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Labor

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    Direct Action & Elections: Wisconsin's Labor Struggle Lee M. Abbott June 20, 2011

    No one could say they'd seen it before. That’s what was so genuinely exhilarating about those first weeks of protests in Madison against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s effort to take away public workers’ right to collectively bargain. People had seen protest, confrontation, and direct action before, but now these were taking shape and combining in ways no one had ever expected. Rallies wouldn’t let up—protestors wouldn’t go home and more returned every day. An open-ended, intense confrontation between the people and the government grew day by day in the State Capitol.     

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    Labor in a Moment of Crisis Peter Brogan, Andrew Cornell November 1, 2008

    “Crisis” seems to be on everyone’s lips in recent weeks. Though the term evokes both common sense notions and the complex formulations of Marxist economists, perhaps the most useful definition is the one professor and prison abolition activist Ruth Wilson Gilmore provides: crisis is simply the inability of an organization or system to continue achieving acceptable results by continuing to act in the same way it had been.

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    The Corporate Hijacking of Public Education Crystal Sylvia March 11, 2011

    *See "The Myth of the 'Crappy Teacher'" which accompanies this article in the print edition.

    The education reform movement currently sweeping the country has been embraced by the likes of Bill Gates, President Obama, Al Sharpton, Newt Gingrich, Bill Cosby, and Oprah Winfrey. Some may be inspired to see such a divergent group joining forces to help make public schools better for children. However, when you take a closer look at the policies involved in this reform, the reality is quite chilling.

    Michelle Rhee, the former Chancellor of DC Public Schools (DCPS), is the face of what needs to be called corporate education reform. The premises of corporate education reform are: the main impediments to improving public schools are teachers’ unions because they rigidly defend bad teachers; schools need to be run like businesses to make them less bureaucratic and more dynamic; educational experience is not required to be a teacher, principal, or chancellor; the corporate education reform model is the only way public education can be transformed; and success can be measured through data-driven outcomes, with the most important data being student test scores.

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    EFCA: An Essential Step in Rebuilding the Labor Movement Bill Fletcher Jr. July 1, 2009

    The battle started before the legislation actually got to Capitol Hill. As soon as corporate America sensed that organized labor was going to push for labor law reform, they unleashed the dogs of war. Warning of a threat to the rights of workers, corporate America has alleged that the proposed Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) will be damaging to workers and to the economy. To add insult to injury, opponents of EFCA have even enlisted the likes of former Senator George McGovern and the Reverend Al Sharpton in their ranks to challenge the legislation.EFCAEFCA

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    Day Laborer Organizing in the New Economy: Perspectives from the Latino Union of Chicago B. Loewe November 1, 2008

    When the economic ladder sinks, it’s the bottom rung that goes under first. As the rest of the country has recently begun worrying about job instability and uncertain benefits resulting from the economic crisis, those who have walked across deserts, ridden for days beneath the floor boards of buses, and those who have scrambled in the shadow economy to provide for themselves and their families are surely thinking, “Middle America, welcome to the rest of the world.”

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    Dissent in Big Purple: Democratizing SEIU Peter Brogan, Andrew Cornell November 1, 2008

    Although the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has led the Change to Win labor federation since 2005, many of its members now claim the union itself needs to change substantially if it is to continue winning improvements in the lives of working people. Representing approximately 1.9 million workers in the low-wage healthcare, service, and building maintenance industries, SEIU is one of the most dynamic unions in the US labor movement. As organized labor has continued its downward spiral—only 12.4 percent of the US workforce is unionized—“Big Purple” has brought nearly 800,000 new members into its ranks in recent years.

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    Can Union Solidarity Trump Tea Party Rage? Charles Townley December 1, 2010

    Despite the somewhat rocky relationship between the labor movement and the Obama Administration, Democratic hopes for holding on to Congress were largely dependent on the political efforts of organized labor—still the only grassroots organization that has a track record of turning out reliably Democratic voters in key battleground states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Wisconsin. According to a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC poll, 55 percent of union members prefer to see the Democrats in control of Congress, compared to the general population, which is split down the middle.

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    Women's Work: A Review of "Want to Start a Revolution?" Rachel Herzing December 1, 2010

    WANT TO START A REVOLUTION?
    EDITED BY DAYO F. GORE, JEANNE THEOHARIS, AND KOMOZI WOODARD

    NYU Press, 2009

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    A Lesson to Inherit: A "Back in the Day" Review of "Salt of the Earth" Carlos Perez de Alejo December 1, 2010

    SALT OF THE EARTH
    BY HERBERT J. BIBERMAN

    Independent Productions, 1954

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    One Nation Reflections Cameron Barron December 1, 2010

    On October 2, 2010, about 175,000 people gathered on the Mall in Washington, DC to demonstrate for jobs, education, and justice. Called by a newly-formed coalition called One Nation Working Together, groups mobilized people to come to stand for reordering of priorities within the United States. Led largely by the AFL-CIO and the NAACP, over 300 groups mobilized people to walk, drive, carpool, and fly from all parts of the United States to join voices calling for increased attention to job creation and increased funding for educational programs.

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