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Happy May Day! Workers of the World Are Uniting

Here’s something to celebrate this May Day: History may well look back at our era as the moment the working class finally got back on its feet.

Stop & Shop workers strike outside of one of the grocery stores on April 20, 2019 in Westport, Connecticut. Spencer Platt / Getty

Happy May Day, the international workers’ holiday, a tradition begun in the nineteenth century to demonstrate the strength of the working class! You know what else demonstrates the strength of the working class? Strikes. And strikes are back, baby.

Jacobin’s strike coverage in 2018 started with an article called “The Disappearing Strike,” in which author Doug Henwood warned that the strike is “like a muscle: if workers didn’t exercise it regularly, it would atrophy.” Sadly, as Doug pointed out, “It’s atrophied.”

But later that month, West Virginia’s public school teachers surprised everyone by walking out, sparking a teachers’ strike wave that spread across the nation. US health care and hotel workers flexed their atrophied muscles too, as did higher-ed workers — from custodians to researchers to professors, and, most recently, supermarket workers. Internationally, railway workers, dockworkers, truck drivers and more sent shock waves through nations from New Zealand to Sweden to Brazil.

Fast forward to spring of 2019, when veteran labor analyst Kim Moody wrote a piece for us called, “We Just Remembered How to Strike.” While we can’t say definitively that the strikes of the previous year have changed the game for good, Moody wrote, “it just might be the year that convinced more workers that the strike packs the kind of wallop needed to move today’s corporate giants and austerity-oriented governments.”

Have a look at Jacobin’s strike coverage, national and international, from early 2018 to the present. Labor’s fortunes are never certain — only time will tell if the organized working class is set to rise again and become a true match for the capitalist class that exploits it. But let’s pause and take this May Day to celebrate how far the struggle has come in just over a year.

“Lecturers on Strike” by Seven Parfitt, February 21, 2018

“The underlying reason for this anger is a vicious circle that has closed at UK universities over the past 20 years: students pay much more for their education, teachers get paid less to give it to them.”

“Saving West Virginia,” by Cathy Kunkel, February 27, 2018

“Thousands of West Virginia teachers and school service personnel have flooded the state capitol every day since February 22, demanding higher pay and more funding for the state’s struggling public employee health care system.”

“The Strike is On,” an interview with Jay O’Neal by Eric Blanc, March 1, 2018

“This is a fight of working people versus the large corporations. These big companies have controlled and exploited our state for over a century. Historically, it was the coal corporations. But now it’s more the natural gas companies that are calling the shots. We need national exposure on these conflicts.”

“Do-It-Yourself Class Struggle,” by Kevin Prosen, March 2, 2018

“One lesson from the West Virginia teachers’ strike is clear: nobody is coming to save us. We’ll have to do it ourselves.”

“It Was About the Insurance Fix,” by Meagan Day, March 2, 2018

“Medicare for All is popular, universal, and social. The task for the Left and labor is to take the West Virginia fight national, to unite the teachers in Appalachia with nurses in California and to connect the demand for single-payer health care to the tactics of working-class militancy.”

“The State of the Strike,” by Eric Blanc, March 3, 2018

“It seems virtually certain at this point that the strike will continue on Monday. It remains to be seen whether the strikers can develop forms of self-organization and mass action that would allow them to push for some sort of escalation sufficient to force the remaining right-wing politicians to concede.”

“When the Rank and File Leads,” by Cathy Kunkel, March 3, 2018

“It’s unclear how the standoff between West Virginia workers and the state senate will end, but if nothing else, this week’s decision to keep striking is a reminder that the rank and file can lead.”

“West Virginia’s Militant Minority,” by Eric Blanc, March 3, 2018

“The initiative for the current action came from a core of young teachers, motivated more by political conviction than tradition. If anything, the current action is helping many people rediscover and reclaim a political legacy that was fading away.”

“There Is No Illegal Strike, Just an Unsuccessful One,” by Joe Burns, March 6, 2018

“Teacher strikes are unlawful in West Virginia. State law does not provide for collective bargaining, and public employees have no legally recognized right to engage in work stoppages. Yet legality has a way of drifting into the background when workers organize en masse.”

“What the Teachers Won,” an interview with Emily Comer and Jay O’Neal, March 6, 2018

“For a successful mass movement, people don’t have to agree on partisan politics, on religion, or anything else for that matter. But they do have come together and fight in solidarity around a shared issue. We’ve learned that people will push the other differences aside in the name of solidarity.”

