Rank-and-file unionism, nationally, is taking center stage in many strikes and union actions across the country. “The labor movement was becoming hot, members were really getting activated and needed a way to organize and funnel that energy.”
At Amazon, big organizing campaigns by established unions are only the most visible face of labor organizing. The other is Amazonians United, a militant shop-floor group with a presence around the country.
Fernando E. Gapasin, Bill Fletcher Jr. and Bill Gallegos
Veteran labor organizer Fernando Gapasin is interviewed by Bill Fletcher, Jr. and Bill Gallegos. "I dedicated myself to ending racism and building worker power by building democratic working-class organizations from the bottom up."
Too often, leaders magnify the voices of a very small group of members... This reality reflects significant weaknesses in unions and their organizing practices, and illustrates how shallow and limited our understanding of democracy is.
The United Electrical Workers was one of America’s mightiest unions. Many leaders were leftists who challenged corporate power, so UE was decimated by McCarthyism. The union survived and UE's model of militant, democratic unionism can revive labor.
I often used to look at the union work as something like walking a tightrope backwards while juggling without a net … The wire must be made of grassroots. The moment the union highwire artist feels those grassroots under foot, they know they are safe
While labor is clearly on the march forward, socialists appear to be floundering, still unsure about the way forward. But if the past year is any indication, workers will not be waiting for socialists to catch up.
At its core, a fighting labor movement must take on the boss directly, winning fights both big and small that transform life for workers. This should not be in dispute, and it is why socialists have traditionally salted union and non-union shops.
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