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Mon May 18, 2015, 09:05 PM

The meaning of social justice unionism

What labor activists today call social justice unionism is a renewal of a long tradition of solidarity in the U.S. labor movement, writes New York City educator Megan Behrent.


UNIONS TODAY are in an existential struggle for survival, from the draconian anti-labor policies of Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin and the spread of right-to-work laws to half of all U.S. states, to the raiding of pension funds and the imposition of concessionary contracts in the era of austerity.

These are not just assaults on organized labor, but part of a broader attack on working class living standards. While some sectors of the economy have recovered the crisis hit its low point in 2008-09, much of that recovery has been on the backs of working people. Unemployment remains high--specifically in Black and Brown communities--while wages have remained low, unlike heath care payments, tuition rates, and local rents.

Meanwhile, unions are weaker than ever. Their strategies of backroom deals and political negotiations--the failed model of "business unionism," which still dominates the labor movement today--have left rank-and-file members demobilized and union leaders without much leverage.

Faced with this dire situation, many labor activists argue that unions need to adopt a new strategy of "social justice unionism"--an approach that begins with the premise that an attack on organizations of the working class requires a wider working class response.

Read more: http://socialistworker.org/2015/05/18/the-meaning-of-social-justice-unionism

Cross-posted in the Labor Movement Group.

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Reply The meaning of social justice unionism (Original post)
TexasTowelie May 2015 OP
AuntPatsy May 2015 #1
daleanime May 2015 #2
yallerdawg May 2015 #3

Response to TexasTowelie (Original post)

Mon May 18, 2015, 09:08 PM

1. Sad and true....amazes me to hear people rail against Unions....

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Response to AuntPatsy (Reply #1)

Tue May 19, 2015, 06:56 AM

2. +1

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Response to TexasTowelie (Original post)

Tue May 19, 2015, 08:07 AM

3. One Big Union!

It's very simple. Workers need to stand together for our common good. All workers everywhere!

We need to stand in solidarity with any worker/workers protesting and demanding economic and social justice. That child picking tomatoes in a lonely field is the same as that fast food worker asking for a living wage is the same as that teacher standing up against charter schools is the same as that longshoreman refusing to unload shipping containers. All the same. All workers.

We are One Big Union!

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