“Anatomy of a Victory,” by Cathy Kunkel, March 9, 2018

“West Virginia teachers and service personnel achieved a historic victory. Rank-and-file school employees led a nine-day, statewide wildcat strike that resulted in meaningful concessions from a hostile state government.”

“The Lessons of West Virginia,” by Eric Blanc, March 9, 2018

“It’s too early to tell whether West Virginia will spark the revival of a fighting labor movement nationwide. Much depends on whether workers here can keep winning over the coming months — and whether a looming public education strike wave materializes in Oklahoma, New Jersey, Arizona, Kentucky, and beyond.”

“No Capitulation,” by Ed Rooksby, March 13, 2018

“This industrial action by the University and College Union (UCU) has been the largest ever strike in higher education in recent British history. Indeed there’s a great deal at stake. The outcome of the strike will shape the future of the university sector in the UK for years to come.”

“Why the UCU Strike Matters,” by Steven Parfitt, March 14, 2018

“By a happy coincidence, the UCU industrial action started the same day teachers in West Virginia walked off their jobs. Their strike had a profound effect on us, showing us that we are not the only ones trying to defend education, the careers of those who provide it, and the future of those who receive it.”

“Learning On the Job,” by Ashli Anda and Adam Edwards, March 15, 2018

“Are graduate students workers? This month, Illinois grad students answered that question using labor’s oldest weapon: the strike.”

“Striking to Win,” by Kyle Bailey and Jordy Cummings, March 15, 2018

“The Canadian Union of Public Employees, local 3903 (CUPE 3903) at York University in Toronto began our strike on Rosa Luxemburg’s birthday, March 5. With our practice of rank-and-file driven “bargaining from below,” and a well-earned reputation for being “strike-happy” it seemed an apropos day to hit the lines.”

“Off the Rails,” by Cole Stangler, March 22, 2018

“United in defense of their job standards, railroad unions have unveiled strike plans of their own. After joining civil servants on March 22, they plan rolling strikes from April 3 to June 28. Workers will engage in a series of two-day job actions separated by intervals of three days, amounting to thirty-six total days of strikes.”

“Saving France’s Railways,” an interview with Bruno Poncet by Cole Stangler, March 23, 2018

“The goal is to have real leverage to negotiate with the government. In the end, when they presented the law with the executive orders, it’s clear they hadn’t listened to any of the unions. This strike allows us to have some real leverage to explain, ‘it can’t work like this.’”

“Germany’s 28-Hour Workweek,” an interview with Klaus Dörre by Loren Balhorn, March 24, 2018

“Last month German metal workers won the right to a 28-hour workweek — after going on strike to demand a better work-life balance.”

“Disaster Capitalism and Vulture Charters,” by Lauren Lefty, March 26, 2018

“Last Monday, hundreds of Puerto Rican teachers marched past San Juan’s Capitol building to La Fortaleza, the governor’s mansion, holding signs reading “Defendemos la educación pública” (We defend public education) and “No a los charters buitres!” (No to the vulture charters!).”

“It’s Oklahoma’s Turn to Strike,” by Eric Blanc, March 30, 2018

“The historic victory in West Virginia has inspired teachers and staff across the United States. Marches, rallies, and sickouts in defense of public schools have spread to Kentucky, Arizona, Wisconsin, and beyond. Whether this movement becomes a bona fide strike wave will depend to a significant degree on what happens in Oklahoma over the coming days.”

“Deal or No Deal?” by Steven Parfitt, March 31, 2018

“The UK university strike has put management on the defensive. Now UCU members will have to decide what counts as a victory.”

“This Is a Struggle of Regular Working People,” an interview with Nema Brewer by Eric Blanc, April 2, 2018

“There is a blatant offensive to destroy public education in Kentucky. They say that the way to save the schools is to privatize them. And this is clearly part of a national agenda. We see cuts and privatization happening across the country. It’s not a conspiracy theory, we know whose hands are behind this.”

“Signs of a French Spring,” by Cole Stangler, April 3, 2018

“A weekend strike at France’s largest employer, supermarket Carrefour, was followed by strikes on the trains and at airports at the start of this week that have severely impacted transport in the country — and now a burgeoning student movement is joining in support.”

