I recently posted a piece at the site Law at the Margins. The piece concerns Black workers and the public sector, and specifically, my belief that organized labor needs to engage in a mass effort to organize public sector workers in the South. Key to the success of such a campaign would be the Black worker. In the aftermath of the discussions of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington–a march where Black workers were central–and given that today is Labor Day, i thought that renewing such a discussion would be timely.
What has struck me on most Labor Days is how little is actually discussed about the state of organized labor. This year, fortunately, there have been some pieces in the Washington Post that have been noteworthy, but this is more the exception than the rule.
We are coming up on the convention of the AFL-CIO. This convention has been organized differently and in a more inclusive manner than prior conventions. That said, the key question is whether something different will emerge from the convention. While there have been discussions concerning inviting into the AFL-CIO non-labor, progressive groups, i would hope that significant attention would be placed on how the union movement can transform itself into being the core of a movement for social and economic justice. This will necessitate much more than great rhetoric and email blasts but will necessitate organizational experimentation as well as a level of non-violent mass action that has been rare in labor circles for quite some time.
I am hoping that the proposal regarding organizing public sector workers in the South–a proposal that i did not originate, by the way, but has been raised for years by various activists in the South–will gain increased interest, attention and support.
You can help by spreading the word!