After the stunning victory at Amazon by a little-known independent union that didn’t exist 18 months ago, organized labor has begun to ask itself an increasingly pressing question: Does the labor movement need to get more disorganized?
We are witnessing one of the greatest assaults on our democracy since the Civil War,” tweeted AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka. Union leaders throughout the country denounced the coup attempt and attack on the Constitution.
The present is explosive because of the fusion of crises. In this situation, organized labor has been inconsistent; sometimes paralyzed; other moments outspoken. Left unaddressed is the "cold civil war," created by political polarization.
Although Janus threatens to deal a blow to U.S. unions, the West Virginia teacher strike suggests a way forward for organized labor. The strike effectively used social media as a tool for mass organization, centered on the needs of the community, and linked its cause to issues of social justice.
Here are two articles outlining theory and practice of a model around which the Left could organize cooperative enterprises into a more coherent base upon which to build more powerful, more confrontational politics as well as historic iniquities, or how it would be able to defend the gains it makes. That is how a commonwealth network could be formed and expanded.
By Jake Rosenfeld and Patrick Denice
On Labor: Workers, Unions and Politics
Caveats aside, the evidence thus far cautions against making too much of Trump’s success at wooing union households. What these results do suggest is the need for Democrats going forward to craft a message and groom candidates that might reverse waning enthusiasm among this core constituency.