“Liberals and the Strike,” by Corey Robin, April 5, 2018

“The wave of teacher strikes is a challenge not just to GOP austerity, but to Democratic Party neoliberalism.”

“Labor Renaissance in the Heartland,” by Lois Weiner, April 6, 2018

“Teachers are angry, but their anger is about far more than how much they paid for their master’s degrees. They are angry because the work they do — and the way we define the nature and purpose of schooling — have been greatly changed by neoliberal reforms which took hold twenty years ago in this country, with bipartisan consensus.”

“The Oklahoma Strike Is At a Crossroads,” by Eric Blanc, April 11, 2018

“A wide layer of Oklahoman educators watched West Virginia intently, and they have consciously sought to emulate its success. They saw that even in a supposedly conservative “right-to-work” state, it was possible to strike and win. They also saw that to succeed, the rank and file would have to push hard to initiate a work stoppage — and to keep it going despite last-minute concessions by the state and hesitations by the union leadership.”

“A Strategy to Win,” a conversation between Eric Blanc and Jane McAlevey, April 18, 2018

“I think the big lesson from Oklahoma, like in West Virginia, is that strikes remains the most important weapon of our class and that workplaces remain the most strategic place for the Left to organize.”

“Turning the War in Our Favor,” by Steven Parfitt, April 20, 2018

“The strike might be over, but it has changed British higher education for good. University workers have come together on picket lines and found that they need not face their many problems alone.”

“Arizona Prepares to Strike,” by Eric Blanc, April 26, 2018

“Despite the unfavorable political context and the absence of strong labor unions, Arizona’s teachers and staff are remarkably well-prepared for this struggle. Led by a dynamic group of young rank-and-file militants, tens of thousands of educators have managed to cohere into a formidably organized force in less than two months.”

“The Outcome in Arizona,” an interview with Rebecca Garelli, Noah Karvelis, and Dylan Wegela by Eric Blanc, May 3, 2018

“What we’ve done in Arizona is stand up and say enough is enough. There always comes a breaking point for the working class. If educators in Arizona could stand up and fight back, anybody can stand up and do the same.”

“After the Wave,” by Chris Brooks, May 7, 2018

“If unions hope to build off this momentum and become a more powerful voice for teachers and public education, then they will have to make some profound changes and not simply return to business as usual.”

“UC Workers on Strike,” by Meagan Day, May 9, 2018

“This week, more than 53,000 employees of the University of California have gone on strike not just for a better contract, but to resist becoming casualties in the neoliberal war against the public nature of the university.”

“Striking Big Brown,” by Joe Allen, May 17, 2018

“UPS might be the next target of the national strike wave — but under very unusual circumstances.”

“What’s Behind the Teacher Strikes?” by Ellen David Friedman, May 27, 2018

“As we watch — rapt — the unexpected teacher insurgencies in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona, Kentucky, and Colorado, we’re also grasping for understanding: why is this stunning revolt occurring where unions are weak, where labor rights are thin, and where popular politics are considered to be on the Right? To understand the insurgency, we need to look at economics, and at political economy specifically. But we especially need a labor-movement analysis.”

“Betting on the Working Class,” by Eric Blanc, May 29, 2018

“The nationwide teachers’ strikes are a reminder that the working class is still the most powerful agent for radical change.”

“The Week That Stopped Brazil,” by Caio Almendra, June 5, 2018

“We can only hope that as the Petrobrás Workers Union works to shift truck drivers to the left, it also learns to revitalize its own organization and Brazil’s labor movement generally. This will be key to mounting a truly successful general strike.”

“French Labor Derailed,” by Cole Stangler, June 22, 2018

“More than two months after rail unions launched disruptive rolling strikes across the country, vowing a life-or-death struggle, the government has solidly maintained the upper hand.”

“I Believe We’re on the Cusp of a Labor Upsurge,” an interview with Barbara Madeloni by Ella Mahony, June 29, 2018

“There are these possibilities as people not only begin to fight back, but — to go back to the educators’ strikes in the South — fighting back specifically within an analysis that the structures are working against us and we have to change those structures. And the only way we’re going to do that is through collective action … I believe we’re at the cusp of a labor upsurge, and that gives me a lot of hope.”

