Labor has been taking a beating in recent years. It seems a far way off from the glory days when Labor had a prominent voice in national affairs. Labor is engaging in new ways to put worker cause is front and center, but not everyone agrees on the methodology. Next NYCLC’s Vincent Alvarez discusses how Labor is using coalition building to fight “Fast Track” to ensure Congress does not pass the TPP without a vigorous debate.
Two Roads Forward for the Labor
Recall Walter Reuther’s personal relationship with President Johnson; Jackie Pressers’s with Richard Nixon; Martin Luther King Jr’s active role in the labor movement, Labor used to carry a big political clout. Now it seems like all sides are using Labor as a punching bag. To better understand differing approaches to Labor’s efforts to move the political discourse, we spoke with Nelson Lichtenstein, Professor of History at University of California at Santa Barbara and Director of the Center for Work, Labor and Democracy. He recently authored an article “Two Roads Forward for Labor: The AFL-CIO’s New Agenda” which explains steps labor can take to rebuild a vibrant labor coalition.
Labor’s Opposition to the TPP
After nine rounds of negotiating behind closed door, Americans around the country are standing up to voice their opposition to yet another so called “free-trade” agreement, this time the “Trans Pacific Partnership” (a/k/a “TPP”). On Friday, January 31st, protests held around the country demonstrated a wide and growing coalition that has developed among labor and environmental organizations, as well as organizations on the right, that oppose the TPP, especially “Fast-Tracking,” which virtually bypasses Congressional scrutiny. Vincent Alvarez, President of the New York City Central Labor Council, AFLCIO, explains how important it is to ensure that “Fast-Track” is stopped and TPP is thoroughly debated and vetted by Congress. TPP is NAFTA on steroids, and there is scant evidence that any American workers have received any benefit from that debacle. All we’ve gotten is chronic unemployment and a weakened economy.
1) Labor In the Movies: Two documentaries highlight the strength of the labor movement when the movement was strongest
2) Labor Media – Countering the Anti-Labor Bias: Find out how to read passed the anti-labor bias that has become so common in media
3) Pension Stripping and Car Wash Organizing: Alternative organizing is possible and already happening. This program shows how Car Wash Organizing has developed
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