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SW Online's ongoing coverage and analysis
The U.S. labor movement today


Where is the labor movement headed?
Questions for the movement
Recent labor battles
Grocery workers and the UFCW
Inside the Teamsters
The dockworkers' struggle
Verizon and telecommunications
Teachers fight back
Airline bosses on the attack
The fight for the UAW


Slavery in the land of the free
In tomato fields in Immokalee, Fla., in a shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss., in the sweatshops of LA, immigrant workers are enduring modern-day slavery.

What can turn labor in a new direction?
Labor activist Jerry Tucker talks to Socialist Worker about the state of organized labor three years after the split in the AFL-CIO.

Behind the SEIU-CNA conflict
The Service Employees International Union and California Nurses Association are locked in a dispute over a nurses' organizing drive in Ohio.


Behind labor's long retreat
While capital's push back against the gains of the 1960s and '70s social movements was inevitable, the one-sidedness of the battle was not.

What labor can learn from the writers
The Writers Guild walkout has shown the importance of picket lines and union solidarity--important lessons for labor as a whole.

Does Andy Stern represent the future of labor?
Stern is one of the most outspoken advocates of the idea that it's necessary for businesses and unions to shed their differences and build a relationship to benefit both.

How the NLRB system is rigged against labor
Why has George Bush, the king of stolen elections, become a staunch defender of elections under the rules of the NLRB?

Corporate America's steals from workers and the poor
The class war economy
Rising profits and respectable increases in gross domestic product are happening side-by-side with falling wages, sinking family income, evaporating pensions and a failing health-care system.

Rival union camps share the same strategy
What now after the split in the AFL-CIO?
Call it the wishbone strategy: Grab hold of a big part of the labor movement, give a hard pull and hope to end up with the biggest piece.

Where's the debate about labor's crisis?
Corporate America's display of raw power demands a different approach from the timid strategies pursued by labor leaders.

Working harder for less while business lines its pockets
The one-sided class war
Three years into an economic recovery, workers are losing ground--so much so that the mainstream media are finally having to take notice.

Behind the UNITE HERE union merger
Can a merger of two major unions become a model for the revival of the U.S. labor movement? That's the claim of leaders of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees and the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees.

How can unions stop their decline?
How can labor reverse its decline--and what role will rank-and-file activism play in a turnaround? Those pressing questions will be posed even more sharply this summer as unions face a series of key contract battles.

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Battle at the top over SEIU's future
An ongoing battle within the Service Employees International Union reached a new pitch when a top official resigned from the executive committee.

Learning the lessons of the Cygnus strike
Could a strike victory by 100 immigrant workers--who walked out without a union--hold lessons on how to revive the whole of organized labor?

In the belly of the beast of Bentonville
A former employee tells what it's like to work for Wal-Mart--and how workers pay for the retail giant's "everyday low prices."

Wal-Mart's drive to keep wages and benefits low
Wal-Mart is the largest private employer in the United States--and is setting the standard for Corporate America's attacks on workers.

The defeat of PATCO:
Signal of the employers' offensive
In just five small letters, one event encapsulates the employers' offensive of the 1980s--PATCO.

Will the unions retreat from their call for amnesty?
Labor and immigration
With tens of thousands of union members participating in May Day marches for immigrant rights, labor finds itself straining to keep up with pressure from its own ranks.

The price of labor's lesser evilism
George Bush has been as pro-business and anti-union as any president in U.S. history. But on November 2, the labor movement must ask: Are the Democrats really friends of labor?

Uproar over steel tariffs
Steel and the politics of "free" trade
Is American steel a rust-belt relic or a pillar of the U.S. economy? This question came to the fore after the World Trade Organization announced that the U.S. had violated WTO rules by placing tariffs on imported steel.

Should bad unions be decertified?
It's easy to see why workers would want to vote to decertify lousy unions. The question remains, however, as to whether these decerts will do anything to help workers in their struggle to stand up to employers.