“Striking for Patients,” by Rachel T. Johnson, July 14, 2018

“On Thursday, 1,800 nurses and three hundred health professionals at the University of Vermont Medical Center (UVMMC) began a two-day strike to demand more for themselves and their patients. At the center of the strike are issues related to safe staffing, competitive pay, and calls for a hospital-wide $15 minimum wage.”

“When Nurses Strike,” by Suzanne Gordon, July 17, 2018

“It was the first strike by the nurses since they originally got organized sixteen years ago and constituted one of the largest work stoppages in recent Vermont history.”

“Getting the Common Goods,” by Jamie McCallum, August 11, 2018

“With school out for summer, it might seem like the teacher strike wave has petered out. But what happened in North Carolina jumpstarted a process that lasted far beyond the one-day walkout. From the outside, it looked like the latest spontaneous domino in the wave of teacher strikes this spring. But it was actually the result of years of grassroots organizing, leadership development, and patient base-building.”

“Striking for the Future,” by Antonio Maestre, August 13, 2018

“Last week Barcelona was brought to a standstill, as endless queues of taxis blocked the city’s main thoroughfares. The taxi drivers camped out on the central Gran Vía de Les Corts, demanding that the government block the spread of Uber and Cabify.”

“US Workers Are Striking Again,” by Eric Dirnbach, September 8, 2018

“Ironically, this surge in striking occurs during the year of the recent anti-union Supreme Court Janus decision, which mandates “right to work” rules for all public sector workers.”

“Teachers’ Strikes Are Escalating in Washington,” by Eric Blanc, September 13, 2018

“To win their walkouts for better pay and better schools, educators are defying court injunctions and district-organized strikebreaking across Washington state.”

“This is a Struggle to Save Public Education,” an interview with Arlene Inouye by Eric Blanc, September 28, 2018

“The teachers strike wave has reached Los Angeles: teachers there recently voted overwhelmingly to strike. They are fighting against school privatization, wage and benefit cuts, and the nationwide project to dismantle public education.”

“The Teachers’ Strike Wave Comes to Charter Schools,” by Rachel T. Johnson, October 31, 2018

“Chicago charter school educators are poised to strike. Their unionization and militant organizing show how teachers around the country can fight corporate education reform.”

“A Testing of the Waters After Janus,” by Jeff Schuhrke, November 14, 2018

“What will the landscape for public-sector workers look like after Janus? The University of Illinois-Chicago is seeing what it can get away with — but campus unions are meeting the attacks with more militancy.”

“Our Students Need the Money Now,” an interview with Alex Caputo-Pearl by Suzi Weissman, November 28, 2018

“[In Los Angeles] our strike authorization vote had historic numbers — not only in the 98 percent ‘yes’ votes, but also in the 83 percent turnout among thirty-five thousand members across nine hundred schools (at a time where you sometimes have 10 percent of people voting in city council elections).”

“The Anti-Union Justin Trudeau,” by Gerard Di Trolio, December 19, 2018

“On November 26, the Canadian government passed back-to-work legislation to end rotating strikes by postal workers at Canada Post that started on October 22.”

“Blue-State Revolt,” by Eric Blanc, December 19, 2018

“It’s official: Los Angeles teachers just announced they are going to strike on January 10. They’re challenging not just public education privatizers, but the Democratic Party establishment.”

“How Workers Win and Lose,” by Ben Beckett, December 27, 2018

“Conditions varied from location to location, but in general, the educators’ strikes were grassroots, rank-and-file efforts in which regular school workers organized themselves and dragged union officials along behind them. On the other hand, the strikes against Marriott were largely planned and directed by staff and union officials, albeit with militant and enthusiastic worker participation. But with either model, workers won much bigger advances than they did with the ‘class snuggle’ strategy that UFT and IBT pursued.”

“Why the LA Teachers Strike Matters,” by Lois Weiner, January 6, 2019

“UTLA sees a teachers union’s responsibility to its members and the society as creating a system of public education that is controlled democratically, empowering parents, students, and teachers to transcend the role of consumers to create ‘choices’ that serve all elements of its diverse population equally well.”

“The Strike as the Ultimate Structure Test,” by Jane McAlevey, January 11, 2019

“Plenty of ink and oxygen has been used in the debate over the way forward for the working class. Finally, in 2018, just as the working class and the organizations it built — unions — seemed to be gasping their last breath, education workers in West Virginia walked off the job in an all-out, 100 percent strike. They won.”

