Tag Archives: strike

With Biggest Strike Against Biggest Employer, Walmart Workers Make History Again | The Nation

26 Nov

Hanover and Severn, MD—For about twenty-four hours, Walmart workers, union members and a slew of other activists pulled off the largest-ever US strike against the largest employer in the world. According to organizers, strikes hit a hundred US cities, with hundreds of retail workers walking off the job (last month‘s strikes drew 160). Organizers say they also hit their goal of a thousand total protests, with all but four states holding at least one. In the process, they notched a further escalation against the corporation that’s done more than any other to frustrate the ambitions and undermine the achievements of organized labor in the United States.

“I’m so happy that this is history, that my grandkids can learn from this to stand up for themselves,” Miami striker Elaine Rozier told The Nation Thursday night. Before, “I always used to sit back and not say anything…. I’m proud of myself tonight.”

Rozier and her co-workers kicked off the Black Friday strike around 7:30 EST Thursday night; it rolled from Miami through big cities like Chicago and smaller ones like Tulsa, where overnight stocker Christopher Bentley Owen, agitated by an intimidating “captive audience” meeting, decided at the last minute to join the organization and became his store’s sole striker. After holding back because he didn’t plan to stay in his job for long, said Owen, he recognized that millions of other low-wage workers offer the same reason not to get involved. “Meanwhile,” he said, “there are millions of people in those jobs…at some point, people have to get together.”

via With Biggest Strike Against Biggest Employer, Walmart Workers Make History Again | The Nation.

‘When We Go Out, the Lights Go Out’: Workers Locked Out at Con Ed | The Nation

10 Jul

Hundreds of union members have descended on New York power utility Consolidated Edison’s corporate headquarters in Manhattan following the company’s decision to lock out 8,500 of its unionized workers in the midst of contract negotiations. Workers were sent home on July 1 after Local 1-2 of the Utility Workers Union refused to agree to give seven days’ notice before a strike. Only weeks after the debacle of the Wisconsin recall, and the subsequent consternation among many in the labor movement, it seems these boisterous union members missed the message that labor is on its way out.

About 500 union members, most of them from Local 1-2 but with contingents from SEIU Local 32BJ, CWA Local 1101 and TWU Local 100, among others, have been picketing outside Con Ed’s headquarters each day since the lockout began on July 1. Today, however, that number increased to more than a thousand, as Con Ed canceled healthcare coverage for Local 1-2 members as part of its effort to ramp up pressure on the union. Other pickets have been set up at Con Ed job sites around the region. The contract dispute centers on the fact that Con Ed wants to get rid of defined-benefit pensions and drastically increase union members’ healthcare contributions.

Lockouts have become increasingly common in recent years, as employers have become more and more proactive at trying to force givebacks on union members.

via ‘When We Go Out, the Lights Go Out’: Workers Locked Out at Con Ed | The Nation.

Can Occupy pull off a general strike? – Occupy Wall Street – Salon.com

29 Feb

General strikes are few and far between. The last “full-on” general strike in the US was in 1946 in, yes, Oakland. Now Occupy’s calling one for this May 1. Will it happen? and just WHAT will it be?

…the Occupy movement’s ability to defy expectations and undo assumptions should not be underestimated. This includes the subversion and reclaiming of terminology. After all, the very word “occupy” has come to signify a plethora of actions, interactions, groupings and sentiments, many of which are divorced from any traditional notion of a political occupation. Likewise, a brazen call for a nationwide general strike forces organizing groups and individuals to think about what striking could mean for them come May 1. The idea of a general strike, traditionally considered, assumes an outdated economy where essential industries can coordinate and bring a city or country’s economy to halt; it needs refiguring for the current context.

via Can Occupy pull off a general strike? – Occupy Wall Street – Salon.com.