Unions & politics

Workers' Liberty 3/3: Factory bulletins from the early communist movement and today

Whole publication as pdf Introduction: agitate, educate, organise Producing Tubeworker Leafleting on the Manchester Ship Canal "Workers can't write newspapers? Really? Just tell us some news about your factory" Essential tools (by Leon Trotsky) Extracts from a factory newspaper (Germany, early 1920s) A factory bulletin by Vladimir Lenin "Factory newspapers riled the employers from the beginning" Images from the factory bulletins

Unison: opening out the choice

The election for the general secretary position in public sector union Unison begins on 10 August. Branch nominations run from then until 25 September, and the vote from 28 October to 27 November, with results announced on 11 January 2021. Incumbent general secretary Dave Prentis, in office since 2001 and with a record of profound bureaucratic conservatism, will retire when his current term ends in December. Candidates require 25 branch nominations to make the ballot paper. So far, five candidates have formally declared their intention to stand, three of whom are currently unelected officials...

Isolation pay for all!

To suppress Covid-19, and avoid or minimise a resurgence, we need to win decent isolation pay and sick pay for all workers. Protect your workmates; public health test-and-tracing; work or full pay for all! Editorial article and video. In the Ministry of Justice, the United Voices of the World union has won an agreement with the contractor OCS for full sick pay for workers covering time taken off since April, for a period of up to 14 days. In care homes, after months of campaigning, some 40% now give isolation pay; the government has set up a fund explicitly designed to allow isolation pay for all workers; and a government report has recognised officially that absence of isolation pay increases the Covid-19 death toll.

Hong Kong: power for democracy

On 11-12 July, over 600,000 people in Hong Kong took part the election primaries of Power for Democracy, the election umbrella for the pro-democracy, anti-CCP forces. The primaries were to select candidates for the elections in September to the ruling Legislative Council (LegCo) of Hong Kong. The turnout was a morale boost after the National Security Law (NSL) was imposed on 30 June. There have always been tensions within the democracy movement between the “traditional” democrats and the movement that grew after 2014. The new movement, loosely referred to as “localist”, was overwhelmingly...

USA: the unions and the cops

Certain small US unions which are traditionally on the left, like the ILWU and the United Electrical Workers, have taken very strong positions — and in the case of the ILWU actually shut down the West coast ports. On the East coast the ILA docks union did nine minutes of silence, in agreement with employers. The Amalgamated Transit Union, which has a large black membership, has also taken a strong stance, and many of its locals have organised action, including refusing to cooperate with police. The national AFL-CIO has had a number of requests from affiliates to kick out the police unions that...

British workers and American slavery

• This story is told in more detail in the pamphlet Workers against slavery: the US Civil War, the First International and the British working class • For a shorter version of the following article, see the PDF of Solidarity issue 554 In the 1860s, through a four year, 600,000-death civil war, slavery in the United States was destroyed. The defeat of revolutionary movements unleashed by the war, above all movements of the ex-slaves, created the system of white supremacy and racial segregation which endured till the 1960s and whose legacy shapes the US today. Solidarity has told this story...

US dockers strike for Black Lives Matter

On 9 June, on the West Coast of the USA, members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) stopped work for an eight minute, forty-six second moment of silence (the length of time the cop had his knee on Floyd’s neck). On 19 June the ILWU will organise another Black Lives Matter strike, for a full eight hours. They picked that day because “Juneteenth” is the date slavery was abolished in Texas at the end of the US Civil War, and now a major commemoration and celebration. To get round anti-union legislation, they are also striking as part of their ongoing fight against...

"George Floyd was the trigger, but there's more to it"

Abdullah Mohamed organises with Sheffield Black Lives Matter. He spoke to Sacha Ismail. I’m the only organiser remaining from Sheffield Black Lives Matter back in 2016, when we previously had a demonstration. This time round we held a demonstration on 6 June – a peaceful protest with a range of speakers, some organisations and some individuals. We were united by anger at the killings of black people in the US, the UK and elsewhere. In the UK one black person a week dies at the hands of the police or in prison. We’re now doing broader work challenging various organisations and the authorities...

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