explores mechanics. Embedded in alt-bargaining’s three new legal orientations is a sophisticated understanding of interest formation that allows the campaigns to press for broad, “common good”-type community benefits with minimal outside conflict, minimal internal dissension, and—most critically— draw big crowds. In doing so, leaders use practices steeped in community-based activism that incorporate months of transformational political and relational education. As Gabe Winant has described, unions’ modern challenge is to get the nurse, custodian, fast-food worker—and, increasingly, Uber driver—to “understand their fates as intertwined.” The realities of “race, economic position, and social status,” can make the task feel intractable. Alt-bargaining’s approach suggests it’s not impossible.

Finally, Part V offers a vision of alt-bargaining’s ambitions, plus a slate of legal and structural reforms—especially the introduction of community “pool voting”—that might support them. Part VI briefly concludes…..