Strong Safety Net Supports Striking Nurses at St. Vincent Hospital

An Argument for a Permanently Expanded Social Safety Net By Matthew Erlich With news breaking on April 22 that the Massachusetts Nurses Association and Tenet Healthcare will be resuming talks in the coming days, after prolonged stalemate, it’s worth reflecting on a key development that may have played a role in forcing the company’s hand.Continue reading “Strong Safety Net Supports Striking Nurses at St. Vincent Hospital”

Lessons From Bessemer Part 8: Joshua Brewer Responds to Outside Critics

By Working Mass In a lengthy interview with LaborNotes, Joshua Brewer, the head RWDSU organizer on the Bessemer campaign, provides a detailed and valuable account of the campaign from the union’s perspective. He pushes back against critics like McAlevey and argues that the campaign was a worthwhile initiative despite the disappointing result. Brewer disputes theContinue reading “Lessons From Bessemer Part 8: Joshua Brewer Responds to Outside Critics”

Film review: I AM SOMEBODY (1970)

By Dan Albright “I may be poor—but I AM SOMEBODY,” the striking hospital workers cheered, inspiring the title for filmmaker Madeline Anderson’s landmark 1970 documentary. Hundreds of workers, all but twelve of whom were women and all of whom were black, joined together to protest unjust firings and low pay at the Medical College ofContinue reading “Film review: I AM SOMEBODY (1970)”

Lessons From Bessemer Part 7: Charmaine Chua Argues Taking On Amazon Requires Uniting Amazonians

By Working Mass Charmaine Chua, an organizer with Amazonian’s United, argues in Jacobin that taking on Amazon will take more than organizing one shop at a time.  Chua investigates what the logistics revolution means for unionizing, drawing lessons from the work of unionized Amazon workers in Germany. She also goes over some of the experiencesContinue reading “Lessons From Bessemer Part 7: Charmaine Chua Argues Taking On Amazon Requires Uniting Amazonians”

Lessons From Bessemer Part 6: Rebecca Green Writes That A Program Is Needed To Organize Workers

By Working Mass Unlike most commentators, Rebecca Green’s contribution to the debate in Socialist Alternative is based on that organization’s on-the-ground presence in Bessemer. Green places the blame for the defeat on Amazon’s illegal union busting tactics, and has a generally positive appraisal of labor’s role while offering some friendly criticisms. Green argues that, basedContinue reading “Lessons From Bessemer Part 6: Rebecca Green Writes That A Program Is Needed To Organize Workers”

Lessons From Bessemer Part 5: Rich Yeselson Writes Bessemer Loss Was Crushing Defeat

By Working Mass Rich Yeselson writes in Jacobin that the loss in Bessemer was a crushing defeat. Yeselson agrees with McAlevey that, in addition to Amazon’s union-busting, the “malfeasance” of the RWDSU is to blame for the defeat, and that they should have pulled out after the change in the size of the bargaining unit.Continue reading “Lessons From Bessemer Part 5: Rich Yeselson Writes Bessemer Loss Was Crushing Defeat”

Lessons From Bessemer Part 4: Wilson and Olney Say Bessemer Shows Need For PRO Act, Coordination

By Working Mass Rand Wilson (a Massachusetts local) and DSLC member Peter Olney write in In These Times that the defeat at Bessemer shows the need for labor law reform, and for larger coordinated campaigns. Wilson and Olney have a generally positive view of the drive, despite its defeat at the polls.  The authors argueContinue reading “Lessons From Bessemer Part 4: Wilson and Olney Say Bessemer Shows Need For PRO Act, Coordination”

Lessons From Bessemer Part 3: John Logan Rejects Jane McAlevey’s Critique of RWDSU

By Working Mass John Logan’s Bravery, Not Blowout issues a sharp critique to Jane McAlevey’s Blowout In Bessemer. Writing in Solidarity’s Against the Current, Logan makes the case that McAlevey’s widely-shared critique is not based on the facts. Logan emphasises that it was Amazon’s unprecedented hiring spree, not the RWDSU’s ineptitude, that explains the changeContinue reading “Lessons From Bessemer Part 3: John Logan Rejects Jane McAlevey’s Critique of RWDSU”

Lessons From Bessemer Part 2: Jane McAlevey Argues A Failure In the Basics Explains Bessemer Defeat

By Working Mass Jane McAlevey’s “Blowout In Bessemer” in The Nation is probably the most widely shared – and most controversial – perspective on the Bessemer defeat. She argues that the responsibility for the defeat rests more with the mistakes of the campaign than any other factor. Echoing the content of her books and workContinue reading “Lessons From Bessemer Part 2: Jane McAlevey Argues A Failure In the Basics Explains Bessemer Defeat”

Lessons From Bessemer Part 1: Learn From Bessemer To Beat The Bosses

By Working Mass On April 9th, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced that Amazon workers in Bessemer, Alabama had rejected unionization, by a vote of 1798 to 738. For several weeks, this union drive captured the attention and imagination of the labor movement and the wider public, as the mainstream media provided coverage atContinue reading “Lessons From Bessemer Part 1: Learn From Bessemer To Beat The Bosses”