Why labor should oppose war
Labor leaders argue that U.S. foreign policy is of no concern to union members, but some officials and rank-and-file members are now proving them wrong.

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Writers win gains from studios
Hollywood writers won important gains after standing strong in a 14-week strike against TV and film producers.

The stakes in the writers' strike
A Writers Guild member explains the backdrop to the battle between television and film writers and the entertainment industry.

Immigrant workers in a Chicago factory:
Victory on the picket line
The remarkable struggle of immigrant strikers at a nonunion soap factory ended in an unexpected victory, with the threat of termination based on immigration status withdrawn.

McDonald's caves to farmworkers
The Coalition of Immokalee Workers won a major victory when the world's largest fast-food chain agreed to pay a penny per pound more to farmworkers who pick its tomatoes.

Victory for Cal State faculty
In a major reversal after 23 months of stonewalling, California State University administrators settled a contract that gives the faculty union everything it demanded and more.

Smithfield Foods' rotten record
In March, Smithfield Foods was named one of "America's Most Admired Companies" by Fortune magazine. For sure, Fortune didn't ask Smithfield workers for their opinion.

Transit workers show their power
The strike that shut down New York
The New York City transit strike became a three-day battle between working-class New Yorkers and the bosses, politicians and ruling elite of the city.

TWU members speak out:
"We showed that striking does matter"

Unnecessary concessions mar gains in NYC transit strike
A glimpse of labor's power
A transit strike stunned New York City with a demonstration of workers' power in the 21st century--and provoked a 19th century-style backlash by politicians and the media.

Union defends work conditions and gets pay raises
NEIU strike wins gains
After 20 days on the picket line, the faculty and staff at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago won a clear-cut victory and accepted a new four-year contract.

Faculty and staff stop concessions at Chicago City Colleges
Teachers win their strike
Full-time teachers and professional staff at Chicago City Colleges successfully resisted attempts by the administration to impose a draconian contract.

Labor targets uniform company giant
The dirty truth about Cintas
Workers are airing the dirty laundry that's piled up at Cintas--the largest uniform company in North America.

End sweatshops in the fields
Boycott Taco Bell!
While Taco Bell raked in $5.2 billion in sales in 1999, farmworkers who pick the tomatoes that go into Taco Bell products are lucky to make $7,500 for an entire year of backbreaking labor.

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Which side won in new grocery contracts?
The UFCW says new contracts with the Big Three grocery chains will help workers forced to bear the brunt of rising health care costs. But a close look tells a different story.

Will the UFCW stand up to the grocery giants?
Three years after a bitter grocery workers strike in Southern California ended in defeat, the UFCW is again locked into contract negotiations with the "Big Three" grocery stores.

UFCW officials' failed strategy led workers into a dead end
Grocery strike ends in defeat
After four months and 18 days on strike and locked out, California grocery workers voted to approve a new three-year contract--not because they are satisfied with it, but because they are in desperate financial straits.

Tyson strike goes down to defeat
After striking for nearly 11 months against Tyson Foods, the members of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 538 voted 293-70 to accept Tyson's latest offer.

Grocery strikers speak out in Southern California
UFCW workers say: "We need action!"
SW talks to three striking grocery workers about the issues of the struggle, the growing restlessness over their union leadership's conduct of the strike--and how to take it forward.

A stand against corporate greed in a Wisconsin town
Taking on Tyson
For more than six months, workers and community members in Jefferson, Wis., have stood up to the corporate greed of Tyson Foods. Socialist Worker talks to strikers and their supporters about their struggle for justice.

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No gains in Teamsters new UPS contract
UPS can certainly afford to raise pay and improve conditions. But the sad truth is that Teamsters negotiators let UPS dictate the terms of this contract.

Solidarity defeats the garbage bosses
Nine hundred East Bay garbage workers beat back one of the biggest scabbing operations in decades, defeating Waste Management's attempt to break their unions.

