I have a piece in Salon today about the proposed Privatization Transparency and Accountability Ordinance in Chicago, which would put a check on the kinds of privatization deals Chicago has become a leader in nationwide. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, however, does not want to see the ordinance debated publicly. Read it here.
I organized a roundtable discussion on the Fight for 15 fast food strikers campaign with Chicago Whole Foods worker Trish Kahle, former SEIU staffer and author Jane McAlevey, and International Longshore and Warehouse Union organizing director Peter Olney. In it, the panelists discuss some of recent criticisms of the campaign as top-down and PR-driven. You can read it here.
(Photo via SEIU 32BJ.)
University of Miami cafeteria workers briefly struck as part of an organizing drive. I wrote about it for In These Times here.
George Orwell wrote the following paragraph in 1937 about English miners in his book The Road to Wigan Pier. Its sentiment, however, could apply to any number of workers in any number of industries in any country at any time in recent history:
It is so with all types of manual work; it keeps us alive, and we are oblivious of its existence. More than anyone else, perhaps, the miner can stand as the type of manual worker, not only because his work is so exaggeratedly awful, but also because it is so vitally necessary and yet to remote from our experience, so invisible, as it were, that we are capable of forgetting it as we forget the blood in our veins. In a way it is even humiliating to watch coal miners working. It raises in you a momentary doubt about your own status as an ‘intellectual’ and a superior person generally. For it is brought home to you, at least while you are watching, that it is only because miners sweat their guts out that superior persons can remain superior. You and I and the editor of the Times Literary Supplement and the Nancy Poets and the Archbishop of Canterbury and Comrade X, author of ‘Marxism for Infants’–all of us really owe the comparative decency of our lives to poor drudges underground, blackened to the eyes, with their throats full of coal dust, driving their shovels forward with arms and belly muscles of steel.
Fast food workers struck in 58 cities on Thursday. I followed Chicago strikers around throughout the day, and wrote about some of the debates over the campaign’s organizing tactics here.
A short writeup of today’s CPS boycott and rally for an elected school board in Chicago.
The strike wave among low-wage workers appears to be spreading beyond fast food and retail, as port truckers went on strike yesterday in Los Angeles. I wrote about it for In These Times here.
Al Jazeera America launched this week, and today I have my first piece for the station on the impact of school closings, budget cuts, and teacher layoffs in CPS as the first day of school approaches. Read it here.