“Billionaires vs. LA Schools,” by Eric Blanc, January 15, 2019

“The Los Angeles teachers’ strike isn’t all about wages. At its core, the strike is a fight against a hostile takeover of public schools by the superrich.”

“Mass Action and Modi,” by Thomas Crowley, January 16, 2019

“On January 8 and 9, millions of workers in India launched a general strike, disrupting key industries, blocking train lines and highways, and participating in rallies and demonstrations denouncing the anti-worker policies of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).”

“A Mighty Wind,” by Meagan Day and Micah Uetricht, January 16, 2019

“Democrats are endorsing striking teachers. That doesn’t mean the party’s abandoning its education agenda, but it does mean that the working class is making itself harder to ignore.”

“A Letter to LA Teachers From Greece,” by substitute teachers, local teachers unions, and students in Greece, January 17, 2019

“We have been watching since last year the impressive mass movement of educators in the US and see that Los Angeles teachers are currently on strike. We express our solidarity to your movement and we are certain of your victory!”

“You Need the Rank and File to Win,” by Noah Karvelis, January 17, 2019

“The first lesson I hope people take away from Arizona #RedForEd is that a grassroots, rank-and-file movement is absolutely necessary — particularly in ‘right-to-work’ states.”

“What LA Teachers Have Already Won,” by Lois Weiner, January 19, 2019

“The United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA), the city’s teachers union, has now reentered negotiations with a school board chastened by a strike that has shown the movement’s political power in massive demonstrations with community members and parents. Los Angeles teachers have become a beacon for the rest of organized labor.”

“After LA’s Strike, ‘Nothing Will Be the Same,’” an interview with Arlene Inouye by Eric Blanc, January 23, 2019

“After a powerful week-long strike, Los Angeles teachers on Tuesday evening voted by a super majority to approve a new settlement with the school district. By withholding their labor and winning overwhelming public support, strikers were able to wrest major concessions from a billionaire superintendent intent on privatizing the district.”

“A Strike by Flight Attendants, Pilots, or Air Traffic Controllers Could Stop the Shutdown,” by Ben Beckett, January 24, 2019

“If Nelson’s fellow flight attendants, or workers in a handful of other strategically important sectors, were to strike, they could force the government to reopen very quickly.”

“Sickouts and Strike Threats Stopped the Government Shutdown,” by Ben Beckett, January 25, 2019

“Just last night, there was no end to the government shutdown in sight. But when airport workers started calling in sick and raising the threat of a strike, everything suddenly changed.”

“Never Trust a Billionaire’s Antiracism,” by Eric Blanc, January 25, 2019

“By walking out for the schools students deserve, Los Angeles teachers exposed the deepening contradiction between a privatizing billionaire class and the preservation of public education in the city and around the country. But the victorious strike also demonstrated the existence of two competing, and contradictory, proposals to fight racial injustice in Los Angeles and across the United States.”

“This Wave Shows No Sign of Stopping,” an interview with Sarah Pedersen by Eric Blanc, January 28, 2019

“Today, thousands of educators from across Virginia are walking out and converging at the state capitol for a public education day of action.”

“West Virginia Teachers Look to Strike Again,” by Eric Blanc, January 29, 2019

“West Virginia is on the eve of its second teachers’ walkout in less than a year. Only ten months after the state’s educators sparked what has now become a nationwide teachers’ revolt, a brazen attempt by Republican legislators to ram through a pro-privatization, anti-union bill has again set school workers on fire.”

“The Strike Returns to New Zealand,” by Ross Webb, February 2, 2019

“Over the last year, New Zealand has seen tens of thousands of workers walk off the job, challenging the Labour government’s self-imposed austerity.”

“LA Teachers Show the Way Forward,” by Samir Sonti, February 4, 2019

“In 2014, UTLA began hiring full-time parent organizers who, together with ROS LA’s constituent organizations, have done the slow, rarely glamorous work of training parents and students about the threat privatization poses to traditional public education and preparing them to take that message back into their communities. The groundswell of popular support for the strike grew out of that organizing.”

“Oakland Teachers Are on the Verge of a Strike,” by Nick French, February 8, 2019

“After two wildcat strikes in recent months, Oakland teachers are now on the verge of a district-wide strike. Like other recent teacher walkouts, Oakland educators are up against a school-reform agenda pushed by billionaires.”