Locked out by the "Wal-Mart of garbage"
A showdown pitting workers in the East Bay against the corporate giant Waste Management is becoming a crucial battle for the Bay Area labor movement.

What's at stake in the Teamster election
Reformer Tom Leedham was mounting a strong challenge to incumbent James P. Hoffa as 1.4 million Teamsters received mail ballots in the union's presidential elections.

The myth of Hoffa the reformer
Over the last several months, International Brotherhood of Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa has been described as a union "reformer" or even "dissident."

Hoffa paves the way for union decertification in Pasco, Wash.
Tyson ousts Teamsters
The union-busting meatpacking company Tyson has won a decertification vote against the Teamsters--but International union President James Hoffa paved the way for this defeat.

What's wrong with the freight deal
Has the International Brotherhood of Teamsters given up on its historic base in the freight industry? That question was in the air when Teamsters President James Hoffa announced a tentative deal in the National Master Freight Agreement.

Deal falls short on wages, full-time jobs and more
Vote no on UPS contract
The media have praised the United Parcel Service contract with the Teamsters as a "win-win" deal for management and union members. But this deal is bad for Teamsters--and should be voted down.

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ILWU contract is no "victory"
Did dockworkers win a contract victory despite having to negotiate under the gun--George W. Bush's imposition of the anti-union Taft-Hartley Act? SW reprints excerpts from an analysis by ILWU Local 10 business agent Jack Heyman.

The battle for the docks
Bush's decision to invoke the union-busting Taft-Hartley Act shows the enormous stakes in the struggle of West Coast dockworkers. In this special feature, Socialist Worker looks at the issues in this crucial fight.

When San Francisco longshore workers beat the bosses
War on the docks
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union is facing a tough battle on the West Coast docks. Union leaders need to remember the tactics that won the 1934 strike to win union recognition in the ports.

The Charleston Five speak out about their fight
"We need to keep the union strong"
After winning release from 18 months of house arrest, the Charleston Five took to the road to speak out about their struggle--and to thank all those who supported their victorious defense campaign.

The struggle to defend the Charleston Five
"We're ready to take action"
The campaign to defend the Charleston Five spread across the country. Ken Riley, the president of International Longshoreman's Association Local 1422, talked to Socialist Worker about this crucial battle.

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What's at stake in the Verizon contract?
The coming contract fight at Verizon embodies many of the key issues facing a struggling labor movement.

Contract protect jobs but cuts health care
CWA gives ground at SBC
Workers at telecommunications company SBC won some contract gains with their four-day strike last month, but retreated on health care and other issues.

What's wrong with the deal at Verizon?
Union leaders are calling the tentative agreement at telephone giant Verizon a "great victory." But seemingly small concessions in the contract contain time bombs that open the door to layoffs, lower pay and reduced benefits.

Behind the Verizon showdown
A battle over union power
The contract showdown for 78,000 union workers at telecommunications giant Verizon will have an enormous impact on the future unions in that industry--and the labor movement as a whole.

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UFT's bad deal with NYC mayor
The United Federation of Teachers and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a deal last week on Bloomberg's planned reorganization of the public schools.

Discontent simmers over UTLA deal with mayor
On June 21, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced that he had reached a "historic agreement" to gain control of the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Givebacks shake up OEA leadership
After a two-year contract battle, members of the Oakland Education Association ratified a new contract--and then voted to oust the local president who negotiated the deal.

Ten grad employees told they'll lose a year's pay
NYU threatens strikers
New York University is threatening to dock the pay of 10 graduate employees in an attempt to break a two-and-a-half-month-old strike for union recognition.

Puerto Rico teachers' union fends off takeover bid
AFT maneuver defeated
The largest union in Puerto Rico has won a key battle in court against the attempted takeover by its former parent union in the U.S.

Los Angeles teachers chase out old-guard union leaders
Reformers win UTLA vote
Members of United Teachers Los Angeles made history by throwing out most of their current union leadership in favor of the militant United Action slate.

