Recent Trade Unions Articles

Why the Wisconsin defeat isn’t an omen for Obama

by John B     June 7, 2012 at 5:25 am

After a massively high-spending recall campaign in Wisconsin, union-busting Republican governor Scott Walker has held onto power with a slightly increased majority. But he lost control of the state senate.

Naturally, the oh-so-left-wing US media are spinning this as Terrible Democrat Defeat, Disaster Due for Obama in November, etc.

It has been pointed out in various places that the Walker campaign spent $7 for every $1 his opponent could muster. But this is not really a feasible plan for the November election (not even for someone with Mitt Romney’s wallet).
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Why you should learn about organising, not just campaigning

by Guest     May 9, 2012 at 11:01 am

contribution by Becky Wright

The local elections are over, France and Greece have seen people vote for an alternative and as pundits scramble to analyse and say what it all means, I want to take a step back and consider the role that organising and campaigning plays in building for change.   

In these times, that is the greatest challenge we face.  Whether it is for elections, for a plastic bag free area or for better, more equitable pay and conditions, we need to reorientate our view of success of campaigns to incorporate organising more fully. 

In the trade union movement we debate about what it means for us to organise. I want to briefly explain how I view campaigning and talk about my approach to organising. 
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How British Trade Unions could change: three suggestions

by Guest     April 11, 2012 at 11:10 am

contribution by Lorcan Mullen

In a recent LC post, Sunny wrote that trade unions need to “diversify, modernise and become more relevant”.

Here are a few ideas, not entirely original, for how trade unions can do just that.

Without greater success in reversing austerity at the source, unions are in danger of being run ragged fire-fighting at the workplace or regional bargaining level.
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Petrol tanker drivers want to strike for important reasons

by Guest     April 1, 2012 at 4:30 pm

contribution by Annie Powell

Earlier this week David Cameron branded a proposed strike by Unite petrol tanker drivers as “completely irresponsible.” He went on to say that “the sorts of things they [the union and employers] are discussing, whether it’s health and safety or whatever, is no justification for a strike.”

It doesn’t seem to matter to Cameron that oil companies and their contractors are cutting corners in a way that could have serious implications for health and safety: the duty of responsibility only applies to workers, apparently.

Unlike some other recent strikes, the potential strike by Unite drivers has clear moral and social merit.
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How Labour could seize the initiative to radically reaffirm union links

by Paul Cotterill     March 26, 2012 at 12:51 pm

The #cashforcameron scandal offers easy picking for Labour at the moment, but it won’t last long.

The Tories are already working hard to cast Labour’s union funding arrangements in an even worse light than its own, and a compliant media will ensure that, when the dust settles, it’s a score-draw.

Miliband and his team should now think strategically, not tactically.
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If Unions want to become stronger, they need to modernise

by Sunny Hundal     February 21, 2012 at 8:45 am

Most people on the left are instinctively supportive of unions – collective bargaining and employee representation are the bedrock of left-wing politics after all.

But support for the union movement should not mean shying away from openly discussing the challenges they face.

It’s arguable that the case for stronger unions isn’t being made firmly and clearly enough, and the unions themselves are sometimes failing to adapt to changing circumstances.
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How the last year shaped up for left-wing activism

by Chaminda Jayanetti     January 4, 2012 at 10:55 am

If the Welfare Reform Bill makes it through Parliament this month, it will set the seal on a terrible twelve months in which – sporadic successes aside – ‘the Left’ has failed to provide effective leadership and representation for those bearing the brunt of public funding cuts and austerity economics.

There have been massive shortcomings in how the Left has handled the public funding cuts in 2011, especially in two of the worst-affected areas – benefits and adult care. Much of this revolves around the fact that, from the militants to the wets, the leadership of the Left is not drawn from the ranks of those it claims to represent, and is therefore not much cop at representing them.

Everyone is guilty of something.
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After the national strike: do unions need to shift tactics?

by Paul Cotterill     December 1, 2011 at 4:14 pm

Yesterday I didn’t go on a march. Instead, in semi-journalist mode, I went round pickets in my area, having a bit of chat with those who were left, offering a tenner for the strike fund. Those left behind reported that most had gone off to the marches and rallies, some to Wigan, some to Liverpool.

They know that the battle lines have now been drawn; if we lose this battle, then we’re likely to lose the war.

The overall impression I took from yesterday is that we may be getting our tactics very wrong for the war of attrition to come, and that we need to pay attention now to the basics of strike organisaton.
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Why ‘union turnout’ is no excuse to attack strike action

by Nigel Stanley     November 28, 2011 at 8:30 am

Government supporters are busy playing the ‘union turn-out card’ in advance of the TUC Day of Action on Wednesday.

They say that few union members voted for a strike. Non-voters can be assumed to oppose the action, therefore the strike is illegitimate, or so they argue.

This is based on choosing a few bad facts that suit the argument.
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How unions and economists could help UK #occupy movements

by Sunny Hundal     October 24, 2011 at 9:05 am

I have a problem with the #occupyLSX protest – the big banners and posters are useless. By that, I mean they only preach to the already converted through sloganeering.

Many at the camp think ‘Capitalism is Crisis’ epitomises the protest, but I have a feeling most people going past will simply roll their eyes. People may feel uncomfortable with their squeezed standards of living but they simply aren’t aware of the scale of the crisis. Neither will most automatically blame the broader economic system for their troubles.

Here is where I think others can step in and help.
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