Union organising

How to organise young workers

Supersize my pay

Author: 

Editorial
Lessons from New Zealand, France, and the USA about how to organise young workers in the fast-food and similar industries.

One of the most visible impacts of capitalist globalisation has been the massive expansion of low-paid (and often semi-casual) jobs in the service sector.

This “precarious” employment — in bars, restaurants, nightclubs, hotels, fast-food chains, supermarkets, high-street retailers, call centres and elsewhere — means long hours, barely-legal wages and unsafe working conditions. Young people fill these jobs.

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Workers' Liberty 3/3: Factory bulletins in the 1920s and today

Workers' Liberty 3/3 (March 2006) reproduces many communist factory bulletins from the 1920s, and discussion from that era about how they should be produced. "Workers cannot write newspapers? Really? Just tell us some news about your factory". It also includes information on workplace bulletins produced by the AWL. Click here to download pdf.

How to take revolutionary politics into the workplace.

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Density and decline

Author: 

Bob Carnegie

The crisis in Australian unionism is one of great concern to all working-class activists. In a series of articles I will criticise some of the current trends and try to show that there are ways out.

The main tools I have at my disposal are nearly 40 years of militant trade union and working-class activism and wide (but not deep) reading of socialist theory. I hope these articles are of interest. Whether they are insructive and helpful, that is for others to decide.

If a union movement’s societal influence is primarily based on relative union density, the current state of unionism in Australia is the lowest at least since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

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A “New Labor” in America?

Author: 

Ira Berkovic

Before the tragic discovery that she has a brain tumour, Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis, the public figurehead of the CTU’s 2012 strike against the city’s Democratic mayor Rahm Emanuel, was preparing a mayoral campaign for next year’s election.

For anyone interested in building working-class power in America, the question of how to break through anti-union hostility amongst industrial workers in the South is a real one.

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Human needs not human greed

My first two articles dealing with attempts to organise defence base workers in Australia attempted to highlight the problems with on the ground organising, union arguments over which unions should cover these workers, the workers’ battle for jobs and redundancy payment and most important of all, the horrorible effect of contracting out of services has on the wages and conditions of those workers concerned.

It is up to us, somehow, to make the voice for those who have nothing much louder if we are to help build something better than this capitalistic planet we call home.

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The wrong “organising model”

Author: 

Bob Carnegie

In my last article I wrote about the horrors of contracting-out of civilian work on Australian defence bases, and the drive to force down the wages and conditions of the workers.

Similar processes are at work everywhere else, be it the private or the public sector.

Many Australian trade unions are heavily influenced by the SEIU “organising model” from the USA.

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Care UK and Ritzy Cinemas: staying strong against low pay

On Friday 10 October Care UK workers will be striking for the 81st day in their campaign for a Living Wage. Stewards David Honeybone and Diane Marsden spoke to Solidarity.

What led to you taking industrial action?

Interviews with trade unionists fighting for a living wage at Care UK and Ritzy Cinemas.

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Prospects and the “decisive element”

Extracts from a document to be discussed at the AWL’s annual conference on 25-26 October.

On average workers' real wages fell 8.2% between 2008 and 2013. The median (middling) worker lost £2000 a year. But for many workers it has been much worse.

For the 18-25 age range, the average drop was 14%; for 25- 29, it was 12%. Public sector wages have fallen by 15%.

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Money for war, but not for those who clean up

Author: 

Bob Carnegie

In the mid 1990s, Paul Keating's Labor government in Australia decided to outsource work on defence bases to private contractors. This work was overseen by that great excuse for a conservative in hiding, the leader of the Victorian right wing of the Australian Labor Party, Senator Robert Ray.

In the last 30 years or so, union density has collapsed from 53% of the Australian workforce in 1982 to 17% in 2014. This collapse in union membership is reflected in the collapse in working conditions and pay for civilian workers employed on defence bases in Australia.

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US fast food workers' struggle escalates

Author: 

Daniel Lemberger Cooper

On 4 September, thousands of fast food workers and other service industry employees (including home healthcare workers), backed by both the SEIU (Service Employees International Union) and UFCW (United Food and Commercial Workers), held strikes and protests in cities in California, Missouri, Wisconsin, New York, and elsewhere in the United States, for respect, improved benefits, the right to organise, and for a $15 minimum wage. Hundreds of workers and supporters were arrested.

On 4 September, thousands of fast food workers and other service industry employees (including home healthcare workers), backed by both the SEIU (Service Employees International Union) and UFCW (United Food and Commercial Workers), held strikes and protests in cities in California, Missouri, Wisconsin, New York, and elsewhere in the United States, for respect, improved benefits, the right to organise, and for a $15 minimum wage. Hundreds of workers and supporters were arrested.

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