Tuesday, January 3, 2017

How Dwindling Union Power Helped Usher In Trump

Donald Trump swept the Rust Belt in part because labor unions are in retreat, a trend that started long before Election Day.

Donald Trump’s surprise victory in 2016 stunned the nation in part because white, working-class voters helped him crack open the Democratic blue wall of Iowa, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
Trump succeeded in these states and among the white workers in them because we live not in a post-truth world, but in a post-union one. Strong unions would have helped convince white workers to turn out and vote for Democrats, and would have offered them an alternative to Trump’s narrative that blacks and immigrants are to blame for stagnant wages. But Trump capitalized on declining union strength in key Midwestern states that had previously been dependably Democratic. 
An early harbinger of Trump’s Midwestern victories was West Virginia, once a reliably progressive state. West Virginia was the base of the United Mine Workers (UMW), a racially progressive union that was one of the few to organize biracial locals in the South during the Jim Crow era. Miners joked that “we’re all black down there,” because even the white union members emerged from the mines with black coal dust coating their faces. 
But West Virginia is no longer true blue, but deep red. Its political transformation has gone hand in hand with the decline of unions, especially the UMW, within the state.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017 ULW recommends

Happy New Year to union activists from Union Library Worker!  Recommended acquisition for 2017 for all library collections the 2nd edition of Troublemaker's Handbook from the folks at Labor Notes (you ought to subscribe to it as well).   Support and inspire the social/workplace/environmental justice activists in your community!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Christmas Day 2016 — Six months on strike in Ontario

Meet the defiant library workers waging one of the region's longest strikes ever
by Anne Jarvis, Windsor Star

“…Wightman celebrated her 50th birthday on the picket line. Someone else celebrated a wedding anniversary; her husband joined her. At least one member lost her mother. Another lost an aunt.

The strike has been one of the toughest things many of these people have ever done.

Neumiller, who has two young children, pickets three times as many hours as she works — for less pay. One woman collapsed from heat stroke last summer. Now, ‘it’s pretty flippin’ cold out there,’ said Johnson. They all got glove warmers last week.”

Collective self-governance at University of Manitoba -- a union issue, Canada

Beyond Bread and Butter
by Jen Hedler Phillis, Jacobin Magazine

When we think of strikes, we usually think of disputes over wages and benefits. Strikes make the case that it’s easier for bosses to pay workers more than to run a company without them.
But unions often fight for more than money. Workers can walk off the job to demand new rights at work, fighting for control over their working conditions.
The recent strike at University of Manitoba focused on these issues. At the end of negotiations, the provincial government intervened, demanding both parties sign a one-year contract with no wage increase. The University of Manitoba Faculty Association (UMFA), which represents 1,200 full-time faculty and librarians, filed an unfair labor practice complaint.

Back to bargaining for Cape Breton University, Canada

Back to bargaining for Cape Breton University, faculty
Layoff clause is the key issue for the university's faculty association

By George Mortimer

Cape Breton University and the faculty association representing about 150 members are working to avoid a potential strike by heading back to the bargaining table next week.

The faculty association has been in a legal strike or lockout position since Monday following the filing of a report by conciliator Peter Lloyd and the expiration of a 14-day cooling-off period.

The association represents a variety of staff including librarians, research chairs and professors, among others.

California state workers strike averted, contract vote January 4-17

State employees in California, SEIU Local 1000, which counts library workers among its 95,000 members, voted to strike in November if a tentative contract agreement was not reached.  One has been, and it will be voted on in the upcoming weeks.  Main sticking points in negotiations were salary increases, a demand from Gov. Brown that workers pay larger percentage in retirement benefits, civil service reform, and gender pay disparities.