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Response to Demeter (Original post)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 07:03 AM

23. Four Recent Victories Signal Hard Truth About Rebuilding Labor Movement

http://www.truth-out.org/4-recent-victories-signal-hard-truth-about-rebuilding-labor-movement/1329500681

For the first time in my journalism career, during one week I wrote four stories about workers winning tough fights. The victories include GE and Cablevision workers unionizing after several failed organizing attempts, the end of the bloody Longview Port longshoremen dispute and the State Department issuing new rules governing student guest workers after last summer's strike by young Hershey foreign workers.

This extraordinarily rare string of victories leads me to believe that despite major attacks on workers’ organizing and collective bargaining rights, unions can take advantage of workers' backlash against these attacks and win big victories. They can still organize.

This is not to say the tide is turning for labor because of the overreach of anti-union forces. During the same period of these small but significant victories for workers, others suffered a number of large defeats. Indiana passed right-to-work legislation aimed at gutting the power of private-sector unions, and Senate Democrats passed a bill rolling back the organizing rights of airline and rail workers.

But the key lesson of these small victories is this: When workers develop individual strategies for their own workplace—rather than rely on grand master plans from union leaders—they're more likely to win. It's to study the GE, Cablevision and the longshoremen union (ILWU) campaign in Longview to understand what works.


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