8/5 ISR Discussion: U.S. labor in the crisis: Resistance or retreat?

Join us for a discussion of the new issue of the International Socialist Review

Wed 8/5 7-8:30pm
University of Washington School of Social Work

THE ELECTION of Barack Obama last November seemed to promise a new era for organized labor. With Obama in the White House and a solid Democratic majority in Congress, it appeared that unions would finally be able to get action on their main legislative agenda—passage of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), a measure that would make it easier for workers to join a union. And a victorious factory occupation at the Republic Windows and Doors plant captured the imagination of the country, and even got some encouraging words from Obama himself. Soon afterwards, workers at the huge Smithfield pork processing plant in North Carolina voted to unionize after more than a decade of vicious anti-union actions by the company. Hopes were high that unions were set to go on the offensive.

A few months later, the picture is quite different. What followed wasn’t similar victories, but one of the most catastrophic setbacks in the history of the U.S. labor movement. Private employers were demanding, and obtaining, concessions from unions in industries ranging from newspapers to trucking companies. Even as expectations of Obama mounted in advance of Inauguration Day, Chrysler and General Motors were slashing jobs and gutting union contracts as they drifted toward bankruptcy amid the worst economic slump since the Great Depression

We will be reading the following ISR articles, and discussing economic crisis, the state of the US labor Movement and
how to revive social movement and class-struggle unionism.

In the Second part of the meeting we will brainstorm ideas for our Northwest Socialist Conference in November 2009.

Joel Geier
The free fall is over, but the crisis continues

Lee Sustar U.S. labor in the crisis: Resistance or retreat?

And Check out these great videos -- A
panel discussion with Brian Cruz (SIEU 1021) Adrienne Johnstone (UESF) Sal Rosselli (NUHW) and Michael Yates (Monthly Review Magazine) on Social Unionism and Joel Gier's Talk The Economic Crisis: How Bad Will it Get? both at Socialism 2009 in San Francisco.

Social Unionism: Putting the Movement back in the Labor Movement - Socialism 2009 in San Francisco from RedReel on Vimeo.

Marxist Economist Joel Geier on "The Economic Crisis: How Bad Will It Get" 2009 SF from Silver Persinger on Vimeo