“How Flight Attendants Grounded Trump’s Shutdown,” by Liza Featherstone, February 8, 2019

“Sara Nelson’s strike mobilization was real, and industry and government alike knew it. ‘The airline industry knows me,’ she says. ‘I think they know they had to take that threat seriously. It was very clear to the airline industry, to everyone on the Hill, that we were prepared to take action.’”

“There Are So Many Things That We Can Learn From This Strike,” an interview with Alex Caputo-Pearl and Jane McAlevey by Doug Henwood, February 8, 2019

“We’ve spent the last few years [in Los Angeles] building systems and structures among our members, parents, and community organizations. By the time we went on strike, we had all nine hundred schools ready to go with contract action teams at just about every single school. We had regional structures that parents and community were involved in. Then once we went on strike, the issues touched a nerve publicly, and tens of thousands of more parents and community got involved.”

“Denver Teachers Strike Back,” by Eric Blanc, February 11, 2019

“Under the inspiration of the nationwide teachers’ upsurge, and the initiatives of a new rank-and-file caucus, Denver’s educators have successfully pushed their union to fight for the schools that students — and teachers — deserve.”

“Denver Teachers Win Steps Forward,” by Eric Blanc, February 14, 2019

“Striking Denver teachers reached a tentative contract agreement this morning. Though they did not achieve all of their demands, Denver’s educators have wrested important gains from school privatizers — and shown once again the power of teachers withholding their labor.”

“There Has to Be a Place in Society Where It’s Not About Who Your Daddy Is,” an interview with Noeleen McIlvenna by Meagan Day, February 18, 2019

“In late January, hundreds of faculty union members at Wright State University went on strike. What ensued was a twenty-day work stoppage, one of the longest strikes at a public university in American history.”

“The Duty to Strike,” by Imre G. Szabó, February 18, 2019

“In an Ireland where many workers have not yet seen the benefits of postcrisis recovery, it is nurses who have come into the forefront of the fight against austerity. Over the last two weeks the unions representing nurses have mounted gradually extended strikes to heap pressure on the government to resolve their demands over staffing levels and pay. “

“West Virginia Teachers Strike Again,” by Eric Blanc, February 18, 2019

“One year after their historic victory, West Virginia educators will be going on strike again tomorrow — this time to stop a pro-privatization, anti-union bill.”

“West Virginia’s Political Strike Wins Big,” by Eric Blanc, February 20, 2019

“Within hours of going on strike, West Virginia educators defeated a dangerous education privatization bill. They’ve again reminded us of a simple truth: strikes work.”

“Oakland Teachers Are Striking Against Billionaire Privatizers,” by Eric Blanc, February 21, 2019

“Oakland is now the city in California with the highest percentage of students in privately run charters, and the city’s school district is aiming to deepen its downsizing project by closing twenty-four of the city’s eighty-seven public schools. Which makes the teachers’ strike that kicked off today in Oakland all the more crucial.”

“We’re Fighting a Mean-Spirited and Antidemocratic Attack on Public Education,” an interview with Tim Marshall by Meagan Day, February 22, 2019

“Oakland teachers aren’t just fighting for a living wage and better working conditions. They’re fighting against the closure of dozens of schools, which would pave the way for the privatization and destruction of public education.”

“I Was Proud and Humbled to Stand With Such Brave Educators,” an interview with Shula Bien and Catie Tombs by Meagan Day, February 25, 2019

“Last week, Oakland charter school teachers took a brave step, joining striking public school teachers on the picket lines. Two teachers, one charter and one public, explain what it was like to organize side-by-side.”

“Worker Power on the Swedish Docks,” an interview with Erik Helgeson by Katy Fox-Hodess, February 27, 2019

“In response to employer lockouts, the SDU has announced plans for indefinite strike action. The future of independent, left-wing, rank-and-file trade unionism in Sweden hangs in the balance.”

“Workers Are Striking Again,” by Amy Muldoon, February 27, 2019

“New figures show that the strike is back: 485,000 workers participated in major work stoppages last year, the most in decades. Labor has to use that momentum to fight for the entire working class.”

“Why Oakland’s Striking Teachers Won,” by Eric Blanc, March 4, 2019

“Oakland’s walkout has energized and transformed tens of thousands of teachers, students, and community members to fight for more. Educators have felt their own power — and they have recognized their class enemies. Though the war to save Oakland schools is far from over, after this strike, the city will never be the same.”

