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The Labor Movement Is a Lot Bigger Than You Think

Image courtesy People's World

While 11.3% of U.S. workers officially belong to unions, the labor movement is much larger. The movement isn't limited to official union members and the last year showed that, as workers marched side by side, union members or not, to fight back against injustices championed by corporate interests that are out of touch with America's working families. As AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said at the federation's constitutional convention in Los Angeles, “Politicians and employers want to divide us; they try it every single day. They want to tell us who can be in our movement and who can't, and we can't let them.”

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How Union Members Saved Harley-Davidson

Photo courtesy Matthias Schack

What do you do when your world-famous brand is so smashed by the recession that your stock price falls from $75 to $8? What do you do when your manufacturing plant has a culture that leads to high rates of absenteeism on Mondays and Fridays? What do you do when your product takes 18 months to get into the hands of the customers who want it?

Generally, you go out of business.

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Volkswagen Workers in Tennessee to Vote on Forming First Works Council in U.S.

Photo courtesy Karen Roe

On Feb. 12–14, workers at the Chattanooga, Tenn., Volkswagen factory will vote to unionize. If successful, they plan to organize under the works council model that is common at the company's factories outside the United States. Currently, the Tennessee location is the only major Volkswagen production facility in the world that does not have labor representation. Works councils enable workers to collaborate with management in improving the workplace and increasing company success.

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The Next Generation

Photo of a CWA member in Austin, Texas.

My “day” job is to train the next generation at Howard University and students who hopefully can fulfill the legacy of the likes of David Dinkins, Elijah Cummings and Kamala Harris. February is normally a month to look back at because it is Black History Month. But I like to think of it as a time to look ahead, especially to the next generation of black leadership.

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13,000 Las Vegas Casino/Hotel Workers Ratify New Pact

UNITE HERE photo

The members of Culinary Workers Local 226 and Bartenders Local 165 (both UNITE HERE locals) voted Tuesday to ratify a five-year contract with Caesars Entertainment covering the 13,000 members of both locals. The deal, which replaces the previous contract that expired in June, was approved by 97% of the voters.

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8 Reasons College Athletes Need a Union

Photo courtesy West Point

Last spring, Northwestern University quarterback Kain Colter approached National College Players Association President Ramogi Huma about help in getting college athletes more of a say in their own fate so they can improve playing conditions. Huma and Colter worked with the United Steelworkers (USW) and they filed the paperwork and cards this week with the National Labor Relations Board, seeking to establish the first union for college athletes in history called the College Athletes Players Association.  The number of players who signed union cards wasn't disclosed, but Colter expressed that it was more than enough for the process to move forward.

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NAN Joins Growing List of Groups Urging Kellogg’s to End the Memphis Lockout

Photo courtesy of BCTGM's Facebook page.

The more than 220 workers who have been locked out of their jobs at a Kellogg’s Memphis, Tenn., plant since October picked up more support in their fight to return to work. The National Action Network urged Kellogg’s to end the lockout. 

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Striking for the Common Good

Photo by Cathy Sherwin

The wave of strikes and demonstrations by fast-food workers across 100 U.S. cities, as much as similar efforts by Walmart employees earlier, are only the most recent volley in the continuing struggle between proponents and opponents of labor unions. These strikes, focusing as they did on the right to organize, reflect a perennial debate in America's politics: Are unions good or bad for society?

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Private-Sector Union Membership Grows in 2013, but Attacks on Public Employees Take Toll

Private-Sector Union Membership Grows in 2013, but Attacks on Public Employees Take Toll

The number of workers in unions in 2013 rose by 162,000, with the increase of 281,000 workers in private-sector unions offset by the decrease of 118,000 public-sector union members, according to figures released this morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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Memphis MLK Day Actions to Support Locked-Out Kellogg’s Workers

Memphis MLK Day Actions to Support Locked-Out Kellogg’s Workers

More than 220 workers who have been locked out of their jobs at a Kellogg’s Memphis, Tenn., plant since October will be honored and supported as part of Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day actions in Memphis.

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