The following interview with a long-time labor activist is meant to spark dialogue and debate about the role staff unions play inside unions.
Guillermo Perez: Let’s start by talking about the very idea of union staff having a union. The attitude from many progressive labor activists, including some active with Labor Notes, is that union work is a form of social/economic justice activism and therefore a staff union would be inappropriate for people engaged in such work. How do you respond to that?
Paul Krehbiel: First, let’s be clear: a worker is a worker. If you are a worker and are subject to the authority of an employer, or his or her agent, and you are given work assignments, can be disciplined and fired, you should be in a union....read on
Via Libcom I came across this article from the San Francisco Chronicle on an organisation called Young Workers United, and its founder called Flocks - as the title suggest the group enters terrains of employment where traditional unions have had little luck, concious of shifting patterns in employment the organisation aims to develop a working methodology suited to the conditions its members find themselves in. For them this strategy is the workers centre,something I'd always assumed was had more of an expression among migrant communities.. Damn nice website they have too.
[i]Changes in the economy, decline of union representation and turmoil within organized labor have allowed new groups with radical organizing strategies to develop and take the place of traditional labor organizing in some areas.
An interesting report comes in from the public forum recently organised by NEFAC on organisation courtesy of this site...
CAW leader betting no-strike contract will create opportunities for workers. Some call it a thinly-veiled dues grab
Oct 20, 2007 04:30 AM
Tony Van Alphen
A controversial agreement between Magna International Inc. and the Canadian Auto Workers that eliminates the right to strike is a "betrayal" of labour principles and a blatant "dues grab," say some past and current leaders of the union.
Read on at The Star's Website.
The Globe and Mail highligted a seies of hidden service charges in Canadian universities today that should be considered tution increased by stealth. The highest comes in at an insitution in Nova Scotia where students pay $1,960 on top of average tutition fees of $6,000 all to subsidise the sort of community and work faciltiies you'd think the original fees were covering: technology, gyms, funding student associations and other core supports to student life. The article really highlights how modern education systems can contribute to excess credit card debts, double jobbing and ridiculous work hours rather than the assumed social mobility associated with them.
Mainly the pieces address a problem of image rather than leadership or politics, arguing they should "spent less time at the Labour day march at the CNE and more at VFest on Centre Island" as well as oddly advising a turn to the sort of on the edge workers being organised by the IWW in NYC - "those long suffering franchisers" - this it seems will be done best by ignoring their condition as labourers and increasing the party's work on consumer rights.
CAW decries exporters' proposals that would cut workers' pay if currency rises above a pre-set level
High dollar may hit wages
From traffic stop to taser death, Mounties answering questions over routine traffic stop death.
The Toronto Star also carries a special on Canadian troops in Afghanistan today.
Widespread poverty in Canada, particularly among aboriginal peoples, is tarnishing the international reputation of a country that considers itself a moral beacon to the rest of the world leading CUPE to condemn a "Conspiracy of silence."