Chicago's school privatization plan is...
Making students and teachers pay for the crisis
Chicago's "Renaissance 2010" charter school plan is one of the latest attempts to turn a profit off public schools--and weaken teachers' unions.

Columbia University grad employees on strike
"The union is about dignity"
Graduate student employees at Columbia University in New York City are entering the second week of a strike for union recognition after walking off the job on April 19.

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Strike pushes back Boeing but more could have been won
IAM "only sold positives"
Members of the International Association of Machinists voted to end their 28-day strike against the Boeing Co. by what union officials reported as an 80 percent vote in favor.

Two Boeing strikers on what's at stake:
"A fight against Corporate America"
Two workers on strike at Boeing explain why this is a battle that will have a far-reaching impact on the U.S. labor movement's efforts to reverse its decline.

Mechanics' strike at Northwest Airlines:
High stakes for labor
The union-busting demands that forced the mechanics' strike at Northwest Airlines are only the latest stage in the attack on airline labor that began after September 11, 2001.

AMFA Airline Representative Kevin Hufford:
"We're soulless numbers on their balance sheet"
Unions threaten strike over maneuver in bankruptcy court
United tries to void contracts
Strike threats are hanging over United Airlines as the company tries to use bankruptcy proceedings to dump pension plans and void union contracts.

Wichita workers must reapply for jobs at new company
Mass layoffs at Boeing
Another crisis looms for the International Association of Machinists after Boeing Co. laid off the entire hourly workforce at its Wichita, Kan., plant, pending its sale to Onex Corp.

Bankruptcy court shreds union contract at US Airways
Judge imposes pay cuts
Airline labor took their biggest blow yet when a bankruptcy court judge unilaterally cancelled union contracts for mechanics at US Airways.

Machinists reject contract but fail to authorize strike
What happened at Boeing?
Boeing workers voted by 62 percent to reject a job-killing contract--but because of union rules, the contract will go into force anyway.

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"We're taking a stand" at American Axle
A strike by workers at five American Axle plants has forced the partial or complete shutdown of 20 General Motors factories.

Union-busting at Freightliner
Five defiant United Auto Workers members are fighting to win back their jobs after being unjustly terminated by Freightliner nearly a year ago.

UAW rams through Chrysler deal
Union leaders mounted an all-out effort to push through an unprecedented concessionary contract covering 45,000 workers at Chrysler by a narrow margin.

The UAW's historic surrender at GM
Union concessions will allow the company to shed $50 billion in retiree health care obligations and destroy a 70-year tradition of equal pay for equal work with a two-tier pay scale.

How concessions lost UAW jobs
Seventy years after the breakthrough strike that established the UAW as a powerhouse, the union faces new demands for concessions that could sweep away decades of gains.

Left with no future by GM and Delphi
"I never had the American Dream"
Tough talk from United Auto Workers leaders will abound at the union's convention. But at Delphi's Dayton, Ohio, brake plant, management is still ratcheting up the pressure.

Showdown at Delphi highlights the war on workers
What happened to the American Dream?
Autoworkers are facing the worst attack from Corporate America since the early 1980s--and if planned cuts at Delphi and GM go through, workers will pay a heavy price.

Reformers shock UAW by winning National Writers Union election
"We're about restoring democracy"
An opposition reform slate swept the National Writers Union election by a 2-1 margin in a victory that stunned its parent union, the United Auto Workers.

UAW leaders agree to contract that slashes jobs
Big givebacks in auto deal
They're the biggest concessions for the United Auto Workers in 20 years--and if approved, they'll haunt the UAW and the entire labor movement for many years to come.

Attacked by the bosses and betrayed by the union
The war at Accuride
For four years, UAW members at the Henderson, Ky., auto parts maker Accuride have fought a union-busting company and the union International's attempt to impose a yellow-dog contract.

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