“It’s International Women’s Day. Women Around the World Are Striking,” by Liza Featherstone, March 8, 2019

“Women throughout the world — especially in Latin America and Europe — are observing International Women’s Day by going on strike today. In Argentina, Spain, and Italy, the major unions are holding general strikes, under pressure from rank-and-file women workers.”

“Working People Aren’t Going Quietly,” by Scott Slawson, March 10 2019

“One thousand seven hundred workers at the Westinghouse Airbrake Technologies (or Wabtec) locomotive manufacturing complex in Erie, Pennsylvania, walked off the job late last month in response to concessions demanded by their employer, which had recently bought the factory from General Electric. The workers are members of the historically militant United Electrical Workers (UE), and they drew a line in the sand against contract givebacks and two-tier wages.”

“A Different Kind of Teachers’ Strike Wave,” by Nick French, March 12, 2019

“Today, the teachers’ victories are victories for the working class. The solidarity being rebuilt through the current strike wave could be a seed of the kind of mass movement necessary to fundamentally reorder society: a movement of the multiracial working class, fighting to democratize our economy and break the stranglehold of the ultrarich over our political system.”

“Class Struggle at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra,” an interview with John Bruce Yeh, Youming Chen, and Clara Takarabe by Isaac Silver, March 19, 2019

“After months of bargaining, the musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra expired. Picket lines aren’t usually associated with some of the world’s most elite musicians, but the CSO members of the American Federation of Musicians Local 10-208 decided to strike.”

“Red for Higher Ed,” by Meagan Day, March 20, 2019

“Tens of thousands of University of California workers are on strike today. Their message is clear: austerity and privatization are destroying education.”

“Taking the Fight to CUNY,” an interview with Barbara Bowen by Ben Beckett, March 22, 2019

“The City University of New York system has been ravaged by austerity. Educators have gone on strike throughout the country, but CUNY employees are hamstrung by anti-strike laws. CUNY’s biggest union wants to change that.”

“That’s Strike One, Amazon,” by Joe Demanuelle-Hall, March 26, 2019

“In what may be the first coordinated strike at a US Amazon facility, fifty Somali-American workers walked off the job in Minnesota recently to protest work speedups. And organizers say it won’t be the last strike.”

“Stop Shopping at Stop & Shop,” by Liza Featherstone, April 19, 2019

“In one of the biggest private-sector strikes in years, tens of thousands of Stop & Shop supermarket workers have walked off the job throughout New England. The strike wave that started last year in West Virginia has finally hit the private sector.”

“We Just Remembered How to Strike,” by Kim Moody, April 20, 2019

“2018 might have been the year that convinced workers that the strike holds the power needed to move today’s corporate giants and austerity-obsessed governments.”

“How Much Greedier Can You Get?,” an interview with Joe Jarmie and Kristen Johnson by Naomi LaChance

“Joe Jarmie is a meat cutter at the North Haven, Connecticut Stop & Shop, and Kristen Johnson works as a deli manager at the Stop & Shop in Somerville, Massachusetts. They are among the 31,000 Stop & Shop workers in 240 stores across New England who went on strike for eleven days this month.”

“There’s Still Power in a Strike,” interview with Jeremy Brecher by Mark Engler, April 24, 2019

“The withdrawal of cooperation gives people who appear to be powerless a counter-power. But you have to organize it. Since no one can use it by themselves, you can only use this power by cooperating with other people who appear to be in the same boat. One of the most important and most powerful means of exercising this power is the strike.”

“The Myths and Realities of the Education Strike Wave,” by Emily Comer, April 26, 2019

“Our win was monumental and even shocking to many. The day we won, I sobbed as I stood at the capitol alongside fellow teachers and school service personnel, celebrating this blow to austerity, privatization, and union busting.”

“If You Struggle, You Can Win,” an interview with Deepa Kumar by Ashley Smith, April 29, 2019

Rutgers instructors were confident in leveraging a strike threat in part because of the teachers’ strike wave that began in 2018. ‘They had shown that strikes work and if you struggle you can win,’ explained union president Deepa Kumar. ‘What we accomplished wasn’t simply because of our work and organizing philosophy but because our approach fit in with the mood among educators across the country.’